12:13 – 12:15 – A potion is used on Jaegar, and the group, battered, terrified and aware that they have many more battles ahead of them yet – though steely with a resolve to push on through – stagger towards the exit.
12:16 – 12:18 – However, as they begin to move forwards, the assassin's sensitive ears pick up the sounds of furtive movement from the dark, befouled chambers ahead, and a moment later the harsh barking snarls of Ghouls can be heard echoing forth.
Jaeger moves into position by one of the chambers support pillars and waits for the first horror to enter the chamber, whilst the other two adventurers set themselves up as bait, standing directly across from the opening.
The first Ghoul bursts in, another not far behind, and it is slashed across its throat by the assassin's shadowy blade as it charges, slavering, towards the Swordmage and Sorceress. The monster piles forwards regardless, trailing slimy black gore, and slashes the Swordmage with a savage blow, it's rotten toxins forcing his muscles rigid.
In moments the chamber resonates once more with battle as the foetid undead – three in all – set about the party. Having more than a little experience in fighting these things though, the group very quickly dispatch them, and are soon creeping forwards once more.
12:18 – 12:30 – Beyond the lust chambers are two smaller chambers. Both were previously burial vaults, but they are now cloakrooms; the discarded clothes of the necrophile cultists hanging from bone hooks set in the crumbling stone. The group spend some time searching these clothes, each wary of any sounds that might spell trouble, and find another potion (this one a thick brew similar to one they found on one of the cultists corpses – a brew that protects against venoms and necrotic energy), and a small onyx ring.
Having caught their breaths a little, and bound the worst of their wounds, the group move towards a narrow, sagging doorway.
12:30 – 12:35 – A narrow, decaying flight of stone stairs rises into cobwebbed gloom ahead. Several dead celebrants lie along these stairs; crushed in the panic to escape. The stairs themselves are decorated with obscene ornaments made from the reproductive organs of the dead, the alcoves that once housed bones now filled with foul offerings to the cults unknown sponsor.
Slowly, weapons drawn and spells readied, the group creep up the stairs, stopping to check that each body is truly dead as they go. At the top of the stairs is a small landing, from which another flight of stairs ascend, hairpinning round to rise parallel to the previous flight.
The walls are badly scratched along this flight, and there is evidence of an ancient cave in, the ceiling a vault of darkness some 20' high.
A distant voice, cracked with insanity, can be heard echoing from some unseen place beyond the stairs, apparently coming through a shattered doorway set in the right wall at the top of the crumbling stairwell, and both Varracuda and Seren shudder as they half recognise blasphemous passages within the raving threnody.
Fully alert now, the group creep slowly forwards, moving with all care towards the distant voice and the crumbling doorway.
Suddenly something pounces from the darkness of the collapsed ceiling vault; a flayed humanoid corpse with dagger like claws, rolling suppurating eyeballs and a lashing sore-covered tongue of unnatural length and dexterity, which is tipped with a tiny barb of bone. The horror leaps the full length of the stairs and lands on the wall next to the group, crouching on the wall like a spider, fully at ease with its unusual position. With a swift slash of one of its claws it draws a crimson line across Varracuda's throat, the swordmage's life's blood spurting across his companions and all over the undead thing.
Thinking fast, Varracuda slashes at the horror with his blade, drawing a sheath of green flames over the glowing steel. He then presses the scorching metal against his wound, stopping its deadly bleeding with a flash of agony and the hiss of melting skin.
A suffocating wave of utter darkness suddenly blossoms from the assassin, enveloping the struggling undead and gumming its movement with gelatinous pools of shadow. As the shadows withdraw, they leave huge drained wounds in the monsters body, and it suddenly seems reluctant to stay where it is.
Any chance of it bounding away is stopped a moment later however, as Seren blasts it with a ray of icy energy, numbing the thing and making its movements clumsy and slow.
And then it is slain; decapitated by Varracuda's flaming blade.
12:35 – 12:40 – Jaeger creeps further up the stairs, eyes scanning the darkness above for any more unpleasant surprises. As he approaches the top of the stairs, he spots something built into the floor that worries him – a tiny sigil almost concealed by the dust and debris.
Carefully he moves the dirt, and discovers a trap – a fire rune, set to trigger when anything living passes by (clearly set since the last cultists fled this area).
Using his skills, Jaeger delays the trap and creeps a little further, peering through the broken doorway, the insane chanting and weeping seeming to grow louder, the air in the space beyond, growing colder.
Immediately beyond the door is a huge statue of the Weeping Angel, which blocks any clear view of the huge, marble clad vault in which it stands, apart from a few glimpses of rows of stone sarcophagi and scattered bones.
Jaeger senses a gathering evil beyond, and warning the rest of the group, prepares to enter the marble vaults.