Jack Entry 12
21 Eleint (Continued)
We had to eliminate devils from two more rooms before we found the second orb we needed to unlock the double doors at the end of the halls on either side of the ogre campsite. When we placed both red stones in the impressions on the doors, they opened to reveal large ritual chamber with yet another dark rite in progress. Another “tiefling” in the guise of Marissa was making small incisions on some poor woman to drain her blood into the altar. Soon enough she proved to be another shapeshifter – a succubus this time – and though her thug devils fell readily enough, we had a difficult time undoing the control she exerted over Perrin’s mind. Chipper got our fleet-footed friend to tend to the sacrificial victim’s wounds, and deprived of her elven shield, the temptress fell swiftly before the rest of us.
We slew the fiends quickly enough to save their victim’s life this time, and she claimed to be one of the pilgrims from the caravan. Her last memory was that of being abducted in the night, and she had no idea how she’d come to be in the temple of Gond. Tegalad found another page with a ritual fragment with the same drawing we’d seen on the one from the previous sacrificial altar. This one, however, was written in a language none of us knew. Amazingly, the woman was able to translate the text of the page for us from a tongue she called Supernal – the language of immortals. Even with the translation, the words meant little enough to us that we could only guess at what the author had been talking about.
We offered to escort her back to the surface, and she readily accepted. We set out for the river passage that had had an upward slope. When we came to the first ritual chamber she identified the body of the victim there as her husband. We gave her some time to tend to her grief, and then I gently lifted the body and carried it along with us. Unfortunately, the river passage we’d thought would lead us back to the surface proved to be a dead end. Frustrated, we took her and her husband’s body to the most secure chamber we’d found so far, left her some food and light, and told her to lock the doors behind us. Then we returned to the second ritual chamber to determine our next course of action.
There were two sets of stairs leading down into darkness from the chamber, and it contained two more healing fonts with enough water to restore a body eight times over. Those of us in need of the refreshment – everyone except Ixtab – drank our fill. We looked over the ritual parchments again and discussed several theories about the names referenced in them. Still, all we had was conjecture. I held firmly to the stance that we had but a piece of the overall picture. More still needed to be collected before we might begin to understand the cultist’s true purpose.
We descended one of the stairways and found ourselves in another curving hallway occupied by a foursome of vicious undead monsters. Two hulking skeletons smashed at us with bone crushing strength and a pair of forsaken shells – creatures looking like nothing so much as oozing, quivering flesh sacks – tried to drag Tegalad away while devouring him. In such close quarters, we could not maneuver to very advantageous positions, but we did manage to destroy the undead before they killed us all. We needed a break to rest and calm our nerves, but afterward we steeled ourselves to press forward.
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