Loose Ends – Chapter Twenty One

5th Day of the Claw of Winter: (February):

Troglodytes In The Underdark:

Troglodytes attacking is a long way from the gentle lapping of tranquil waters upon pebbled foreshore is surely a portent of bucolic bliss; fly fishing on The Delimbiy River on a summer’s day perhaps?

But no dear friend, this is not the time nor place for carefree somnambulism, rouse yourself, for you stand not upon the strand of a glittering, trout filled mere.

Oh no, no, no….you stand upon the brink of nameless terrors. To your back, bizarre and unspeakable subterranean horrors, dystopian creature’s hell bent on rending slippery guts from still warm and twitching carcasses.

Afore you a dizzying, endless Stygian sea shimmering with unearthly phosphorescence; like washed out moonlight falling upon a far distant alien world. Waters that are pregnant with latent aquine anxiety.

Location - Underdark Lake - Troglodytes
Location – Underdark Lake

Standing on that brink of that watery abyss is the silhouette of a squat, impossibly broad shouldered figure. Thora stands calmly awaiting the arrival of a flailing, erratically flapping swimmer. Like a bird with broken wing but set with a desperate, animalistic will to survive. The counter rhythmic movements raising a frothy wake and disturbing whatever minute creatures emit their dull glow…..and who knows what else from below.

Several hundred feet beyond this swimmer, a wide bellied watercraft moves silently closer with a deliberate and malevolent intent. Plain to see in the gloaming is a light held aloft in the stern, relentlessly searching for its prey.

Thora: “Come slavers, fer I will set yas free!”

Thora mouths out into the half dark.

The lame swimmer finally and agonizingly emerges from the opaque waters, revealing a female of recognizably humanoid form. There is something of the Barbarian of her, but clearly warped and transformed by the lightless ages. One arm hangs limply, bone protruding and skin flapping like torn cloth. Could it have been caused by a grievous near mortal wound seemingly inflicted by some huge, monstrously toothed creature?
She hisses vehemently at the Dwarf, whose hand has been proffered in aid.

Alita: “Duergar!”

Then picks up a rock and hurls it towards Thora, who shows uncommon patience and merely holds forth an open palm towards the exhausted wretch. Thora then taps at the shaft of her axe and points at the boat beyond. The unspoken intention of violent revenge is clear.

Watching this drama unfold from the entrance to this Cyclopean arena, are the diminutive Rogue and his fellow adventurers.

Frimly: “‘Galan….I’ve got a plan, mate.”

Frimly whispers.

Frimly: “If I take my ‘Potion of Water Breathing’ we can swim out to the boat and ambush them!”

Thora persists with her peace-making but it is not until the statuesque, proud figure of Sigune steps forward that the clearly enthralled escapee begins to relax her guard.

Sigune, ever the virtuous Paladin, touches their new ward and heals much of the damage, using her ‘Laying On Hands’; but even this powerful item can heal her broken arm.

The crew of the boat seem to be taking a keen interest in these goings on as the craft’s progress comes to a sudden halt and an unseen commotion can be heard from the shore.

Magic Item - Necklace of Adaptation
Magic Item – Necklace of Adaptation

Galan and Frimly having utilised their ‘Necklace of Adaptation’ and ‘Potion of Water Breathing’ respectively, take the opportunity to discretely slip into the water and swim to back of the nearby boat. The two Adventures move off with Frimly swimming and with Galan using his ‘Gauntlets of Swimming and Climbing’.

Mirafir then plays his part to perfection, casting slow upon the occupants of the boat and ‘Stoneskin’ on himself.

Meanwhile the female warriors undertake a painstaking and often farcical linguistic back and forth. Only Mirafir’s ‘Comprehend Language’ spell offers some respite from this cerebral shambles.

Beneath the faintly glowing water, vision rarely extends beyond 30’ feet, but finally their patience pays off and the boat finally glides noiselessly past. To their surprise there is a Primitive Reptilian Humanoid pushing the craft forward from beneath the water. So perhaps they are aquatic creatures of some description.

Aided by his camouflaging ‘Cloak of Elvenkind’ and his ‘Ring of Free Action’ Frimly undertakes an ambush and unleashes a shockingly lethal back-stab strike on the hapless Troglodyte. (20HP)

Magic Item - Ring of Free Action
Magic Item – Ring of Free Action

The pair then take over propelling the Troglodytes craft, pushing it shoreward, organizing a brutal liaison between the Troglodytes, Thora, Sigune and Mirafir.

Thora wastes no time in acquainting herself with the hapless Troglodytes arrivals and vaults effortlessly aboard the high edged boat. There are four more Troglodytes aboard, armed with primitive stone weaponry, except for their Troglodyte leader who boasts a steel blade and a brace of peculiarly weighted Javelins. The battle is furious, deadly and dreadfully short.


Troglodytes are shorter than humans on average, standing 5’‒6’ feet (1.5‒1.8 m) tall with spindly but muscular arms, squat legs and long, slender tails. Their bodies were coated with rough leathery scales, and normally possessed a greyish-brown skin tone, although they also had the chameleon-like ability to change their coloration. They had lizard-like heads, which on males were crowned with frills that extended from their foreheads to their necks. Their black beady eyes, and their claws and fangs were obvious to those who saw them.

Troglodytes took sadistic pleasure in mercilessly hunting weaker sentient beings before dragging them back to their caves to be eaten.

When angered or engaged in melee, Troglodytes secrete an oil that smells extremely disgusting to all humans and demi-humans. Those failing their saving throws vs. poison are so revolted as to lose Strength. This loss remains in effect for 10 rounds.

Moster - Troglodytes, Male
Moster – Troglodytes, Male

But while they are still able the scaly miscreants start to exude a peculiar natural oily toxin from their skins. Frimly is caught unawares and breathes in this Musk choking a retching as he does so. The effects are catastrophic with the rogue losing nearly a quarter of his strength.

However, still Frimly’s strike with his spiteful ‘Short Sword of Quickness’ casts down another foe.

Galan looks into the water at the stern of the boat, where a slick of Lizardly blood and entrails is spreading ominously outwards from the corpse in the water. Suddenly a thrashing of the water and a huge triangular fin heralds the arrival of just one of the denizens of this watery cavern of doom. More soon follow.

With the hunters now despatched attention turns again to trying to understand their new found friend, Alita.

Frimly grins as Sigune’s noisy yet mostly fruitless attempts at communication! Reminded of many a rigged game of chance played out with naïve travellers.

A femance has broken out between the transfixed Barbarian and the Paladin who also managed to bandage her arm.

Snippets of her story are slowly extracted.

Alita: “Those things hunt us for food….many of my clan perished….they came to our dwellings and made us prisoners….they led us for many days blindfolded.

Finally we emerged through a corridor and were led out on to a beach with a large stone structure behind us.

Then they began to slay my people….they only wanted us for food….I managed to escape my bonds and fell into the water and began to swim away.

I was attacked as I swam, I think by a shark….but then something even bigger swept it away and at first I do not even notice what had happened to my arm.

But I carried on swimming and took rest on any of the islands that I could find, for I do not know how long. Then they finally found me!”

Alita promises that if they can take her back to her home she will takes us to a place where there she think there is an exit, though it is guarded by dangerous foes.

After ten minutes of so, Frimly’s strength finally returns.

The bodies of these hideous creatures possess only the oddly weighted metal Javelins, dried meat and a noxious liquid.

Thora: “Aye, then we mest mek oor wey to tha ston structure!”

Thora states.

With St Cuthbert only knows what lurking beneath the lapping waters, the decision is made to use a ‘Fly’ spell cast upon one of the strongest to pull the boat along.

It is agreed that Thora would be the best choice. So without complaint the taciturn Dwarfess tugs the small boat through unfathomable depths. Our Heroes using one of the many silk rope carried by the Adventurers to connect her to the prow.

Finally after several hours, the effects of the spell wear off and with an oversize plop, she drops into the waters below.

Thora: ‘Dinnae mek no jokes bout fishing!”

Splutters Thora.

The spell is cast several more times and Sigune takes her turn and pulls forwards with much gusto and what seems to be a litany of prayer.

Below her, the realization occurs that they will soon be without food, but with the gift of the ‘Alchemical Jug’, found within the walls of Ravenloft, they will be amply provisioned with Water, Beer and even a few Drams of the hard stuff.

Magic Item - Alchemy Jug
Magic Item – Alchemy Jug

As Sigune starts to near the possible termination of her flight, there is an awareness that the luminescence is starting to fade. It would seem that there is a natural 12 hourly cycle within the Underdark whereby the passage of time can in some way be marked.

Finally, Sigune drops into the water, but dramatically nearly drowns as she tries to tow boat to a nearby island to rest up. So much for the power of prayer!

Galan immediately checks for tracks on the island, but finds none.
Alita goes off to forage with Frimly in tow. Along the shoreline she finds shellfish and crabs and buckets of clam juice. She urges Frimly to climb up the cliff to an outcrop of dried moss. Mirafir dries it further using a Cantrip Spell. Alita then lights it and uses it cook with.

Mirafir casts his ‘Comprehend Language’ spell again.

Alita: “Many Troglodytes to defeat!”

She explains to Mirafir and draws an outline in the sand to illustrate the fortress.

NPC - Alita - Troglodytes
NPC – Alita

They are ready to depart by the time the unnatural glowing resumes.

6th Day of the Claw of Winter: (February):

After several more ‘Flying’ sessions Alita becomes agitated….pointing forward as to indicate that the fortress is near!

Frimly and Mirafir have ‘Invisibility’ and ‘Fly’ cast upon them and after perhaps a mile they reach the island fortress – a huge stone crenulated tower with a giant portcullis set into its base. The Troglodytes have clearly taken control of all traffic across the expanse of the lake.

The pair ‘Fly’ high above then slowly descend over tower looking for a way past the half a dozen guards who are ensconced atop.

On the beach below it is clear that the Troglodytes are ready for some form of attack. A ballista points seemingly aimlessly into the air. Scattered all around are lumps of rock that seem to have become dislodged from the heights above. A dozen of theses reptilian humanoids stand ready.

Next to them stands a stone circle of sorts that has the look of a sacrificial altar.

Atop the tower cauldrons of oil or perhaps tar smoulder and bubble in readiness for pouring on enemies below. At the rear a staircase descends downwards.

Cautiously the pair ‘Fly’, ‘Invisibly’, down the winding staircase stairs to find an unlocked door some 50’ feet below.

Frimly slowly opens the door and sees five Troglodytes standing guard in a small guard room, whose purpose is to guard the portcullis and gates. But there is no sign of any opening mechanism.

Tower Stairs - Troglodytes
Tower Stairs

The pair are eager to explore and so Frimly takes his ‘Potion of Gaseous Form’ while Mirafir touches the dark side and enters the hinterplane of death in ‘Wraithform’. The Wizard sees many dead folk in this plane leading him to know the Undead also lurk in the Underdark.

Main Entrance
Main Entrance

An Octagonal room beyond reveals unfathomable marks scraped into the floor. Seven armed Troglodyte guards are posted here along with much dried meat. They also not that metal trinkets hang from the belt of a more senior creature. A status symbol no doubt and indicative of the preciousness of steel soldiers.

Great Entry
Great Entry

Slowly they move on to the next chamber. It is large and angular that on orientation resembles a shielded head with large pillars, which are surrounded by scratches from chains on the floor.

Sets of double Doors are placed to the left hand side and also to the centre. To the top right hand side six more poorly equipped Troglodyte guards stand listlessly.

Mirafir moves straight ahead and through the middle doors, to find a wider corridor beyond that reveals four doors and half a dozen more Troglodyte sentinels.

Two doors on the eastern side are closed while a single Door on the western side is wide open. At the Northern end of the corridor stands a barred and locked doorway that leads on to another passageway.

V-Shaped Chamber
V-Shaped Chamber

Frimly floats slowly to towards the Eastern doorway and enters a dishevelled dormitory with beds and piles of blankets and mosses. But there is little more of interest here and he heads out waiting for the Wizard to return.

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