Chapter 02:

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Session Number: 2
Date: Sunday 30 March 2014
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Kyra Clr1 (715 xp) (Yeran) (kills: 4 skeletons)
Lem Brd1 (0 xp) (Fergus) (kills: none)
Merisiel Rog1 (715 xp) (Ash) (kills: 1 skeleton)
Valeros Ftr1 (715 xp) (Craig) (kills: 1 skeleton)

XP Awarded: 300 odd

Valeros gingerly rolls the body over with his crowbar: a human male, bloated and pale. None of the three recognise him, perhaps because his features are grossly disfigured. His body bears deep, widely spaced bloodless bite marks - much larger than that of any wolf. His sword is still in its scabbard.

"We can't just leave him here," Valeros says. "He deserves a proper burial."

"I agree," Kyra says. She and Valeros drag the body away from the lake shore. They are interrupted by footsteps coming from Fangwood to the north. Tall grass moves as the running footfalls approach. Kyra and Valeros drop the corpse and the three prepare weapons.

A gnome burst out from the grass. "We didn't do it!" yells Valeros. "I'm mighty glad to hear it," the visitor says. It is Lem from Kassen, known to the others. He wanted to participate in this year's rite of passage but was forbidden to by his father. He snuck away.

Valeros starts digging a shallow grave with his crowbar. The job takes two hours but finally the poor traveller is put to rest. Merisiel uses a few feet of her silk rope to fasten some sticks into a makeshift grave marker. Kyra says some words over the grave, then the four adventurers depart to the south.

The path leads through Fangwood Forest. As they journey, rain begins to fall. About an hour of walking takes them through the forest, bounded to the south by a steep chasm. The opposite edge meanders east and west, looking like a huge serpent. The four examine their piecemeal map. There is no visible path down, yet their map suggests their journey is supposed to traverse this point.

Valeros, Merisiel and Lem pool their rope: 150 feet in total, enough to reach the ravine floor. Valeros ties the rope to a nearby tree and volunteers to bring it down with him once the others have safely scaled the steep ravine wall.

Merisiel, Lem and Kyra all climb down. Merisiel and Kyra slip at various points, sliding partway down the slick, rocky surface and injuring themselves. Valeros then unties the rope, fastens his end to his belt and sizes up the descent.

"Once you get half way," Merisiel yells from the bottom, "find something to loop the rope around. Then climb down holding both lengths."

Valeros sees the intent. "Good idea." He begins climbing, tentatively at first. He is a short distance from half way when he gets cocky. "Piece of cake!" he says, rappelling down a ten-foot section. He lands heavily and the bank gives way beneath him. He slides a full thirty feet on his back before a boulder breaks his momentum - and nearly his back.

"You OK?" the others inquire.

"Back hurts like a bastard, but I'll make it," Valeros utters, wincing. He is a little over half way down. He looks for something to loop the rope around but finds nothing; none of the rocks protrude enough to give him any confidence. He eventually resorts to his crowbar, hammering it into the muddy surface with a handy rock. He feeds the rope through the looped end of the crowbar to its midpoint, tosses both ends down to the ravine floor and carefully makes the remainder of the climb, retrieving the rope. He looks up to where he left his crowbar. "Good crowbar, that," he says. "Should've wrapped something red around it." He tries to memorise its location.

Kyra prays to her deity and heals the adventurers' bruises and grazes incurred in the descent. They then turn to the southern face of the chasm. At the bottom, a little to the east is a cave entrance. "Let me look at that map," Valeros says. He examines it. "That doesn't look like where we're supposed to go. The marked path leads up the other side of the ravine, and leads to an archway, not a cave." He peers at the south face. "There! There's a winding trail, see it?"

Indeed there is a trail and the adventurers take it. Even the rain doesn't make the climb particularly dangerous. At the top is a grassy valley, at the end of which is a worked stone archway leading into the cliff face. Several horses and mules lie here, dead, rivulets and pools of their red blood staining the verdant grass. They were slain where they were tethered. Slain by crude weapons rather than tooth and claw, close inspection reveals. In their saddlebags are damp pillows and lamp oil. One mount lies dead upon the bleached bones of an unidentifiable creature.

Figuring that they can do no more for the unfortunate creatures, the adventurers turn their eyes to the archway. Inside is a set of stone doors, the left slightly ajar, opening outwards. Merisiel checks the portal for traps but finds none. The partly open door is only wide enough to admit a cat or something smaller. Merisiel gives the door a tug but it does not budge.

"Here, let me try that," Valeros says. He anchors himself against the right door and pulls on the left. It stands steadfast. He tries again and manages to move it scarcely an inch.

"You all just gonna stand there?" Valeros says, his face flushed red. He fetches the grappling hook and rope, hooks it on the edge of the ajar door and starts walking backwards, feeding the rope through his hands. "Right. I'm anchor. The rest of you, I'll count to three, then pull!"

"Is that on three, or after three?" Lem asks.

"On three! Ready? One… Two… Three!"

The four adventurers heave at the rope. Valeros goes sprawling as the rope slips through his muddy grasp but the door grinds open about half way. Valeros picks himself up and joins Merisiel peering through the door. It is dark inside.

"Anyone got a lit lantern?" Valeros says, then snickers. "Oh, that's right, that's what we're here for." Kyra casts Light on a stick for herself and upon the tip of Valeros' short sword.

Through the doors is a long chamber, its roof supported by four thin stone columns. In the centre of the side walls are sets of wide stairs leading upwards, east and west. The floor is strewn with masses of bones. In between the opposite staircases lie two rotting humanoid figures.

Merisiel makes her way into the chamber, following the left wall, wary of tripwires and pitfalls. Valeros shadows her on the right wall. The pair advance as Kyra and Lem enter the chamber. On the far, south wall is a mural depicting Kassen vanquishing bandits. Merisiel hears a faint moaning sound to the left. Valeros and Merisiel cautiously advance into the centre of the chamber. Bones everywhere begin to rattle as they assemble themselves into six skeletal warriors, before and behind!

Lem is behind the front line and escapes injury while the others are mobbed by the skeletons that slash with sword and rake with clawed digits. Valeros' sturdy scale mail turns the attacks but Kyra and Merisiel suffer multiple wounds. They defend valiantly but the odds are against them. "Withdraw!" shouts Valeros. Lem sees the wisdom and ducks back through the doorway, putting his flute to his lips and trilling out a song of encouragement. Kyra throws back her cloak, grasps the symbol of Sarenrae at her neck with a firm hand and says "The Light of Sarenrae Bolster and Burn!" Sunlight bursts forth, simultaneously healing her allies and flaying her foes. Four of the six skeletons are instantly destroyed; two are knocked back a step, as if the light had mass, but remain on their fleshless feet. Merisiel's rapier and Valeros' twin blades make short work of them.


Valeros moves around the chamber, stomping on bones until he is satisfied none will rise. Merisiel checks the dead bodies in the centre. They do not appear to be from around here. She salvages a couple of quivers from their bodies and hands one to Valeros. The fighter stops in front of Kyra with an unfamiliar expression on his face: respect. "That was… really good, what you did there."

"Thanks," Kyra says, a little uncertainly.

Merisiel and Valeros climb the east set of stairs and enter a north-south corridor at its midpoint. There is a door to the south; the north branch ends abruptly with no discernable exit. Valeros examines the north end. Merisiel leaves him there and ventures up the west stairs, finding a similar corridor with a door in the north branch. She quickly checks for traps and opens the door. Behind is a corridor. She closes the door.

Valeros notices he is alone and returns to the central chamber, seeing Kyra and Lem but not Merisiel. He crosses to the stairs opposite and finds the elf. "Anything?"

"Door." She returns to the chamber, followed by Valeros.

"Which way?" Valeros asks.

"There was noise from the east," Merisiel says, then listens. "Although I do not hear it now."

The adventurers head to the east corridor. Merisiel checks the door, then opens it. Light from Valeros' illuminated sword spills into the room beyond. In the centre of the south wall is a statue fountain portraying a distraught woman holding the body of a fallen man, presumably Kassen, although it is difficult to tell as the statue's head is missing. The fountain deposits water into a pool that extends from the south wall into the centre of the chamber. In the north wall are two short corridors that end in identical doors.

Immediately, a disembodied voice from within the chamber says, "Magic is the key." All is then quiet, save the constant trickling of water from the fountain.

Valeros pushes past Merisiel and trots into the chamber, looking around with both swords drawn. He sees no enemies. The pool of water is clear and deep, dropping some forty feet to the bottom. The light from his sword glints off something metallic in the depths.

Merisiel examines the right-hand door. It is not obviously trapped, but is obviously locked. There is a keyhole. The left door is identical.

"Where is the key?" Merisiel asks. Lem looks into the pool. "Down there. There are dozens of them at the bottom." He casts a spell. "But one of them calls to me!" He casts another spell and gestures downwards to the water's surface. A key rises from the bottom and breaks the surface, dropping to the gnome's feet at his gestures of command. He repeats the manoeuvre until a small pile of keys lie beside him. "There you are!" he says, bringing one more key to the surface. "This one… is magical." He directs the key through the air, into the right-hand door's keyhole. His Prestidigitation is not delicate enough to turn the key in the lock. "Would someone care to do the honours?" he asks. Valeros moves to the door and takes hold of the key. It does not turn, in either direction. "Nope."

"Try the other door," Merisiel suggests. Valeros does, with the same result. "Both locks at once?" Merisiel ponders. She selects one of the keys on the floor and inserts it into the right-hand door. "On three, Valeros?"


"One… Two… Three." Merisiel and Valeros simultaneously twist their keys in the doors. They do not turn. Valeros pulls out the key and returns to the chamber. "Perhaps it's something to do with the statue… 'Magic is the key'… Kyra, do you think the woman wants you to heal the man? Is that the magic it needs?"

Kyra tries Valeros' suggestion, targetting the headless man with a burst of divine power. Nothing happens.

Valeros chews his lower lip. "Magic is the key," he says, "but maybe neither of these is the door." He walks to the pool and looks down. He picks up one of Lem's discarded keys. "Kyra, care to light this up for me?" Kyra obliges, then Valeros drops it into the centre of the pool. It sinks quickly and settles on the bottom, illuminating the area. There is no obvious door down there.

"Perhaps magic is the literal key," Merisiel says. "Try putting your light on the keyhole." Kyra casts her orison and touches the keyhole on the right-hand door. It gleams, but nothing else changes. "Can you see anything on the other side?" Merisiel asks. "No, I cannot see through the light."

Lem moves to the left-hand door and peers through. He makes magical gestures and peers through the keyhole. Dancing Lights illuminate the space beyond, a small chamber with a corridor extending to the north from the northeastern corner.

"So how do we get through?" Valeros asks.

"Beats me," Kyra says. "Perhaps you can chop through it with your sword."

Valeros' rakish air returns. "Hand over that scimitar, cleric, you have no right to carry it if that's what you think they're for! Now these, on the other hand…" he bends his right arm and kisses his bulging bicep. "These beauties are what you want!" Kyra rolls her eyes.


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