[The story so far]
Session 26 - The tomb of the iron god (vi)
After an uneventful night in their makeshift fortified camp, the party decide to head back down into the remains of the temple and carry on where they left off.
Impatient to be done with the minimal domestic chores in striking camp, Montagne led the way. They went straight back down through the jar entrance being held by the statue of Ferrus in the first chamber. Using their map they quickly retraced their steps to where they had encountered and slain the ghouls... whose bodies had gone, with only a smear on the floor to show which direction the corpses had been dragged in!
"Oh this is not good!" muttered Gwen the dwarf. "Not good at all."
The others agreed, but curiosity got the better of them and they followed the marks, weapons gripped tightly in clenched and slightly damp hands. Oddly, the marks ran right up to a wall and seemed to go right through it. "Go on, elf, do your thing," urged Tybalt the halfling. Chin lifted with haughty determination, Nausicaa stepped forward and ran her hands over the roughly cut stone wall. It only took a moment before she gave the wall a sudden push in one spot and the door swung open. She tossed her hair back ostentatiously and stepped boldly through... to be confronted by a scene of horror!
Four more corpse-eaters were savagely tearing at and feasting on the remains of their fallen comrades, hunched over the bodies and totally absorbed in their gruesome meal. As Nausicaa stepped in and led the others to intrude upon their cannibalism, the ghouls looked up and hurled themselves at the adventuring party.
Hammers, maces, blades and an axe all rained down on the beasts to combat their teeth and claws. One was sent sprawling, missing half its face after a savage blow from Montagne's longsword. Another had its head caved in by Dumnorix and his pollhammer. A third was cut down by Oiseau after toxins in its saliva had paralysed Jean through a bite to his arm, and it had scored three deep claw wounds to Nausicaa's face.
Meanwhile, Tybalt had decided that face-to-face with foes larger than himself was foolish - time to play to his strengths and be sneaky! Clutching his hatchet, the halfling kept to the shadows and was just about to leap out on the remaining ghoul when a bony hand grasped his shoulder! He screamed and his cry alerted Dumnorix and the others. The cleric of Alathea raised his sunrise amulet high and bid the undead begone. The ghouls (half-face, and still angry) did not so much as blink, but the skeletons rising from their niches in the catacomb walls collapsed back into so many pile of bone.
Recovering quickly, Tybalt ran at the ghoul advancing on Gwen to hew it down from behind but slipped on a patch of something viscous and fell hard on his back, axe scattering off into a corner. Unfazed, Gwen stepped forward and planted her axe full in the creatures chest. It stuck fast, but the monster was like a wild boar, raging and flailing at her with claws and teeth. The dwarf maid roared the names of her ancestors and heaved! Veins stood out on her neck and her shoulder muscles screamed under the strain but she lifted the ghoul off its feet, her axe still embedded, and swung it onto the waiting blade of Oiseau. His blade screeched along the axe's edge as it pierced the ghoul from front to back.
Silence fell as the dwarf and cleric of Nikitas clasped right hands in triumph and growing mutual respect.
The injured ghoul was nowhere to be seen having run for it through the passageway in the far wall. Tybalt was regaining his breath, his balance, and his hatchet, if not his dignity. Dumnorix and Aurelius were crouched over the stricken but still breathing Jean. Nausicaa had staunched the flow of blood from her face and was mournfully regarding the wounds in the reflection from her sword blade.
It would only be a few minutes before they'd be ready to move on.