It is quiet in the prison known as The Stockade. Xellos paces the entry hall, keeping an eye out for trouble, while leafing through the papers Dara gave them, using the last residual magic from the scroll to decipher the ancient text: something about the anti-magic barrier and the iron doors that can be wheeled shut catches his eye.
Then suddenly, the deepest, darkest shadows around the room burst into flames and stepping forth from them are three figures: glowing ash, resembling ancient soldiers of a long-gone age. One goes straight for a sleeping Calibos, its hand burning into the dwarf’s flesh and waking him up: he immediately leaps up and lashes out with the Sword of Vengenace that is never far from his side. Xellos takes his axe and cuts deep into the second ashen wraith-like creature, scattering a large part of it across the floor. The sounds of fighting wake Ungrid and Halmary. The dwarf hurls his hammer, causing one to explode; then Halmary brandishes his holy symbol and destroys undead, sending their angry souls back to the hells that they came from.
Sindi, softly snoring, slept through it all.
A few hours later, with Halmary suffering from a restless night (partly due to recurring nightmares, but also sleeping in his armour), they break their fast and end up following Dara and the gnolls as they go down the stairs to the Gardens: while the gnolls pick berries and uproot vegetables, Dara warns the heroes not to venture far. They ignore his advice and once he has left, all but Xellos (who remains in the entry chamber along with all the magic items of the others; and is also still trying to decipher the rest of the papers), they start to explore the Gardens.
After the domed chamber of berry-laden bushes and vegetable patch, a cluster of giant mushrooms dominates a central domed room, with two more garden areas leading off: one leads into a small woods, the other to a small lake and surrounding marshland. A door, warped and jammed shut, stands off the corridor. Halmary manages to kick the door in, and Sindi enters to see nothing more than rotting seeds and bulbs: then a green slime drops on her back and begins to eat away at her armour. Halmary tries to help, whipping out his torch and burning it away as Sindi cuts herself free from the armour; she manages to do so just in time, leaving Halmary to incinerate it.
They carry on, and Sindi hears a faint buzzing nearby. She also spots a mushroom, plastered with flies, standing in the corridor connecting the mushroom room to the lake room: she fires an arrow into it, and a swarm of flies explodes forth, heading straight towards her; a moment later, alerted by the flies, the trees up the other passage explode with movement as nearly two dozen stirges fly out and make a line straight for the heroes.
The flying blood-sucking critters attack in a flurry of wings and stabbing proboscis: thanks to their lack of magic armour and shields, Halmary, Sindi, Calibos and Ungrid find themselves suddenly overwhelmed as the stirges latch onto them, sucking precious blood, as the flies swarm around Sindi and Halmary, biting and scratching. Calibos manages to kill several of the critters, tearing them off himself, only to find another replaces it; Ungrid smashes one after the other, but also keeps getting attached; Halmary manages a bit better, and after throwing another off, he goes to help Sindi who is covered in flies. He waves his torch at them, attracting their attention. Sindi, meanwhile, has three stirges attached to her back, draining her blood. She can feel herself growing weaker. Taking advantage of Halmary’s intervention, she decides on a course of action that some would say is reckless…
Sindi runs for the lake, intent on diving into the water and either driving off or drowning the stirges. She leaps over marshy ground and dives in…
…and a giant serpent rears up out of the water, opens its toothy maw, and dives straight for her!
End of Session
Kills: 1 green slime, 11 stirges.