In a flash the flame had burnt itself out and we could see, and smell, the damage it had inflicted. The air was full of the smell of burnt flesh and burnt fur. All but three of the rampaging apes were dead and these three turned tail and fled as quickly as they could. Though not so quickly that Vorj couldn’t take a pot-shot at one of their retreating backs. The hero.
The battle over we fell into the familiar pattern of Muroni fixing everybody’s injuries with the wand. Once that was done the doorway from which a few of the apes had issued beckoned. Signaling to the others to keep back I crept forward for a look. The chamber beyond the door, like most of the rooms in the temple, was pretty large. Whatever its intended purpose was I could not tell but it was clear from all the bits and pieces lying around, and the smell, that this is what the apes called home. And it wasn’t deserted. In the chamber was what was clearly the patriarch of the ape tribe; ten feet of muscle covered in white fur with six limbs (two legs and four arms). Not only that but the Ape-King must have had razor sharp senses too as no sooner had I spotted him then he spotted me. As the brute launched itself my way I fired an arrow at him and, not waiting to see if I had hit, raced back to my companions with a ton of angry ape in hot pursuit.
Battle was joined pretty much in the same spot as our fight with the ape horde. With the exception of Altera most of my companions stayed back and threw spells and fired crossbows from range. Thankfully Altera charged forward to fight beside me as the Ape-King lashed about with teeth and claws.
To begin with I more then held my own in the fight, scoring some telling wounds on the Ape-King while evading the worst of his retaliations. Our spells and weapons were slowly whittling him down but his feral rage was keeping the brute on his feet. Then he got lucky and managed go get a good grip on me with one pair of his arms while at the same time snaring Altera the same way. The pain was agonizing as The Ape-King did his best to rend me limb-from-limb. Both Altera and I continued to stab away at the brute and it was only a question of who would succumb to their wounds first. Luckily for me Toryil answered that question when he charged into the fray with his double-headed scimitar twirling and cut the Ape-King down to size.
The battle had been won but both Altera and I were in a bad way and it took ad number of uses of the healing wand, as well as a few potions, to fix our injuries. After all that trouble I was determined to see if there was anything worthwhile in the ape’s lair. Weren’t apes supposed to be attracted to shiny things? We spent maybe half an hour pocking around in the piles of bedding, half-eaten food and worse and were rewarded for our persistence when Toryil found a forgotten cache of platinum coins.
Following the balcony around we found ourselves back near the staircase that had brought us up to this level. Back when we had spotted the Emerald Claw guards there were a few side passages that we had ignored so we tried one of those.
We soon found ourselves in front of another of those massive stone doors. Working together Altera and Aaron managed to force it open to reveal the chamber beyond. It was instantly clear that we were not the first people to come this way recently and the previous visitors, or rather what was left of them, where still here. At the far end of the room there was an alcove about twenty feet by twenty feet. From where we stood we could just about make out a door in the side of the alcove wall and lying scattered in front of it were the torn remains of perhaps five bodies, members of the Emerald Claw judging from the torn remains of their clothing. It was certainly a ghoulish sight. It looked like they had just exploded, scattering limbs here and there, and to top it off the remains gave off a spectral green glow.
It was clear that the Emerald Claw goons had succumbed to some kind of trap and to my mind that was a challenge. Signaling the others to keep back I edged forward to the very mouth of the alcove. From this angle I could get a better look at the door. It seemed to be made of iron and was engraved with the image of a humanoid figure with large pointed ears, an elf I guess. She was standing on the body of a serpentine creature and in one hand was holding what looked like a snake and in the other what seemed to be a spear or staff. I called back to my companions what I could see and considered my next move. Carefully I began to make my way forward. My guess was that the trigger to whatever had made mincemeat of the Emerald Claw was on the door and I would probably be safe until I reached it. Even so I kept an eye out for tripwires or pressure plates.
I had only taken a couple of steps when I discovered that I had miscalculated in a big way. The door began to give off the most gods-awful moaning sound. The deathly wail seemed to pierce to the very core of me; I could feel it vibrating my bones and a blinding pain of an agonising pressure that was building up inside me. I cursed myself for my foolishness but at the same time realised that I would be lucky to get away from this with just my pride being injured…
Scarlet was immediately destroyed by the foul curse on the door. She fell to the same trap as the Emerald Claw ‘goons’.
So ends her tale.