Session #99 – At last, Talanashta!

It was the tenth day of the twelfth month, that one called Dawn, when the small party felt well-rested and ready to travel to Tosasth once more. The past couple of weeks, Ghevont had spent a few hours gazing into his mirror, watching Azrak’s progress as he traveled south into the realm of the mountain dwarves in search of his lost ring. Ferris made a trip to Slateholm to sell Strazdana, a short sword he’d found years before.

One day while looking in the mirror, Ghevont saw Azrak arrive at a field hospital where many injured dwarves stretched out on blankets. He seemed to be asking after his ring to whomever might listen. Experiencing only pictures, Ghevont could only guess by Azrak’s glum expression that no one had heard of the ring. However, his mention of the dwarves he saw through the mirror originally wearing beetle insignias stirred recognition from a nurse who believed that group all wearing that symbol left in an easterly direction several weeks before. Azrak knew well the danger in that direction, for it led to the front lines of battle that had only recently subsided. A few others gave him the advice of heading west towards the capital of the dwarven kingdom on the theory that most were retreating, making plans for a future after the brutal assassination of the greatest dwarven general and the subsequent surrender to the gnolls. When the four (Aderian, Ferris, Ghevont and Tienarth) left for Tosasth, Azrak’s decision was not yet clear.

They reached the bridge camp at midday, crossed and headed directly for the Morewenys mansion at the southwestern edge of the city. They found the area much as they’d left it a few weeks before. Any suspicions they had of ambush or new monsters did not materialize. So, they climbed the sweeping stairs to return to the room where the box exploded after Aderian turned its crank. Ferris examined a door out of this room on the north wall and found it absent of traps or locks. Inside this room were two man-sized boxes, one of iron and one of copper or brass. A tube at shoulder height connected them. Heeding a creeping foreboding, they left the room and tried another from the adjacent hallway.

Ghevont produced a magic ladder from his scroll and used it to span the collapsed floor of the hallway before they opened the door to a room that contained a ghoul strapped down to an iron table, its guts pulled out. It moaned a pitiful request for mercy and before anyone could reply, Aderian hurled his bone of St. Jaludi, which produced the familiar effect of the visage of the saint that struck the ghoul and turned it to dust.

Crossing the central area of the upper floor, they looked down the western hallway. Various piles of small bones were stacked by type before three doors: arms, vertebrae, skulls. Ferris knelt before the door near the skulls. He instantly recognized a dangerous trap, disassembled it and identified a hidden vial of strong acid within. Inside the room was a mummified body, merely dead, clutching a blanket pull up to its chin. The drapes in this room were pulled open and a dim light accentuated the deep wrinkles in the mummy’s face. A thorough check confirmed it was a dead body only and not imbued with the evil energy of the undead.

Behind the western door, they found another bedroom inhabited by a zombie minotaur. Aderian used St. Jaludi’s femur, which put a strong fear in to the zombie. It threw its body against the glass window, spraying glass down to the ground below. It tumbled out itself, crashing into a heap and badly breaking its leg. With as much haste as a zombie can muster, it limped off, dragging the useless leg, into the streets of Tosasth.

Adjacent to this bedroom were drawings spread out over two tables. They spent a quarter of an hour examining the piles of sketches, mostly of imagined buildings. Among them they found a floorplan of the very mansion they were in. It showed only a few areas not explored: another bedroom accessed from this hallway, the observatory atop the spiral stair and a secret area on the lower floor.

Presently, they entered the third bedroom in this part of the mansion. Inside, a spectre named Ciro greated them with a gloomy question of whether they were his killers returning to the scene of his murder. Some questions were put to spirit who claimed to be tied to this room after his murder. Before much conversation could proceed, Aderian once again threw his bone and destroyed Ciro.

Soon, they were climbing the spiral staircase up to the observatory. There they found a lady in a long dress gazing out one of the four large windows at the many haunted structures of the city. A green orb, halfway protruding into the ceiling of the room pulsed with a green glow. Suddenly, it produced a beam of green energy from above the observatory that touched a empty street many blocks distant. When the light faded, a group of zombies appeared and began shuffling down an alley.

Talanashta looks wearily over Tosasth

The lady Talanashta spoke to them then, greeting them with a wistful acknowledgement that she expected them find her here eventually. As she turned to face them, they spied the telltale sign of a vampire, sharpened teeth suitable for drinking of living blood. Ghevont prepared a spell and she chastised them for considering violence, scolded them not to torment her. She turned to Tienarth, locking eyes that instantly charmed him. She offered her hand to be kissed. Aderian produced a stake and Ghevont cast an orb of silence. Aderian stepped up to stab at the vampire as Tienarth tried to intervene. Ferris wrapped his arms around the old elf, pulling him away.

Suddenly, Talanastha transformed into a giant bat and flew down the stairway. Ghevent and Aderian pursued but far to slow to keep up with the flight of a bat. Out of the silence, Ghevont prepared more spells, including one that suppressed the charm upon Tienarth. And when they began to search for the vampire, her two spawn appeared, the same two faced several weeks before. A fierce battle ensued where the two she-devils were eventually beaten down, after which they made sure to remove the heads, to spike the hearts, and to pour holy water in the mouths.

They expected that Talanashta had retreated to her grave, which they assumed was in the secrete chamber near where they met the ghostly Daru. Behind a bookcase in the office, they found the secret door shown on the map. Beyond it was a coffin, empty. An adjacent room held a small collection of treasures, each neatly labeled. They found 800 pp, a jeweled letter opener, two potions and a scroll.

Before they left, they returned to the observatory where they watched for more bursts of green light, both from this tower and perhaps others in the city. They could see the tallest tower in the north end of the city and saw it shoot green energy. They say similar beams from a structure directly east.

Tienarth prepared to destroy the green orb, thinking about putting his valuable backpack out of reach of an explosion. However, Ghevont chose to smash it with his mace. It shattered into green fragments that rained down but then faded from existance.

They retreated from the mansion back to their camp across the bridge. Ghevont studied the book of poetry they’d recovered earlier, adding in what he’d seen from the tower and felt certain he’d located the abode of Imra Herrel. The next day, Ferris scouted under spells of invisibility and silence. An hour later, he returned to confirm the precise location, though it lay deep in the city, which would require battling or avoiding many undead which still roamed the streets.

End Notes

  • Treasure
    • 800 pp
    • Letter Opener 1200gp
    • Potion of Animal Control
    • Potion of Longevity
    • Scroll of Protection from Undead
  • Monsters
    • Zombie Minotaur 500 xp
    • Vampire Spawn 640 xp
  • Characters (80,000 xp for destroying orb)
    • Aderian (fight) 22,516 xp
    • Ferris (traps) 22,516 xp
    • Ghevont (smite undead) 22,516 xp
    • Tienarth 20,285 xp

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