Keep on the Borderlands: Session 16 — “Secrets in the Underkeep”

keep

Session 16
“Secrets in the Underkeep”

KEEPERS

Two weeks had passed since the Battle of Skalgrimgard and much had changed. With Ostara, the trees and flowers began to blossom and snow gave way to spring grass spreading across the landscape. Soldiers and builders, led by Salazar Locke, arrived and Locke took command of the post, displaying a writ from Duke Uthric Hawkmoor. This did not sit well with House Black or House Skalgrim, and tensions mounted.

Marisha MercerMarisha Mercer, daughter of the fallen King Torin, seemingly had harsh words with the Locke camp and she and her Pox Macchian bannermen left the Borderland Keep, returning to their homeland to the northwest. Steffan Kilraven, however, had born witness to their argument and believed it to be a ruse, and reported this to the Magnar Ljunberg.

Magnar, along with his brother, Brukhart, Captain Sebastian Pike of the Cassandra, and his shipmage, Kik-Dos Drake, had been intent of discovering the reason that both Whitemane and the Hawkmoor/Wolfe Alliance were so desperate to control this frontier outpost.

It was believed that Whitemane wanted to use the keep as a staging point for raiding the lands of Wolfe, but they were investing a lot of resources into something with only minimal strategic value, especially with Hightower being roughly the same distance…

friggSearching Skalhalla, they discovered a secret door. Gathering their friend, Sir Jon Foster, and recruiting a crippled priest of Frigg from the market, they ventured into the depths of the underbelly of the keep.

Traversing a dark and dusty stair, they entered a large room with green marble-patterned floors. Stairs up to a raised platform revealed entry into a sort of tribunal room, with a triangular table and three gilded chairs, the crests of Hawkmoor, Wolfe, and Buckhorn prominently displayed.

There were also three doors: blue to the north, red to the south, and green to the east.

Brukhart and Sebastian investigated the southern door, revealing a crypt inside. Magnar and Kik-Dos entered the room to the east, discovering three such sarcophagi, two with glowing lights beneath them. As they approached, the center crypt exploded and a fell death knight rose up from its eternal rest and did battle with them, rousing the rest of their companions who rushed to their aid.

The knight was powerful — clad in ancient plate and a horned great helm. He wielded a reaper’s axe and a staff that was seemingly enchanted. Soon, he was joined by another undead warrior, rising from one of the other sarcophagi. It was magic that won the day, as the priest, Gnarwald, destroyed one, and Magnar forced the knight to flee from him.

draugr-wright

As this transpired, the third sarcophagus began to open. Brukhart quickly held the tomb shut while the rest of the party tried to lift one of the other lids to keep the wight trapped inside. Finally, after great effort, Sir Jon, with assistance, was able to prop the coffin lid against the other, securing them from further attack.

This gave the party time to search the crypt. The undead warrior possessed an ancient Somerfort necklace and matching wedding bands hidden in a secret compartment in his resting place. Along side them was a writ from Willem Hawke condemning his act of treason and ordering his execution more than 1800 years previous.

A banker’s cask, found in the knight’s tomb, was opened by Magnar, revealing thirty-three black onyx gems. He remembered a scrap of knowledge that spoke of a wight’s soul being placed inside a pearl then submerged into an onyx. He quickly devised a plan to ferret out which onyx held the pearl, and discovering which, had his brother smash the thing with his smith’s hammer.

With that threat dealt with, the party moved north, uncovering a narrow room with another crypt, but, lying in front of it lay a dead body — a redheaded woman in Kalibyrne plate armor, half her body reduced to green ooze. Kik-Dos saw traces of the slime on the sarcophagus and begged caution.

Meanwhile, Sebastian picked the lock of the west door, however, as he stepped inside, a trap was triggered — spiraling blades escaped the wall and came spinning toward him and his companions. He raced back into the room as his shipmate climbed behind the sarcophagus for protection. Kik-Dos inadvertently triggered the undead warrior inside’s awakening.

crypt

It rose up, only to be met by a blow from Brukhart’s sword. It grimaced and scowled at the attack, but before it could react, Sebastian delivered a devastating blow from his bow, sending the thing back to hell.

Still no closer to unraveling the mystery, was the party themselves about to be sent to the afterlife by these whirling blades of death that still rushed toward them?

to be continued

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