Loose Ends – Chapter Thirteen

3rd Day of the Claw of Winter: (February):

The Death Knight:

Little do our Heroes know what waits them within the Tomb of the Stag King that is protected by a Death Knight.

Galan: “There must be another way to get past the damnable stone door…surely….!?”

Muses Galan.

Thora: “Aye, pehaps, boot wev surched hi un loo un foond skerry athing….oony mer o em bloo baldricks!”

Sigune: “True, but alzo ze horzes tack in ze barbarians sleeping quarterz….vass meaning iss zis?”

Galan: “I believe it indicates that there is a Barbarian camp in the vicinity, perhaps concealed in a similar way as the camps we have previously encountered.”

Thora: “Wizard! Tellus egin aboot them cards uz red.”

Mirafir’s Card Reading plus possible interpretation:

1. The Diviner (Mirafir?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Diviner
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Diviner

2. The Traitor (Captain Delimbiyr and/or Dygath?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Traitor
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Traitor

3. The Raven (The one that brought us to Delimbiyr? or Gillian’s Hill)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Raven
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Raven

4. Artefact (The Mirror?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Artifact
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Artifact

5. Trader (Torleth?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Trader
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Trader

6. Mercenary (Dygath? We suspected that Captain D.’s days are numbered…? or The Hooded One)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Mercenary
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Mercenary

7. Illusionist (Don’t know – maybe Torleth again? Could be referring to the weird spell where we are now?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Illusionist
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Illusionist

8. Donjon (an Artefact? Or Hidden Location like with Mirafir’s previous card reading)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Donjon
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Donjon

9. Artefact (?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Artifact
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Artifact

10. Mists (see 7?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Mists
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Mists

11. Beast (oh-oh…?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Beast
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Beast

12. Broken one (double oh-oh…?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Broken One
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Broken One

13. Healer (?)

Mirafir's Tarokka Deck - Healer
Mirafir’s Tarokka Deck – Healer

Fwom what we have theen it would theem that the theeds of chaoth are being thown by Acolytes of Taloth – God of Caoth and perhaps even architect of the Earthquwake.

Galan: “Hmmm….it certainly seems like the Barbarians were used to sown chaos in the Lizard Marshes and have been successful in ridding the place of lawful oversight. Is it even possible that these Barbarians had Illusions cast upon them to make them appear as Lizardmen?”

Mirafir contemplates his cross examination of Vicross.

Mirafir: “You know perhapth there ith thum hope for Vikroth, he might not be totally mad, just a little thocked. He may altho carry yuthful informathion.”

With most in agreement, Mirafir casts his ‘Unseen Servant’ and manipulates it to use the keys found on the still ‘Invisible’ corpse of the Thief, to open the cell door.

Initially the emaciated and disfigured mage is silent, breathing shallowly awaiting his next bout of torture.

But after much persuasion and administering of healing Vicross begins to regain trust of Mirafir and the rest of the party.

Meanwhile, Frimly studies both Cleric and Thief in case he wishes to use hat of disguise to roughly imitate them at a later date.

Vicross relates his sorry tale….waiting and watching for his new comrades. Looking for clues as to their disappearance, when he was captured by the bandits unknown months ago.

Unfortunately, he knows little of their intentions other than there intent of passing the Magically sealed stone door.

Vicross: “Initially they wanted to get beyond yon stone door. But in the end, it seemed they were happy to leave it is and instead they cast various glyphs, perhaps to keep others out or worse, they found out what was inside and strove to keep it in!”

Vicross then casts ‘Wraithform’ upon himself so that he bypasses the ‘Glyph’ on his cell door with further harm.

Mirafir then casts ‘Detect Magic’ on the Invisible (dust of disappearance!) hooded thief, revealing the true nature of his equipment – Boots that are glowing (faintly), superior crafted studded Leather Armour (+3 or 4), a (Potion of Extra-healing) also in a perfume bottle (for smuggling purposes perhaps?),  a Ring that glows dimly (+1 protection?), a keen edged Short Sword (+1 or 2?), the Elven Long Bow inscribed with the Elven script of the denizens of Laughing Hollow script (+1 or 2).

The Cleric of Talos’ Ring glows dimly, while his Ghoulish Necklace made of vertebrae and metatarsals glows faintly, while the gnarly wooden staff he carried glows dimly. He also wears imbued Armour.

With all other avenues leading to dead ends it falls to the thief to test his skills on the stone doors intricate and ancient lock….perhaps the most onerous and elaborate a test  of his lock craft ever undertaken. Fierce concentration and much mumbling but finally he finds a way to engage the myriad tumblers. The reward is a resounding click and followed by exhalations of breath from the half dozen enthralled onlookers.

It now falls upon Mirafir to cast ‘Knock’ and hopefully dislodge the crossed bars that still hold the mighty portal fast.  He succeeds.

At which point Vicross uses his few remaining spell points to cast ‘Protection From Evil 10’ Radius’. All but Galan are enclosed within the aura of this Magic.

As had been expected the same female apparition as Mirafir had described flies towards, but then past them, before disappearing in the corridor behind. All must make their saves against the terror that grips them and all do….except for poor Galan who turns and flees in the same direction as the departed spirit.

The others must let his terror run its course.

The hissing and murmuring of scores of dead souls also seems to dissipate with the release of that single tormented soul.

PC - Galan Tara
PC – Galan Tara

The chamber ahead is cloaked in inky blackness now laid bare by the light of the Gem on the handle of Galan’s knife.

About them is a scene, though now archaic and bedecked with the dust of the ages, of utter bedlam and devastation. Clothed or armoured skeletons are strewn all about struck rigid in poses of terror and subjugation of some awful fate!

Slain where they stood….scorch marks and blackened bones everywhere. No one escaped this fearful Armageddon.

Sigune and Thora offer prayers for these poor folk.

There is an Altar at far end of this large vaulted chamber with a door to either side.

As they approach the altar, objects that are still sat atop come into focus. Sigune gasps as she recognizes them as the paraphernalia  of the rituals of Clerics of St Cuthbert.

Sigune: “ Mein Gott and his rieghtous cudgel!”

The doorway to the left is pushed open by the Invisible servant, revealing what perhaps may have been a small library strewn with fragments of books and parchments.

To the right the opened door reveals a seemingly empty chamber.

The party search for some other concealed entrance, when with a lispy yelp of triumph, Mirafir discovers a Secret Doorway. After some time the opening mechanism is finally revealed, whereupon protection from the forces of evil is cast again.

Beyond, a corridor heads southwards for 30’ feet, lined with four magnificently stone carved Knights. A Door at the far end is not locked. So Sigune moves forward and thrusts it open.

Revealing a large chamber stretching away to the East.

This tableau too is cast with many scores of decimated skeletal bodies strewn wantonly across the ancient floor, like so many ghastly discarded children’s playthings….all of them in decayed armour and revealed as clerics and knights.

Sigune: “Oh how many lost their lives here in zis maelstrom of evil!?”

A carved fountain in the centre of this huge echoing place of death seems to be carved with leaping stags. Galan remembers that the emblem of the stag was also a symbol of Athalantar – an ancient, aeons old civilisation. Hastaral was its capital and stood where Secomber stands today, over 1000 years ago. 

Frimly peers down the well, which falls at least 60’ feet and contains no trace of water up to that point.

The chamber then turns northward, where the ceiling drops down to 20’ feet in height held aloft by substantial stone columns.

As they turn the corner they are all assailed by a booming, shattering cry that shakes the very foundations of the floor upon which they stand. Whorls of dust are borne from the reverberation, momentarily dimming vision.


Sigune is the first to respond, too devout to be intimidated by the force of the vocal provocation.

Sigune: “It iz I, Zigune, a paladin of mighty St Cuzbert of ze sacred cudgel….and who are you to demand of me?”

Monster - Death Knight
Monster – Death Knight

Death Knight: “HAHAHAHA! A puny servant of that false prophet. Step forth that I may see you WOMAN, for I wish to set you on the true path to redemption.”

Thora:” Noo! Yie show theeself and gie us yer nem….fer we be nae mans servin wnch!”

Thora demands in reply!

Eventually, the insults subside and the slow deliberate sound of a large sword being drawn against its scabbard can be heard.

Sigune: “Zo vot iz your name? Sigune shouts as she steps forward out of the auar of the protection spell, so that she may greet her unknown foe in person.”

Death Knight: “It has been so long it is no longer of importance to me! Let us instead test our prowess, mano a mano.”

Sigune: “Yae mean womano to mano!”

Then, without warning, a thick wall of ice appears behind her, cutting off any hope of rescue from her allies.

Only then does a huge plate mailed, humanoid figure emerge from the brooding darkness.

Its armour is of Obsidian Blackness and nameless value, seemingly tarnished by the tell-tale marks of intense scorching. A totemic two-handed Sword held in its gauntlet hands!

Was this Death Knight once a man? A fallen Paladin who had fallen in to the darkness of Evil?

Haughty and arrogant the pair of seem equally matched in hubris as they circle each other sizing up their foe for weakness and trading yet more dry taunts that though lacking wit had much in substance

They strike simultaneously in a huge clash of steel, sparks scattering high above them as if miniature meteors from the skies. Both hit their target…Sigune stifling a wince of pain.

Quarantined from their fearsome bride of St Cuthbert by a near 2’ foot thick wall of Magical Ice….Mirafir suddenly yelps:

Mirafir: “I have it!”

Thora: “ ‘Ave what you daft bastard?”

Mirafir: “The pothion dear boy, the potihon of fiwey dwagon bweath!!”

Without further ado he unstoppers the opaque flask and throws the contents down his throat.

Almost instantly an intense flume of flame burst forth from his mouth a belch of such epic proportions a hole is blasted through the ice wall, large enough for the party to pass through to confront the Death Knight.

Sigune takes a glancing blow from her assailant’s huge sword for more telling damage.

Death Knight: “Your friends have broken the oath of honour and thus I too am no longer bound!”

Whereupon the sound of bones scraping across stone heralds the not unexpected but no less alarming sight of scores of armed and armoured Skeletons rising from their thousand year slumber.

A hail of thrown spears clatters around our diminished cluster of heroes…but thankfully the centuries have not improved their bony foes accuracy.

The Sword fight becomes even more lethal as blows are exchanged like the insults between too long married couples

Sigune takes more crushing damage from the Death Knight,…but also deals it out with holy gusto. Her zeal seemingly blinding her to the pain of her many wounds.

Monsters - Skeleton Guards
Monsters – Skeleton Guards

The many Skeletons within the ice wall are quick to impede movement towards the Unholy Paladin.

The next gesture of Mirafir’s nimble fingers announces the casting of a ‘Haste’ spell upon her allies.

From ponderous killing but methodical killer, Thora now wields her mace like a wild threshing machine. There is barely time to count the shower of splintered bones left in her wake.

Despite the hail of incoming spears Frimly defends the breach in the ‘Wall of Ice’, utilizing the confined space to parry the wave of Skeletal assaults.

Sigune decides to press forward using the protection from evil as a force field to push past the bony impediment. Vicross meanwhile casts shield upon himself.

The remaining Skeletons who surround their evil master now too throw their spears in an attempt to drive back the Daggerford heroes

Sigune now delivers another brutal blow, without reply.  Then, with her life force dwindling, she chooses to parry and buy herself some time

Sigune’s defence proves futile as she is struck with a fierce blow; while Thora attacks the line of Skeletons on her right hand, seeking to aid her compatriot.

The Black Armoured Paladin, sensing victory, now raises its visor, revealing a fearsome skull with piercing, smouldering eyes that burn with malevolence as it readies itself to administer the coup de grace upon noble Sigune.

Mirafir, with his spell resources at lowest of ebb, casts a ‘Lightning Bolt’ at the undead Skeleton….it fizzes from his hand but, shockingly, has no effect as it is absorbed easily by the boastful Death Knight creature. 

Then in a show of fickle arrogance, the undead paladin gestures with outstretched arm at Sigune, casting her into a befuddled and almost incoherent state.

Sigune: “Vot iss zis,,,,verr am I….etc”

Death Knight: “Come, stout Dwarfess I tire of this one…you seem a more worthy foe than this misguided wretch!”

It then beckons Thora forward, Skeletons parting to allow her forward. She does not hesitate or show a chink of fear! Instead charging forward and reining a flurry of savage blows…clearly staggering her haughty foe.

He is no match for the ‘Hasted’ Dwarf and swiftly casts befuddlement on her too.

Mirafir seizes the moment and casts his ‘Magic Missile’ attack which by some great fortune finally breaches the un-Paladin’s Magical resistance.

If a skull can register shock then this is what, according to Vicross, passed across the bony visage. Then without ceremony or last testament the Evil Undead Paladin finally drops down on to the granite paved ground.

The sound of a vast multitude of Skeletons clattering to the floor follows mere seconds later…a sound that, according to Frimly, sounded like a cheap glockenspiel. Against all odd our heroes have won through….but at what price!?

More Skeleton Guards
More Skeleton Guards

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