Session #56 – Portrait or Portal

Standing in the dim light of the top chamber, Azrak spun to the sound of grinding stone. The door to the tomb slowly began to raise. Without a moment’s thought, he dashed out the doorway and watched it slam closed. Hoping he hadn’t trapped his friends, he repeated the pushing of buttons to match graves and the door slowly lowered again.

Working out an escape route, the team asked Aderian to wait outside in order to open the door later if it closed again. Scenwolf and Mygnak tended to Darthorian who apparently survived death but remained unconscious.

Ferris noted an identical room with another water elemental on the opposite side of the corridor. Using the aura of protection from the scroll, they make a good search of the two gold basins and let them be after agreeing there was no treasure within them.

To the south, they found another room with a pool, this one 3 feet deep. In the center was an abstract design. Arranged in a grid at the bottom of the pool were twelve items. In dove Ghevont to fetch treasure and instantly he felt burning, as if his life were being stolen away. Yet, he endured this pain to fetch item after item: a shield, a tube, a ring, a wand. Azrak attempted to fetch a jeweled sceptre with his grappling hook, but the hook passed directly through it.

Ferris dipped his foot in and also felt the pain of damage. As Ghevont made his way out, Azrak bent to hoist him out and tumbled into the water. He too burned from damage. He fetched an item and then scrambled out.

Azrak stripped all but his undergarments and jumped back in to retrieve more items. Eventually, he climbed out on the other side. He saw an opaque chamber behind a force field. He thought perhaps he saw a symbol on the floor beyond the field that matched the one in the pool.

Ghevont got back in the pool to stand on the symbol to no effect. Ferris dropped his bags and his sword to try standing on the symbol and this time the force field dropped. He swam to the other side in time to see a life-sized portrait of himself, animated and begging him to stop the agony.

Ferris stood on the symbol and the painting screamed that it was being murdered. With that, Ferris stepped off the symbol but then took the portrait from the wall. This revealed a lever which he immediately pulled. The sound of grinding stone was heard, and they later confirmed that the door to the tomb re-opened and stayed open.

Meanwhile, the painting continued its requests to end its agony. Ferris, holding his shortsword, struck at the painting and immediately suffered the damage to his own body. Azrak, curious, struck Ferris with his fist. The painting squealed in delight. Finally, Ferris stepped back on the symbol until the vision of himself in the painting ceased and was replaced with a black void.

Some experimentation revealed the painting to be a portal of sorts. Placing just a hand or a head into it, though, showed only darkness. Azrak tied a rope around himself and walked into the painting. He disappeared and the rope went slack. Ferris determined to follow Azrak and disappeared into the painting himself.

The rest of the party hesitated to enter the painting, especially since they had a way out of the tomb and a hoard of items pulled from the pool. They waited for some time, spending the night in the tomb. They considered consequences of removing the painting from the tomb, but decided to take it. On exiting, they noticed how the fresh graves no longer bore their names and neither did the banner over the entrance.

Meanwhile, Azrak and Ferris found themselves on a small hill above a road with a river beyond. Both were wet. Azrak wore nothing but his underwear. Needles to say, he was baffled.

The two walked down the slope to the rode. Noting the slope of the land and flow of the river, they turned right down the road and before long found themselves back in St. Orlan.

They headed to the temple for shelter, for sun was setting as they approached the city. The guards at the city were dismissive as ever but the priests at the temple greeted them warmly and told of a demon hunters who’d recently stayed at the temple and then headed to Tosasth.

The next day, Azrak and Ferris met the party back at the ruined manor. On the trip back through the swap, Scenwolf was bitten by a centipede and died.

They took stock of the treasure found, most of which Ghevont kept for himself.

They also carried the large painting out of the swamp. It remained a portal of some sort. They headed back to the hill beside the road where Azrak and Ferris were teleported. Ghevont stepped into the void and vanished. He did not appear where Azrak had.

Tienarth produced the crystal ball and easily viewed Ghevont who was in a forest grove.

Endnotes

  • Henry immediately thought to pull the painting aside and discovered the lever the opened the door to the tomb. Although this wasn’t strictly necessary to escape, it was a clever conclusion. Also, it would have made the most sense to disallow anyone but Ferris to open the door with the buttons but notes from the module didn’t state that requirement.
  • Characters present: Tienart/Tre, Ghevont/Jeff, Aderian/NPC, Ferris/Henry, Azrak/Nick, Darthorian/NPC, Scenwolf/NPC, Mygnak/NPC.

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