Into the Void

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Having completed their engagement with Chardis, the party set to enjoying the evening, seeing as it was such a violent encounter. After a night of revelry, the party decide to turn in for the night, tired from a long day of work and danger.

However, their rest was abruptly interrupted when the trio are roused by a strange noise from downstairs. Gearing up, the party prepare for something foul to make itself known. When nothing immediately bursts through the door, Criòs decides to venture out in search of the clamor.

As the door opens, a this black smoke billows into the room, engulfing the party in absolute darkness. Coughing and wheezing, the smoke finally disappates, revealing to the three that they no longer are in the inn but rather now find themselves on a cliff over a unfathomingly deep abyss in a dark realm that none of them recognize. 

The group begins assessing the situation, attempting to determine where they are, how they got there, and how they are going to escape. All of the sudden, Auric realizes that they are in the Nether, the plane bridged to allow colonization of Erelandis. Criòs and Wander look on in horror as Auric describes the location in which they find themselves. The rogues bring up their guard as Auric calls again on his divine senses to see if he can find a way for them to escape. The faint scent of untainted air barely fights through the acrid odor of the evil of the Nether, giving Auric a direction for them to head towards. 

As the party sets off toward what they hoped was their salvation from this plane, they take notice of the terrain around them. The rough edges of the cliff give way to carved, flat stone lined with ancient, corroded torch stands that trace along the route Auric is leading them on. After traveling for a while, the party’s decides they must be on the road cut by the Forerunners as the terrain around this oddly clean-cut path lacks any sort of order or sense to it that would indicate otherwise. 

A few hours into traveling, the trace of clean air is overwhelmed by something pungent with malevolence. The space around them is dark, and even the dark vision of the elf-blooded members isn’t enough to see much of anything. The floor has leveled out in a wide, flat expanse, and Wander notices that the ground has suffered etched grooves in places, as if something chewed into the road after it was carved. 

Suddenly, Auric stops. He motions to the other two that the source of the horrible stench that overwhelmed his senses was directly above them now. With some silent planning, Auric mutters an evocation that ignites one of Wander’s crossbow bolts with an amber light, which Wander then fires directly up. The sound of the bolt being launched echoes, and a slimy, slurping sound begins eminating from above them, although quite some distance above them. 

The bolt arcs up, and up, and up. Finally, it lodges itself into some material that obscures the light partially, and then the bolt seems to just disintegrate. Criòs draws an arrow and aims, a thorny vine wrapping itself around the arrow shaft, and looses it upwards. The sound of wood creaking and chemical bubbling echoes from the arrow impact as the sloshing sound intensifies. 

Auric, concerned about what they might have just stirred, signals to the other two to quickly start moving the direction they had been going. Trying to remain quiet, the group moves further into the cave. Both Criòs and Wander launch missiles toward their previous target, connecting with their hits. 

The sloshing noise stops abruptly, forcing the party to increase their distance from where they first launched their attacks so as to try to gain some advantage against the unknown foe. Criòs and Wander attempt to strike the target again, with Auric igniting one of his bolts with an evocation, but the missiles fail to hit. The light from the flame does however reflect off of something dripping from the ceiling. 

Before anything can be said, a thunderous splatter sound echoes the the cave, indicating whatever was above them now is on their level. The impact illicits a new reaction, though. As the splatter sounds through the cavern, a piercing scream echoes through the party’s minds. The three clasp their heads, trying to keep the psychic shriek from getting in, but it proves to be overwhelming for Auric and Criòs, leaving them stunned. 

Wander, still holding together, decides to rush the mass in an attempt to buy recovery time for his friends. As he approaches the impact site, he in confronted by a massive wall of black, sizzling, animated slime. With a gulp, he charges forward, thrusting his blade into the mass. As he retracts his blade, though, the blade’s normal gleam is dimmed by corrosion covering all that pierced into the mass, with the dying sound of chemical etching resonating from the blade. Angered that his weapon was damaged, he levels his crossbow at the mass and fires a bolt, which shudders the blob before rapidly dissolving. 

The slime responds by lurching at Wander, attempting to slam its massive weight against him, but he deftly dodges out of the way before harm could befall him. This fails to phase the mass, as it flows through the motion and moves toward the two stunned members of the group.

With a curse under his breath, Wander rushes toward the blob, leaping in the air with a roar and slamming into the ground, sending forth a shockwave with the boom of thunder. The wave slams into the mass, which resists most of the forces, but chunks of the ooze harden and crumble as the main body jiggles from the impact. 

With his senses back about him, Auric draws his glaive, whispering the prayer that lights his blade aflame. With a great heave, he brings the glaive down on the monster with a furious overhead strike, cleaving the beast in two and corroding the blade of his weapon. Two more psychic shrieks, one after another, rip through the group’s minds, stunning everyone and breaking Auric’s psyche, forcing him to the ground in a semi-catatonic state.

The now separated ooze does not rejoin. Rather, one mass moves towards Wander while the other rolls over Auric’s chest. The splash of acid and crushing weight of the viscous fluid winds Auric, knocking him completely unconscious as the acid eats at his armor and exposed skin. 

The second ooze, flowing clumsily across the floor, rears up to strike Wander but suddenly freezes as if stopped by some external force. The pudding shudders and crumbles to a fraction of its original size. 

Now recovered from the psychological trauma, Wander sees Auric laying on the ground, unstable and damaged by acid burns. He whispers a prayer and with a faint yellow glow, the erratic breathing and caustic sizzling cease as the downed warrior stabilizes. Following this, Wander draws his crossbow and fires a bolt into the remainer of the nearest ooze, destroying what remained in a cloud of fine dust. 

Sliding off of Auric and along the floor, the second ooze lashes out with its body like a whip, striking at Criòs but missing barely. The advance of the slime brings it too close to strike, so Criòs jumps back, trying to gain some ground between him and the mass. As he flees, a second tentacle-like protrusion whips around and winds around Criòs’ ankle, melting parts of his boot and skin. In pain, he turns and fires at the mass, tearing through it as it hardens completely and crumbles into dust. 

The monstrous slime now slain, Wander helps Auric up and the party regroups after the encounter. Auric begins searching for the scent of less evil things in the devilish realm again while Criòs and Wander attempt to gather some of the dust from the monster to no avail. Eventually, Auric is able to discern the path they had lost earlier and the group heads out. 

After a few hours of travel, the party notices that they have diverged from the flattened, torch-lined road they were on earlier. Wander asks Auric if they are still going the right direction, to which he responds that there are no other paths that lead toward anything that could be considered “good” in this plane. While arguing about the proper definition of good, Criòs sees a large stone structure, made of granite in an otherwise unrecognizable geological environment. The structure resembled a door frame, but one that was about 15 feet tall and missing any sort of door construction. Recognizing this as a planar portal, the trio run towards it as fast as possible. 

Upon inspection, the sygaldry of the structure is saddenly aged and worn. The style of work is noticeably different from the standard techniques seen commonly around the world, but the three are able to clean up the work a respectable amount. With crossed fingers, the three activate the portal, which sputters and groans as a orangish fluid fills the frame. The three rush in, excited to get back home and to escape this fiendish realm.

The scenery opposite the portal catches the group off-guard. Instead of the beautiful green hills and blue sky of the Kinsine Foothills, the three are met with stone and dark corners and the carved halls of some subterranean civilization. Light trickles in through faint gaps high in the ceiling and diffuses the the point of almost uselessness.

After looking around, the three agree that they have no idea where they are and that the architecture of this place is something none of them have seen. Looking into the distance in the large cavern, the remains of some ancient city sprawl out into the darkness and deep recesses of the cave. The group wanders through the ruins, and eventually crosses a bridge after an hour of exploration and is confronted by a group of reptilian people who draw back and reach for their weapons with shocked looks on their faces. 

“Stop! How are you three find this place?”

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