Campaign of the Month: August 2018

The Praise of Old Men

Chapter One: The Spice Merchants Of Sel-kai: Part Fifteen

6056.1.45

Yesterday's Heroes

Cautious and deeply suspicious of the nature of the curious "portal" that they have discovered, the party decide to investigate the locked and warded treasury that they have discovered. There are a total of six chests, four of which bear locks. Each of the four bears a single enameled letter: "M", "P", "A" or "V". The companions quickly deduce that these correspond to the four tombs that they have found and wary of traps decide to search the sarcophagi to see if they can find a safer means of opening the chests than relying on Cherry's picks. Keys are indeed found on each of the four biers, hidden in the ornate stonework of the surface detail and with some trepidation Cherry gingerly begins the task of opening the chests. All contain well preserved expensive clothing that perhaps belonged to the four "heroes" whose tombs the party have discovered. Enchanted items are also found among the clothes; the strange brass telescope is assembled by Ugnan and though its detailed workings are still something of a mystery he does discover that the item can be used to view and thus "see" the magic embedded in an item. wrist bracers (Malthus), a deck of fortune-telling cards (Patience), two copper rings (Alphaeus) and a necklace of brightly decorated seeds (Verisimilitude) are lifted out of the chests. A small buckler resting on a wooden stand and a whip, neatly coiled on a side table are similarly "detected" and picked up. While the party stow these treasures, Cran recovers the heavy mail armor from Reave The Just's chamber, it too is magical. The final two chests, both without locks, contain a magic quiver with twenty arrows (also enchanted) and a "Wing Stone" which is identified by Sylke who remembers seeing similar Stones in use; they can detect distances if dropped down a shaft, produce light and detect Essence, Mentalism and Channeling (within fifty feet).

Ugnan now uses the arcane telescope to look at the Portal that has been fashioned from an enormous mirror. The telescope is able to penetrate the icy frost that has covered the mirror and Ugnan can see beyond the mirror into a deep pine forest in full winter. Deep snow blankets everything like a shroud and hangs heavy off every branch and leaf. Wood smoke from a small crofters hut climbs into the still air, blood lies in a thick splatter near the door. Though the scene looks as if it could be from Kulthea, Ugnan is not convinced that stepping through the portal would be wise.

The party gather around the small pitted stone table in the treasure room, aware that they have still not found a way out and now turn their attention to the oddly pitted table. Cherry suggests that they use the acid in Galen's room to see if the scoring on the table is important in someway. Cran carefully ferries acid into the room from Galen's tomb using the horn and as the acid is poured onto the table, the solid stone surface reacts and liquefies to reveal a crystal scrying surface beneath. The party can see an enormous marbled throne room that seems to have been carved out of some sort of icy cavern. Huge ice crystals descend from a high vaulted ceiling and elegantly dressed courtiers dance, talk and laugh as a sting quartet plays in the distance. A stunningly beautiful and imperious woman studies her courtiers, a mix of human, elf and other races (goblins, boggarts, pixies and all manner of fey). As the party stares into the mirror she looks up from her reverie and stares back, her face contorts from an icy unreadable mask to one of absolute fury, "Return what they stole! Your world will fall and I will not care!" As she screams this at the party, she waves a hand and the table begins to turn once again to stone. Ugnan has the presence of mind to ask for more information before the scrying crystal is covered and learns that the woman seeks "The Heart Of Agoth". 

Cran is encouraged to try the horn that he carries, gathering around the large circular table in the central chamber, the party again ponder the lines and references to "heroes". Removing the silver end piece, Cran sounds the horn with a mighty blast that resonates and rumbles throughout the crypt. Sound fills the chambers and the party can hear the notes echoing above, answering noises can be heard from the sarcophagi as the five heroes the party have discovered "return". All seem friendly and converse for a brief time before reluctantly "returning" to their "slumber". It is clear that the five were a band with deep bonds of friendship and seem pleased to have been awoken, albeit for a brief span of time. They also encourage the party but refer to both themselves and the party members in a rather odd way and each seems to identify with one of the companions.

Reave The Just, "the Heart" associates with Cran and is pleased that the burly warrior has taken his armor. Malthus, "the Arm" acknowledges Sharna and is pleased with her demeanor and professionalism. Patience, "the Eyes" does not wake fully and tells Cherry that she is "chained" and unable to join her "brothers", with very limited time she tells Cherry that "Only The Heart Of Agoth will keep the Azydaer away from The Gates. Look where the waters are stored beneath the city, where The Iron Bell tolls". She too is pleased to see that someone else can now take up her mantle. Verisimilitude, "the Head" praises Ugnan for his detective work so far and infuriatingly refuses to answer any direct questions put to him; he is confidant that Ugnan will "assemble the pieces". Alphaeus, "the Voice" speaks for the longest of the five and does so with Sylke. He candidly tells her that Malthus was deeply hurt and ashamed when Patience was "lost", he tells Sylke to "Look out for The Heart, when ours broke, we fell"

All of the shades fade away and the party head back up to the Orgillion crypt. They cautiously explore the final tombs but discover little except for an odd black cube that has blocked a drain in the tomb of "Nero Orgillion, the builder". With no way out, the companions head back to the door that bars their exit. Desperate for a way out, Cherry searches the steps to see if their is a trigger mechanism for the door; replacing the four stones on the original pedestals achieves nothing. Cran and the others search amongt the debris of the collapsed statue on the eastern wall. Cherry fails to find any way out but Ugnan and Cran spot a small square crevice in the still intact plinth, exactly the same size as the black stone they recovered from Nero's tomb; this opens the door and the companions escape. They decide to take both of the crypt keys with them and lock the door behind them. They also remove the four black stones that are needed to open the hidden staircase to the second level.

The night air is damp and cold and they decide to head back to the small village of Bajorkham and their faithful beast of burden, Spotted Jim.

 

 

 

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Ancellus Kergan

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