State of Play - Shnecke's Wolves - June 18th and July 3rd, 2012

1/8/1472 – 00:25 – 00:35: The group pass through an unseen portal at some point along the “steps” into the chest, and find themselves suddenly under black, crushing water, at least 50' beneath the surface. For Varracuda, Lia and Thatari, this is a serious issue, as unlike the undead, they need to breathe....and there are sharks...aggressive, powerful sharks. It is cold, and everyone is disoriented by their sudden and unexpected immersion.

A difficult battle. A riptide current that snakes through the lake in which the group fight drags and batters those that get caught in it, and there are three types of shark; Endless Hungerers (massive, slow moving horrors that bloody with a single bite, and kill with two), Death Surgeons (smaller, sleek, rapid sharks that use deadly hit and run tactics, and who drag their victims deeper in to the crushing dark with each hit), and a single Stormhead (a large, hammer-headed beast who's overdeveloped ampulae lorenzii allow it unleash deadly blasts of lightning, stunning or killing nearby prey).

Adapting well to the dangerous and unusual environment, the group still struggle against the aquatic carnivores. Things get even tougher when Lia first breaks the surface of the water, and immediately takes a javelin to the head – thrown by one of two Shadrakuul cultists who have been drawn by the frantic action in the arrival pool. However, the group, aided by the hulking golem, manage to inflict enough damage to the sharks that they slink off to seek less aggressive prey. As for the two cultists, they meet a painful end when the assassin steps through the veil of reality to appear behind them, joined shortly after by a furious warlock, and tears into them, quickly ending their lives.  

More cultists can be heard running towards the chamber, their angry voices shouting in Aurym. Most of the group are still in the waters (and they are uncomfortably aware of the sleek shadows of more sharks gathering beneath their feet), and they begin to swim towards the slimy posts that support the platform on which the assassin and warlock stand.

A javelin suddenly blossoms from the assassin's shoulder, heralding the arrival of the Shadrakuulites, and realising that the slippery posts are going to present a difficult obstacle for the less athletic members of the party, Grigori orders Skull to clamber halfway up one, providing a tacky, but passable bridge to the top.

One by one the group climb over Skulls slimy mass, and pull themselves onto the platform. By this point, both Jaeger and Thatari have taken a good pounding, the cultists attacking in a mob. There are several different kinds of cultists. Some, like those before, wear armour made from shark skin and bone, and hurl javelins with expert precision. Others wear heavier armour, made more from bone than shark skin, and wield long, shark tooth tipped spears, whilst the most numerous appear to be normal people, dressed in ceremonial robes adorned with fish scales, who shriek with insane zeal as they stab at the group with bone daggers fashioned from megaladon teeth.

The tunnel that leads from the platform is low and at points narrow. The group initially struggle to form an offensive line that allows the most party members to strike at the cultists. However, as the dagger wielding drudges fall to the blades and tricks of the group (though only after inflicting some truly vicious wounds on both Thatari and the assassin; the tooth dagger leaving freely bleeding slashes, the sight of which seems to spur all the cultists into a berserk rage), they are able to form a solid defence, and soon, the defenders of the cult are broken.

All in all, it takes little over half a minute to crush the cultists, though most everyone has taken at least a few licks from their blades and fervour.

00:36 – 00:41: Catching their breath, and quickly looking over the corpses, the group are surprised when no more cultists come to greet them. Jaeger has got a glimpse of what lies ahead; the corridor hair-pinning to the north-east, before opening into a large cavern, dimly illuminated by a sourceless blue glow. It is hard to see much though, as the middle of the cavern is dominated by a strange altar of sorts; a huge mass of black basalt, covered in shark teeth and jaws, weapons, splinters of wood and bone and other pieces of chewed and shattered flotsam and jetsam. The assassin can just make out that in the eastern wall of the cavern, there is some kind of opening – either another tunnel, or a widening of the chamber into a much larger space. From this area can be heard distant sounds of weeping and coughing...