The party stand at the mouth of this narrow box canyon that bisects a high cliff wall. The steep cliffs and the tall mountains beyond the defile loom overhead. Although it is only early afternoon, the shadows of twilight seem to fall early here as the sun makes its way towards the west, cloaking the canyon in gloom.
Across the mouth of the canyon stands an old curtain wall and gatehouse.
These fortifications once barred entrance to the canyon, but the 25’ high walls that stretch from the Gates of Hell to the canyon walls have crumbled at either side of the gatehouse, leaving large gaps which provide passage past this barrier into the canyon beyond for those wary of the gatehouse’s arrow slits and murder holes. Peering through the gaps, the party can see that the canyon extends far beyond the curtain wall and copses of trees and ruined structures are visible in the distance. The gatehouse and walls have succumbed to the normal ravages of neglect over the last two centuries.
Those opting for a more direct route can enter the canyon through the gatehouse‘s central passage. The gatehouse walls are constructed of mortared stone and broken battlements protrude from the gatehouse roof like cracked teeth. The grey stone is splattered with pigeon droppings. The gateway of the central underpass gapes open, its portcullises rusted and as gapped as an old codger‘s smile and its wooden doors laying rotting on the ground before it.
The party pause for a moment, considering whether to bypass the Gatehouse, but Krotchet explains to them that leaving potential enemies behind them blocking their escape route could prove a costly mistake and the party agree that they should investigate the old ruin.
Snyth hugs the natural cover and darts silently up to the wall to the left of the central gateway. His keen eyes pick out numerous writings scrawled across the walls and he pauses for a moment to decipher what he can:-
- “This dungeon was cleared by the Circle of Six. Nothing remains below.” A date is written beside this message. Beneath it, in another hand, is written, “Yeah, I’ll bet!”
- “The little, scaly b&!*$%ds can’t be trusted. They turned on us, killed Sydel, and stole all our gold! Kill ‘em all on sight!”
- “I had it! A ruby the size of a fist was almost mine, but a giant serpent swallowed it before I could reach it.”
Opting to climb to the arrow slits in the upper floor, rather than risk the central passageways and its murderholes, Snyth scrambles up the wall and scouts out a couple of rooms, struggling to make out details beyond in the darkness. He spots a few shattered crates and hears a strange soft buzzing sound before he slips and tumbles, falling 15’ to the ground.
The others take this as a signal and jog over to the groaning thief as he picks himself up and dusts himself off. Despite his impact, Snyth clambers back up to the roof and finds it flat and mostly intact, with trapdoors down into the building at either end and close to one, a hole in the roof shedding light onto a pool of gathered water in a room below.
The party eventually ascend to the roof and drawing weapons, open the trapdoor and descend into the waterlogged room. The room is empty apart from a pool of rainwater and a door to the north and another to the south. Lighting torches, the party carefully avoid the creaking floor around the pool and head to the southern door.
Opening it carefully, the room beyond proves to be the roost of three flying dog-sized flying beasts known as Stirges who attack the party hoping to spear them on their razor sharp proboscis’s. The party make short work of the beasts, their armour protecting them from the attacks and they even recover some loot from a long dead body they discover hidden in some rags in the corner.
As they do so however, they are ambushed by a trio of Goblins who they had not heard sneaking up on them from the north door. The Goblins wound the party with arrows before the ‘Big Red’ the war-dog of Turix the Torchbearer charges in fury into their midst, savaging one of them and scattering the other two shrieking back through the door which they close.
Gathering themselves for a short while to plan, the party pursue and open the door into the northern room. They see an empty room with murder holes in the floor and a northern door from which one goblin fires his bow at Big Red (missing), before the other fumbles his bow and slams the door shut as Big Red slams into it snarling and barking loudly.
Passing warily through the room, seeing the central portcullis passageway below via the murder-holes they assume battle stances and throw open the door. Before them is a hastily assemble barricade of broken furniture and barrels. Beyond this, a stair leads up to an open trapdoor to the roof and a door stands in the far wall, slightly ajar. In the doorway, a goblin takes aim at something out of sight to the left of the barricade and shoots, before the second goblin shrieks and slams the door shut.
Over the barking of Big Red, the party begin to hear an ominous buzzing and soon the air is full of large black and red wasps, angered by the arrow of the sneaky goblins. Choosing to take decisive action, the party splits at this point. Ainesilver, Denagar and Rolandius decide to press on through the wasps in pursuit of the goblins, lighting and waving torches at the stinging insects to ward them off, whilst the rest of the party, led by Krotchet and Snyth head back to the ‘pool-room’ and up onto the roof to ensure that they are not being flanked, planning to pass over the wasps and down the stairs at the other side of the room to reach the door the goblins closed.
Despite being badly stung by the wasps, the party manage to drive them off with torches and rendezvous at the other side of the room heading through the door into a room beyond which contains an ash-filled fire ring; chopped-up furniture stacked in piles and goblin footprints amongst the dirt & dead leaves on the floor. A trapdoor at the far side of the room leads down to a corridor on the ground floor.
Ainesilver leads the way down, his skin showing numerous red welts where the angry wasps had punished him. The short corridor heads south, passing by a door in the west wall, coming to an east west T-junction with a door in the opposite wall.
Snyth volunteers to lead the way and makes pads silently off towards the junction, as he reaches it however, a winged shadow detaches itself from the roof and dives onto the surprised rodian. A single Stirge thrusts it’s feeding spike into his shoulder and the creature latches itself onto his back as he feels the creatures tongue deep within his torso, syphoning away his lifeblood away …….
Session Ends …..