Part 2 “Down to the Tree of Life?”
So where did I leave off last time? Ah yes we had just made inside that beautifully creepy chapel. I apologize I have a hard time with the rest of this memory. Ok so let’s get back on track on here.
After a quick and awe inspired look at the altar we decided to get started with this nasty business before the setting of the sun. Locating the center crest of the chapel floor we were concerned at first because it wasn’t your typical Knights templar crest, it was almost as if it was mixed with druidic like religion, you know something you would expect if the Knights Templar were part of Stonehenge. With some of the strength he is named for Bruiser unlocked and moved the center crest from the floor revealing the descent into the catacombs. I don’t know if it was the pagans or the Catholics that hid the passage down there so well but I was thoroughly impressed. I waited for everyone else to make their way down the stone carved ladder, even offering to help Emily down but she was feeling independent, so she fell into the arms of Victoria, even though she won’t admit it I think she was starting to feel a bit like she would make a great mother. In order to do justice to work done in the chapel and the underground passage I decided to descend with flair, stepping onto a floating disc with pipe in hand smoking I descended into the upper levels of the catacombs.
Walking down the first tunnel the others lighting their candle torches, I, of course, just illuminated from the top of my cane as we proceeded to help us see. The first room we reached was just a simple burial chamber. Nothing special but I decided to take a look anyways having seen the intricate work done at the upper levels. Of course as luck would have curiosity killed the cat and has made attempts on my life too, this being one of those attempts. This time it may not have been the actual threat to my life physically but when you are a history fanatic especially concerning the occult and secret organizations the chance to observe the burial caskets of the Knights Templar demands your full attention and I never noticed the rat that attacked me till it was in face, Luckily enough for me it startled me backwards enough that I barely managed by nothing more than sheer luck to be missed by the attack. I would never say I dodged or escaped the attack because I have learned to never take credit for what Lady Luck has given to you because her sister Karma will exact revenge on her behalf.
Thankfully Bruiser was there to help out; between the two of us it was quick work to deal with the ROUTs. After all the journeys we had already been through, its hard for us to remember that Emily is still just an eleven year old girl, she has been nothing but an asset to the team and I would never trade her for the world however it was in that moment that we reminded that she is just a child as she climbed up on the closest tomb and proceeded to produce a glass shattering, ear splitting scream. Also in case you ever need to exact revenge on my “hardened’ raider of wife, just bring in a rubber rat, she will absolutely lose it, so you can imagine how much help she was during this little escapade of ours.
After we successfully handled the ROUTs we continued on down the catacombs on our adventure to make sure Emily got her pretty ring, which was about the only way to keep her going, she is after all just a young lady. Anyways back to the adventure, we walked down the path only to come to three branching paths with interesting depictions on them. Not having any idea which direction we should proceed, I leaned down to Emily and asked her which way felt the scariest. Watching her intently as she “felt around” I noticed that she all of sudden had a slight break in her concentration face she makes. As she came out of her “trance” she informed us pointing to the left that way was the scariest. There was something down there she just didn’t like or trust. Whatever was down that way was communicating with her, telling her to leave or suffer death. So naturally we proceeded that direction.
After a short walk down the tunnel it curved off and then turned into stairs that led down into a pool of water, then about 30 feet or so away led back out of the water and up to somewhere new and unknown. Getting down the last dry stair Victoria did a bit of field research finding that the stairs went down into the water another few steps we were deciding on how to go about this when a slithering sound showed up. Three snakes, fairly sized ones at that too were in the water slithering around, in our general direction. We figured wading through the water wasn’t going to be a good option so I casted up floating disc and Victoria, as brave as she is, offered to go across first. Bruiser anticipating trouble pulled his battle axe off of his back. Rightfully so too I might add because about halfway across the water Victoria was attacked by a snake snapping at her legs, and actually connecting. Lady Luck must have been fond of me that night for once again she chose to bless me and we managed to get Victoria over to the side and kept her out of the water while we started dealing with the two snakes that decided to come and play with us.
Bruiser stepping up to the front with ax makes one hell of a front line, that man makes a better tank than a British Mark V all by himself. Seeing two snakes heading my direction still in the water and the third by Victoria close to water, not really sure if it was in because this next part hurt and cost me slightly. As I raised my cane to act as a fancy rod for expelling my lighting bolt spell I saw the snake move closer to Victoria and in doing so lost all my concentration and fizzled the spell, and if you haven’t ever fizzled a spell before it gives you a screaming head ache and hurts something fierce. I’m definitely glad we had Bruiser there; he did an excellent job stopping me from being snake food, and Emily was such a brilliant young lass. Between the two of them they managed to handle to the two snakes on our side while I lent whatever aid I could to Victoria. It wasn’t long till Emily joined in helping Victoria out with me. She was getting very clever with her telekinetic powers; and apparently found delight in throwing the snakes around.
Having dealt with the snakes we made it across and up the stairs to a gorgeous curial chamber with four old Templars buried there and sealed wall on all other sides of the chamber. Looking around the only distinct feature we found were the sconces above each of the late Templars. Between Bruiser and my wife Victoria they were able to unlock the secret of the room and continue moving us forward in the Father’s request. It seems that there was a secret order to pulling the sconces, I wasn’t paying the most attention, Emily and I were busy talking, I worry about her a lot, and this was a bit of a scary adventure for her. I think they pulled the sconces oldest to youngest buried Templar which then opened the back wall so we could continue down.
As we started to leave the room the ever present voice in Emily’s head made another round of vile threats of death unto her if she would turn back. Taking Emily’s hand we continued down the path. The path opened up to an underground cave. This part of the catacombs were beginning to feel more like natural occurring underground spaces than man made ones. The room opened up with a river cutting it into two separate areas with only a bridge to cross the evil fish infested water. Those little suckers were not very nice, not the biggest fish but they looked like they had rows of sharp nasty teeth in their mouth. , which as we learned later are very good at chewing flesh. The only other decoration in the room was a bowl on a pedestal. The bridge looked sturdy enough but we were all put off slightly. Figuring that it was there for a reason Bruiser and Victoria crossed first one after the other, each putting a few drops of blood from their hand into the bowl. With the two of them having had no problem crossing the bridge I picked up Emily on my back cut a swath through my hand hoping to sacrifice enough blood for both of us to pass and approached the bridge. Nothing happened at first so I put a tentative foot on there, sensing the bridge still there put the foot down and took a second step. That’s when everything started falling apart for the two of us, and when I say everything what I really mean is the bridge holding us up above a stream of way to excited sharp fanged little beasty fish. Being that Lady Luck was still with me, she rescued me a third time this journey, she apparently draws her line at three. With that we made it back to the bowl safely and I donated more blood to it and Emily donated her share. Hand in hand we crossed the bridge with no problems to see a path leading down a bit further. All of a sudden we noticed some unusual sounds, some groans and shuffling. Looking down the path we had apparently found where the novitiates that had disappeared went to. The now dead novitiates were walking the earth again and it seemed they walked with our doom in mind, suggesting that zombies still have minds, this is still up for debate, just go find a zombologist, I’m sure they have an opinion.
Now to recap there is a tunnel leading down about two men abreast wide, a river filled with nasty little chomping fish and a single bridge to cross it and roughly ten zombies shambling towards us. This doesn’t seem too bad as Bruiser puts on his brass knuckles getting ready to deal with the zombies the old fashion way and Victoria looses her whip from her belt. Emily begins digging around a pouch the father had given her, seeming to contain four communion wafers and a bottle of holy water. Throwing a communion wafer to the zombies at Victoria’s request Emily in conjunction with Bruiser heading down to head the zombies off started this final altercation.
Bruiser and Victoria bottle necking the zombies and Emily attempting to use the items from the father’s gift in an offensive manner is how this fight began, not the most glorious, but our crew was never was the adventurers from the pages of the epics, but we always got the job done, and made it back. It was however about this time we heard a distant wailing as Lady Luck had finally pulled her support from me personally. Seeing this new threat and not being able to handle the zombies as Victoria and Bruiser were carving a path through them effectively while protecting us, I did what any awesome, and mildly unintelligent wizard from the tales would do, I blasted the flying spirit thing with a Arcane blast arcing it above the heads of my compatriots expertly tearing into the spirit. This however did not defeat the vile beast but just brought me to forefront of its attention and aggression. What follows is not pleasant for me to retell to you. As the spirit came up soaring above everyone else’s head it attacked and torn into, leaving not a scratch on my body. However I felt a very odd and disconcerting feeling, it felt as if I stepped out of time for just a moment and I watched what felt like three decades of my life wisp away thanks to the creature. I wasn’t very happy. Emily seeing this pulled out the holy water and proceeded to sprinkle the spirit with as a test and hearing it sizzle on the spirit begun preparing to throw all of it on the spirit. Bruiser and Victoria were over halfway done with the zombie infestation when the second wave of attacks was launched. Emily launched her holy water into the spirit sizzling away more of it, the spirit luckily missed its follow up attack and was shortly after torn asunder by a very angry, slightly older Humphrey using my Lightning blast at close range. Victoria and Bruiser finished up the zombies with a bit of help from Emily. Now there is a river of nasty teethy zombie fish as Emily tossed a zombie in there spreading its disease through the river, at a startling rate.
With that part done and now behind us we took a breather and started walking down to the path to see where all this evil came from. Upon reaching the end of the tunnel we came to an old underground grove with what appeared to be a petrified tree with a person petrified attached to the tree, kind of odd if you ask me. We discovered a chest with a sealed smoke gray colored bottle, five gems, an onyx, emerald, ruby, sapphire, and I think opal, and a wonderful chalice. Taking these relics we started making our way back, leaving the area burnt to a crisp. The journey to this point had taken a lot out of us.
We made it back up and out of the monastery and got a hold of the Father to let him know the monastery should be safe again. We gave him a quick overview of the journey and he paid us the agreed upon items and one additional item. It seemed the chalice had some extra properties so I requested one more vial of holy water. With that all taken care we were returned to the Inn where we found out the plane will be all set to fly out the following morning. We decided to test the chalice out in the bar; it seemed to be a chalice honoring the mother Gaia so we had hope for something good to come from it. Bruiser took the first sip out of it, using regular water and all the damages he had suffered were restored. Seeing this Victoria took the chalice next we put the holy water in it and fed me a sip. I could feel the parts and pieces of what was taken from me start to return but it lasted a few moments and didn’t return all that was lost. Victoria took a sip herself to heal her bodily damages. Looking in the mirror my hair had developed some distinguished grey stripes in it from the temples, Victoria seemed to be enjoying the older look, and I secretly think she enjoys the company of older men.
With all that said and done we enjoyed a leisurely meal and retired for the night so we were awake enough for the flight out of Lisbon continuing on to Egypt.