Session #70 – Black Knight Bites Back

With loot cataloged, Tienarth retreated to his study in the small house to pour over the magic texts. Meanwhile, the halfling warrior, Longstream was given instruction by Aderian and Azrak. A week later, both elf and halfling seemed stronger, more able.

Ferris spent time reading over the three books they’d taken away from the Irinduis tomb. They each described the estate of wealth elven families, describing the custom of sealing up a household upon the death of the wealthy owners. Among dry lists of ordinary items were several he made note of.

Ethohin Manor: An Accounting Prior to Sealing

  • 1,300 sp
  • 3,600 gp
  • Various jewelry, etc worth 15,130
  • Potion of Undead Control
  • Wand of Magic Detection

Lord Galmire’s House

  • 2,100 sp
  • 1,800 ep
  • 4,600 gp
  • Gems, jewelry, 50 pieces 22,775 go

Lady Galmire’s House

Gems 2,232 gp

The Black Angel

Heavy rain fell all that week, never cold enough to freeze but certainly discouraging to any considering a walk in the woods. After a hearty meal on celebrating the start of the month of Angel, a flash of lightning followed by thunder caught their attention. The rain suddenly paused, and then a horn blast drew them outside to spot a dark silhouette back lit by the full moon descending from the sky.

As it drew closer, lantern light revealed a figure of deep blackness: black skin, black eyes, black clothing. Black wings stretched to slow the descent, then stroked the air to keep the black angel aloft.

“I am Leo, a messenger of the father, come here to encourage you and bid you prepare,” the angel began. “A long journey starts in the morning. Long will you travel from home. Perhaps shall you never return. Note these colors: black, red, purple. Squirming devils who bathe in fire shall you face. Two foes who devour that life given by the anointed one. One you must not strike. One you must strike first. And when the worm turns, dive deep from whence it came.” Concluding his cryptic announcement, the angel lifted himself on ebon wings back into the sky.

Journey to the Nelaser Crypt

The next day, they set out with map in hand for the Nelaser crypt. Knowing it was near the north fork of the Beleniasa River, they started where the forks joined and hiked along the the river in a northwesterly direction. Before long, they spotted yet another of the elven oaks and a cliff face that likely hid a tomb entrance.

When they had removed most of the boulders, they found an dark iron. Attached to the wall beside it was an iron dish with instructions engraved: boil blood to enter. None dared offer his own blood. Some set off to find animals by land. Longstream walked to the river to fish. In the late afternoon, he returned with a fat trout. It’s lifeblood spilled into the dish and a lit torch caused it to bubble and pop. The iron door unlatched and creaked open.

Lord Hilbore

Behind the door, a long ramp of loose rock disappeared into dim, red light. They made their way carefully and noted torches burning with red fire illuminating a rough cave. To their left, iron bars closed a narrow passage. A figure stepped forward, greeting in a dusty voice, “who is it? My rescuers? Let me out!” It was the unmistakable figure of a black knight. It wore blackened armor and a bare skull for a face, smoke curling from empty eye holes.

Behind the knight was a dissembled elf grave. He explained, “I am Lord Hilbore. After death, I rose here, but they knew I must be contained. I cannot touch these bars, but I do have his lever!” He gestured to rod jutting from the wall. “Find the key to this cell or I pull this lever!”

Overcome with an exaggerated sense of heroism, the halfling produced a flask of oil, set it on fire and hurled it through the bars. It crashed harmless beyond the knight.

“I can play with fire, too, little one!” The knight waved his hand and a wall of fire encircled them. The unbearable heat roasted flesh beneath armor. A moment later, the knight dismissed the fire with another gesture. “Find the key. It must be here.” Concluding they had little choice, wondering what horror the lever might bring forth, they assented and moved deeper into the caves.

Deeper into the Crypt

Before them was a bone golem, a patchwork of bones in the shape of four-armed giant, stood on a dais. A brass plate bore the name Nelaser. Years before, they’d fought such a raging bone golem, though memory of that battle failed to inform any special tactics. Azrak charged in a fever. The golem came to life, swinging four swords. The halfling learned his mundane mace was useless against the enchanted foe. But with many blows raining down, the golem was soon smashed to bits.

Looking to their right, they spotted a patch of yellow goo which they promptly burned up. Beyond the jelly was a grave, which they immediate robbed. A spirit rose from the grave, as they’d witnessed many times before. It spoke. “Conscience doth make cowards of us all. Into the grave with me, and heed the call.” Inside was a book labeled History of The Ebril Estate, two scrolls and a sack of moonstones.

Climbing up a loose rock, they found four stone demons perched on a flat area. Moments later, the statues came to life, revealed as gargoyles. The lesser creatures stood little chance versus the stout band.

Next, they spotted gellybones arranged around a pentagram on the floor. While chanting, they knelt, clapped rubbery bone hands, stood, rotated and then repeated. Ghevont displayed his holy symbol and they fled to the far wall. With no grave nearby, they left the skeletons cowering.

The cave offered two paths. They first looked on a mass of fur into which they waded and found themselves among 30 giant rats who leaped and bit. All but Ferris and Ghevont suffered a bite or two, though none became feverish later.

Longstream’s pet rate defended his master against the giant variety of his own kind, and before long the rats were exterminated. Down this passage they found two more graves. Between them, they found two books, an engraving, a jade necklace and a large blue quartz. Longstream flipped through the first book and guessed it was a diary.

Toads and Fire

Turning to the last available path deeper into the caves, and noting no alleged key found, they crept closer to the red-skinned toads. A distinct heat from father back sent waves over them. Throwing caution to the wind, they charged the toads who were no match for such hearty warriors.

Beyond the toads, another grave gave up its contents: a book, two scrolls and a sack of charms carved from topaz.

Now they saw the source of heat, a fiery beast, half snake and half dragon. It spoke a word of welcome, explaining it had come up into the crypt from a tunnel now blocked by an immense worm. “But you have found another way in or out,” it wondered aloud.

Punishing heat drew sweat under heavy armor. Yet they engaged in battle, for Ghevont applied a protection from fire to Azrak. The salamander shuddered from heavy blows and moments later dashed past them towards where it guessed there lay an escape route. Ghevont gave chase, as did Azrak.

Meanwhile, Aderian and Ferris made for another grave nearby. And Longstream padded carefully past them into the darkness. As the passage opened to a larger chamber, rocks tumbled and the gargantuan purple face of a worm burst forth. Its maw stretched wide to display numerous, tiny teeth. Ferris scooped up a book and a large bloodstone.

Hasty Retreat

Ghevont raced past the black knight who once again warned that he’d pull his lever if they left the tomb. Ghevont paid no mind and scrambled up the gravel and into the sunlight. A stretch of burning grass was all he saw of the salamander. The knight yanked down on the lever. Grinding stone echoed throughout the caves.

Tienarth hollered as best his ancient, feeble voice would allow, “we must flee! Flee!” He began casting a spell. Its energies spread out through the cave, invigorating his companions. With speed doubled by magical haste, they followed his instructions and made for the exit. Tense moments passed as they each raced for the sunlight.

Finally, they all emerged. Moments later, a massive boulder tumbled down the rock face, sealing the entrance.

Endnotes

  • Treasure:
    • History of The Ebril Estate
    • Scroll of Create Food, in the elven cleric style
    • Scroll of Protection from Undead
    • Sack of moonstones 6,887 gp
    • A diary
    • Engraving of a fine, jewel-encrusted chalice labeled Nimrinde’s Greatest Achievement.
    • Scroll of Protection from Lycanthropes
    • Jade necklace 4,100 gp
    • Book describing the Ithrel Collection
    • A large blue quartz 2,500 gp
    • Ilariel Estate book
    • Scroll of Protection from Magic
    • Scroll: Darkvision, Sleep, Slow
    • Sack of topaz charms 3,500 gp
    • Book about the Gonore Estate
    • A large bloodstone 3,750 gp
  • Characters present: Tienarth/Tre, Ghevont/Jeff, Aderian/Jason, Ferris/Henry, Azrak/NPC, Longstream/Bob.
  • Virtues: none
  • Vices: none

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