The party has descended into a large, open tunnel which they are
about to explore.
Peldor: (looking around) It may take a while to fully explore this place.
Otto: We'll have to be quick...efficient.
Ged: The most efficient way would be to split into two groups. We could cover twice as much ground that way.
Rillen: (shaking his head) I veto that idea. Whatever the first group ran into must have been dangerous, to keep them from coming back. We need to concentrate all of our power in one place.
Belphanior: Agreed. Time actually is on our side here - no need to divide our forces or rush into anything.
Ged: (fuming to himself) So much for efficiency.
They changed their marching order, to account for the wider area
through which they walked. Bosco took the point, flanked by Songa
and Mongo. Arnold, Belphanior, and Gorin made up the second rank;
next came Rillen, Alindyar, and Ged. Tanya, Lyra, and Peldor were
the fourth line, and Otto brought up the rear.
Otto: (muttering to himself)
The two possible directions of travel - right and left - were
pretty much the same as far as they could tell, so they chose left
and got moving. Footing was treacherous, for the irregularly-shaped
floor of this huge cavern had no distinct path. One misstep could
mean a twisted ankle, and they were forced to move slowly.
Alindyar: (takes to the air again, his spell from earlier still in effect) Why walk if there is no need?
They trudged on, and soon, the point where they had entered this
gargantuan tunnel was out of sight, around a curve and behind them.
Lightbringer's glow wasn't sufficient to illuminate everything, so
several of those in the middle of the party lit torches or lanterns
to drive back the darkness. They still felt that there were unseen
corners, places where their light didn't reach and where some weird
foe might lurk in wait.
The first thing of interest that they found was perhaps worse...
Bosco: Yo! We've got something ahead...bodies, looks like.
Ged: (too far back to see well) How many?
Songa: It's hard to tell.
Mongo: Lots of pieces.
They had stumbled upon a grisly scene. Here, there lay the upper
half of a man's body; there, a woman's gutted corpse. Heads, limbs,
blood, guts: all were strewn about the area haphazardly. In some
cases, white bone gleamed beneath torn flesh. In others, bare innards
could be seen where they had leaked out from bodies. The smell was
overpowering, and several of the adventurers had to turn and cover
their noses, gagging.
There was something else: in every case, a weapon was clutched in
a cold dead hand, or else lay nearby. Some of these weapons were
intact, while others were broken or melted.
Peldor: (steps forth, examining one of the more intact bodies) Hey. I knew this guy.
Ged: You did?
Peldor: It's Robilar, one of Rary's henchmen. He's a great warrior...
Otto: (eyeing the mutilated corpse) He was a great warrior.
Alindyar: Note the claw marks on the bodies - these people were torn apart.
Songa: (studying the floor and walls) There are some similar marks all about...a great fight happened here. (she looks up, startled) Aie!
Rillen: What is it?
There was a huge scorch mark on the ceiling, the unmistakable sign of only one thing...
Belphanior: A fireball.
Ged: But why? What were they aiming at?
Lyra: Perhaps flying foes.
Bosco: (shaking his head) What a mess.
Otto: (busy moving the bodies and remnants around)
Tanya: What in the name of all the gods are you doing?!?
Otto: Trying to figure out how many victims we're looking at here. (to Alindyar) How many were in the first party?
Otto: Well, I'd say we've got four of them here.
Peldor: Robilar..I don't recognize the female mage, though.
Belphanior: That guy in the blue robes looks like a priest.
Alindyar: (trying not to look at the upper half of the fourth victim) That one was a wizard as well. I do not recall his name, but we saw him sometimes at the Guild.
Otto: (checking the corpses)
Ged: What are you doing?!?
Otto: What does it look like? I'm seeing what weapons and items are still intact, and taking them.
Bosco: (moves to "assist" in this effort) Hey, good idea.
Ged: What's the point of looting the dead bodies? Let the dead rest in peace, I say.
Belphanior: Not a chance. We might need something they have...they sure as hell don't.
Ged: (shaking his head) Savages.
Peldor: No, thieves.
Rillen: (examining one of the melted weapons) Otto?
Otto: (walks over) Yeah?
Rillen: You are familiar with such things...isn't this an acid burn?
Otto: (picks up the half of a sword that Rillen was looking at) Yup.
Rillen: Look around...there are more such burns, on the bodies, the weapons, the floor.
Otto: (nods) There was an awful lot of acid flying around here.
Belphanior: Strong acid, too. (to Alindyar) Do any of the standard spells create acid this powerful?
Alindyar: Or plentiful? No, I daresay not.
Ged: Unique spells, perhaps?
Lyra: What are we dealing with here?
Tanya: I'm not sure I want to know.
Mongo: Maybe a black dragon...we've seen big claw marks, evidence of flying monsters, and now acid.
Belphanior: If this was a dragon, it was no baby.
Ged: Fear not - we shall slay the foul thing!
Bosco: Four dead...
Gorin: Where are the other two?