Wealday, 28 Rova 4707
The night after attending Simon Korvut’s funeral, Charrone had a strange and disturbing dream. In the dream, she rode a black heavy warhorse, and wore spiked black armor of the Hellknights: an armor she rememembered all too well. She realized that she was back with her old platoon of the Order of the Nail, who were putting down a peasant revolt north of Korvosa: heavily armored knights on horseback charged the ranks of serfs, unarmored and armed with nothing but pitchforks and pruning hooks. She clutched her holy symbol and raised it to heal the peasants who had fallen, but the energy coursing through her felt cold, and rays of black energy struck the peasants and more fell. She felt simultaneously horrified and strangely gleeful. Instead of the symbol of Iomedae, she realized that the symbol she held forth was a skull wearing a crown. Then a fist-sized stone bounced off her helmet, and she saw that a peasant had thrown it at her. Rage filled her, and she dismounted, strode to the peasant (who stood her ground), and ran her sword straight through the young woman’s chest, twisting the blade as she withdrew it. As scarlet blood poured out of the wound, the peasant fixed Charrone with a defiant gaze, and she realized that the peasant had her own face. Charrone awoke in a cold sweat, and felt for the holy symbol of Iomedae around her neck. It was still there, and it was quite warm to the touch.
Oathday, 29 Rova 4707
The next morning, Charrone brought the Amulet of Undead Command to Brother Zantus at the cathedral to ask his opinion. He held it up, and cast a spell. He then asked Charrone to follow him to the cathedral library. Looking through several texts, he found a description of a similar item. “This item allows one to command the undead by channeling the power of a god who favors the undead. It was probably made by the cult of Uragotha, or possibly by followers of Zon-Kuthon, or even Lamashtu. While certainly useful in some circumstances, I don’t see how commanding the undead to do your bidding could ever be a good thing. The undead are an abomination to all living things. If it were up to me, this thing should be destroyed.” She took the amulet, thanked the Desnan priest, and left.
Back at the Rusty Dragon, she sought McGregor’s advice on how to destroy such a thing. After looking at it for a moment, he replied, “Well, it looks like it’s made out of bone and gold. If you smash it hard with a hammer, it should just shatter.” She went to the alley behind the inn, set the amulet on the cobblestones, and smashed it as hard as she could with her horseman’s mace. The amulet shattered with a crackle of magical energy and a burst of yellowish smoke. Charrone noticed the distinct smell of brimstone from its remains.
Later, while Charrone was walking past Savah’s armory, she noticed that a wagon was parked in front of the shop. Figuring that new merchandise was being delivered, she stopped in. Sure enough, a shipment of new arms and armor had just arrived from Magnimar. “Ah, Charrone,” said Savah, “I think I have something that you might be interested in,” and led the paladin to a back room.
Standing on a pedestal was an exquisite suit of full plate armor. It was of fine steel, gilded, and the breastplate bore an etching of the holy symbol of Iomedae. “This is an fine suit of armor, most befitting someone of your vocation.” said Savah. “It was commissioned by the Knights of Ozem in 4622 and constructed by the legendary armorer Brad Therostram in Lastwall as a gift to General Falconheart, Hammer of Iomedae, commander of the First Mendevian Crusade. Twenty years later, Falconheart sold the armor to raise funds to hire more mercenaries for the Second Crusade, and this suit has changed hands several times in the intervening years. When I heard that the suit was on the market in Magnimar, I had to see it for myself. Unfortunately, no sooner had I acquired it than some other debts came due, and I am forced to sell it again.” Charrone immediately put down a large deposit, and borrowed the remaining funds from the other members of the party to purchase the armor.
When she donned the armor, pieces of it seemed to magically shift their dimensions such that it fit her perfectly.
Fireday, 30 Rova 4707
The day after Simon Korvut’s remains were buried next to his mother’s Halfred went to the Red Dog Smithy to talk with Das Korvut. Korvut seemed in better spirits than he had in a long time, and Halfred thought his words were much clearer than the last time they’d spoken. He didn’t notice any whiskey on the smith’s breath, either. Halfred commissioned a masterwork breastplate, but asked Korvut if he could make it extra flexible: strong, but less constricting of movement. Korvut said that he could, and began the construction.
Sunday, 2 Lamashan [Oct], 4707
Larissa had the same dream again: She was standing on a rocky ledge overlooking a golden city of domes and spires nestled in a forbidding mountain valley. She didn’t share what else she dreamed with the rest of the party: a voice spoke to her in Thassilonian, praising her on her choice to become a wizard. The voice also told her that it could teach her ancient secrets of the magic of lost Thassilon. When she turned, she saw that the voice came from a floating Sihedron Rune. She then woke up in her bed in her room at the Dragon.
That day, Larissa became very concerned with finding the probable location of the domed city. She purchased a map of the area from The Way North, the local cartographer’s shop, and then went to pay the historian Bordert Quint a visit. She described the mosaic to Quint, and drew a facsimile of the image from memory. Quint studied it, and then brought out his own map of Varisia, a map on which he had marked all of the major Thassilonian ruins.
“Well, from what you describe, it sounds like an ancient city of Thassilon. Our understanding is that all of the cities of Thassilon were destroyed millennia ago, but what you saw seems to match the few descriptions that survived the long ages.” He pointed out several Thassilonian ruins that were in or near mountains, but none of them seemed to match the description of the city.
At dinner that night, Larissa suggested that the party return to Thistletop for one last visit, to see if there was anything that they’d missed. She said that she especially wanted to visit the flooded treasure room again.
Moonday, 3 Lamashan 4707
The party set off to Thistletop for the fourth, and presumably last, time. Again, they met no oppositioin as they made their way up the Lost Coast Road, and then along the now-familiar goblin trails. Halfred noted that he didn’t see any signs of goblin tracks.
The goblin fortress seemed little changed since the last time they had been there two weeks earlier. The rope bridge was still intact, and Larissa could see that the knots she’d tied were still holding. The front doors stood open, and no one appeared to man the lookout towers. Inside, a quick recon of the fortress revealed that all of the foodstuffs were gone, as were just about all of the tools and weapons that the party had left behind. Halfred said that it looked like the last goblins had been here about a week ago.
They explored the first dungeon level, and found pretty much the same thing. However, when Charrone opened the door to the torture chamber, she had a sudden feeling of dread: she realized that she had forgotten that she had locked one of the goblins in a cell, and had never come back for her! Opening that cell, the party was assailed by the stench of death, and found a rotting goblin corpse. Charrone fell to one knee and immediately prayed to Iomedae for forgiveness, for even a goblin deserved a better fate.
The party went down to the lowest level, and found that the trap was still disarmed. The illusion of the man on the throne was still replaying the same three sentences. In the treasure room, Larissa made a very detailed copy of the mosaic of the Thassilonian city. While she made her drawing, Halfred decided to do a more thorough job of exploring the tide pool. Removing his armor and holding a dagger between his teeth, he plunged into the cold seawater. He quickly found a narrow underwater passage that led to open water. Squeezing his way through the passage, and fighting the strong current, he surfaced, finding himself in the water below the cliffs of Skull Rock, looking back at a beach below the rope bridge. He swam back toward the beach, and made a cursory search for his dropped warhammer. While he didn’t find the weapon, he did notice that there was a sea cave under the cliffs by the mainland. He then swam back to the crevice and re-entered the sunken treasure room.
The group decided to explore the beach below Thistletop, and found a goblin trail to the beach facing the western side of Skull Rock. Larissa noticed another cave, this one completely under water. She and Halfred decided to investigate. They removed their armor and swam into the passage. This time, Halfred brought his ranseur. After about thirty feet, they surfaced in an flooded grotto. A rock ledge was along the south wall, and they made for that. They also saw a bit of sunlight from another cave opening to the north, and still more from a chimney passage in the roof.
As they swam for the ledge, Halfred felt a large creature brush past him. “Sharktopus!” shouted Halfred. A dorsal fin approached, and he felt the sharp pain of something biting his leg, just as they both made it to the ledge. The creature surfaced, and they saw that it didn’t have tentacles, but looked more like a weird hybrid between a shark and a leopard seal. It opened its toothy maw and roared, and the humans felt suddenly panicked, but immediately came back to their senses. Halfred stabbed it with his ranseur, and Larissa threw one of her daggers at it. The creature swam at them again, launching itself onto the ledge, attempting to pull Halfred back into the water. Halfred was bitten again, but stood his ground, and stabbed the creature again. This was a lucky strike, and blood poured out of the creature as it spastically flopped for a moment, and then was still.
Larissa noticed that something sparked on the floor of the grotto, and she dived in to retrive it. After several dives, the two found scores of coins, a few gems, and some pieces of jewelry that had accumulated in this cave over the years. When they were satisfied that they had found all of the treasure, they returned to the party.
With nothing left to explore, the party gathered their things and returned to Sandpoint.
[GM’s Note: With the close of this session, we say good-bye to two players, who have decided to move on to other things: Scott (Larissa) and Laurie (Charrone). Farewell, and best of luck!]