Most would call it a day after slaying a chimera. Predictably none in Lug’s crew are of any character to be fit described as most or average. However, when they returned to their loot, which waited outside the castle, watched by Murjeer, they found a crowd standing there around, posing some secrecy problems
They gathered their newly gained possessions with great difficulty. Oddly they seemed to be enfeebled in some way by the Courts of Justice men who were among the crowd, brandishing their ugly self-righteous visages as if entirely unaware that their lives were meaningless when compared to scum regularly found on Cholo’s boot-heel and that their mother’s never truly loved them even for a second. This collection of smugly faces (smugly being a word invented by Red Hand, as are ‘cunt’ and ‘elf’ he claims (originally intended to be synonyms)) was so adorned with their own lackluster personas that want of self-awareness palpably dripped from their elongated noses like childish snot, perhaps to be wiped away by their over-mothering false god at a later date. These are men who could get erections only at over-reaching bureaucratic busy work, if they could get erections or had penises at all, breathed through their mouths in attempts at forming relevance through their mental compendiums of single-syllable words, most of which they seemed unaware are simply synonyms for justice. Such obvious masturbatory tendencies towards red-tape seem as much inspired by their false sense of justice as by necessity, being that red tape is one of a few things inanimate and light enough that the weaklings might pleasure themselves with without self-injury or rejection. Their diminutive existences, so unworthy that I dare not even call them lives, were smeared like so much feces upon their own countenances. None more feckless a reject than the chief of their thinly veiled homoerotic church, called inquisitor likely because he is still inquiring into the reasons for his abandonment, bullying and dubiously identifiable genitalia. Cholo might have snapped off a weak under-sized leg bone if he gave even a fleeting thought to their presence. In a word, fuck’em. But I seem to have digressed.
The loot was gathered into a rented wagon and wheeled off towards the Thugs’ secret residence. Noticing the following crowd, which prevented imperative secrecy, Lug stayed behind and enthralled the audience to the man with tales of the beastly Chimera. After this he signed autographs and slinked off to rejoin his compatriots.
They left the hide for tanning the next day and returned post haste to the dungeon. This time they headed for the 5th floor to see if Lug’s spell of illumination: lantern might dissipate the pervasive shroud of darkness therein. It did not. The thugs were however assailed by powerful shadowy beings who sucked the strength from them with every attack and whom they could not retaliate against. A tactical retreat was in order.
They retreated to the 3rd floor, back to where they had found the Horn of Plenty, and the way down there. They found on the 4th floor a platform in the underground lake. On the platform stood a gong, a drum and a large stake. All around was dried blood. It looked like some sort of sacrificial altar.
They proceeded south. Lug was wounded by a pig-like orc who attacked recklessly without weapon, but released corrosive acid with each attack. Lugs clothes burned and he was naked in the dungeon due to acid… for the second time. Cholo lent him a robe.
As the heroes made to leave, with only minor treasure they decided to test the sacrificial altar and its instruments, to see what might be summoned thereby. First Red Hand swam around the platform, probing underwater, finding nothing. Then using planar servants to strike the instruments at a distance he succeeded, in some sense, for out of the water emerged a gigantic many-headed hydra. Everyone except Red Hand had found safe haven in the chamber above, on the 3rd floor. Red Hand dodged and weaved to avoid the beast until it returned to the water, having found no subdued sacrifice. Then for no apparent reason except flippant recklessness (Red Hand needs no other) he ran forward and struck the gong in a reverberating fuck you to the aquatic beast. The hydra once again crested from the waters, rearing up to attack. Red Hand ascended into the air in flight, mocking the beast all the way and made for the safety above. Whether the hydra possesses intelligence or language to comprehend the slurs thrown by Red Hand is uncertain, but doubtless Red Hand would not care either way.
Making good their narrow escape from the dangers of the 4th floor the Thugs headed towards the surface along familiar tread. Though no one would be surprised if they were to return, after all… there is a hydra to be slain.