In all honesty it wasnít my best entrance into a room, but when you come face to face with what appeared to be a couple of dozen cultists up to who knows what kind of dodgy dealings, sliding fifteen foot on your arse down a passageway wasnít the worst way I could think of introducing myself. It was a bloody big room with a few other ways out, but straight off my attention was focused on the raised dais that was swarming with robed buggers, and the heat haze that seemed to be rising up from the centre, like it was coming out of some sort of fire pit; but I couldnít see any flames or smoke. The only light in fact was coming from a dozen or so braziers that were lit and seemed to be giving off as much of a funny smell as they were light.
Leaning back over my shoulder I did my best to indicate that I could have done with some help and luckily Stalland was on his way down. One of the roomís other occupants was making his way over to me though and made it clear by his gait and the sword hilt I could just make out that he was none too pleased to see me and would be even less happy with more of us joining him. Sod that though; if things were going to kick off, I needed some help. If these were members of some other shadow cartel I could probably have talked my out of the situation, but who knows what people who consort with Daemons want when interrupted by a good looking Pelosian such as myself.
As everyone else made their ways down, the chap was face to face, and I donít mind telling you O had my sword in my hand and my shield off my shoulder. Stalland, like me, quick with his words, took control of the situation and did a bloody good job of convincing the man we were just lost and needed to go through another tunnel that went nowhere near what they were up to.
While he went back to confer with hooded brigade who stayed up on their platform, we did our best to move subtly to the exit that would get us closest to the tower; at least as far as Stalland and me could figure it. Iíve got to say, there are times when I donít know what we would do without Drona; if he wasnít there to let us know these sods were set on summoning some dig fuck-off Daemon, I donít know how we would have worked it out for ourselves. I mean, there was only the hoods, the raised platform and the unnaturally hot pit in the ground, how were we to know. We had managed to make it about a third of the way towards the exit, ready to bolt if it looked like things werenít going to go our way when the spokesman came back and gave us a free pass. There was some bollocks about never seeing our faces again or they would be torn of by dark creatures man was not supposed to ken, but it just sounded like empty posturing to me, so we made our exit quick as you like.
Beyond the tunnel was more of the same until we came to another door, but with my ear at it, I could have sworn there was something big happening just beyond. As we were getting ready to push it in, my picks useless with the amount of rust in the mechanism, we heard something bad from behind too; a hell of racket that sounded like screaming. Whatever those boys were up to, it didnít sound like they were that successful. A quick boot in the right place then brute force to push the door free of the lock and we were through into a hell of a damp corridor, I could feel the wetness rush past me as it flooded into the air behind us. The noise was louder through the door, but it didnít take long to get to its source, three waterfalls of foul smelling liquid that could only be from the cityís sewage. Lucky there seemed to be a stout iron bridge that would get us past them, with only a locked door in the way.
It was nice to see a well used lock in this place and in only a couple of minutes I had gotten the best of it and we were through and over the bridge, clothes over our mouths and noses to keep the worst of the stench at bay. Before long there was another positive sign; a ladder leading up to what looked to be a way out. None of us were right sure where the hell we were, but anyway onto the ground level and a chance to check our surroundings was too good an opportunity to pass so we tried it out. Sadly the way was barred with a solid looking trap door that none of us could shift so Stalland went up to see of he could reason with whoever might be on the other side of it. From the half of the conversation I could hear from below, he really cocked it up; it sounded like he was trying to convince whoever was on the other side that he was an attractive woman, with a hell of a deep voice.
That put paid to that so we carried further on, unfortunately our way was soon stopped by a river of shit. Iím not the most squeamish of guys, but it was a good couple of foot deep and there was no way to say how long we would have to wade through it before we found another way out. We had no idea where we were going to come out to, and rising from the depths covered in crap wasnít going to make anyone amenable to us even if they were friendly, so we headed back to the trapdoor, this time to use some force.
Long story short, we managed to crack through the boards only to be faced by more wood so we had to talk our way through again. No matter how silken tongued I was, the only way we managed to get through was with a bit of hard coin, but the guy with the crossbow who was waiting for us took us at our word about being lost when he found out we were in an Umbruc; I swear, people in this city are happier to trust an honest thief than a corrupt watch cartel. I did feel a bit bad when we had to walk past his dear old Ma doing her knitting but it was worth it to get some fresh air.
A bit of a snack and figuring out where we were took no time, but Gaius proved useful again by helping everyone do what they could to cover their arms and armour before we set out into the city proper. We were happily on our way, sod off tower ahead of us, when things went a bit downhill though; we were being tailed. Not just Stalland, as I thought at first, but we had been made as a group, no matter what we did to stagger ourselves on the way. I dropped back a couple of times hoping to catch him alone, but he knew his game and I lost him while warning Red that we had company. Hopefully he hadnít run off to get some help and instead got scared off by me noticing him. That left only one thing I had to worry about, getting us into the sodding tower.
A quick scout had found a balcony we could scale, but there was a door on the ground floor with a pretty simple looking lock that offered little challenge, so in we went. I donít mind admitting that I lost my way once we got inside; there was so much chittering alien flesh to walk through, so many doors to choose from, stairs up down and round, with only a needle to point our way, that within five minutes, I doubt I could have found my way back out. It wasnít exactly safe either; Drona made a friend of some snake looking thing, but it seemed like there was plenty other creatures in there that looked to us as food. I did my best to throw some scraps of food around to keep them occupied, but more than once we had problems, Gaius once more had to throw himself in front of Drona, luckily, before I was needed, the Daemonoligist had sent it on its way. Eventually it looked like we were at the right door and once more there was a lock to pick.
There was something about this door though; my instinct told me to play as safe as I could, to keep my fingers clear and pull back at the first sound it made that I didnít like. Luckily, there seemed to be no trap and the lock snapped open after only a minute, but I still wasnít at my ease. I took out my knife and used the tip to push the door open, again ready to leap back at the first sign of trouble. Turns out I was right to have been worried about the door, but for the wrong reason. The moment it was more than a few inches clear of its frame a voice came from within, and it was no human voice I swear. It said one word, ĎFinally,í and I knew someone had been played. Those windows started looking pretty damned inviting, I can tell you, even though I had no idea what floor we were on.