Chapter 06:

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Session Number: 6
Date: Sunday 17th August 2014
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Kyra Clr1 (1625 xp) (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lem Brd1 (910 xp) (Fergus absent) (kills: none)
Merisiel Rog1 (1625 xp) (Ash) (kills: none)
Valeros Ftr1 (1470 xp) (Craig) (kills: 1 bloody skeleton thing)

XP Awarded: 200 (for the column trap: none yet awarded for the fight with the undead)

Lem coughs, spittle flying from his mouth. He sits down. "I don't feel very well. I'll wait here for you."

"Should we have done that?" Valeros asks, sheathing his swords. "I feel bad. We just killed our town's founder. I feel bad. I mean, I know it was bashing us with stuff, but I still feel bad."

"Of course you feel bad," Merisiel says. "It hit you."

"Not bruised, Merisiel. Guilty."

"We ended up not having a choice," Kyra says. "I want to know what the keyhole in the back was for."

"What?"

"The keyhole in the back of his head."

Valeros has a look. There is indeed a keyhole in the back of the statue's head. "Is this like some sort of clockwork thing like the rich kids get in the big cities? You wind him up and he goes?"

"Who knows?" Kyra says. "Merisiel, try this." She tosses the elf the magical key retrieved from the pool. Merisiel places it in the keyhole. It fits. It turns and something inside goes 'clonk'. Kyra notices the magic on the statue fading. Valeros tries to shake it to see if anything rattles; it is too heavy. He rolls it over onto its back. It isn't articulated; there are no moving parts to be found. Apart from the separate tower shields it carries, it appears to have been carved from a single, solid piece of wood. Valeros removes his gloves and places his hands on the statue's surface. It is at room temperature.

"I wonder what the key is for," Valeros says as he dons his gloves, puzzled. "Maybe it's just to turn it off and on. And now it's broken, it's like a door where the innards have been smashed. It doesn't matter what you do with the key anymore." He looks at the ruined statue. "It seems a bit weird. You send people here to test their mettle, and Kassen smacks them in the face with a couple of shields?"

"There are many things wrong with this place," Kyra says.

Valeros sighs. "I still feel bad. Let's not tell anybody about this, OK?"

"I don't think there's much more we can do here. Let's move on."

"I don't want to go down that way, there are eight more Kassens waiting for us down there. I think I've killed my fair share of Kassens for one day."

"Then let's take the door opposite."

The party approach the door to the south. It has a handle and a keyhole. Merisiel carefully checks the door; it appears safe, albeit locked. She tries to pick the lock but it is beyond her ability.

"What about the key?" Valeros asks. Kyra retrieves it from the statue and puts it in the door's keyhole. It fits and turns: 'click'. She removes the key and gestures towards the door, smiling.

Merisiel opens the door. Behind is a small, rectangular room with a fair-sized wooden table in its centre. On it are three distinct piles of objects: two bottles, a stick and a scrollcase, and two more bottles. Each pile has a sheaf of paper beside it bearing writing.

Merisiel steps inside, allowing Valeros behind her to enter. He steps to the right and Kyra enters. The stick is carved and ornate. "Don't touch anything!" Valeros warns. Kyra Detects Magic; everything glows. Each piece of paper is headed with a name: Valeros (bottles), Kyra (stick and case), Merisiel (bottles). "That's weird," Valeros says, not for the first time today.

The writing on each piece of paper is similar:

Welcome, Valeros. I hope these items help you in your quest. Da'.

"No way!" Valeros bellows. The hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

Each note also describes the items nearby. Valeros has a Potion of Bear's Endurance and Oil of Magic Weapon. Kyra has a Wand of Cure Light Wounds with 10 charges, and a Scroll of Lesser Restoration. Merisiel has a Potion of Invisibility and a Potion of Cure Light Wounds.

"I want to go back to that locked door and break it down," Merisiel says.

"The one with the blocked up keyhole?" Valeros asks. "Sure. Just check these walls first, see if we've missed anything." Merisiel scans the walls but does not find any other exits.

The party return to the door that heads westward. Merisiel suggests that Valeros break it down. Valeros first checks the door. The hinges suggest that the door opens towards him. It is made of iron-bound wood and there is no handle.

"How am I supposed to pull this door open if there is nothing to pull? But there is a keyhole. Hand me the key, will you?" Kyra passes him the key. It is too long to fit into the keyhole; the teeth are still halfway outside the lock.

"Do you think you can break it down?" Merisiel asks.

"I'll give it a go."

"If needed, I have lamp oil and alchemist's fire."

"What, are you going to set me on fire first?"

Valeros backs up, takes a 15 foot run at the door and hits it with his shoulder. Bang! The door stands solid. He tries again, hitting it harder. The only effect is to badly bruise his shoulder. "Ow. That door was made by stone giants. It ain't moving."

The trio return to the pool room with the two south-facing doors. "We tried the key, right?" Valeros asks.

"Right," Kyra answers.

Valeros inspects the door. There is a keyhole and a handle, and it looks like it opens towards him. He pulls out his rope and ties it to the handle. "Right. All three of us are gonna do this at once, alright?" The three yank simutaneously on the rope. The handle pops off.

"Does that make it any easier to pick?" Valeros asks Merisiel.

"How am I supposed to do anything with that?" she replies.

"Well, 'cause surely you can get your stuff there and… once you're in, you're in, all the mechanism is… I don't know how it works, I'm not a rogue! Do your stuff! Look, I've opened it for you. Go. Do your thing."

Merisiel rolls her eyes, then looks at the workings behind the door handle. "I can't do it. You've destroyed the door."

"No I didn't! It's still there."

"Bash it down, tough guy," Kyra says.

"Alright, I'll give it a go."

Valeros runs and kicks at the door. It does not budge. "They make strong doors in this place. I'm just making lots of noise. Gah! I'm getting cross, now!" He backs up and tries again. The door stands firm. "Anybody got acid? Hang on, I've got acid!"

"I have some also," Merisiel says. She looks at the door. "Give yours to me." Valeros does so. Merisiel uses one vial on the top hinge and one on the bottom hinge. The hinges decay and give way; the door stands wedged in its recess.

"If only I had my crowbar," Valeros says. "Stay right there, I'll go get it." He plods out; the others look at each other and follow him.

Valeros spots the crowbar he left behind, sticking out of the ravine wall about half way up. He climbs up the slick surface, retrieves it and gingerly makes his way down. Slips and slides see him covered in mud, but he sustains no injury. "Here it is!" he says, filthy but with a big grin on his face.

The three make their way back to the pool room. Valeros pries the door out of its recess with his crowbar, then pulls it open and leans it against the wall. On the other side of the door the passageway continues for some thirty feet then turns left. Just past the door is a large, square alcove with a stone bench in the centre. On the far wall is a faded mural depiciting the hero Kassen defeating the mercenaries at the entrance of the crypt. His blade pierces the chest of the mercenary leader. He is surrounded by dead villagers and mercenaries. Kyra Detects Magic but senses none.

"I've got a hunch," Valeros says. He sits down on the bench and takes in the mural. Nothing seems to happen. "Alright. Rest's over." Valeros gets up and heads to the south exit.

The passageway turns left and is immediately blocked by a door. It has no handle, but has a blocked keyhole, very similar to another door they have seen. "I bet this door and the other one both go into the same room," Valeros says. He cannot see any hinges. "It sounds to me like it is supposed to open inwards," he says, then pushes on the edge of the door next to the keyhole. It swings open.

The chamber beyond is circular. There is a pillar in the centre that stretches from the hemispherical top to a causeway surrounded by a pit at floor level. The pillar is bristling with arrowshafts, but the outward-pointing ends do not look like either end of an arrow: they appear to be little balls of fabric. Valeros surveys the chamber's walls and floor. It is covered with many spent arrows with padded tips. There is a door opposite and to the right, heading south. Valeros connects the scene with the map and his eyes widen. "See! I knew those stairs going down and up had to be there for a reason! They go under whatever leads that way!"

There is a loud clanking sound that rises in pitch; the centre pillar starts rotating. Startled, Valeros pulls the door to. The sound continues. He opens it a little, checking whether arrows have started flying. They haven't… yet.

"Merisiel, whaddaya reckon? Does this floor look like it might be a trigger mechanism?" Merisiel inspects the floor immediately inside the room. "Nothing special," she says.

"I've just had a really good idea," Valeros says.

Kyra looks at Merisiel. "We are so boned."

"Na na na, hear me out. Kassen's shields. They were massive, like tower shields. And they weren't part of the statue! I'm going to go get them."

"I'll come along," Kyra says. She looks at Merisiel, questioningly. "I'll wait here and listen."

Valeros and Kyra go the long way back to Kassen's statue and retrieve Kassen's twin wooden tower shields: Home and Family. Merisiel nods at their return. "Still clanking," she says. Valeros hefts one of the shields, opens the door, and steps into the room. Several arrows shoot out towards him. One strikes the crook of his elbow, painfully.

"Hold this," Valeros says to Kyra, indicating his shield. He then drops to the floor and peeks around the bottom edge of the shield. Even crawling, he is pretty sure some of the arrows will strike him. He gets to his feet, takes the shield back out the doorway and pulls the door shut. "We're gonna think about this," he says. "I reckon I can probably give you some cover. What else have we got - that stone bench? The trapdoor covers?"

"How about the blankets and stuff at the bottom of the pits?" Kyra says. "Let's wrap up in them!"

"Fantastic plan!" Valeros says. "Let's go get some!"

Valeros returns a minute later with armloads of blankets and fabric. He wraps himself in layers of fabric, then thumps his chest. "I reckon this will work! Stand back, guys, I'm gonna give it a try."

Valeros opens the door and steps inside, leaving the tower shield behind. Arrows arc his way. Two of them hit him squarely but ineffectually. He steps back and pulls the door closed. "It seems to work!" he says. "Give me the key."

"See if you can disable the pillar first," Kyra says.

"Sorry, your lips are moving but I don't really understand what you're saying. What do you mean, disable the pillar? Do you want me to drop the roof on top of us?"

"What you want to do is tie pillows around it," Merisiel says.

"Tie pillows around it?" Valeros pauses, thinking. "I could make a bandage out of blankets, put it on and then just let it wrap around!" He fetches more armfuls of blankets, tears them into strips and ties the ends together until he has scores of feet of material. He takes armfuls of it and steps inside. Arrows fly; he avoids them and moves towards the stone bridge. Three more shoot his way and hit but inflict no damage. He now stands before the spinning pillar. He swings the loose end of the blankets towards the pillar. It snags, but the decrepid fabric tears!

"Is there any way to turn it off?" Kyra yells.

"Bit busy!"

Valeros reels the fabric in. Three more arrows strike him; one of them bruises him despite his extra padding. He tries again… This time the fabric stays attached! He feeds the fabric up and down the pillar's length and steps back off the bridge and away from the pit. "This is gonna take a while," he thinks to himself…

Four more arrows fire out. All strike him; one in the face, bruising his cheek. He continues feeding the length of fabric around the pillar. It starts to take effect! The next salvo is only three arrows. Two hit his face solidly, sending him back a step. "Kyra!"

The cleric grabs a shield and crosses to where Valeros stands, casting Cure Light Wounds. Valeros' bruises disappear. "Get behind me!" he says. Two of the next three arrows hit and one hurts Valeros. Three more arrows hit Kyra, knocking the wind out of her chest. "I can't help any more!" she gasps.

"Get out of here!" Valeros says. He continues to apply the bandage while Kyra retreats. Now, the pillar only manages to fire two arrows at the padded Valeros; both do no damage.

There is now less pillar visible than bandage. "It's working!" Valeros cries. A single arrow arcs out towards Valeros, but his armour blocks it. Valeros directs the bandage over the remaining uncovered pillar. No more arrows fly.

"Yes!" Valeros yells. He keeps wrapping, just in case. As the last of the blankets is fed onto the pillar, he says, "I declare this room safe!"

"What's in the pit?" Merisiel asks.

Valeros peeks down. "Nothing special. About ten feet deep."

"So you could have jumped in to avoid the arrows."

"I suppose, but who knows what's down there? Maybe a disabling mechanism… But I like mine better! Alright Merisiel, we're good. Kyra, you OK?"

"I'll let you know in a sec." She enters and stands beside him, channelling divine energy to heal them all. She then uses her new wand to heal herself further.

Merisiel searches the walls but finds nothing. "Shall we try the door to the east?"

"Why not?" Valeros replies, removing his makeshift padded armour.

The door has a keyhole and a handle. Merisiel tries to open it; it opens easily. Behind it is the expected dogleg corridor they have been in before.

"So, easy to open from one side, bloody hard to open from the other," Valeros comments.

There is a faint 'click' from behind that does not escape Merisiel's attention: the door opposite has closed.

"To the south?" Merisiel asks.

"Yup."

"What shall we do with these shields?"

"Leave them here."

Merisiel moves to the south door. It looks safe enough so she opens it. Ahead is a short corridor that opens into a chamber whose farther half widens and is supported by four pleasantly stationary columns. In the far wall is a corridor with stairs leading down. It is flanked by two statues of Kassen that stand anchored in shallow alcoves. A continuous carving of mourners runs along the walls. Kyra checks for magic but finds none.

The adventurers make their way inside, Valeros leading and following the left wall. As soon as he nears the first column, a bloody, rotting humanoid skeleton steps out from behind and reaches for him! There is further movement from behind the other pillars.

"Funnel them through the corridor" Merisiel says.

"Good tactic!" Valeros says. "Get out of here!"

Initiative:
Monsters 14+
Merisiel 13
Valeros 12
Kyra 9

TOR1
The creature's bloody claws slash at Valeros. He sidesteps the first swipe, but the second opens his cheek. Another lumbers over and attacks but cannot penetrate Valeros' scale mail. A third bears down upon Merisiel. It stumbles as it lashes out and smashes its hand into the ground with a bone-snapping crunch; it hangs at an unnatural angle, but the creature doesn't seem to notice. Merisiel retreats out of the chamber, stationing herself to the left of the door. Valeros follows; a creature slashes at him with a bloody claw but the canny fighter anticipates and dodges. He stops right outside the doorway. Kyra lingers for a second, channelling Sarenrae's energy at the creatures that she hopes are undead. They burn in the holy light of her goddess! She then follow the others out, stopping on the right hand side of the door.

"Come on!" Valeros yells down the corridor at the corrupt walking carcasses, waving his paired swords. "Come get me!"

TOR2
A creature lurches down the corridor in pursuit and lunges around the corner at Merisiel with its clawed hands. Merisiel ducks, but not quick enough; she is mauled by the attacks. She withdraws and steps next to Kyra. Valeros steps into the gap and stabs high and low with his blades. His short sword finds its mark and fells the lead creature. Kyra again calls upon the power of Sarenrae, this time healing her companions.

TOR3
Another walking monstrosity steps forwards to engage Valeros. A clawed hand finds a weak spot at Valeros' waist, slashing through leather and skin. Blood pours from the grievous wound. The remaining creatures close. Merisiel offers Valeros her potion of healing, he declines. She shrugs and stabs at a creature with her rapier but misses. Valeros bleeds out and falls unconscious. Kyra calls upon her goddess again to heal her allies. Valeros' eyes flicker open as the wound in his belly closes over.

TOR4
A creature slashes twice at Kyra, but the corner and the tower shield she carries rob the attacks of any real threat. "Gimme that potion!" Valeros says weakly. "I'll have it now!" Merisiel passes him her healing potion. She then stabs at the lead creature, but its flailing arm turns the blade towards Valeros! The rapier pierces the fighter's scale mail and the light disappears from his eyes once more as he drops the potion.

Merisiel did talk about Valeros dying in his sleep.

Kyra touches the Wand of Cure Light Wounds to Valeros' chest and heals some of his wounds; his eyes again flutter open. The potion, unbroken from its fall, lies within his reach!

crypt_level_01.jpg

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