No Quarter (Keep): Session 24 — Ici Repose…

keep

SESSION 24
ICI REPOSE…

KEEPERS II

GnarwaldAs the skeleton rose from the burnt ruin of dozens of arcane manuals and lunged toward Sebastian, Gnarwald called upon Frigga and sent the undead fiend fleeing from her divine presence. Sebastian delivered a wicked wound with his dagger, and the halfling Ozmund finished the creature off with a well-placed stone from his sling.

Unfortunately, a three foot thick section of wall closed off the only visible exit from the crypt. Magnar examined the area but could find no means to free them from entombment.

“Well, here we are,” the priest said sarcastically. Kik-Dos was undeterred, however, “Fear not. There’s still much to investigate.”

rune-stone-logo-200x200-6353Kik-Dos examined the cindered remains, recognizing them as ruined tomes on alchemy. Also within the carnage was a stone with a single rune inscribed on it. Studying it carefully he determined it to be the material component for a smoke signal spell.

Meanwhile, Gnarwald was keeping close to Brukhart. He took notice of crematory urns along the north wall and that the ash had been disturbed, trailing off to the east and into the wall. Magnar investigated and discovered a secret door that revealed a long tunnel.

Kik-Dos was taken by the two magic circles inscribed in the room. The first, a hastily scrawled Circle of Protection, was improperly drawn, resulting in the scholar’s death. The spellbook within the circle was used to unbind whatever was trapped within the second circle. Both circles were created by the same hand but at different times.

Sebastian and Ozmund took an interest in the vault, the centerpiece of the tomb. Beneath a demon-faced lock, a plaque read:

icirepose

Gnarwald translated the words from the language of Mortainne, “Here lies the Master, Corran, Duke of Zahn.” Kik-Dos recalled the figure to be a legendary wizard, said to have been an apprentice to Salazar Redmon before the last Ice Age. He was an immortal, or so fairy tales would have it, who ruled over the southern most duchy of Mortainne when that kingdom had a much greater reach.

“We should try to commune with the dragon skull,” Kik-Dos suggested. “Maybe it can tell us what this is all about.”

VyrmatrixBrukhart removed the skull and placed it on the ground and Gnarwald reached out, but quickly recoiled. The dragon was not dead. It lived in the realms beyond. This was no mere dragon. It was Vyrmagoth the White.

It was bemused by their insolence and granted them three questions.

First they asked how to avoid the dead wizard’s mistake, to which Vyrmagoth replied, “Never disturb a dragon.”

Second, they asked what was buried with the Duke. The dragon laughed, “Ancient and terrible secrets.”

The third and final question was to divine the purpose of the magic circle in front of the duke’s vault. Vyrmagoth scoffed, “To bind the wizard and compel him to divulge his secrets. It doesn’t look like that worked out very well for the petty dabbler.”

ozmundMeanwhile, Ozmund felt compelled himself — to open the crypt, especially once he heard there were secrets inside. He picked the lock and let it drop, but struggled to open the vault. Kik-Dos charmed the halfling and had him step away from the tomb, leaving the ancient magi to remain at rest.

Corran ZahnThen the vault lid fell away and Corran Zahn rose up from his not-so-eternal rest. He spoke as a nobleman would, demanding the respect accorded his station, and asking for something to quench his thirst. Sebastian supplied him with a waterskin that the duke quickly drained.

He was pained to learn that Mortainne had retreated north, into the mountains, relinquishing his duchy to the wilderness and the unsullied hands of southern barbarians, as he referred to those of Darach-Tor.

He charged the company to escort him to his private dock located through the secret tunnel. They agreed, reluctantly, with the idea that, at the very least, this obviously magical and dangerous figure, would see them out of this tomb. They would deal with him once they were free.

Following the course of the secret tunnel, they found themselves in the underground lair they had discovered the day before, the one overrun with goblins. Seeing three of the diminutive vermin looting the Duke’s weathered carrack, and a host of others charging from the north, Kik-Dos and Magnar quickly held the creatures onboard magically then ascended the gangplank, while Sebastian and Brukhart held off the goblins’ advance.

carrack

Boarding the ship, Magnar and Ozmund threw the goblins overboard while Kik-Dos helped Sebastian and Brukhart join them on the main deck. Sebastian took the wheel as the Duke filled the sails with wind and the ship called “Roquelaure” pierced the narrow cavern underpass until they were welcomed by the sun overhead, maneuvering from the hidden cave and into an inlet cove. The magical wind drove them away from the coast only to see an ominous black sail on the horizon, making best speed for them.

to be continued

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