After descending the stairs, we found ourselves in a large room with disconcerting murals of beast men upon the walls. The center of the room was taken up by a large, rectangular pool of murky water and there were four small alcoves where we found old, moldy, mildewed, rags that could generously be called robes with Chaos runes. Upon my suggestion, one of the torch bearers set the robes ablaze striking a blow against these chaos worshipping beast men who are the bane of not only my patron but my tailor as well.
Everyone found themselves mystically drawn to the rectangular pool of murky water where we were mesmerized by glowing lights within. The lights soon floated to the surface where we realized they were human skulls. One of Daphne’s men at arms claimed that he wasn’t drawn to the pool, but I sincerely doubt it. If someone of my intellect can become bespelled, certainly a simpler mind would be even more so.
From the muralled, fetid pool room, we made our way further down more infernal steps. My legs were beginning to ache and I was grateful for the rest when we came out onto some sort of beach next to an underground lake. There was a large rock jutting out into the underground lake that, upon further inspection, held Chaos symbols and runes all around it. There was a small candle atop the rock and we suspected that it acted as some sort of signal to the other area of the cavern where we could make out the glow of a fire and hear the distant sound of drums.
Star sent one of the scouts into a narrow cavern behind a small waterfall feeding into the lake and he reported there were scores of human skulls in there. That gave me a flash of my all too familiar brilliance and I deduced that if we brought down one of the glowing skulls and lit the signal candle, our Chaos deluded foes would assume we were more of their ilk arriving late to their unnatural festivities. The others quickly dispatched several of the men at arms to fetch a skull, because I wasn’t about to punish myself going up all those steps we had just descended!
After the others set themselves in ambush, Star and I lit the candle and heroically faced the forces that would be unleashed on us. I could see that Daphne was quite impressed with my heroism, but remained shy and timid. I had no time to worry about her secret crush on me, because a foul longship soon emerged from the nigh-impenetrable darkness and docked up against the rock. Seeing no one on board and deducing that the ship would take us across the lake to interrupt the beastial ceremony, we coaxed the others on board. Even that twice damned mule and flea infested canine that Ming insists bringing with him.
The foul longship of Chaos powered us across the lake only to stop halfway while some enormous, tentacled aberration terrorized our party looking for some donation. We quickly sorted that out with only a minor outbreak of insubordination when one of Star’s men suggested we slaughter Ming’s mule as a blood sacrifice. Where these Neanderthals come up with ideas, I’ll never know. We soon found ourselves coming closer and closer to the sound of the drums as the distant glow quickly resolved into a large, stone ziggurat emerging from the brackish water.
The beast men were enthralled with this tainted ceremony and they were on each level chanting and looking towards the top where some sort of shaman was sacrificing human captives into a pit of flames. Acting with as much haste as my tired bones would allow me, we quickly brought several groups of beast men low with spell and sword. Rather than fighting along the entire ramp that spiraled up the ziggurat, we climbed each step as we brought down the beasts. Once near the top, we split and I led the charge into a vicious mob of what must’ve been the elite of the hideous beast men. They offered heavy resistance and I feared the worst until we finally felled the last of the zealots with my Blade of Atropos. Although I’m sure the troops were moved by my lead from the front attitude, I prefer to leave the sword swinging for the less mentally capable and stick to my mastery of the arcane.
While we were battling the bulk of the forces, Star’s diversionary group met stiff resistance as well and before we knew it, a huge chaos spawned demon grew out of the top of the ziggurat and I realized that the Fates brought us here to protect our world from this corrupt imbalance of nature.