Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.3”
The tunnel was mercifully short, opening into a smaller chamber than previously. It did, however, house a small, furious inhabitant that was already charging at the group.
This creature took most of Theros’ attention, but a movement out of the corner of his eye drew him to look up, straight at what could only be a sea hag. The tales did not do it justice. It was truly hideous and definitely not covered in enough clothing.
The small creature stopped suddenly, and for lack of a better description, full body vomited some sort of goo over the party. Theros immediately felt less than ideal, but thankfully for the rest of the party, he was able to inspire their actions, along with speeding their reactions.
Barney smote the small creature, even as Theros informed the group of the sea hags threat. A hail of arrows, magic and even a divine teleportation of a barbarian destroyed her utterly. Poor Nugg summoned another large crocodile to help, but the fearsome aura of the hag had slowed it substantially.
The now ritual scavenging of the bodies was quick. Neither of these foul things had anything more worthy than a disgusting shawl. With nothing for it bu to continue further down the tunnels, Theros strode away, a vague sense of unease growing more and more prevalent the further he went towards the centre of the world.
The next chamber had a wonder of mystical proportions. Something that looked like it was right out of Scottish faerie tale. Long-necked and long-tailed, this large, predatory reptile glides through the water on four powerful flippers…or rather, very stumpy legs. Something was very wrong here!
Next to the strange creature was a beautiful, if large sight. She resembled a powerful giant with hairless blue-green skin, deep blue eyes, flamboyant eyebrows, and pearlescent teeth, but was stunning as well. The sight of something so gorgeous down in the depths was a shock to young Theros and it took him a moment to react.
In that time, the weird sea-turned-land creature wobbled forwards quickly, only to be met by a cloud of dense fog summoned by Ashe. This quick piece of thinking allowed the group to recover themselves somewhat and Theros moved cautiously forwards in the direction he had last seen the caves inhabitants.
While moving slowly, Theros cast another spell of haste while singing gently to inspire his party. Unable to see out of the fog, all he could hear was the slightly muffled sounds of spells being cast and yells of anger, most likely from Barney, who was on the verge of exploding in anger at any given moment regardless of the circumstances.
Inching his way out of the fog, the large, long necked creature was close to him, so he scuttle a little further, hoping he was out of reach of the vicious teeth and long reach. Once he was happy with the range, he unleashed several wooden thunderbolts in the form of arrows. The group had already damaged the creature and it fell quickly.
The next thing Theros knew, he was suspended in a violently swirling body of water, where before, there had been none. Struggling to breath and finding it hard to swim, it looked grim for the bard.
Desna, as always, was on hand to help, in the form of her Avatar, Ashe.
His new found blessing that allowed him to teleport short distances proved extremely handy and he simply teleported out of the water and cast a spell that allowed him complete control over the body of water. Blurry as Ashe was, he could be seen extorting the water and gesturing for it to subside, which it did immediately.
The water reformed into the beautiful giant woman and with little else in her arsenal, she was quickly cut down. This Guardian of the orb had a lot to answer for! His control of these beings was a foul perversion and Theros was heartily sick of it.
At last, a way out of the caves and back into the water…
…Theros had to stop himself for a moment. The thought of going back into the water was actually terrifying, so why was that the preferred travel option? The caves had bothered the bard more than he cared to admit.
And immediately came face to face with a massive creature, so large that it could put dragons to shame! The urge to retreat back to the cave was almost overwhelming. A massive lizard, shaped like a giant fish with a powerful, toothed maw bore down on them all.
It was also obscuring a much smaller creature, but little did Theros know, that the smaller creature would prove the greater threat. That said, it was still over twenty five feet long with tentacles on its face longer than a man was tall, and it dwarfed the party.
Barney immediately moved to attack the larger beast and somehow ended up wildly swinging while clenched between it’s massive teeth. Then he was gone. Swallowed in one fell gulp!
Nugg fell to controlling the creature and summoning animals to aid in seeing it off while Arlen focused his considerable magical prowess at it as well, in a desperate attempt to get Barney back.
This left Ashe and Theros, now in the form of a merman, and singing bubbly tunes to inspire his party, to face the giant tentacles of the large, clearly malevolent being in front of them.
This, dear readers, is where Theros developed a well honed fear and intense dislike of tentacles. Sea food would only very rarely grace his table, and never something that had tentacles. The vivid memories still plague him to this day.
It quickly became clear that this thing was not only intelligent, but was casting spells! Fortunately, the party proved strong willed enough to resist the effects because it seemed as though it was attempting to dominate the humans.
And something new…The creatures tentacles brushed against Arlen and then Theros. Both felt their skin transform into a clear slimy membrane, soft and slimy to the touch. Disgusted with the effect, Theros had great difficulty focusing.
Luckily, the massive flippered behemoth was now dead, although Barney was no where to be seen still, and the rest of the party brought their formidable powers to bear on this foul thing. Furious combat ensued and the party was able to stop the creature before anybody else was afflicted with the foul slimy disease.
Ashe was able to cure the issue, but there were cautionary tales of being careful where Theros went in future. Ashe appeared to be enjoying this a little too much.
While Ashe was preparing the cure spells, Barney burst out of the side of the behemoth! Clearly he had been fighting his way free from the moment he was swallowed. It was only his good fortune that he was already deep in water and the goo was washed free from him swiftly.
Another hole appeared beneath the party as they swam ever deeper. Another entrance to another submerged cave system apparently, but following the path Theros needed to take.
The tunnel stretched out ahead and spread out into a moderate sized cave. Well, it would have been moderate had it not been largely filled with a huge body of water, swirling around threateningly. A water elemental!
And barely glimpsed from behind it was a humanoid face framed by a cobra-like hood, which adorned the body of a long, brightly colored serpent. Theros had heard tales of these. A guardian naga. These were supposed to be gracious creatures, aligned with the forces of good.
Barney immediately charged the water elemental. It never really stood a chance. it blocked the naga predominantly, so it became the sole focus of the groups entire attacks and it fell quickly.
The naga, on the other hand, was considerably more trouble. It appeared to have the same spell as Arlen, several bolts of scorching fire, and it focused directly on Arlen, slamming into him, causing him to cry out in pain.
The cave suddenly lost one of its occupants. Invisibility was something the party had seen and used before, so while it was a challenge, they at least knew what was going on. Desna, again, helped Ashe in the preparation of his spells. He cast something that acted like a invisibility void zone, and as he walked forwards, the naga was seen, retreated behind the cover of a rock.
Once it was found, it was isolated and trapped and unable to stave off the violent defeat. Once it was dead, Theros walked over to it and bowed his head in shame. Another good creature that he was forced to kill, simply to survive. All he could do was ensure that the Guardian of the gem was killed and these mind controlled creatures could go back to their own lives, and their deaths would not prove to be in vain.
There was only one way to go unless the party wished to retreat back to the water. This was along tunnel and it led to a huge clear chamber with only one exit, and one occupant. A large bronze dragon.
Theros had recently seen much bigger dragons, but having met them, he knew this was a good dragon, but not as old as those he had been chasing in the past. This didn’t change the level of danger such a creature posed.
“I am sorry great dragon. I am striving to get to the being holding your mind captive, but we must get past you.”
The dragon had a modicum of control of itself and responded, letting Theros know it understood and that they should either kill it or flee, as it was not able to hold itself back any longer.
The feeling of unease in Theros’ gut was churning now and after Barney charged the majestic creature, nearly cleaving it in twain (and possibly should have dear readers, something was amiss in this place) the rest of the party retreated to a patch of created fog. Meanwhile, one by one, anybody who attacked the dragon, simply disappeared.
When Theros shot at the great dragon, he winked out of all existence, only to find himself inside some form of goo, trapped inside a sac or membrane of some kind. Somebody slit the sac and Theros fell ungraciously to the floor, gasping for breath and retching the putrid stuff from his lungs, not even able to take the time to survey his immediate surroundings.