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When last we left off, our brave explorers had cleared the topside of the Alchemist’s mansion and were descending into the depths of the abandoned building.

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If I play the music louder, I can’t hear the bad guys creeping up behind me!

The rickety wooden stairs creaked as the party descended into the depths of the cellar. A large rectangular room – framed by a fireplace at one end and a row of smashed barrels and wine bottles on the other. Zola focused for a moment and her staff lit up, suffusing the room with a pale blue glow. She swept it around the room, until the light landed on the skeletal body of a knight propped against a support beam in the center of the floor.

Aros walked towards him as the rest of the party investigated the room. Perrin looked along the cellar shelves, exploring the wine bottle debris. Old stains told tale of the long ago vandalism. “Waste of good wine” He said, finding scraps of the labels.

The triton paladin knelt down next to the dead knight, and picked up his helmet. “Anyone need a helm?” He turned to ask. As he turned, several heavy, white maggots fell out of the helmet and slithered up his arm.

“In the name of Persana!” Aros yelled, trying to scrape them off. Rea and Pacho charged in, batting at them and stamping them with their feat. More began crawling out of the body, forming a larger mass that bit at the explorers. Hacking and slashing, Lucy pushed them back as Aros fell to the ground, rolling away and crushing some of the writhing maggots under his bulk. Zola ran over, spitting acid at the handful that survived. They withered away under the group assault, eventually dissolving into a puddle of goo.

“That was close.” Perrin said. Aedric and Zola helped pull Aros up off the ground. Beyond a handful of small bits and dings, most of them were unscathed.

“Yes. But something is off about this cellar. It’s smaller than the mansion.” Lucy said, poking the ceiling with her spear. “A building this big needs a foundation, and that wall is wooden, not rock.” She pointed at the wall with the fireplace.

“And who puts a fireplace in the basement?” Aros said, grimacing as he stood up. He rubbed one hand over his arm. His hand glowed brightly and his wounds healed, showing angry purple scars where raw injuries had once been.

Aedric and Pacho ran their hands over the rough stone wall, pressing and prodding until…

clunk.

A section smoothly opened inward and two crossbow bolts shot outward, striking Pacho as he stood, amazed at the opening door. He spun backwards, clutching at his chest as Aedric dove into the newly revealed room, shooting his longbow at one of the crossbowmen. The man went down in a gasp as his partner scattered for cover.

Suddenly a massive orc figure loomed before Aedric. The dark purple skinned orc pulled his scimitar and struck at Aedric, narrowly missing him the first time before hitting him with a return stroke. Aros and Lucy rushed into the room, Aros throwing his trident into one of the pirate’s guards and striking him down. The orc turned and struck at Lucy, who held up her spear to deflect the blow. The tough wood shattered under the pirate’s two handed strike, and the weapon cleaved through to her armor. The tiefling groaned as her blood spilled onto the stone floor, and she recoiled, stabbing at the pirate with her dagger. It was a weak strike, but she managed to twist away for a moment.

Aros covered her with his shield, taking a second blow as Aedric struck the pirate from behind. Rea moved inside as well. An arrow hit her right in the chest, and she fell backwards. Pacho pulled her up. He threw a javelin at the last remaining pirate helper, pinning him to the wall. With a shout, he advanced to help Aedric and Aros as they battled the large orc pirate.

Zola, gathering her thoughts and power, was done with the situation.

“Be gone.” She commanded as she pulled out a diamond and casting chromatic orb. The blast of acidic energy took the pirate straight in the chest, and he dropped with a smoking hole through his armor.

Pacho leaned close to the dying orc. “Who do you work for?” He asked.

The orc’s head flopped to one side, as he stared at the puddle of blood slowly surrounding him. “Scarlet….” was all he whispered. Pacho turned to look at Aedric, right as Aedric was hit by another missile.

“Damned archers!” Aros said, pointing his trident towards the last enemy in the room. With a cry of alarm, she fled, opening a secret door at the end of the large room and fleeing out of sight.

“Get her!” Rea croaked, as Lucy helped pull the crossbow bolts from her. Her hands glowed for a second as she cured her and Lucy’s wounds. The tiefling’s skin returned to its normal hue, and she no longer felt woozy from blood loss.

Moving quickly through the room, they chased the escaped archer through the doorway.

“Whoa!” Aedric said as they entered a cave. Rough hewn steps led downward into a barely lit cavern. Their quarry’s footsteps echoed off the stone walls as she ran further into the depths.


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