We have set off on the word of Camon to find Manse’s manse. I feel a great deal of darkness in this man and I am loath to place any trust in him. He is, however, our only lead to locating Starsha and what sounds like countless others who have been recruited for an evil purpose not yet known to us. I have confiscated Camon’s tarot cards. They are emitting a rather intense burning sensation (-Presumably much like the condition Berrian described of himself last week after rescuing the two girls from the prison; G.P.T.). I can feel in my soul that no good will come of using these cards, however, I wonder if by the power of Melora I might dispel the evil residing within and use them for a higher purpose? A ponderment for another day.
Camon brought us to the sewer of the manse, which he advised was the most discreet entrance to the building. It was dark and damp and carried a foul odour, not unlike that time we found the pile of rotten scraps that confounded feysquirrel had hidden under the floorboards in the library (-I will have to hear more about this creature; G.P.T.). We entered and trudged through swampiness worse than even the boggiest of bogs back home, placing our trust in the light of our 2 sunrods and Melora’s good grace to keep us surefooted. I will say I must have had penance to pay given that I fell headlong at least 3 times into the filth, more often than my compatriots, though they had their fair share of muddy robes to tend to as well.
Just past the entrance we encountered a bit of a surprise. We thought we would be alone in these rank sewers, however, in a room off the main tunnel there we spotted 2…I cannot call them men as they had the faces and bodies of rats…creatures playing what looked to be a game of cards! Desperate to remain anonymous and make our way to the main building, we immediately engaged in a tussle with these creatures and after tables were toppled and arrows were shot we left them for dead and continued on our way (-I must remember to impress upon my colleagues the importance of collecting samples; G.P.T.).
Further along, we noticed a large flow of water that looked to be about 18 feet wide. We wondered if we should cross it and then to our luck we noticed a large board that was coincidentally 18 feet wide! So naturally….we took the treasure of a board and walked AWAY from the flow of water to see if we could use it in the tunnel going in the opposite direction (-This sounds like a Gyna-type plan; G.P.T.).
After a few more tumbles in the mud and getting the board stuck in a crooked hallway (-Yep, definitely Gyna; G.P.T.), we came across another curious room. It had a rack of bars on the cement ground and noises of, presumably, distressed prisoners coming from below! The voices sounded…withered somehow…reminiscent of the undead we encountered weeks prior. On the opposite side of the room, there was a single chain hanging from the ceiling, begging to be pulled. Luthien and I decided no good could come from pulling things hanging from ceilings here so we pushed forward. We left the others in the room and went in search of higher ground. Previously, we had figured out we needed to make our way up and to the centre of the sewer system to find the central cistern leading into the manse. We spotted a large crate in our path, decided it must be there for a reason and lo! found a trap door in the ceiling above! We climbed up as we were both anxious to keep moving forward.
After I fell one more time in the sludge (my poor robes, this mud will never come out), Luthien had a feeling that our compatriots were in trouble, as we could not hear them behind us. As we made our way back down, a deafening boom could be heard from down the hall. We turned the corner we spied a most disturbing scene! Dense rubble piled all around the entrance way to the room with the undead, clearly the location of the explosion. Berrian was lying prone, in the room amidst the rubble, his body covered in viscous black goo. Gyna was glaring terribly at Puff, while Puff was trying to help revive Berrian. And most worrisome, Camon was running just past the far corner of the tunnel from which we entered, making his escape!! What a disaster! I don’t know what happened but we must move forward (-Clearly a lack of my strategic acumen; G.P.T.). Puff revived Berrian enough to hobble along with us as Luthien and I showed the team the trap door we had discovered. Thankful for progress and relieved that we seemed to be heading in the right direction, we gained a spring in our step as we walked in the tunnel above. We heard rushing water in the distance…turned a sharp corner and saw the central cistern we hoped would exist pointing us to the entrance to the manse! We had no moment to celebrate however because just beyond the whirling waters we saw a sizable pack of those rat creatures…and a cannon…pointing right at us….