Written by the paw of Krotchet…..
The action picked up immediately, with the skeletons lurching to their feet and staggering to the door to attack the intruders. Ainesilver screams in panic and fires his bow wildly, the arrow bounces off the far wall then glances off the ceiling back towards him, nearly hitting him in the foot!
Aleena raises her torch and in a loud voice commands the power of the Mother to smite the unholy creatures. The skeletons cower from the holy power and shamble off towards the far corner.
Never one to miss stabbing something in the back, Snyth leaped forward drawing his sword in a long sweeping arc, severely wounding one of the skeletons. Unfortunately, this drew its ire and it turned towards Snyth, raking him with its long claw like fingers bringing him to the brink of death.
Rolandius, upset at the damage caused to his friend charges the other skeleton, cleaving it in two with his scimitar. The shards of bone exploding pierced weak spots in his armour and he started to bleed profusely.
Ainesilver steps forward and, with a deft flick of his longsword, finishes off the badly wounded skeleton attacking Snyth.
Krotchet relaxes and gently releases the magical energy he had drawn ready to smite both skeletons.
Going up to Snyth, Aleena softly intones a spell and heals him, forever earning the gratitude and unhealthy attention of the Rodian, at least until something else caught his eye.
Krotchet was surprised when he realises that the spell took so much out of Aleena that she would be unable to cast the spell again until she had rested. “these humans are such weak spellcasters” he mused to himself, wondering how he would be able to use the information in future.
Searching the room, they discover a second holy book identical to the 1st, which Aleena agreed to carry, stashing it somewhere in the robes she is wearing before Snyth can spirit it away.
Before anyone could stop him, Ainesilver opens a door at the back of the room and a great billowing cloud of black smoke pours out, choking everyone. After they had stopped coughing and spluttering, they moved up to the door and peered in.
The small room is dominated by a low stone bed, on which lay another half-elf, this one appeared to be asleep, unmoving and covered in a good inch of dust but at least still normal (or at least as normal as that damned race could be). On the floor was an empty bottle.
Overcome with curiosity, Ainesilver approached the sleeping form, presumably to check his pockets for decent treasure before Snyth did!
At Ainesilvers touch, with a startled gasp, the figure sat up and Ainesilver let out a terrified cry and fell back, landing heavily on his backside. The other one tried to leap off the bed and backed away to the far side of the room.
While he did not trust the half-elf, Krotchet could sense nothing of immediate danger and motioning Rolandius and Snyth to take up flanking positions he calmly approached the terrified figure.
“Greetings,” Krotchet said, using the common tongue, “there is nothing to be afraid of here. My name is Krotchet, what do you remember?”
Instantly realising that Krotchet was a kindly person who meant him no harm, the half elf started talking. “My name is Denagar, what happened here? What year is this?”
With a patient smile, Krotchet explained that, by the human calendar, it was Z495 on the Xannen calendar and that, 20 years ago, a group of adventurers had brought a book back to this temple. The Septon at the time had burned the book, causing a great disaster and the temple had been abandoned and the doors sealed ever since.
Denagar explains that his memory is hazy but he remembered being in Stonehell Dungeon and being attacked by a powerful sorcerer who had a magical tome. In the ensuing fight, he was badly wounded and his friends had brought him here to be healed, along with the book. The Septon explained he had been linked with the book and Denagar must be put into a deep magical slumber while the book was destroyed otherwise the pain would kill him.
Krotchet said that he was welcome to accompany them into the crypts below the temple or he could leave and, to give him credit, Denagar said that wanted to accompany them to find out what happened to his friends. Krotchet then advised that any treasure to be found was split evenly, with Snyth, Rolandius and Ainesilver each receiving 20% and the remainder to himself. Denagar smiled and said he would happily accept 20%. Krotchet realised that Denagar was clever and resolved to keep and even closer eye on him. Ainesilver and Snyth just looked blankly as normal while Rolandius, suspecting something amiss looked suspiciously at Krotchet.
Leaving the room, the party approached the next closed door, taking up defensive positions. Ainesilver opened the door carefully but it still let out a loud screech as the rusty hinges protested against the movement. Inside was a square room, lined with cupboards and shelves covered in the vestments, candles and other items normally found in a church. With a gleeful shout, Snyth starts searching for treasure, throwing the old cloth altar coverings onto the floor in disappointment. The only items deemed worth taking were three candlesticks and Krotchet wisely advised Ainesilver, Denagar and Rolandius should carry one each so as not to become encumbered.
Going to the final door, Snyth checked for traps but found nothing. Ainesilver opened the door and revealed a staircase, spiralling down into the darkness. A feeling of foreboding came over the group and Krotchet, sensing that the rest of the group were about to turn and run off, encouraged them down and pushed Snyth down the first couple of steps.
Aleena followed a few steps behind, holding the torch high so that Snyth could check for traps as he descended while Ainesilver followed close behind, ready to dash forward if Snyth got into trouble. Krotchet and Rolandius followed a few steps behind and Denagar bringing up the rear.
The staircase ended in a room, approximately 20’ feet square with a pile of rubble in the South east corner and door in the North wall.
Snyth examined the rubble and said it looked like something had burrowed in but then the tunnel had collapsed, a quick search revealed the skull of a giant rat.
With Rolandius and Denagar taking up defensive position, Ainesilver opened the door, revealing a long narrow room, approximately 70 feet long and as wide as the room. Along the walls hung a number of tapestries too faded to make out what was once on them and partially moth-eaten.
Ever since he has descended the stairs, Krotchet had felt some powerful magic nearby and the feeling intensified when the door was opened and Krotchet realised whatever the item was, it was close.
Making his way slowly down the corridor, Snyth searched for traps. Successfully deciding there weren’t any.
Krotchet felt the magical item in the west wall and, assuming that Denagar would be as useless at finding secret doors as Ainesilver asked Denagar if he would search the West wall while Ainesilver searched the East. Krotchet could then triumphantly find the hidden alcove, embarrassing Denagar and obtaining the item himself.
With a triumphant “Ah-ha!” Denagar pulled down a tapestry and slid a wall panel aside to reveal a hidden alcove. Silently cursing him, Krotchet commended him on his skill and advised him to be careful as whatever was in there was powerful. Denagar, heeding Krotchet’s wise words, carefully pulled out a long object wrapped in a purple velvet cloth.
Carefully unwrapping the cloth, Denagar revealed a longsword still bright and sharp after its long years of disuse, written along the blade were the words “The Sword of Thaxon” in an ancient script that Krotchet translated with ease. Upon speaking the words, the sword glowed blue and hummed with barely contained power.
Wracking his memory, Krotchet realised this was a magical blade of slaying which would cause extra harm to creatures it hit, and, depending on who wielded it, would help them fight. Unfortunately Aleena found the same information in one of the Holy Books she was reading and pointed it out before Krotchet could impress them with his knowledge.
At that moment, the door at the far end of the corridor was smashed open as two giant rats burst through it and bounded towards the party.
Snyth, the closest to them realises he is unprepared for combat so leaps up a nearby tapestry out of their reach. Ainesilver quickly brings up his crossbow but does not have the time to aim and so misses. Rolandius steps forward and by the light of his torch realises that they are re-animated zombie rats! Thrusting his torch towards one, he sets it on fire while Denagar shoots at the other with his bow, catching it in the flank, slowing its approach.
Dropping down behind them, Snyth pulls his sword out and stabs it through the skull. Rolandius pushes the two corpses together and drops his torch on them, making sure their remains are destroyed.
Recovering their wits, the group move up to the door set in the east wall, bending down, Denagar looks through the hole in the bottom and sees another corridor like this one but at right angles and at the far end four kneeling figures, facing each other.
The group proceed slowly up the corridor, Snyth hugs one wall, trying to keep in the shadows but manages to knock one of the tapestries off the wall. The resulting clatter attracts the attention of the kneeling figures, who get to their feet and charge at the group, their robes falling open to reveal skeletal bodies.
Ainesilver readies his aim and his arrow flies true, striking one of the figures through an eye socket but the magically animated corpse kept coming. Denagar and Rolandius also starting firing, and wound the others before Ainesilver fires another arrow and the first figure falls to the floor, dead again. The three then drop their bows as the rest are too close and prepare for combat.
Sensing the greatest threat, 2 of the skeletons move towards Krotchet but he easily avoids their slow attacks while the other attacks Snyth but misses. Snyth quickly recovers and kills one while Denagar says “The Sword of Thaxon” out loud, his sword blazing with a holy blue light and he and Ainesilver kill the remaining two.
Proceeding down the corridor, the group check for traps and secret doors to no avail and then gather round the door in what was becoming a very familiar pose. Trying the door to see if it is unlocked the handle gives a loud rusted creak which echoes around the party. Smiling apologetically Snyth explains that the door is open and steps back as Ainesilver reaches for the door handle.
Ainesilver opens the door to find 8 skeletons charging down towards them, alerted to their presence by the creaking handle. Again Denagar steps forward shoulder to shoulder with his half-elven kin and swings his magical sword through the air, knocking the heads off the two closest. Aleena then calls on the power of the mother and scares the skeletons off, allowing the group to slowly pick the remaining skeletons off one-by-one.
Advancing up the corridor, Krotchet cleverly realises that the door in front obviously leads to a staircase down as, otherwise, they would be back where they had started as they had travelled around in a square.
The group prepared them selves while Ainesilver went to open the door…..