4 Illumination 509
Having just finished dissipating the last of the spectres that had invaded the chamber, the party takes a moment to heal and for Savaric to search the room. Finding nothing of interest, the troupe decides to continue through the tomb in hopes of wrapping up their exploration soon.
Surm takes a few moments to unlock the door in the southern wall of the spectre chamber. They then continue down a corridor toward the next chamber indicated on the map. Approaching the door, Savaric finds no traps along the way. He checks the door, with Mõrvar behind him casting detect magic. Neither find anything of interest. Savaric creeps open the door and looks into the chamber. There is a large round table in the center of the room, around which are sitting 5 of the armored ghouls they had encountered before along with a sixth, robed ghoul seated at the north end of the table. All of the ghouls turn and look at Savaric, who shuts the door quickly and tells his friends, “Ghouls!”
The party then begins moving past Savaric and pouring into the room. Rilka makes her way around to position herself near the robed ghoul. As she moves, she passes through an uncomfortable aura of cowardice emanating from the armored ghouls she maneuvers around. Mõrvar moves in and begins engaging with one of the armored ghouls. The various priests of Halor make their way in, along with Surm. The armored ghouls move and attack, one with a greataxe against Mõrvar, the others leaving their weapons behind and attempting to bite their opponents. One successfully bites Sister Senna and another bites Brother Caric. Caric finds himself paralyzed by the unique powers of the ghoul, while Senna manages to fight off the paralysis. The robed ghoul points at Rilka, enacting a spell, and suddenly all of the air in her lungs is expelled, suffocating her.
Prioress Drenham seizes her holy symbol and, calling upon Halor’s light, enacts a burst of positive energy that fills half the room. Several of the other clerics follow suit. The ghouls all shriek in pain and anger as the holy light shines upon them. Mõrvar continues to engage with his ghoul while Rilka tries to take out the robed one, but with little effect. The robed ghoul casts another spell, shooting a lightning bolt into Rilka. She manages to deflect some of the effect, but not all.
The ghouls continue to try and bite their living prey, but aren’t having much luck. Mõrvar slices into another of the armored ghouls and slices him viciously across the upper and chest, spraying Senna with the undead creature’s ichorous blood. Savaric slits the throat of another armored ghoul. Surm casts a scorching ray at one of the ghouls, while Senna tries to hit one with a ray of searing light, only to miss. Finishing off another of the armored ghouls, Mõrvar leaps up onto the table to take on the robed one and cuts off the top of its head, flinging it across the room, felling the creature. Savaric finishes off the last one by stabbing Edgefrost through its head.
With six dead ghouls lying in pieces about the room, the party takes a moment to assess their wounds. Rilka recalls that ghouls can be carriers of a disease called “ghoul fever” and Prioress Drenham casts detect disease on the party. Senna, it appears, has contracted the disease. She attempts to remove it through a prayer, but fails. Surm keeps his distance from the diseased cleric and Senna is left shaken with the knowledge that she could, in the next few days, die and become a ghoul.
Searching the room and looting the bodies, they find that the armored ghouls all wear iron symbols of Modthras. These are collected by Surm, as well as the various magical items on the bodies of both the robed one and the armored ghouls.
Next to this chamber is a portcullis leading to a seemingly empty room. They open the door and Savaric goes inside to search. He finds a trap trigger that affects the southwest corner of the room. There is a door leading north, which Surm unlocks. They then head up another corridor until Savaric finds another trap in the corridor. As it will require them to jump over the affected area to avoid, the party opts to take another route. They backtrack to the round-table room and head north from there.
The next room is thoroughly searched by Savaric and determined to be empty. They open a portcullis to the east and follow a corridor to another large, empty room. Savaric searches it and finds a secret door in the eastern wall. He checks it for traps, finding it to be trap-free, and opens it to peer inside. He sees another chamber with a group of mummies waiting inside, alongside some sort of rectangular object wrapped in velvet at the opposite end of the room. He shuts the door and yells “Battle circle!” to his comrades.
The troupe forms the battle circle around the doorway and waits for the mummies to start emerging. When one does, the party springs into action, attacking the monster. Mõrvar finishes it off, slicing its ear off with his flaming Deathblow and felling it in the doorway. Surm throws a fireball into the room, causing a great deal of destruction amongst the mummies, but they remain standing—much to his consternation. Mõrvar performs a storm step spell, transforming into a small bolt of electrical energy that passes through the line of mummies, felling two of them and placing him on the other side of the last. Senna moves into the chamber channels the energy of Halor to help weaken the remaining mummies. Mõrvar finishes off the one in front of him, splitting its skull and spraying Senna with the gory remains. The last one is easily dispatched by the rest of the troupe.
Savaric searches the room, finding only the covered rectangular object. The objects does emit a strong magical aura that neither Surm nor Mõrvar can identify. Deciding to allow Surm to uncover the object, as he believes he has a good chance of resisting whatever effect it may have, they others slip into the previous room and wait. Surm carefully removes the velvet cover, revealing a 4’ by 4’ framed mirror. As he catches his reflection in the glass, he feels a magical force attempt to remove him from his current location, but he manages to fight it off. He quickly examines the aura of the device to determine what it might and, identifying it, has the sense to avert his eyes.
He determines that this is a “Mirror of Life Trapping,” a powerful magical device that contains 15 extradimensional “cells” into which victims can be sucked by gazing into the mirror. There is a command to activate/deactivate the device (and it is currently activated) as well as separate command words associated with each “cell” to allow the user to either free the prisoner or to communicate safely with them. Surm recovers the mirror with the velvet cloth and the party discusses the merits of destroying the mirror—which could free anyone—or anything—imprisoned within or taking it for study to get the command words needed. The Prioress stresses the need to find out if there are any living prisoners inside and to free them—but agrees that breaking the mirror could be risky, as they don’t know what (if anything) is trapped within. Finally, Surm decides to take it with them to study for the command words later.
The party continues through the mummy room, down a corridor into a larger, empty, chamber. Mõrvar’s detect magic discerns a magical aura on the door exiting to the west from this chamber—leading to the last unexplored room in this part of the tomb. Surm opts to attempt to dispel the magic on the door and, after three tries and encouragement from his brother, Mõrvar, he finally dispels the magic.
Savaric leads the way through the door and down a corridor. Rounding the corner, he sees that the arched doorway indicated on map opens into a chamber that, unlike the others, is not lit by the eerie green witchlight that the other chambers of the Tomb are provided. He approaches cautiously and peers into the darkness, depending on his darkvision to guide him. His sight penetrates the darkness—and he sees that the end room is empty save for a large shadow that hovers on the ceiling and is now approaching him.
Savaric moves back and switches places with Mõrvar, telling everyone that there is a large shadow approaching. Unlike the other shadows that the party has encountered, this one is of a degree larger and more menacing. It fills the corridor with its bulk. Mõrvar, wielding his flaming greatsword Deathblow, gamely attacks, yelling for the rest of the party to run. The rest of the party attempts to make their way out of the narrow corridor, pouring their way back into the previous room.
Rilka casts a spiritual weapon to attack the shadow in tandem with Mõrvar. It takes the form of a longsword and attacks, dealing a small amount of damage. Mõrvar is attacked by the creature, and screams in pain and anger as much of his vitality is drained away at the creature’s fell touch. Redoubling his efforts, he attacks the shadow creature, and in a heroic display of powerful swordsmanship, finishes off the incorporeal creature. He then drops to his knees, breathing heavy with his efforts and the injuries he’s sustained.
The clerics are unable to help Mõrvar very much—his injuries are too severe for the magic they have available. They can heal his physical wounds, but not restore his vitality—unless they are able to secure 100 gp of diamond dust with which to cast a restoration spell in the morning. Despondent at his weakened state, and felling defeated and useless, Mõrvar takes a place at the end of the line.
Savaric checks a small, nearby room for secret panels or traps and finds none. They party then decide to gather the loot from today’s kills and head back out to camp. When they get outside, they can see that the sun is setting for the day.
The clerics all apply their remaining healing spells to the party and Surm applies a bit of the ointment of restoration that they had discovered in their travels to Senna’s wound and manages to remove the disease from her system, for which she is thankful.
Surm and Rilka use two of the scroll of teleport that they had found to take Hekia back to Aldasar. They arrive on target in the home of Torvald the Halfling, the old friend of Hekia’s who sent them on this quest. After the prematurely aged Valeman recovers from his surprise, they explain that they were successful in their rescue and the Hekia will need a lot of gentle care. Torvald thanks them profusely and promises that Hekia will receive the care she needs. Surm makes sure that Torvald is aware that “the Crimson Cord is happy to serve.”
Rilka and Surm then head to the market district where they persuade a spell-component merchant who is closing up shop for the day to stay open for them. He sells them 500 gp worth of silver dust. Surm inquires about purchasing opal gems, but the merchant gives him a shrewd look and tells him to try a jeweler or the night market. Surm, a bit chagrined, excuses them and they make their way out. They find a secluded area and read the other teleport scroll—the pair is whisked away by magic from the Leilioran capital back to the campsite in the mountains east of Yulania.
After their return, the camp settles in for the night.
5 Illumination 509
This morning, Drenham takes some of the diamond dust acquired by Surm and Rilka and casts a restoration on Mõrvar, restoring his lost vitality. He once again takes up his position behind Savaric in the marching order, pleased to be of use again.
The Crimson Cord, along with their cleric companions, enter the Tomb of Secrets once again, hoping to clear it out today. They head to a large room near the entrance where they had fought spectres two days ago when they first arrived. The room is empty, but there is a door to the east that they have not examined. Savaric checks it for traps, finds none, but does determine that it is locked. Surm takes his time and jimmies the lock open. Savaric peers in and sees a group of 5 mummies gathered in the center of the room.
As the mummies gather to pass through the doorway, Surm casts a fireball into the room, incinerating most of the mummies—but they remain standing. Mõrvar uses his storm step once again to finish off several of the mummies and to position himself well within the room. Drenham casts a holy javelin into one of the remaining mummies, pinning him with a painful spear of holy light.
Nevertheless, Rilka, after moving into the room to take on the remaining mummies, has a wave of despair wash over her, causing her muscles to lock up in fear and freeze her place. The same thing happens to Aria, Prenella, and Sorcha.
Surm throws a scorching ray into one of the remaining mummies and it goes up in a violent conflagration, covering Rilka and Mõrvar in ashes. The remaining mummy is then bisected neatly by Mõrvar.
Savaric searches the room and finds nothing of interest.
They go back into the spectre room and head west, opening up a locked door and heading down a corridor to what they had been calling “the fountain room.” Savaric enters the room and they now see the fountain, an abstract crystalline sculpture depicting a swirling vortex, and a charred shield sitting the corner of the room. No magic is detected in the area. Mõrvar and Rilka recall that the swirling vortex is the symbol of The Nazul—an Acheran religious figure representing darkness and chaos. Finding nothing else of interest in the room, the party regroups and heads back to Kalthior’s inner sanctum.
Having already disarmed the trap leading to the staircase beneath the throne, they head down the spiral staircase to a large stone chamber beneath. There are racks with weapons lining the walls, a large stack of cubbies for scroll cases, two large chests, and stands holding various suits of armor. A lectern has a large book chained to its surface. Magic emanates from many of the weapons and armor, from the scrolls, and from within one of the chests.
Savaric searches the chests for traps and finds none. Surm takes his time to pick the locks and springs them both open, revealing their treasures inside. One chest if full of potions, oils, wands. The other has a great deal of gold and platinum coin, an assortment of gemstones, and a small velvet pouch. Surm examines the pouch and finds that it contains onyx gemstones—exactly what he was seeking from the spell component shop in Aldasar.
Surm and Mõrvar examine the magical items to determine their uses and abilities. They also unlock the book from the lectern—it is apparently Kalthior’s spellbook.
Having assessed all of the items in the room, they begin moving it out of the Tomb of Secrets and into their encampment.
There is a brief discussion amongst the Crimson Cord concerning the share of the treasure owed to the clerics of Halor. Rilka wants to give them half, but Savaric and Mõrvar balk at that. Mõrvar suggests asking the Prioress what she thinks is fair and going from there.
Surm approaches Drenham and broaches the matter. She says that while they did undertake this quest because it was the right thing to do, not for the sake of loot, she would still like to take some the treasure back to her temple. The clerics gave the aid and support that they were asked to and risked themselves in the process, and it would be fair to accept some sort of compensation. She suggests 20%. Rilka asks if that’s all they want and the Prioress says that that is all they ask for, but if their conscience directs to give more, then that is between them and their conscience; it is not for the sake of greed that the clerics quest. Rilka offers 30% and the Cord agree to pay the clerics this amount of the loot.
Now the troupe must discuss their next course of action. Do they part ways here? Travel with the clerics back to Aldasar? Travel with the clerics part of the way and then break off later? The next steps in the journey of the Crimson Cord is yet to be decided.