The Price of Immortality

Session 4 - 3rd Neth

An account by Nalmae Fleetfoot, Scout.

Berric and Gemma refreshed by the water feel well enough to press on. We head east in search of the wheel to open the portcullis that we believe guards Kassen’s resting place. We hope that his slumber has not been disturbed.

The corridor slopes down and splits north and south. To the north is a large pool of brackish water some 2’ deep and a door, swollen with water and barring the entrance to east. I can hear a faint croaking sound. We investigate the southern passage, but this opens on a chamber, covered in a strange blue fungus, with wispy strands hanging down and filling the room. Water covers the floor and four bloated bodies bob on its surface, a large frog and three rats that size of dogs. This looks like a chamber even I doubt I can traverse without disturbing the strands – we are all unnerved by this and decide to press on the northern passage and try to force the door. Berric tries to shoulder the door and is rewarded with a covering of moss on his garments. Unperturbed he tries again forcing the door.

The chamber beyond is oblong and heads away east, with a doorway in the south-east corner. Three stone sarcophagi dominate the room. Berric, Gemma and Misty move in to the room, the water coming to their waist and impeding movement. Ozzy moves as far as possible but cannot progress further due to the party’s slow progress through the water. Atop the centre sarcophagus is a large frog. I do not wish to stain my boots or clothes with the stagnant water, so I beg Ozzy’s indulgence and use him as a means to vault into the room, landing on the first sarcophagus, which thankfully provides a means of staying dry, before leaping to the centre sarcophagus. I draw my sword and stare into large bulbous eyes. Meanwhile Berric makes enough ground to strike the frog, his new flail once again being put to good use. Gemma draws her bow and fires an arrow into the frog, killing it. She packs a punch! Another frog surfaces and threatens Berric, I land a hit, which Berric follows up with another solid strike. Gemma tries to leap to attack, but the frog lashes out with its tongue, which seems to stick to her clothing and draws her towards its gaping maw. She lashes out with the arrow she is still clutching but misses as the slimy tongue impedes her. Meanwhile Misty has made her way around the south of the room and thankfully intercepts a frog creeping up behind me, slashing it with her scimitar. The frog continues to drag Gemma, so Berric tries to crush its tongue, a good solid hit, but the frog does not release Gemma, instead it tries to swallow her, thankfully she is too large but by her reaction, having her head down the creatures throat is not a pleasant predicament! The frog by Misty tries to ensnare her but misses. Ozzy calls forth another icicle by the power of Pharasma in an attempt to force the release of Gemma, which is partially successful, the tongue releases its grasp but Gemma is still within its mouth. Berric drags Gemma out and she appears to be glad of fresh air – I cannot imagine the stink of the creature’s fetid breath – she falls into the water but quickly stands, cursing and brushing the thick slime from her face. Later Ozzy said in jest that maybe we should call her “Toad Stool” – he has a keen and dry wit. I manage to land the killing blow to the last frog. Misty observes that the frogs are well fed, probably feasting on the rats, though I fear Gemma has been driven mad by this place – she suggests eating a frog – what does she call food!

Ozzy examines a sarcophagus and suggests we check the state of the bodies within as he wants to ensure they are unaffected by the water. Berric decides the best way is to use his flail – he must learn restraint – his blow breaks off a large chunk from the corner. Ozzy horrified cries out “Fall!” and Berric sits into the water, extinguishing his lantern. Berric shortly surfaces, spluttering and climbing onto the sarcophagus pushes Ozzy into the water. Plunging us into darkness as our other lightsource is snuffed out. I hear movement nearby and hope it is Berric, I am relieved that it is as he exclaims he can feel a “nest” of twigs under the water as he successfully searches for his lantern. Ozzy calls forth light and he and Berric carry on their argument, it appears to me as if there is battle for leadership amongst the humans. They eventually settle and begin to move the lids from the sarcophagi. We are greeted with a foul stench, which provokes more wrenching from Berric – a waste of rations! I cover my mouth and do my best to restrain the rising bile. Partly decomposing body parts float on the surface, though Berric notices that one bears a ring, golden and flecked with blue, which he removes – how can he touch the rotten flesh or bear to wear that which came from the tomb.

Whilst Ozzy and Berric continue to open the sarcophagi, Gemma moves through the door to the south with Misty trailing. I observer from atop a sarcophagus, with this brackish water further contaminated with frog parts and now rotting human flesh I can not bear to leave this island. I have to leap back and forth as Berric and Oz open each of the sarcophagi and Ozzy collects the skulls from within, he intones that they will be interred with respect. The opening of the lids, causes a lot of movement in the water and large air bubbles arise from the north west corner. Ozzy investigates and finds a pouch amongst the twigs and a crack in the wall. The pouch contains 24 gold, again with the likeness of Field Marshall Gavirk. We must join Gemma and Misty and Berric offers to carry me – I still do not wish to enter the water, I debate staying here. Meanwhile Berric continues his hate of stone, by kicking at the crack in the wall, breaching it and making a hole, which the water slowly starts to flow into – maybe I can stay dry should the water empty (though I feel it may take some time).

Meanwhile Gemma and Misty have made their way down a corridor that opens into a large room to the south. Later I learn that the room has a rusting wheel on a dais to the far south, covered with a black mold. Unbeknown to us, Gemma found that the room floor drops off, as she plunges beneath the surface. Gemma quickly surfaces and both her and Misty swim to the dais to the south. They manage to turn the wheel, rotating it thrice eliciting an ominous click. The air was then split by Gemma’s shriek as skeletons surfaced in the room.

I jump into the water – this had better be good – the water stinks!

Gemma is attacked and hit as we move slowly through the water towards them. Gemma is forced to drop her bow and slashes out with her shortsword, landing a blow that appears to be of little effect as it rattles between the bones of the creature’s ribcage. Our progress is slow and Misty appears unable to get near the skeleton threatening Gemma. I hope to help with a well placed arrow but fall well short of my mark. Misty tries her sling, casting a stone at the skeleton and crushing bone, she also warns us that there is another skeleton in the water, submerged. Berric moves forward, sinking down – finding the ledge that Gemma had acquainted herself with. He plunges beneath the surface. The skeleton Misty eluded to surfaces and I land a hit with an arrow, quickly followed by a well placed shot from Misty, landing squarely on the skull, which explodes, causing the body to sink beneath the surface. Berric has resurfaced at this point, claiming that the water feels much easy to swim in than he is accustomed to, his armour weighing him down less.

Berric moves back to the shallower water and holds forth an a rope for Feral to retrieve – a nerve racking process, as Feral disappeared whilst making the swim, remaining submerged for what seems like an eternity, though probably spanned moments. Either Misty has faith in her companion or cares little for him, as she is unmoved or apparently unflustered by his struggles to remain afloat. I must get out of here and find new boots, this water stinks and the stain will be awful.

We move back to the fountain, so Gemma may drink again, though it has no discernible affect. Oz heals her wounds instead and then calls forth a refreshing shower of water to flush away the stagnant water. We move back to through the crypt to the east and see if the wheel had raised the portcullis, thankfully we were rewarded for our efforts. While we ponder the blackened walls, Berric resumes his misguided mission and attacks the wall, he suddenly stops and flees from the room, I follow him, concerned for his sanity as he fled into the darkness. I am told Oz had cast detect magic and understood that the water in the trough radiated Necromantic magic and infers that the blasts are from a negative energy burst within the room. He tried to negate the effect by using a positive energy burst, but to no effect. Gemma meanwhile investigated the opening once guarded by the portcullis and noted movement in the ceiling. I try to coax Berric to return with some success, which was nearly undone by Feral bolting past us, having fled from the room. Berric had raised his flail to strike, as we were in darkness, but thankfully Misty had run after Feral and brought us some much needed light. Gemma meanwhile tries her new found skill with magic and throws a blob of acid at the fluttering shape in the ceiling and is engulfed by a swarm of bats. After Misty calms Feral and I coax Berric to return, we see that Gemma is fleeing the room while Ozzy engages the mass of bats. I throw a smokestack in an effort to disperse the bats but only seems to momentarily distract them. Ozzy and I manage to kill the last of the bats and I am annoyed with Gemma’s actions – endangering us and her reaction is to flee and leave us to deal with her mess – she must grow up if she is to survive. Berric continues to attack the walls annoying me and Ozzy. Oz manages to explain to the him that the walls pose no threat! I fear he may have been hit against too many walls in his growing years and that has driven sense from his head.

We proceed to the room beyond, which has a large fissure in the ceiling – the former resting place of the bats – the room stinks of ammonia and is covered in guano.
We press on along a passage to the east. This leads to a large vaulted chamber running north to south, with cracked walls and a large pit some 40’ deep dissecting the room in two. A bridge spans the pit though it has no balustrade to prevent someone stumbling into the pit. Across the bridge stand two statues blocking the way to a large set of brass doors to the south. The statues tower above us and depict villagers holding shields and spears. This elicits the expected response from Berric who charges across the bridge, triggering a trap which causes the statues to move forward across the bridge and push him into the wall – “The statues are alive and attacking again!” cried Berric. We implore Berric to wait as Gemma and I investigate the bridge to find a trigger point. Gemma is successful and tries to disarm it, but instead triggers it and is pushed in to the pit and is knocked unconscious. Berric and Misty hold a rope and I descend to check on her, she still breathes thankfully, so I tie the rope around her and Berric and Misty heave and pull her out. Misty throws down her rope and grapple hook, which I use to grapple up the southern side of the pit and climb up to inspect the statues. I tie the rope around a statue and try to disable the trigger point. I fail! This is a masterful trap. I get pushed across the bridge and dragged back as the rope is still tied to me and the statue. Fearing I may trigger the trap again I leap on the statue. My second attempt at disabling is successful and finally we cross.

The wide brass doors open on creaky hinges. A torch on the far side lights the tomb inside, glittering with the flame of the Everflame, with a dais on the other side and a large stone sarcophagus. Next to the sarcophagus lies the body of a woman. Could this be Dimera, the priestess from Kassen that Roldare had told us had been kidnapped.

As we peer into the dimly lit chamber a voice booms into the quiet void followed by a cold and empty laugh.

Kassen’s heroes have come to fight me again – you will make fine additions to my undead army.

A large, armoured skeleton loomed into view, a cold blue light burns in its eyes. Clad in plate mail and wielding a large sword that reflects the blue glare from its eyes. It moves with unnatural and unholy speed to the dais.

Asar

Come now, come!

shrieks the undead beast. I loose an arrow but miss by a wide mark, I am unsure how this will fair and feel we are ill matched to this creature. Gemma drinks a potion and disappears from sight, while Berric pours an oil onto his weapon. Ozzy summon his god’s burst, while I swap out my bow for my short sword. Berric rushes forward to engage the large plate clad skeleton. From the gloom emerge many other smaller skeletons, one closing on Berric. Feral rushes forward and bites deeply into the leg bone of a skeleton – it appears Feral has the taste for undead. The large champion skeleton lands a crushing blow on Berric, blood flowing down Berric’s arm as the sword is pulled back. Gemma meanwhile unseen by all and unheard has moved up and studied the woman’s body – she can not tell us yet but later tells how she recognised Dimera and she was unconscious.

Stand before Pharasma and be judged

cried Ozzy as another wave of energy flowed into the room. Unperturbed by his wounds, Berric closes on the skeletal warrior who had stepped back, landing a good, heavy blow. Berric meanwhile is almost surrounded by skeletons, most thankfully unarmoured. Gemma closes on the large skeletal champion and lands a good blow. She is rewarded by a swipe of the large sword, which nearly splits her in two! She seems resolute and flanks the champion with Berric. Berric is rewarded with a good solid blow to the champions arm, nearly dislodging the sword. Misty dispatches a smaller skeleton with her scimitar. I and Ozzy try to help Berric by attacking the skeletons that surround him. Unfortunately we are poor warriors and miss our foes. Berric must have been rallied by our support as he ignored his significant wounds and pressed the skeletal champion landing a blow to its chest with his flail. The blow unbalances the champions grip on his sword, causing it to miss Berric. We continue to make hard work of the surrounding skeleton, Oz, Misty and I all fairing poorly. Berric is then disarmed by the plate-mailed skeleton, his flail clattering to the floor with a resounding thump. Gemma deals the final blow to the skeletal champion from behind, while we eventually make short work of the remaining skeletons.

Ozzy administers a healing spell to Dimera who comes around, bewildered and disoriented. She relays how she was captured as her friends were slayed. She says how the large skeleton had repeatedly demanded to know how the town of Kassen was founded.

While they speak with Dimera, I climb the dais to light the lantern we had with the Everflame. I notice how the coffin has no top and within lies who I assume is Kassen, resplendid in full plate mail. As I light the lantern, a form appears in the air, next to the sarcophagus, it is Kassen himself if the likenesses around the tomb are to be believed.

Thankyou for defeating Assair. I have much to tell you – it is only right you should know the truth and history of Kassen.
Over 200 years ago, Assair was a dear friend and we fought side by side along with Irimine. We came across a horde of magical treasure, greater than any mortal could handle. We took as much as we could carry and locked the treasure away. To protect against theft and madness of those who gazed on the treasure, we each took part of the key, which was split in three, forming an amulet for each of us. The treasure safely locked away, I founded Kassen with my proceeds and wealth, attempting to tame a small piece of the Fangwood. Kassen thrived, and grew but we were raided, not unusual in the depths of the wood, but these continued until we had to act. I lead a party and we tracked the raiders to base outside of Kassen. Many townsfolk had been killed so we confronted the bandits, when I discovered to my disgust and amazement that Assair led the group. He appeared driven by greed and he craved my amulet. I held my own and managed to kill him but I was mortally wounded in return. My friends helped to carry me to Kassen where I died two days later – my body was interred with the body of the townsfolk and Assair. Unfortunately, someone clearly disturbed Assair’s body and he has risen. I need you to retrieve the amulet as the wealth it guards is too much to handle. Should the key fall into wrong hands, then much will be lost.

Gazing on him and noticing how he absently stokes his chest, I realise he has lost his amulet. When asked he does not know who took the amulet – but asserts that both Assair’s and his amulet are missing. With that Kassen walks to his tomb and pulls out several items, gifting them to us to aid us.

Bag – Holding Type 1
+1 bashing shield
Elemental gem (blue)
and each of us is given a pearl

This is for each of you to help you in your time of need – should you need an extra chance in life.

He implores us, with much urgency and stress.

Please the keys must be returned. For the sake of Nirmathas, not just Kassen – it must not fall in to the wrong hands!

Ozzy respectfully lays down the skulls he had rescued from their watery grave and asks if they could be left here. Kassen is grateful as they were brave townsfolk who were interred in their own tombs for their efforts. We spend a moment in silence to honour them. I consider Kassen’s word and realise the weight of them – it appears though the townfolk of Kassen sought to challenge us to become responsible members of the community through this rite of passage, their fates are now beholden to us, if Kassen’s words of this magical horde are to be believed. For my part I see no deception or malice in his pleas. Merely the continued burden of a man who has taken his responsibility to the grave, a punishment no good soul should have to bear. I must understand how the Pharasma can allow such suffering – she is meant to weigh and judge men at their deaths, but who am I to question a god, She has been a good ally in the power wielded by Ozzy. It appears fate has handed us all an opportunity to give back to our community, for my part the good kindly people of Kassen have always treated me with respect, despite being a clear outsider. This is my chance to repay that kindness.

Friends, we must accept this quest and do all we can to aid Kassen, perhaps if we are successful Kassen can finally rest in peace.

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