Deep in the underground pyramid the party of adventures found little solace in their victory. What had Dame Serpent been doing with that altar, and where had she retreated to? Her band of mindless minions had been defeated but would she return with reinforcements?
lady-anika sent a pair of her wolves, which by now most were assuming were shape-shifting Ussurans, up to the upper level to act as sentries, while she mulled over the cache of artifacts in the chamber. The walls of the large chamber were lined with strange urns, marked with sigils unknown to anyone present. Dietrich popped the wax seal on a jar, and was assaulted by a snake like thing that leaped out of it. With Thomas’s help they kill the murderous snake.
Sean, Thomas and Dietrich left the rest of the party to search the lower chamber while they headed up to search rooms passed in the rush to aid Dietrich and Pierre. Upstairs, they find a room filled with objects apparently taken off bodies. In a dank corner Dietrich found a bloody tabard bearing his family crest, which he thinks is his father’s, as well as a lone Dracheneisen boot. In the detritus Sean finds a couple of pistols and rearmed himself. More importantly, he spotted a satchel bearing a strange emblem, filled with vials of liquids, which he threw over his shoulder.
Meanwhile below, Hendrick and Pierre continued searching the large chamber. Hendrick grabbed a pair of the ‘lightening guns’ that Dame Serpent’s minions seemed to favor, as well as a longer one that was shaped more like a staff. Spread among the ceramic urns, Pierre found a number of urns that seemed to be composed of Dracheneisen. He pocketed one, while Hendrick grabbed one of each ceramic and Dracheneisen and tossed them in his backpack.
Having moved to the next room, Sean found the three missing researchers imprisoned alongside a gibbering madman. Sean spoke briefly and privately with the researchers, handing over the just found satchel, while Dietrich attempted to glean information from the nonsense coming from the man’s lips. The researchers had little to say except that Dame Serpent needed to be stopped, while the madman had little to say besides “bleh-boooo ber-gazib’ah”. It was all interrupted by a howl of warning that sent them all back downstairs.
Spotted by the wolves a large force of men who were only identifiable by red vests or armbands were heading down from the upper level; the beasts and men prepared for a fight.
The opening salvo was a group of three men who came downstairs with strange Syrnth artifacts on their back that functioned something akin to artifact vacuum cleaners. They also carried three wolves they’d captured upstairs. After a brief hostage standoff that resulted in two dead wolves they put their cleaning skills to work. A number of ‘lightening guns’ were sucked into the vacuum devices before the men fell.
Offers of parlay from upstairs slowed the battle such that grizzly-nasty-castillian was able to come down, along with his guards, and chat for a bit. He identified himself as a inquisitor and offered the ‘mercy’ the inquisition is known for. Such didn’t sit well with Lady Anika, and when his name was revealed her personal bear took over. Within seconds she’d grown hair, teeth and claws and Grizzly was beset on by a Grizzly bear (whom Pierre jumped on back of… apparently he has a thing for mounting bears.). Guards and Captain feel quickly but the group was forced to retreat when grenades began pouring down the stairs.
The explosions continued to mount. Wolves were killed and one of the researchers was badly wounded. Dietrich tried to throw a grenade back, but as he grabbed the grenade it exploded destroying the ‘healing device’ on his hand and burning its metal into his skin.
The stairs were, for the moment, a death trap of exploding grenades and the underground structure wasn’t taking it well. Two of the researchers yelled that Sean should help the third and ran towards the explosions… Sean not really knowing what else to do with the broken woman obeyed her request to share one of the vials inside the satchel. A blinding blue glow enveloped the two of them and when it faded she was climbing to her feet and Sean was falling, her wounds closing and identical ones opening on him.
She pushed past a worried and suspicious Pierre to join her colleagues who, were doing something to the ground only somewhat visible though the smoke of explosions. Suddenly, from the ground a huge hand emerged, and grabbed one of the researchers, she was tossed into the mouth of the head that followed the arm up. Another researcher was grabbed screaming by inky black tentacles coming from another beast emerging from the ground.
As the ogre pulled itself free from the shimmering hole in the ground, ripping the stairs apart, collapsing part of the ceiling and creating havoc for the Castilians above (only discernable by their curse laced shouting) the surviving researcher, the woman who’d shared a potion with Sean, made a break for it. She made it only feet before she too was grabbed by the black tentacles of the 2nd beast, but thanks Hendrick’s accuracy with thrown daggers, she managed to free herself and re-join the party.
The grenades had stopped, and the released monsters were going to town on the Castillians, but there was no longer a way out. The party was backing away, when the now familiar sound of Dame Serpent’s ring transporter made them all turn ready to fight. When the rings cleared, Dame Serpent wasn’t there, instead her Vallet was. The man, badly injured and barely standing, suggested that they all might like to leave the underground deathtrap.
The far-side of the ring transporter was Dame Serpent, better known as Lady Chevalier de Arnauld’s basement.
The Valet sat in the corner and died a quiet death, while the party tended to each other’s injuries. Sean was passed out and the final researcher and Dietrich (despite his injured hand) went to work on him. Long lost Agustin was tied up in the basement, his rifle’s bayonet drenched in the Valet’s blood. The decision was made not to free him, as it became increasingly clear he was under Dame Serpent’s control.
When the party was finally all standing, they realized the Valet had died. The said their thanks to his body and prepared to return to Pierre’s home. Staff in the house, surprised to have uninvited guests emerge from the basement told the party that the Lord and Lady were out, having headed to the Emperor’s Dressing for the morning. Injured as they might be, the party resolved to intercede in whatever Dame Serpents plans might be with the Emperor.