Friday, 28 January 2011

Cradle Plain -- Session 59 -- Sunday 21st November 2010

In which the adventurers mourn the loss of one of their number, an insurance policy is taken out against the imminent danger of death, and the company finally comes face to face with the venerable warden of the Feywild prison...

Roster (Party Level 11th)
Berend - Dwarven Fighter (Dreadnought)
Elumai - Eladrin Wizard (Shiere Knight)
Finial - Half-elf Paladin (Justicar)
Jonas - Human Rogue/Ranger (Master Spy)
Aerallo - Tiefling Warlock

November 2nd, 370 Pale King's Reckoning (continued)

In the house of horrors which is the crocodile's stomach, Elumai feels the last of her consciousness slipping away. She grasps at a Potion of Healing and fumbles blindly with the stopper, but she has no strength even for that, and loses awareness with the bottle clasped unopened in her hand.

The crocodile rallies against Finial's Radiant Pulse, forcing its way back into the pool where it's most at home and where it knows instinctively it has the best chance of survival. A surge of filthy water washes over the paladin as the jaws once more clamp down on his armour, squeezing flesh and bone.

Out in the open Berend activates his Dwarven Scale Armour and quaffs his own Potion of Healing. A surge of invigorating energy courses through him and he withdraws from the kill-zone between the two quicklings, their blades clanging off his axe and armour as they jeer at his retreat. Crashing through the undergrowth, he almost barrels straight into Finial, water pouring from his plate-mail as he retreats from the pool, keeping the crocodile at bay with the lance of his Radiant Pulse.

Behind him an explosion of leaves and shortswords announces the arrival of the quicklings as they chase Berend through the undergrowth. Both he and Finial swipe at them as they streak past but with unbelievable skill they dodge under the blades and deal a dreadful reverse-handed blow to Berend which brings the dwarf to the edge of unconsciousness... however with characteristic endurance he finds the will to stay on his feet, sweeping at them with his axe and desperately searching for an opening in their defense.

For Aerello, however, time is up. A spasm of muscle finally crushes him to death within the crocodile's gullet. The giant reptile once more descends to the bottom of its pool, hoping that the intruders who have caused it so much trouble will simply leave it alone to digest its meal in peace.

Finial re-energises his Radiant Pulse, burning the crocodile with light now amplified by the Gem of Radiance he has placed at his feet, and touches his other hand to Berend in order to heal him against the renewed assault of the quicklings. It's barely enough to keep him on his feet, and the two defenders know they're quickly running out of time. The crocodile has no choice but to attack the cruel half-elf whose magic is hurting it so badly, and hurtles out of the pool to bite down on him. This puts it directly in Berend's sights, who having had no luck hurting the nimble quicklings, takes the chance to bring his axe down on the creature's snout. There's a satisfying crunch of bone, the crocodile jerks wildly under the blade... and sags to the sodden ground, dead. Berend wrenches his axe from the beast's skull and turns a victorious smile towards the quicklings, for whom the fight has suddenly taken an ominous turn.

Finial is now free to challenge one of the quicklings and bring his will down upon it. The world goes blindingly bright for the creature, the paladin's silhouette all it can see. Behind him, Finial's comrades start cutting themselves free, coughing and retching their way into the open... and he uses the distraction to smash his wrecking ball into his foe's chest, sending it reeling into the undergrowth. Its companion is then afflicted by psychic horrors, injected into its mind by Elumai from where she lies across the pool, and an ominous figure glimpsed only from the corner of its eye can only be Jonas, stalking it from the shadows. It's a far cry from the single, undefended dwarf they were fighting a few seconds ago, and retreat is the only option. "Let's get outta here! Grioss can take care of 'em!"

Which is fine for that quickling, who isn't slowed, but bad news for his mate, who is, and the hapless creature is immediately set upon and killed by the rest of the party. With blinding speed the remaining quickling tears through the undergrowth to what he thinks is freedom, but he has reckoned without the enhanced challenge placed on him by Finial, and in a pillar of golden light, he's reduced to a twitching, smoking corpse.

Calm descends. Against all odds, the party has survived a deadly ambush with only one casualty. Breathing heavily, they hide amidst the roots of the mangroves to recover and thank whatever gods have looked over them.

From the crocodile's stomach they harvest almost a hundred gold's worth of unfamiliar coins, a dangerous-looking stiletto (which might have accounted for the crocodile's bad mood, and turns out to be a Wyrmtooth Dagger +3, later sold above-board to the Court of Cloaks over Jonas and Elumai's protestations), and a pouch with several magical potions. That's all the time they're prepared to take, and under the watchful but terrified gaze of several of the enclave's gnomes, the adventurers scale the wall and retreat back to the boat.

The inter-planar token works with no problem, much to everyone's relief, and Captain Dorral, shocked and amused in equal measure by the trouble they obviously found themselves in on the other side, offers them his cabin to get cleaned up. They return to dry land, and retreat to the inn to lick their wounds.

Finial has a plan, and wastes no time delivering his little finger to the temple of Bahamut in the First Ward. For a small fee, he arranges with Father Moliff for the expendable digit to be used in a Resurrection ritual should he not contact the temple within an allotted period (his friends having agreed to foot the bill). The good father is no stranger to such requests, and confides in Finial that he keeps several jars of bodily extremeties in the basement. The two men share a moment of grim comedy, but Moliff closes the conversation thusly: "Absurd though it might be, it has saved many deserving souls over the years."

The operation to remove the digit is quick and professional but not, by any means, painless, and Finial has to work hard to convince the others of its merits. Only Elumai eventually agrees. and the two of them secure their deposits with passwords ("Just Platinum" and "Arcane Fortunes" respectively).

Jonas meanwhile discovers how hard it is to convince a member of the Court of Cloaks that a mundane, albeit valuable blackfire gem, is a magical artifact worth many times its true value ("Young man, you realise that any mage in the city could tell at a glance that it is not, in fact, magical?"); nevertheless he finds the Court more than willing to pay market value for valuable gemstones. Elumai also discoveres the name of a noted alchemist, Doctor Routfit, something of a failure as a mage, so she's told, but a true prodigy with potions, ointments, and unguents, and who she hopes will pay good money for the alchemical cauldron she found in the duergar stronghold. She decides not to do anything with the information just yet.

Housekeeping complete, the companions finally take the opportunity to recuperate fully before venturing back into the Feywild.

November 3rd, 370 Pale King's Reckoning

The following morning, the party returns to Captain Dorral, who despite thinking they must be gluttons for punishment, agrees to sail out into the lake on the light morning breeze. Once again they take the dinghy and relocate to the Feywild... into a massive cacophany of noise as a net of bells, chimes, and bottles hastily erected over the site of their last cross-over collapses under them. The company leaps defensively from the boat but despite the alarm, the swamp looks as quiet as it did the day before, and they're not immediately assailed.

They cautiously approach the stockade. The only discernible difference they can see is that there now appear to be small heads bobbing back and forward on the other side of the wall: gnomes, patrolling the top of the stockade. Jonas approaches by stealth and observes the newly-employed guards: bored, cold, carrying short-swords they likely don't know how to use. Within the compound, many more gnomes than before are now milling about repairing the damage inflicted during the previous assault. Multiple cooking fires burn feebly in the damp air, although the white smoke snaking up from them seems to dissipate unnaturally in the air before rising more than a few feet into the air.

Jonas analyzes the makeshift walkway which has been strung haphazardly along the interior of the stockade and, smirking, reaches a hand over the wall to pull on a poorly-knotted rope. The entire structure suddenly hinges off the wall and collapses to the ground, taking two squealing gnomes with it. Nursing sprained ankles and bruised egos, they dust themselves off and immediately start blaming each-other for their shoddy workmanship. Jonas, chuckling, uses the opportunity to signal his friends before dropping unseen into the compound and setting light to a nearby tent.

The fire expands rapidly and throws the camp into outright chaos as gnomes race to-and-fro from the pool trying to put it out, oblivious to the fact that much of what they're chucking on seems to be making the blaze even more ferocious. The rest of the adventurers use the distraction to skirt the wall, slip in through the open gate, and dart across the compound to the base of the tower where Jonas emerges smugly from the undergrowth to greet them.

The central tower is much as they remember it. It rises, canted, from a grove of thick mangrove trees in the middle of the compound, and is surrounded by the deep, stagnant pool which so nearly claimed the party the day before, fed by a waterfall which seems to erupt from the foundations of the tower itself. One-hundred-and-fity-feet above their heads it splits into three pinnacles, and a flock of black-feathered birds circles lazily in the air-currents high above. Windows much too small to have been intended for fomorians have long-since been bricked in, although there is a large crack in the wall mid-way up the tower which might allow ingress.

Using the mangrove roots as cover, the party reconnoitres the perimeter of the stone plinth at the base of the tower, and finds a cavity behind the waterfall with runes of ancient relanic carved into the stone (these appear to be notices of execution, containing accounts of dozens of mundane crimes and the names of those who committed them). The water itself erupts from a watercourse built into the tower's foundations, and beneath that, there is an arched entryway leading into shadowy darkness.

For the moment, the party decides that the crack in the wall should be investigated before they make a decision. Jonas scoots quickly up the side of the wall but even with his formidable skills, he's almost completely exposed to the rest of the compound and is spotted by one of the gnomes, who shouts an alarm. The party starts clambering up the canted wall after him, under a hail of crooked and mostly ineffectual crossbow bolts fired from hand-crossbows wielded by the guards below (none of whom seem inclined to follow). After a few seconds of this, two of the gnomes break off and race back towards the pool. The party desperately ascends the tower, looking to get inside and out of range before anything bigger and more dangerous is drafted into the fight.

Jonas ascends the rest of the way and slips in through the crack in the wall. Inside, a space that was once three separate levels is now a shattered landscape of splintered joists, moldy floorboards, and broken stone, covered in vibrant green mosses wet with moisture. On what would have once been the upper floor, a door offers a suggestion of access to the upper floor, and below him a stairwell leads back down into the lower levels of the tower.

He wastes no time making for the door, but as soon as he sets foot on the rubble a flock of huge ravens with black-sheened feathers erupts from the shadows above, buffeting him as it escapes into the open-air and distracting his attention from the grimy, gelationous tentacle which snakes from the recesses of the rubble and lashes out at him. The rogue's instincts serve him well, however, but as he dances aside from the writhing appendage and its attempts to coil around his ankle, other tentacles emerge from the rubble all around him.

The rest of the adventurers, seeing the birds erupt from the tower and hearing Jonas's cry of surprise, redouble their efforts to get inside. Finial hoists Elumai up the wall and into the chamber, where she unleashes a reflexive firestorm on the tentacles as they surge in to grab her; this doesn't stop her being grabbed and flipped end-over-end into a distant corner of the broken room, however, out of sight of her companions.

Finial clambers in and looks desperately for his friends, but they're nowhere to be seen. Still, he strides purposefully into the room and unleashes Astral Thunder on the tentacle beast; the crumbling space trembles in its wake, dust and gravel filtering down from above. Elumai fires off another burst of magic as the tentacles swarm around her, while Finial is grabbed around the waist and thrown violently towards the ledge. He manages to grab a jutting outcrop of rock and save himself from a painful landing 70-feet below.

Berend hauls himself over the ledge and wastes no time hurling his brand new Thunder hammer into the fray. It explodes with a mighty concussion, spraying fragments of jagged rock over the nearby tentacles and forcing them into a retreat. Finial climbs carefully back inside and maneuvers himself into a safer position before challenging the beast and preparing to defend himself, while Elumai once again unleashes a deadly conflagration which leaves those tentacles around her a crisp and blackened mess. A deadly aerial assault from Jonas is subsequently enough to force the tentacles into retreat, and they shrink back into the shadows and out of sight.

The party collects itself as Jonas climbs up to the door. It's medium-sized, much too small for a giant, with a crude iron knocker screwed into the center; he eases it carefully open. Within, there's a large circular chamber, presumably the middle chamber of the three pinnacles at the tower's peak. Its interior is hidden behind a shroud of filthy hangings -- cloths and hides scavenged from the camp below -- but Jonas can just about make out two giant-sized, hulking shapes, one of which appears to be seated on a massive chair of some kind.

Around the outside wall, shallow alcoves are covered by what might once have been flags, but are now so filthy that the emblems embroidered into them can barely be made out. To the right an archway leads out onto the western chamber, which appears to be open to the daylight and from where he can hear the rustling of feathers, and to the left a closed door bars the way to what is presumably the eastern pinnacle.

Sneaking in and taking a better look at the western chamber, he sees several dozen massive ravens clustered and jostling around something in their midst (whatever it is, they're dipping their beaks in and coming back up smothered in blood). Guano and discarded feathers suggest that this has been a home to the birds for some time.

Berend follows him in and puts his eye to the cloths hanging a few feet from the door. The hangings also turn out be flags: on the inside, he can see a selection of heraldry and insignia from many common races. They surround a throne of eladrin skulls on which sits a massive, aging fomorian dressed in loose robes; his skin is deeply wrinkled, his eyes sunken and milky, his hair a tattered white like cobwebs clinging to his scalp, and his breaths are just thin rattles in his chest. Two enormous ravens, bigger than anything they've seen so far, cling to his shoulders, heads dipped to his ears as if whispering advice in his ear, and a pair of gnomes sit with their feet dangling from the arms of the throne (as he watches, they clamber up the fomorian's spindly arms and push the ravens aside; the venerable creature barely seems to notice them).

Jonas takes a peek inside one of the alcoves and sees the lower half of a statue, its head and torso smashed to pieces, but more significantly finds himself face-to-face with a surprised-looking gnome, perched on the remains of the statue and waiting to pounce. Both combatants take a moment to size each-other up, before blades flash in the dim light...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Cradle Plain -- Session 58 -- Sunday 7th November 2010

In which a wary reconnoitre becomes a ruinous assault, it turns out that everything is just done bigger in the Feywild, and Aerallo discovers new and exciting ways of getting eaten alive...

Roster (Party Level 11th)
Berend - Dwarven Fighter (Dreadnought)
Elumai - Eladrin Wizard (Shiere Knight)
Finial - Half-elf Paladin (Justicar)
Jonas - Human Rogue/Ranger (Master Spy)
Aerallo - Tiefling Warlock

November 2nd, 370 Pale King's Reckoning

With Hottentoat's summons answered, and a few clues in hand as to what to do with the Planejammer courtesy of Fennig Darshue, the company turns its attention to helping Elumai's friend, presumably Seraiya.

On the harbour-shore of the Tondo-Gantsee Conflux, the turbulent lake to the north of the city, the party sets out to hire a boat. The captain of the Dorral's Favour is a grizzled, lifelong veteran of the lake, with deep-set eyes and a heavy tan. He takes the gems acquired by Jonas by way of payment, and in response to his assurances that they're magical, just smiles at him. "Whatever you say lad..." The captain is also unimpressed by the story he is fed about the purpose of the trip out onto the lake, but ultimately doesn't care or make an issue of it. "I ain't paid to listen to stories or to tell 'em. Find a seat and if we start taking on water, bail 'er out as fast as ye can!"

The wind is strong and fast and the schooner streaks out onto the waves, soon arriving at the innocuous-looking south-eastern part of the lake where Elumai's object reading has directed her. The group switches to the row boat and, while the captain looks on with interest, Elumai takes out the compass and enacts the somatic gestures she witnessed in her vision. The sun glints on the northernmost cardinal of the compass... and then everything changes.

With a thud and a splash, the boat lands on sodden marshy ground and rocks gently to a standstill. What was a cloudless blue sky over the city has become a roiling, murky gloom; inky rainclouds slide smoothly overhead and a warm, heavy drizzle is in the air. The marsh extends to the horizon in all directions, and slow-moving ripples radiate out through the shallow water in the wake of their arrival. The
atmosphere is thick with the smells of rich peat and rotting vegetation.

Peering through through the misty veil, the travellers see two things of note. First, the silhouette of a three-pinnacled tower, canted slightly off-center, can be made out rising from a thatch of mangroves far to the south; and second, Jonas spies a post or stump of wood sticking out of the earth a couple of hundred yards to the west.

He immediately sets off to investigate. The silty water of the swamp consumes all evidence of his slow progress until eventually he arrives to find a cut-off tree-trunk hammered into the ground, and covered in eladrin skulls. It's clearly a totem of some kind, but the glyph which has been etched into the bark doesn't mean anything to him. Hefting one of the skulls in his hand and looking suspiciously about, he beckons the rest of the party over. Elumai has already recognised this area of the Feywild as the Karrick-Kur from her vision, and although this totem is clearly a marker or warning of some kind, she's similarly unable to shed any light on the markings.

The company approaches the tower as carefully as it can, Jonas out in front. There are eight or nine stories, but every window appears to have been bricked up, and the top third of the tower splits into three pinnacles all at different angles from one another. The building stays standing despite looking old and on the verge of disintegration, and is surrounded by a stockade built of fifty-foot-tall tree trunks with sharpened tips. No gate is visible, but a vague smell of cooked meats wafts out of the compound over the company.

Jonas's eagle eyes spot the top of a mostly-bald head strolling along behind the sharpened points of the stockade -- giants! More specifically, he thinks, fomorians. The party confers to discuss strategy, but as soon as he realises what's waiting for them on the other side of the fence, Berend loses all restraint and charges the compound. The others endure a moment of stunned disbelief before moving quickly to back him up, Elumai hastily disguising herself and her heritage as much as she can.

Jonas leaps up the wall and onto Berend's back but is unable to dislodge him. "That's the way lad, up ye come!" Berend shouts approvingly as the rogue desperately tries to pry his hairy fingers from the wall, all to no avail as his grip is at least the equal of his resolve.

By now all pretense at stealth is abandoned and the party ascends the wall. This is a relatively simple task as the rope bindings keeping it together are at least as thick as their arms and offer easy hand-holds. Jonas eventually gives up on Berend and leaps up to the top of the stockade to get a better view, spying within a rough, open patch of cleared marshland. The base of the tower is smothered in a thatch of dark mangroves bathed in a pool covered in sticks and leaves, but its stone foundations are just about visible through the tangle of foliage. The sound of a shallow waterfall can be heard deep within.

Several animal-skin tents dot the courtyard near a large, crude gate, essentially six tree trunks tied together on a knotted hinge. A massive fomorian, over thirty-feet tall, patrols the inner wall, shoulders slumped, dragging what is basically a defoliated tree behind him as a club of some kind. The giant looks bored, miserable, and inattentive, all good reasons why he hasn't heard the noise made by the less stealthy members of the company. Small, dirty figures -- possibly gnomes -- scuttle about the place, and as Jonas looks on, one of them throws a mischievous rock at the fomorian's head. It bounces off with a hollow sound, much to the amusement of the gnomes, but the giant just throws a growl of annoyance in their direction and keeps plodding around the place.

It's about now that Berend reaches the top of the wall. Though he throws himself over with all the strength he can muster, he gets stuck in the gap between two trunks and looks to Jonas for help. "Chuck me over lad!" he whispers, but is ignored, much to his continued annoyance. The rogue instead skirts past him and scouts around the wall, finding the rest of the compound much the same. None of the gnomes notice the shadowy figure climbing overhead, and a small fight breaks out between two of them over who gets to eat a podgy, wriggling centipede they have just caught with a pointed stick.

Berend finally frees himself, clambers somewhat gracelessly over the other side, and tears off around the stockade looking for the giant. This interrupts the gnomes, who scream at the top of their voices and dive straight into the trees and out of sight. The fomorian turns, frowning, and pokes his head around the edge of the tower, shouting at them in elven. "I told you filthy little insects not to raise your voi---!" but he's cut off as he catches sight of the party, assembling itself at the base of the fence (except for Berend who has charged off around the back of the tower). There is the briefest moment of consideration on both sides, before he hefts his club up, and legs it towards the gate, smashing straight through a line of tents in his haste to get away. The ground trembles with his massive footfalls.

The company has other ideas, unsheathing its weapons and taking off in pursuit. As soon as the giant realises he's being followed, he veers off and heads towards the tower instead, planting one massive foot in the creaking branches of a nearby tree and jumping up to hug the walls of the building, which he then begins to climb. This exposes him to a hail of magic from the adventurers, bringing tears of pain to his eyes and forcing him to drop to the ground in order to defend himself. "Warden we've got--" he shouts, but his warning is curtailed by a raging, Berend-shaped missile, emerging from the other side of the tower and smashing into him with axe-bladed fury.

"Try not to damage his scrotum too much, I wanna make a back-pack out of it!"
-- Berend to Finial as the paladin winds up his spiked-chain for the next hit

In support Aerallo transforms into her diabolical form and unleashes dark, searing energies onto the fomorian. The giant is surprisingly lithe, dodges the blast, and shouts "Grioss loves blood!" in her direction. There's a huge heaving splash and a hollow hiss of breath from the pool behind her, and she finds herself in imminent, mortal danger, as a huge feywild crocodile, jaws agape, explodes from the tree-line in a shower of water, mud, and splinters. It clamps its teeth around her body as the vegetation around it comes to life, shivering and writhing in sympathy with the creature's movements.

The giant wails "You're not my friends!" into the air as he sweeps the tree-trunk into the company, scattering them left and right. Berend takes the club fully in the chest and stumbles back a few paces before getting his feet back under him with a growl, and Finial is also driven back, his plated boots creating deep furrows in the wet mud. "Crocodile is friend! Friend bite more!" the fomorian bellows, one eye flashing with primal fire as he empowers his reptilian pet, and then brings his club down again, first on Berend, and then with a backhanded swipe onto Finial as well.

Meanwhile Aerallo calls on all the powers at her disposal to prevent being eaten by the crocodile, but is powerless to stop the creature dragging her slowly backwards, deep into the mangrove and towards the pool. The warlock, mangled in the crocodile's jaws, is in deep trouble, and the party unleashes everything it has on the fomorian in order to finish it off before Aerallo is tenderised to the point where the crocodile can simply swallow her whole. Splitting her attention, Elumai tests the giant reptile's intelligence by dropping a Wall of Fire across the middle of the pool. It burns the fetid surface matter off the water in a hiss of steam which singes the creature's hide, but doesn't stop it disappearing beneath the surface taking the struggling tiefling with it.

At which point, things get really bad. Attracted from the depths of the tower by the commotion outside, two grey-skinned quicklings with rows of dagger-like teeth slide from the shadows either side of Jonas. With his attention focused on slitting the throat of the fomorian -- which he does, although the giant somehow stays on its feet despite being showered in its own blood -- their short-swords slash at his flesh before they once again vanish in an burst of warped light.

Elumai, distracted by Aerallo's peril, fumbles a psychic assault on the fomorian and fey steps into the center of the pool to help her comrade, dropping out of sight with a splash. Deep beneath the surface, a panicked Aerallo is hopelessly unable to free herself from the vice-like jaws of the beast and they squeeze down, breaking bone and tearing flesh. With a final convulsion, she disappears down its throat.

Up above, Berend smashes the fomorian in the head with his axe and the giant finally succumbs to its many wounds, crashing to the ground with a terminal groan and giving the breathless dwarf a chance to look around for his friends. Elumai, treading water on the pool, frantically waves him over. Meanwhile Jonas, who has been searching methodically for the creatures which attacked him, finds himself under assault as the two shadowy assailants warp into sight and swipe their short-swords at he and Finial.

Elumai, out of options, is forced to start taking risks. She unleashes a freezing cloud on the submerged crocodile which the beast withstands, but unfortunately, the tiefling within its gut does not. The acidic soup in which she's drowning turns suddenly frigid and robs her of what little consciousness remains. The reptile, which would much prefer to sink to the bottom of the pool and continue digesting its meal, is instead forced to attack the mage, surging up through the water and pulling Elumai under in a spray of foam. Finial charges with no hesitation in after her, sinking quickly under the weight of his armor and slamming his weapon against the creatures snout. The pool flashes with yellow light and the crocodile is sent reeling from the blow, giving Elumai the opportunity to wriggle free of its mouth.

Above, Jonas has finally got the measure of one of the quicklings, drawing on all his skills to play tricks with the creature's mind such that it can neither turn invisible nor hide from the rogue. Its eyes narrow at him, an expression of disdain which fails to mask its panic, and Jonas laughs in its wake as it retreats into the undergrowth. He knows it will only be a short repreive, but maybe it will be enough, and he runs to help the others. The creature's companion briefly weighs its options before skating over the thick undergrowth and forcing Berend to duck a wicked strike to the face, and a few seconds later, Berend finds himself in a ferocious melee with both attackers.

Struggling against the water, as well as the thick weeds which seem to cling and pull at her, Elumai kicks desperately for the surface. Unfortunately the crocodile has other ideas, snapping at her heels, throwing its head back, and swallowing her down. In the creature's gut, the life is gradually squeezed from both her and Aerallo, compressed and digested from without, drowning on the beast's stomach juices from within. Still she fights valiantly, stabbing with what little strength remains at the crocodile's vital innards.

The company is being progressively dismantled around him, but Finial stays cool. Channeling Bahamut's healing energy into Aerallo, he brings her back to consciousness within the creature's stomach and simultaneously weakens the beast's attacks. Jonas rushes past him and dives into the water, plunging his gladius into the crocodile's hide and causing the beast to retreat in obvious pain, and though it lashes out at him and briefly imprisons him in its jaws, the rogue is much too slippery an opponent to be held for long. Finial makes himself the next target, practically inviting the thing to grab him, and it's an invitation the crocodile can't resist, clamping down on the plate-armoured defender.

In response he activates Radiant Pulse. The shimmering lance of light smashes into the crocodile's open mouth, sending it reeling back towards the shallow edge of the pool and leaving it vulnerable to an attack from Jonas who is treading water nearby. Unfortunately, this stimulates a reflexive lunge from the creature's jaws, and Jonas, too, disappears down its gullet. Roaring in pain, its belly horribly distended from the massive meal, the crocodile is forced out of the water by Finial's continued attack, bloody water gushing from its gaping maw.

Berend is fighting for his life and the rest of the company is gone. It now falls to Finial to save them all from a truly horrifying death...