Down Below (Part One)
The Harrows were slowly recovering from the ambush that they had fallen into while exploring Old Korvosa by the strange group known as the Red Mantis. They gathered what they could from the bodies and decided that they had to see what was going on over here and for that they might need Vencarlo’s help. Si’ro had some experience in tracking and they went back to the academy to see if he could pick up a trail. As he surveyed the ground he saw that the tracks were quite muddled as the riots and crowds had moved through the area. It didn’t look like that the academy had seen any use in the past few days however which was quite troublesome.
They then decided to look for what they came here for in the first place: the wererat den suspected to be the cause of this plague. For the next few hours the group scoured the streets checking out any access points that would lead them down to the sewers where the wererat enjoyed staying. At the end of it all, they found nothing as they were beginning to grow tired.
“I’m starting to think this was a lie.” Lumpen said as he looked towards the rest of the group.
“I agree with the little one.” Xandak said, resting against a nearby wall. “That doctor lied to us! I will have his head.”
Jathan looked towards them as he motioned to try and calm the half-orc. “Easy there. We need to figure out the best course of action. Let’s find a place to camp out for the night and head back to the mainland tomorrow. Then…let’s pay our old doctor friend a visit.”
The rest of the group agreed as they began to find a place to camp out. They found an old abandoned shop and used it as their home for the night, keeping a few people on watch to make sure that nothing attacked them during the night. The night went by without an issue as the riots and mobs of people seemed to leave this area alone. With a new day ahead of them, the Harrows got ready and made their way back to the docks where they had said they would signal Deman to get them. A quick performance of lights from Trigeji and Deman shortly appeared with his boat to ferry them back across to the rest of Korvosa.
The adventurers started to make their way back to the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden to talk with Dr. Davaulus. When they arrived there, they saw that the door had been boarded up and it caught them by surprise. Jathan stopped one of the citizens walking along the street to question them about what had happened. The man said that the word on the street was someone attacked the hospice during the night and due that forced them to relocate to a secret location. They took all the people and shut down this warehouse. This sudden news raised some eyebrows from the group as they wondered what exactly was going on. They thanked the man and went back to exploring the warehouse, heading to the back where they had initially gotten into the building. They saw that the hole they had made had been boarded up as they motioned towards one of the other doors. Xandak nodded as he needed to get some anger out and smashed a hole in the door, prying some of the wood off to create an opening for them to enter.
Like last time, Jathan moved in first on his own to scout out the place and make sure it was safe. He peeked through the leather curtains into the main room and saw all the beds had been left there but there were no bodies. There was also no sign of any of the physicians or Grey Maidens that were here before. The half-elf returned back to the group to let them know what he saw in there and the rest of them then moved in. Once inside the warehouse, the group of adventurers moved up to the top floor to see what was there. They saw the set of double doors that Dr. Davaulus had been standing next to last time and a quick check revealed it to still be locked. Jathan went to work picking lock and soon it was open for them to go in. The room behind the door had a series of beds along either wall with some tables in the center. The tables were covered with broken glass and it appeared that most of what was there had been destroyed. An examination of the beds showed that these beds had leather restraints on them as the party looked at one another.
“They were experimenting on people up here…” Jathan said, tugging on one of the restraints.
Barilut looked around the tables in the center and saw some burnt papers. Most of them were destroyed but some weren’t fully burned and he could make out some of the writing. “Hey guys, look at this…” The dwarf said as he motioned to the paper and started reading it out. It mentioned doing work for Urgathoa and “Sending it down to A”.
“Down?” Trigeji said, wondering what they meant by that.
“Maybe there is something beneath the building.” Si’ro said, wondering how that could be when he tried his trick on the lift. They took the paper and continued exploring the room when they saw another door at the end of the room. As they went to go check that door out they saw it lead to what appeared to be an office and figured it was probably Dr. Davaulus’s office. The place looked ransacked as books were thrown off the shelves and vials were smashed on the table. Si’ro moved over to check some of the broken vials and saw that it appeared to be blood. The books themselves looked to be anatomy and medical volumes and had no clues to what they were planning.
With the office checked they started to look into the “Down below” part of the burnt documents and how to get there. They figured that they may as well check the lift once more as they went back through the building and into the cargo lift. A pull of the lever and they started to descend as the group tried to see if they noticed anything. It wasn’t until Jathan used his sharp vision that he noticed something peculiar with the panel that operated the lift. In the slot where the lever was there appeared to be an indentation for something like a small button, but it was missing. The rogue went to work trying to open and bypass whatever this mechanism was and a few moments later the panel clicked. This time they tried pulling the lever down and it gave as the lift began to descend further down into a new, hidden lower level of the hospice.
The lift opened and they were in darkness as there were no lights. Lumpen quickly used Light on Trigeji’s Warhammer to light up the space as they stepped forward into a large room. The walls of the room were decorated with carvings and murals of skeletons dancing among fields of dead. A number of the doors in the room were decorated with skeletons wielding large scythes. The Harrows moved towards one of the doors as Jathan examined it. He could detect that the door wasn’t just made to look eerie but was trapped as well as he began to decipher a way to get past. A few moments later and the door’s seal was broken as they pushed open the door and entered the next room.
This room had a table in the center with a number of cabinets lining the wall. Looking into these cabinets they saw an assortment of robes similar to those that the physicians wore and even a few of the strange masks that they wore. Looking through the room they found one of the cabinets was locked and with a quick pick of the lock the door was opened as the party grabbed some of the potions, healer’s kits, and some onyx gems. They searched the room for any more items before continuing through another door and into what appeared to be a barracks of sort. A number of beds with chests at the foot of it lined the room as a few figures stood there in leathery robes. They were a number of the Queen’s Physicians and they turned when they saw an intruder, proclaiming that they didn’t belong here as they moved in to attack. The physicians reached into their robes pulling out these small concoctions before tossing it towards the group of adventurers. The object exploded in a blast of fire as it splashed around and burned a few others.
“Careful! They have bombs!” Si’ro said, recognizing what they were throwing. The adventurers charged into the physicians, closing the distance and using their power to overwhelm them. By getting in close they could reduce the number of bombs thrown since the blast radius would hit their own. However this also opened them up to getting swarmed as the physicians moved to attack from all angles. A few moments later and the physicians laid dead around them with the party only taking minor injuries from the attacks. Xandak wiped his brow as he cleaned his greataxe while they looked through the chests to see if there was anything of value. A few bottles of wine and other trinkets later, the Harrows had finished exploring this room and were ready to move on.
They opened the door and walked into a room that they were not expecting. The floors and walls were glass and behind the glass were numbers of undead bodies, writhing and wriggling as some pressed and clawed at the thick glass. It was such an eerie sight as they were surrounded by this display of death that they almost didn’t notice the number of undead zombies in this room standing by a number of doors. The monsters saw the party enter as they lurched forward and began to move in their direction. Lumpen blasted one of them with a barrage of magic missiles before Barilut, Xandak, and Trigeji fanned out to keep the undead back. They had fought similar undead before at the Carowyn Manor so they knew what they up against. This time they were more prepared as Lumpen began to summon a monster and suddenly this creature of dancing lights appeared around them. The monster spun in its place, its body glowing as it shot out rays of light towards the zombies burning their flesh with its divine energy.
The bodies of the zombies crumbled under the Harrows might as Jathan turned to look back at Lumpen. “What was that monster you summoned?”
The gnome sorcerer smiled a bit as the creature faded from this existence, “It’s a Lantern Archon. I figured we could use some additional support and firepower to take these guys down.”
Barilut smirked a bit. “Nice work. I agree that we must not hold back against these foes. They are killing this city and must be stopped.”
The adventurers decided to go through the door that had two of the zombies guarding it and it led them into a large open chamber. The chamber had similar carvings of undead marching through series of dead corpses and up near the ceiling the carvings of a female figure with her entire lower body just a skeleton overlooked it all. The room had three large metal vats in here that seemed to be bubbling to the brim with a putrid greenish color to it. A set of stairs lined the two walls that led to a series of catwalks that traversed over the vats. Inside this room they saw a number of hooded figures wearing robes, each one of them wielding what appeared to be a scythe. Some of them were tending to the vats while others walked around. Near the center of the room overlooking it all was a familiar sight of Dr. Reiner Davaulus. When he heard the doors open he turned to see who it was as a smirk crept along his lips.
“Well..it seems the little ambush didn’t take care of you guys. How disappointing…” Davaulus said.
Jathan looked up at the man. “It didn’t. Next time you should hire someone more challenging.” These words brought a chuckle out from the doctor as he glanced at the half-elf. “Just because you disposed of a few assassins doesn’t warrant such bravado. After all, you fell for my ruse like sheep.”
“We fell for it because we care for the city and want to protect it.” Lumpen said, getting angry at the words spoken. Again Davaulus turned to the speaker and looked at them before speaking to the whole group. “I do care for this city. That is why I am trying to save it. The city is plagued with the poor and ill-ridden. These people need to be cleansed so that we can make Korvosa a great city moving forward. It truly is a great cause.”
“Enough of this. Let’s end it.” Xandak said, clutching his greataxe tightly as they prepared for battle.
The mysterious hooded figures began to move towards them, coming from both sides as some made their way down the catwalks while some were on the ground floor already. Davaulus began to speak once more to invigorate and empower the strange cultists around him as the Harrows started to clash with the scythe wielding enemies. The battle was broken out into two fronts where Si’ro and Xandak handled one side of cultists while Jathan, Barilut, and Trigeji handled the other side. Lumpen stayed between them so that he could provide support to either side if needed. The cultists all seemed to cast a spell before charging into battle and the gnome sorcerer shouted out, “Careful! They are using Magic Weapon.” A few of the cultists who were on the catwalk dipped the long curved blade of their weapon into the vat coating it with whatever was in there as they continued their march down towards the group.
The strange cultists that were charging the adventurers began to swing their scythes slashing at them with a ferocity to try and keep the intruders back. Each slash that connected sliced through armor leaving nasty cuts on them as Davaulus watched on from his spot on the catwalk. The doctor reached into his jacket and pulled out a strange concoction as he inhaled it and his body seemed to glow briefly. “You shouldn’t have come down here. This will be your grave!” Davaulus said out to the Harrows.
Barilut and Trigeji ran to clash with some of the cultists as they swung their flail and Warhammer respectively, smashing them into the sides of these figures. The figures winced in pain but continued their advance. One of the cultists saw Jathan moving around to try and flank as he began to cast a spell. Suddenly, the rogue’s body stiffened and couldn’t move as the Hold Person took effect and paralyzed him. The dwarf and gnome saw their friend caught in the spell and moved in a way to put them between the cultists and Jathan so that they could protect their teammate. Meanwhile on the other end of the room Xandak broke into a rage as he started to swing his greataxe towards the cultists slicing deep through the armor as he let his anger towards them fuel his power. Si’ro moved in position with his musket taking a number of shots at the cultists to break their armor and keep them back.
Davaulus saw that the Harrows were proving to be quite skilled in dealing with the cultists as he began to cast a spell of his own and in a blink the man disappeared from view as the sound of movement could be heard along the catwalk. Lumpen saw that Davaulus vanished and studied the catwalk a bit as he began to cast a spell. “Not so fast!” The gnome sorcerer said as suddenly a cloud of golden dust particles appeared and scattered on the catwalk. As the particles settled it outlined the figure of Davaulus ruining the effects of Invisibility with his successful use of Glitterdust. The doctor scowled a bit at the spell as his plan was ruined. The cultists were starting to get worn down a bit by the might of the adventurers as some of them began to cast healing spells on each other to restore some of their wounds while the ones that were patched up moved forward and continued to slash and slice with their scythes. Davaulus proceeded to make his way along the catwalk with some of the cultists to the nearest staircase that led to Xandak and Si’ro.
Once again Lumpen saw the man moving along the catwalk as he began to cast another spell. Suddenly, part of the catwalk began to glisten as the Grease spell covered the area. Davaulus slipped a bit but was able to keep his footing in the area but the cultist who was with him stumbled as they fell prone. The gnome sorcerer was beginning to manipulate the battlefield to give the group the tactical advantage they needed to limit the oncoming assault of cultists from both sides. The doctor was beginning to grow weary of this as he reached into his jacket once more to pull out a small object and tossed it at Xandak. The bomb exploded as it burned part of the half-orc’s skin only angering the bloodrager even more. In retaliation, he brought the greataxe down and sliced into one of the cultists killing him with ease. Si’ro had moved to the staircase to intercept the oncoming cultists as he fired off two more shots towards one of them critically injuring him. Davaulus saw the gunslinger approaching and turned to throw another bomb towards Si’ro causing the flames to explode and burn part of him as the cultists continued to advance.
“As for you…” Davaulus said, turning his attention towards the half-orc. He had watched Xandak take down a number of cultists and knew he was quite strong. “…Take a breather.” The doctor cast a spell and suddenly Xandak dropped to the ground as he started to laugh. The laughing was uncontrollably as he rolled back and forth on the floor suffering the effects of the Hideous Laughter spell. With him currently indisposed, the cultists could focus on Si’ro and the others. Lumpen saw Xandak fall to the ground laughing and knew they were in trouble and had to call in some help. He quickly summoned up another Lantern Archon that began to shoot beams of light into the cultists. While the battle heated up on this side of the room, the other side was turning into a slugfest as Barilut and Trigeji were trying to take down cultist after cultist.
Jathan finally could feel his body as the Hold Person faded and he was ready to get his revenge. He darted behind one of the cultists and thrusted his dagger into the back of him to kill it. One of the cultists saw the numbers were beginning to favor the Harrows and clutched the holy symbol around his neck as he washed the area with negative energy which harmed Jathan, Barilut, and Trigeji as he desperately tried to take them out. However while they seemed to be defeating the cultists on this side the other side didn’t look as good as Xandak was still laughing on the ground. Davaulus jumped down from the catwalk and went over to the half-orc as he plunged the rapier into his side causing him to bleed out profusely. The half-orc finally snapped out of the laughing but was in terrible shape as his ferocity kicked in. He looked up from the ground and clutched his greataxe as he swung it one final time. “Take this!” Xandak screamed as the axe cut into Davaulus causing a nasty gash into him.
But the attack wasn’t enough as the doctor still stood. After the swing Xandak lost any energy he had as his body collapsed to the ground and laid there still. Xandak was dead and the first member of the Harrows to fall in battle. The rest of the group paused for a moment as they turned and saw their comrade fall. Si’ro continued to blast the cultists on the catwalk taking them down as Lumpen focused the archon on Davaulus. The gnome sorcerer was beginning to be drained of resources as he reached into his robes and pulled out a Wand of Magic Missile. “This is all I got left. This is for Xandak!”Lumpen said as he shot out a magic missile, the magical force crashing right into Davaulus’s body. The arcane blast scorched the man as his body fell to the ground dead. Doctor Reiner Davaulus had been defeated and with him down the cultists had no chance as the group of adventurers struck them down one by one. Soon, the Harrows stood amongst all the dead bodies as victors of the battle although at a cost of one of their own.