Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hunted & Saved

The party, depleted of its magic, attempts to rest in the maze.  This does not go as planned, however.  To give Dev a chance to rest, Crom takes a spell at the watch.  Maurice appoints the fallen babau, newly risen as a zombie, to assist with the watch at another corridor.  Almost immediately, ghasts start appearing, tearing at the zombie demon and the berserking human with no apparent care for their existence.  But soon it becomes clear that this is not an isolated series of attacks, but an assault, as more and more undead keep arriving, climbing over the walls and at the same time pushing the babau zombie back with a mass of bodies.  Crom cannot hold back the tide on his own and he wakes the rest of the party up, but it's already too late.. there are too many enemies and not enough swords, and then Crom himself falls, paralyzed by an early attack.

The party is already depleted, and there seems to be no recourse except immediate retreat, but without Crom.  As they slowly come to this realization, two dark, non-ghast-shaped figures arrive and exhort the party with loud screams to follow them.  The characters do so quickly after it becomes apparent that Crom is going to get torn apart anyway, and the babau is probably beyond saving as well.  More and more ghasts and hunting the team, and coming from every direction.  Soon, however, a keening wail from above announces more, and more deadly trouble: two tar orphans, the headless fliers of the Soft World, are flapping around overhead, apparently looking for a gap in the flood of undead to make their attack.

The characters chase headlong after the two mysterious arrivals, who lead the party to a trapdoor in the glass ground, and start pushing the heroes through it to safety.  Even as this happens, the tar orphans decide to make their move, and smash through the glass walls of the maze, sending deadly fragments flying everywhere.  But their attack is halted as two great lashing tentacles grab and crush them, sending their bodies off into oblivion.  The tentacles then begin pummeling and tossing ghasts, giving the saviors and the heroes time to get to safety.

Just before she ducks through, Tiffy tries one last-ditch effort to save Crom, and with her final magic summons a great beetle to push back the hordes and try to pull the body out of the fray.  Then they all scramble into the bolthole and latch the trapdoor behind them.

Once inside they are introduced to their saviors, a woman named Meraud and a man named Jago.  It is clear immediately that the plan to save the heroes from the ghasts was not unanimously approved, as the woman holds out a holy symbol, a disk bearing the heron symbol they have seen before, and attempts to turn the party members.  Nobody flinches, and she agrees to let them stay.

The party rests, but Dev agrees, once again, to stand watch, this time to discuss the immediate future with Jago.