Our journey to the mountains as we followed the tracks of the beast was mostly uneventful. We started back at Hebo’s farm. Another few days since the attack had not done much to improve the view. The farmhouse was still in shambles, the barn was askew, and the dead phase spider was being picked by birds and insects. Hebo was very somber, a noticeable difference from his usual chipper behavior.
We followed the tracks for an entire day and noticed something that gave us pause. Our pace was not particularly slow, but this creature we followed showed no signs of weariness. Whatever it was, it moved quickly. On the next day, we found a large hole in the path, and the tracks we followed led directly to it. We lowered Petra into the pit first, and she reported a long tunnel leading into darkness.
For a while, our team debated. What should we do? Should we follow the tunnel? Should we wait and see if something else goes into it? Or if something comes out? Eventually we landed on exploring the tunnels. We tied the horses to the cart as we left them. Hebo instructed Spoink to flee if danger came upon them, and Luna instructed the horses to follow Spoink. We each climbed down into the pit.
The tunnels were too dark for my artificial eyes, so I constructed a light on my head with a torch. We followed along the path for a long while. Days? Hours? Minutes? In that kind of darkness, none of us could truly say. The darkness took time away from us. Time and blood. In the dark, a spear came at us and Ezio fell to the ground, though the injury was not severe. Ezio alerted us that we were under attack.
The attackers were Kraul. Two insect-like warriors stood before us, chittering with their strangle mandibles and watching us with black, shiny eyes. Ezio’s cry alerted me first, perhaps because of my construction and build. I quickly raised by thunder cannon and shot a Kraul. It fell to the ground, but only due to its sudden new injury. The noise echoed loudly and everyone was shook. Petra and Luna reacted quickly, firing their magic at our enemies. Hebo began cackling, casting a strange spell that dropped the other Kraul to the ground in a fit of chitters.
As Oromis and Ezio charged at the Kraul, I felt a sudden pierce in my chassis as a spear crashed into me, breaking off a plate of my metal hide. I turned and saw two new Kraul behind us, clinging to the ceiling like the insects they were. Petra and Luna turned and fired their spells again, knocking one off the ceiling into a crumple on the ground. I fired at the attackers, knocking them back. At the other end of our group, Oromis and Ezio swung mightily at the Kraul. One fell to Ezio’s scimitars and another to Oromis’s great axe.
The two Kraul charged me, evidently drawn to me by the sound of my thunder cannon. Hebo fired from his crossbow. Petra shot blasts of ice and fire. Another Kraul fell, but not before he and his companion tore at me. My body was greatly damaged and my magic kept my soul intact. But Luna saved me. She asked, very suddenly, in her foreign accent, “Do you trust me?” and I was suddenly sent far away from my foe. Forcing my damaged body up, I raised the cannon again and fired. In my weakened state, the shock of the gun knocked me backwards.
When I arose, the group was resting after the battle. My companions were salvaging what they could from the Kraul, including weapons and plate armor. They could not get anything from the Kraul I had fired upon last as the thunder cannon’s shot had ripped the body of that creature to pieces. I used my magic and skill to repair my body, and the party continued. The things we found on the Kraul were stored in my bag of holding.
We came upon a series of smaller paths. Hebo and Luna ventured into them and returned with various daggers and armor. They also found a black and white dagger set. Luna sensed some magic from them, but we were wary of touching them as they could be cursed. Luna, a hexblade and master of curses herself, warned us that cursed items could cause any of us to very suddenly perish. We stored them into my bag of holding.
The journey continued for perhaps another day or so. Who can say? At the end, we discovered the tracks again. Hebo and Ezio stealthily ventured forward to see where they led. They returned to us, visibly shaken by what they had seen: a large half-spider half-drow woman, five Kraul warriors, and six people tied in ropes. Hebo was afraid. He could not tell for certain, but he could feel it in his heart: this was the creature and one of those bound people was his friend, the farmer.