Once the party has recovered from the terrible sight, they head further into the residential section. Taeva is in the lead, and opens a door to find the bugbear’s original living space. Just as she’s about to turn, the door behind is pulled open, revealing a heavily armored warrior who tags her with a bastard sword then retreats back into his room. What follows is perhaps the most threat a single individual has posed to the party, as the roguish man trades quips with the party while laying about with the sword and dodging’s Haggor’s attempts to grapple. He seems to think that this is all a job, but refuses to cut a deal for his life until he’s obviously overmatched. However, as he’s trying to surrender, Balekh goes ahead and shocks him into unconsciousness. As they’re looting his body and restraining him, Taeva has to be prevented from spitefully cutting off his hair.

After finding nothing much of interest in the rest of the residences, the group drags the unconscious mercenary back towards the central chapel. They find a prison room that has been abandoned, and stash him in once of the cells. Convinced that the only remaining room is the chapel, they prepare themselves and then kick open the door. Haggor, in the lead, looks around at an obviously in-use temple to Lamashtu, but sees no immediate threats. Just as he lets his guard down for a moment, spectral, demonic hounds race from the shadows of the ceiling and charge him, each tearing off a chunk of his important vital bits. Balekh recognizes them as yeth hounds: extraplanar servants of demons with, amongst other qualities, a thick hide only easily pierced by silver. Haggor becomes painfully aware of this fact as his mighty swings do relatively little to the beasts.

Haggor, his blood pooling at his feet, grabs hold of one hound while the rest of the party gangs up on the other. Fortunately, Veshenga is able to make a couple of lucky precise shots at parts of its anatomy, leaving it easy for Balekh and Taeva to finish off. Unfortunately, the other beast is harder to put down: spinning in a desperate flurry of green half-orc skin and screaming spectral fur, Haggor is keeping the hound from attacking but making it hard to line up a killing shot. It is all he can do to turn it into Veshenga and Taeva’s sword blows, and little of their hits seem to be getting through its hide. Balekh gradually wounds it with a low level wand of magic missiles they found earlier on the wizard, but it seems that any moment it could break free, mortally wound the monk, and be loose on the rest of the party.

Fortunately, the group remembers that the wand wasn’t the only item they took from the wizard; a large silver comb isn’t a very effective weapon, but a scratch from silver is more useful at this point than a solid blow from a longsword. Veshenga takes a swipe, then passes the tool to the gnome to make sneak attacks at its exposed belly. Very quickly, the creature is dispatched.

The party stares at the ruined comb that possibly just saved their lives, takes stock of their current resources, and realizes that they are in no shape to risk fighting whatever the wailing guardian dogs might have called from the lower level. They leg it to the main stairs and set up a defensive perimeter in the upper courtyard, hoping that they’ll be able to rest and recover before dealing with whatever waits in the lower level of the dungeon.

Advertisements