The Watcher of the Mists

Thistletop: Third Foray

Session 18

Starday, 17 Rova 4707

After a well-deserved good night’s sleep at the Rusty Dragon Inn, the Sandpoint Heroes returned to Thistletop for a third foray, arriving late morning on Saturday. The goblin fortress was completely undisturbed from the previous day, as were the rooms in the dungeon levels that they passed.

The trap on the second level of the dungeon was still disabled, sothe party opened the southern door at the far end of the corridor. They found themselves inside a large L-shaped room. To the west, the walls were decorated with a mosaic showing piles of treasure, coffers filled with gems, and chests overflowing with gold. The walls at the end of the room angled in toward a pillar that appeared to be made of solid gold and was fashioned to resemble a pile of gold coins. Some of the tiles in the mosaic were in the shape of Thassilonian runes, all of which praised the virtue of wealth and the acquisition of great fortune.

To the south was a set of ornately-carved stone doors. Runes on the doors indicated that the room beyond was the final resting place of the architects of “this great monument.” Larissa pressed her ear to the door, but did not hear anything. Charrone opened the doors. Beyond was a large, stark room with five sarcophagi set in alcoves in the walls. The party entered the room. As soon as everyone was inside, the door slammed shut, and from three of the sarcophagi came vaguely humanoid shadows that appeared not to be cast by anything! The shadows moved toward the party, and struck at Halfred, Charrone, and Declan. Halfred felt something cold pass through him, and he suddenly found himself weakened. Everyone drew their weapons and attacked, but most of the party realized that their non-magical weapons had no effect on the creatures. Fortunately, Charrone’s sword and the spellcasters’ magic seemed to affect the creatures. Declan channeled the holy fires of the Dawnflower as well, and the incorporeal creatures were defeated.

Halfred found a secret door in the room, and the party followed a corridor that led to a set of stairs down. They could hear the gentle sloshing of water, and smelled the ocean as they descended. The stairs opened into a room that was partly submerged, and partly eroded by the water. One wall of the room was another mosaic showing a gleaming golden city of domes and spires surrounded by mountains. The floor slanted toward the west here as well, and the western part of the room was underwater. The decayed remains of chests, jewelry, and gilded weapons were in the room, both above and below the surface of the water. The items that were underwater seemed to be encrusted with barnacles, coral, and mussels, but one thing that was still recognizable was a giant-sized golden helmet, also studded with sea creatures. The party began to sort through the remains of this treasure room, and was able to recover a fair amount of ancient gold coins, gems, and still-usable weapons.

However, when Halfred looked at the giant golden helm, he noticed that it wasn’t where he’d remembered it was. He poked the helmet with his ranseur, and two antennae, ten very long spindly legs, and two large claws extended from the helmet: apparently, the helmet was now the home of a giant hermit crab, which was not happy about being disturbed. It attacked. But a single giant crab, even one with ten-foot-long claws, was no match for the Sandpoint Heroes, who defeated it easily. With the crab dead, they gathered up the rest of the treasure and returned to the L-shaped room.

Examining the mosaics depicting treasure, Larissa notices two actual coin slots that were incorporated into depictions of donation boxes: one on the north wall, and one on the south. She dropped in a silver piece, but, strangely, did not hear the “clink” of a coin landing into anything. Halfred stood beside the other, and on a count of three, each dropped a gold piece into the slot. The sound of stone grinding on stone echoed through the room, and the golden pillar of coins slowly recessed into the floor, revealing a corridor beyond.

That corridor ended with three doors: one each to the north, east, and south. Larissa listened at each, and heard a faint voice coming from the north wall. She couldn’t make out the words, but recognized snippets of spoken ancient Thassilonian. The door was unlocked and apparently untrapped, so Charrone threw it open.

Inside was an audience chamber of some sort. The ceiling glowed faintly, bathing the room in dim light. Two stone statues of a stern-looking man wearing robes and holding a glaive stood beside an ornately-carved stone throne. In the throne sat the faint, ghostly image of a stern-looking man wearing robes. The image spoke, but its words seemed faint and distant, as if coming up from the bottom of a well. The language the image spoke was ancient Thassilonian, and it used an accent that none of the scholars in the party had ever heard before. The image seemed to start in mid-sentence, and then stopped in mid-sentence again, repeating exactly the words it had just spoke and motions it had just made:

“…is upon us, but I command you to remain. Witness my power, how Alaznist’s petty wrath is but a flash compared to my strength! Take my final work to your graves, and let its memory be the last thing you…”

Ted cast detect magic, and determined that the image was a powerful illusion, that had apparently been running for centuries. There was nothing else of interest in the room.

Returning to the corridor, Charrone opened the eastern door. Inside was an ancient laboratory of some sort. A large marble table stood in the center, with many heavy steel rings set just below its surface. Rusty chains lay in a pile below it. Three smaller low stone tables were to the sides of the room, each covered with a green silk cloth. On each of the cloths were a collection of gleaming steel surgical tools: saws, knives, probes, and other tools whose purpose was not immediately apparent. One object was of particular interest: a brass-and-silver object made in the shape of a seven-pointed star. One side of it was covered with a seemingly-random pattern of divots and nodules; the other had a narrow handle. “That’s the Sihedron rune again,” said Larissa. She took that item. A pile of humanoid bones was on the floor next to one of the low tables— too many to be one skeleton, but too few to be two. Ted reported that nothing in the room radiated magic, and McGregor gathered the surgical tools and silks, which all appeared to be valuable.

Returning to the corridor, Larissa examined the double doors to the south, which were firmly shut and had no handles or knobs. Pushing on them didn’t move them a hair’s breadth. In the center of one of the doors was the indented outline of a seven-pointed star, its shape covered with hollows and bumps. Larissa took the brass-and-silver star she’d found in the other room, and gauged them to be about the same size. She pressed the star into the outline, and after rotating it a few times, found that it pressed into the hollow exactly. There was an audible “Click” and the doors swung open.

Inside was a large rectangular room. A wide fire pit was in the middle, its hot flames lapping up four feet into the air. In the corners of the room were wooden platforms, upon each rested a candelabra bearing a number of lit candles. Another mosaic depicting the Sihedron Rune dominated the south wall.

The group entered the room to check it out. As soon as all of the group was in the room, a loud roar shook the air, and from nowhere, a huge beast appeared as it ripped into Halfred, who staggered back in shock. As barbarian’s blood dripped off the creatures mouth, it roared, “Ah, flesh! It has been centuries since I have feasted!” The creature was shaggy, and resembled a cross between a wolf and a goblin, combining the worst features of both. Its feral eyes glowed with a red malevolence, and it grinned and attacked Halfred again.

This time, the Ulfen warrior was ready, and skewered the beast with his ranseur. It was a lucky strike, and black ichor poured out of the wound. It howled in pain and outrage: a terrifying sound, but no one seemed to be affected by it. Charrone cried, “In the name of Iomedae the Inheritor, Lady of Justice, I smite thee!” and ran her sword through the creature’s chest. Larissa let loose an enchanted arrow she’d found in the treasure room, and Declan cast the cleansing fires of Sarenrae at the foul beast. Mortally wounded, the beast lashed out at Charrone, but only hit a glancing blow. Charrone struck at it again with her empowered sword, and the beast collapsed, its body quickly dissolving into foul black ichor, which began to evaporate.

“I think that may have been that mysterious Malfeshnakor,” said Charrone, cleaning the ichor from her blade.

“He sure wasn’t that tough,” said Halfred, “Tsuto’s journal made him sound like a demon or something.”

“It was a demon of sorts,” replied Declan, “and you needed magic to overcome its defenses. If it’d been set loose on Sandpoint, I don’t want to imagine the carnage it would have caused.”

“I think it may have been imprisoned in this room,” pondered Ted, “or Nualia would have already released him to do just that.”

Searching the room, the group found two secret alcoves, which contained more everburning candles, the indecipherable crumbled remains of many scrolls, and a silver coffer. Inside the coffer was powdered bone, and among the bone powder was a magic ring. Ted tried to identify it, but its secrets eluded him at the moment.

Satisfied that they had fully explored the dungeon, the party returned to the surface and then traveled back to Sandpoint. They informed the sheriff and mayor that the Thistletop problem was taken care of once and for all.

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Haladir

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