The Price of Immortality

Session 3 - 2nd/3rd Neth

An account by Nalmae Fleetfoot, Scout.

Battered and bruised by the cursed arrows (though thankfully blunted), Misty took pity and healed my wounds. We were all weary and so we chose to rest. We decided to use the adjacent room, with the picture of Kassen and his army facing his enemy. I am curious on the symbology of the necklaces, so I studied the headless statue of Kassen in the pool room to the North and noticed that it also depicted Kassen wearing a necklace, though with far less detail and less eyecatching than the painting.

I am still amazed by the naivety of my colleagues. Berric decided to refresh himself in the pool, I can only assume he stripped off to take a swim as Gemma seemed keen to observe, by Berric’s reactionary curse and the rock I heard hitting the wall I can only assume Gemma was well rewarded. I do hope this childishness does not threaten the party, as they must realise we are in a hostile place and could be attacked at any moment – we do not need distractions. I ponder the fickle and playful nature of humans as I drift off to sleep, it will be my turn to watch all too soon.

I was dreaming of the woods surrounding Kassen and the beauty of the music of the birds welcoming the morning when I was snapped back to our current situation with Berric shaking me awake for my watch, this dark and dank tomb is oppressive! Curiously I notice that my pack appears disturbed, perhaps I had a less peaceful sleep than I thought. I took my watch and gently woke Ozzy and asked that he take over. I tried to recall the bird song from my earlier dream but alas it did not come, my mind kept focusing on Kassen’s necklace, why I do not know.

We broke camp and our fast shortly after and the devout among us began their prayers to their gods. I asked Berric to accompany me to investigate the unexplored corridor to the west. It is a curious corridor, with 4 alcoves in the eastern and western walls, each harbouring a statue, crudely in the likeness of Kassen, but with very poor craftmanship, almost looking like an afterthought. The corridor laid to the south and alternated alcoves with walls, so I would have to walk past statues, then be flanked by walls, then pass by another set of statues and so on, until a door could be seen some 40’ away. Each statue clutched a cruel looking, serrated blade – not quite a sword but menacing none the less. Curiously the first four statues (covering some 20 foot of corridor) had the blades clad in leather. I asked Berric to observe and go for help if the need should arise as I made my way carefully down the corridor. I hoped to investigate while the priests prayed. I checked every crack and crevice as I made my way south but somehow missed the pressure plate set into the floor some 20 foot in. Unusually I was not harmed by this trap, Berric was not so lucky. I can only assume he is easily distracted or prone to boredom and seeks some diversion to gain focus, he had unwound the leather cladding around the serrated blades and the trap caused these blades to come forcefully down, catching him on the shoulder and biting deep – if he had only stood where I asked and not unwound the padding he may have faired better. My way forward was hindered by the swords that had now descended in front of me and behind. I took a lesson from Berric and unwound the padding on the swords behind me and wrapped these around the swords to the statues wielded infront of me. Meanwhile, Berric having stared at the statue in disbelief resorted to what appears to be the only means he has of complaint, out came his flail and chunks of stone began to fly from the statue. I am unsure of what he hoped to achieve, short of attracting anyone within 50’! I only hope the noise does not disturb the chants and pleas of our clerics.

My progress to the door was slow but uneventful, it appears the trap needs a manual reset. The door appears unlocked and not trapped, so I made my way back north to await the rest of the party. It appears Berric, having successfully removed the blade from the first two statues was busily hacking into the arms of the remaining statues. Given that he had probably awoken Kassen himself from his long slumber with the noise I saw little point in intervening and left him vent his anger and angst on the stone – better that than one of us.

Shortly after we were ready to proceed and Berric had kindly cleared a path to the door, devoid of swords or arms, but the floor strewn with stone. The door revealed a large room, with a pit to the south. A large statue sat in the pit, towering above the lip and holding two very large shields, nearly the size of one of us, each bearing a word: “Home” and Family. The pit was flanked by two staircases, which lead down to the pit and up the other side. While we studied the room, Ozzy tended to Berric’s shoulder imploring Pharasma to not take him yet and the wound closed over and looked less raw after his administrations and prayers.

Berric, with movement back to his shoulder decided to fire crossbow bolts in to the statue! So much anger! These deflect harmlessly off the shields, they would have been very useful in the arrow trap room and granted me a less painful passage (assuming I could lift one – they appear heavy). I decided to observe how my human colleagues tackled this situation, especially as I had become weary of being pierced by arrows.

Misty approached the stairs and descended into the pit, as her feet touched the floor, the statue sprang to life, twisting and turning where it stood and one of the shields crashed into Misty and sent her flying into the wall, shaken and surprised. Not only by the statue and its hostility but also how the stairs had transformed in to slides and made egress from the pit a more difficult proposition. While pondering what to do, I spied a keyhole on the back of the statue, so approached with caution – this thing appeared to be able to sweep its shields into most of the room. I attempt to jump onto the statue’s back, with the brass key from the firepit between my teeth. I made a hearty attempt, though felt somewhat foolish as I slid down the statue. By this time, Berric, Misty, Gemma and I were all in the pit, only Ozzy had wisely chosen to keep his distance. We all spent the next precious seconds trying to scramble up the statue with little success. Berric even knelt and allowed me a height advantage as I stood on his back, all to no avail. I called for a swift retreat to the edge of the room, near where we entered for a rethink and reassessment. This proved a stroke of genius (though I hope the party did not notice my face and wonderment, which betrayed the decision as lucky). The statue stopped moving and whilst surveying our options, I noted that the door at the far end of the room that Gemma had investigated and noted locked (it had even broke one of her lock picks!) had a keyhole of similar size to the key I held. I feel a fool as I place the key in the door and it unlocks the door, we had no need to engage the statue and sustain further injuries (I saw that Misty had to heal herself).

The room beyond was clearly our goal and challenge, as the village elders had left and array of items for us, all clearly labelled with our names. I was blessed with a wonderfully crafted bow and two potions that claimed to grant invisibility and heal wounds. Gemma had similar potions and a lovely crafted bow. Berric was rewarded with a Flail (I hope he treats it more fairly than his current one, for it bears the craftsmanship of Kassen’s smithy and must have taken a long time to make) and potions granting the strength of a bear and magic enhancement to his weapon. Ozzy received a well crafted mace, a wand of curing and a scroll that could restore vigour and health (Lesser Restoration). Misty had a beautiful scimitar, a scroll that will turn her skin to bark and a wand that produces flame. I had to gather Berric’s gifts, as he seemed intent on breaking down the shield wielding statue. He seems to be paranoid or phobic of these statues, I do not see him wanting to be immortalised in stone.

We move back through the arrow trap room and descend the stairs into a room with carvings showing people of the town crying – such sorrow fills this room. As we pass into the room animated skeletons emerge from behind the pillars. These aberrations have part rotted flesh still clinging to their bones and the marrow that once carried life now shines eerily in the torchlight. What hate can drive a soul to exist in this pitiful state. We engage with them and our weapons can find little purchase on the wet slippery bone. Ozzy, steps forth and calls on Pharasma to send these perversions of life to the graves from whence they came. I feel a powerful wave of hope wash over us and a vile skeleton falls. While our weapons prove near useless, Ozzy sends forth two more waves of energy and each time one animated skeletons falls. We gather our breath and can hear water steadily dripping from the darkness at the edge of our torchlight.

We descend down more stairs and emerge into the northern boundary of a circular room, with exits at each compass point. The air is damp and holds a dank odour. A stone pedestal dominates the centre of the room inscribed with words:

South you might take your ease to rest and reflect on Kassen’s deeds
To the east lies they wheel to open the gate
To west is the resting place of Kassen, hero of Fangwood

We decide to head west to see if Kassen’s slumber has been disturbed. We discover a large crypt, a winding catacomb, with deep recesses cut into the earth to hold the soul’s of those departed. The dank odour is replaced by the stench of rotting flesh but I can discern no clear source! There is sound of movement from the hollows in the earth and vile walking dead burst forth. My companions were not always in sight so much of this part of the account has been set down from their tales after the battle.

Gemma was isolated to the south and was forced to draw her sword and attack the zombie. Berric lashed out with his flail and strikes one of the creatures with his flail. I offer support and draw my bow and manage to pierce the rotting flesh of the zombie in front of Berric. Ozzy cries out that these creatures were placed here and are not the former inhabitants of the crypt and sends forth another wave of Pharasma’s essence. Encouraged by Misty, her companion Feral clamps his jaws around the ankle of a creature, though by the grimace on the wolf’s face, the flesh and bone did not taste as fair as expected. Misty meanwhile struck the creature in the chest as it was unbalanced by Feral, the zombie ceased movement but exploded sending blood, gore and viscera everywhere. Thankfully Misty and Feral were agile enough to avoid the sting of the bone. Another foul undead beast crawled out to attack Berric, who laid a good and solid strike into the creature as it stood, it appears his new flail serves him better than the last. I loose another arrow but it misses its mark, as does Berric’s next swipe. Misty strikes the creature, which again explodes, catching Berric who chokes as some of the rotting flesh is caught in his throat – I would not care to taste that foul flesh. Gemma still cornered is charged by a zombie who slams into her catching her on the chest, she reactively slashed out with her shortsword, her wild spirit being directed to good effect, felling the abomination, prompting another explosion, which causes Gemma to retch and cough. She makes her way on unsteady feet to the exit. I flank the last zombie and strike it unawares with a well placed arrow, Ozzy calls forth a gleaming icicle and strikes the creature. The zombie lands a blow on Feral who releases his hold, a deep gash on his side and withdraws with tail between his legs – I hope he is not mortally wounded. Misty, clearly enraged by Feral’s predicament moves forward and strikes, I follow with another arrow which brings another explosion of flesh, which I am thankfully untouched by – I could not stand the foul flesh on my clothes and certainly contact with my skin would be awful, I do hope my companions find a suitable place to cleanse themselves as the smell is awful.

We gather our wits and Misty and me notice an old pack resting atop a large patch of stained earth, I fear the stain is blood. Inside are rotten rations which we discard, a map showing the layout of the enter area – a boon for sure, a potion and a pouch with 13 gold coins bearing the likeness of Field Marshall Gavirk of Tamrin (Tamrin is the main town of Nemathis) and a note calling All those interested in gainful employment to meet at the Ranger’s Lament. We assume this is a tavern at Tamrin.

There is a door to the south that opens out onto a long chamber, some 40’ long, with a trough holding a cloudy liquid and the walls bearing cracked and scorched murals that depict a battle – though little is visible. It looks as though a powerful explosion had occurred, Ozzy suggested that maybe the liquid was flammable. At the far end of the room lies another exit barred by a portcullis. The pedestal inscription bade that the eastern passages held a wheel to open the gate – we have found the gate, now we must find the wheel.

We move back east to the pedestal room and head South as Gemma moved this way. We find a chamber with a fountain of cool and clear water and an inscription:

Kassen’s legacy lives on through his people drink and be refreshed.

Gemma claims that drinking the water, heals and restores health. Berric and Gemma partake.

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