The Watcher of the Mists

Exploring the Catacombs

Session 10

Moonday 12 Rova 4707, late morning

[The session picked up immediately following Session 9]

After defeating the six human zombies, Halfred and Larissa examined the prison chamber again, while Declan and Charrone examined the zombie corpses. The zombies were wearing tattered rags that seemed to be extremely old and brittle, and were otherwise unarmed and unarmored. The room itself appeared to be unchanged since the previous day. Freshly dried blood still stained the floor from yesterday’s fight with the “catacomb creatures.” Larissa found a cell which still had a working lock, and Halfred and Charrone piled the zombie corpses into it. Larissa then locked the cell door and jammed the lock, making it unlikely that the zombies would be able to escape if they were to somehow re-animate.

The group took the wooden gangway to the next chamber. That room appeared to be the ruins of an office of some sort, but the furniture and papers had long since crumbled away into only partially-recognizable debris. Bits of wood and paper littered the floor, and a large pile of bones was in the corner. There were also three stone doors on the south wall, each bearing the seven-pointed star shape the party had seen previously. The scraps of parchments were inscribed with Thassilonian writing, but were too fragmented to make any sense. Larissa listened at one of the stone doors. As soon as she touched a door, the pile of bones in the corner animated, and rose to form the shape of a skeletal snake with a fanged human skull for a head! The skull had glowing red gems in the eyesockets. Startled, Larissa was struck by the snake-skeleton. She felt a brief numbing sensation, but almost immediately shook it off. The thing then began to sway back-and-forth in a manner that was hypnotic to watch. Declan and Ted became fascinated with its movement, but Charrone and Halfred were not, and managed to smash it to pieces. The glow in the gems in its skull dimmed, and Larissa liberated them. Inside each of the doors was a tiny chamber, to which was chained a skeleton. However, each of the skeletons seemed to be terribly deformed: one had three arms, one had an immense skull and a very long limbs, and one had a ribcage that went all the way to its pelvis. The party decided to smash these skeletons as well, and they crushed easily. A detect magic spell indicated that one scrap of paper was magical— a scroll of flaming sphere.

A door to the east led to a stairway going down 20 feet into a dimly-lit chamber. As the party began its descent, a creature stepped from the shadows, vomited a stream of acidic fluid at the party, then stepped back into the shadows! Halfred burst into the room to find a disturbing scene: A large rectangular room with a high ceiling. Eleven chains hung from the ceiling, each passing through a wooden trap door in the floor. Standing next to a large iron lever sticking out of the wall was a hideous creature. Standing a hand taller than a man, it resembled a stout, oversized goblin, but it had strange bulbous growths on its face and arms, and several extra limbs: a foot grew out of the side of its face, a tiny arm sprouted from its shoulder, and a fully formed arm grew out of its left hip. It held a shield in its left “normal” arm, a glowing laongsword in its right, a handaxe in its large extra arm, and a dagger in its tiny arm. It roared in rage, and pulled the lever. Immediately, a grating sound was heard, and five of the eleven chains began to move upward into the ceiling! Halfred attacked.

The creature attempted to keep itself between the party and the lever, but Halfred and Charrone engaged it in melee and managed to get it to move away. It struck Charrone a mighty blow with its sword, but then Halfred impaled it with his mithril ranseur. Not quite dead, it belched more acid at the party before the party took it down. Ted managed to push the lever back just as cages began to rise out of pits in the ground— stopping them. Each of the five cages held a humanoid zombie which resembled the earlier-encountered ones. Still immobile in their cages, the party made short work of the trapped undead. Charrone claimed the mutant zombie’s glowing sword.

Heading south from that room, they checked out a side passage that led to a collapsed staircase heading down. That staircase was completely impassable. The main passage led to a strange spherical chamber which had several objects floating in air: a bottle of wine, a book, a wand, a scroll, and a dead raven surrounded by a halo of floating maggots. The smell of death was heavy in the room. The metallic walls of the room glowed red and crackled with bolts of black lighting, and occasionally the bolts formed spiky runes— Thassilonian runes. MacGreggor saw that occasionally, whole words formed. He saw the words “slay,” “fury,” “avenge,” and “scribble” form briefly after several minutes of observation. He then entered the room. MacGreggor found that he also floated in midair in the room. Careful not to touch the walls with his hand, he collected the book, scroll, bottle, and wand. Examining the raven, it appeared to have several bites taken out of it, as if it had been half-eaten, and had probably only been dead for a couple of days. The bottle was of fine Korvosan wine of recent vintage. The scroll was ancient, and was in a strange arcane script that used Thassilonian runes. A read magic revealed it to be an arcane scroll of burning hands. The wand was magical, and tests indicated that is was a wand of shocking grasp. The book was written in Abyssal, a language that Declan recognized but could not read, and it included accurate drawings of scores of terrible-looking creatures.

Larissa was able to open a secret door behind the hollow panel, which led to a short passageway that ended in an iron ladder leading up through a chimney-like passage. At the top of the ladder was a stone trap door. Halfred climbed the ladder and opened the unlocked trap door, finding himself in a large closet. Tattered remains of robes hung from hooks on one wall, and two rusty ranseurs hung from a rack on the opposite wall. A closed stone door stood to the southwest. The rest of the party climbed into the room.

Larissa listened to the door and thought she heard bubbling water and the sound of a guttural voice chanting. Halfred threw open the door and the party burst into the next room. The room looked to be an immense underground cathedral. Large closed double-doors seem to lead to the northwest. The vaulted ceiling arched 30 feet overhead. The walls were covered with spiky Thassilonian runes. In the center of the room was a large pool of clear water, about 20 feet across and three feet deep, with a ring of polished human skulls balanced on stone spikes surrounding the deeper middle section. At the far end of the room, a pair of stone stairways led to a pulpit on which stood a second pool, this one triangular and filled with churning, bubbling water that glowed bright yellow. The glow filled the room with dim light. Six skeletons, each holding a rusting scimitar, stood immobile along the stairs. A tiny winged humanoid creature wearing a golden tiara and a black dress flew into the air above the glowing pool, and shouted in a guttural, hoarse cry “Intruders! Face my mother’s wrath!” It slashed its hand with a dagger, and the blood dropped into the glowing pool. Immediately, the larger pool bubbled violently, and another “catacomb creature” rose out of the pool and attacked, just as the immobile skeletons animated and brandished their scimitars wickedly.

The battle began. Declan summoned the power of the Dawnflower, and the light of Heaven burned away most of the skeletons. The catacomb creature attacked Halfred, and Charrone charged up the stairs to try to engage the creature. It suddenly disappeared. Charrone cleared her mind to bring forth her Sense of Justice, and felt a dreadful evil from beyond radiating from where she had last seen the thing. She swung at the place she felt the evil most, and called out to Iomede to smite the thing from beyond. Her strike was true. The creature attempted to enchant Charrone, who resisted, and became visible again. Larissa hit it with an arrow, and MacGreggor hit it with a magic missile. The creature then swooped at Charrone with its claws out, but Charrone struck it in midair, and it fell, lifeless, into the triangular pool. Both pools bubbled violently, and three more of the catacomb creatures came forth from the larger pool. However, then the bubbling stopped, and glow of the triangular pool quickly faded to nothing. The four catacomb creatures (two male, two female) fought hard, but unarmed and naked were not much of a match for the party, and were all slain.

Charrone pulled the body of the tiny creature from the triangular pool, but it quicky began to liquefy into a foul-smelling black ichor which began to evaporate. It left behind its possessions, including a tiny golden tiara, a magic wand, a magic amulet, and an uholy symbol of the demon-goddess Lamashtu.

MacGreggor translated the runes carved on the walls. They were praises to the Runelord Azlantist, and admonishments to “Revel in the fury of battle,” “Crush your enemies and slay their children,” “From hatred comes strength, and from strength comes power,” and other equally disturbing phrases that exhort violence, hatred, and embracing anger.

The double doors led to the strange alcove in the shrine to Lamashtu. Exploring the rest of the complex, the group found two other empty rooms, and a set of stairs leading up, but the roof above the stairs had collapsed and the passage was impassable…

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Haladir

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