Level 35: "You have a very good feeling..."
Not enough energy for detections. Marash elects to sit and wait, nervously. When she does detect, she is glad she waited. There is a lot of nastiness around.
A death mold not too far away, whatever that is. To the north, ten ghouls and a mummified human and a zombified human. She suspects there is more of that group outside her detection range. To the southeast, Draebor, the Imp lurks with his escort: a trio of ordinary imps, a couple of tengu, five quasits and a whole twenty-two manes.
With great treasure comes great danger. Or so Marash hopes, since great danger is evident. After careful consideration she decides that, as she is protected from paralysis, her safest start (that is not attempting to evade all foes) is to head for the undead.
A suspicious pile of gold on the ground proves to be just a pile of gold on the ground, as do the garnets further north.
Pausing for another scan reveals Marash has nearly wandered her way the undead, now known in full to be comprised of a ghast, twelve ghouls, and a mummified human, a zombified human, and a zombified orc. To the northeast a werewolf is revealed. More distantly an evil eye and a young white dragon lurk to the west.
She has never faced a ghoul or ghast in battle before. Stepping nervously forward, her path is blocked by a giant grey ant. Not as deep as the blue ants, but surely nothing to laugh at. Marash takes her whip to it and... not so tough after all. The ant flees. Around the corner she pursues and it dies.
A couple of doors opened and... crebain! A flock of crebain. If she does not dispatch these birds quickly the situation could become disastrous; the cry of the crebain is known to aggravate The Enemy's minions. Worrying enough a situation that she prays for an orb of draining with which to smite these foul birds.
Five, instantly dead. More flow in to take their place as if it never happened. Not wanting to waste her limited mana when there are deadlier foes about she turns her whip on them. Marash keeps no count of how many she slays before their numbers are thinned.
The human zombie filters in to the corridor from the south. She waits on its approach, preferring again melee for weaker foes. After it is down the zombified orc approaches next. Marash prays for protection from evil, blesses herself. Her hand tightens on the grip of the whip, wondering how this encounter goes. A steady trickle to come? Or a flood? Or will she have to go in after the undead?
With the orc down, Marash strikes down the last crebain, lurking in an alcove, then continues on. A couple of ghouls meet her in the corridor, try to paralyze her with their gaze. Fortunately she is immune. She falls back to a tunnel where they can only approach her single file. After a few blows one ghoul is destroyed. That does not feel quick enough. After trading blows with the ghast awhile she calls forth another orb of draining and it hits hard, but nothing, not even the mummy is destroyed by the spell.
Momentarily panicked by the damage wrought against it, the ghast briefly flees, but returns to the fight almost immediately. Marash is concerned that so far the undead have not hurt her - has she so badly misjudged the danger? Two ghouls down and their ghastly leader badly damaged, and she is as fighting fit as at the start of the encounter. Though they have struck her, none of the damage done has outpaced her own healing.
In the struggle, the ghast manages to bite her. Marash feels it drawing strength from her body. The ring of constitution she wears grows warm; the ghast releases its grip, thwarted, and she finally destroys it.
Her reward for her victory is a paltry pile of silver and the knowledge that one minor leader of Morgoth's forces is no more. She heads west, aiming to clean out the rest of this foul nest.
One of the crebain has survived, interrupting the fight with its shrieks. Or rather, once Marash turns her attention to the birds, at least three survived. One zapped with a lightning bolt, another with a fire bolt, and the third whipped out of the sky.
Increasingly Marash suspects the strong feeling of this area was due to the death mold that she will have nothing to do with. She decides to head north-east, take out the werewolf lurking there, and head down again.
Suddenly, an angel attacks. Marash finds herself abruptly less certain of the holiness of her mission. Its spells confuse and frighten her, rendering Marash unable to fight or pray. Her devices seemed to go off wildly, doing nothing for her.
Eventually she remembered her rods of curing. The first misfired. The second eased her confusion. Immediately Marash blessed herself.
By now her gauntlets Paurnen had recharged from her first attempt at the angel. She reactivated them now, only to learn angels resist acid. Marash turned her rod of drain life on it. The angel screamed in pain. Nearly half dead now. This reassured her.
Turning her staves on it now, Marash learns that angels cannot sleep, or apparently be slowed. A lightning bolt from a recharged rod, a hail of blows from her whip. The angel hits hard too. Marash is taking damage, but not enough to panic over.
Confused again, another dose of the curing rod fixes that. Following up with a bolt of fire from yet another of her rods and the angel flees.
One last blast of acid from her gauntlets fails to kill it. The angel responds by blinding Marash. Marash calls upon her rod of cure light wounds to heal her vision, a pattern repeated a couple more times until at last she is near enough to strike the angel down with her whip.
Triumphantly, Marash claims her prize... another banyan staff holding sleep spells.
She heads off to fight the werewolf, only to learn there is no direct passage to it that way. So perhaps she ought just head down. A quick scan for evil reveals Azog, King of the Uruk Hai to the south-west, along with his escort of 50+ cave orcs and uruks. Tempting... orcs are profitable. But no. Marash has cold resistance, she will attempt to take out the young white dragon, and then she will descend.
Unwise greed. In the single corridor between her and the dragon, she encounters an earth elemental. She catches an acid bolt on her wicker shield, corroding part of it. The elemental resists her lightning and fire bolts; an orb of draining hurts it, but not critically. Marash closes to melee with the elemental, which launches another bolt damaging her iron helm.
As soon as she has cleared away the rubble leading to the dragon, Marash prays for resistance to heat and cold, for protection from evil, and to be blessed. By the time she is done, the dragon stands in the corridor before her.
Acid, lightning, fire. The last damages best. She strikes the dragon with her whip until it flees, then one last bolt of acid from her gauntlets brings an end. On the dragon's remains she finds only a pile of silver coins.
Nothing here commands her attention. Marash descends.