What the hell was that thing?
It began at the portal. It is a black and shiny, like glass, only black, and encased in the blue jade. It is inside the mountain. To get to it, Thorne portals us all into the cavern. Then Thorne just activates the portal and steps through. It looks like he is stepping through oil. The surface changes and ripples but becalms once he is through. Foolish to let the mage go through first. I immediately follow. It is a strange sensation as it feels like I am trying to move through water, pitch dark water. But then there is pain. I am raked in the chest by something that cuts through the modern armor. I strike out but whatever it is moves aside. I realize that the others will pass through after me, while this thing ambushes us. I must not let it. Again it strikes but my warrior’s instinct allows me to dodge its blows at the last minute. Unfortunately my own counter strike misses. Again the thing attacks and I am savaged. I can feel the life leaking out of me. One of my boots is filling with blood. I must flee. I try to move forward and stagger out of the darkness into a hallway. The wind is howling. I wipe the blood out of my eyes and see that Thorne, Carter, and Arden are here. How? Did they pass by me in the darkness? I focus and the pain retreats. Thorne is by my side, using their healing arts on me. I can barely hear them in this wind. Their clothing is also ripped and they bear the marks of injury. Carter and Arden appear unscathed. How?
There is a maelstrom in the hallway, and out of that arise four smoke demons. Thorne manages to hold one at bay, but the others are quick and deadly. You can almost feel the hatred coming off of them. They are fast and nigh impossible to hit. Through sheer luck, Arden and I land a few blows on the demons but I am not in the best condition to fight these demons. We are also missing our heavy weapons. Arden and I bear the brunt of their attacks. Carter takes a few hits but appears to be holding his own. At least he’s cursing up a storm like the sailor he is. There is a way forward but the demons will pursue us. The only way back is through the portal and the thing in the darkness. If we wait too long to retreat, the thing will kill us. Although Throne has one demon in his thrall, none of the others have fallen. I call for a tactical retreat as Thorne detonates the very air around the demons. Arden staggers through the portal. I hope he does not fall prey to it in the darkness. I try to pull Thorne but they are busy igniting the air. I cannot leave them so I cover their back. I scream over the winds that we must retreat, but a kind of mania has taken over Thorne. I think they are saying, “We can take them. They are ours.” A concussive blast almost throws me to the ground. It has been enough as the smoke demons dissipate. But are they dead? Or will they return? The wind continues to howl in the room but my own rasping breath is louder in my ears. We cannot stay! Finally Thorne relents and moves back toward the portal. When it is my turn, I am prepared for it. I duck and roll as soon as I enter the darkness. I felt the thing’s attack but evade it. I push forward and stagger back into the portal cavern.
This has been a bad day but it was not my day to die. That day is yet to come. I tell Carter that we need our weapons from Venture. Then there will be payback.