Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Carrion Crown - Session VII

Session 7: Harrowstone (21st November 2012)

The Pathfinders
Kazimir – Elf Fighter
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys (Day 10 – mid-day)

Upon opening the door we were struck as if by a wet cloth. The room was open to the elements, and the rain beat against us as we entered. The only feature left in this room was a huge furnace and its accompanying chimney; the rest had collapsed into the level below and the resulting chasm had filled with water forming the lake we had seen outside. I lit one of my small candles and looked up the chimney. I spotted nothing of interest but the rest of my companions mentioned that they could smell burning flesh. I quickly pulled my head out of the chimney but the smell didn’t dissipate. Moebius took a turn to look up the shaft but as soon as his head entered the space a ball of fire shot down towards him. He managed to back away without getting hurt.

Stirge Attack

As we had explored most of this level of the prison now, I decided to climb up the rubble and onto the roof to see what I could see, and match it up to the details I gained when I went up the stairs earlier. There were a whole bunch of rooms that we needed to explore. After looking around for a few minutes to get my bearings I heard the unmistakable buzz of stirge wings. Three of the critters were heading straight towards me. I rapidly made my way back to the party just as they crested the lip of the rubble wall we were standing beneath. Zef let fly with his arrows and two of them dropped. The third that approached me was quickly dispatched by my trusty rapier. I have to say that I really do not like these creepy crawlies.

We decided that it would be safer to get onto the roof via the inner stairwell, so we returned inside and made our way up to the first storey via the stone stairs. The landing opened out into an area containing a watch room with floor to ceiling bars and a whole bunch of cells. We checked many of the cells but all they contained were the skeletons of the previous inmates. We decided that we would ask for Father Grimburrow’s help in getting the corpses back to town for decent burial rather than attempt the feat ourselves. It was at this point we started to hear the sound of mournful pipe music and the flutter of more stirge wings. Moving on we passed through a kitchen and pantry area, but had to retrace our steps to find another way into the watch room. We found the way through via an adjoining room which contained the skeleton of a man wrapped in chains and draped in holy symbols.

The First Encounter with the Five

Moebius mentioned that this was most likely the body of one of the five dangerous criminals who had plotted the prison break; the preacher one. Kazimir poked the body to make sure it had no life in it. It didn’t, but the piping seemed to get louder and we still could not ascertain where it was coming from.

We took a quick look into the watch room and found that it could be used to observe the majority of the prison cells with the exception of a few round one corner. All the cells we looked in were occupied with skeletons much like those we had encountered earlier. We headed for the area we could not see from the observation room which happened to be another corridor full of cells. The piping got suddenly louder when we were halfway down the hall and when we least expected it, a number of skeletons burst from their cells into our midst.

Zef looked behind us and let fly a couple of arrows at a wraith like apparition that was stalking us from the rear (this was seemingly where the piping was coming from). Moebius and I were raked by the rank claws of the cadavers. Suddenly there were five images of Moebius amongst us but as soon as those images appeared, our fighter collapsed to the ground and proceeded to bleed profusely; the blood flowing towards the wraith-like spirit beyond Zef. Chains and holy symbols, the same as those on the corpse in the room beside the observation room, began to appear on Kazimir’s body but the fighter himself was unconscious.

During the melee, we all suffered a form of paralysis but were able to shake it off a few seconds later. Unfortunately, this led to most of us picking up wounds from the undead attacking us – Moebius’s doubles were taking the brunt of damage that was meant for him. After a short while, we heard the unmistakable whine of stirge wings and saw a couple approaching down the corridor towards us. It was at this point that I was unable to take any more and had to duck inside one of the cells to avoid being killed by the skeletons. As I popped into the cell, I heard a whoop from Moebius and Zef as the wraith winked out of existence and the music stopped – they had killed the Piper!

I quickly drank one of our healing potions and felt well enough to re-enter the fray. I burst out of the door, and put paid to one of the skeletons just as Zef skewered both of the stirges which were busy trying to suck the blood from our poor downed fighter. I threw some Holy Water onto the fighter’s body, and it seemed to help him as the chains that were wrapped around him slowed in their tightening. Moebius, meanwhile, summoned up some attack dogs and headed back to the holy symbol covered corpse in the room beside the observation chamber. Zef and I finished off the last skeleton.

Two down three to go

Moebius collected up the dog-savaged bones of the preacher and placed them into a sack, then rejoined us in the corridor. Kazimir came to and asked us what had happened. He had fallen into a trance and been told by an apparition that we had deserted him and that he should join with the preacher as we no longer cared for him. He had decided to refuse the offer and thus had begun to be set upon by chains and holy symbols.

We headed on up the corridor to the last couple of rooms. Neither of these were cells. The first contained a ladder and trapdoor in the ceiling that we could not open, and the second room contained a skeleton and a bone flute. We realised this was the Piper’s body, so we again scooped up the bones and placed them into another sack.

The Gnome

As I wanted to get to the roof to see what else was up there it was decided that I climbed up via the rubble and see if I could clear the obstruction above the trap door to allow the rest up. Again, I heard the unmistakable whine of stirge wings. I called up Zef, who promptly put arrows into them, whilst I began to pull fallen masonry from off of the trapdoor. With Kazimir pushing from below, we soon had the trap door open and the rest of the party clambered through and out onto the roof.

All we could see up there was a parapet and walkway in fairly good repair. We wandered around until we encountered a patch of carnivorous vine (identified by our ranger). Moebius soon had a little fire elemental get to work with burning it up. When the leaves had peeled away, we noticed the skeleton of a gnome beneath. Not knowing what he was doing up there, and not wanting to hang around as the light was beginning to fade, we quickly searched the body and found a few gold (24) and platinum (3) coins along with a little signet ring. We headed on back downstairs and headed towards the room with the warden’s wife’s ghost.

The Blue Lady

When we went into her chamber we heard her crying, but this time in joy. When we asked her about the two criminals, she told us that they were definitely dead. We told her what we had done and what we still intended to do and she thanked us in a most heart felt way.

With the light fading from the skies, we headed back to town and into Father Grimburrow’s garden. He was weeding and cursing his acolytes for being a lazy bunch and not knowing their aspidistras from their rhododendrons or some such. We interrupted his reverie and cursing to give him our news.

Father Grimburrow performed a couple of rites on the skeletons and we saw the ghosts of the prisoners rise from the bodies and evaporate with silent screams of anguish on their faces. He told us that the ordeal was over concerning these two.

He then proceeded to heal us of our combat wounds and mentioned that he would send his lazy acolytes up the hill to the prison tomorrow to pick up the rest of the skeletons for a decent burial whilst we carried on our investigations of the ground floor (we still had to get into the strong room and cold room, as well as open the safe in the calm room).

The Gazebo (Day 10 - Late evening)

We were awoken again later that evening by the sheriff; there was a large letter ‘S’ daubed onto the town’s gazebo. This is the third letter in the warden’s wife’s name. Luckily she has quite a long name, giving us plenty of time in which to finish our investigations at the prison on the hill.

The Strong Room (Day 11)

Feeling a little worse for wear and still carrying a weakness from the stirge bites I could not be raised from my bed. Zef decided to stay with me during the day to help me heal whilst Moebius and Kazimir returned to the prison with the acolytes of Pharasma. They all returned about an hour or so later with the contents of the room.

Contained within a small safe there were indeed items that looked like they would be useful in fighting the five (a smith’s hammer, a silver flute, a spell book, a collection of holy symbols and a blood-stained item). There were also more items that would help us against their minions and furthering our adventures (a set of Master Thieves’ Tools, a silver hairclip, some throwing stars, a silver war razor, a wand of Lesser Restoration and a few other items).

We spent the rest of the day looking over the items; trying to identify them and their uses. The skeletons from the upper storey had been cleared out by the acolytes, but the cold room and safe in the calm room still needed to be investigated. Perhaps we will do that on the morrow when we are all recovered from our wounds?

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