Entry #8 – Day 3
We relaxed and rested, most of us not being tired yet – it was Akkiir who was completely exhausted because he had gotten no sleep the night before. Eventually it was time for us all to get some rest, so guards were posted and to sleep we went. Unfortunately, tonight was the turn for the other three of us to get no sleep as terrifying visions tortured our slumber.
I awoke alone in the den of that cursed house all alone. My friends were nowhere to be found. Why would they leave me behind? As I began to explore the house I heard the staccato sounds of a galloping horse coming down the road outside. My curiosity overcame me as I went into the entryway and opened the front door just a crack to see what was approaching. No sooner had I done so than the door crashed inwards, knocking me back into the main hall.
Standing before me was one of the dark riders, a Knight of Dragon Down. As I scrambled in retreat, his lance struck right through me, sticking me to the wooden floor. I could have prayed that I had died on the spot, but I did not. Somehow, I remained conscious and in incredible pain as the undead knight bound my hands and dragged me outside to where his terrifying black horse stood and I was assailed by the braying sounds of the many hellish ghost hounds that surrounded me.
I was half pulled – half dragged for an indeterminate period of time. It was pure agony as my wound still bled profusely as my body ached all over. It seemed like two eternities before we finally arrived at a dark, looming castle. I was quickly thrust into a dank, dark dungeon and into a rusty barred cell. This portion of the dungeon had flooded at some point and there was a good three feet of water in my cell. This provided a gnome of my stature some discomfort as you can imagine.
I was forced to tread water, barely able to keep my head above water because of exhaustion. I managed to have wit enough to think to take off my belt and use it to lash myself to the bars of the cell. As I was catching my breath and my mind raced thinking upon my less that certain future, a huge, dark figure could be seen in an adjacent cell. As glowing eyes seemed to pierce my soul with their gaze, a deep, guttural voice forcefully demanded that I serve him. I don’t exactly remember my response, but I think I said something glib in an attempt at misguided bravado but the words fell from my lips with hollow meaning.
Then the strange creature rushed forward against the bars of its cage and I could see it was a great half man-half wolf and it snarled at my pitiful form in anger, spittle flying from its sharp toothed maw. Just then, exhaustion overcame me as the false security of my belt gave way and I slipped under the water without the strength to resist. The intense horror and pain of drowning was something I could not imagine ever being able to describe, as of course being deceased is somewhat prohibitive to penning the details of your drowning.
I held my breath for as long as I could, which wasn’t long, as I had not taken a deep breath. The feeling of terror trying to keep your breath inside you as your lungs beg to dispel this for a fresh breath is impossible to describe. My lungs burned with hot pain and my chest and ribs cramped intolerably. Soon my body began to convulse as I fought off the urge to take a breath. In the end, the inevitable breath came, but rather than sweet life-giving air, my lungs quickly filled with dank, sour water. As I could feel the last, tiny bubbles of air rush past my face and awaited the certainty of death, I awoke gasping for air in the Death House, surrounded by my friends.
Even knowing that this experience was merely some terrifying attempt by the evil of this place to torture and taunt us, the dream was so realistic it was chilling to the core. My heroic friends, Nim and Janlynn, suffered similar night terrors.
We spent a long time waiting for those of us to catch up on our missed sleep so that we could meet any new challenges of this house with fresh and rejuvenated vigor. It was, to our best guess, around noon when we set out to continue investigating the dungeon below. We could hear the same eerie, low chanting coming from somewhere deeper in the dungeon and we went right past the crypts and encountered ancient rooms with tables, broken furniture and bones lying about the floors. One room had a central room with sleeping chambers off of it. Our troupe encountered shambling undead creatures (Ghouls, Zombies, we were unsure. Nim calls them “Undead Biters” and that name will do as good as any other).
Janlynn stepped forth and powerful waves of Lathander’s morning rays washed forth from her to blast through the approaching creatures, sending all but one reeling in fear before the power of her god. The remaining abomination was dispatched quickly at the blades of our warriors. Before the undead overcame their fear and returned, we searched the bedchambers and found some treasure! Somehow, just finding some sparkly things makes this venture seem more like adventure, rather than just a terrifying haunted house we’re stumbling through.
The remaining half dozen or so “Biters” came back and we set up our ranks to defend one entrance against them. Though these undead seemed somewhat free willed, obviously their capacity for tactics and intelligence were left in their graves. We efficiently defeated them as they kept trying to overtake the narrow entrance to the room.
Exploring further through the catacomb-like dungeon, we entered a series of tunnels where the low chanting seemed audibly louder than anywhere else, so we delved deeper into the dank, musty darkness. Suddenly, at a sort of intersection of tunnels, more undead Biters erupted from the very floor in front of us, catching us flat-footed. Nim, Tetsuo and Akkiir met the assaulting creatures with fury while the rest of us were caught jammed in the narrow winding tunnel behind.
Nim suffered terrible wounds early in the melee, from multiple wounds, and began to be dragged away by one of these foul things. In desperation, I ran for all I was worth to take a connecting tunnel and try to help Nim with one of my healing tricks, but even my night vision did not save me from the crumbling pit that yawned open in front of me, and I fell.
Janlynn, likewise worried about the fate of brave Nim, followed me and thankfully saw the pit, leaped over it like a gazelle and was able to cast a powerful healing spell at Nim as he was being dragged away!!!!