A dark power, unwelcomed as a heart attack, summoned us against our desire. The overwhelming force ripped us from the decks of the Deep Sea Current in under a half a heartbeat without cause or concern like a schoolyard bully. The power behind the extraplanar pull was beyond the mortal measuring stick and it didn’t feel like Apsu’s shenanigans. It totally lacked his flair for theatrics. So I reckoned another puppy punching omnipotent shitbag was to blame.
Begads! What really bends my stool the wrong way, getting kidnapped right before laying eyes on the Maelstrom. I was so ready to thrust my rudder deep into her virgin wilds and wriggle it around like a savage. I was aiming to lay claim on the unclaimable if you catch my drift. I can only imagine the orgy Tebrilith and the rest of the crew were in the midst of on board the Current. I am sure one measly Hellish checkpoint wouldn’t deter them from hound dogging the Chin Strap into the patternless seas of the Maelstrom. Lucky sons of bitches!
The heart attack ended in the way most don’t. I woke up. My eyes flared wide open in an adrenaline rush that shoved an impossible weight off my chest. I floundered about until I knew which was up and down. The ground was hard and ceiling low. Lorenz, Goethe, Mr. Finn, and Myrrh were with me in a similar disoriented but alive state. We took a minute to gather ourselves from the shock and absorb our surroundings. The foreign cave was hot, narrow, metallic, and reeked of sulfur. The cave appeared to be made completely out of adamantine so digging our way was out of the question. Likewise, Goethe’s spatial magic was also stifled. It seemed we’d have to get out the old-fashioned way, by walking.
The path only went one way towards a ledge that overlooked a bubbling pool of mysterious greenish water, a stone’s throw across the pool was the way out. The weird cave juice was the source of the rotten egg odor that could make a dire skunk envious. Goethe tested the water with his science gadgets and found it to be slightly acidic in nature. Not enough to kill you fast but good at killing you slow. Myrrh and Mr. Finn gingerly stepped around the perimeter of the acid lake while I covered them from the rear ledge with my musket. At the halfway point the greenish acid below their feet started to swell into a living wave with a faint grotesque munthrek face in the center. It was impossible to tell where the stink water ended and the monster began. Without hesitation, I squeezed off a well placed round to its center mass that exploded the ambusher in a puff of acid spatter. The acid wash continued to rise. The trap was sprung!
We all sped down the tunnel only to find the pattern repeated in the next tunnel. Another acid lake with another quasi-acid elemental guard. This time as soon as we neared the acid it immediately started to rise at an alarming rate. Was the whole cavern going to be filled with acid juice? We had to find a way out! Myrrh and I raced down the maze of tunnels triggering acid flood and by passing elementals left and right. The others fell behind. One of the chambers we passed through was clouded in an acidic mist that contained the bleached bones of long dead great wyrm dragon. We had no time to survey.
Eventually we encountered a dead end encased in ice. The coldness was refreshing, but the water still rose. Surprisingly no acid monster popped out of the water to greet us. Something far more formidable stood waist deep in the sulfuric spring, it locked onto us like a praying mantis. The insectoid creature was gigantic, bone white, and horrifying. I saw some of these devils in Hell, it was called an Osyluth or Bone Devil. I remembered Goethe wanted to avoid them at all costs on the streets of Dis.
The Osyluth expertly lurched forward, hissed wickedly at us, and charged. Myrrh engaged without a second thought. The devil fought fiercely but struggled to land hits on the crafty Myrrh; equally, Myrrh struggled to penetrate the devil’s dense bone hide. As for me, the terrain made it impossible for me to fully utilize my musket since I needed both my hands free to fire. The last thing I wanted was to fall into the acid pool which would neutralize my gunpowder. I held on to the cave face and watched the dance. Hopefully Goeth, Finn, and Lorenz were having better luck finding a way out of the deadly maze.
Then the bastard Osyluth cheated. The white bugger ended the stalemate by creating infinite walls of ice to seal us off in a corner of the cave. Even with Myrrh bracing me, I couldn’t blast away the ice fast enough to keep up with devil icemaker. The water was rising fast and the numerous quasi elementals were on the way. Things weren’t looking good for Myrrh and me.
I continued to chip away at the ice blocks with my lead bullets. Between the deafening blasts from my musket the telltale sounds of melee echoed from behind the ice sheets. The Osyluth musta been trading blows with Lorenz, Mr. Finn, and Goethe! I heard Geothe spout magic gibberish, Lorenz’s commands, and Mr. Finn’s weapons clash. Finally, I managed to crack open the last ice shield with Myrrh’s help. The scene was madness. An ice igloo had formed in the middle of the chamber and it was on fire. The Osyluth and Lorenz were entwined in a fierce struggle of bone and pistol. Mr. Finn and Goethe were out of sight probably under the fiery igloo. Near the entrance of the cavern a horde of quasi acid elementals were barrelling down on all of us. I took aim at the Bone Devil’s insect head. Suddenly, the Osyluth waved its hand over the doorway filling every nook and cranny with ice. The elementals thudded against the transparent ice like birds on a window pane.
Finally it dawned on us. The Bone Devil was trapped here too! Lorenz flashed a sign and I lowered my weapon. The peace talks ensued.