Faith had to admit she was a little nervous. Cellimas had outfitted her with standard adventurer gear, giving her some plate armor, a shield and a sword from the group’s stash of loot as well as some of the basics she would need. The team had given her some rudimentary fighting training as well as making sure she knew how to climb and swim. Faith had grown up with the outdoors as her playground and needed very little instruction. However, the armor was very awkward and chafed in some places that made Faith very uncomfortable.
Talbron watched for the next ship to come in to port, allowing Faith to enter the village at a time when other travelers would be arriving. The less attention she drew to her timeline and whereabouts, the better. The adventurers were still not sure who could be trusted in Korthos Village and who could not, so they stayed in the wilderness while they gathered more information on the island and the sahuagin.
After a few days of training, they headed through the cavern that contained the secret entrance to Korthos Village. Jeets had found this entrance when they first arrived on the island. The team had cleared out a group of sahuagin that were using the entrance to kidnap villagers. Now they guarded and monitored the caverns while they made their plans.
The plan was fairly simple. Faith was to present herself as a student and train with the Adventurers Guild. She would assemble a team from the other students and then they would work with Cellimas’ team once they had learned more about the dragon and her captors.
In the meantime, she was to keep an eye on the villagers and look for one or more that might be working with the sahuagin. Jeets was sure that someone was letting the sahuagin in after the gates were closed at night, but he had yet to determine who the traitor was, or exactly how they were getting in.
As the four of them walked through the cavern, Cellimas suddenly stiffened.
“The sauhagin are back!” she hissed. The party fell back against one of the cavern walls. “They are in the next room. I can sense their foul magic. Prepare to attack!”
“Aye, I can sense them with me nose,” added Jeets. “Those sahuagin are rank!”
Cellimas briefly outlined the plan of attack.
"Faith, you will attract their attention and try to keep them distracted. Use your shield like we practiced and only attack when they are off balance, at the end of their attack. I will smite the foul creatures with the vengeance of the Silver Flame and the cold iron of my mace. Talbron, stay back until we have their attention, then hit them with your lightning spells. Jeets, take the rear and have no mercy on any who try to flank us."
"Will slice them clean through, Cellimas, don't you worry about it," said Jeets who was arming himself with a couple of gleaming sharp curved blades. "I'll be watching your behind, you can be sure of that!"
Cellimas shouted "CHARGE!" and the four of them sprinted together into the grimy cave. As they entered the room, they didn't see a single sahuagin. The room, larger than any other Faith had seen in the caverns, was as tall as it was wide and there was a pool of water in the center of the room. Faith thought she could make out a ledge about eight feet above them but it was hard to tell in the darkness.
"What? It's empty?" asked Cellimas.
"Oy, where are the bloody sahuagin?" Jeets chimed in.
"They are here, I sense them" Cellimas insisted.
The heavy sound of the huge circular door rolling shut made them all turn around to look.
Talbron said, "I believe this is a trap."
Suddenly the group was surrounded by six-foot-tall fishlike creatures wielding spears and staffs. They jumped down from the ledge Faith had spotted above. Faith came face to face with the first sahuagin she'd ever seen. It was covered in slime and stared at her with watery, red-veined eyes. The sahuagin threw back its head with a battle cry. It pounded the floor with the base of its spear then swung it forward and charged at her.
She awkwardly blocked with her shield but it worked; the spear scraped harmlessly off to the side. As the sahuagins' momentum carried him past her, she slashed at his back with her sword. The sahuagin roared in pain and turned for another charge... but then stiffened as the tip of a blade suddenly protruded from his chest. As he fell, Faith saw a grinning Jeets pull his blade from the beasts' back and turn to the next combatant.
There was a loud whoosh followed by many thumps as another wave of sahuagin jumped down from the ledge above. Faith turned to face them and tripped over a rock. She twisted so that her shield was on top of her, barely fending off the attack of yet another sahuagin. She struggled to get up in the heavy armor without lowering her shield and found it very difficult. She started to panic.
As the sahuagin continued to rush her, she managed to struggle to her feet and stumbled backwards only to see Cellimas charge forward at her left side.
"Purge the wicked!" Cellimas cried then swiftly brought her heavy mace down on the head of one of the charging sahuagin. It fell to the ground in a heap. Faith felt a wave of strength and confidence emanating from Cellimas and it helped her to focus on the battle.
Standing with her back to Cellimas, Faith fought off the sahuagin as best she could. She felt clumsy and awkward in her heavy armor and the sword was unwieldy in her hand. Protecting Cellimas from the back seemed to be the best way to help so she did what she could, ducking behind the shield and swinging when she had the opportunity. She heard Talbron chant something followed by a bright flash of light and the sickening smell of burnt fish; his lightning bolt had eliminated most of the remaining sahuagin.
Faith straightened up and looked around. Sahuagin bodies littered the floor.
"You killed those three," Jeets pointed at the ones nearest to where she had been standing. "Tidy work for a first timer!"
"I killed them?" Faith was astonished. She had felt lucky to simply have made it through the fight alive. Now, she really felt like she'd contributed to their victory.
"Aye, lass, ya did," beamed Jeets. "Fine work there."
She found that her blood was pumping and all her senses were heightened from the battle. She hoped to learn how to fight more effectively before she faced the sahuagin again. Maybe adventuring was for her after all.
As they pushed forward through the twisting passages, she noticed the caverns around them contained narrow stalls with sink-like altars and high oval arches that were lined with cruel, sharp teeth from some large sea creature. These were clearly altars where they sacrificed innocent people. Faith shuddered.
Ahead of them appeared a gate, securely mounted in a wall of cut and mortared stone that merged with the cavern walls. On the other side there appeared to be a warehouse of some sort. As Faith reached for the gate latch Jeets grabbed her hand. A second later, enormous blades sliced through the air, inches from where her hand had been.
"Ya might want to let a seasoned rogue be opening doors and checking ahead for ya, lass," he said as he turned slowly, looking around. He located a small metal box and with a few deft movements, he opened it and carefully removed a gear inside of it. Faith heard a loud click and the blades retracted.
"It's safe now, go on wi' ya," Jeets prodded her.
"I'll let you have the honor," Faith answered, a little shaken.
Jeets grinned and opened the gate with a flourish. "After you, milady."
They were in a room with a large door and Faith could hear people moving about somewhere outside of it.
"Ready to go?" asked Jeets.
“I think so,” answered Faith. “What if I need to contact you?”
“You cannot contact us,” Talbron said. “We will contact you when the time is right. Do not worry, the village should be safe for you until we return.”
“Do you know how long that will be?” Faith was really nervous now.
“No,” said Cellimas. “We have more investigating to do and we need some answers before we can move forward. Now don’t mention us to anyone. The villagers are not to know we are here.”
Faith swallowed hard. She nodded to Jeets.
He nodded back and with a small movement of his hand and a click, he opened the door enough to allow her to pass through. A pale light streamed through the crack and a few snowflakes drifted in. She stepped out, then glanced back.
“Lady luck smile on ya!” said Jeets. And the door shut behind her.