Legends and Lore

Dark Waters (Episode 39)

As the heroes attempted to escape the sunken ruins of Vor Rukoth they were continually harassed by the mysterious beholder of shadow. Many began to wonder if escape from the ruins was even possible, as the creature showed an innate ability to vanish into thin air, only to reappear somewhere else in the distance. The situation was proving to be a frustrating one, and made worse by the groups inablitity to move quickly in their small rowboats. But as time passed the group finally began to injure the strange creature when it engaged the group for an extended period of time. The momentum failed to last however as the mysterious orb of eye stalks became a bloodied mess, and then once again faded into the shadows, and then vanished. At this point each companion had begun to grow weary of this routine, and a concerted effort was being made to remain ever vigilant of the next attack. The next attack never came.

Soon the group found themselves at the edge of the ruins, and paddling quickly into the open waters. Thankfully Captain Burgoyne’s ship still remained, and the two small rowboats quickly made their way towards the harbinger of safty. All the while an attack from the depths below seeming a real possibility. But the tentacled beast was nowhere to be found.

Finally the group reached the safty of the vessel, and Robyn skillfully made his way up the wooden side to secure a rope for the others. It was then that the half-orc rogue discovered the crew lined up along the rail of the ship, and Captain Burgoyne quickly filled Robyn in on recent events while the others waited below. Apparently another crew member had been found below deck, his throat slit and nearly decapitated. A grisly murder carried out with percision and skill. The Captain seemed certain that the assassin stood amongst them now, and seemed determined to root out the killer.

Meanwhile the remaining companions were assisted onto the Raven Queen’s decks. It was then that a plan was devised by Fin. The paladin then began to go through the crews lineup, carefully inspecting each individuals facial features and hair with the feel of his hands. But nothing seemed amiss and Fin turned to suggest a second plan of action, a careful walk-through using a search line through every one of the ships decks and living quarters. It was during this walk-through that the kraken struck!

Suddenly the ship rocked violently, and the loud cracking of wood split the nervous silence below deck. As the companions quickly made their way above deck what they witnessed was enough to send fear through the most seasoned of sailors. Four of the gargantuan kraken’s tentacles had curled themselves around the entire ship and it’s central mast. Four other massive tentacles thrashed about in the salty air, grabbing hold of anything available. An attack upon the four tentacles coiled around the vessel immediately commenced, but to little effect as the kraken’s powerful arms seemed immovable. Two crew members were then soon plucked violently from the deck and disappeared below the dark waters of the Midnight Sea. The situations seemed to grow more dire by the second as the kraken began violently shaking the ship causing the decks to roll. The pilot of the ship then gave desperate order to raise the sails, as he stumbled his way towards the wheel in an attempt to steady the vessel and somehow escape. Then the captains girlfriend was thrown off balance and thrown overboard. Shortly after, Mongo and Fin suddenly found themselves in the deathly grips of two of the massive tentacles! Unable to break free both soon vanished over the rail, seemingly doomed to drowned under the bloodied waters of the sea. Then the kraken suddenly loosened its death grip upon the vessel, and many began to hope that the creature’s end might be near. But these hopes were soon dashed as the creature regripped the vessel and once again violently slammed the vessel into the water. Wood splintered and cracked, and the ship’s hull began to sink deeper into the dark waters, the deck barely above water level. Desperate, the crew and heroes continued the fight while all hope seemed to be slowly slipping away. Then Altain landed a brutal slice deep into the kraken’s massive tentacled arm, and the beast suddenly released its grip. Upon this release the ship rebounded from the dark water as blood gushed from beneath. Those on board scrambled towards the ship’s rail, and there below Mongo and Fin could both be seen attempting to swim on the blood slicked surface of the sea.

The two companions, Fin and Mongo, were soon hoisted onto the deck before the search for other crew members continued. Of the four missing crew only two were spotted, and one happened to be Burgoyne’s girlfriend. Quickly, they too were fetched from the bloody waters, but neither was breathing. They were near death and only the healing powers of Bahamut, brought to bear through the hands of the paladin Fin LaVie, proved able to save them both.

Some how, some way, most of the crew and heroes had managed to survive. To a man each also knew how truly fortunate they really were. It was under these fortunate circumstances that each individual began to care for the wounded while repairs upon the damaged vessel commenced. The Raven Queen was badly damaged, but somehow she had managed to stay afloat, and the Captain couldn’t have been more proud.

Eyes of Shadow (Episode 38)

As the evening set in the companions decided to take refuge under the flooded roof of the first large building inspected earlier that day. The hope was to sleep in the small rowboats under cover without being disturbed. Little was known of what might lurk in the dark and flooded ruins of the night, but to a man each knew it probably wouldn’t be good, and this location seemed as safe as any.

It was during this rest, and as the early morning hours approached, that the group came under sudden attack. The first signs of trouble came from an unexpected direction, below the groups small rowboats. Not only was an attack from inside the building unexpected, by the sight of a large lobster-like creature seemed more the story of a childhood nightmare. But things continued to grow more dire as the group began to realize that this strange creature (known as a Chuul) was apparently not alone. As explosions of fire suddenly erupted amongst the confused companions. Soon more creatures began to surface around the small boats, and it quickly became apparent that this was yet another ambush of the strange frog-men known by sailors as bullywugs. But some of these attackers seemed different than those encountered a day earlier as some of them seemed capable of casting spells! The battle was hard fought, and at times the groups doom seemed nearly inevitable. Yet they fought on, and somehow turned the tide, finally winning out but at a cost. Many in the group were badly bloodied, and it was evident that the evenings rest would continue into the morning hours in an attempt to recover.

Later that morning the group appeared ready to push ahead. The long shadows of the morning stretched across the flooded ruins of Vor Rukoth, and an eerie silence seemed to fill the cool moist air. Slowly the group began making their way towards the open sea and the large sailing ship that hopefully still awaited their return. Each companion knew that the group was most vulnerable crowded into the two small rowboats, but there were no other options, so the heroes made the best of an uncomfortable situation. Suddenly a dark ray shot out from the shadows of a nearby street, and then another black ray quickly followed! The group weilded about in an attempt to distinguish the origin of the attack, and spotted behind them a shadowy orb at the far end of the street. Fin took to the nearby roof tops, and began running towards the location the strange creature had been spotted. But when he arrived there was nothing to be seen?! Fin then turned to the group several blocks away, and the shadowy orb suddenly appeared in front of the groups rowboats! Two more rays quickly followed, one of gray shadowy matter, the other a dark and cloudy blue that crackled and thundered like an intense storm. Fin turned, and once again began running towards his unsuspecting comrads. Then the situation grew worse, as the heroes paddled their way toward the nearby corner of a building. Suddenly two tentacles exploded from the dark waters! Mongo soon found himself lifted from the small boat, as his companions attempted to strike out at the creature’s arm in an attempt to release the tentacle’s grip on the dwarf. Two more rays then shot from the shadowy orb’s eyestalks before the large orb began fading into the nearby shadows, and then vanished from sight once again. Thankfully at that point the companions had managed to free Mongo from the tentacles grip, and the dark waters once again fell still, as an eerie silence once again descended across the area. Each of the companions could sense that things were far from over, but none were sure from where the next attack might strike…

The Lost Library (Episode 37)

Finally after some quick preparation the companions began to climb down into the rowboats, and began making their way towards the sunken ruins of Vor Rukoth. But as they neared the city an immense commotion began to emanate from the location of the Raven Queen. The ship had come under attack from the long and powerful tentacles of what many in the crew had believed to be the legendary sea creature known as the kraken. Desperate cries could be heard through the still night air, as the crew of the Raven Queen scrambled to fight off the powerful tentacles now threatening to pull the ship to the depths of the Midnight Sea. Then finally after a short struggle the beast unexpectedly released its deadly grip upon the vessel and vanished below the dark surface of the sea.

Relieved that the vessel seemed safe for the time being, the heroes continued to row towards the ruins, when they too suddenly came under the same attack! Thankfully however quick action seemed to spare the group as they lashed out with their blades, slashing the beast’s tentacled arms many times over, and sending the creature into retreat. Once again the dark waters of the Midnight Sea fell still, and the night air became eerily quiet.

Once the rowboats reached the flooded ruins the distinct sounds of croaking could be heard emanating in the distance, and more than one hero recalled children stories of a frog-like people called bullywugs. None could be certain if these sounds had any connection to such stories, but none would be surprised if they were in fact true, after all having witnessed what they had already over the past year nothing seemed impossible. The two small rowboats continued into the ruin’s flooded streets in the hopes of spotting a larger building that resembled a library when they heard several splashes in the distance. It wasn’t long before the frogmen known as bullywugs appeared not only from the dark waters, but over the rooftops of several of the surrounding buildings. A number of the heroes jumped to the nearby rooftops, while others chose to remain in the boats. It was during this conflict with the bullywugs that a women’s voice was suddenly heard singing in the distance. The melody proved enchanting as more that one individual found themselves drawn towards its hidden origin. Others meanwhile continued to struggle against the assault of the numerous frogmen now surrounding the group. Finally Robyn, now straying from the immediate conflict, discovered the origin of the beautiful song – a bird-like woman with clawed feet and wings, a harpy! Thankfully, as Robyn neared, he finally managed to break from the trans-like state of the enchanting song, and began to defend himself from the sudden attack of the bird woman. Meanwhile the other companions had begun to get the upper hand against their bullywug attackers. While several others began assaulting the harpy, until it finally fell lifeless upon a nearby rooftop.

Blood now ran freely from several of the rooftops, as well as in the waters of the flooded ruins, and once again an eerie silence began to descend upon the area. Then several rays of light suddenly shot from a nearby flooded street corner. Something was apparently still amiss. Then one of the companions pointed out what appeared to be a large ball of shadow that seemed to be writhing with snakes! Some amongst the group moved in closer to investigate, hoping to get a better look at the mysterious sight. Some feared that the creature was perhaps a gorgon, otherwise known as a medusa, with the ability to turn a man to stone with just one look. But what they found was shocking, a large eyeball of shadow with many smaller eyestalks at its top, all wreathed in shadow and darkness! The sight of the strange creature was nothing short of bone chilling, and none knew for certain what it was that they had just laid eyes upon? But with little time to reflect upon the sudden turn of events many of the companions move in to battle the enemy of shadow. Eyes rays of paralyzing effect, as well as those that blinded, quickly began to scour the battlefield as the companions attempted to close on their newfound enemy. But the strange eyeball seemed impossible to outmaneuver. Then the creature sank back into the shadows and mysteriously disappeared from sight! The heroes quickly began to scour the area, but to no avail, the enemy of shadow was nowhere to be found. But each of the companions couldn’t help but wonder if they weren’t being watched from afar? Suddenly each dark corner, and alleyway, within the sunken ruins seemed ominous, and danger seemed to lurk all about.

It was under these tense circumstances that the heroes continued their search for the “Lost Scrolls”, and their ancient knowledge of a mysterious prophecy. The task at hand seemed nearly impossible, but after an extensive search the flooded library was finally discovered. The library was in a smaller building than expected but a quick swim beneath the waters confirmed its past use, its interior walls were still lined with shelves. From there the group planned to make several dives inside hoping to discover a stairway deep below. Bahamut proved to be with them on this day, as the divers soon discovered a lower level, and a stash of scroll cases too numerous to count. A careful search eventually revealed two scroll cases that still remained tightly sealed, and seemed of greater value than many of the others. These two were soon returned to the surface along with several other scrolls of interest. In the two most significant scroll cases, upon sheets of brittle and ancient parchment, an ancient prophecy was discovered as well as an ancient Ritual of Quenching. Each read as follows:

The Prophecy:
Nightmares of death rise on black wing
as blue Skies darken over sands covering,
Winter white Sleet falls upon a northern Wall
as Emerald forests of dead rise to the call,
Fiery red Flame pours from deaths wing
the Queen rises again as darkness comes calling.

Ritual of Quenching:
-Five elder chromatic dragons have awakened, but must now be destroyed.
-Weapons of the victor must then be quenched within the origin of the savage beasts killing breath.
-Only this will allow one to harm the Dark Queen and banish evil from the land.

Although cryptic in parts Fin LaVie and Altain Moonfire painstakingly poured of each and every word, and slowly they began to decipher what they believed to be the ancient prophecy. They knew Nightmare to be the name of the black dragon that guarded the Queen’s Stone, so began to comb the scroll for other obvious names that were capitalized, and settled on the following: Nightmare, Skie, Sleet, Emerald, and Flame. Each name correlated with a chromatic dragon of a particular hugh, and each was to rise from a deep slumber as an unexplainable darkness began to spread. Then finally culminating with the return of the Queen of Darkness!

In the second scroll of ancient parchment a mysterious ritual was contained, apparently explaining how to banish the Dark Queen. The other scrolls recovered contained various pieces of history from the region, and some specifically on the ancient city of Vor Rukoth, but nothing relating to mysterious prophecy.

It was then time to settle in and rest for the remainder of the evening, so the group returned to the first building they had searched earlier that evening, and began tearing off a small section of the roof. There they took up residence under the remaining cover of the roof, and settled into their rowboats for an uncomfortable, yet much needed rest. An uneasy silence once again fell across the flooded ruins of Vor Rukoth…

The Sunken City (Episode 36)

The following day the Raven Queen’s sails were once again fully set, and the ship was making good time as it completed its trek around the cape. The crew was now sailing westward in the waters of the South Sea when dusk began to fall. It was only an hour later when a lookout spotted a mysterious form in the nearby waters, and a quiet word quickly spread that it appeared to be some sort of sea serpent? Tensions continued to mount as the minutes passed, until a long necked serpent suddenly exploded from the water! The crew quickly began to scramble to the defense of the ship. But the companions seemed determine to deal with the threat themselves as the dwarf Mongo insisted that the crew take cover below deck, but the crew either failed to listen or failed to hear the dwarf over all of the commotion. Then Altain approached the sailor who appeared to be in charge, and explained the need for the crew to remain unharmed in order to sail the ship. The explanation seemed to take hold, as the man turned and directed the others to take cover below. At that poinst many of the heroes had already begun to engage the large serpentine creature as it lunged at the group scattered along the ships decks, the creature’s long neck allowing its jaws to snap down upon men up to ten feet away from the ship’s rail. But the true danger had not yet been realized until four additional heads suddenly burst from the surrounding waters!! Audible gasps could be heard on deck, as each of the companions suddenly came to realize that this beast was no serpent at all, but instead a five headed hydra! But the brave heroes refused to back down, and after finally collecting themselves fought valiantly until two of the creature’s heads had been severed. Then something incredible took place, as each stump began to regenerate two heads! Suddenly the group of heroes now faced a six headed hydra!! It was under the stress of this sudden revelation that the paladin Fin was bitten by several of the heads and fell unconscious to the deck. The dwarf Mongo, seeing his companion’s blood mixing with the sea water that continued to splash over the ships deck, began to shout loudly above the chaos. His words inspired those around him to fight for their fallen companion, and to the groups amazement Fin began to stir! The paladin fought against the rolling sea, and began rising up. Somehow with Mongo’s words of defiance and hope Fin had regained consciousness, and now stood preparing to call upon Bahamut in the hope that his god might give him the strength to carry on. The battle continued to rage for several long minutes as the companions struggled to avoid the sharp teeth of the hydra’s many heads, but many found it nearly impossible to avoid the assault. The watery deck was now stained with the blood of not only the enemy, but the companions as well. But finally after an exhausting battle only one head remained, and the group had begun to realize that Altain’s sword, “Moonfire”, was the key. Apparently the enchanted swords ability to summon fire seemed able to cauterize the wounds of the hydra, preventing the creature from regenerating additional heads. The tactic had proved successful thus far, and with one head remaining Altain charged forward to prevent the creature from regenerating yet again. But the eladrin swordmage was unaware that the beast had seen the charge coming from his peripheral vision, and the serpent-like head suddenly wielded around, striking Altain and knocking him unconscious! To the groups horror the hydra had already begun to regenerate two more heads from the stub of the previously severed neck. The sea creature now writhed about with three heads that now snapped down upon the hapless heroes, and many of the companions were nearing their ends. Nearby, one of the crew looked on helplessly as he watched the heroes nearly slay the beast, only to suddenly witness two additional heads join the epic battle. The situation was getting more dire by the second, and finally three crew members jumped up from below to join the fray. One quickly manned the ballista nearby, while the others stepped forward towards the ships rail to engage the large sea creature. Meanwhile, Fin carefully made his way towards Altain and recited a quick prayer, healing some of the swordmage’s more severe wounds and helping him to regain consciousness. Finally after what seemed like hours rather than minutes, and with the assistance of the crew, the heroes finally felled the beast – its dead carcass staining the surrounding sea water crimson, as the creature slowly sank into the murky blue depths of the South Sea.

Many in the group were now near death themselves, and each was in desperate need of medical attention. Fin moved about the group assisting those he could, while fully realizing that if not for Bahamut’s gift of healing that the entire crew would have surely perished. Soon Captain Burgoyne could be seen inspecting the damages to the ship, but thankfully the damage was slight and the crew immediately began making the necessary repairs. Captain Burgoyne had asked to see the paladin Fin LaVie in his quarters, and the two men disappeared below the ships deck shortly after. The Captain had noted the paladin’s holy symbols, and witnessed the divine healing only heard of in legends and stories of a bygone era. He seemed curious of what had transpired in Fin’s past, and how he came to possess such power. Apparently the captain was familiar with the legend of “The Chosen One”, but seemed a nonbeliever before now. Burgoyne now seemed unsure in what to believe? Fin confirmed that the Captain had witnessed true healing, and Burgoyne would need time to process the new information. He thanked Fin for his time and the two parted ways.

As the meeting between the paladin and captain ended a sudden flurry of activity had just begun above deck. Apparently some bloody clothing of a crew member had been discovered hidden behind some crates down below in the cargo hold. A lineup was now being held on deck, and all of the crew was accounted for, but who the clothing belonged to had yet to be discovered. After some questioning one man finally stepped forward, and although appearing very nervous, took the blame for hiding the blood stained clothes. Robyn was doubtful of the story however, and later explained to Burgoyne his suspicion that a stow away was amongst them. The half-orc then explained that an assassin had been trailing the group for quite some time, and that he feared that the assassin was now hidden amongst the crew, or at the very least onboard the Raven Queen.

Several days later the ship finally entered dark waters of the Midnight Sea. It was late in the evening and many had heard stories of the strange going ons in these mysterious waters. Then suddenly the calm surface of the water exploded with writhing arms of a beast from the depths! Minds raced as the crew desperately scrambled to seal the hatches. During the sudden chaos on deck Captain Burgoyne could be heard yelling something about a “kraken”, but none could be sure exactly what was said. Quickly several in the group moved to slash the massive tentacled arms of the unseen creature. Soon Robyn and Mongo found themselves grabbed by the large tentacled arms, and hoisted above the deck. Others scrambled to strike the arms now attempting to abduct their fellow companions. But after a few short seconds of terror the arms suddenly released their stranglehold on the two heroes, dropping them to the deck, before disappearing below the surface of Midnight Sea. As suddenly as it had begun the attack had ended, but a deep rooted fear of the unknown had also been realized. Captain Burgoyne explained a legend amongst sailors called “the kraken”, but also told the group how it was believed to be a seaman’s myth used to explain the mysterious disappearances of ships gone missing on the high seas. It was the only explanation the Captain could offer, and one the Captain obviously hoped was inaccurate, since legend said the beast was capable of dragging a full sized ship to the dark depths of the sea!

The next evening the Raven Queen lookout finally bellowed the much awaited words “land ho!”, and much of the crew scrambled towards the ships rail to catch a glimpse of the fabled city. There in the distant fog the ruins of the Sunken City could be seen protruding from the dark waters of the Midnight Sea. But there was also an unexpected sight, that of dark ruins positioned out of the water which made their way inland between two large cliffs that stood near the waters edge on either side. The ruins of Vor Rukoth were massive, much larger than any of the civilizations now known to exist upon Sarsis! Then the still air was pierced by the sudden order to drop anchor, and a large splash soon followed. With a smile Captain Burgoyne appeared from the stern castle and wished the group luck, explaining that his crews voyage ended there. The crew was then given orders to drop the rowboats to water level. Captain Burgoyne thanked the group for performing bravely on the long voyage, but explained that he was unwilling to risk his ship by closing any further towards the dark ruins. It was then that Ridick suddenly appeared from below, apparently excited for the sighting of land. Ridick had been ill for much of the voyage, but now seemed rejuvenated by the prospect of solid soil beneath his feet. Robyn, fully understanding that the captain had no intentions of moving the vessel any closer, prepared to climb down the Raven Queen’s flank (mumbling all the while about his dislike for the looks of the so called Sunken City). The others crowded around, looking down on the small boats below. Each boat seemed so insignificant in the much larger waters of the Midnight Sea. But the group knew that it was only in such rowboats that they would be able to successfully navigate the streets of the old sunken market. Smiling the Captain once again thanked the heroes one final time, when the halfling Cal suddenly leaned towards Burgoyne’s ear and whispered words apparently of a more serious note. It was only then that Captain Burgoyne expression suddenly grew serious, and he began telling the group of an ancient tale of “the beast” of the old market…

Winterhaven & Beyond (Episode 35)

Having finally purified the Temple of Gardmore Abbey the companions now found themselves on the trek to Winterhaven, where Sir Oakley invited them in order to collect their reward. It was over these several days of travel that the group noticed numerous plumes of smoke over the northern horizon. More than one in the group feared the worst, the large fires of an approaching army?! It had been many months since the group had any sort of contact with the Queen’s Army, and if the groups suspicions proved true, it showed that the armies progress was now becoming a threat to much of the known world.

Winterhaven finally appeared on the horizon the next day. It was smaller than most expected, but seemed well protected with a large curtain wall skirting around it’s perimeter. The village was made up of approximately two-hundred people, many of which worked the lands outside the protective walls. It was at a small temple inside those same walls that Sir Oakley led the group of travelers. This was where the Paladin of Bahamut lived in a small and modest room. Once inside he pulled out a chest from under his bed, and revealed numerous bags supposedly filled with coin. Carefully the paladin then pulled out five sacks, each containing four-hundered golden coins. But Fin refused to accept the reward, deciding that Sir Oakley’s agreement to join his newly founded Order of the Platinum Crest was payment enough. Sir Oakley was Fin’s first recruit for the new organization.

During the groups stay in Winterhaven fear began to mount as the smoke over the horizon continued to edge ever closer. It was under these ominous signs that the companions urged Lord Dunmore of Winterhaven to evacuate the city and head westward. After much deliberation the Lord of Winterhaven finally agreed to evacuate.

Eight days later the village of refugees, led by the trusted companions, arrived at Edgewood Hollow. Edgewood Hollow was a small coastal town built on the fishing and lumber industry. Thankfully the refugees were allowed to camp on the outer limits of the town, and safely inside the city walls. The refugees would soon head south along the coast, but planned to spend several days resting before heading out. Unfortunately the heroes would not be joining them as they had pressing business farther south, and now hoped to procure travel upon a sailing ship if at all possible. Thankfully with no smoke forming on the northern horizon, the companions received word that a ship was due at the docks the next day. It seemed to be a small stroke of luck, as the ship apparently dropped off supplies only a handful of times throughout the year.

Later that day the group also learned of an unidentified individual looking for a group of travelers fitting the companions descriptions. This mysterious individual had apparently talked to one of the townsfolk in a dark corner of the local tavern, but strangely remained hooded for the duration of the conversation. He reportedly had a husky voice, and a broad nose, but little else was known of the strange individual. Hearing this news Robyn immediately became alarmed, fearing that the assassin from Hommlet was now attempting to track him.

The next day the so called merchant ship arrived on schedule. Later that day after unloading its supplies on the docks the group finally had the opportunity to meet with the ships master, Captain Burgoyne. Right from the start it quickly became apparent that the captain was a no nonsense type of guy, as he engaged in little small talk, and instead cut right to the chase. Initially Captain Burgoyne seemed disinterested in taking on a group of passengers, requesting an obscene carrying fee of 1500 gold pieces up front. But when the companions accepted, as well as offering to carry out any duties that might need covering during the trip, the shocked captain quickly warmed to the idea with a smile of satisfaction. Fin then settled the specifics of the agreement with the ship’s master, before agreeing to meet back at the docks at first light the next morning.

At first light the next morning the group boarded the large sailing ship, but it quickly became clear that they were boarding more than a mere merchant vessel. Captain Burgoyne appeared nicely dressed, but others amongst the crew seemed more of the seedy type with dark leathery skin, and sheathed sabers at their side. Many were undoubtedly the product of many tough years on the high seas. Then as the ship set sail the companions quickly observed that the captain and his crew were all business, as no introductions were made, and everyone quickly went about their job with little notice of the crews new additions.

Over the first six days the ocean voyage took its toll on many of the companions, and more than a few found themselves afflicted with sea sickness. Thankfully however, each individual eventually found their sea legs. On the sixth day sails were spotted over the horizon to the west, but nothing more came of the situation. It wasn’t until the ninth night that something went amiss. It all began under the moonlit night as the vessel passed through a cluster of islands along the bend of the southern coast. It was under this eerily quiet night that strange lizard-like creatures climbed over the ships rails and assaulted those on night watch. The creatures had large fanned out spines along their backs, and carried long tridents for weapons. But it was their unusual leader that caught many of the crews attention. The amphibious creature appeared the same in many respects as the others, except that he had four arms and stood nearly twelve feet tall! As the battle was engaged the strange sea creatures held the advantage early on, and quickly disposed of two of the ships crewman, before much of the crew were able to respond. From there, the battle changed momentum numerous times with victory hanging in the balance. Then the swordmage, Altain, and the dwarf, Mongo, were both struck unconscious, and things seemed bleak at best. But thankfully the paladin Fin LaVie once again proved his worth when his prayers to Bahamut once again healed the companions grevious wounds. Finally, after a lengthy drawn out battle, the group gained the upper hand and disposed of the sahuagin raiders.

Two crew members were reported dead, and many knew the death toll could have been much worse. The ships crew referred to the amphibious creatures as sahuagin, or more commonly known as sea devils. Apparently the vile creatures were infamous for their heartless raids on vessels of the high seas, and ocean side communities throughout the world. The crew also explained that this ships survival was noteworthy, as few ever live to tell the tale of such an attack. A fact that was not lost on Captain Burgoyne, as he openly thanked the companion for their large part in the ships survival. It seemed the heroes had earned their keep, and over the next several days many amongst the crew began to warm towards the one time strangers.

The next morning the ship began to change course, navigating eastward around the southern tip of the continent. They were now entering the South Sea, and if the weather held, would enter the mysteriously dark waters of the Midnight Sea within five days. It was from these legendary waters that the heroes hoped to discover the sunken city of Vor Rukoth, and the ancient “Lost Scrolls” hidden within…

Gardmore Village (Episode 34)

After resting the companions prepared to make their way down from Dragon’s Roost, in hopes of recovering the Brazier of Silver Fire. Sir Oakley believed that the item was most likely located in the ruined garrison near the base of the hill. In order to avoid detection inside Gardmore Village it was also suggested that the group skirt the outside of village’s curtain wall.

Once the heroes reached the ruined garrison they climbed the curtain wall in order to reach the buildings front entrance. At the top of the wall, one couldn’t help but notice the numerous bonfires that burned throughout the village streets, each large fire undoubtedly warming countless orc warriors that now inhabited the once abandoned village.

The ruined garrison lay shrouded in gloom. Thankfully no orcs were in the general vacinity, but neither were any of the numerous black ravens that normally nested in the area. It seemed to each to be some sort of strange omen, which soon became more ominous as the air near the garrison began to somehow grow heavy. There two massive wooden doors engraved with twin reliefs of rampant dragons stood closed. Each dragon bore two swords, one held aloft and one pointing downward. Above the door, an inscription read “Ever vigilant the dragon.” A vague black silhouette of an armored figure then suddenly materialized outside the door, accompanied by an otherworldly cold. Then the shadowy figure spoke, “Only the bearer of the lonely sword passes this way unharmed, Vandomar must open the seal.” Unaware of what these mysterious words meant the group attempted to gain passage by revealing several of the groups swords, but none seemed to work. Soon the shadowy figure faded from sight, and the companions were left to their own devices.

Finally the group decided to press forward, and attempted to open the doors. Suddenly an unnoticed glyph of warding exploded injuring many in the group with some strange sort of evil energy. Then upon entering the buildings interior the group found itself face to face with some sort of ape-like demon! Then three more dark silhouettes of armored warriors suddenly formed from the surrounding darkness. The group had once again found themselves fighting for survival, but once again thankfully prevailed.

Further inside the garrison the group discovered a large chest with two slots on each side. These appeared to be the exact size of a sword blade, so the group returned to the buildings entrance where three swords had been discovered in the hands of three knightly statues. But the fourth sword was missing from the fourth statues hands. The three swords were inserted into the slots of the chest, and with each insertion a faint click could be heard. Robyn was needed to pick the mechanism of the fourth slot however, and soon the final faint click followed. The group then opened the chest, only to find themselves blinded suddenly by a brilliant light emanating from inside the mysterious chest! A radiant burst of energy quickly followed injuring several of the companions before the radiant light slowly began to fade away. Inside the Brazier of Silver Fire was discovered, and underneath it six pearls, a priest’s silk vestment, and a silver pendand adorned with the holy symbol of Bahamut. The holy symbol seemingly blessed with Bahamut’s long lost presence!

Then Sir Oakley informed the group of their need to quickly return to the top of Dragon’s Roost to begin the purification ritual. He also informed the group that they would need to protect him from the evil spirits that would surely rise in an attempt to stop him.

Returning to the top of the temple grounds, Sir Oakley explained that he would need to perform the purification ritual amongst all four of the buildings at the top of Dragon’s Roost. He then began by raising his arms high in the air while beginning to intone the first words of the ritual. The air began to stir at the edge of the heroes senses, and as the air grew still wisps of shadow began to leach from the surrounding walls. This scene soon played out over the four remaining buildings as well, and with each new location the group fought off the spirits of shadow while offering words of encouragement to the entranced elderly paladin. Then with the final words of prayer, and a sudden attempt to posses Sir Oakley by the evil spirits, the paladin of Bahamut opened his eyes. The forces of good had pushed the darkness from the abbey, and heavy air that once occupied the room suddenly seemed easier to breath. Then without a word Sir Oakley walked towards a nearby pool, and pointed beneath the water. There lying on the bottom of the water was a torc inscribed with the symbol of Bahamut! Sir Oakley merely smiled, and then uttered the words, “a gift from Bahamut.” The elderly Paladin seemed closer to the goodly god than ever before, and his appreciation for Fin’s guidance and support seemed evident, as he walked by his trusted companion and patted him on the shoulder. There could be little doubt that one god had returned to the world of Sarsis, but many wondered what others might soon follow, or perhaps another was already here?…

The Vaults (Episode 33)

After another restful sleep the companions once again prepared to leave the safe confines of their hidden chamber. It was only a short trek before they once again stood before the secret door and the mysterious sarcophagus that lay beyond in the secret burial chamber. Carefully the party entered the dark and dusty tomb. Shelves of dead could be seen along the walls of the chamber in the flickering torchlight. But it was the large sarcophagus at the chambers end that interested the party. The seal had obviously been broken, and the lid was moved slightly to the right leaving a slight crack along the edge. Then Sir Oakley suddenly recognized the tomb as that of Zarel, daughter of the founder of the abbey, Gardin the Hammer. It was then that Sir Oakley admitted that he too was a distant relative to this family bloodline. Further inspection of the tomb revealed reptilian scales that had apparently fallen from their owner. After some thought the group finally unwrapped the mystery of the tomb. It belonged to the female vampire the group had fought several days earlier. In that ensuing battle the female later turned into a half-vampire, half-snake, before finally falling in battle. This female vampire apparently worshipped Zehir making her a traitor to the abbey later in life, and in death. The fact that this individual was a descendant to Sir Oakley, as well as Gardin the Hammer, was a shock to all, including Sir Oakley.

It was now time to depart the catacombs of the abbey, the “Chalice of the Dragon” finally in their possession. Sir Oakley then led the group across the plateau to another building nearby called the “Hall of Glory”. The small building had partially collapsed. Rubble and other debris choked the inside. Faded frescoes decorated one wall, and a mass of webs cloaked what remained of the roof. There the group fought their way around several swarms of spiders, and two man-sized spiders that proved to have an incredible ability to jump long distances. From there the group moved toward the back of the building where they discovered a set of old wooden double doors. Once again Fin ignited his torch before the group began its decent. Below, a spacious chamber with a high vaulted ceiling was discovered. A wide hall to the left led to a gigantic pair of double doors plated with brass, and a narrower hallway on the wall opposite the stairs ended in a smaller set of doors. The walls were decorated with carvings of minotaur warriors and mystics set into arched niches flanked by decorative columns. The carvings were worn and some were broken beyond recognition, showing signs of great age, vandalism, or perhaps both. It was at that moment that the group suddenly realized that Rolen had gone missing, but after a short search the group proved unable to locate him. Nobody had seen him since they had descended down into the vaults, and nobody could be sure of exactly what had become of the half-elf.

The groups interest soon turned to the gigantic brass-plated double doors. Slowly the group pushed the huge doors open, revealing an enormous chamber glittering with flakes of gold leaf that still clung to reliefs of minotaurs and statues of human knights, all offering homage to a huge statue of a noble-looking dragon. The marble floor was adorned with elaborate designs that formed a path toward the dragon statue, accentuated by parallel lines of faceted stone columns. Each column was topped by a crystal section that gleamed brightly. A heap of treasure piled in one corner – where it formed the bed for a living dragon, its scales red as blood, and smoke trailing from its nostrils while it slept. Roughly a dozen kobolds also milled about the room. Four clad in armor that echoed their dragon patron. One, in robes, stood reverently beside the sleeping dragon. While the rest polished the treasure, or worked with picks in a rough-hewn tunnel at the far side of the hall.

Quickly the group stormed the premises, hoping to catch the unsuspecting enemy flat footed. But as they entered the robed figure standing near the dragon began releasing balls of fire from his staff, and then began attempting to wake the beast! Each companion knew that every few seconds would soon prove precious, for when the dragon awoke things would quickly change for the worse. Thankfully many of dog-like kobolds fell quickly however, and soon their numbers had dwindled allowing the group to focus upon the large dragon. But their was little time to react as the beast released its first blast of fiery breath upon several of the companions. Then a few short seconds later a second fiery blast! Many in the group were now badly burned.

Meanwhile, down the rough-hewn tunnel in the far corner of the chamber, a half-orc suddenly appeared. He wore shackles and chained upon his wrists and ankles, but that seemed to matter little, as he skillfully jumped and spun through the air knocking several kobolds unconscious.

As the group took notice of the prisoner, thoughts initially went to the half-orcs safety. But those worries were quickly put to rest when the group noted his apparent ability to handle himself on the field of battle. Attention then refocused to the pile of treasure, where the dragon now held the paladin, Fin, in its mouth! Then the beast once again began to inhale, before suddenly releasing another blast of its fiery breath. The paladins body now hung lifelessly from the jaws of the beast. But the dwarf, Mongo, refused to give up hope, and began yelling words of hope in the paladins general direction – all the while fighting to remain clear of the dragons deadly sharp claws. Amazingly Fin suddenly began to move, he was still alive! Motivated by this sudden moment of hope, the group began to move around their powerful enemy, and their attacks began to take their toll. The the dragon suddenly took flight, before landing in a more strategic location. Then another large inhalation could be heard before the red dragon suddenly released another blast of fire. Sir Oakley, Altain, and the half-orc were suddenly engulfed in the deadly flames! Then as quickly as the fire came, it diminished, but what remained stole the hearts of even the most battle hardened warriors. All three individuals lay motionless, their bodies blackened by the intense heat of the fire. Things had taken a turn for the worse, and more than one combatant was more than likely beginning to contemplate an escape route just in case. But the remaining companions continued to battle, refusing to leave their fallen companions for dead. Fin too was near deaths door, as he continued to struggle to free himself from the dragon’s deadly jaws. Then just as it was beginning to appear as though all hope might soon be lost, a dagger suddenly appeared from behind a nearby column, spinning through the air end over end. With a mighty roar, the red dragon began to waver, as the dagger dug deeply into the creatures neck, apparently finding a weak spot between the mighty creature’s scales. Then the creature suddenly collapsed! Fin, last seen flailing about in the dragon’s powerful jaws, had suddenly disappeared from sight. Underneath the large beast, the remaining companions found Fin bruised, battered, and bloodied, yet still moving. The paladin had somehow managed to survive not only the fall, but also avoided becoming impaled upon one of the dragon’s teeth as well.

As the battlefield fell silent, Robyn stepped out from behind a nearby pillar, dagger in hand and a grin of satisfaction etched upon his face. The rogue rarely faced an enemy face to face, yet seemed to show a knack for finishing off an enemy on more than one occasion. After tending to the fallen, the group began to make their way towards the heaps of gold coins that filled the chambers southwest corner. Mixed amongst these coins could be seen hilts of numerous weapons, a plain helm, and leather armor that appeared to be made of gold coins!? But it was the “Silver Chalice of the Dragon” that caught Sir Oakley’s attention. It was the second item the group needed to perform the purification ritual, leaving only the “Brazier of Silver Fire” to be discovered. The group could only hope that their quest was nearing its end.

Crimson Crystals (Episode 32)

Refreshed, the group headed out from the safe confines of the hidden chamber. Exiting the southeastern doors, the group found a small ten-foot entryway with a dusty curtain composed of dozens of chromatic dragonscales blocking the groups view of the corridor heading east. Beyond the curtain lay a chamber containing four more sarcophagi. Emanciated undead creatures stalked among them, their flesh pulled tightly over their bones. The group moved through the heavy curtain hoping to get a jump on the undead ghasts, but as it turned out these gaunt undead would be the least of the groups problems. Once engaged with the ghasts the group soon spotted several creatures of shadow rising from the four sarcophagi! Two of them resembled dark whirlwinds with flashes of purple lightning coursing through them, while the other two appeared as cloaked shadowy figures. The companions immediately recognized both to be some sort of wraiths, shadowy undead with a hatred for all forms of life. Thankfully the group was able to quickly dispose of the ghasts, but the insubstantial wraiths proved much more difficult as many of the groups attacks seemed to pass through the incorporal enemies with minimal affect. Finally the group prevailed however, even though the shadowy figures often proved difficult to engage due to their ability to suddenly phase from sight, only to reappear in another location of the room. Then upon defeating the angry spirits, a release of necrotic energy was released upon the group.

It was during this first encounter of the day that the group witnessed an unexpected event. Late in the battle Rolen and Altain had fallen unconscious, and the group appeared on the brink of defeat, when Sir Oakley stepped forward to assist the nearest companion, Rolen. But as he looked over the unconscious half-elf he suddenly felt an urge to pray. The paladin then recalled the prayer Fin had taught him several days earlier, and began to recite the prayer in reverence to Bahamut. Astoundingly Rolen’s wounds began to mend before the companion’s eyes! Sir Oakley was only the second man in hundreds of years to show an ability to heal, and surprise was evident in the paladin’s eyes. But as this miracle took place, the expression soon turned to shock as Sir Oakley suddenly recoiled. After the battle the paladin was asked why he had reacted in this strange manner, but the man said little. Instead nodding towards Rolen for further explanation. Rolen then slowly lowered the hood of his cloak to reveal a horrific sight. Nearly half his body was covered with crystal-like growths with veins of liquid silver flecked with gold specks! A look of fear and regret covered the poor half-elf’s face. Whatever was infecting, or cursing Rolen was unlike anything the group had ever heard of or seen.

During a short rest the group inspected the burial chamber carefully, discovering small amounts of mortar and dust scattered around each of the four sarcophagi, a sign that each seal had obviously been broken. But the group was still uncomfortable with opening these sacred resting places of knight’s from a bygone era. Cautiously, the group then headed through yet another curtain of dragonscales, located in the chambers southwest corner. A thick coating of moss could be seen covering four more sarcophagi in this chamber. A mass of thick, fibrous roots hung down from a ceiling rife with wide cracks. The far wall seemed to be covered with an elaborate mosaic, but it was hard to determine the subject through the slick green growth that covered it. Short passageways on either side of the mosaic lead to another chamber set with shadowed alcoves. A dim light could be seen softly glowing from its depths. It was this chamber that would soon prove discomforting to many, as Rot Scarab swarms spilled forth from an open sarcophagus, as well as one of the water puddles that dotted the chamber floor nearby. Shambling mummies also roamed this moss covered chamber, and upon spotting the group’s torch light, began shuffling towards the intruders. But as the group filed through the entrance the rogue, Robyn, acted with caution. His concern seemed to be the dim light emanating from the rear alcoves of the chamber, and his reservations about the situation soon proved worthy as the group was suddenly engulfed in a fireball! The culprit was soon discovered to be hiding in a cluster of roots hovering above the floor at the far end of the chamber. There, a floating skull engulfed in a greenish-flame was discovered. The groups cautious entrance had prevented a total disaster, and soon all three enemies lay motionless on the damp cold floor.

As the group inspected the ruined chamber a sense of necrotic energy could be felt emanating from an open sarcophagus, a reminder of the evil that now seemed to permeate the entire premisis. The mosaic covering the rectangular pillar on the eastern end of the chamber was then cleaned of moss. Fin began studying it for any clues that might be had, but it seemed only to tell the story of the abbey’s history. Then a surprising discovery was made in the alcoves at the back of the damp chamber. A secret door blended seamlessly with the stone wall surrounding it, a small fingerhold providing the only clue of the hidden chamber beyond. A large sarcophagus was discovered within the hidden chamber, but the group made the quick decision to not investigate since the group was in need of a good nights rest.

But before returning to the groups resting place in the secret chamber discovered the previous day, the group decided to return to the chamber in which they had previously fought the shadowy wraiths. Passing beyond the dragonscale curtains the group began to inspect the unsealed sarcophagi within the chamber. It was then that the group discovered that all four sarcophagi were missing the bodies once entombed there! Where they had gone none could be sure, but the northeast sarcophagus did contain one item of interest – the Bowl of Io’s Blood. It was an item that the paladin Sir Oakley immediately recognized. He had no idea of why it was located there, but had little doubt that it had been moved there only recently. The group then returned to their hidden chamber for what they hoped would prove to be another restless night. They now possessed one of the three religious relics needed to remove the evil now permeating Gardmore Abbey.

The Catacombs II (Episode 31)

When it was time to move onward the companions decided to take the far northeastern door. Beyond, an enormous chamber was discovered, a mansion for the dead knights of the abbey. From where they stood the group could see at least a half a dozen stone sarcophagi arrayed around the shadow-draped chamber, and others most likely sitting in the darkness deeper within. A strange reddish glow tinged the shadows, apparently emanating from something near the wall to their right, and in it several dark figures could be seen moving stealthily toward the group. Five quiet humanoid creatures could be counted, and the sound of rattling chainmail could be heard emanating from the rear of the hall. Something heavy was dragging across the floor nearby but seemed just out of sight. The companions quickly moved into the great hall, moving to defensible positions around the nearest sarcophagi. It wasn’t long before the group recognized what appeared to be some sort of zombies closing fast, but perhaps too fast? Shortly after that initial impression some began to recognize their mistake when long canine fangs became apparent as each of the five figures lunged towards their prey. Vampires! But this first wave soon proved to be more of a scare than a threat, as each fell where they stood when struck.

As this initial attack took place, an unexpected creature appeared from behind a distant pillar. A six-legged reptilian creature unlike anything the group had ever seen. But what really stood out was the creatures intense gaze, eyes glowing an almost florescent green. It was these eyes that proved most dangerous as one quickly became ill from just the creature’s simple stare! And if this gaze was not dangerous enough, its razor sharp teeth appeared capable of severing a man’s arm with one simple bite!

Soon after the six-legged reptilian lizard appeared two more figure were noted standing at the northern end of the massive tomb. One wore a black cape and seemed very pale, and the other a bald man wearing chainmail armor under dark purple robes, and a mace in his right hand. The pale man was believed to be a vampire, but his strange reptilian tongue flicked in and out of the man’s mouth at random intervals leaving each companion wondering about his true nature. The strange man also seemed to have the ability to charm an individual, allowing him to draw his victim closer while clouding their thoughts. It wasn’t until the battle neared its end that the man’s secrets finally revealed themselves – suddenly transforming into a large humanoid snake with a tough hide and increased quickness.

Meanwhile, the man wearing the purple robes rushed into melee as the battle continued to be waged. He seemed crazed, and his bloodlust was more than evident as he howled madly during battle. This mad howl was ear piercing, and often left one with an immense skull splitting headache, and the inability to move! The battle proved to be more difficult than first expected, but once again the companions banded together.

The snaketongue vampire was a worthy adversary, but the crazed man cloaked in purple robes proved to be the better of the two. It was on this individual that the group discovered a spiral holy symbol around the man’s neck. It was the ancient symbol of Tharizdun, or the elder elemental eye. Others once knew him as the chained god, and his followers were known to be a crazed cult. But the paladin, Fin, also knew that this god had supposedly vanished long ago with many of the others. Perhaps the man was a lone zealot, or perhaps he was a member of a larger group? It was the first such individual the group had met, and none could know for certain whether or not there would be others?

Following the battle in the massive chamber the group decided to rest while checking out the premises. Upon the Tharizdun worshipper three more cards were discovered: the jester, talons, and flames. Along the eastern wall an alter was discovered bathed in a red glow, and near the alter a bag of gold coins on the chamber floor. Upon closer inspection of the alter a viscous liquid was found pooling around the feet of a platinum dragon icon. It was pale red in color, with streaks of silver, and flecks of gold mixed within. Rolen moved up to inspect the substance closer, and then touched it with his dagger. It was then that the unexpected occurred, as the strange substance began moving up the dagger and began to flow over Rolen’s flesh! Then it began to seep into his pores as though it was being absorbed!! Rolen began flailing about in an attempt to free himself of the substance, but to no avail. Panic began to permeate throughout the group, as others tried to assist their new companion. Finally Fin managed to calm Rolen enough to successfully scrape the substance from his flesh, and then quickly flicked his dagger in order to remove the substance from his weapon. The strange silvery-red substance seemed able to spread quickly, and each member shivered with dread at the mere thought of what the substance might be capable of, especially if left to entirely envelope an individual. Rolen, having nearly been a victim of the red liquid, decided to take a sample of the substance using a small flask. The maneuver required a quick and steady hand, but the transfer was a success. Many wondered why mess around with the dangerous liquid, but Rolen seemed to think that the substance might prove useful in the future.

It was also during further inspection of the great chamber that the northwestern corner was found to contain a statue of Bahamut in the form of a human knight wearing plate armor. It was there that Fin LaVie noted that he could sense his god’s power. Another item of interest stood near this statue, in the far northwester corner of the chamber, a sarcophagus. Sir Oakley was the first to note that the name etched in the stone was in fact the resting place of the founder of the abbey, Gardin the Hammer.

It was after this short rest that the group decided to return to the recently discovered secret chamber. With the unusual mosaic of Bahamut as a dracolich watching over them, the companions settled in for a good nights rest.

The next morning the group awoke unusually refreshed. The two paladins of Bahamut, Fin LaVie and Sir Oakley, felt that the group had been blessed that night by a higher power. It seemed a good omen for the upcoming day… (each player starts this day with 5 temporary hit points!)

The Catacombs (Episode 30)

The next morning the group descended the dark staircase. From somewhere ahead the barely audible sound of chanting could be heard, apparently a liturgy to Bahamut. The group continued carefully down the stairs where they discovered a large chamber. Four sarcophagi, one open, stood in the outer portion of the irregularly shaped room. Beyond, a few armored humans knelt in worship before an ornate alter decorated with twin rearing dragon heads. A soft light emanated from the alter, bathing the worshipers in a halo of gold. Unsure of exactly what was going on, or who these individuals might be, the group proceeded with caution. The group decided to engage the mysterious knights in conversation, but their responses were a bit stiff as the lead knight seemed very informal, an oddity to both Fin and Sir Oakley. It was under this pretense of caution that the group suddenly found themselves under attack. The heroes were unsure of exactly why the attack had occurred but had little time to ponder the question. Soon however the questions were answered as the knights were discovered to actually be hovering slightly above the stone floor! Then a few short seconds later their long hair lashed out, draining several of the companions of their living essence, before the knights turned incorporeal! These were obviously not knights, but in fact a ghostly entity known as a pale reaver. Shocked by the sudden turn of events the group was forced to rely on their finely tuned instincts to react. At times several heroes seemed on the verge of collapse, most notably the dwarf, Mongo. While others seemed under their enemies ghostly possession at times, yet once again the companions eventually prevailed.

After a thorough search of the premises it was finally decided that the group should press onward, despite Robyn Graives’ objections that they had failed to check any of the unopened sarcophagi inside the chamber.

The group decided to exit the chamber through the northern doors next to the strange twin-dragon headed alter. In the next chamber two ornately carved sarcophagi occupied one side of the room. Past them, a font jutting from the opposite wall could be seen bubbling with clean, clear water. Then a clattering of bones suddenly filled the chamber, skeletons attacked! The chamber was quite dark, and only the faint silhouettes of the enemies fleshless form could be seen at the onset of the conflict. Then the battleground was suddenly ignited with light as a ball of flame struck from the groups right flank, suddenly exploding from an unnoticed enemy, a blazing skeleton wreathed in flames! Then more clattering of bones, as two more skeletons moved into the area from other unseen positions within the chamber. But these skeletons were unlike any known to exist, as both wielded four scimitars, one for each of it’s four arms! Thankfully the companions acted quickly however, and created a defensive perimeter at the chamber’s doors which prevented the enemy from surrounding the group. The battle that ensued proved less bloody than the one before, but still left the group with extensive injuries that required immediate care.

It was during the short rest following this battle that the group discovered a secret door leading to a hidden chamber. A striking mosaic, its colors still stark despite the passage of years, covered the wall of the square chamber. The mosaic depicted Bahamut as a dracolich, but there was little evidence of exactly why. Each of the other three walls held a door like the one the group had entered, most likely hidden from the other side. Three sets of gleaming plate mail lay sprawled on the floor, each containing a set of bleached bones. Swords lay beside the skeletons, still sheathed and attached to their half-rotted leather belts. It was in the midst of a small pile of bones that must have been a hand, that the group spotted a glint of yellow. It was three topaz gems, and by the looks of them ones of significant value. Further investigation led the group to the conclusion that the three knights had most likely starved, but why? Were they hiding? From what? Once again there seemed to be only more questions, and few answers.

After a short rest the group decided to press onward, delving deeper into the catacombs…


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