Loose Ends – Chapter Eleven

Barbarian Cleric still to find,

This tricky Priest plays on our minds.

A celebration; premature?

Although their foes lie dead on the floor,

An Unholy man,

His Magicks unclean,

Does wander in their midst unseen.

Yet why this subterfuge? Her fury keener,

Has the fiend just seen her?

Sigune ponders, sombre of demeanour,

“Pray come out into the light!

Whe’er thou dost lurk and fight!”

Diminutive, fiercely defiant,

A Dwarf with the heart of a giant,

This maiden, ne’er to be sheared:

Count the beads threaded in her beard!

Thora, hunkered as a Panther,

Waiting for demons to come at her!

“Thou shalt only pass my mighty Axe,

If thou leave thy head as tax!”

Reading Tome and ancient Scroll,

Skyward do his eyeballs roll,

As unseen foe does dive and duck,

The Wizard curses, “You sneaky… bounder!”

But not all is lost, on Earthly plane,

Forgotten Realms? I feel your pain!

Keys and locks and secret doors,

Hidden traps beneath false floors!

Concealed to most, yet one can see,

The sneaky thief known as Frimly.

“Always accusations foul,

Upon my reputation, growled,

Yet in the end, then all shall see,

Who saves the day, why friends, it’s me.”

And so the merry band doth roll,

Without fear of demon, ghoul or troll,

Fight and hack and gouge and slay,

That’s how we celebrate your birthday!

So now the time is here,

To raise a flagon of wine or beer,

To your good health, and many years,

To you, we say our cheers!

Thora: “Lemmy at ‘em! I will nae sit here tae fix ma mascara until thae next bunch o’ bawbags turn up tae give Mae rubbie burns!”

It’s a conundrum alright. What to do next? Go back to the latrines (Room 4) and ensure that there are no stones left unturned? Or maintain momentum and continue forwards, giving our enemies little chance to prepare their Defense?

A tricky decision but we decide to go back to the latrines to investigate (and not, on this occasion, to drop the kids off at the pool).

This was our first mistake.

Bandit Lair latrines
Bandit Lair latrines

The party regroups and heads back to the latrine. Frimly and Galan take the lead and sneak down to listen at the door. The Thief goes to the East alcove to look through the peep hole. The door to the Tapestry room is now open… All he can hear is the sound of water dripping and the rustle of the breeze. Everyone waits. Frimly beckons Galan silently and whispers to him:

Frimly: “Cover us with your Long Bow Ranger.”

Sigune, Thora and Mirafir then go through to the latrines while Galan goes to keep an eye on the Tapestry corridor. In the latrines, the two stone dead forever bandits have been fried by the Clerical ‘Wall of Fire’ that has now vanished.

Thora tries to disbelieve the wall in the latrines thinking it a Wizard’s Illusion. Mirafir then also tries to see if there is Secret Door: there is!

He finds the mechanism and opens the door to a roughly hewn corridor. These belong to the new “improvements” to the tomb. The corridor goes twenty feet before turning sharply to the West. There is a Glowing Gem set into the wall. It dimly illuminates the long corridor.

At the end of the corridor there are two arrow slits that look out onto the Tapestry corridor. Thora sticks an arrow through the slit. On the other side of the wall, Galan sees it and sees through the Wizardry Illusion that everything is clean and well-kept. It is covered in vines and the tapestry is old and rotten. So where did the Barbarian Cleric go in this labyrinth of Secret Doors and Wizards Illusions…?

Bandit Lair Temple
Bandit Lair Temple

The room where Sigune fought the two key commanders (Room 9) was also a place where Sacrifices were taking place and the walls had strange Barbarian pictographs scrawled upon them and the symbol of the 3 Lightning Bolts on the floor.

On the way back we check the latrines in more… detail but discover nothing of worth. Mirafir then casts ‘Locate Object’ to detect the Barbarian Cleric’s Gnarly Staff. It is indicated in the North, North East!

Did we miss something? Galan is summoned to look again for a Secret Door in the latrine. Meanwhile, Mirafir tries to triangulate the location of the Barbarian Cleric’s Gnarly Staff by moving first to the pillared room (Room 3) and then to the rubble room (Room 5). The location now seems to be more North-easterly.

NPC - Barbarian Cleric
NPC – Barbarian Cleric

Suddenly Mirafir locates him in the corridor ahead of him and elects to cast ‘Lightning Bolt’. He misses the Barbarian Cleric, aiming further down the corridor to the North and missing the Barbarian Cleric, who is held in the Claws of, what they later discovered, was called a Yugoloth Guardian, a creature flying towards them, whilst the Barbarian Cleric is holding two severed heads!

Monster - Guardian, Yugoloth
Monster – Guardian, Yugoloth

The Yugoloth Guardian is a large creature resembling a gigantic bear with Ram Horns protruding from its forehead. It has Eagle Talons instead of paws. As the Yugoloth Guardian drops the Barbarian Cleric on the floor! It then stands in front of him.

Thora runs up and attempts to close the Secret Door in the pillared room (Room 3), Sigune covers her. Mirafir casts ‘Mirror Image’ and the entire party move out of the way of the arrow slits. Like a nightmare, the creature crashes through the door, encompassed in magical ‘Silence’ and then breaths a jet of fire in an Easterly direction towards Galan and Thora!

Galan fails in his attempt to avoid the Yugoloth Guardian’s flame Breath, but Thora nimbly avoids the flames.

Thora: “Thank St Cuthbert and my Gauntlets of Dexterity.”

Galan is engulfed in flame! Thora, Galan and Sigune all attack the Yugoloth Guardian while Mirafir moves to the South-West towards the Crypt Room (Room 5) to try and escape the Magical ‘Silence’.

The Thief, in the meantime, had taken out his Ivory Box containing his ‘Deck of Illusions’ and offers a small pray to Olidammara. Frimly draws the Jack of Clubs, not the Ace of Spades, from his ‘Deck of Illusions’ which he throws between the pillars, into the centre of the room (Room 3)!

Sigune strikes the Yugoloth Guardian, inflicting a minor injury on the monster’s thick hide. Thora narrowly misses with her attack.

Magic Item - Deck of Illusions
Magic Item – Deck of Illusions

A Bard holding a Lyre suddenly appears, as if by Magic, in the centre of the room. The Yugoloth Guardian, like some kind of iron horse, lashes out with both its claws at Thora and Sigune and tries to bite Galan!

It hits the Paladin, Sigune, and misses the others. The Bard appears to be singing but his voice is blocked by the Magical ‘Silence’. Galan hits the Yugoloth Guardian with his Short Sword and his Longsword inflicting a vicious injury. Sigune hits it with a stunning strike, causing the Yugoloth Guardian to collapse: Killed by death!

Thora clambers over the hulking corpse, followed by Galan and then Sigune. Thora closes on the Barbarian Cleric and strikes him a vicious blow with her first attack, missing with her second.

Barbarian Cleric: “Come no closer, I am under the protection of Talos.”

Thora: “Talos will not protect you! Talos has sent us here to kill you! You have no class!”

Galan has closed in but misses the Barbarian Cleric, while taking a hit from the ‘Staff’, wielded by the Barbarian Cleric, whist Thora again strikes the Barbarian Cleric. Galan misses again with his second attack!

At this point, Sigune activates her ‘Cloak of Arachnida’ in order to ‘Spider Climb’ along the wall and next to the Barbarian Cleric so as to be able to attack from the side! Mirafir is also approaching behind the others.

Thora: “Don’t kill him!”

Sigune: “If he can be taken alive, vee shall haf him!”

She promptly strikes him and he collapses dead despite trying to use concussion damage – he was just too weak. Overkill! Thora examines the heads:

Thora: “God knows how this infernal Evil works! And make sure that the demon doesn’t move!”

Sigune notices the two headless bodies of the Bandit and Barbarian leaders, slain previously by her, are now lying charred on the floor by the dead Barbarian Cleric and that the Silence is stall active and centred on the, now dead, Yugoloth Guardian . Did the Barbarian Cleric summon this monster using their dead foes?

Barbarian Cleric's Staff
Barbarian Cleric’s Staff

Galan searches the body of the Barbarian Priest and finds that he has on him a Potion, Leather Armour, a Staff, a Bone Ring and a Necklace also made from some form of bones.

The ‘Potion’ is strangely held within a perfume jar. Apart from this he is largely anonymous, no insignia.

Meanwhile the others move up, except for Frimly who removes the head of the creature and takes one of its horns as a “souvenir”.

The party then searches the several of rooms branching off from this long corridor running South-to-North, but the Barbarian’s chambers (Room 8), the empty pillared room (Room 7) and the other Bandit quarters (Room 10) have been given only a cursory glance.

Within the Bandits room (Room 11) containing just the 4 beds, Frimly unlocks one of the 4 chests in the final room on the right, and finds personal items and clean smart clothing, some coins but nothing else of note.

Mirafir and Galan are searching the sacrifice room (Room 9) for Secret Doors, having an inkling that this was the way that the Barbarian Cleric probably came. Sadly they both find nothing.

Bronwyn’s Handwriting
Bronwyn’s Handwriting

Sigune wanders around the Bandits room and notices that this chamber is cleaner than most of the others. There are several papers on one of the tables inside the room; one of them appears to be of finer quality than the others and Sigune finds the back has feminine handwriting on it.

Sigune: “Mirafir! Wizard! You are good Vis letters! Vot is this?”

Galan thinks the ‘Potion’ found on the Barbarian Cleric is of ‘Healing’ or ‘Extra-Healing’, yet having an earthy smell to it.

Frimly meanwhile has found around 150 GP in various pouches contained within the Bandit’s first 3 chests. He checks the last chest; no trap detected, and opens it. There are 5 pouches with ‘Gems’ within valued at around 15-20 GP each.

Mirafir looks at the paper and makes out that it is Bronwyn’s handwriting! He makes out the word Agwain written upon it but is unable to decipher much else on this old paper. So the Bandits may have intercepted this letter on purpose and knew of the affair or it was taken in a raid?

The other papers are sketches of valleys or groves (possible ambushes?) or lists in code which the Wizard believes may be tallies of goods acquired.

With this perfunctory search completed, of some of the chambers, the Adventurers go to the end of the corridor which bends sharply to the West. Sigune attempts to ‘Detect Evil’ along this darkened passageway. The Paladin detects nothing.

‘Healing’ is carried out by injured party members while Mirafir casts ‘Detect Magic’ down the corridor running West. Nothing is revealed.

Sigune takes Galan’s Dagger, which still has ‘Continual Light’ cast upon it and proceeds down the passageway. There is a lot of rubble on the floor and there are alcoves (6) at intervals to the North and South of the corridor.

The first alcove conceals a doors (Room 12) and in middle of the door the Wizard can make out that it radiates ‘Abjuration’ and ‘Evocation’. Mirafir suspects another Clerical ‘Glyph’.

Mirafir: “I suspect this was created by the Barbarian Cleric.”

The second passage is just an excavated alcove. No door.

The third passage on the Northern wall reveals a 20-foot passage with no door and no Magic radiating from it.

After using ‘Detect Magic’ on the forth alcove, no Magic was present revealed, we continue down the passage until reaching the fifth and alcove, which is another 20-foot passage with no door and no Magic radiating from it

The final passage is revealed as a longer passageway, or rather a ramp, descending downwards in a direct Southern direction.

So Mirafir checks again using his ‘Detect Magic’ spell, finding none, so then the party proceed onwards.

The ramp continues to descend another 60’ feet. Thora guesses we are now about 80’ down over 180’ of ramp. Galan moves to join the others while Frimly checks one of the “alcoves” on his own.

Finally, at the end of the ramp some 60-70’ feet from the Adventurers there is a big stone door with 3 Clerical ‘Glyphs’ on it. As well as Mirafir’s ‘Detect Magic’ spell identifying the 3 Clerical ‘Glyphs’, Mirafir can see the whole of the stone door is emanating strong ‘Alteration Magic’ too.

Suddenly Frimly calls out:

NPC - Markas ‘Darkeyes’ Fowler
NPC – Markas ‘Darkeyes’ Fowler

Frimly: “I’m being attacked by an Invisible force!”

The others run back to his aid and Galan finds him first – it would seem he was hit by an edged weapon, from behind as would a Thief!

Mirafir uses his ‘Detect Magic’, while Sigune hold out her Holy Symbol and attempts to ‘Detect Evil’.

Mirafir spots something moving near to Galan and calls to him!

Galan strikes and hits the ‘Invisible’ assailant that had moved in his direction, inflicting 8 damage on him!

Thora closes on the still ‘Invisible’ figure and together with Galan they strike it!

Mirafir casts ‘Tasha’s Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter’ but is unable to tell if it has worked or not.

Suddenly the Wizard hears laughter, quiet at first then suddenly growing in intensity! The invisible figure collapses to the floor, giving the others an opportunity to strike him! Frimly hits him for 5 damage but Thora and Galan both miss.

As the hysterical figure tries to rise to its feet Thora, with No Remorse, strikes a deadly blow, and the fiend is just clinging to life. So it remains for Sigune to deliver the death blow, which she does, and the still ‘Invisible’ entity collapses to the floor.

Frimly has been poisoned so a cursory examination reveals a potentially deadly poison.

Galan searches the body. Short Sword, Bottle, Ring and Studded Leather Armour. The liquid in the bottle smells earthy, just like the ‘Potion of Extra-Hhealing’ of unknown strength found on the Barbarian Cleric.

Once again, the heroic adventurers are faced with a stark choice: To face the wooden door which has had a ‘Glyph’ cast upon it (Room 12), or to descend the ramp to the to face the stone door which has had a powerful spell and 3 ‘Glyphs’ cast upon it.

What choice will our heroes take?

Beneath her kilt a fetid gash,

The Evil Priest, not bishop, she did bash!

His gnarly staff now split and broken,

Lost to time, a worthless token.

No quarter given, or a pardon,

Just a mole in the back garden,

The question now, their minds a-spin; Which of the backdoors to smash in!

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