Several hours before dawn, a cloaked figure approached camp, stopping midway over the bridge, and called to Ferris. The mysterious figure revealed he’d been following their progress for some time and saw the green beams shooting from the Morwenys Estate cease. He revealed himself to be Dova Jonamor of the House Nelaser. Two of these names struct them as familiar. Jonamor was the name of homestead they claimed long ago by deed recovered in a crypt. Nelaser was the name associated with the last elf tomb they raided a year before.
Jonamor sought his soul in the realm of Haderax. He planned to follow them through the portal but was thwarted, and then the elf cleric Rellora closed the portal. Now he seeks another portal. He reasons many others must exist in the world. He explained that other sources of undead still were bringing forth more abominations into the city, and he insisted that Tienarth’s Raiders find all of them and destroy them.
He also warned them of a gnoll army nearby that captured a dwarven bounty hunter. With that obscure warning, he suggested they would meet again and then retreated into the darkness.
When dawn came, they made plans to march into Tosasth with the most direct route possible towards the manor of Imra Herrel. Ghevont had discerned its location by studying notes recovered in books in tandem with scouting made by Ferris. They skirted around a group of skeletons and soon found themselves at high walls protecting an estate with red-painted walls. Outside were numerous ghouls, most lacking any power of animation. A few raised their hideous heads to gaze at the visitors and moan. One begged for flesh and cried over the poor treatment by the wicked Imra Herrel.
The party disregarded the pitiful ghouls, not even bothering to destroy them lest it trigger some calamity. The gate through the walls opened with no effort, and the other three waited near a fountain while Ferris scouted around both sides of the house. Along one side, he found a well made of white marble carved in storm motif. Around the back, he observed a patch of overgrown roses, several graves and flower beds filled with black lotus.
Neither entering through the front door nor getting too near the flowers seemed like good ideas, so they stopped to examine the well. Ghevont heard soft music drifting up, and he observed that below the well shaft was a larger chamber. He also spied an oversized skeletal hand reach out. Considering the danger of confronting a gigantic skeleton in a city of undead, they chose to leave this mystery and enter the house through the side door.
The door, naturally, was found to be barred. All windows were protected by iron bars, making entrance via broken window impossible. Ferris used his glass-cutting tool to open a hole through which he threaded his short sword. He was able to dislodge the bar behind the door, and they gained entry to a dusty, disused kitchen.
And adjacent parlor featured the skull of a cyclops and a brass hammer. Aderian was warned to to touch the fearsome decoration. They tried another passage to found another entertainment room, this one with several lounges and dishes of black powder. They surmised it to be the powder of the black lotus, about which they struggled to remember what purpose it might serve. Once again, Aderian was warned not to interact with the powder.
Next, they climbed stairs to the second floor where they found themselves in a throne room and face to face with a the black knight named Imra Herrel.
Sitting on a throne seemingly made of iron skulls melded together sat a skeletal figure in black plate armor, eyes smoldering like the coals of a dying fire, truly a figure of woeful countenance. A crown of precious metal circled its blackened skull. It greeted them with a hollow, echoing voice: Hail Tienarth! The deeds of you and your followers are well told in these halls. We are honored by your presence. I am Lord Imra Herrel. I beg you to relax, join me in refreshment and let us talk strategy.
Beside him was Pansa, a bent over wretch, undead, though of an unrecognized type. Shabby rags hung over a putrid, bulging belly.
A wicked lance rested on hooks on the north wall. A shield and longsword were set to the side of the throne. Several comfortable chairs were arranged facing the throne, towards which Imra motioned as invitation. A ghoul bearing a tray of goblets shambled in from the eastern opening.
Ghevont refused to drink the undead and Aderian was ready to fight. Tienarth and Ferris pleaded caution, knowing the unbound fury that might be released by a black knight. Sensing their lack of trust, Imra demonstrated imbibing this liquor, which he assured them was ordinary except that it was of the finest available in Tosasth. The liquid evaporated as it passed over his lipless teeth. Despite this weak comfort, Ferris and Tienarth politely sipped. Remembering the delicious whiskey found in an abandoned tavern, Aderian was quickly won over.
Imra went on to tell something of his history and his current predicament. He was a veteran of a war between the elves of Tosasth and the dwarves that conquered them. The leaders of the city concocted a wicked plan that unleashed a poison which made the city unsuitable for the living. Without knowing details, Imra spoke an oath to serve Nimue Sylnan for as long as he walked the earth. To his great dispair, Nimue struck a bargain with the evil god Haderax who granted him immortality by way of vampirism. Haderax offered the same bargain to many of the city’s elite who gladly sacrificed the innocent, including Imra’s beloved, Aravae.
Bound by oath not to work against Nimue, Imra still sought to break free. He confirmed the words of Jonamor regarding devices emitting undead energy into the city. By point of fact, he confessed to keeping one such device himself, part of his terrible bargain with Nimue’s coven. Imra pledged that if he were freed from his oath, he would gladly hand over the device he guarded to be destroyed.
The way forward seemed clear. They must confront and destroy the vampire, Nimue Sylnan. They knew his location: the tallest tower in the city from which they had previously spied glowing green beams of evil light. Before they set off deeper into the city, Aderian wished to make a trade of weapons with Imra. The knight was somewhat befuddled by an exchange of his sword for a military pick, and the others distracted the ex-pirate from what they thought was folly. They exited the building out the front door and made for the central square.
Not encountering any roving undead, they took some time to examine the tower. It was more than a hundred feet tall. Clamoring for the most direct approach, Tienarth and Ferris authored a plan to scale the tower. Ferris might easily attain the top by climbing, though a fall from the extreme height would likely kill. Tienarth offered a levitate spell as a safeguard. And so, the wily thief went hand by hand up the rough stone blocks.
At the top he found a large, green globe held down by silver chains. He freed it by dissolving the end of one chain and pushing the globe from underneath the others. He heaved at it, finding it too heavy to heave over the wall of the tower top. He struck it with his sword pommel, and it shattered as if glass, then faded from reality. His task complete, Ferris lept from the top of the tower, trusting the levitate spell. Tienarth gently guided him to the ground.
With haste, they made for a nearby structure, a former scriptorium now filled with zombies. The undead were no match and fell to their many blows. Among the debris they found a few handfuls of coins.
It was now about midday. They planned to watch the tower for some time in case of reaction to the smashing of the globe.
This session was the 100th held for the Tienarth’s Raiders line that started in May 2017.
- Treasure: 1,400 cp, 600 sp
- Kills: 24 zombies – 1,800 xp
- Aderian – 22,495 xp
- Ferris – (thief skills, sneaky plan) – 25,144 xp
- Ghevont (church history bonus 4,500 xp) – 26,995 xp
- Tienarth- (avoid combat, magic instead of mundane) – 22,899 xp