Taihun

Death Lake pt. 5

‘Knives holds a hand out in front of HexFang and Yorun, gesturing towards the grieving stranger. “He wishes to risk his life in grief. You know you will survive the waters; can you guarantee he will?” He turns to the man on the dragon’s back and tries to reach beyond the pain and grief. “Who told you you could get her back this way? Could it be the evil one trying to cause you more pain?”
Yorun swallows hard and shares that the tales of the Lake are generations old; they were told in his village since he was young. Many in the area believe the stories. ‘Knives shakes his head and grimaces as he is convinced. Jumping onto HexFang’s back behind Yorun, he says “This foolishness is noble indeed, but I will honour the dead. If she wants to stay in those lands, I will come to make sure you honour her request. But if she wishes to return, my soul claws my provide some use.” He then flashes his sharp claws in the midday sun.

HexFang empties a canteen borrowed from Aar, handing it to ‘Knives. “You got five breaths, make them count”.
Lorrias aproaches HexFang. "Good luck, friend; I’m looking forward to your return and your findings!"
Hyln, still uneasy about the lake and it’s stories, can’t believe what is happening in front of him. “You plan to jump into the lake?” Looking at ’Knives he adds: “And you want to join her? This is foolish! A lake, a portal to the lands of death… whatever it is, it will surely not bring a soul back from the lands of the dead! And even if you were to reach this place, you might not make it back! Please, reconsider your options.” Hyln pleads.

Hexfang stares at the lake, grimacing at the stench of the place. “Well I’m as good as a dead man anyway. This man would rather live in a world with his daughter, or no world at all. ‘Knives is unexpected, but im more surprised the Wizard’s not jumping at a chance to go to the land of the dead. But I think he’s just waiting for us to make sure this isn’t just some terrible smelling lake.”

“I want to make sure what should not leave that place does not leave that place. It worries me if we can pass in what may be able to pass out.” ‘Knives shifts to find a comfortable place to sit among the scales. There isn’t one. HexFang begins to bow under the weight of the Tabaxi. Yorun thanks the two for their help and steps away from the lakeside, choosing to wait until HexFang can confirm the legends of the lake. Once everyone is ready, HexFang strides away from the side of the lake to get a run-up, charges forward and leaps up, spreading and flapping her wings as though to try and fly. She makes it three feet before quickly folding her wings as she realises she can’t carry this much weight into the air. Moments before they hit the water all the fur on ‘Knives’ body bristles. He takes a deep breath and holds on for dear life.

Gemscale watches HexFang’s actions with newfound respect. Unsure of what to do while they go swimming, Gemscale talks to Yorun. “Tell me about your daughter. What did she do for a living? I know it is hard to lose someone but I would like to hear about her if you would like to share.”
“She was a weaver by trade. She always made the most beautiful bolts. We would trade them with the local caravans; she was in demand by neighbouring villages.” He begins to weep at the memories, and Zadkiel approaches thoughtfully. He raises a hand as if to clasp it onto the man’s shoulder, but rethinks it and simply offers condolences for the loss.

Yorun continues to explain that their life was simple, and brought few dangers. Their village was sedate and happy, the hundred or so inhabitants each working hard every day. Once they let in that “Evil Queen” on her royal tour, and gave her the village chief’s lodgings, she turned into her true form of the large black Dragon, Dargyntad. It burned down the village, tortured the survivors and made off with Eriadne and some others. They were further abused and beaten, and more besides.

HexFang and ‘Knives dive into the putrid pool, the viscous fluid being incredibly difficult to swim through. After just over a minute, the Tabaxi struggles with breath, his eyes stinging in the foul water. Bringing out the empty flask, he opens it in order to take a breath of air… only for the flask to immediately fill with the salty brine. Struggling for breath, he kicks and struggles among the scales on HexFang’s back. Feeling the struggle, HexFang urges herself faster and continues quickly through the simple underwater tunnel. It turns parrallel to the ground above after a few feet and continues westward for a few hundred feet. A light can be seen ahead, just a hundred feet more… and then the air in HexFang fails her. She has run out of breath, along with ‘Knives. Struggling against the strengthening current, the two barely able to see, a strange hand plunges into the water and grasps HexFang’s claw tightly and pulls her up. The Dragon and Tabaxi gasp deeply as they feel the air against their skin.

They emerge soaked with awful and dirty water. A strip of rotting flesh from an unknown creature clings to HexFang’s leg. After getting a few lungfuls, ‘Knives blearily looks around the cavern they’ve emerged into. It’s a largely empty place, although a cobbled-together desk, bookshelf and lamp made from what appears to be driftwood and broken furniture are sat nearby. Upon them are a few thin stone tablets bound with metal rings and a few books. The mysterious benefactor stands before ’Knives and HexFang; he is a tall, gaunt man with skin hugging his skeletal features. His lips have begun to recede and his hair has mostly come away. He wears a moth-eaten shirt that was at one time worn for more fancy affairs, and plain cotton trousers. His feet are bare, revealing feet with a blue hue to them and rotten, curled toenails. With a wide grin and a flitter in his mouth that might have been a bug moving between teeth, he greets the would-be swimmers. “Hail, travellers. Here for the sights or the experience?”

What do you do?

Hexfang +15XP ( Total XP)
Gemscale +10XP ( Total XP)
Lorrias +10XP ( Total XP)
Hyln +10XP ( Total XP)
Knives +15XP ( Total XP)

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