Adventures in the city of wishes - The smell of blood

Saturday, August 24, 2013 JCWEITZEL 0 Comments

With Vonk in the lead, the party headed back down the hallway in search of a way out, or at least more treasure anyway. The hallway went around a corner and widened into a large chamber. The chamber looked old and mainly untouched except by time.

The room appeared different than the others they had seen so far. The main difference was that the floor was just dirt instead of old stone. The other oddity is that there were rows of tombstones filling most of the room. Near the back of the room there were large sarcophagus lining the walls. No one was able to remember any stories that would explain why this room would be buried under the city.

The party began to search the room, not sure what they are looking for exactly, though they all had hopes of stumbling across some threasure. As they examine the gravestones, they found them to be covered in humorous sayings.

Here lies good old Fred A great big rock fell on his head.

You're standing on my head.

Here lies a man once called Ned. Now more properly called dead.

Reading the tombstones caused the party to drop their guard and they began to laugh and joke as they continued searching the room. Waaagh noted that it felt like the room must have been used for some type of ceremony in the past since there were strange runes on the ceiling and the tombstones. No one, other than Waaagh, even paused to wonder why everything in the room was covered in runes and continued their search without hesitation.

The party's search eventually lead them to the large sarcophaguses in the back of the room. They party could see that they were covered in runes just like the rest of the room. Waaagh moved closer to them and ran his fingers over them.

“Should I cast a spell to see what these runes say or what do you guys think?” Waaagh asked.

“I say screw it. We should just open it and see what is inside. And by we, I of course mean Vonk,” Journey said. It was clear that the party was not very concerned with the strange runes that surrounded them.

“I agree. Vonk can take whatever it can dish out. Right Vonk?” Ari'el said.

“Vonk look! Vonk want more pretty armor!” Vonk said.

Vonk quickly moved to the nearest sarcophagus and started smashing on the lid with the bone he had been using as a weapon. If Vonk has been able to read the runes, he would have known he was smashing the rune that actually said, those who disturb this tomb shall face the wrath of those who came before, but Vonk couldn't read anything, let alone magical runes.

Vonk made quick work of the lid and stood back to reveal the contents inside. “This one only have body,” Vonk said. He went to the next done and did the same with the same result. While the party was busy watching Vonk, they didn't notice that all of the runes in the room were slowing coming to life. Soon, the whole room was lit up by the light blue glow coming from them.

“Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Vonk, you should probably stop now,” Waaagh said.

“Why Vonk stop now?” Vonk replied.

Waaagh didn't need to answer because it soon became obvious to everyone, including Vonk, what Waaagh meant. The ground in front of the tombstones began to push upwards. Arms, legs, and eventually whole bodies soon followed. From the sarcophagus emerged two swarms of rats and a large creature that the party had not seen before.

“What the heck is that?” Asked Ari'el, pointing towards the strange creature. It looked like it had been human at one time, but it had long ago left that life behind. It was thin, so thin that it looked unnatural as it moved its long arms and legs. Its skin was a light purple and was stretched tight over its frame. It smiled at the party with razor sharp teeth.

“A ghoul!” Journey yelled, the memory suddenly coming to his mind. “Don't let it bite you!”

Vonk being the nearest to the creature, and obviously not listening to Journey, charged the ghoul and the two began an epic fight. The rest of the party was quickly engaged in battles of their own as the other zombies and rats attacked. The party was flanked on all sides, but they fought together to kill off the enemies one by one. Only Vonk fought alone as he tried to defeat the ghoul.

Journey, after clearing away some of the zombies around himself, was the first to notice that Vonk was in trouble. He saw that Vonk had received multiple serious wounds from his attacker. Journey commanded Flowers to assist Vonk in his fight. Flowers willingly charged into battle to assist, however, this caused the ghoul to decided to focus on Flowers instead of Vonk.

The battle went on until both Vonk and Flwoers were critically injured. When the dust finally settled, the party saw that the ghoul had managed to sink its teeth into Flowers, but Vonk had somehow avoided he creature's teeth. Flowers limped back to Journey and it was clear that he was in dire need of healing. Right as Journey was about to heal his pet, a final rune fired, causing the whole room to shake. As the party watched, a ghost rose out of the ground next to Vonk.

Vonk was already beaten and confused when the ghost attacked him. He braced for a physical impact, but it instead went for an even weaker target, Vonk's mind.

“The ghost is taking control of him!” yelled Waaagh. He raised his axe and prepared to attack Vonk.

“We can't just kill him. What if we need him later?” Journey asked.

“You saw how strong he is, we won't be able to hold him off long. Whatever we are going to do, we better do it fast,” Ari'el said.

Vonk slowly lost control of his body and when he opened his eyes again, they were glowing red. He began to pace towards Journey, raising his weapon for an attack.

“No! I won't let this happen,” Poppy said as she stepped into Vonk's path. She focused her mind, raised her arms, and unleashed a jet of energy at Vonk. Poppy's charm spell connected with the mind control spell from the ghost and Poppy found herself fighting for the control of Vonk's mind.

At first, Poppy's spell appeared to work, but then Vonk took another step towards the party. “We have to slow him down while Poppy takes full control,” Waaagh called out.

Waaagh and Journey each moved to the side of Vonk and rushed him at the same time. They placed their arms around him from each side and tried to hold him in place to give Poppy more time. Vonk screamed in pain as the ghost fought to hold on, but in the end, Poppy was able to free his mind. The ghost flew backwards out of Vonk's body and slowly faded away until it was gone.

The party stood silent, waiting to see Vonk's reaction. They all were worried that he would not be happy that Poppy had cast a spell on him. Their worries quickly washed away though, once Vonk ran over and started hugging Poppy. “Vonk happy. Vonk thank you,” Vonk told Poppy.

Poppy smiled and said, “No problem Vonk. I was worried there for a moment. I am glad you are ok.”

“Vonk glad Vonk ok too,” Vonk said.

With all the excitement, the party hadn't noticed that Flowers and fallen and was laying on his side. Journey noticed first and rushed to the side of his pet. He used his last healing potion and slowly poured the contents into the boar's mouth. The fever had greatly weakened Flowers and Journey knew that if he passed away while infected by Ghoul Fever, then he would turn into one himself that night.

Luckily, the potion appeared to work on Flowers and he was soon able to stand again. He still appeared weak, but the party decided that the rest of the healing spells, in the wand they carried, would be better spent on Vonk. Journey used the remaining charges to heal Vonk, who was very grateful. He quickly rushed to give Journey a hug too.

While the party rested from the fight, they searched the room again, this time with much more care. They looked inside the sarcophagus that Vonk had broken open and were excited to find a new weapon for the party. It was a large bastard sword that was so heavy that Ari'el couldn't even lift it. They decided, once again, to hand over their new loot to Vonk. They did, however, keep the four bags of gold coins they found next to the sword.

During their search, the party found an old stone door in the back of the room that appeared to be locked from the side they were on. The door was heavy and it took Waaagh and Vonk working together to move it. Once it was open, they all stood in the doorway and looked into the next room.

“Do you guys smell that?” Journey asked. He was covering his face with his arm.

“Eww, yeah. It seems like cinnamon,” Ari'el said.

“What?” Journey asked.

“You know, like blood,” Ari'el replied.

The whole party turned to Ari'el, all at once, with their eyebrows raised. “Ok, first off, it doesn't smell like cinnamon out there. And secondly, cinnamon is not at all what blood smells like,” Journey said.

“No, I am pretty sure that it smells like cinnamon. What did you think it smells like?” Ari'el asked.

Journey, obviously frustrated said, “Everyone knows that it smells like rusted metal.” The rest of the party nodded in agreement, except for Vonk of course, who was busy admiring his face in the reflection of his new weapon to notice the argument.

“I think this conversation needs to wait everyone,” Poppy said. She stood at the doorway with her hand cupped to her ear. “I don't think we are alone. The blood smells very fresh.”

“You mean it smells like fresh…” Ari'el started.

“Drop it,” Waaagh said. He had moved up next to Poppy, but turned back long enough to give Ari'el a hard glare before turning back.

“It looks like something lives here,” Poppy said. She pointed into the room at a pile of straw that looked like it had been the bed of some creature recently. “I think I can see some sort of a bed and it also looks like there are a lot of bones laying around. Some are fresher than others too, it looks like anyway.”

“I think Poppy is right. We should get moving before whatever it is comes back,” Waaagh said. Waaagh suddenly held up his hand to the party and stood very still. “There is something else. Do you feel it?”

“Feel what?” Ari'el said.

“Just stand still a moment. I can feel air, fresh air, coming from that room. I think they area we were in before was sealed off and we are near the surface now.” Waaagh said.

Talk of the surface got everyone a little excited. Their arguments about blood long forgotten, they continued into the room. Even Vonk felt on edge with the strong smell of blood filling the room. They could see large stacks of bones throughout the area. They knew that whatever lived here had been here a long time and it had killed hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The party was just beginning to search the room when Journey noted something strange in one of the stacks of bones. It was a body of a creature that he had never seen before. It looked like its skin had been torn off and you could see the creature's exposed muscles, which were still dripping with blood. It was the only bones they had seen so far in the room with any meat left on them.

“What do you guys thing this is?” Journey asked the group. The had moved next to the creature and was trying to examine it. Poppy moved up next to him first and looked down at the creature. The party saw all of the blood drain from Poppy's face as she looked at it. Stunned, she began to step slowly and quietly away.

“So you know what this is?” Journey asked. He was trying to read Poppy's expression and at least drew enough from it that he realized he need to talk softer.

“Bo… Bone… Bone Cobbler,” Poppy stuttered. She had not taken her eyes of the creature as she continued to move away. Journey decided to take this as a cue and also began to step slowly away from the creature.

“What is a bone cobbler?” Ari'el asked loudly. She had been off along the other side of the room searching among the bones and had just decided to come over to where the rest of the party was.

Journey looked at Ari'el and began to frantically shake this head. Poppy began to move backwards a little faster. Waaagh began to cautiously draw his sword, moving it slowly so that it didn't make a lot of noise as he removed it from its scabbard.

“What is everyone so worried about? It is just a bunch of bones right? It doesn't look like anything has been alive in here for a long time,” Ari'el said.

The party held their breath as Ari'el finished and they all looked towards the creature. It shifted its weight and settled back down in the stack of bones it was using as a bed. There was an audible sigh of relief from the party. Just at that moment, Poppy who had still be backing away, stepped onto a loose bone that had been laying behind her. Before she knew it, her legs shot out from under her and she went stumbling backwards.

There was a loud clatter as the pile of bones she landed in scattered across the floor. Vonk who had been standing near the entrance admiring his sword began to clap. The party, now with their attention on the fallen Poppy, heard a low growl from the behind them. They turned to see the bone cobbler, standing on its hind legs, looking at them with glowing red eyes.

It stood about eight feet tall and it had long white razor-sharp claws sticking out from each hand. The creature turned its head toward Journey and smiled, showing rows of dangerous teeth.

“Kill it! We have to kill it quickly!” Poppy yelled. She was scrambling to get up.

The creature was the next to react. He lunged at Journey, but right as he was about to connect, Flowers intervened. Flowers, already seriously wounded himself, was not about to let his master get injured aw well. He connected with the creatures chest and they both went flying into a nearby stack of bones.

Waaagh rushed forward, ready to attack with his mighty great axe, but he couldn't get a clear shot with Flowers in the way. That fact, however, didn't stop Vonk, who rushed in and started swinging is new weapon around carelessly. Ari'el moved around to prepare for a flank attack.

The creature surged upwards, sending the boar flying across the room and into a wall. It raised it arms and let loose a burst of magic that spread across the room. The party watched as the stacks of bones around the room slowly began to move around and take humanoid shapes. Soon, an army of skeleton warriors filled the room. After creating the skeleton warriors, the bone cobbler let our a scream of rage and charged Vonk.

Journey was force to turn away from the bone cobbler as multiple skeletons began to attack him. Ari'el quickly came to his rescue and they began to slowly kill the skeleton hord that had sprung up around them. Poppy was standing in the middle of the room, blasting away with her spells as quickly as she could.

Vonk let our a scream of pain and the party looked over to see that Vonk was loosing his battle with the evil creature. The bone cobbler had connected a few good blows on Vonk and deep cuts covered his skin. Flowers, having recovered from the impact of being thrown across the room, came running back and joined in the fight once again. Vonk and Flowers tried their best, but were struggling to hold out against the creature.

“We have to help them,” yelled Journey. The look of concern was clear on his face as he watched Flowers take another direct hit.

“You guys hold the skeletons off. I am going to help them,” Waaagh replied.

Waaagh moved up behind Vonk with a slow deliberate pase. On the way, he began to mutter ancient words of power and his axe began to glow with energy. Flowers made a last attempt dive at the bone cobbler but he stanched the boar out of the air before the attack could connect. He held Flowers about his head and began to sink his sharp teeth into the boars side.

“Vonk, move to the side. I got this,” Waaagh said. His axe was glowing so brightly that it cast shadows on the walls around the room. Seeing Waaagh approach, the creature tossed Flowers to the side and prepared to intercept Waaagh's attack.

“This is where you die,” Waaagh told the creature. Waaagh brought his axe down on the bone cobbler's head, it connected with a shower of energy. The blade sizzled as it cut straight through the creatures skull. Within moments, the creature was laying at Waaagh feet in two neatly cut pieces.

With the bone cobbler dead, the rest of the skeletons immediately lost their form and fell to the ground, once again becoming just another pile of bones. The party began to cheer and celebrate, but the excitement was shorted lived. Journey stook over of his boar, its body broken and bloody. He reached down and brushed his hand along the boar's back and it let out a soft cry, clearly in pain.

“Sorry everyone, I know we don't have many healing spells left, but I have to try to save him,” Journey said with a tear in his eyes. No one in the party objected as they moved closer to watch. Journey raised the wand and said the magic words to make it cast the spell of healing. At first, nothing happened. The party knew the wand was low on charges, but they were all hoping it would have enough left. To their relief, a jet of green energy finally emerged from the wand and washed over the boar's body.

Flowers wounds began to heal and he began to breath easier. It wasn't long, however, before the wand sputtered and winked out, its energy spent. It had only had enough power to stabilize Flowers, instead of fulling healing him.

“Good boy, piggy,” Vonk said and patted Flowers on the head.

Journey hugged his best friend and then picked him up. “Ok, we can move on now. We need to get back to town, as soon as possible, to get Flowers some proper healing,” Journey said.

The party didn't argue and they quickly left the room through a small opening in the back of the room. It was about three feet high and it looked to be chipped out of brick. On the other side of the hole, they could see what looked like the city's sewer system. They could even hear the soft trickel of water flowing as they got closer.

Waaagh took the lead and stuck his head through the hole to look around. Then he motioned everyone to follow him and he went though. They followed the flow of water towards the city until they reached a small area with a ladder leading to the surface. Waaagh climbed up first to look outside.

“It doesn't look like this comes up in town. There is some sort of forest above us,” Waaagh said.

“Forest? Why is there a sewer under the forest?” Ari'el said.

“It must be a drainage system. What else could you see Waaagh?” Journey said.

“Not much. It is foggy outside and I can't see very far. Do you think Flowers can hold out if we just wait here until morning?” Waaagh said.

Journey looked at the boar who was fast asleep in his arms. Flowers didn't look to be in great shape, but he still appeared to be stable. “Yes, I think he will make it. This room is just big enough to lay out of bedding too. We might as well rest of the night.”

“I vote for waiting here too. I don't think we should go bumbling around in the dark until we know where we are,” Poppy added.

“I agree. This seems like as good of a place as any,” Ari'el said.

With the party in agreement, they began to set up camp to rest and wait until the morning. It had been a treacherous adventure so far, but they had survived. They knew they would need to get their strength back for whatever challenges laid ahead.

The party, weary as they were, forgot to post a guard that night as they fell asleep in their bedrolls.