House Xaniqos has calmed down a bit. Occasionally the Lady Thandysha falls into a fit of rage, but is mostly taking it out on her eldest daughter, Quarra. One morning, the Xaniqos siblings walk into K’yorl, the house wizard, who is dressed in an expensive robe.
I hear Jharrath has had an interesting business proposition in which I’m quite interested. I would advice you to check it out as soon as possible!
Jharrath has been talking to Tylesse, a merchant who trades in potions and alchemy items and ingredients. His supply caravan has been ambushed near a cave complex and the only survivor mentioned a big reptile as culprit. If the drow are able to get the bag with ingredients back and punish the perpetrator, House Xaniqos will get a 30% discount. A good deal.
The four set out into the Underdark and reach the crime scene. A huge cave opens up for them, revealing four entrances. It is silent in the cave, the only sound is water dripping. A perfect environment for lizards, salamanders, small vipers and vermin.
Lilith orders her brother to check out the various entrances. The first and second cave are small, with patches of the ever present fungi. When Alvra is about to enter the third cave, the scout warns him. Clicking sounds indicate the presence of large vermin. In the middle of the large bare cave is a nest with two cockroaches. The stench is overwhelming but the Fighter goes in anyway. Phaedra signals the others to come closer and together – in between several gagging fits – they attack the huge insects. Alvra kills both creatures.
In the last cave the company is faced with a stream that leads to the right, with a smaller tunnel on the left. More clicking sounds resonate against the walls. The Cleric tells her Wizard brother to summon an elemental and check out the water. After its appearance, Phaedra follows close on the summoned creature’s heels. The elemental kills the approaching cockroach in two massive blows and the company moves forward. They all wade into the tunnel, past the insect’s carcass, towards the fourth beast. With magic missiles, Kellgore’s firebolt and heavy pummeling, they manage to slay the cockroach. Will there never be an end to this vermin? Another big beetle scuttles close and again it is Alvra who slashes it to smithereens. Lilith, not displeased with her brother’s performance, heals most of the Fighter’s wounds.
Down the tunnel, in a relatively dry part of the cave, they find rotting material, some bones, a purse filled with gold and two tanglefoot bags. The Cleric gives one of the bags to Alvra. A pool of water lies stagnant in the center of the cave. When Lilith looks closer, she sees movement on the surface, but assumes it is caused by the moisture that is dripping down the walls.
Then they discover five relatively fresh kobold skulls and a very fresh goblin head. A masterwork chainmail lies close, flanked by a magical sword. Three skulls are arranged into a shrine; Lilith doesn’t know any religion that uses this kind of display. Suddenly Phaedra warns her siblings of a new threat: a predator sound arises from the water. A large crablike insect emerges from the pool, with dark hungry eyes, mandibles and tentacles, quivering around the beast’s maw. It is a very fast moving crustacean, that clicks its two big pincers.
The beast tries to grapple Jharrath and the Wizard activates a grease spell and attempts to free himself, but the crustacean wraps his tentacles around him, totally paralyzing Jharrath. The same fate awaits the Cleric. Phaedra manages to chop off one of the tentacles – her brother drops to the ground – but then gets grabbed by the beast herself. Before it can act any further, Alvra kills the monster with a huge hit. Phaedra lands gracefully and checks on her brother and sister. Both are not moving, Jharrath on the verge of death. When he comes by, they offer him a healing potion. Soon after, Lilith also gains consciousness.
Behind the pile of skulls, they find a big bag with ingredients and several potions. Jharrath confirms it is the stuff they were searching for and starts taking tiny samples from the ingredients. Phaedra scolds him and tells him to put them back.
Bloodied and injured, they make their way back to the city and search for merchant Tylesse at the market. The nobles stare at the group and the Cleric glares back. Merchant Tylesse is impressed and tells them she is in debt of House Xaniqos. They have earned their 30% discount on all wares and receive two potions of holy water and two bottles of accid. Then the siblings head back to the mansion, exhausted and filthy. The masterwork chainmail and magic short sword are donated to the armory, though the Cleric keeps the gold pieces. Jharrath finds out that the beast was a Chuul, a predator that has the custom to keep trophies – if nothing else can be found, they will keep the skulls of their victims.