Brief introduction since last session.
After Ainesilver was purged of the poison by the healing magic of the Mother, the party were asked to rest and recover their strength before returning to the Sept to discuss their forthcoming efforts to enter and clear the old abandoned Sept in the centre of town. The party have spent a week in Larm, recovering from their brush with the giant rats and centipedes below Nantwin’s Mill.
From their rooms at the Borderland Tavern they have observed the town of Larm throughout a typical working week. During the week, each of them has uncovered a rumour or piece of information about Larm and its environment. For example Snyth overheard a conversation in the market place which suggested that the old hermit that lives in the cave over the river is actually undead.
The party are due to speak with Ansbert – Septa of the Wise Mother. It is also market day and many of the townsfolk are busying themselves carting their wares to the market square and setting up stalls to sell to any who will buy.
After rising with the sun, you find yourselves sat around a large rough wooden table in the Borderland, whilst Haldo belts out a rendition of a bawdy song entitled “The maid and the marrow” and prepares your breakfast in the good-natured atmosphere with the delicious smell of honey waffles and strong fresh spiced Kaff wafting through the room.
Being an account written by Krotchet.
After breakfast at the Borderland Tavern, the party sets off to the market to see about procuring some more equipment. Hanging back, Krotchet grabs Snyth by the arm and, trying to sound menacing, warns Snyth that he is watching and that if Snyth tries to steal anything that there would be trouble. Snyth reluctantly agrees but Krotchet, noticing the look in his eyes, was not so sure.
At the rather deserted marketplace, the party stops at Reimbod’s stall, after much haggling Krotchet finally agrees to purchase two sets of torches and distributes them among the rest of the party as he needs to be unencumbered to use his powerful magic. Snyth buys some rope and, while agreeing it could be useful Krotchet wonders what else Snyth plans to use it for! Reimbod then tries to sell the party a ten foot pole, which he said was very useful for adventurers.
Krotchet, being the smart wizard, knew how useful it could be but puzzled over how they would carry it. Ainesilver had the smart idea of breaking it in half as it would be easier to carry two 5 foot poles. Krotchet just looked at him, shook his head in bewilderment, then said it was time to leave.
After a quick stop at Wulff’s Arms & Armour where Rolandius stocks up on bolts and Krotchet buys more throwing daggers the party head off to the Church of the Mother to speak to Septa Ansbert.
As the party arrive at the temple, a service had just finished and the villagers were making their way out and down to the marketplace. Septa Ansbert sees them coming and chides them for not attending the service. Ever the diplomat, Krotchet explains that Rodians follow the White Rat, Skor, and his battles over the Black Rat rather than the 7 faced god the humans follow. Krotchet jokes that a god having 7 faces was much too confusing for poor Rodians such as themselves. Septa Ansbert, looking pleased at Krotchet’s response, invites the party into the temple to discuss the matter at hand.
The Septa explained that the Temple of the Father Thaxon had been abandoned about 20 years ago after a great disaster, although she did not know what that disaster was. Rolandius, being the smart Rodian that he was, explained that he had heard that the crazy hermit who lived over the river was a crazy wizard who showed up after the disaster and asked whether it would be worth talking to him.
Septa Ansbert laughed and said that the “crazy old hermit” was in fact Erkmar, the Septon of the temple when the disaster happened and that whatever had happened had destroyed his mind. Snyth, probably sensing a great treasure or opportunity, was keen to find out what happened.
The Septa explained that it had been like any normal day until a group of adventurers had come into Larm after surviving Stonehell Dungeon and had found something there which they took to Septa Erkmar in the temple. Shortly afterwards great billowing clouds of black smoke had poured out of the temple and then Septa Erkmar had staggered out, slammed the doors shut, barred them and then ran as if the Stranger himself was following.
Ainesilver, looking out for himself, asked if Erkmar was dangerous. The Septa explained that no-one in Larm had much to do with him and he never came into the village but she did not think he was dangerous. Those who had seen him had only mentioned that he babbled incoherent nonsense constantly.
Thanking the Septa for her help, Krotchet said they would be back later to speak to her. “For you, anytime,” she said, smiling at the smart, kind Krotchet. Feeling slightly hungry, the party then called at Guiscard’s Baked Goods and picked up some bread and freshly made macaroons before heading down to the wharf to get a boat to take them across the river. While chatting to the boatman about the people in Larm, he mentioned that Withold was a retired adventurer. Hearing this, Snyth’s ears pricked up and he asked where the man lived. After been told the location Krotchet resolved to remind Snyth about his agreement. After all, everyone knew that there are only two ways for an adventurer to retire – death or glory. As he obviously was not dead (yet!) then he must have glory and Snyth would not be able to resist without a little persuasion.
Landing on the far bank, Krotchet directed Rolandius to keep a safe distance as he did not want him to risk injury again while Ainesilver could do what he wanted. Snyth and Krotchet went up to the cave. Shouting his name to avoid surprising him, Snyth approached cautiously with Krotchet slightly behind.
As they neared the cave an old man leapt out at them waving his arms around, his long matted hair buzzing with insects. Holding a loaf of bread out, Snyth asked if he was Erkmar. The old man replied he was and that it was all his fault. While Krotchet agreed that it probably was Snyth’s fault, he kept quiet. Snyth had many faults (although not as many as that half-elf Ainesilver) but he did have the gift of the tongue and had charmed many women out of their jewellery and their clothes (usually in that order!).
The old man was going on and on, spouting rubbish like how it was his fault and that it all spirals in and the stone protects the faithful. There were dead lions and terrible choking smoke while the guardian protected the faithful and the filthy book was a trap. Snyth cajoled and consoled the old man and gave him another loaf of bread. Touched by his kindness, the old man gave Snyth two precious pebbles from the temple.
Barely hiding his disgust, Snyth thanked the man and asked if there was anything else he had from the temple. After some deliberation, the old man pulled a battered worn filthy pouch from somewhere Krotchet did not want to think of and gave it to Snyth. Gingerly opening the pouch, Snyth pulled out a piece of cord, on the end of which was a brass symbol of a set of scales. Reminding them that they shouldn’t burn the book as it was the smoke that killed them all, the old man shuffled off into the cave and Snyth and Krotchet made their way back to the others.
Snyth went to throw away the stones and symbol but Krotchet, understanding their power stopped him and took the pebbles, advising Snyth to wear the necklace. Snyth pulled a face but knew that Krotchet was very smart and that Snyth should do as he was told by his superiors. After telling Rolandius and Ainesilver what the old man had said, the party re-crossed the river. Krotchet pulled Rolandius aside and gave him the other pebble, advising him to keep it safe.
The party then went to see Withold but he was not home, before Snyth got any ideas Krotchet led the party to Kjeld’s house. Kjeld was a retired stone mason who had built the Temple to the Father and could give vital clues to the disaster. As they approached his house, they saw an old woman, presumably his wife, outside mending a tablecloth. Snyth, turning on the charm even though the woman must have been 80, spent five minutes admiring the tablecloth and asking the woman about it. Probably wondering how much he could sell it for, Krotchet wondered to himself. Getting fed up of Snyth procrastinating, Krotchet asked about the temple. The old woman replied that it had been abandoned about 20 years after a great disaster, a fire or some such and then shouted for her husband.
Kjeld came out and he was a hulk of a man despite his age. Asked about the temple, Kjeld said that it was the most unusual design he had worked on as there was the main room with a couple of side rooms as you would expect but then the back rooms all spiralled down into the earth before ending in a crypt. However as he had only done the basic stonework before the church brought in some dwarves for some more specialist work he could give them no more information.
Thanking him for his time, the party made their way back to Septa Ansbert to update her on what they had found out. After a brief chat to update her, Krotchet asked about the old oak and if there was any correlation between the two events, although he knew there was not, he asked so that the others knew it as well. The Septa explained that the tree had suddenly started to sicken recently and while they had tried prayers and what cures they knew they had had no effect. The Septa then gave the party two healing potions, Krotchet gave one to Rolandius as he would be the one in most danger and kept the other, arguing that as he could heal the others with magic he needed it to ensure he was well enough to heal them.
The Septa then waved her hand and a young maiden came forward. Krotchet noticing how both Snyth and Ainesilver looked at the girl resolved to keep her safe from harm no matter the cost to himself. Septa Ansbert explained that girl, Acolyte Aleena, would accompany the party as she was of an age where her faith in the Mother must be tested if she was stay in service at the temple. Krotchet said that it would not be a problem and that she would come to no harm. Touched by his caring nature, the Septa then gave Krotchet two vials of holy water, for the generous donation of 2 gold pieces, one of which he allowed Rolandius to carry.
Krotchet then asked about the design of the temples of the seven and if they all followed the same design. Septa Ansbert hesitated before starting to speak then stopped and paused for several seconds. She finally said that all the temples were of individual design and that it was down to the whim of the designer at the time the church commissioned a new temple.
In a rare display of idiocy, Rolandius then threatened the holy Septa and said that if she had been lying about not knowing anything else then there would be trouble and Acolyte Aleena would pay the price! Septa Ansbert merely looked down at Rolandius and smiled explaining that they were surrounded by town militia and that she was unconcerned by the petty threats of a sword carrying mouse. Krotchet looked aghast, shaking his head in amazement before hustling the party out.
Although it was getting close to evening, Snyth convinced everyone to go see Withold again. As the party neared his home they could see he was now home, Krotchet heard Snyth cursing under his breath and smiled, this was one house that was safe, at least for now.
Knocking on the door, they introduced themselves to Withold, who explained that he had had enough of adventuring and had retired to Larm to live in peace. He could not help them with the temple as he had not been around when the disaster happened and he was too old to go with them. Asking for advice, he told Rolandius to always check the corners. As they left, Snyth said that they should take Withold out for a drink to celebrate his success but that he was too tired so was going to turn in for the night. Recognising the lies, Krotchet overruled him and said it was time to investigate the temple.
All the way up the hill, the snivelling coward Ainesilver kept saying how they should wait until morning and that they shouldn’t go in the dark. Krotchet, fed up of his whining that was scaring the girl said that they would only look around the outside before going back to the tavern for the night.
At the temple, the found the huge wooden door barred from the outside and all the windows blackened with smoke. In a display of power, Krotchet placed his paw on the door and whispering words of ancient power tried to sense whether there was anything within. Pulling his paw away, he said that there was an ancient evil inside but nothing of any immediate danger.
Snyth scampered away and nimbly climbed up the wall, pausing to try and look in the windows, which were blackened from the inside, before carrying on up and onto the roof. Krotchet shouted up to ask what he saw and Snyth replied that the roof was flat with no way in before clambering back down. Krotchet indicated that Rolandius should prepare himself while Snyth and Ainesilver opened the door.
Levering the beam away, the door slowly creaked open and a dark heavy black smoke rolled out, momentarily blinding the party before dissipating in the night air. By the light of the torch held by Aleena, the party could make out a large room with a few rows of pews stretching away into the dark interior.
Snyth, taking the initiative slipped into the doorway and crept away into the blackness. Giving him a few moments to move far enough so the light would not pick him out, Krotchet and Aleena walked down the aisle between the pews, Krotchet leaning on his staff and tapping his way down while Rolandius and Ainesilver checked the room. The room itself was shaped like a cross, with an altar at the Southern end and rows of pews stretching back to the door in the North wall through which the party had entered. There were four doors out.
Ainesilver displayed his cowardice again by insisting that the party leave and come back in the day. Ignoring him, the rest of the party had a short discussion, before going to the closest door and kept quiet while Snyth listened to see if there was anything inside. Deciding there wasn’t, the party opened the door and found a small room, deserted except for two chairs, on one there was a huge book.
Snyth, sensing treasure, scampered in and grabbed the book. On the faded cover was the symbol of Thaxon the father, a silver chalice. Flicking through it, Snyth realised it was a book on the Rules and Regulations for Clerics of Thaxon. About to throw it away in disgust, Aleena stopped him and said it was a Book of Thaxon and would be a worthy treasure to take back to Septa Ansbert. At the talk of treasure, Snyth agreed although he reminded the girl that it was him who had found the book so it should be him that receives the reward. Aleena smiled at him and agreed.
Again, Ainesilver wanted to leave but was overruled. The party then moved on the next door. Opening it they found the room was laid out exactly the same as the last with two chairs and no other furniture. However this time there were skeletons on the chairs, frozen in the act of confessional and locked that way for years. As the door swung open fully, the skulls turned to face the party and the skeletons stumbled to their feet, lurching towards the party while Ainesilver screamed they should have listened to him!