Chapter Thirty Seven- The Battle In The Catacombs IX.

The next few minutes of combat and Magic will be pivotal for our brave Adventurers!

Can they see off the Strahd Skeletons? Will the Spider try and apply some pressure in pursuit of its trophy? Will the Vistani see sense and surrender? What Old and Ancient Evil lurks within the other CRYPTS?

“Death is the Brother of Life” (Ancient Saying of the Elves of the Shining River)

Sergei: “Have a care, older brother! Your mount barely tolerates the hefty burden upon its back! Take the lower path – it is better suited to your – ahem – temperament!”

NPC - Sergei Von Zarovich
NPC – Sergei Von Zarovich

Strahd: “I shall have thee whipped for impertinence, little brother! How dare thee insinuate that my girth is unsuited to this nimble mount! I shall take the wooded peak from the north by the cliffs and I shall slay the hart! My trophy shall reflect badly on thy youthful conceit! Spare me thy mockery and save thy youthful energy for the hunt!”

Count Strahd Looking out
Count Strahd Looking out

The count spurs his mount and tightens the reigns, forcing the beast to issue a vocal protest before wheeling in the direction of the wooded fold above the cliffs to the south of Castle Ravenloft, now bathed in the soft orange hew of the evening sun.

Sergei laughs and gently manoeuvres his steed to follow the course of his agitated older brother.

Sergei: “My brother, I speak only in jest, let not my words cut too deep, for no injury is intended!”

There is no reply from Strahd who thunders in a cloud of dust into the woodland gloom, punctuated only by rare streaks of sunlight. Sergei brings his horse to a halt, his eyes narrowing as he spots movement along the ridge.

Sergei: “The quarry! Now I see it! It will bring me little joy to win this trophy. Alas! My brother’s temper will be soured even more. His mood, so foul of late, is as fragile as a thrush’s egg in the hands of a child. This prize is worth little to me compared to the greatest prize of them all: Tatyana! As soon as we are wed, we must leave this land! Barovia is cursed! It is as if the very mountains here are like hands around my throat, seeking to crush my soul and wring from me my last breath! Her uncle has lands to the north, and thither must we flee!”

Turning away from the quarry, Sergei gallops in pursuit of his brother. His thoughts are focused and clear: “Let Strahd has his trophy! It shall hang in the study of Ravenloft and remind him of his foolish game! Always he calculates and schemes! I swear he considers us all mere pieces in a game of human chess: Pawns, rooks, kings and queens! But this queen shall be mine!”

“Itsy Bitsy Spider, climbed out of the tomb,

Down came the adventurers into the catacomb,

Out came Sigune’s sword to do St. Cuthbert’s deed,

And Itsy Bitsy Spider lost its cursed heed!”

(Traditional children’s rhyme of the Forgotten Realms)

Monster - Wolf Spider
Monster – Wolf Spider

Galan takes out another Skeleton; the combat is a whirl of weapons! But the Skeletons, despite their superior numbers, are not skilled enough to hit any of the adventurers. An arrow is loosed by the Skeleton archer, which also misses. Thora takes out her opponent and then Frimly strikes one of the Vistani with a vicious blow… He howls in pain and surprise as blood pours from the wound. Meanwhile, Father Tobias crushes the scull of his Vistani enemy, the front half of his cranium now fitting snuggly in the back of his head. On the other side, Mirafir, low on Magic, fires a sling bullet at the remaining Vistani and fells him with a single shot!

Sigune smashes a Skeleton with the ‘Black Mace’ but it is still up!

Sir Ly attempts to turn them unsuccessfully.

Sir Ly: “By the power of St. Cuthbert!”

Sigune steps back so that they can fight side by side.

Galan takes down another Skeleton, while a spear-wielding Skeleton gets a lucky hit on Thora!

Sigune: “Sir Ly, throw zee holy water at zem! I vill be ready for them!”

Meanwhile Frimly shoots a Magic Arrow at the Strahd Skeleton Archer and hits for a vicious injury.

Sir Ly throws the Holy Water and hits one of the Skeletons, severely burning it… The Giant Spider closes in but Sigune rushes forward and destroys the Skeleton in the doorway with the Mace. In the other group, Galan strikes a Skeleton with the ‘Sunsword’ but misses with his Mace. Thora attacks the same one and calls to the others:

Thora: “We’ve got this covered!”

Father Tobias, also low on Magic, bravely charges around the corner after Ireena refuses to budge, pointing timidly at Mirafir to go ahead of her.

Father Tobias: “Stand behind me, my Lady, if you are a’feared!”

Seeing Father Tobias hurtle round the corner, Ireena follows.

Father Tobias smashes the Skeleton, dropping it instantly!

Monster - Skeleton Unarmed
Monster – Skeleton Unarmed

From its last fired arrow, another Skeleton arises. Sigune smashes a Skeleton as the spider backs off. Sir Ly throws his last gourd of Holy Water and does some damage to the remaining Skeleton that misses in its attack on Sigune.

More Skeletons are appearing; Frimly shouts,

Frimly: “I have this one covered!”

Galan then strikes the Skeleton before him, slashing it to the ground.

Running round the corner, with Ireena, Mirafir and a Skeleton all in tow, Father Tobias comes face to face with the Spitting Spider and gets hit in the face by its spit! He is blinded by the bubbling steaming poison that clings to his face.

Mirafir continues to run so that he is not a target for the Spitting Spider. Sigune hits the Skeleton blocking her exit from the tomb. Galan changes to his bow with his Magic Long Sword.

Mirafir: “I can see more Skeletons, with a Skeletal Warrior!”

Monster - Skeletal Warrior
Monster – Skeletal Warrior

Mirafir shouts out as he doubles back round a tomb to escape their approach.

Sigune destroys the remaining Skeleton keeping her and Sir Ly penned in the tomb. Sir Ly is able to charge out and face the arachnid monstrosity.

Sir Ly calls out:

Sir Ly: “The one behind you!”

Some fine weapon skills bring down two more of the Skeletons, while Mirafir, low on Magic, is forced to run again from the Skeleton Warrior and one of his foot soldiers…

Just as Galan charges round into them!

Galan: “Come on you coward! You were a warrior once!”

Sir Ly joins the blind Cleric in his battle with Skeletons. Sigune charges forward to engage the Spider with her longsword now drawn. Sir Ly strikes the Skeleton with a crushing blow while Ireena hits another one. The Skeletons miss in their attacks. Sigune then slashes the Spider with a slicing cut. It misses her with its legs flailing. Sigune then hacks off four of its legs with a deadly blow (20!) from her Magic Long Sword. The creature has now been cut down to her size as she dodges its thorax and biting attacks, its hideous face seething before her.

Galan kills another Skeleton.

Monster - Shadow
Monster – Shadow

Suddenly, a Shadow monster appears right in front of Mirafir, he casts a Magic Spell, ‘Continual Light’, on it but it lands just behind the Shadow… His last remaining ‘Mirror Image’ is now gone and his Magical Power is now almost spent!

Mirafir: “I have but a few Magic Spells left to me.”

Ireena kills the Skeleton she faces with her Magic Long Sword ‘Alexandra’.

Sir Ly, who stands nearby, notices that the Skeleton made no serious attempt to attack Ireena… What could it be? Does Ireena enjoy the protection of Strahd? Could her resemblance to Tatyana be a factor?

The Shadow weakened by the light causes it to flee into the teleport tomb and vanish… Suddenly, a huge Shadow Demon appears before Thora and Galan who are engaging the Skeleton Warrior leader!

Sigune hits the Spitting Spider again, another gaping wound, and drooling green ichor is inflicted on its horrendous form. It begins to crawl out painfully on its remaining legs… Sir Ly is then also able to attack!

Thora and Galan are in close quarters with the Skeleton Warrior.

Monster - Spider, Brown
Monster – Spider, Brown

Sigune then kills the Spitting Spider!


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