Run Notes 4/29/12
We set up watches and try to rest up a bit. I am on fourth watch with Coy.
Kiki wakes us- I hear a regular hollow thudding noise coming from below, there are undead outside the gate, relentlessly battering their way through. As the thudding starts to be accompanied by a splintering, cracking sound, Alaric steps up and casts mend upon the straining timber barring the door. This could continue for some time.
Keth looks down on the animated mass of decaying bodies pressing in waves against the door, extending his hands he mutters in a rhythmic tone, finishing with a flourish and up out of the ground bursts another patch of the black tentacle arms, enwrapping the writhing mass, trapping all but one in a crushing grip, decimating them almost completely.
We all gather at the door, everyone waiting for somebody else to throw it open. I linger in the back taking the time to invoke the rod. Gertie shakes her head in disgust at the rest of us and pulls the bar from the door, flinging it open and stepping aside to let our eager companions through. Only two of the enemy have survived the tentacles, and they both fall quickly to the concentrated blows turned against them. We re-enter the keep, bar the door again and go back to our interrupted rest.
Coy and I are on watch, I am watching the shadows in the dim light of a small smoldering torch on the pillar near me. I notice the shadows starting to cast a shape that is at odds with the other shadows around us. A thrill of fear cuts through me, “Coy!” I yell as I invoke my sword, the flames leap into life circling up my blade, bringing the shadow monsters creeping up on me into sharp relief. I holler wordlessly as I engage them, trying to wake my sleeping friends.
My sword slides through them, seemingly doing little more than temporarily disrupting the smoky black vapors that these shadow monsters are made of. I am heartened when one of the shreds of vapor I cut from the one on my left does not reform, they can be damaged. This feeling of relief is short lived as they turn the attack on me. Icy fingers sear through me as I am touched by the vaporous tendrils, my strength drains away, sucked into the icy void of the creature I am facing. With an agonized cry I lash out again, desperate to save myself. I land a massive blow, the creature shreds apart, dissipating, evening the numbers as I face only its companion now. The remaining shadow reaches for me again, scorching through me with searing iciness, again I feel shaken and weakened. I rally and with two blows dissipate it into the ether.
We make our way out of the keep and down into the town surrounding it. As we pass through, every now and then we see a parody of what life might have been like before the town was overtaken by evil. Glimpses of skeletal shop keepers going through the motions of what their daily life once was, a macabre undead dance, re-enacting the patterns lived before.
We do our best not to draw attention to ourselves, lest we disturb the dance, the fragile illusion that tenuously holds the peace in this town. We reach the bridge over the river, a large stone construction spanning many feet across, supported by large stone pilings plunging down into the rough river flowing swiftly below. The bridge is anchored by two solid 20 foot towers on each side. Upon approach we see the remnants of a huge web spanning across the arched entrance of the bridge tower. The web trails along the stone causeway, shredded all along the bottom, we may be able to pass through without touching it or getting entangled in its threads. We nervously scan the upper reaches of the tower, looking for the creature that spun such a large weaving.
Coy moves forward, he is one of the more dexterous of the group, if anyone can make it through without getting entangled, he can. I wait nervously at the back of the group, watching to be sure he passes with no ill effect. As he moves under the shadows of the tower we see him peer up into the gloom, and freeze. He then springs into action, maneuvering through the webbing and spinning to face the monster that drops down behind him. As the creature crashes to the ground, a wave of spiders of all sizes pour out of it, spilling over and milling in a five foot radius around it, they are so thick they completely obscure the stone underneath them.
Coy lashes out against the animated carapace facing him, ignoring its minions below. The party runs in, coming to Coy’s aid. Alaric is bitten by the creature and crashes to the ground unmoving. Cilka does her best to smother as many as she can under her flames. I pause to invoke the rod, I feel frozen in place, why did there have to be so many spiders?!
As we deal with one, another drops to ground in front of us. I move up to support my companions, I can only get into place, in midst of all the swarming spiders. Cilka reaches around me and shoots more fire into the swarming mass, the flame smashes into the carapace and it falls to the ground, as it falls, the life drains from the swarm and they skitter away disappearing from site.
Coy sees a winged humanoid glaring at us from the tower on the other side of the bridge, it turns and lifts into the air flying away. Coy warns us that we have been seen, we should move off with haste to avoid being caught out in the open, or pinned on the bridge.
We cross the bridge and enter the city, the open square at the center of the city has a gallows ringed by a few skeletons. We approach, the ground ripples around the gallows, causing the skeletons to almost lose their footing, and a body erupts from the ground below. The smaller skeletons approach and as the larger one moves up, the ground below him seems to push him forward, almost like he’s riding a wave.
I invoke the rod while my companions move up to engage the skeletons. The big nasty ground surfer moves up, raising his arms- and sharp rock spikes shoot up out of the ground beneath Coy, Kiki and Cilka. An evil undead, mage surfer? That’s just not fair.
I watch as Coy goes down from the skeletons and Alaric steps up and presents his amulet damaging the skeletons and destroying one. Keth summons a badger AND a pit (madness!!) thereby dispatching the remaining skeletons.
The large undead thing attacks the Badger …which only seems to anger it and the rest of us begin to close on it. It whirlwinds, hitting most of us, I step up and make a feeble swing… still tired from the night before I think. In a fine display of swordsmanship Kiki destroys it.
After some brief healing we head to the city church. The bell of the church tower is made entirely of bones, as it turns out, only a portent of what lay inside. Coy and Dom open the doors. A frightening scene spreads before us, an homage to religious evil brought to life in the form of a church completely formed of bones. Countless skulls tile the walls and form the base of the alter, a chandelier constructed of various shin and arm bones graces the center of the room. Four skeletal statues, one at each corner of the center stand guard. It is an evil shrine that fills us with shivering dread, the sheer number of people brutally slain to construct this monstrosity is staggering.
We slowly move into the church, watching for any movement. Skeletons have not been our friends of late and we are bracing for the very walls to converge upon us. Gertie moves ahead, as she passes beneath the chandelier a grotesque part scorpion part man drops down upon her. It had been camouflaged in the shadows above.
Our fears are realized, the walls don’t swarm us, but the statues do come to life, I am hit hard before I have a chance to invoke the rod. Distracted by the skeleton I am facing, I cannot see how my companions are faring. I hear the clash of arms and both Kiki and Gertie cry out. I deal a scathing blow punching through the skeleton’s armor and severely damaging it. Rea comes to my aid, and finishes it off.
Turning I see Cilka raise her hands and a cloud of glittering dusts bursts forth, covering everyone in its radius. I search frantically for the scorpion beast that I know is causing great harm to those I care for. The dust falls, coating Kiki and showing an outline of the scorpion creature that I can only assume had magically hid itself from our sight.
There is another skeleton between me and the glittery scorpion, I step up to it and swing with authority, it is in my way and I do not have time for this. Luckily my sword agrees and lands true, true and hard, it goes down with that one blow.
I see Gertie is down, but conscious, she gathers herself and cautiously regains her feet, keeping her weapon in front of her defensively. He seems to have been attracted by her movement, its tail arcs up and over powering down upon her. She is able to deflect, but only just barely. This thing is lightning fast, it doesn’t miss a beat, going right from the tail attack to snapping claws at Dom who is able to dodge. Dom responds with a quick counter attack that slashes a gushing gash in the thing’s tough leathery hide. Kiki is down but struggling to rise. Keth is murmuring as is his wont, I am sure something will soon pop into existence to give us aid.
I position myself to be able to lunge at one of the last two statue skeletons, while still being in a position to attack the sparkly scorpion should the opportunity arise. I unfortunately miss the skeleton. Keth’s spells are complete and the ever faithful and trustworthy hound archon steps through the portal of its own realm, looking somewhat put out at first, we’ve called upon its aid often of late. Upon seeing the scorpion beast it was summoned to assist us with, it immediately snarls viciously and leaps in to engage it. It is sorely pressed, and Coy dives in with killing blows. The remaining two skeleton statues are easily dispatched.
Coy moves toward the alter, upon which is a gaudy gem encrusted silver box. We all step back while Coy, either bravely or foolishly (it remains to be seen) opens the box. Inside is a beating, human heart. All attempts to stop the heart from beating are met with failure.
The box, upon further inspections appears to have been of superior craftsmanship, it is just dirty and tarnished. The gems are well cut and laid, but they seem to all be flawed along the flat side, almost as if they were infected by the evil contained inside the box.