Ghosts of Cities Past

Beneath the Ancient City

Golden Bat, Ashen Skin, and the Detective.

Li’thanui had finally found where those foolish mortals had begun using the Daemon web. The humans could be so sloppy, she thought surveying the circles they had carved into the stone with the Daemon Web intertwined with the writings. They had used it to create the circles so that they could heal, feeding off of magical energy to recreate the broken bonds that had broken their hold on the Daemons that were summoned. She shook her head, had they used it correctly it would have taken but one sacrifice to mend the circles but instead the way they used it took centuries. No matter, it was good that they were broken, she did not wish to contend with daemons while collecting the relic of her people. She pulled out her spool and collected the strands before tucking it back into her pouch. Suddenly she looked toward a hallway she had not explored yet. Someone was coming.

XXXXX had been tasked by Lord Imir to check out these undergrounds, something strange was going on here according to his lord and he had been tasked with making sure whatever it was stopped being so strange or just stopped being. He liked this sort of assignment, exploring a part of the ruins that had been a secret for a long time and he had ever been allowed inside before. He lit a torch as he descended into the depths. The entrance to the passage he had been told to take was recently collapsed, a pile of ancient bricks made the descent into the old hallway easy though it did call into question the structural integrity of the passageway. It wasn’t long before the brick and mortar gave way to natural cave walls and the ceiling transitioned from a smooth arc to a crevice ridden cavern.
He continued on as the hallway widened at times to create rooms with some remnants of battle in them before narrowing back into long and thin caverns that showed little disturbance. Every once in a while he saw a skeleton clutching a sword or a severed skull with horns grinning at him. This must have been one of the places where the ancient battles of the Daemon war had been held. He continued down the hallway until he came to a larger cavern, this one had 2 exits as far as he could see but his torch went out suddenly. He looked around confused, there had been no gust of wind or anything.

Li’thanui watched as the human struggled cursing with his flint and steel to relight his torch. She stood up as he was about to light it, and as soon as the foul yellow glow hit her dark grey skin she stated frankly

“You will not get out of here alive without me foolish human.”

“Is that a threat?” He asked, hand going toward his weapon.

“It is but a statement, you are in no way suitable to wander these caverns. Your inferior eyes cannot even see in the dark!”

He looked at her again, contemplated this and said “I don’t need you,” turned and walked away down the path she had been planning on exploring next.

Li’thanui looked after him, this was a strange creature, so unadapted to life in the pleasure of darkness that he had to bring a torch to drive it away. She decided that it might entertain her to see what he does next so she followed him staying out of sight and moving silently among the stones.

XXXXX didn’t like the half-drow he had just encountered. She was too high and mighty for his tastes and knowing nothing of him thought little enough of him to say that he needed her in order to stay alive in these minds. Those kinds of people were best left alone to their own musings, no point in arguing with them. He was soon coming upon a second chamber, here he saw a very strange creature flying around the cave and hallway. It was a bat but the color of it was bright yellow rather than the normal black. He looked at it curiously as if flew into the other room. Was this maybe a new species or something?

Solaire had been studying the circle he stood on intently when Steve, his bat had alerted him that someone was coming. He quickly put away his notes on the circle that he had been studying and as the other man walked in he looked over casually. The man seemed less surprised about him being there than he should have been but that was good for Solaire. He greeted the man with a wave and pretended to go back to studying the circle. The man walked over and introduced himself and Solaire did likewise. Apparently the man had been tasked by his lord to find out what was going on in these undergrounds. He had already seen these circles once before and now he finds someone studying them. They talked about the circles for a while and about what they were and decided that it would be better for both of them to search these tunnels together. Solaire had mentioned that some of the circles had begun recovering from whatever shattered them in the past.

The two set off, none of them noticing Li’thanui who was having a grand time following these two.

When the two of them approached the next room they saw three glowing purple figures, roughly humanoid in proportions standing around once circle. XXXX immediately thought the worst. He drew his crossbow and fired at one of them. The bold passed through it but though it hissed and all three looked at them they did not move. Realizing that they were not going to attack, Solaire and XXXX cautiously entered the room. They began looking at the other circles and noticed that the entire room was perfectly round with a glassy ceiling made of what looked like volcanic glass. There was a line of runes around the entire room as well. IT was cracked in a few places but they saw that the circle that the ghostly specters were standing around showed no signs of cracks.

Li’thanui was curious about this room and about what the specters were doing not attacking the two others. She entered the room paying them no heed as they looked at her slightly surprised. She headed toward the far circle as the half-elf named Solaire examined the large circle. She collected the fragments of the Daemon web that she found but as she was heading to the other broken circle the human made a noise of shock and alarm. Immediately her head snapped around to the circle with the specters and she saw the cause of his alarm. The runes and the lines of the circle had started glowing red. Before anyone else could do anything she jumped at the nearest specter. Her fists felt like she was punching through a thick soup without anything solid in the middle. The specter also felt cold, bone chillingly cold to the touch. It hissed at her but did not attempt to attack back. By then the others had gathered their wits and the human was shooting his crossbow at the specter he had hit before and a green energy gathered on Solaire’s hands and blasted that same specter which seemed to dissipate but the energy seemed to only strengthen the circle’s glow. Li flipped and did a series of kicks aiming for the specters neck. This one also hissed as it dissipated but its energy also seemed to be absorbed as the last one also melted into the circle.

The circle was now glowing bright red and the runes were not even visible. Li’thanui took a step back to assess the situation as a large muscular and purple arm appeared in the circle grabbing the side and trying to pull itself out. The other arm was also there on the other side. She went to kick the arm closest to her as the other two prepared to attack the hand closer to them. Li’s kick landed hard on the creatures hand and it let go just as its hideous purple face bearded with green tentacles showed itself above the red of the summoning circle. The arm let go and was flailing as the eldritch blast from Solaire hit it as well. The daemon grabbed the edge again trying to pull itself through. Li took this opportunity to smash its head into the stone with her foot, the humans seem to call this attack “Curb stomping” not that she knew or wanted to know what a curb was or how you stomped it. The daemons head struck the stone with a crunch but rather than slipping back into the portal it lashed out grabbing Li’s leg with its tentacles. A bolt soon found itself embedded in the eye of the daemon as it roared losing its grip on the side of the portal. It began dragging Li down into hell or whichever plane it was from. Before Li could do anything to free herself she saw Solaire taking a running jump and flying at her. His green blast landed perfectly on the Daemon’s beard severing it from his head. He then said something that made her groan before pushing her out of the circle as it sealed as the last of the daemon fell back through it.

I guess these other species had their uses sometimes, Li thought. Though hell might be better than the surface world with its despicable sun rising every day.

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