Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Carrion Crown Part 2

Session 2: The Crypt (3rd October 2012)

The Pathfinders
Dukker Jamas – Human Cleric
Kazimir - Fighter
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys

It seems, what with all the grief and confusion brought about by the death of our beloved friend Professor Lorimar, I may have got some details of the last few days a little muddled. The settlement we are staying in is called Ravenrow or some such thing, and Harrowstone is the name of the prison sat atop the hill just outside the township.

The Diary of Professor Lorimar (Day 2 – continued)

The rain was still beating down outside the window, so we decided that we would all sit tight and talk about the day’s findings from the professor’s diary/notebook. The diary entries, as stated in my previous entry, were a bit confusing, but the details we could ascertain by piecing together the written notes was that the Whispering Way was known of about ten years ago by the professor. He had investigated the cult and had started to come to some conclusions but, alas, was unable to complete his investigations. He did, however, leave us plenty of clues as to what we could do to carry on his work. The entry from 18 days ago suggested that he went up to Harrowstone, the prison on the hill that was burnt down several years ago, but he had to leave pretty sharply as he encountered strange ghostly apparitions whilst there. His final entry, the one from 17 days ago, only mentioned that there were tools, of which the current clergy were unaware, located within the graveyard, inside a certain crypt at the crossroads of the two main cemetery thoroughfares (Eversleep and Blackpath), that could be used to fight the undead.

Seeing this as a perfect opportunity for adventure, and as it was now getting late (around 9:30 in the evening) Zef and I decided to investigate whilst the others attempted to figure out what was happening. Moebius and Dukker locked themselves in conversation over the professor’s tomes that were in his lock box, and Kazimir mooned around Kendra, pledging his sword and so forth, possibly in the hope of gaining the lady’s favour?

The Crypt

So, whilst the rest of the party were otherwise engaged, Zef and I popped out in the hope of at least finding this crypt. It was still raining so visibility was poor, and as a result we bumped into one of the sheriff’s underlings. After a bit of sweet talking that seemed to leave the deputy in a state of confusion, we promised we would be back within the hour. He was OK with this, and he let us continue with our journey to the graveyard. We quickly hopped over the greasy wall and alighted in the thick mud of the cemetery. Quickly gathering our bearings we made our way to the meeting of the paths and set off towards the crypt in the north-west corner.

At the allotted point, we managed to find four mausoleums; three were undoubtedly family plots, but the fourth one was kind of weird, with stone gargoyles positioned to loom over any who approached. This did not put us off, so we took a quick look at the lock on the main stone door. The lock literally fell off the door when I touched it, and upon further investigation I realised that the clasp had been eaten through by acid and then hastily clicked together to give the appearance of a fixed security device.

Zef pushed the door open, and we stepped into the black interior, nearly losing our footing at the head of a flight of stairs leading down into the abyss. I lit a couple of small candles I had about my person and set one of them at the top of the stairs with my steel mirror behind it to light as much of the stairway as possible. We could see down about twenty feet before the gloom cut off our vision.

Zef knocked an arrow to his bow and I put a bolt into my crossbow before we continued down the stairs, Zef in front with me behind carrying the candle. At the bottom of the flight of stone steps we stepped onto a hard packed earthen floor. Holding the candle up and walking around a little we realised we were inside a large chamber (about thirty by forty feet at a guess). Upon the floor was incised a large mystical diagram and to each side of it were a pair of stone gargoyles that made us jump out of our skins when the dim light from our candle revealed them in the gloom. Zef checked out the statue to the right of us but it looked and felt just like a plain stone carving. Upon reaching the centre of the room, we realised that there were two identical stone doors in the opposite wall.

We made our way over to the one nearest to Zef and he tried the handle. With a grind of stone-upon-stone and a large squeal of metal hinges unused in a long time, the door opened. Thrusting my head through the doorway, I noticed that it seemed to lead to a corridor that linked the two stone doors of our room, with a stairwell in the centre of the opposite wall. Zef was starting to get a little wary now, but I waved him away and said there couldn’t be anything to worry about in a dark and gloomy place such as this.

We cautiously stepped beyond the door and I made my way to the stairwell. Again Zef urged me to caution but I decided to take a look. Zef stepped back to the door as if to leave, but I urged him to wait just a moment longer. I wanted to just see what was at the bottom of the stairs and then we could report back to the others. I stepped lightly down the stone steps with my candle held aloft.

Suddenly I heard a scuttling sound and felt a sharp pain in my right calf and a blow from something against my left foot. Whatever was down here, there were at least two of them. I screamed in fear and agony and heard Zef mutter something about rogues under his breath. Although frightened and panicked beyond belief, my acrobatic training allowed me to back flip up the steps, but as I reached the top of the steps a burning sensation filled my leg and I had to slow down. Somehow, the candle had not gone out and this gave Zef just enough light to skewer one of the denizens of the crypt with a perfectly aimed shot. Firing wildly I was also able to hit the other creature, but the bolt only grazed its carapace. Zef shouted for me to get out whilst he covered, so I did not hesitate. I reached the door just as the other giant centipede, for that is what these nightmares were, scuttled towards me. I tried to slam it in the door but it managed to bite me again before heading off towards easier prey in the darkness. My rapidly numbing legs carried me across the room with the gargoyles and half-way up the stairs before I realised I had left Zef totally in the dark. I readied my crossbow for another shot and placed the candle in a position so that as much of the room was lit as possible considering the limited light source. Whilst I was attempting this all I could hear were curses and the crash of steel on stone as Zef tried to fight the monster. Eventually Zef found his way out through the other door and dazedly made his way across the room towards me and the exit, with the centipede in pursuit. I fired my crossbow, but the bolt merely glanced off the floor beside the vermin. Another shot from me and a stroke of Zef’s sword put enough distance between us and the scuttling denizen that we were able to help each other up the steps to the entrance and out into the fresh night air. We slammed the door of the crypt shut and put our backs to it to prevent the critter from getting out. Zef looked about to collapse, and the poison coursing through my veins left me on the point of passing out too, but we managed to put the old lock back onto the door and get out of the graveyard without any further encounters. Unfortunately, we had both dropped our bows in the process, and left two candles burning alongside a steel mirror in the stairwell to the crypt. These items could easily be traced back to us if found.

We helped each other back over the wall and headed back to Kendra’s house, but the deputy spotted us again. He waved us over and asked us what was wrong. We feigned ignorance of our physical conditions and said it was no bother. He waved us on with a perplexed look on his face.

Upon arrival back at the house, we stumbled through the door. The rest of the party were still up discussing what we needed to do so were able to quickly assess the situation. Dukker prayed to his goddess and was able to heal the pair of us, but the poison would take a little longer to get out of our systems. Dukker worked tirelessly through the rest of the night and the following day to make us at ease.

‘V’ for…? (Day 3)

Whilst Dukker healed and generally made Zef and I comfortable after our near death experiences, the rest of the party got to work on the rest of the investigation. Kazimir continued to follow Kendra around like a love sick puppy (perhaps I am being a little harsh on my companion, what with the poison still coursing my veins, and he was following the professor’s request to protect her from harm?) Moebius busied himself in a variety of libraries, including that in Kendra’s house, trying to piece together the clues he had gathered from the professor’s writings. He had made many connections so far but still had a lot of reading to do.

  1. There had been necromancers in the region for millennia
  2. They formed unholy alliances with undead creatures
  3. Tar Barthan (?) was the Whispering Tyrant
  4. The Whispering Way was a series of philosophies spread by whispers, thus the name
  5. These necromancers could create liches and may eventually be able to release the Tyrant
  6. A gagged skull is their symbol
When Zef and I felt a little better we were able to relay our adventure from the night before and join in the conversation, but, on Dukker’s orders, we were both confined to our beds until later that evening.

Towards the end of the day, just before we readied ourselves to sleep, there came a frantic rapping at the door. One of the villagers was in a right state as she blurted out something about some vandalism to a local monument. As Dukker, Zef and I were otherwise engaged and Moebius still had his head in his books, Kazimir agreed to accompany the woman. He was taken to the monument that commemorated those that died in the fire at Harrowstone prison. He later reported back that there was a huge letter ‘V’ written in blood on the monument’s side facing away from the town (the back of the statue). There was also a great splatter of blood at the base of the monument in which Kazimir spotted a human sized footprint. Other than taking a sample of the blood and working out that the vandalism must have occurred between the hours of six and nine that evening Kazamir was unable to achieve anything other than provide alibis for the rest of the party.

Bringing his blood soaked cloth back to the house in the hope of finding clues held within it, Kazimir was dismayed that none of his more learned companions had the skills to investigate the clue any further; even if it was only to find out whether it was blood at all and if so, from which type of animal.

A visit to Grimburrow (Day 4)

After all of the healing carried out by Dukker, a good night’s sleep, and a big bowl of porridge for breakfast, Zef and I felt a lot better. I was still stiff and sore but the poison had run its course. It would still be a few days before I was back to full fitness but Zef seemed to be pretty much OK though; he seems to be a lot tougher than he looks. Kazimir and I decided to head to the town hall to find out any more rumours about the events of the night before whilst Dukker headed towards the temple to ask the permission of Grimburrow to cleanse and rededicate the crypt in the name of their goddess. Moebius carried on with his studies whilst Zef was tasked with guarding Kendra, much to Kazimir’s chagrin.

Kazimir and I had another odd encounter with the children of the village on our way to the town hall. Although they are very friendly and always seem to have a smile for me the songs that they sing whilst skipping and playing seem rather dreary and ominous. I questioned them about this but they replied that these were songs that they were taught by their mothers and grandmothers, and had been around for a few generations. We learned nothing new at the town hall.

Dukker, meanwhile, failed to impress Father Grimburrow and although not strictly forbidden to cleanse the crypt as it was not actually temple property (although the cemetery is) he was discouraged from trying until he had investigated it himself. At which point he sent a couple of his acolytes, armed with maces, to guard the doors.

Disappointed with the outcome of our investigations, we decided to try to sell the gem that Moebius had been hanging onto for several days. He was convinced it was worth thousands, and my quick appraisal convinced me of the same, but the jeweller would only offer us fifteen gold coins for it, saying that it was just a flawed (although better than the one in his own collection) rose quartz stone. Neither of us was convinced, so we decided not to sell it.

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