“Can I burn down this forest too?” Cinder asked as soon as we arrived on floor 14. “Pretty please? With a cherry on top?”
“Looks like it’s going to go up fast if those cobwebs are flammable.” Dave said. The trees were absolutely covered in webs, and we could see small spiders moving around inside. Straight in front of us was a tunnel leading through the forest, with a canopy of webbing creating an arch above the path.
“Give it a go.” I said with a shrug, and Cinderfy cackled gleefully.
“[Lava bomb]!” He cried, launching the spell into the trees. To everyone’s surprise, the spell exploded for no damage. The flames sputtered out quickly, with nothing to gain purchase on.
“Now, now, that’s rather rude.” Came a sultry voice from deep within the forest. “Come, you have the word of a goddess that her children will leave you be so that we may speak.”
“Lolth?” I asked Dave and Lucy, who both shrugged in reply.
“As far as I know, she misleads but never outright lies.” Dave said. “So we can be sure that we won’t be attacked until after talking with her.” Lucy didn’t contradict him, so we all set off down the available path. It didn’t take but a few minutes before we were in an oddly familiar location. A large open area in front of a cave, easily large enough to hold the raid with plenty of room to maneuver.
“Squishies to the middle.” I hissed, though we had already adopted that sort of formation. Once we had cleared half the area, we were all instantly encased in spiderwebs, far too tightly to even think of moving. A rumble of thunder accompanied this change in circumstance.
“Relax.” Came the sultry voice again, though this time it was a bit patronizing. “I’m simply preventing the same thing that Tiamat went through. I’ll be releasing them with no harm coming soon.” As she spoke, the owner of the voice emerged. I blinked at the sight of a Drider. The spider half was covered in black chitin, spikes covering the legs to add to the difficulty of attacking. The drow portion was a dark grey, and incredibly toned. The kind of tone that gave the barest hint of ab muscles, and the skin was utterly flawless. Her B cup breasts were covered with a black webbing to match her chitin, and she gave the most unnerving smile when she caught us staring at her.
“Greetings, light siders. I am Lolth, Queen of Spiders and Goddess of the Drow. Apologies for the webbing, but I had to make sure you wouldn’t immediately attack this form. I’m not quite as forgiving as Tiamat can be when she chooses.” Snapping her fingers, the webbing holding us back was gone as if it never existed. “Now, let’s talk about what I can offer you.”
“Just make sure that you explain the offer thoroughly, we know how you enjoy misdirecting poor mortals like us.” Dave snarked.
“Oooh, the metal man bites back. I like that.” She smiled as she smoothly swooped in front of Dave, checking him out. Grimacing, she leaned back and said, “Though I do prefer one to use his wits rather than stand still and bash his opponents into submission. No matter, here is my offer for the blessing. If you wish, I will make poisons five times more effective.”
“A question.” I said, before an incredibly excited Blackthumb could reply. “You said poisons are five times more effective. Does this include poisons used against us?”
“Hmmmm, a thoughtful one. Yes, that would be correct. For the rest of the dungeon run, any poisons used against you would be five times more effective as well. Do you want to accept my blessing? I’ll let you talk amongst yourselves.”
“Do it. Please do it, I have so many poisons that would be so very effective.” Blackthumb was practically pleading.
“I’m leaning towards accepting.” I said to the group of myself, Dave, Lucy, and Blackthumb.
“Are detoxify potions still effective? If not, I think it needs to be a hard no.” Lucy said. “We can’t have poisons running rampant through the raid with no way to clear them.”
“Ask Lolth.” Dave shrugged. “Though I’m sure the tanks are able to withstand even the boosted poisons.”
“Pardon me Lolth.” Lucy turned. “But for your offer, will detoxify still clear a poison even if it is boosted?”
“Cleansing potions and skills will still work normally.” Lolth agreed.
“Let’s do it then.” Lucy agreed as she turned back.
“Alright Lolth, we will accept your offer.” I said, and she gave me that unnerving smile again. I somehow felt that this would be a big mistake, but I couldn’t see the catch.
Blessing of Lolth
Lolth has blessed the raid with Potent Poisons, though her blessings always have a catch. The catch this time is that poisons used against the raid will have the same bonus as poisons used by the raid.
Effect: All poisons damage increased by +400%
Bonus effect: Max stacks doubled
“Whiskers.” King said. “We’ve been surrounded. At least seven enemies.”
“Oh don’t fret young man, we still have some dealings to work through.” Lolth chided King, sauntering over to where she was in front of Lucy. “I have some individual offers to make, and I do believe I shall start with you. It is so very rare that the Amythest court is summoned to battle, let alone someone bold and powerful enough to summon their queen. How would you like to join my summoners core?”
“I’m going to pass, but how would that work?”
“You immediately quit the raid, and I change you into a drow. You would maintain all your current skills and skill levels, but would restart at level 1.”
“It’s a tempting offer, but I’m going to pass.” Lucy said.
“Oh? But you haven’t heard the best part yet dear. See, the drow recently came into possession of a map of the planes. Imagine, all those unexplored planes just waiting for a powerful summoner to visit and form contracts.”
“And I would have to give up everything I have built so far, and my guild as well. No thank you.”
“No matter, I’m sure several of those watching will be more than willing to join me. Though they won’t get quite the same deal as what you were offered.”
“Why push for abandoning the raid?” Blackthumb asked. “Do you fear us winning so much?”
“Hahahaha, oh my dear poisoner, of course I don’t. Angus has helped me and mine, and I’m just trying to repay the favor. Now, would you deal with me?” She asked, bending down to stare into his face.
“What’s your offer?” He asked, and I couldn’t help but shake my head.
“Hmmm. Something unique. Would you like to be the first of my adventurer driders? You’ll have to start out as a drow and evolve, but we know everything you would need for that. Before you turn me down, let me tell you about a special type of drider. The Venommaster. Any poison they survive, they can synthesize inside their bodies. Once per month, they can obtain a divine venom.”
“Can the divine venom be saved?”
“Of course. However, it is the only poison that the Venommaster can’t synthesize on their own after surviving it.”
“Sorry guys.” He said to the raid. “I’m taking her offer. I assume my skills stay but my level is reset to 1?”
“That’s correct. If you will, head off through this portal and you may visit whatever banks and vaults you will need to gather your belongings. When you are ready, say, ‘Lolth, I have prepared.’ And a portal shall appear to take you to your new life in Menzoberrazan.”
As Blackthub left the group, Lolth stopped in front of her next prospect. “Such a beautiful woman. Leave that old bastard, and come join a goddess that knows and values her priestesses.”
“I had a feeling you would be making me an offer.” Jess said. “I’ll save you time. You have nothing to offer me, and I’ll not be tempted by your church. I dealt with enough backstabbing bitches in high school, there’s no way I would subject myself to that again.”
“Ha! Oh, I love how direct you can be. Backstabbing bitches indeed. The offer for you will always stand dear.” She sauntered on, teasing Smiter by slowing down before smiling at him and moving on. The paladin of Pelor looked rather dejected. “Lady Fisticuffs. How would you feel about switching weapons?”
“Depends on what I would be switching to and why.” She answered.
“Twin scimitars. I’ve recently found myself back in possession of the twin scimitars carried by my herald so long ago. Learn to dual wield, prove to be the best, and you could be my herald. Leading the charge in the battle against Pelor. Bringing terror to those who dare to plot against me. Well?”
“Oh that sounds like a wonderful choice. Unfortunately, I am terrible with dual wielding. I tried it when I first started, and was never able to become proficient in it. So I’ll have to stick with my spear.” She replied, patting her spear. “Besides, I already have a legendary weapon.”
“No worries, that’s why I had the second offer. While not quite as famous as our blademasters, our spearmasters are second to none. Care to put your skill against theirs? We have a few special techniques that you won’t be finding elsewhere.”
“Special techniques? I’m down with that. Let’s go.” She agreed. Again Lolth opened a portal, and Lady Fisticuffs left the raid. Smiling like the cat that ate the cream, Lolth stepped around and stood in front of Cinderfy.
“There is one last position in Menzoberrazan that will always be filled by a male. My current archmage is nearing the end of his life. It is rare to see one strong enough in fire abilities to summon the astral flame lions. Care to bring your skills and learn a few new elements as you take the highest position available? Should you make it, you could even learn one of the forbidden spells.”
“Forbidden spells? Sorry guys, even if it’s just a chance I have to take this.” Cinder said, stepping through the portal. I swore under my breath, hoping that they were out of offers. Losing a druid, a mage, and a berserker was putting a serious damper on our dps. Thankfully, she stepped back to the front of the raid and faced us again. As she stood there, seven driders stepped out of the woods surrounding us. Two stepped up to flank Lolth.
“Now, I do feel bad that three of your raid members were willing to abandon everyone for my offers of power. To that end, I suppose we can remove three of the five driders set against you. Defeat them, and the portal in the cave will power up and take you to the next floor. Do try and be entertaining!” She finished with a chuckle, stepping into a portal and followed quickly by five of the driders, leaving two to guard the cave.
One female and one male. The male had twin scimitars, and his chitin was highlighted with a sickly green glow. The female had no weapon, while her chitin was highlitghted in red. They both grinned, lowering themselves just a bit. The male’s legs glowed with light, before he leapt impossibly high. We couldn’t help but follow the display, and the female took advantage. “[Lolth’s binding].” The entire raid was covered in webbing, making movement impossible. To make matters worse, it looked like the male was going to smash down into the middle of our formation, right where the healers and mages were. And we were helpless to resist.
“[Seismic shift]!” BROCK FOR THE SAVE! The ground shuddered and buckled, but the entirety of the raid was thrust backwards as the disc of earth we were on was forcefully moved by his spell. Instead of smashing the mages, the male drider smashed down onto an empty area a few feet in front of Dave.
“Sorry about this, but it’s all I’ve got. [Consuming flames].” SpiceMix apologized as the flames from her spell burned through the webbing binding us. She had targeted Dave first, which was perfect as he managed to take the charge of the male with his shield and sword, holding the drider’s arms at bay.
“[Venomspray].” The drider said, before exhaling a cloud of yellowish green gas right into Dave’s face, sending him reeling in agony.
“[Intercept][Retribution slash].” Citadel took the next blow to protect Dave, but I was focused on the female. She was preparing to cast something, and I needed to stop her.
Midnight’s kiss has been downgraded to Shadow’s embrace
FUCK! I didn’t need a paralyzing poison, I needed something to interrupt the mage! Somehow sensing danger, she leaned forward enough that I barely managed to deliver a slash to the back of her neck instead of plunging my daggers deep in for a powerful critical. Though she managed to resist the poison, dodging had managed to interrupt her spell. I took the chance to leap off her back, eyes widening in shock as she sent a streamer of webbing to grab my foot. Tugging it just before I landed, I was forced to slam down onto my back.
“[Piercing shot].” Instead of one bolt, King’s skill upgraded at a wonderful time, sending five bolts of magic piercing into the backside of the female as she was standing over me. Scrambling to my feet as I slashed the webbing holding me, I opted to fall back rather than attack, as I didn’t have much defense.
“I’m going to tie you up, and drain you of EVERYTHING!” She snarled, advancing.
“[Storm of blades].” I was forced to dodge the stream of webbing she shot at me, as instead of blades I summoned a small lightning storm. King was doing his best to pepper her back with arrows, but with him avoiding using skills to make sure he didn’t have a misfire, the damage just wasn’t adding up fast enough. “King, we are gonna have to take some risks. Use your skills.” I said.
“[Elemental barrage: light arrows].”
“AAAAAAHHHH!” While she was distracted by the attack from King, I took a quick peak to see what the rest of the raid was doing. The male had activated some skill that caused the spikes in his chitin to retaliate any damage with a cloudburst of poison.
“Damnit, I knew we shouldn’t have taken Lolth’s bargain.” I growled before turning back to look at our opponent. She had dropped about a quarter of her life, and had taken to firing different spells at King. I needed to wrap this up quickly. I charged in as silently as I could, stepping lightly around the webbing she had been dropping near her.
“[Hamstring].” I slashed the back two legs, before slashing at one of the spinnerets as I passed by. While I was beneath her, I started slashing at the right set of legs, hoping to damage them enough where they met her body to become useless. I got maybe one, before I was knocked aside by her body slamming into the ground. Rolling to my feet, I saw her glaring at me.
“You insolent bastard. I will take great pleasure in your death.”
“Bring it, bitch.” I smiled, as a barrage of poisoned arrows from King penetrated her body. Charging in, it was time for an all or nothing attack. “[Dance of death].” This time the skill went off normally, and I started carving into the flesh where her spider body and drow body met. King helped by using a pinning shot on her legs, preventing her from getting away. A tangling shot fouled up the legs on her opposite side, again stopping her from raising up out of my range. I was burning through my stamina, but it was necessary. Instead of focusing on multiple enemies, I concentrated my attacks into a foot wide band across her waist, trying my best to slice the drow in half. Out of stamina, I fell to the ground panting as she stared down at me.
“How. Ruthless.” She sputtered, falling to the ground with barely any life left. “[Pain reflection].” Just as she cast her spell, a final arrow from King took her in the heart. As she died, I got the full brunt of reflected damage I had just done to her, killing me.
You have died
NotABandaid is trying to resurrect you.
“Ugh, what did I miss?” I asked, looking around. The ground was shattered, and the corpse of the male was missing several legs.
“Oh not too much ya slacker.” Dave said, stepping over. “We lost five during the battle, that poison boost really bit us in the ass. But swapping through the tanks let the remaining mages blast him to smithereens. We ended up killing our guy about twenty seconds after King got the killing blow against your opponent.”
“Thanks for keeping her off us by the way.” Lucy said. “He was a handful with just his scimitars, I can’t imagine going against him with magical backup.”
“Two unique sabers and a bunch of chitin for the craftsmen.” Lucy said. “What do you say? Ready to head down to the next boss?”
“Yeah. Let’s get this dungeon finished.” I said with a grin, leading the way toward the cave, the entrance of which had turned into a massive portal.
Bio: I'm a chemist that gave writing a try, and loved the results. Everything is mostly for fun right now, though I might try and get some things published eventually. Certain traits of my daughter have made it into bits of my stories, and she sometimes keeps me company when we both have trouble sleeping.