The darkness enveloped them as they descended into sewers under the city. Even Gayl’s elven eyes could not pierce the blackness. He had never been in a cave before, but he imagined that this is what it must be like. Despite the darkness, he knew that there were miles of small tunnels filled with hundreds of creatures skittering about. How could dwarve’s live like this? A shudder ran through him as he imagined living his entire life in such an environment. The smell was overbearing. Due to the drought there was very little water running through the sewers. The filth of the city flowed in small condensed streams that were nearly gelatinous. Gayl gagged and fought hard not to throw up as the scent assaulted him. Behind him he heard Khristian retching up and the baby crying as the smell hit them. After a few moments of fumbling around in the dark Gayl cursed in frustration. This was a stupid idea. They had no idea where they were going and couldn’t see. He supposed he could climb back up top and retrieve a piece of burning wreckage while hoping not to be seen. He began to make his way back to the ladder when he was blinded by a burst of bright light. His eyes adjusted and he saw Khristian’s sigil of Sarenrae radiating with holy light. “I didn’t know you were a priest” Gayl asked?
“Before I found Sarenrae’s light I walked a dark path. Her teachings saved me and I now wish to serve her in return. To devote yourself fully to your gods service is the greatest commitment one can make. “ A smile grew on Khristians face as if recalling a fond memory. “ Mirrianna Edasseril told me that”.
“You knew Mirrianna Edasseril?” Gayl asked somewhat shocked.
“Yes. She’s the one that recommended me for my position in Seven Arches. After she disappeared, her daughter, Coreena, approached me with very important mission.”
“What was the mission?”
Khristian lifted the baby into the light. “To protect her daughter”.
Gayl’s gaze fell to the child as Khristian’s words settled in. This baby was the great grand daughter of Lord Cadalon Edasseril. He became somewhat light headed as he considered the sequence of events and coincidences that lead him to this situation. Chosen and trained by Nevarre Edasseril he now found himself helping guard the child of Nevarre’s niece Coreena. Gayl shook his head and brought his thoughts back to the present. “Why did she leave her daughter with you?”
“Apparently the child is being hunted by a dangerous enemy. Also with all the recent disasters in Kyonin, Coreena felt the child would be safer hidden with someone trustworthy.” Khristian’s gaze dropped and he suddenly looked very forlorn. He held the screaming child close to him. “Turns out she made a poor choice”.
Gayl put his hand on Khristian’s shoulder. “Hey. We made this far and were safe for now. Do you know a way out of town through these sewers?” Khristian shook his head. Gayl took a deep breath and then immediately regretted it as he gagged on the stench. “Lets carry on then”. He turned and they began to head deeper into the sewers.
They hadn’t gone far but already it seemed like they had been wandering the sewer for hours. Every corridor looked the same and every turn seemed to be leading them in circles. Despite Khristian’s attempts to soothe her, the baby hadn’t stopped crying since they had descended into the sewer. Her screams echoed off the walls and was grinding Gayl’s nerves. Finally he spun around and yelled at Khristian “Is there anything you can do to shut her up”!
“What do you want me to do? Smother her?”
Gayl wrung his hands through his hair and growled in frustration. The rush he felt during the attack was wearing off and he was tired and sore. Khristian seemed to notice and recommend they sit and rest for a moment. Gayl agreed and lied back against the wall. They had been moving non stop since the attack and he now noticed how much his feet ached. After resting for a moment the baby’s screams subsided into low hoarse grumblings. Gayl took a moment to enjoy the silence when heard it. He jumped up and drew his pistol and began scanning their surroundings. Khristian asked what was wrong, but Gayl shushed him. He was sure he heard something. Didn’t he? His elven eyes could see much better then Khristian’s in the darkness, but all he saw was empty corridors. He had seen tons of rats and other small vermin down here but nothing dangerous. That’s when he noticed the absence of these creatures all of a sudden. From his life in the woods he knew that this was a sure sign of a predator near by. He cocked the hammer on his pistol, the click echoing down into the darkness. Several minutes went by and nothing. “I think it’s safe,” Khristian offered. “We should get moving”.
“Yeah, I think your rig….
It shot out of the darkness like lightning.
Gayl fired off a wild shot and hit the creature in the shoulder before it was on top of him. It wrapped its arms around him and bit down into his shoulder. He screamed in agony as his bones cracked and the creatures teeth tore through his skin. He could feel its saliva flowing into his wound and mixing with his blood as he fought not to pass out.
Khristian jumped on the creatures back and stabbed it several times with a small dagger from his belt. The creature screamed and threw Gayl to the floor as it turned towards Khristian. Gayl hit the ground and a jolt of pain shot throughout his body. Khristian was trying desperately to hold the creature at bay but Gayl knew he had to act fast before it tore Khristian to shreds. He gritted his teeth and drew his sword while pulling himself up. He wasn’t finished yet.
He jumped onto the creature while driving his sword deep into its back. The creature screamed and began to thrash, but Gayl held onto the blade. The creature began slamming its back against the wall trying to dislodge Gayl. Each slam sent a jolt of pain though Gayl so intense he would see a flash of light in his vision. He knew he couldn’t keep this up. He tried to think, but all he could focus on was holding on. The creature slammed him again and he heard his powder horn crack against the wall. He reached down and grabbed the horn and dumped the remainder of its contents on the creatures face. It thrashed wildly as the powder got into its nose and burned its eyes. Gayl dropped the horn and pulled out the gun he fired. He cocked the hammer and jammed the gun into the creatures fur and pulled the trigger. The spark ignited the powder and Gayl jumped off as the creature roared in agony. Gayl hit the ground hard but quickly began to roll around putting out the flames on him. The creature screamed more as the rest of the hair on its body caught fire and soon it was fully engulfed. It shot down the hall and ran for several yards before it tripped and fell. It didn’t get up.
Gayl laid on the ground for a moment. His vision was blurring and he felt very cold and tired. Then he felt Khristian’s hands on him and heard him chanting a prayer. Suddenly warmth coursed through Gayl’s body and he could actually feel his bones and flesh mending. His vision returned and the agony of his wounds were gone, though he still felt sore as hell. Khristian helped him up and dusted him off. Gayl thanked him and began to collect his things as Khristian picked up the baby where he set her down. Gayl collected as much powder as he could off the ground but most of it was burned up in the fire. He was only able to get enough for one more shot. That along with the loaded gun from his friend Serrus left him with only two shots and no reload. Things were not looking up.
They slowly walked over to the corpse of the burning creature. It’s flaming body stood out like a miniature sun in the dark hallway and the smell of its burning flesh was actually worst the scent of the sewer. Gayl slowly bent down to examine it closer. It had a long tail and had an animal like snout that ended with two giant incisors. “What is this? Some kind of king dire rat?” Gayl asked. Khrisitian was silent for a moment. The baby thankfully was passed out (probably due to shock). “We had heard rumors about them,” he finally said. Gayl rose and turned to him questioningly.
“When the Edasseril’s activated one of the arches, it imbued the local forest and animals with a powerful primal energy. That’s why sections of the woods were off limits. We had been hearing reports of these animals coming closer and closer to the city. We didn’t believe the power was strong enough to reach all the way down here.”
Gayl had heard about the woods, but the fact that more of these creatures might be running around down here made him want to take his chances with the army up top. He turned to continue on when he suddenly became very dizzy. Khristian caught him and asked what was wrong.
“I don’t know. I just don’t feel that well”. He put his hand to his head and realized he was sweating.
Khristian put his hand on Gayl’s head and looked very concerned. “You have a fever?!” His gaze dropped to the rat creature and back to Gayl and he now looked very frightened. “I think you’ve been afflicted”.
“I thought you healed me?” Gayl responded.
“My prayers knitted your wounds, but to remove a contagion requires much more powerful spells. Here sit down.”
Khristian helped Gayl down and began to treat his wound. He pulled some ointment from his bag and rubbed it on Gayl’s scar. He then sprinkled some holy water on the area while saying some prayers. “I’m sorry, but that’s all I can do”.
Gayl was feeling horrible now. He was hot and sweating profusely. He looked up and saw the frightened look on Khristian’s face and smiled. “It’s okay. I’m actually feeling a little better now. You must be more blessed then you thought”.
Khristian still looked concerned. “I think we should rest here. You shouldn’t move in your condition and the baby could use some rest”. Gayl wasn’t about to argue, especially considering how tired Khristian was looking. “You rest while I take watch,” Khristian suggested.
Gayl smiled and responded, “I’m an elf. We do not sleep, remember. I’ll take first watch”. Khristian was about to argue but Gayl raised his hand to quite him. Khristian rubbed his eyes, sighed and settled down next to the child. He was fast asleep in moments.
Galy shifted to make himself more comfortable and turned his attention to his surroundings. He felt like hell and wanted nothing more then to curl up and die. He turned and gazed at Khristian and baby, sleeping contently despite everything that had happened. He sighed and turned back to the sewers. He cocked his gun and settled in for what was to be a long and uncomfortable watch.