Vita est ludus
The thin line between fantasy and reality...













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 9 - The Kraken and The Claw

Uktar 6, 1372 DR (9:50 AM) Deep Wastes: Lake of Shadows

Kress clears his throat. "I could use some more healing, before we go look for more trouble. Brianna?" The bard nods and sings a short song of healing for him. She touches his arm, and Kress's wounds fade away. "Thank you!" says the fighter.

Tebryn turns to his companions. "Time to go down to talk to Mr. Ugly?"

Yol, who had emerged from behind the door where'd she been hiding, holds up her hand. "If there's still water down there, let me read one of my scrolls, so that we can breathe underwater."

"Very well," says Tebryn. Hearing a splash, he wheels around and looks down into the pool. "Whoa!" he exclaims. "Where did that come from? There's a huge opening in the side of the cavern and our friend is crawling out of it. Wait - the opening is gone, as well as the creature."

Yol reads her scroll and touches everybody in turn. All rush out of the temple and around the edge of the island.

"Look," says Tebryn, pointing. "There he is, moving out through the area of water that my control water depressed. Watch this." He utters a single arcane word while looking intently at the creature. He smirks. "He's blind, now. Not going far..."

Hazen points out past the area of lowered water where a very large object seems to be churning in the water. "The kraken! The kraken!" he screams, as he runs around the temple and into the doorway.

Veracity shakes her head ruefully. She pulls her godstone out of its pouch and pauses, frowning. "Can't use this if I can't see my opponent," she comments, before uttering an arcane phrase. She smiles and looks directly at the swimming creature. "You can run, but you can't hide!" she taunts. "What can I do?" wonders Igor. He stands and watches. "I know what I can do," says Brianna. She starts to sing an inspiring song to inspire her comrades. The blinded creature swims out of the depression into the deep part of the water. Right near it, the water bubbles and roils. Tebryn smiles. "This won't do," he comments. He pulls another scroll from his pouch. "If once is good, twice is better, right?" He reads it and another large square of water settles down twenty-two feet, exposing the swimming fish man and the kraken.

"Thanks for giving me choices, brother," comments Veracity. "I know who could best use this." A thin black ray shoots from the black stone she is clutching, striking the kraken. It seems to shrivel a bit. "Come on," says Igor. "What can I do?" "Darned if I know," says Kress. The fish man submerges and Tebryn stows his scroll.

"OK, guys, let's go!" says Tebryn. "Veracity weakened the kraken, the fish guy is blind, and we can breathe water. We have advantages now which will disappear if we wait. Come on!"

"No, Tebryn," says Yol. "I think that going out when the kraken is there would be rash."

"I agree!" says Hazen's voice, coming from around the temple. "I'm allergic to seafood".

"You guys are cowards!" says Veracity. "Well, how about if I stay and watch, invisibly, while you guys go and explore the pool inside? If you hear a squawk from out here, come and rescue me!"

"Fine," says Tebryn. Everybody except Veracity enters the temple and goes into the pool room. With no immediate threats, they can now see that the room is ornately decorated. The mosaic on the floor depicts The Claw, the nasty fish-man who had lurked in the pool, surrounded by regular kuo-toans, all battling stone giants. The walls are covered with fine carvings, showing scenes involving the kraken, the Claw, and still more kuo-toans.

Hazen, Igor, and Kress all fly down into the pool and enter the water. They find themselves in a cavern with glowing walls, the light coming from spots of pale green, blue, and purple algae. Scattered around the periphery are clay urns, scattered at random. Some are broken, but several are intact. The three explorers bring up all the intact urns. They are all filled with water and are otherwise empty.

Tebryn frowns. "That's it? Surely that creature would have had some treasure. Hmm."

The party goes out to rejoin Veracity. She gestures, invisibly, as they approach. "They're both still there. Let's go, guys!"

"I agree," says Tebryn. "Nothing in the pool. Let's bring him in and see what he has with him."

"No, it's just too dangerous," says Yol.

"Yeah, why look for trouble?" says Hazen.

Veracity stamps her foot in irritation. "You wimps! We softened them up! You think if we leave them alone that our trip across the lake will be any safer? Let's finish them now!"

Igor clears his throat. "I agree. We should finish this while we still have an edge. And we will need everybody's help to kill it as quickly as possible."

"Right!" says Veracity. "You with us, Kress?"

"Certainly," says the fighter. "Come on Hazen, don't be a party pooper!"

Hazen sputters. "Oh, I was always in favor of us going out in a large group. Let's go!"

Veracity shakes her head in astonishment. "Whatever. However, I think that invisible is the way to go - perhaps it'll let us get the drop on the kraken, at least." She invokes the power of her ring and fades from sight. Hazen and Igor follow suit. Kress stares. "That makes me the target, I guess," he comments. "But, as long as we're all together, it'll be fine. I hope."

Veracity and Igor advance through the water, with Kress flying along above them. Following behind are Hazen and Tebryn. Yol and Brianna stay on the shore, although Yol activates her wings of the bat and floats up into the air.

As they reach the area of deep water, The Claw afflicts Kress and Igor with unholy blight damaging each of them slightly. The kraken lashes both of its long tentacles at Kress, bludgeoning him severely with both and grabbing him with one. "Uh-oh," says Kress. "Help me!" "Haste for all of us," comments Tebryn. Putting words into action, he casts a spell and everybody starts moving faster.

Hazen looks at his trapped cohort and gulps. He flies down and hovers next to the kraken's massive body. Striking out of invisibility, he stabs an undefended vital area and becomes visible. "Still too strong, eh?" comments Veracity. She shoots another thin black ray at the kraken from the godstone clutched in her hand. It strikes and the kraken shrivels even more. "Yes!" she exclaims, stowing the godstone. She looks down at herself. "Well, now I'm visible, too." Igor flies down and lands opposite the kraken's colossal body from Hazen. He strikes a mighty blow with his greatsword. He, too, becomes visible.

Kress twists and squirms but cannot seem to wriggle free of the kraken's grasp. "Help me!" he calls. Brianna looks at him. "Would that I could fly up to you!" she comments. She pulls a potion from her pouch and drinks it. She lifts off slightly. "Coming, Kress!" she calls. "I'm already flying," comments Yol. She flies up to Kress and cures some of his damage. Just after she does that, the area around her falls completely silent. The kraken crushes Kress some more. "Help!" he silently mouths. The kraken lashes its other tentacle at Veracity, but misses her. The six small arms surrounding its beak flail at Hazen and Igor. One strikes Hazen, but the other five all miss. It bites at Hazen, but doesn't connect.

Tebryn frowns. He moves out of the region of magical silence and mutters. While gesturing at the kraken, a thin green ray shoots from his hand and strikes it. It shudders briefly, but shrugs off most of the damage. Tebryn frowns. "How come my disintegrate spells never work?" he complains.

Hazen stabs at the kraken four times. Three of them strike true and hurt it severely. When it lets its guard down, Igor slashes it with an extremely powerful blow, killing it. The tentacle slackens and releases Kress.

The Claw whitens. It looks around, as if deciding where to flee. "No you don't!" says Veracity. She advances towards it, drawing her swords. As she approaches, it attempts to nail her with its pincer staff, but misses. Veracity stabs the fiendish creature extremely powerfully with the Sword of Kas. Igor steps behind the creature and slashes it, killing it with a single blow. It falls, releasing the sack of treasure it had been clutching. Igor grabs the sack and carries it back to shore, followed by Veracity, dragging the body of The Claw.

"Let's see what he had," comments Tebryn. The sack contained a lot of money, as well as two carefully sealed urns. The body yielded a pincer staff, a flask, and a wicked-looking dagger with a curved black blade.

"Let me examine all this," says Yol. She conjures and scans the items. "Necromancy," she says, pointing at the dagger. "And there's something magical inside each of those urns."

Tebryn looks them over. "No traps," he says. His companions quickly back away as he starts to open them. He pauses and looks at everybody. "Don't trust me?" He opens the urns with no problem. "As I said, no traps." He looks in.

"I see ... a lyre," says Tebryn. Brianna comes up and extracts a beautiful masterwork instrument. "Magical," comments Yol. She frowns. "Complicated. Many schools of magic."

"And in this one, a scroll," says Tebryn. "You want to read it, Yol? You're the only here who could understand both an arcane and a divine scroll."

"Very well," agrees Yol. She unrolls the scroll and casts another spell. "Arcane. Control undead, globe of invulnerability, and wall of stone. Very nice!"

"Nice job, guys! And quite a haul, too," says Veracity. "I think our journey across the lake towards Maerimydra will be less troubled, now that we took care of that!" she adds, gesturing towards the floating kraken.

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Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com> Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
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