When last we left Prince Nomad and the Sorcerer Quintus in their quest for vengeance in the cavernous depths of the Catacombs of Kra’adumek, fleeing from the Spider Cannibals after learning of the Black Pyramid.
Time passed under alien suns. Swearing to return, poisoned, laden with spoils, supplies and sorcery, our heroes made for distant A’agrybah, jewel of the sands. Poisons expunged by the arts of an elven priest, the two heroes healed and spent, swearing they would return. The Snake Man Krumpus and the Wood-elf bandit Elrohir joined them, eager for the promise of gold and bloodlust sated. But destiny decreed otherwise.
“Foul Kra’dumek, place of our past durance. Let us not tarry friends! Great riches await in its frozen tunnels!”
Ancient sorcerers and loremasters named it the Great Polar Vortex. Every 32 years it struck Cha’alt, turning the Sands into a gleaming mirror of frost. Our band found shelter as three days of utter cold leeched the life from the desert. When our heroes emerged, Kra’adumek was but a tomb, the Demon worm of the same name a hideous sculpture. On their way, refugees told of a war between his priests. At the toothed maw of the foul beast, they were greeted only by ominous roars from inside. Steeling themselves, our heroes travelled into the very Maw of Kra’adumek!
Eagerly, the sorcerer harvested the frozen flesh of the demon worm, seeking to unravel the secrets contained within its fell biology! The others were preoccupied with less studious concerns. Drawing blades and moving by the light of phosphorescent polyps clinging to the creature’s mouth, they heard whispers further up the winding corridors of its throat. Krumpus the Snakeman snuck forward, hearing the growled mutterings of cutthroats sheltering from the bitter cold, eager for easy prey.
A devious creature, Krumpus attempted a ruse to convince the Bandits that he was part of the unctuous Thieves Guild of Kra’adumek, but they were not deceived. Quarrels they gave in return, and many, hitting nothing but air, for luck was with Krumpus that day.
Battle was joined, swords were brandished and cries of battle were uttered. Krumpus struck first, his blade finding the heart of one of the bandits. Life left his eyes as he died in the frozen maw of the demon god. Nomad swung wide, hitting nothing but air. The elf blinds one with a spray of sorcerous venom. A third, esorcelled by the enchantments of the Sorcerer Quintus, watched on in oblivious joy as his friends met their gods that day. The last, swearing, was decapitated by Nomad’s blade. A good day.
Krumpus slides up behind the blinded bandit and whispers “tell me your secrets, little one”
The bandits gold and jade necklace we pocketed. A curious otherwordly tome, Yes I Can by some alien wizard Sam-my Davis Jr. we left to rot. Heeding warnings of strange oozes further on in the tunnel, the blind cutthroat met its end at the hands of the Snake man. The other was armed and joined our band, marching forward.
A gelid, translucent ooze filled with golden flecks emerged, its cubic bulk imposing and strangely terrifying. Our heroes hesitated, quavering, about to fight for their lives, when a clear alien voice was heard in their heads.
“I mean you no harm.”
And thus our band parleyed with the creature B’soob, a prisoner of the Demon Worm, who saught only escape when another, more sinister thing arrived. A nameless ocular horror, with tentacles that could turn a man’s flesh to putrid, gelid ruin. It arrived from deep within the maw, filled with alien hunger. A formidable threat.
Arrows and quivers flew past it or stuck point deep in its single, gaping eye, hitting nothing vital, if indeed, the creature had anything resembling sane biology. The serpent man unleashed his magicks of hideous laughter, harmed the creature naught. Its tentacles, hungering, leapt forward, grasping the bandit and melting him into a pile of mephitic purple ooze at the touch.
Confronted by such a horror, our heroes were forced to resort to desperate measures. T’was Nomad who cried they should invoke the Daemon, but it was the Sorcerer Quintus who brought it forth. Unearthly chants and flashes of witch-flight filled the frozen cavern of the Worm’s throat as from the fiery darkness of the Pit was drawn forth a Daemon!
Slick, crimson flesh covered rippling muscles that could bend steel and crack bone. Serpentine eyes leered forth with malign intelligence from a hideous bestial face. At a pointed finger and a muttered command from the Sorcerer, it attacked the eldritch horror, rending it asunder, its demoniac flesh proof against its primordial toxins. Leaving only a ruined puddle in its wake, the Daemon soon went back to the pit.
Our heroes were amazed, and the creature B’soob overjoyed, for it had long hated the horror though they were both prisoners of the loathsome wyrm. Warning of men deeper in the tunnel, it departed. In the wake of the battle, the Snake Man Krumpus had vanished, but the Elf Lord Faoust had arrived from some nameless Otherwere and joined his sword to expedition.
Our heroes noticed now another feature. A vast bearded head of stone, with jeweled eyes, shining in the cold light. How it got lost in the maw of the Worm? Who can say? Though our heroes were reluctant to trifle with the Head’s Gemstone Eyes, they were not too cowardly to look within, finding Weaponry aplenty. Products of barely remembered science, more formidable then swords, they helped themselves to the guns that lay within.
As to what horrors awaited deeper within Kra’adumek, that is a tale for the next time…