“Yes, I too am looking forward to working with Thane Garnier and completing research together, updating our repertoires and giving Wilburg and Cenwulf the attention they need,” Zephyros said to Xenocrates. “I think we’ll head out maybe tomorrow, Osric and Zelik just had a little business with the church to deal with, apparently someone has disturbing one of the temples under the cover of darkness.”
“So we’re going to assist them this evening?” replied Xenocrates.
“Yes, that’s what I understand,” answered Zephyros. Later that evening the company gathered at a temple within the town. It had seen better days, certainly not receiving the full resources of the Makerites. While Osric spoke at length with the caretaker, Zephyros reminded his men what their role was here, “Now men, let’s be respectful while we are in the temple and remember, we don’t know who is interfering here, so let’s use our discretion. After all we are within Hewflore and are therefore subject to their laws and punishment. We’ll let Osric and Zelik sort this out and with some luck we’ll be on our way back to Taygle’s End soon.”
Later that evening a small group of men came into the temple and they were confronted by the Tarchoony Brotherhood. There was a brief altercation where one of the intruders was injured; fortunately aid was given right away. As it turns out the Hounds of Magos were the intruders, a division of the Makerites! Long and at times tense dialog ensued, but the company failed to establish any rapport with the Hounds, therefore the Hounds would not reveal what exactly their intentions were, although it was clear they had been excavating under the temple. The Hounds agreed to leave, but as they did they insisted that the Brotherhood not investigate their excavations. Needless to say as soon as they departed that was precisely what the Tarchoony Brotherhood did.
“What’s down there?” Zephyros asked, while peering over the shoulders of Osric and Zelic as they lowered a lantern on the end of a rope.
“There appears to be some water of what appears to be inside a green metallic tube, and what is that writhing mass?” Osric replied. The company’s curiosity took over and immediately plans were made to lower nearly everyone down, a few would stay behind to not only guard the entrance, but to provide advanced warning to the others should the Hounds of Magos return. Once the exploration team was lowered, the company made their way towards the sound of falling water. Soon they were at the end of the metallic pipe, which opened up into a deep chasm. On the opposite side of the chasm the other end of the pipe billowed out water. On the far side and just to the left of the flowing pipe there appeared to be a landing, with a few steps up to a doorway.
Burak spoke to one of his female companions, “Do you think you can make it over?”
She replied, “That’s what you pay me for, right?”
Burak answered, “Good answer, now we’ll put this rope around your waist and once you are on the other side spike it so we can assemble a rope bridge.”
“Got it!” she snorted as she scampered around the edge of the pipe clinging to the rock wall. After only a few moments she was safely to the other side and began connecting ropes to the stone wall. Osric was the first volunteer to go over, but after testing the ropes he decided to remove his armor first.
“I had better lighten the load, no sense pushing it.” Osric said as he removed his armor. The company tied a rope around his waist and to arrest a fall. After a brief prayer he inched across the chasm using the two-rope bridge. Once on the other side he investigated the door, its symbols and potential meanings. There was what appeared to be a fertility god dating back to the Tarchoony times, which would make this an ancient place. As more were preparing to make their way over suddenly Osric cried out, “Aaaaggggghhhhh! It has me!” A mass of sticky threads stuck to him and tried to pull him up into the darkness above, he narrowly escaped the attack by pulling off his shirt.
“Get archers into position!” Zelik yelled as he began tying a rope around his waist. Athelwine, Burak, and Dudda stepped up and began to fire at the contorted spiderlike mass, striking it several times. Moments later the female acrobat attempted to flee to the safety of the pipe with the rest of the companions by running across the single strand of rope.
A high pitched, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwww!” was the last the company heard of her as she fell to her death.
Zephryros completed his spell of magic missile; a small trireme jetted from above his shoulder to the creatures head, creating a small flash as it impacted it. Osric began to pray for sanctuary and was soon protected from further attacks, so the horror turned towards Athelwine, sending a single strand his way. He was hit, but it did not stick.
Another salvo of arrows and bolts erupted from the pipe, some of which made their mark onto the creature. But this time the creature’s web hit Athelwine and if were not for the quick actions of Burak he would have been pulled in. “I’ve got you!” Burak shouted as he pulled Athelwine around the edge of the pipe, which added tension to the web and reduced the spider’s leverage on the line. More companions piled on Athelwine to keep him from being pulled into the spider’s maw. Moments later another arrow pierced the creature end’s its miserable life.
“What the hell was that!” Zephyros yelled? “I’ve not seen anything quite like it.”
“A horror of the deep dark past, I’m afraid,” Replied Zelik. “Maybe the Hounds were right?”
“What do you think Xenocrates, will it have anything of use to us? Zephyros asked.
“Most certainly my liege, poison at the least, and I’m guessing more, but I have no way to access it I’m afraid,” Xenocrates replied.
“Nonsense, Dudda is an expert climber and is no stranger to gutting a deer,” Zephyros answered as he threw Dudda a wink.
“No problem at all boss,” Dudda snapped as he took off out of the pipe and up the wall towards the spider horror. As he neared it he could see the eyes and fangs of the creature, most terrifying really. As he was trying to remove the fangs and venom sac his foothold slipped and he nearly pricked himself. In the process of doing so he cut open the sac and ruined the contents. “Dammit!” he exclaimed.
The company all gathered back into the tunnel and collected their thoughts, “Osric what did you see?” inquired Zelik.
“There is a door with runes on it in what must be ancient Tarchoony script. There is a figure, like a fertility god with the top of a woman and the bottom of a man. They are holding a staff with what appears to be a pine cone on top. This must be an ancient religious place.”
“I thought the Hounds of Magos were Makerites,” snorted Zephyros in a sarcastic tone. “Why are they protecting this place?”
“So did I,” answered Osric, “So did I.”
“Well let’s get back to the entrance of the tunnel and consider our path forward. Clearly if we are going to investigate further we need to ensure we have the proper supplies for such a journey and we should only leave with full prayers and repertoires; the Maker knows we may need it,” stated Zelik. So the company moved back towards the entrance less one companion and with more questions then answers.