We continued our exploration of the Tomb of Diderius by descending down a set of wide stairs into a room infested with demons or devils- I’m not really sure which. They had long snaky beards and were sitting at a stone table, seemingly waiting for us to come and send them back to whatever hell they came from. Pug and I had little hesitation about throwing ourselves at the creatures. Hazirawn was thirsty, and I was ready to die. I asked the blade if he wished me to kill and he bid me forward. I leapt up onto the table and started slashing at the fiends. Hazirawn cut deep into them, sending fiend after fiend out of our world. With the support of Soveliss’s eldritch blast, Belamir and Pug we made short work of devils. One of them did manage to lash me with its barbed, serpent beard, inflicting a terrible burning wound on my neck. I slashed its head off seconds later, but even with magic the wound was not easily healed.
I wanted to take a rest after the fight, but Belamir was insistent that we must press on immediately to find the enchanted pool before our enemies could get to it. We heeded his advice and descended another stair case in search of the pool. On the stairs we found the desiccated bodies of a couple of cultists. Our foes had clearly been this way. The stairs led into a chamber that Pug sensed was infested with undead. They didn’t immediately attack, but we could sense them lurking and waiting. I assumed that if we entered the room they would come for our souls. There was a large chest in the chamber that might have been filled with treasure, and it took some effort to dissuade Pug from venturing in, but given that there were no other exits to the room that we could see, it didn’t seem like we would find our foes by exploring the cursed room. We ventured back up the stairs to the level that we had originally entered into and found our way to another room of note.
This next chamber was a more of a natural cavern. The back half of it was dominated by a deep chasm that sunk to unknown depths. Hovering in the air above the chasm was a great stone cauldron that was carved from a geode. On the floor of the cave we could see that there had recently been a fight. A half dozen or so dragon cultists lay dead along with two white scaled dragon-men. We soon discovered that one of the dragon-men still clung to life, so Soveliss began an interrogation. He used his magic to disguise himself as a cultist and approached. The rest of us hung back, cloaked in shadows by Belamir’s druidic magic.
Soveliss’ ruse worked, and he learned from the dragon-man that they had been ambushed by snake men. The snake men had captured their leader and taken him through a bronze door built into the wall of the cave to our right. I could feel Hazirawn urging me to kill the dragon-man, and in my depression I felt no will to resist. I probably should have waited since Soveliss may still have been able to pry more information from our foe, but as I said Hazirawn was eager for dragon blood. I stalked forward, prepared to execute the wounded abomination. However, something made me decide to give the creature an opportunity to have an honourable death by combat. In retrospect I should have just sliced its head off. As far as I am concerned chromatic dragon kind and their spawn are as inherently evil as demons and devils, and therefore it is folly to show them any kind of mercy.
The dragon-man accepted my challenge, but of course he didn’t fight with honour. Instead of engaging me with his weapon, he blasted my with hoarfrost from his mouth. My limbs seized up from the cold, and I felt the blood freezing in my veins. Yet I am not easily felled, and Hazirawn’s fury fueled my own. I pressed an attack with my dark blade; it did its work with exceptional efficiency, and in seconds the dragon-man was dead at my feet.
Belamir was not pleased with me. He made it clear that he felt there was still more information we could have gained from the creature, and that I had killed it prematurely. He may have had a point, but I was not overly concerned. It was evident by the blood and scales on the ground that there was truth to the dragon-man’s story, and that it was highly likely that a band of snake men had abducted his leader. That was all I really felt I needed to know.
Once again I urged my companions to spend some time resting and recovering our strength before pressing on, but they felt that chasing after the snake-men was urgent. A trail of blood led from the scene of the battle to a bronze door built into the right side of the cave. We tried to force it but it was well secured. Belamir volunteered to scout, and he transformed into a mouse. He managed to squeeze under the door and explore into the room beyond.
When Belamir returned, he indicated that there was some sort of burial chamber on the other side of the doors containing several ornate sarcophagi. He also mentioned that the trail of blood had seemingly dried up and vanished. We decided to make a concerted effort to get in, so I mustered all my strength, and with Pug’s aid forced the door open. The air in the burial chamber was so dry that I immediately felt myself getting parched. Death clung to the place in a way that was almost tangible. We soon discovered why.
We had only been poking about the room for a few moments when we heard a deep, gravelly voice emanating from all around us. It claimed to be the voice of Diderius. He was not pleased that we had violated his sanctum, and suddenly four of the five sarcophagi in the room opened up and expunged horrible undead at us. Their faces were concealed by elaborate burial masks, but as one approached me its mask split open to reveal a visage of horror. I felt panic seeking to overcome me, but after looking into the void I was not easily frightened, and I staved off the urge to flee in terror.
I soon realized that Hazirawn was not the best weapon for combating the undead. He shrieked every time I landed a blow. It was if I was forcing him to consume tainted food, and in a sense I suppose that was exactly what I was doing. Thus, I dropped him to the ground. I decided to try out a different tactic. I hefted one of the sarcophagi and attempted to push it over on an approaching mummy. Unfortunately, I missed my target and it shattered on the ground, making the area tricky to navigate. I could see that the creature was infested with disease and rot, and I did not want it to touch me, so I summoned my enchanted shield, and used it to fend it off. It was slow, clumsy and unarmored. I took advantage of its weaknesses and turned the shield into a weapon, slamming it against the thing’s face, knocking it to the ground and battering it until its ancient bones were shattered and it had stopped moving. I took a moment to glance around, and I could see that my companions had prevailed. Pug was in a state of mad elation and he leapt up onto the final sarcophogus. He raised his enchanted cutlass and began slamming it down on the stone coffin.
Suddenly a toxic black gas erupted around us. I couldn’t see a thing. My eyes began to water and burn and my lungs felt like they were on fire. I fought my way out of the cloud, coughing up and choking on my blood. I realized then that something had come out of the last sarcophagus and was killing Pug. I couldn’t see anything in the fog, but I could hear Pug dying. Soveliss called upon his magic and dispelled the cloud. Some invisible forced had grabbed hold of Pug and was smashing his face against the stone floor. It was so battered and bloodied that I couldn’t even recognize the half orc. Belamir rushed forward to avenge our companion, shifting form as he went. I have seen the half elf take on many forms, but this transformation was unlike any I had yet witnessed. He became a massive ape, towering over all of us, his head nearly touch the ceiling far above. Our enemy remained invisible, but in a moment it was evident that it was done with Pug and had moved to engage the ape.
I quaffed a much needed healing potion, drew my hobsword and moved in to help Belamir. It was easy enough to guess the location of my invisible foe, and I began slashing, hoping to connect. Suddenly, our enemy was visible before us, but a wall of stone had formed out of nowhere, bisecting the room, cutting us off from Soveliss. It was only Belamir and I to face down Diderius himself- now a powerful undead lord. I was still terribly wounded from the toxic gas, but I found the strength to cut into Diderius with the enchanted hobsword. He was faster and more difficult to hit than the other mummies had been, but I still managed to land a few good blows. My attacks caught hiss attention, and he stunned me with blasphemous words of arcane power. That’s when Belamir reached down with a big ape hand, grabbed up the mummy lord and began repeatedly slamming him against the floor until our enemy was destroyed.
The wall of stone then vanished and Soveliss rejoined us. We had won- barely. I had been certain that Pug was dead, but the bloody half orc somehow still clung to life. Belamir used a final spell to remove the cursed rot that contact with the mummies had infected him with, and I spared my last healing potion to revive him to consciousness.
Afterwards we used what healing magics we had, and my allies started looting Diderius’s sarcophagus. It was filled with treasure, which up until very recently would have been of great interest to me. My encounter with the void has left me divorced from any yearning for such material things. I really want nothing more than to end my insignificant, and meaningless existence. However, Hazirawn still has work for me to do. While they busied themselves with counting their coins I kept watch. It was for the best because after several minutes a secret door in one of the walls raised up, and a band of lizard folk and snake men entered to deal with us “intruders.” Soveliss unleashed a great ball of magic fire on them, killing or wounding most of their force. That was enough to break their morale and send them into retreat. They fled back down the passageway from whence they had come. My allies finished their looting, and we decided that we our next step would be to find somewhere to hide and rest before confronting the snake men.