Moments after KIllroy killed the monstrous Q'gthik lurking in the dead still waters of the black lake beneath the Stone Door and then dragged his teammates out of the drink and gotten them breathing again, the eerie green mist occluding the sky split, dark clouds opened up, and one of the enormous tentacles encircling the world distended downward through the vast distance and into the lake, the waters retracting from the visible aura of corruption surrounding it. Merely looking upon it ate at the sanity of the Hunters, tendrils of alien whispers clawing at the corners of their minds. With the waters pushed aside, the grotesquely deformed head of the kraken-like Q'gthik was clearly visible at the bottom of the lake, one plate-sized eye exploded and a 50 caliber hole in the center of it's "face". The tip of the sky tentacle touched the corpse's head, green energy flowing from it...the creature's wounds began to heal and its remaining eye began to open...
The ambient sense of oppression and mental pressure that had assaulted the Hunters since entering this tainted dimension intensified, and they each knew without words that they had become...noticed...and marked. Joey's heightened senses also informed him that the giant space tentacle's alarming behavior had not gone unnoticed by the creatures inhabiting the region...he could hear the kips and keenings of otherworldly critters upon the wind...it would only be a matter of moments before things began to descend upon their position.
The Hunters wisely decided to high tail it out of there...advancing along the trail higher up the mountain, Joey running ahead, Drew protecting Murgatroyd, and Killroy bringing up the rear. Murgatroyd decided to help himself by helping his allies, and risked some of his own sanity to cast a spell on each of their firearms to temporarily increase the effectiveness of bullets fired from them. This had the side effect of causing the weapons to glow, both visibly and supernaturally, but given the circumstances and the setting that consideration was correctly deemed to be irrelevant.
Pressing up the trail well in advance of his allies, Joey smelled a wave of putrid air blown down the trail from further up the mountain...a pack of something was surely coming down the trail. He ran back down and notified his allies. With few options on the narrow incline, Killroy quickly assembled a makeshift snipers blind a bit down the trail using branches and dead leaves, and Drew managed to conceal his bulk surprisingly well behind a dead tree, but Murgatroyd's attempt at self concealment was laughable, and Joey may as well have not bothered.
After a few minutes of tense stillness with no monsters putting in an appearance, Drew finally lost patience and assumed the kid was wrong. Moving out of position he was in the process of ordering the group to resume their journey when a long worm like creature with tentacles and blade-like protrusions burst from the rocky earth beneath Drew's feet, twisting around his legs and squeezing hard.
Murgatroyd ran forward to cast his Hermetic protective circle in the middle of the trail to offer some magical protection to his allies, and only thanks to an unexpected stumble that propelled him forward faster than expected he narrowly avoided being snatched up by another of the burrowing worm things exploding from the ground at his feet. Joey sprang into the fight and similarly only narrowly avoided being snatched from below. A pitched battle unfolded, Killroy's big rifle doing some talking, and Drew taking carefully aimed headshots at close range with his glowing pistol, while Joey punched and kicked with his superhuman strength. The creatures repeatedly attempted to pull the Hunters under the ground, burrowing away and returning only when a Hunter moved along the ground, as if they could sense the tremors of their steps. Murgatroyd recognized the creatures as things called Bryr'thept in the briefing they had read before taking the mission and tried to caution his teammates against walking on the ground, but it was easier said than done.
Methodically the Hunters carefully wore the enemy down, the soil of the trail in that area becoming hopelessly churned into an ichorous mess in the process. But with a final ringing echo of a perfect shot, Killroy exploded the "head" area of what appeared to be the last of the vicious worm like creatures. It seemed as if the Hunters had won another victory. But seconds later another handful of the things burst from the ground, screeching and apparently very angry. The Hunters prepared for a deadly struggle, but a large red skinned loin-cloth wearing humanoid ran down the trail and joined the battle...apparently on their side, ripping and punching the worm like creatures with great force and effectiveness. With their newfound ally's help, the second wave of burrowers was dispatched more easily than the first.
The Hunters were initially wary of their new ally, put off by his monstrous appearance, but he politely introduced himself as Aaron Fitzgibbons, a native of this realm and a bitter enemy of Nikolai...the sorcerer to blame for this dimensions fall to Cthonic entities. In need of allies to press his own vengeance quest to make Nikolai pay for his crimes, Aaron offered to help the Hunters. After a short pow wow, the Hunters agreed, and the larger by one group pressed on up the winding incline. They next came to a broken gatehouse, the site of long ago battle and a more recent battle in which massive amounts of magic were discharged to take down Cthonic creatures. Remains littered the area.
Killroy used his rope launcher to winch himself and Joey up onto a 30m tall rock outcrop, hoping to get a clear line of sight on Nikolai's manor house. Arriving at the top, the footing was poor, and in the very act of warning young Joey to watch his footing and not fall off, Killroy slipped and fell off. Luckily Joey was able to latch on to Killroy's ammo harness and pull him back to safety using supernatural strength. Killroy grunted his thanks, and wasted no time scoping in. He could just see the corner of the manor house's roof over another rise, maybe three quarters of a mile further up the mountain. However down and to the right, in a sort of rising valley between outcroppings, he could make out what seemed to be a battle between two tribes of tentacle-faced Krythoths.
Joey and Killroy slid down the rope to rejoin the other Hunters, and they proceeded further up the trail, but within a few yards rounded a bend and found a continuation of old battle remains surrounding a destroyed summoning stone. Investigating the refuse of the conflict, Drew noticed something in a pile of remains...reaching his hand in almost without thought, his grip wrapped itself around the hilt of an old dull-bladed dagger. Murgatroyd and Joey both recognized the item as being powerfully dangerous magic; Murgatroyd's more discerning eye revealed that it had been made to kill Cthonic things by turning their own nature against them. Aaron confirmed that, recognizing it as a weapon made long ago by an old ally of his, the adventuring magicker Bainbriar Thost. Drew was "disinclined" to put the weapon down or hand it over to others. Sensing a potential problem but not in a position to do anything about it currently, Murgatroyd held his tongue but silently resolved to keep an eye on the situation.
Joey and Aaron ran on up the trail to resume scouting the path, leaving the slower Hunters behind. Eventually they emerged into the rising valley Killroy had scoped, and were able to make out that the struggle between the two tribes of Krythoths continued about a hundred meters off the trail, though many of the monsters had killed each other. Joey proceeded to attempt to sneak past, but Aaron became enraged and ran off to fight the Krythoths. Unsure what to do, Joey decided his duty was to help his new ally fight so he ran after him. The two proceeded to tear into the monsters.
In the meantime, the other Hunters reached the part of the trail where their scouts had deviated from the mission, and failing to perceive what had occurred, pressed on up the trail secure in the idea that their allies had scouted the path. Thus they were somewhat surprised to emerge into a clearing about the same time a lumbering eight foot tall chitinous nightmare of a creature burst from the other side of the tree line and charged them. Killroy snapped off a shot, but the powerful sniper round ricocheted off the creature's thick bug like armor. Murgatroyd managed to retain control of his bowels and cast a protective circle, Drew strafed right for a better angle, snapped in, and put a lucky bullet into the monster's brainpain...which amazingly knocked the thing down and staggered it! Killroy chambered one of his nine remaining rounds of sanctified bullets, focused on being one with the target, and finished it off with a shot between the legs into the vitals. For reasons he couldn't quite explain, Drew ran forward with his newly recovered dagger, still clutched in his grip, and chopped the thing's head off for good measure. The dagger slid through the thick chitinous armor like a katana through rice paper.
Joey and Aaron caught up with the other Hunters shortly thereafter, and when pressed by Drew on why he had gone off mission, Joey tried to fend him off with a bs story very much like the teenager he is. Drew registered his disappointment in Joey. Aaron was unconcerned and bemused by what the fuss was about. Finally the group pressed on, and soon made it to Nikolai's manor house. Murgatroyd was insistent that the Hunters needed to find a bag of bones talked about in detail in the debriefing of Miles Hendricks, which Miles claimed were necessary to weaken Nikolai enough to defeat him. Drew was trying to organize some kind of sneaky plan to approach the manor while looking for the bones without getting spotted, but while the planning was going on Aaron just walked up and through the wrought iron gate around the house's front entrance, the rusty iron making a horrible screeching noise upon being opened. He looked over and saw an old leather satchel full of bones off to the side of the path inside the enclosed area, stepped over, and pilfered the skull of Nikolai's dead wife out of it. He called out that he'd found the bones, loudly.
Three stories up in his study, hearing the racket of all this, Nikolai peered out through the lace curtains on the window to see what kind of damn kids were on his lawn...and caught a sanctified bullet between the eyes from Killroy, who had quietly set up a snipers roost while his allies dithered. The bullet shattered the window but then exploded into fragments, doing absolutely nothing to Nikolai whatsoever...not even pushing him back. Nikolai squinted to make Killroy out down below and 'tsk tsk'd' him, waving a finger at him as if at a naughty boy. The curtains twitched closed and presumably Nikolai was heading down the stairs.
Aaron went up onto the stoop and used the large metal doorknocker to knock upon the door. Drew, Joey, and against his better judgement Murgatroyd advanced up to the fence line. Joey went around and retrieved the bag of bones, handing it over the railing to Drew, who holstered his pistol to carry it...unable to bring himself to let go of the dagger. Nikolai finally made it to the door, and after having a shouted conversation through the door, opened it to converse with Aaron, inviting him and the Hunters in for vodka and conversation. Aaron was having none of it, became enraged mid sentence, kicked the door all the way open, and smashed Nikolai with his dead wife's skull. The skull shattered and Nikolai was knocked down, but he did not seem to be harmed by the blow.
Long years of breaching doors had trained Drew well for exactly this situation...without hesitation he ran up the stoop and past Aaron, diving through the door and burying the magical dagger directly into Nikolai's forehead, satchel of Nikolai's dead wife's bones still in his other hand...breaking the protective magics preventing Nikolai from dying and finally killing the traitorous sorcerer once and for all in a display of unbelievable luck. With his mortal enemy of many centuries finally dead, Aaron recovered his wits, said "good showing, old chap" to Drew, then pushed on into the manor house, "...I seem to recall the blighter said something about having vodka in here..."