Posts Tagged ‘Reedus’

The Tomb of Koban Hairfoot – Part 4

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Day #2-29 (Fireday, 9th Dewsnap, 4333 BCCC): After battling the evil creature and then finding the Pendant of Winstone in a chamber that adjoined the evil creature’s bedchamber, Lightstep lit the two candles on the altar in that adjoining chamber, and said some prayers. Lightstep then carefully wrapped the Pendant and the chalice in cloth and placed them in his backpack. Gwenette asked him if he was going to take the candlesticks, but Lightstep said to leave them to burn down. By now, Clayton had poked his head into that room (through the 4’ high door), and hearing that exchange of words, said, “I think you should take the candles and candlesticks with us. If they will be needed for whatever ceremony is needed to use that pendant, well, we don’t want to have to come back for them!” Lightstep pondered that statement for a moment, then agreed that he should take the candlesticks also. Since Lightstep’s pack was sort of full, he gave the candlesticks to the halfling thief Falafela, to carry in her backpack.

There now ensued a lively discussion of how to leave the dungeon. Vox couldn’t stand on his feet without assistance, and especially needed help with walking. The party were also going to have to retrieve the body of Tureg, the dwarf, who had fallen in combat vs. some skeletons in the burial chamber of Reedus, and the party was also going to have to return the bones of Koban Hairfoot to his burial chamber in the level above the party’s current level. Some of the party thought of using the bed to carry Tureg’s body, but that idea went by the wayside as the bed was sort of heavy all by itself, and since it had held the body of the evil creature that had attacked them, they really didn’t want any part of the bed. They also considered breaking the doors off the wardrobe and using them as an improvised litter, but decided that the doors didn’t look sturdy enough. So finally they decided to use the table as a litter, after first breaking off its four legs. Fortunately the tabletop was not too heavy.

The party then left the bedchamber. Clayton led the way with a torch (and his sword drawn in case of any more attacks), then came Opalent and Gwenette, who were helping the energy-drained human fighter Vox the Just to walk. Then came Lightstep and Douag carrying the table with the bones of Koban Hairfoot upon it, Lightstep in the lead. Lightstep rested the table on the top of his backpack to help with carrying it, as he was only 3’1” tall (Douag was an even 4’ tall). Vandin Lakesplitter (dwarven fighter) and Falafela brought up the rear, Falafela carrying a torch. Vandin was very seriously wounded, and was doing all he could to just walk by himself.

After leaving the chamber, the party turned left after 10 feet, then turned right after another 10 feet, then passed through the shattered door to Reedus’ burial chamber. They needed to retrieve Tureg’s body from the black obsidian coffin of Reedus that they had left Tureg in, to keep his body safe from any vermin. When Clayton moved the lid off the coffin, he exclaimed, “Tureg’s arms are not in the same position that I left them! I left his arms crossed over his stomach, and now his hands are up by his head!” Clayton then checked for a pulse, and detected a faint beating of Tureg’s heart! Vandin then prodded Tureg with the butt-end of his war hammer, and shouted at Tureg to try to wake him up. Tureg gave out a slight, very quiet moan, and moved his head ever so slightly. That proved to everyone that he was indeed still alive!

The party then loaded Tureg onto the table along with Koban, and proceeded out the near door of the chamber, marching in the same order as noted above. They turned right at the main hallway, went about 40 feet, turned left, went another 90 feet or so, passing by the room on their left that they had earlier inspected that had three skeletons on the floor as well as a toppled podium and a burned book. They had no time for any more inspections now, though. After proceeding down a long hallway of 110 to 120 feet, they reached the right turn at the stairs to the upper level.

At this point, the stairs were narrower than the hallway, and in any event, the door they had to pass through at the top of the stairs was too narrow to carry anyone on the table, so the party had to shuttle people and bodies up the stairs one-by-one. Clayton led the way with the torch, then Opalent and Gwenette both helped Vox up the stairs. Then Opalent and Gwenette went back downstairs to bring up the table, turning it on end to get it through the door under the small waterfall. Then Lightstep and Douag carried up Tureg, and then Koban’s remains, and finally Vandin and Falafela ascended the stairs. The party left the door to the lower level open, to make it easier for anyone else to find the stairway down.

After leaving the “waterfall” room, the party turned right (having no choice in the decision as to which way to go), traveled about 40 feet, then made a quick left-right jog, then went another 40 feet, passing over the iron grate in the floor. They then turned left into the crypt room of Koban Hairfoot, about 30 minutes after leaving the tomb room of Reedus. They were sort of surprised to see the glass case that had covered Koban was still intact. Clayton said, “I guess Koban was able to lift the glass enough to slip himself out of the bottom to join us!” The party then reverently replaced the remains of Koban Hairfoot under his glass case, including his broken mace. Lightstep then said more prayers over Koban.

After leaving Koban, it only took another few minutes to reach the stairs to the surface. At about this time, the party’s two torches were flickering and were close to extinguishing themselves, so they lit a new torch, but only one torch (provided by Opalent). Clayton reckoned it must be getting close to midnight by now. “OK,” said Clayton, “we need to figure out how to get past that cyclops on the surface!” Nobody had a solid plan, although several ideas were tossed out to the group. Someone said, “Maybe we should see if the cyclops is still up there in the mausoleum?” They all agreed that it needed to be someone with infravision, so that left out the humans Clayton, Gwenette, or Vox (not to mention that Vox was too weak to ascend the stairs by himself). So, believing the halfling thief Falafela to have the best infravision, it was decided to have her take a peek, after others opened the lid of the tomb. The party had, of course, wisely decided to close the lid to the false coffin above when they descended into the dungeon. They had worked a lever at the bottom of the stairs to close the lid, and Opalent had wedged her dagger in the latch mechanism to keep it from possibly locking them in.

Falafela said, “Shine the torch up the stairs so I can see where Opalent’s dagger is at, then take the torch back down the hallway so no light shines up the stairs. Then have someone open the lid about a foot or so. Clayton and the others then retreated about 60 feet back up the hallway while leaving the legless tabletop with Tureg upon it close to the bottom of the stairs. When Falafela was in position with her hand upon the dagger, she whispered towards the bottom of the stairs, “OK, open the lid!” Vandin and Opalent worked the lever, and when the lid was opened about a foot, Falafela looked into the above-ground mausoleum. She saw the cyclops! He was sleeping in the far corner to the left of Falafela’s position. Falafela whispered down the stairs, “close the lid again,” and while Opalent and Vandin worked the lever to close the lid, Falafela stuck the dagger back in the latch to keep the latch from engaging. Then Falafela crept back down the stairs.

Falafela motioned Opalent and Vandin back down the hall to where the others were waiting with the torch. “Yes,” said Falafela, “the cyclops is sleeping in the mausoleum, about 40’ feet away in the left corner. He is sleeping on his left side, facing away from us. There now ensued much more discussion about how to get past the cyclops. Occasionally, someone had to remind everyone to not all try to talk at once, and to keep their voices quiet so as to not alert the cyclops to their presence.

Day #2-30 (Spiritday, 10th Dewsnap, 4333 BCCC): At some time during the discussion about how to get past the cyclops, midnight passed. One of the ideas was to lift the lid and shoot arrows at the cyclops, but that plan was nixed as the only competent bowman was Clayton, and he, being human, lacked infravision. It was also feared that shooting arrows might amount to only pinpricks to the cyclops, and might enrage him so that he would just hide behind one of the marble columns in the mausoleum or perhaps wait just outside the door to the exterior, making it impossible to ever leave. It was also suggested that someone from the party could sneak out of the dungeon and blind the cyclops by plunging a sword into the cyclops’ eye. But then a voice said, “But who will be the ‘someone’?” Nobody volunteered to be that “someone”! A dissenting voice, perhaps Opalent or Falafela, said, “Isn’t it sort of cruel to maim that cyclops? After all, he hasn’t caused any harm to any of us.” Someone quietly stated, “At least not yet!” A consensus was reached that trying to blind the cyclops also wouldn’t work, because he could just crawl out of the door and wait for the party to try to leave.

Another idea that was presented was to put together a mock skeleton from bones in the dungeon, and set them on fire after opening the lid, and try to scare the cyclops away. The plan went so far as having Falafela, Opalent, and Douag go back down the hallway (with the torch) to one of the barracks rooms off the side of the hallway and gather up a set of bones, including a rib cage and a skull. The other party members were not exactly thrilled to be left sitting in the dark during the short time the bones were being gathered. Of course, Lightstep didn’t care one way or another as to the discussion, as he had fallen asleep. But then as folks were getting ready to tie the bones to Opalent’s 10-foot pole, someone said, “You know, if this doesn’t scare away the cyclops, then he’s just going to be waiting for us!” So, this plan was discarded along with the other plans that had been discussed.

Clayton stated, “It’s too bad we didn’t think to arrange any way to signal Flenda and Jorgio, so they could arrange another diversion to draw the cyclops away from the mausoleum so we could make a break for it. Of course, how could we signal them without the cyclops knowing it? I suppose we could lift the lid a little and I could shoot a flaming arrow through the door to the outside, but what if the bowstring awoke the cyclops? Another problem we have is that we need to get the cyclops far enough away so that we can drag our wounded into the woods to our left, which will be about 150 yards away. One thing we have going for us is that it is another moonless night, so the darkness can hide us somewhat once we all get outside. I wonder how much starlight there is, and what the cloud cover is? Hmmmm….”

It didn’t take too much more discussion to decide that someone would have to sneak past the sleeping cyclops and then try to contact Flenda and Jorgio, whom, it was presumed, were still watching the mausoleum from somewhere outside. It was Flenda and Jorgio who had made an excellent diversion to draw the cyclops away from the mausoleum so that the rest of the party could find a way into the dungeon beneath the mausoleum. Falafela was selected for the hazardous duty of sneaking past the cyclops, as, after all, she was the group’s “thief” and so should be the best at sneaking about in the dark. But before she left, the party finalized the rest of their plan. The plan was for Falafela, once she found Flenda and Jorgio, to have them come down and stir up the cyclops’ goat herd. They would make coyote howls and try to get the goats to moving about and making noise. When the party inside the mausoleum heard the coyote yells, they were to try to wake up the cyclops enough so that he would go outside to investigate. Then, when one person from the party in the mausoleum noticed the cyclops was far enough away, they would hurriedly usher everyone else up the stairs, then go outside and make for the woods to their left as fast as they could go.

Finally, when all was set, Douag and Clayton worked the lever to raise the lid enough for Falafela to exit the coffin-stairs. Falafela very carefully and quietly put forth first one leg, and then the other, onto the floor of the mausoleum. She hesitated for a second to ensure the cyclops hadn’t changed position, then she hurriedly tiptoed towards the door to the outside. When she had safely made it to the outside, she briefly paused for a deep breath, relieved to be free of the stale air in the dungeon beneath the mausoleum. Opalent stayed at the head of the stairs to watch the cyclops, and to let the rest of the party know when the cyclops departed.

Falafela quickly made her way to the southwest, across the clearing that surrounded the mausoleum. She headed for the bluff upon which Flenda and Jorgio had lit their signal fire to attract the cyclops the previous late afternoon. Fortunately, although there was no moonlight, there was only about 10% cloud cover, so there was enough starlight to navigate by. When Falafela was atop the bluff, she started whispering, “Flenda! Jorgio! Where are you?” When that didn’t attract her companions, she picked up two rocks and started banging them together in a rhythmic manner. Tap tap tap! Tap tap tap! went the rocks as Falafela moved about the bluff, listening intently after each series of taps. Finally, after a couple of minutes, Jorgio spoke out from the darkness, “Stop banging those rocks together!” After a quick exchange of hellos with Falafela, Jorgio went off into the darkness to fetch Flenda.

When Jorgio and Flenda rejoined Falafela atop the bluff, Falafela explained the group’s plan. She said they needed to create a disturbance among the cyclops’ herd of goats in order to wake him up and have him leave the mausoleum to see what was molesting his goats. They would also have to draw him to the bluff, or at least far enough away from the mausoleum so that the rest of the party would be able to reach the safety of the woods on the far side of the mausoleum. Flenda said, “I can make excellent coyote calls!” Jorgio chimed in with, “I think we should also light a fire. Even if the cyclops doesn’t pursue us far enough, if he sees another fire he’ll have to come and investigate it.” Presciently, Flenda and Jorgio had gathered more wood for another fire, after the cyclops had extinguished their previous bonfire the previous afternoon.

While Jorgio was kindling the new fire, Falafela explained the party’s plan to meet along the north bank of the stream, about a hundred yards into the woods on the other, eastern side of the mausoleum. When the fire was burning strong enough, the trio descended the bluff and re-entered the clearing. They carefully stole their way towards the sleeping cyclops in the mausoleum, and when about 50 yards from there, they started prodding goats with their feet or with sticks. That served to get some goats on their feet and bleating a little. Then Flenda let out with the most wondrous and horrific imitation of a coyote howl that either Falafela or Jorgio had ever heard! Suddenly, most of the goat herd was awake and ready to flee! The three adventurers started shooing the goats towards the bluff to the west, Flenda in the rear and Falafela and Jorgio on the flanks, to keep the goats moving in the desired direction. Flenda occasionally let out with another blood-curdling howl, and spurred the goats to moving faster and to making more noise.

All this while, about 30 minutes worth, Opalent had maintained her vigil over the sleeping cyclops. Opalent could hear the commotion outside, but the cyclops was still sound asleep. Not particularly desirous of going over and kicking the cyclops in the back to wake him, Opalent used one of the bones the party had gathered for a possible decoy, and threw it at the recumbent cyclops. The cyclops merely shrugged it off and continued his slumber. Opalent went down the stairs to get another, bigger bone. She also ordered the lid be raised all the way to give her room for more arm swing for more velocity for the next throw. Although Opalent had to throw the bone to the side of the marble column that was between her and the cyclops, she made an excellent throw that firmly struck the cyclops right in the middle of his back. The cyclops brought his right arm around to scratch his back where the bone had hit him. Then the cyclops suddenly woke up! He sat up, then turned and looked right at where Opalent had thrown the bone from the pseudo coffin! But Opalent had quickly retreated down the stairs to the level below and so was not seen.

After a few seconds of trying to clear his head and trying to figure out what had touched him, the cyclops finally heard the commotion outside with his goat herd. He gathered up his huge eight-foot long club and crawled outside. Opalent heard the cyclops crawl out the door, then she arose to the top of the stairs again. Opalent then climbed out of the coffin and crossed the floor to the door to the outside. She could see the cyclops marching across the clearing towards the right, directly away from the mausoleum. When the cyclops was at least 50 yards away, Opalent hurried back to the stairs and whispered as loud as she could, “Let’s go now! The cyclops is moving away!” Gwenette then helped Vox most of the way up the stairs, and then Opalent joined in to help him climb out of the coffin-stairs. Then Gwenette went back down the stairs and helped carry the table to the surface, then went back to help with Tureg. Somebody did have the good sense to wake Lightstep, else he might have been left behind. The party left the burning torch at the bottom of the stairs, and didn’t take time to close the lid to the coffin they had just emerged from.

Then the party loaded the unconscious Tureg on the tabletop, and were able to easily carry it horizontally through the wide door of the mausoleum to the outside. The party then turned left and moved out for the woods. While they were moving as fast as they could, it was only at the pace of a brisk walk. They bunched up into a tight group, and moved so as to put the mausoleum building between them and the cyclops, should that giant creature decide to look back. Everyone could breathe a sigh of relief when they all finally reached the woods. Clayton quickly took a head count to ensure everyone was present and accounted for. Then, as they were about 50 yards north of the stream, they angled their way into the woods towards the stream. There was much stumbling about in the woods, as nobody dared light a torch where the cyclops could see it.

They finally made it to the stream, and then proceeded a few more paces to the east until Clayton reckoned they had made it about 100 yards into the woods. As could be expected, it was pitch dark in the woods with the leafy canopy blocking out all starlight from above. Clayton ordered the group to stay put while he reconnoitered back towards the clearing. A few moments later, he reappeared and said, “We are about 100 yards inside the woods. The cyclops should not be able to see us here. As long as we don’t make any loud noise we should be OK. We’ll just have to wait for the others to join us. Try to get some rest, I will watch our back trail.”

After being pursued by the cyclops across the clearing, Falafela, Jorgio, and Flenda gained the relative safety of the bluff. They moved past the bonfire and struck out into the woods. They crossed to the south bank of the stream in order to get farther into the woods, and then they moved to their left, keeping the stream to their left. They did have to find a way down the cliff to the side of the waterfall, but then they found the traveling wasn’t too bad if they stayed just inside the fringe of the woods on the opposite side of the stream from the cyclops. As they made their way through the woods, nobody spoke unless it was to ensure their companions were still with them, and that they weren’t straying too far from the stream.

After about 90 minutes of hard travel through the dark woods, the trio reached the others. After crossing the stream, and getting wet and a bit chilled in the 50-something degree air, everyone was back together. Clayton spoke and said, “We should be safe to light a couple of torches now, else it will be nearly impossible to travel through the forest at night. We will have to alternate who is carrying Tureg and who is helping Vox to walk. And Vandin, are you able to walk yourself?” Vandin grunted that he would be able to manage carrying his own weight. Opalent and Douag were the first torchbearers, Falafela supplying Opalent with a torch. Clayton reckoned it was probably about 1:30 in the morning when they set out.

After a very hard forced march of three miles, always keeping the stream within earshot on their right, they finally reached the main trail. It had taken about 6 hours to cover 3 miles. That was about twice the time it had taken them to cover that same territory the day before, except during the previous day they were in the daylight and were not encumbered with wounded members of their party. At the intersection of the stream and the trail, they all rested for 30 minutes and ate some of their jerky and hardtack. The eight conscious party members ate a total of 4 days worth of those “iron” rations, then refilled their waterskins before resuming their march around 8 am. At least they didn’t need torches any more, as enough light was filtering through from above so that they could see the trail. It did seem like it was overcast above the trees, though.

The party followed the winding trail for another three miles, leaving the stream far behind them. Finally, when some party members were just about at the limit of their endurance, they emerged from the woods. To their relief, they did see the woodcutting party from Karnack’s castle, along with the 5 cavalrymen as their escort. The woodcutters had almost given up hope of seeing the party emerge from the woods, and had just loaded their two wagons with cut firewood. The wagons were quickly unloaded, and then the party members clambered aboard, trying to use whatever they could for padding for their more seriously wounded members of Tureg, Vox, and Vandin. On the way back to Karnack’s castle, most of the party fell asleep and so didn’t feel the jolts when the unsprung wagons hit bumps in the trail.

Eventually, the party all made it back to Karnack’s castle where they were helped to their bedchambers. The wounded members Tureg, Vandin, Vox, and Douag were given excellent aid and had their wounds washed and bandaged by several women at the castle who specialized in healing wounds. Word was sent to Karnack that the party had success in finding the Pendant of Winstone, and then the party all fell fast asleep. Lightstep did make sure that the scroll he had found with a drawing of the Pendant upon it was forwarded to Karnack, so Karnack could make an early start in trying to decipher what its strange runes said.

The Tomb of Koban Hairfoot – Part 3

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

This is a continuation of The Tomb of Koban Hairfoot – Part 1, and The Tomb of Koban Hairfoot – Part 2.

Day #2-29 (Fireday, 9th Dewsnap, 4333 BCCC): As we left our intrepid adventurers last time, they had descended to the 2nd level of the Tomb of Koban Hairfoot, and after briefly investigating a rectangular chamber with three skeletons laying about in disarray, they had then proceeded onward. They had come to another door to their left, and Vandin Lakesplitter had forced the door open with a few pushes from his shoulder….

Immediately after forcing the door open, Vandin (carrying a torch along with his shield and hammer), and Tureg, another dwarven fighter (armed with a sword and also carrying a shield) discovered there were some more skeletons in this room, but the skeletons were animated and were coming to attack! Vandin swung his hammer and shattered one skeleton into fragments, but another skeleton felled Tureg with a mighty claw. The halfling cleric Lightstep then entered the room and tried to fend off other skeletons with his small shield and with his hammer, while the halfling thief Falafela snuck into the room in Lightstep’s wake and attempted to drag Tureg out of the room. It was fortunate for the adventurers that the room just inside the door was not very wide, as it kept the skeletons superior numbers from being able to flank the party.

Vandin then swung his hammer and took off a skeleton’s arm at its shoulder, but with its other arm it struck Vandin, doing 4 hit points of damage (out of Vandin’s 6 total hit points). After Falafela dragged Tureg out of the room, Vandin and Lightstep were able to back out of the room and pull the door closed behind them, thus gaining a respite from the attacking skeletons. The party did not hear any sound coming from inside the room, so Lightstep cast a Cure Light Wounds spell on Vandin, but it only cured 1 HP of damage. Then Lightstep cast his only remaining Cure Light Wounds spell, and it fully healed Vandin.

After briefly discussing tactics, the party decided they would only open the door a little so only one skeleton at a time could approach them through the narrowed opening. While Lightstep took Vandin’s torch, Vandin opened the door just enough for a skeleton to start to come through. Whack! A mighty blow from Vandin’s hammer felled that skeleton, and also the next skeleton to come through right on the heels of the first skeleton. But while Vandin was watching that 2nd skeleton fall to the ground to make sure it wouldn’t try to strike him on the way down, another skeleton came through the door and struck Vandin for 5 HP of damage! Opalent then cast her Magic Missile spell at that skeleton. While the spell did 3 points of damage, it did not “kill” the already-undead skeleton. Douag then pushed Vandin out of the way, but before Douag could bring his battleaxe to bear, the skeleton ripped at Douag, striking twice and inflicting 5 hit points of damage. Douag was still in fair shape, though, as he had 11 hit points before being wounded. After a bit more battling, Douag finally chopped the skeleton in half with his axe, and then made sure it was not moving any more after striking it a few more times as it lay at his feet.

The party then waited for several seconds to see if any more skeletons were coming out of the room to do battle, and when none appeared, they made more plans. Lightstep stayed in the hallway with one torch to watch over the wounded Tureg, and the human ranger Clayton also stayed on guard in the hallway outside the room. The other party members cautiously looked into the room, led by human fighter Vox the Just, who kicked the skeleton bones out of the doorway. The room looked like a carbon copy of Koban Hairfoot’s crypt from the level above, as this room was also octagonal in shape, about 30 feet across from one wall to its opposite wall. But this room did not have painted murals on the walls; instead, it had what looked like burn marks and bloodstains on the walls and the floor. And instead of a glass-encased skeleton of Koban Hairfoot resting on a marble table, there was a black obsidian coffin lying on a dark obsidian table. Embossed into the top of the coffin was a symbol of an unknown deity, as well as the word “Reedus.” The party also noticed there were the bones from five skeletons on the floor, although they could only account for killing four of the foul creatures. They knew that Vandin had killed three of the skeletons, and Douag had put down another. Then Lightstep said, “I think I took out one of those infernal creatures while I was shielding Tureg.”

Falafela wanted to inspect the coffin before anyone tried to open its lid, but as she was only 2’8” tall, she had Opalent lift her up for a closer look-see. Falafela and Opalent inspected the coffin carefully, but could detect no sort of trick or trap. While Vandin then also inspected the coffin for any sort of stonework traps, the party had to light two new torches (Vox and Opalent dug into their torch supplies). That also marked they had been in the dungeon for about four hours. Finally, while holding their breath to see what might leap out of the coffin at them, the party opened the lid. They were relieved to not find a body, or a skeleton, or anything else that might have assaulted them. And while the party did not find the Pendant of Winstone, they did find an old, dusty black cloak that was trimmed in gold. It appeared to have been someone’s burial cloak. It did seem weird that it was dusty, although the rest of the room wasn’t very dusty. Opalent picked up the cloak with her 10’ pole. Opalent then searched two of the walls for any secret passages, but found none.

At this time, Clayton poked his head in the room and announced that he thought Tureg was dead, as Clayton could not detect a pulse. While the party was ready to push on and keep searching for the Pendant of Winstone, they didn’t want to just leave Tureg’s body lying about. Vandin, in particular, didn’t want any rats to eat Tureg! Other party members reminded Vandin that they had not seen any vermin (except the skeletons) in the dungeon, but Vandin was adamant. Clayton said, “We could leave Tureg’s body in this coffin until we come back to retrieve him.” A couple of folks thought that was sort of gruesome, as the coffin looked sort of evil, but Clayton then said, “Well, he’s already dead. It couldn’t hurt him any more.” So, the party lifted Tureg, along with all of his possessions (except his torches which Opalent added to her backpack), and placed him in the coffin, and then closed the lid.

The party then piled the skeleton bones around the walls of the room, and then Lightstep took off his backpack and carefully unwrapped the vial of the clear liquid he had found some time ago. He sprinkled about half of the vial on the bones, while saying a few religious words. He probably had about two fluid ounces of the clear fluid remaining in the vial after that. The party then went to the other door of the room that was down a 35’ hallway from the foot of the coffin. As the hinges were on the inside, Vox tried to pull that door open, but failed. He then whacked at the door once with his sword, but as the door was of solid wood with iron reinforcing bands (as was the other door to the room), he quickly decided that it would indeed be futile to keep striking at the door with his sword. Vox figured he would only lose the edge of his blade if he kept slashing at the door. Vandin then came forward, and even in his weakened condition, he only had to strike the door twice with his hammer before busting it open. The party wasn’t worried about making noise at this point, seeing as they had made a lot of noise while fighting the skeletons.

The party now proceeded in the order: Lightstep in front (with a torch), then Vox and Gwenette (another human fighter) in the 2nd rank, then Falafala and Vandin, then Douag and Opalent, and Clayton brought up the rear with another torch. After passing through the shattered door, they saw they had to go to either the right or the left. They went to the right. After about 30 feet, they saw another iron grating in the floor, much like the floor grating from the level above. Just beyond the grate, the hallway turned right, and they could see it led back to the other door of the room they had just exited. Down that hall towards the other door, the hall also turned off to the left, but they decided not to go that way for now. Instead, they went to the left.

After proceeding just more than 10 feet, the hall turned 90 degrees to the right. (By the way, the party were all still creeped out by the skulls that were embedded into the stonework in the floor, and by the streaks of rust and/or blood all over the walls.) About 10 feet past that right turn was an end wall with a wooden door in it. Lightstep just wanted to quickly open the door to see what was on the other side, but Gwenette held him back. Vox then opened the door, which opened easily. Vox stepped through the door, closely followed by Lightstep and Gwenette. There were only three items to be seen in this 20’ x 30’ room: a 4’ x 6’ wooden table with one chair in the center of the room, an old wooden wardrobe, with its two doors open, in the far right corner of the room, and an old dust-covered bed in the far left corner of the room.

After having only a few seconds to look around the room, suddenly a ghastly figure arose from the dusty bedcovers and attacked! It was clearly undead, and while it was partially a skeleton, it still had some fleshy parts on its body. Unfortunately for Vox, he was the closest to the thing, and Vox was quickly struck twice for a total of 7 hit points of damage. Having only 3 HP left, he fell back somewhat. Gwenette and Lightstep then tried to hit the thing, Gwenette with her short sword, and Lightstep with his hammer, but they could not connect as they were more interested in keeping the thing from hitting them. Gwenette, in particular, had to parry the foul creature’s attacks with her sword as she did not carry a shield.

Suddenly, at the back of the party out in the hall was a commotion. Clayton had forgotten to keep looking back from the way that they had come, as he, like the rest of the party, were trying to see what was transpiring inside the room. Before the rear party members could do anything about it, a skeleton clad in a gold and gem-studded robe and wearing a similar crown, pushed its way past the party members. It was the skeleton of Koban Hairfoot, come back to life! Koban rushed to confront the evil being that was battling with Gwenette and Lightstep, pushing them out of the way. Then Koban and his opponent stood toe-to-toe, raining blows upon each other! Koban was wielding his broken mace, and was inflicting terrible damage to his foe, but could not avoid receiving serious blows in return. Finally, the evil being was vanquished, breaking into several pieces as it hit the floor with a thud. Unfortunately for Koban, though, he too was finished. Koban pivoted, looking at the party with the empty eye sockets of his skull, then fell prostrate upon the stone floor. As he fell, he dropped his broken mace and reached out with his right hand and pointed to the wardrobe in the corner.

After the party paused for a moment to take in what had just transpired, Gwenette and Falafela inspected the wardrobe. They looked inside, but all that there was to see were a few tattered old garments that appeared to have no value. Falafela was wondering if the wardrobe was a teleportation device, and started to climb inside, but just to be on the safe side, she kept one foot outside the wardrobe and had Opalent hold on to her. While this was transpiring, Lightstep sprinkled the last of what he was now convinced was Holy Water on the bones of Koban and Koban’s foe, and when the little bit of water touched the bones of Koban’s opponent, some small wisps of smoke arose from those bones. Clayton was now also watching back down the hallway for anyone/anything else that might approach, and Vox was lying on the floor, feeling as if all of his energy had left him. It was also time to light two new torches, marking five hours of dungeon time for the intrepid party.

Opalent then looked around the wardrobe, and finally when she moved it a few inches away from the wall she found a hidden door behind it! The door was only about 4’ high, but Lightstep cautiously opened the door (after the wardrobe had been moved farther away from the wall) and went through, along with a torch. Douag and Gwenette then followed him in. They saw a sort of U-shaped room, about 20 feet across and 30 feet long. At the “U” end of the room, which was to their left, was a small white marble altar. Atop the altar were two gold candlesticks with unburned white candles in them, along with a gleaming gold chalice, and next to the chalice was a bit of jewelry that looked exactly as the Pendant of Winstone had been described to them when they were all back at Karnack’s castle! It was round, about 4 inches in diameter, with a sort of “tab” protruding off one side, and with a 2” diameter black gem in its center. Around its rim, were gold “bubbles.”

Lightstep approached the altar, lit both candles with his torch, and soon was immersed in prayers. After about 10 minutes of prayer, he then reached up and retrieved the Pendant of Winstone and the gold chalice, and wrapped them in cloth and placed them in his backpack. Gwenette said, “Aren’t you going to take the candlesticks?” Lightstep answered, “No. We will leave them to burn down.”

(to be continued)