Posted by zero
16 Eleint (Continued)
Chipper went back to the surface to escort Onyx down to the temple after the druid contacted group with an animal messenger ritual (a mole rat). When the two had returned to the trapped hallway, Tegalad noticed a secret door on one wall, and the adventurers opened it, only to be attacked by undead in a small library containing a corrupted fountain. One of the undead could re-raise its fallen allies, but once the heroes took down this reanimator the rest fell swiftly and permanently.
Within the damaged bookcases in the chamber, the party found a ritual book, some religious texts and a decrepit journal that referenced a key stashed in a Chauntean statue and references to some catastrophe. While they rested, they looked over the legible pages and briefly theorized what they could mean.
The heroes continued down the hall after disabling all of the traps and found another door down another stairway. Ixtab entered the room beyond the door and found a fountain containing a dagger. Before anyone could react, the dwarf picked the weapon up and set off a nasty trap. The stone door slammed shut, locking in place, and the room started filling with blood at an alarming rate. Tegalad and Chipper quickly identified the latches, and the shaman’s four new allies frantically worked to disable them. Fortunately, they accomplished this in time to open the door – to a red tide – before the dwarf drowned.
Following the narrow halls up some stairs, the group came to another secret door. Tegalad claimed to hear chanting from the other side, so the heroes readied themselves for combat despite being almost completely worn out from the day’s exertions. Once they were ready, Jack threw open the door to reveal the source of the chanting.
A woman lacking any distinctive features – Gennevive – was in the midst of a dark ritual, using the life energy of the Harkness family, who were also bound within. Klaudius’s gemmed staff, with an extra stone attached to the top seemed to be channeling light from the bound locals and focusing it into a swirling black pit. Thadius Markins lay gibbering on the floor in the corner. The shapeshifter also had a gang of corrupted cultists, horrid undead that did their best to bring the pain. Their best was pretty good. Fortunately, the reanimators only managed to bring use their re-raise trick one time.
Eventually, the heroes managed to defeat the undead, and they had Gennevive on the ropes before she dropped Jack and made a dash for the swirl – apparently a portal – across the altar. She escaped, and the heroes managed to save the Harkness’s just in time. Ixtab roused the heavily wounded paladin, and the group returned to the surface with the unconscious townsfolk and enlisted Thrugg and Trista to help carry them. The half-orc even remembered to reward the heroes with his grandfather’s “Giant Knife,” which turned out to be a greatsword. Tegalad happily accepted.
Back in Barter’s Pass, the medically trained party members set up a hospice in the rooms of The Kickin’ Chicken and started long term care on the stricken Harknesses. The mentally disturbed Thadius Markins was left in Dara’s care, though the adventurers wrote down his rhymed mutterings: “The rose, the rose, the rose… it grows, grows, grows… beneath the sun where there is no light… that’s where she was made. And she knows, knows, knows… where it goes, goes, goes… That is where I laid Her to rest.” They hoped to find some clue as to what Gennevive was trying to accomplish, and what it might have to do with the god Ghaunadaur, whose holy symbol was sewn into the robes and emblazoned on the shields of the undead cultists.