After a night in Muleshoe, it was obvious that Azrak was ill. A savage bite from a weretiger swelled and oozed green puss. They rode back to the homestead near St. Orlan. The next day Ghevont performed a ritual to cure him of disease. They all agreed to put aside adventuring for several weeks to let Azrak recover and to prepare the homestead for winter. Over these weeks, Tienarth read from the diary they recovered, slowly piecing together a history of the ancient elves.
Tienarth shared that the ancient elves worshiped what followers of the Anointed One would consider demons and devils. And from them came the practice of magic. The demons visited the world through gateways that were later closed with great red gems. Tosasth maintained a major gateway to the demon worlds.
He also learned that the elves of old buried their dead in catacombs, always with a silver-leafed oak. Many tombs were left to slumber in the country around Tosasth. The diary itself was a relic from the catacombs of the family Ebahi, the same name used by the vampire hunted and killed recently.
The days were cooling. The leaves of the forest turned red as they noted the dwindling days of the Month of the Cricket. The urge to solve the mystery of Tosasth pulled at them and they made to learn more about the ancient elves. Leaving Azrak and Pippen behind, the other four rode out to the zombie manor. There, they returned to the crypt where they first fought the vampire Ebahi and to the library found therein.
After a day of flipping through books, Tienarth found a reference to a tomb within a mile of the river between St. Orlan and Muleshoe, a run of seven miles. Climbing out of the crypt, they were attacked by wolves who gave up chasing bison. They found both the raiders and their horses to be deadly enemies.
Next, they returned to the Ebahi catacombs to find any remaining clues. Past the pool, past the pentagram and the goggler murals, they went down the hole to where they fought weretigers and displacer beasts. Presently, they heard crashing rock. Ferris crept down the dark hallway. As he made to open a door, the door burst to pieces from the blow of a hulking rock monster, an earth elemental.
Ferris sprinted back to the group. Aderian and Ghevont stepped up to face the monster. Ferris lit a flash of oil, attempting to damage the elemental, instead scoring a hit directly to Ghevont’s back. No stranger to fire, Ghevont leaped on the elemental to spread the fire, damaging the monster somewhat. He then backed off and read from a protection scroll. Another flask of oil sailed over the elemental to fill the corridor behind. Ghevont pushed the element towards the flame with the magical barrier. It thrashed about, causing an earthquake but ultimately perishing in the flames.
Pondering the collapsed tunnel, Pippen arrived. They excavated a narrow space for him to crawl through. He searched the room beyond and found only rock rubble a few bedrolls perhaps used by the weretigers. Another door from the hallway presented itself.
Pippen opened door to find a short corridor filled with a yellow fungal growth punctuated with tall mushrooms. Tentatively, he tossed a stone, which produced a thick cloud of spores. He instantly began coughing. Desperately, they crawled back over the stones. Ghevont applied healing magic and salves as Pippen clung to life. After several minutes, though exhausted, he still lived.
They cleared more space so that Aderian could look at the yellow mold and burn it up with flaming oil. Remaining was a humanoid skeleton, perhaps a goggler, clutching a black kris knife, which Pippen snatched. He later learned it was magical.
The remaining area not explored ended in a door that Aderian pulled open to trigger a rockfall. He jumped back just in time. The ghostly shape of a maiden floated out of the darkness, glowing faintly and moaning,m colorless and transparent, a gash clean through her neck. A glowing path trailed behind her into the forest.
Ghevont and Tienarth were on watch. The former cast a silence spell, the latter one of invisibility. The moans of the ghost penetrated the magical silence and the ghost continued to approach. Azrak woke from the moaning and drew his axe. A few easy strokes dissipated the apparition.
They followed the glowing trail into the forest to find a simple grave marked with a pile of stones. Over it Ghevont poured holy water, consecrating the ground and perhaps putting the spirit to rest.
The next day, an elk crossed their path, chased by a lion. Ghevont quickly cast spells to charm and speak with the lion. Quizzed by Ghevont, the lion conveyed knowledge of a great oak with silver leaves nearby. With more specific location clues, it wasn’t long before they found the tree and the entrance to the catacombs.
At the foot of a 30 foot vertical rise stood an oak, leaves flickering silver edges in a light breeze. Head-sized boulders clogged a gash in the cliff face.
They made quick work of tearing down the boulders to gain entrance. Inside they found a granite statue of a hydra on a platform. A silver plaque read “Doom to those who enter the crypt of the family Ophin”. The statue was of exceeding quality, especially for being carved from granite.
Water seeped from a crack in the wall, forming a shallow stream that dove down into the caves. The moment they passed the statue, it came to life and attacked. They struck at it for several minutes, eventually destroying the guardian.
From deeper in the caves, they heard chuckling and then the language of trolls, a language known to Ferris.
Azrak carefully made his way towards the trolls. All prepared for battle, but the trolls greeted Azrak in a friendly manner. They are surprised that someone has discovered a way into the caves, as they felt they were blocked. The trolls explained that they’d come up from a pool. They’d managed to capture caecilia which they’d penned with re-purposed iron cemetery fencing.
The trolls warned of giant scorpions deeper in the caves beyond the pool. And they lamented the loss of a comrade who climbed a wall and turned to stone.
- Characters present: Tienarth/Tre, Ghevont/Jeff, Aderian/Jason, Ferris/Henry, Azrak/Nick, Pippen/Michael
- Virtues: goodwill on the part of Azrak for dealing with the trolls
- Vices: none