During their period of rest during the month of Dawn, two adventuring elves arrived at the homestead. Tucknee forsook his wealthy merchant family to study the ways of the thief. Bottoms was the brother of the deceased Darthorian. Both responded to rumors about recent delves into ancient elf graveyards. They offered assistance in hopes of wealth and knowledge. “Stay in the back and use your missile weapons,” growled Aderian.
Into the Artalwel Tomb
Owing to the map found in the Ophin tomb, they made south into the mountains and soon spotted another oak with silver-edged leaves. And as before, a cliff and a gash clogged with boulders. The sun set as they cleared away an opening suitable for the largest of them. Azrak peered inside to note softly glowing fungus on the walls, the light inside matching the fading dusk outside. The chamber beyond turned sharply to the right, obscuring further vision, but a familiar scraping and clacking reminded him of beetles or scorpions.
Crawling through the hole and to the bend in the cave, Azrak spied two giant scorpions circling each other, sometimes striking with their deadly tails. Tucknee and Bottoms followed behind to get a look. Presently, the scorpions put aside their disagreement and scrambled towards the intruders. The two elves sprinted out of the cave while Azrak stood firm.
Tienarth let loose magic missiles while Azrak swung his hammer. The scorpions clipped him here and there, and once shrugged off a strike from a poisonous stinger. In the end, the scorpions lay oozing ichor.
Further into the cave, down a steep ramp of loose rock, they found a stone sarcophagus. Ancient elven runes proclaimed the ownership by the family Artalwel. Remembering a similar stone box, the party made ready with oil. Their memory proved right: inside was a rust monster who died in flames before it could even escape the box.
Black Rock Pyramids
In the fading flickers of flame, Azrak turned his attention to the sound of rock falling. Ghevont tossed his ever-lit rock deeper into the cave. Beside the glowing rock were two pyramids of black rock reaching up towards the 30′ ceiling. Presently, more stones tumbled down the face and two decrepit forms pushed free, tumbled down the face of the pyramids and shambled forward.
Ghevont raised his holy symbol and cried, “in the name of the Anointed One, retreat!” And the power of his god flowed through him. One of the mummies turned his decayed face and backed away. The other mummy continued to advance. Ferris and Aderian rushed forward to engage it. Arrows let loose by the two young elves grazed the dirty rags hanging from the mummies.
From the darkness emerged four scorpions. Two attacked the fleeing mummy. The other two circled around to the right where Aderian, Ferris and Azrak beat that mummy into pieces. Meanwhile, Tienarth let loose a lightning bolt the ripped through the mummy to the left. Though scorched, the mummy continued to claw at the scorpions who seemed unable to land any blows against it. Tienarth hurled flaming oil at the mummy who soon defeated the two scorpions. Eventually the two other scorpions were defeated and all monsters were silent.
They spent some time digging in the pyramids to find nothing of interest. They spotted a 1′ wide crack, beyond which they saw a granite statue of an owlbear guarding an elf grave. They puzzled over the limited access and agreed to return later. Heading to the right, past the pyramids, they stood at the top of another decent of loose rock. At the bottom four ghostly figures flew into view.
Transparent capes waved in unfelt wind as the elven spectres scowled up at them. The largest of them demonstrated a hand wave meant to warn them off. Recognizing a radiance of undeath, Ghevont once again produced his holy symbol, but the stink of evil was too strong evil for his formidable faith. The spectres continued to present horrifying gazes and gestures meant to send the party away.
Ghevont cast upon himself a holy prayer of protection from evil and then made his way carefully down the slope. The spectres surged at him and were repelled, unable to touch him. Suddenly, they turned to the rest of the party a flew up the slope with remarkable speed.
Azrak, Ferris and Aderian made ready to battle the powerful spirits, their glowing magic weapons passing through the spectres, disrupting their intrusion into the material plane. But the spectres wielded astounding attacks of their own. Each touch that landed on flesh seemed to scoop away a bit of soul essence, weakening them and leaving their faces haggard.
Tucknee and Bottoms attempted to flee. A spectre easily leaped on Tucknee and robbed him of life. Bottoms scrambled out of the cave altogether. Soon after, the rest of them fled back out of the cave where the spectres did not pursue, their oath of guardianship complete except for the untouchable Ghevont.
Ghevont boldly explored deeper, finding an elf grave that he immediately disturbed. As before, a spirit emerged from the grave to explain his fate. “I am Elenel, drowned in the Purple Sea,” it declared, then faded into nothing. Inside the pile of rock, Ghevont found two scrolls and an excellent moonstone.
Fetching the Black Pudding
Earlier, Ghevont had used a spirtual hammer to help defeat one of the spectres. With that spell expired, he turned to dousing one of them in holy water, which produced silent motions of agony in the spirits. They were unable to touch him still, and while one still danced around him, two fled back deeper in to the cave.
Before long, the two spectres returned, driving a great black blob toward Ghevont. It was a dread black pudding, against which Ghevont has little defense and a short run of cave behind him. He hurled flasks of oil at the pudding, score two well-placed blows that burned the mindless goo just as Ghevont stood with him back to solid rock.
Noting the looming expiration of his protective spell, Ghevont retreated to the outside world to join his companions. The touch of the spectres weighed heavy upon them. They were mere shadows of their former selves. It was decided that only a visit to the high priest Lah could release the taint of evil, so they mounted and rode through the night to the east.
Assistance from Lah
The sun lit their faces as they approached the gates of Lah’s Retreat. A monk helped the weakened ones from their horses and asked them to wait for an audience with Lah.
Lah greeted them with the same fatherly acceptance as before. He assured him he could restore what they’d lost to the evil spirits, but demanded a sacrifice. They gladly gave hundreds of gold coins for the benefit of the church. Lah made preparations for a cleansing ritual that would span a week. All three, dwarf included, pledged devotion to the one true god, the one called the Anointed One. By the end of the week, they felt as healthy as before.
Lah encouraged them to follow whatever path laid before them, for surely it would end at Tosasth, a place he still believed to be a source of great evil.
- Scroll of Magic-User Spells: Charm Person, Detect Evil, Hallucinatory Terrain, Levitate, Magic Missile
- Scroll of Magic-User Spells: Clairvoyance, Massmorph, Slow
- Moonstone worth 4,458 gp
- Characters present: Tienarth/Tre, Ghevont/Jeff, Aderian/Jason, Ferris/Henry, Azrak/Nick, Bottoms/Michael, Tucknee/Jared
- Virtues: Bravery
- Vices: none