Perched on the edge oblivion, Xin was chained to the sacrificial chamber of Cultists of Bhaal. Moments previous, she thought death was upon her, but then a rain of arrows and mystic energy rained down upon the leader of the cultists, felling him in a single attack. Her friends were here – rescue was close at hand.
Waves of a strange blood lust began to permeate the wills of our Heroes. They wanted blood, death, and despair as much as any cultist might. So much so, their bewitching caused the goodly gnome of Gond to attack Uraug from behind, as the descended into the fray. The Son of Stiletto was fighting an urge to assassinate the Bhaal worshipers and focus on freeing the prone ranger.
As most of the robed villains hid behind their five victims in preparation for the battle, two of them dropped their obsidian sacrificial swords and transformed into undead murders of crows. They flew up at the elf witch and pirate above. Terrified, Vogel cast out waves of thunderous sound, destroying many of them, before they squeezed through the small viewing ports to attack the women.
Layla froze, fighting the fear and bloodlust, unable to fight. The wizard took the remaining birds out with her arcane blasts, only to have the bewildered pirate attack her next with her blade! Thankfully, with a bit of help, Layla snapped out of it and ran down to join the others in battle below.
Uraug, desperately was fighting several villains at one time. Surrounded by cultists and a skeletal poisonous viper, she broke noses, snapped arms, and crushed bones. Unfortunately, she was overwhelmed and knocked unconscious, moments from her own death.
Ander slid into hiding and freed the chained Xinixelica from her bindings. The hobbit slinked towards the dying Darria Griot, whose lifeblood was slipping from her skinned arm. This is when he saw the foul sight of the flayed dwarven zombie stomping towards the fight. But, if things couldn’t get any worse, two demonic quasits flew down from the ceiling and started ripping out the guts of the two other prone sacrificial lambs.
Meanwhile, Supe raced to the rescue of his fallen half-orc friend. He fought off two of the mace-wielding enemies and called upon Gond to spare his friend. Uraug awoke, not sparing a moment before starting to fight again.
Sadly, the naked animal that Xin had become, created a blood lust in her. Collecting the fallen obsidian blades, unable to distinguish friend from foe, she struck and nearly killed both Darria and Ander, who both fell unconscious from the blade strikes.
Luckily, Xin, in attacking the next opponents, shook the main hold of the blood lust and was able to help Uraug and Layla in their fight against the remaining cultists, quasits, and flayed zombie. This allowed Supe time to save the lives of both of the dying halflings.
At last, the battle ended, with one of the cultists jumping from the platform into the abyss below, but not before Vogel got a shot off with her magic missiles, knocking the now dead cultist, spinning into oblivion.
The blood lust had subsided, so the group patched themselves up a bit, freed Darria, and found Xin’s things, and a few bits of jewelry, in a secret compartment below the altar. It was then that the group noticed the emblazoned scar on the back of both Darria, and Xin. Large, scarred flesh in the symbol of Bhaal was burnt into their flesh. It seemed to have imparted some sort of powers, for good or ill it is unknown, onto the two women. They had claws, spoke Abyssal, and had serious anger issues.
The group decided to flee this area, taking a brief note of the the sound of liquid flowing in the abyss below, they gathered the obsidian swords, Layla carried Darria, and they ran. On the way out, they discovered a chest of several more items before leaving the area altogether, heading back to the Undercellar.
On the way there, Darria was in and out of consciousness. She was muttering many things: of a woman betraying her – a bright light – fire – asking for her father – and then she wept quietly to herself.
The Rascals of Elturel, plus two, raced to the empty tavern of The Fetcher – their intention, to find shelter and report that the route had been compromised. When they arrived, they found a surprised Fetcher packing a travel bag. It didn’t take long for the group to surmise from his demeanor that he was likely in-the-know about their ambush.
Knocking out the bewildered Niobi, the group surrounded the grotesquely obese man, threatening him with swords. The Fetcher feigned ignorance, which got him a sword to the belly, by the fed-up Xin. Supe brought the man back from deaths door, but not necessarily to save him. The interrogation continued. He finally began to spill his guts, once his guts had been spilled. He admitted to working with the Cultists of Bhaal – although he seemed to not be directly a member himself. He was in it for the money. He did give up that the Cult used the same method of communication that the Guild used – hidden messages in the local rag, the Baldur’s Mouth.
His usefulness at an end, the pile of blubber was put to a quick death.
Looting him and his things, they decided to leave Layla in charge of the Tavern down here. They split the money with her, keeping her as a solid ally. They would leave her to deal with explaining things to Niobi and seeing that Darria found her way home. The group would meet up with her in the morning, in order to get passage into Upper City.
The Rascals found a deserted storage room away from Undercellar center, and bedded down for the night, after healing and having a few bowls of pissing shrimp stew.
Their nights were uneasy, wracked with nightmares about the horrible things they saw and did the day previous. Especially for the ranger, Xin. The fiery eyes of Bhaal seered into their psyches. Hardened, they saw the faces of some of their enemies now – they were very real. Something very terrible was going on, and they were in the fiery eye of the storm.