Krotchet moved away from the magical door after showing how easy it was to open it if you actually used your brain whilst the rest of the party tensed for whatever would happen next.
When nothing charged out, our brave adventurers (well, Krotchet and his band of miscreants) moved carefully through and found themselves in a large room with a giant statue of a huge winged humanoid on the opposite wall. Looking around warily, the group stared at the bare walls with barely disguised disappointment. Snyth especially seemed despondent that there was no treasure for him to find and “accidentally” drop into his pocket before anyone else noticed.
As the group spread out, they hear a grinding noise as the statue raises its head and steps down off the pedestal and starts stalking towards the group. Krotchet, keeping an eye on everyone from the back of the room lets them panic for several seconds before reminding Snyth that he had the symbol of Thaxton that the old priest had given to him. Barely able to move (apart from quivering with fear) Snyth scrabbles around his neck for the talisman before pulling it out just as the statue is about to swing at Rolandius. Upon seeing the talisman, the statue stops mid-swing, turns about and returns to its position on the pedestal.
Krotchet glances around and sees Denegar and Ainesilver cowering in a corner. Laughing, he tells them it is safe to come out now and they both move into the middle of room, glancing warily at the statue as they do.
Sensing there is more to the room than there appears, Krotchet takes the talisman from Snyth to enable the thief to search without worrying about the statue. Krotchet’s suspicions prove to be correct (of course) when Snyth finds a secret door in the corner beside the statue. Prising the door open, our heroes spy a sarcophagus in the middle of this new room and three badly decomposing bodies on the floor.
Taking up positions around it (and keeping an eye on the statue) Rolandius and Ainesilver gently prise the lid off the tomb. An ear-splitting howl fills the room and thick acrid black smoke pours out of the tomb whilst Denegar falls to the floor writhing in agony as strange black sigils scrolled across his skin before detaching and merging with the smoke pouring from the tomb. As the smoke thins out, there is a scuffling and a scratching as the three bodies on the floor slowly drag themselves to their feet, whilst in the corner the smoke coalesces into the outline of a person.
Yelling a battle cry, Rolandius charges into the nearest skeleton swinging his sword in a wide arc and sending chunks of bone flying. Krotchet unleashes a small element of the magical power within him as a flaming arrow flies from his hand and engulfs the smoke monster in searing flame, burning away the last vestiges of smoke revealing the sorcerer Denegar and his former party tried to kill all those years ago.
The sorcerer copies Krotchet and sends a beam of dark magic at Aleena, wounding the cleric. Denegar still suffering from the magical onslaught waves his sword but fails to do anything more than persuade the ghoul to attack Ainesilver instead.
Ainesilver tries to keep the ghoul away by copying Denegar but fails miserably and is scratched by the ghouls claws, despite doing little damage Ainesilver feels the toxins going to work and paralysing him, the last thought to pass through his mind was ”not again…..”
The room has devolved into a swirling melee as individual fights break out and both sides try to gain the upper hand. Krotchet, sensing the danger from the ghouls toxic claws decides he is a more immediate target and sends a flurry of magical fire arrows at the creature, blasting it apart in a shower of gore. Glancing around, Krotchet sees Rolandius toying with the skeleton, turning aside its blows while not even trying to land one himself. Denegar is staggering around as if drunk, waving his sword blindly whilst Snyth runs around, ineffectually firing arrows at the zombie or evil sorcerer whilst Aleena, with a look of pure fear on her face backs away from the creatures surrounding her.
Realising decisive action needed to be taken, Krotchet shouted at Rolandius to just kill the skeleton whilst magically redirecting one of Snyth’s arrows to pierce the zombie through the spinal column, destroying the magical link keeping the creature upright. The sorcerer, seeing the demise of his followers roars in anger and this seems to snap Denegar back to his senses. He glares at the sorcerer before walking up and, with barely any effort, swings the sword of Thaxon down in a mighty blow, cleaving through the creatures shoulder, rib cage and exiting from his lower torso in a shower of dust as the creature once more collapses, this time never to rise again.
Searching the room, the party find a small locked chest which is easily forced open. Inside, they find several candles of different colours which Krotchet informs them, are magical and the colours relate to their effects. Along with the candles are 2 small bottles, a magical wand, a roll of paper and a small pouch.
Whilst waiting for the paralysis affecting Ainesilver to dissipate, Snyth excitedly unrolls the paper to reveal what appears to be a treasure map made by the Rodian pirate Scrat the Black showing the location of his treasure on Crescent Island.
Ensuring that the group (except for Ainesilver) are with him so that no-one can complain about the equal share of the treasure, Krotchet opens the pouch to find two strange gems, a flickerin light appears to be inside them, one gem blue whilst the other was red.
Eventually Ainesilver regained use of his limbs and the party trekked back up through the church and out into the night, lit by a full moon.
Slowly trudging their way back to the Septa, the weary heroes are healed by the grateful Septas whilst Snyth regales them with an exaggerated version of the events where, it would seem, he was the only person to actually do anything and everyone else just stood around as target practice. Krotchet and the Septas share a knowing look and just smile, humouring the excited Rodian.
Rolandius, feeling guilty for his earlier outburst, offers the Septa one of the candlesticks he found in the temple which was gratefully accepted. The Septa pours over the rest of their findings but is unable to identify the purpose of the wand or the gems, except that they were valuable before suggesting that the mayor may be able to help.
The party then set off back to the tavern, initially intending to head straight to their rooms but, with the rejuvenating magic of the Septa coursing through them they decide to stay up and toast their success seeing the sun rise before finally falling asleep.
The day after the night before
Waking up with a sore head, Krotchet makes sure Snyth is still with them (he is) before walking outside to breathe the fresh air and cogitate on the events of last night and what lay ahead.
When he heard everyone else stirring, he went back in and ordered a big hearty breakfast from his own share of the loot, he made a point of saying several times, before turning the conversation to the rumours the group had heard about Stonehell while carousing.
Rolandius said he had heard there was a bottomless cavern within the dungeon whilst Snyth had heard something about a holy man and an ancient crypt but couldn’t quite make the rest out. Ainesilver volunteered the news that Kobolds ran an underground bazaar and offered goods for sale to warriors venturing within. Denegar had heard that there was at least one underwater tunnel connected to the nearby swamps. When asked what use that would be, he replied that it was another means of escape if the need arose. Whilst Krotchet regaled them with tales of a snake cult and described some of the obscene rituals they carried out at which Ainesilver looked decidedly uncomfortable.
Pulling the flyer from his pocket, Rolandius flattened it out with one paw and with a piece of coal, scratched out the request for someone to investigate the ruined temple. “Three jobs left” he said glancing at the paper, “goblin raiders, river pirates and the sick oak”.
Krotchet glanced around and, thinking he would offer them an easy day, decided that they would investigate the sick Oak tree.
Wandering slowly down to the common, the party breathe deep of the morning air and enjoy the feeling of being alive and well. Arriving at the tree, they glance at the ground and see that the soil and grass around the roots look normal. Examining the tree, they half expect the answer as to why it is sick to just jump out at them. Looking puzzled when no answer presents itself the group stand around, glancing at each other and waiting for someone else to take the first action.
After half an hour of silently laughing at his helpless associates, Krotchet suggests they should come back later when the market fair is on because there was nothing physically causing the problem with the tree so someone must be doing something to the tree and during the market would be the best time as there was more people around.
The party spend a lazy morning wandering around the market stalls and buying the odd trinket, questionable meat burger and lots of alcohol, Snyth noticed a man staggering around who appeared to be somewhat the worse for drinking lots of alcohol acting suspiciously around the tree, stopping and looking around furtively before wandering off only to come back 5 minutes later. Snyth pointed him out to the rest and the group wandered over.
Quailing in fear at the sight of 4 heavily armed and experienced warriors heading his way the man turned to head off but was collared by Snyth who had snuck up behind him and had his hand in the man’s jacket just as he was spotted. Quickly pulling his had away Snyth said in a menacing squeak “going somewhere?” The man stopped startled and was surrounded before he could move again.
Stuttering badly, he told them he was a rag trader who had recently arrived in Larm with his wife and children. When questioned about the tree he declared it was sick because of a curse placed on it by the gods and he was offering it some Becks Bier in order to appease the gods.
Puzzled at this response, the party let him go and as the man wandered off, walking much straighter than he had before. Krotchet, sensing there was more to him than he let on, told Rolandius and Snyth to follow him while the rest set off for Becks Brewery, thinking there might be something suspicious going on there.