As Above - So Below

15th Day of Kythorn, 1489 DR

The coils of the serpent cult draw in.

Recovering from the party split last week, we explored several of the dig site caves. Most were empty, but in on we found a trio of teenage troglodytes who attempted to keep a dead slave for themselves while hiding in a back room behind a barred door.

Not knowing what it was, Feng grabbed the flesh that was being cooked on a spit and helped himself to what he thought was chicken or something…not the forearm of a deceased slave.

 

Confronted the trogs cowered, all but one. That is until Skorri blasted him in the chest with a bit of fire magic.

 

Tying them up instead of outright murdering of the trio, the party explored the rest of the room and found this symbol etched into the wall.

 

 

 

Not knowing it's meaning, Kedwyn made a sketch of it.

 

The group decides to go incognito and take the fight to the slavers. Portraying themselves as the remaining group of Hobgoblin/Drow/Duergar/<wbr />Mindflayer, they made good use of implied looks and Kedwyn's disguise skills.

 

 

As they were preparing to leave, they were greeted by a girl, no more than 8, at the entrance to the cave.

 

She told them "they were expecting" them and that "they should come" with her. Taking Kedwyn in his drow hand and lead him and the others to the top of the site.

 

As they went they saw children at the mouths of the other cave entrances as well. Vrinne, hidden from sight, watched this unfold and saw that the other children moved to the top along the same speed as the party and finally paralleled themselves with the party, 3 kids on each side of the group. Each one taking the hand, or clothing of one of the party members.

 

The estate they were led to was overrun with weeds, and roots. Folliage form the jungle all but swallowed the faltering walls. Entering the large wooden gates they are greeted by a walled throng of people. On each side of the walkway that led to the main house, at least 4 people deep, slaves of various races lined up. Each blank faced and still. 

 

Once at the steps to the main house, again this symbol marked the doors, and the group is greeted not by adults or slavers – but by children.

A winding hallway was interspersed with children on either side every 5 feet along their way, and murder hole hidden in the walls also caught the attention of a few in the party.

 

Finally at the end of the snaking hallway, they are greeted by Misha  and her shield of children. She welcomes the group and offers them food and drink while they discuss terms.

 

The ruse is paying off, she appears not to doubt whom they are.

 

Entering a  snake statue guarded room, a large banquet table sits in the middle of the room being filled and prepared, again not by adults but by children slaves.

At the back of the room a dias with a two headed coiled serpent looms over much of the room.

Chandeliers of holding many candles each illuminate the large room, but even their light does not show everything.

Several of the members notice that in the corners of the room hidden mostly in shadow are 4 lizard like men.

 

Questions are asked of the party, Misha defers to the "interpreter" as she explains per the agreement, no telepathy or mental invasion.

All seems to go well until she begins to contradict the parties answers – she knows.

 

Skorri hastily throws a faeirie fire at her, she dodges it. "Interlopers! Your deception has failed!" She screams and combat ensues.

 

The battle goes back and forth, at one point she shapechanges from that of a lovely woman to a hybrid Yuan ti. Half-woman, half-snake(much like a lamia) and attacks Skorri. She wraps her coils around him, but not for long as shapeshifts into a large Black Bear and claws his way out of her clutches.

 

They children that were in the room are stopped in place as if in a hold person spell. Unable to move, speak or do anything to protect themselves, they are forced to watch and experience the violence around them.

 

Terse rounds go by and finally Feng cleaves the head away from Misha's body and instead of blood flowing – a hot stream of acidic blood bursts forth spraying everyone in range. The spray spares no one and several of the children die from the aberrant blood.

 

The pace picks up in the parties favor as Kedwyn blinds his attacker with his cloak and tosses the head of the Yuan Ti Lieutenant out in to the open bellowing "All who surrender will be spared!"

 

This panics two of the attackers and they flee.

The remaining attempt to hold out until their reinforcements arrive. But that is for naught as the reinforcements are all but destroyed upon bursting through a side door by Vrinne's magic and Feng's axe.

 

The party routes the yuan ti. They search Misha's remains and cover up the dead children. They other children as still frozen, unable to move but seeing everything.

Vrinne finds a holy symbol and one of the jade snake statues.

Kedwyn convinces Wanwhi'varn to try and use it again. Unsure if it is a wise decision, he tries.

They presence of Dendar the Night Mother is overpowering this time – "I command you. Do to your companions what you did to my servant Misha!"

 

Wanwhi'varn returns and attacks the party nearly killing Feng but not before the others subdue him.

 

Agast at what has happened, the party hastily attempts to destroy the small artifact.

It breaks easily enough, but then a horrid thing occurs.

 

Screams erupt as the heads of slave children begin exploding. A vile fail safe has been activated.

 

Covered in the blood and brain matter of the innocent, the party stands in shock. Quickly they comfort and free the survivors of their collars as best they can.

 

Kedwyn further pushed to his limits, makes his way outside to where the other slaves were fearing the worst. 

 

He is not wrong. The wails of familes and friends assault his ears as he sees a multitude of headless corpses and people cradleing the remains People flock to him asking for help, the heat of battle erasing much of his disguise. Stunned at first, he reacts pulling, twisting, straining at the collars until his reserve strength gushes forth and he release many. People continue to hover around him as the slaves now free their fellows from the nightmare.

 

He goes back inside.

 

Vrinne gathers as many children together as she can, and calms them. She explores the west wing of the estate and finds only dust and rubble. But behind a closed door she finds the rest of the kitchen staff. More children. Frightened beyond belief. She and Feng remove their collars.

 

Skorri begins to move the bodies of the dead, yuan ti and child into the east rooms away from sight.

He tosses a few yuan ti bodies up on the dias, when enough weight has been added – it shifts and begins to drop.

An elevator to somewhere beneath the estate.

Casting a produce flame he lets it drop down the shaft. 60 feet of carved stone with what appears to be a watery surface on the bottom. He then pushes the corpse of Misha down the shaft, with a soft splash his confident that the water is not deep.

 

Still agast at the outcome of attempting to safe people our heroes are shaken. 

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