The Rime of Infinite Winter: Session 24 — “Blood in the Dark”

SESSION TWENTY-FOUR
BLOOD IN THE DARK

The intrepid adventurers, on a quest at the behest of the druid Harbard Graybeard, initially with the promise of information regarding Elrian’s troubling dreams, crept easier into the cold dark of Frostmaiden’s Cave once Gemmell Axeholm sweetening the pot. The old dwarf swore to pay them Kari’s weight in silver if they were to return with proof of their victory over the Icedawn Queen.

Stepping into the black, with their darkvision amplified and perception sharpened by the thunder of adrenaline, the Lionshields knew quickly they were in the thick of it, finding a woman’s eviscerated body lying out on the hard cavern floor. Nearby, a much older death lay in state. A charred skeleton, still wrapped in magical robes — those of a Thulasian acolyte — lay still, a magical arrow piercing dead center of its forehead. They would find several more before the night was through — dead wizards keenly snuffed by magical arrows. Stranger still, Elrian could identify each one, as if from a distant memory…

But the cave was not so simple to traverse, for they soon found it infested with terrifying gnoll vampires who defended their lair with a savage ferocity. Kari stood his ground, taking the brunt of the damage and delivering crippling blows of his own. Nodnal served up healing words and swordplay as well, while Elrian’s bladesong rang out. Peron, smiling, unleashed a flurry of deadly arrow strikes against his favored enemy. And through it all, Raben kept them all standing as they pressed deeper into the hellhole.

While the rest of the party defended the passage, Nodnal and Kari explored the dwarves’ dig site, with Nod descending into a deep pit to investigate a tomb the miners had uncovered. The magical crypt seemed empty, so the Tabaxi climbed back up, finding the half-orc called away to ensure a way out of the crawl. Nod was prepared to join them when he noticed spoils from the dig — jars containing smashed pottery, iron nails, obsidian spearpoints, fragments of bone and leather; and a book, seemingly pristine, embossed with a silver skull atop light blue leather. Nod picked up the book, running his fingers across the delicate work and a shiver ran down his spine. Placing the book into his pack, he turned to leave but noticed the room becoming colder, as a deep blue mist began roll up out of the pit.

“Guys,” the Tabaxi shouted, “someone triggered some kind of cold trap in there when they picked up a magic book. No idea who did it, but we need to move!”

Searching for a way out, the party stumbled upon a woman, held prisoner by three of the gnoll vampires, who were soon joined by an owlbear vampire. Elrian quickly fired one of the magic arrows, disabling two of the gnolls, while Raben turned the remaining gnoll and the owlbear.

“Quickly, we’ve not much time,” the priest barked.

Kari picked up the unconscious prisoner, but so another vampire approaching, moving past his turned allies. Its growl rumbled through the twisting caverns, then it opened its voice in a horrendous howl, beckoning the rest of his kin to join him in a feast…

to be continued

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