An account by Nalmae Fleetfoot, Scout.
I urged our party to press onwards having heard the faint sound of moaning coming from behind the eastern door. We moved into a complicated room, partly a maze and filled with pit traps. I unwittingly set off a pit trap, though thankfully it was filled with pillows. It appeared as though the town’s idea for creating a challenge or rite of passage had been ill timed and the pranksters who sort to cause mischief had instead paid dearly with their lives. We wondered if the inhabitants of Kassen would feel so warmed by the Everflame given the price some dear friends of the township had paid!
After some investigation, we quickly worked out that team work was required in the maze of pits as 4 levers had to be pulled and those manning these levers had to race through the doorways, jumping over the intervening pits. We just made their way through as Ozzy and Berric held the heavy door open just long enough for all to pass.
The sound of despair we had heard was a little louder now, so we made their way to a doorway along a passage that lead south. Getting past the wooden door proved more of a challenge than the pitiful creature inside. Berric and Ozzy were narrowly missed by crossbow bolts fired by a scared member of Kassen. Roldare had been living in his own filth and starving for fear of leaving this small storage room. The rank of human excrement was thick in the air as were the flies that infested the room. I was disgusted with the so called “adult” of the village reduced to a quivering wreck, so described how to get out and we pushed onwards, taking a western passage. He had given us a key piece of information though – he claims that Dimera, the priestess at the Temple in Kassen has been taken by the foul creatures that now inhabit this lair.
Pushing open another wooden door we were confronted by a strange beetle, about the size of a hunting dog, that spat a foul ichor from its bowel that had a sting to match any bite from a wolf or dog. I had no space to close, my comrades having quickly surrounded the strange beast and beat the last breath from its body, I could not see who struck the final blow through the throng.
Unperturbed, we pressed on down a southern passage and beheld a strange sight. There was what appeared to be a furnace or offering room, with a large central fire pit but the chimneys or ventilation shafts must be partially blocked as the smoke hung think in the air.
I spotted a strange shape apparently of shadow in the room and warned the party, moving quietly and stealthily to investigate. Unfortunately Berric quickly followed bellowing “Where is the creature”. Why can’t the brute be quiet and understand stealth is equally to confrontation at times! A battle ensued with Berric being hit and describing how his arms felt leaden, the very strength drained from him with the chilling touch of the undead – perhaps his reward for brashness. Misty noticed that the pit contained a body and though most of the clothing and equipment had long been consumed by the flames, a dagger still with a bright blade and keen edge laid on the corpse. While the party fought the shadowy creature in vain, Misty reached into the fire, and was rewarded with the dagger, but had to pay with her flesh as the fire burned her hand.
Misty called forth and urged her deity to grant the gift of water, I was surprised when a torrid rush of water fell from midair over the fire and dousing the flames. This brought thick rolling smoke into the room and I along with most was nauseated and left to stumble around helpless. Thankfully Genna and Misty continued to engage the creature and eventually overcame it with the dagger proving especially potent against the creature – the shadow appeared to dissipate back into the ether. For her size, Genna seems to pack quite a punch, if only she could mature she would be pleasant as well as useful, though I must show patience and remember that these people live shorter lives and she will change soon, I remember my petulance when I was younger.
Ozzy called forth some healing powers which sent a pleasant warm feeling coursing through me, looking around many of the party saw cuts and bruises disappear as the strange surge of energy coursed through us. I must understand more of the entity that Ozzy worships, he has brought much help to the party. A quick search of the remains in the firepit revealed a old brass key had survived the flames, protected by the leather pouch (or what was left of it) that its previous keeper had placed it within.
With no alternative exit, we moved back to the hallway where the skeleton’s had attacked and took the western door. Here we were confronted by a pool with a statue looming over it, the head of the statue of the founder of Kassen (the aptly named Kassen) having long left the body and fallen into the deep pool beneath. A strange inscription declared “Magic is the key” and looking down into the shimmering pool, hundreds of keys could be seen in its depths. Misty called forth to the nature spirits and asked to be granted the sight of magic, where upon she detected a single magic key in the depths. Soon I was astounded as Misty stripped off and dived into the pool, her dive to the bottom to get the key proved effortless, however the return to the surface taxed her but she showed true resilience and persevered to the break the surface, gulping for air, much to the relief of her dog companion, who preceded to once again wet her face with his tongue, they must share a strong bond, for the dog was whimpering and pacing whilst she was in the pool.
A door was unlocked and lead to the south, so we investigated while Misty dressed, and saw a lovely portrait of Kassen in a kind of antechamber, the seen was so well painted it seems alive and as if Kassen himself stared back at me from across the room. This reminded me of why I had chosen to stay amoungst the humans – they are capable of beauty. Of note though is that the picture shows Kassen battling a foe and they both are wearing near identical golden necklaces with a stone inlaid. I do not know why this stood out of the picture. Misty chose to try the key in the locked door to the west and briefly investigated the passage before rejoining our ranks.
We carried on south and east and where confronted by a large stone door which appeared to open one way. Beyond was a circular room with a large column in the centre surrounded by a pit, with a single stone bridge leading across the gulf on the southern side. Two more doors, one to the south and one to the east (we had entered on the western side) broke the monotony of the stone walls. The chilling aspect of the room was the hundreds upon hundreds of arrows that protruded from the central pillar. I asked Ozzy who was behind me to hold position while I investigate and moved as light footed as possible into the room. As expected the central column spew forth many arrows and whilst I pride myself on being agile, there was no way of avoiding the speeding shafts, one struck me and I felt dizzy though managed to keep my feet, thankfully they were blunted arrows and not the normal hunting ones, which would have surely have knocked me down. I quickly moved to the bridge, and moved across, another arrow striking my side, partly winding me. The pillar was smooth, but close examination revealed a cleverly hidden panel that would slide aside with just the right pressure in the right place, I pushed gingerly as arrows flew over my head and barely managed to disable the foul trap before another arrow could hit me (which would have left me at the mercy of Ozzy). Looking over I saw that Ozzy had showed wisdom in stopping any other members joining us, as they would have been hit – better to let the scout take care of it and ask them to retrieve me should I fail.
We stood pondering what we should do next as Ozzy cleansed my wounds. Surely rest would be soon.