Fury in Freeport

Part Eleven

The Temple of Doom

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The group of pirates approach the sunken entrance of the ancient jungle temple. They are apprehensive and quibble about who should lead the way; after several minutes Captain Lubbock loses patience and orders the two mages to lead the way. Perdin and a very reluctant Zan’thire shuffle forward and the former casts a Detect Trap spell that tells him that while there are no physical traps in the immediate vicinity there is definitely something very dangerous inside the dark unlit interior of the ruins. The experienced mage decides to follow up his spell by casting Illumination which reveals a long wide stone corridor with three passages leading off on either side and some steps leading upwards at the far end of the corridor.

The group descend and briefly debate how they are going to tackle the many passages before them; they vote against separating and opt to investigate the passage to the right together. The first aperture turns out to be a short tight passage that leads into a circular chamber containing a multitude of shelves carved into the stone. Each of the shelves contains what appears to be silk wrapped corpses of different sizes; in the middle of the room is a slender, chest height carving of a serpent coming out from the ground. They decide not to probe this room too deeply due to suspecting a trap and opt to explore the passage opposite which duly reveals itself to be an identical room, complete with wrapped corpses and serpent statue. Feeling a bit braver than the rest, Etienne, the young crewman, cuts through the silk wrappings of two of the nearby bodies and finds the old decayed corpse of a naked Devil Lizard and the fresher corpse of an Orc sailor; there is no apparent cause of death for either body. Captain Lubbock meanwhile, is impatient for the group to locate a mysterious stone sarcophagus, and he urges them onwards. Zan’thire casts a Clairvoyance spell and sees a Serpentman priest praying in front of a altar with a massive stone snakes head – this is accompanied by a sensation of utter terror.

The group cautiously check out the next two passages which also lead to identical death chambers with stone serpent carvings. Perdin is determined to find the cause of death and decides to check another body and cuts through its wrapping, revealing the body of an Elf. A thorough check reveals large puncture wounds in the body’s chest. With four passages down, there are only two left and the group opt to check the one on the right. Etienne once more leads the way, followed by Menage and then the rest; they expect to find another burial chamber but are shocked to find what appears to be living quarters; worse still, sat behind a stone desk is what appears to be a human-sized snakeman, dressed in robes. The serpentman senses the intruders and rises up, meeting Etienne’s gaze. The priest of Yig emits a mind bolt of psychic power that paralysis the young sailor, and then rushes forward; Menage fires his flintlock at the attacker and misses – the monstrous noise alerts the inhabitant of the chamber opposite. Before anyone can react the serpentman delivers a venomous bite to Etienne who falls to the floor. The serpentman turns to round on the rest of the group but Perdin steps in and blasts it with a powerful fireball that kills it where it stands. As the commotion goes on in this room, out in the corridor Captain Lubbock yells in alarm as a second Serpentman emerges from the room opposite; he fires his pistol at it but misses; as the snake priest prepares to attack, Zan’thire casts a Drain Life spell that sucks all life from the serpentman and heals his own savage back wound in the process. The group then picks itself up and takes stock of the situation; Etienne manages to get back to his feet but he is poisoned and struggles. A quick search of both rooms reveals a lot of strange articles and three stone beds.

There is now only one place left to check – the steps leading upwards at the end of the corridor. Lubbock tells everyone to get a move on as there is only an hour of daylight left. Etienne is no longer in a fit state to lead the way so Menage steps in; he carefully climbs the steps with pistol and cutlass in hand. Once he reaches the top of the flight he sees that it leads into a large circular chamber in which a stone sarcophagus sits on raised steps beneath the large stone head of a serpent. In front of this “altar” prays a third serpentman who has heard the commotion below and is now casting a summoning spell. Thinking that he hasn’t been detected, Menage creeps back down the stairs and informs the rest of the group of what he has seen. Lubbock is ecstatic that he has finally located the stone sarcophagus he has been hunting for many weeks; he orders the group onwards into the chamber. They duly head up, weapons at the ready, prepped to take out the serpentman inside; they are shocked to find the chamber seemingly deserted. Lubbock is in no mood to wait and tells them to get over to the sarcophagus. Smiling Jack and Etienne both hang back with the captain as they are both poisoned and sluggish- Zan’thire also holds back fearing a trap and looking out for his own skin; Haskins, Ménage and Perdin head over to the sarcophagus and begin to slide off the stone lid, which is very heavy. As the lid slides off it reveals an old double clasped trunk sitting amongst a seething nest of vipers – Lubbock yells at them to lift the chest out and they struggle to do this, with Hastins being bitten in the process. At the same moment the serpentman priest comes out from his hiding place behind the massive serpent head and attempts to bite Perdin, but fortunately the mage manages to dodge the attack while Zan’thire casts a Steal Soul spell which sends the serpent man flying against the wall and stuns it long enough for Menage to shoot it in the head with his pistol.

Just as the group thinks that the worst of danger is behind them a summoned Shadow Serpent comes out from the left hand side of the massive stone snake head and attacks Hastins, draining all his strength and vitality from him. While this occurs Lubbock shouts at ménage and Perdin to retrieve the chest from the sarcophagus, which Menage achieves by throwing a torch into it and driving out all the vipers. Meanwhile Perdin casts an Illumination spell at the Shadow Serpent which strikes it accurately, momentarily stunning it; realising that physical attacks are unlikely to harm the creature, Zan’thire casts another Illumination spell that sends the Shadow Serpent fleeing back behind the stone snakes head for safety. The group then engages in a frantic struggle to get a-hold of the chest and drag it to the exit; Etienne attempts to stay behind and assist Hastins but is reprimanded by the Captain who is now desperate to get his treasure back to The Golden Ram. Hastins eventually manages to get back to his feet, but by this time the rest of the group has already left the chamber. As he struggles to limp over to the steps the Shadow Serpent, sensing that the danger has left, comes out from its hiding place and attacks Hastins once more. It grabs hold of the veteran pirate cook and he fiercely attempts to break free of its lethal grip – but before he can do so it drains his entire life force, leaving him an aged and ravaged corpse.

Back down in the corridor Lubbock spots three ominous silhouettes in the mid-distance, blocking the group’s exit. He opens fire with his two pistols, a shot taking down one of the figures. Etienne swaps places with Ménage in carrying the chest, giving the sailor the chance to clear the path with pistol and cutlass. More figures are slowly spilling out from the passages on either side and as the group pass one of the passages several of the group spot a sea of figures squirming free of their silk wrappings in one of the chambers – by Zan’thire’s calculations there could be in excess of one hundred reanimated bodies in the temple. Perdin, alerted by Zan’thire, rushes forward and casts a powerful Push spell that sends all the shadowy figures to their front flying through the air like gnats; but still more figures come spilling out into the corridor. Etienne drops the chest and begins to complain about the situation; Lubbock is about to execute the unruly young sailor when Perdin agrees to swap places and the chest once more begins to make slow forward progression. Etienne then joins the fight, first rushing forward to fire on the strange figures before then rushing back to help Zan’thire deal with an increasing number of approaching undead to their rear; in the melee the maniac Elven mage is bitten in the leg by one of the loathsome creatures. Battling through the tide they manage to fight their way to the front steps of the temple, but they are still being followed by a horde of the zombies and still have two thirds of a mile to make to the beach and the row boat.

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