This session opens up with the party staring into the mouth of the Cave of Forgotten Thought. Even though it is dark, the party had no desire to tarry, and so they start to enter the cave. It was at that time that Alain notices that Fissure wasn’t following. Fissure claims that it might be best to stay outside and keep watch, considering this was his first adventure and all. After some intimidation ( really it didn’t take much), Fissure follows the party into the cave. It is rather dim, long shadows are cast among the roughly hewn walls. The cave casts off an eerie and foreboding presence, as if the party has no right to disturb its hidden contents. However, this was the place where loyal subjects came to prepare and bury the dead. The party decides the more thorough way of doing things is the follow the caves walls to the right. And so they continue down a long hall way where tin trays are holding various different objects. Most are carved from stone, such as Dwarven runes, or small stone effigies/figures. Dried flowers and herbs also litter the ground. It would appear that this is where people would leave their offerings and prayers. Walen has heard of superstitions regarding offerings that were left in order to appease the dead. Alain, claiming that he doesn’t believe in stories and superstitions, walks right pass the offering trays and continues down the hall. Suddenly, five undead zombies, put off by their lack of offerings, appear from behind the party. The party makes quick work of them and continues down the hall until they come across their first right junction.
As they turn right, they see a long hallway with three doors at the end. Walen checkes for traps and thought that the coast was clear. He quickly changes his tune when he felt his foot hit a depression, and the floor suddenly fell out from under him. Unfortunately, Walen and Uzi fell 20 feet. They fell hard, but survived. Bruno, ironically being an expert at climbing, helps the other across the trap. They soon came face to face with three doors. They are determined to be unbreakable, and no lock could be found. Maia, noticing three odd symbols at the top of each door, could sense that these were magically locked, and that the key must be somewhere in the cave. Grumbling a bit, the party retraces their steps.
Before they got to the next room, the party hears a yelp, and some shout in Orc(ish?). Unfortunately, no one in the party could speak Orc, however, they decide to send sneaky Walen to go and check it out. Lost in the shadows, Walen approaches the room. He could easily see four Orcs, and could hear more that were obscured by shadow. As he turned to leave, his foot hit a rock, which bounced off the wall. The Orcs look up, and lunges at Walen, while the rest of the party joins the fray. Bruno charged followed by Uzi. Maia and Walen use their trusty crossbows. Alain and Fissure gang up on a few orcs (though Alain is doing pretty much all the work), while three orcs ignored the fight and were fiddling with a stone chest that is on the table.<epic>
After the orcs are dispatched, Walen and Uzi go to the stone chest. Walen and Uzi checked for traps, yet they find none. Walen opens the chest, and a fuselage of darts is released. Walen and Uzi take some damage but in the end, they were able to recover headband of the stout heart ,two pearls (worth 100 gp each), and a small bag containing 100 gp, 1 ring of prot. +1, and a large antique key. Walen also picked up a book which is later identified to be the Dwarven book of the dead. In it were procedures, scripture, and spells, that would help transition a physically dead body into the next life. Fissure notices that several people are hurt and offers them health potions that he made himself. Maia, remembering what the apothecary told them, quickly and discretely tasted the potion. Gagging, she motions to the party that they shouldn’t drink it. Unfortunately Bruno already drank his potion before Maia could stop him.The party regroups after looting the Orcs. They find some gold and a lifting belt. Fissure excitedly exclaims that this is one of the five keys that would unlock MacGuffin’s tomb. They quickly leave the cavern and continue down the hall. Soon they approach a new room where in it are three sarcophagi, one large one in the middle of the room, and two standing upright on either side. As the party starts to search the room, Alain gets a closer look at the head of the figure carved upon its lid. It looks distorted and seems to have tendrils instead of hair. A pair of batlike wings extends from its temples. As Alain opened his mouth to ask Uzi if there was any cultural significance, suddenly, its eyes open, revealing the glow of green flames, and the head flies forward to attack. Two Vargouilles fly up, one emits a terrifying screech that petrifies some of the party. Alain takes a swing at one with his sword. Though the Vargouilles are terrifying, they aren’t particularly difficult to dispatch. They soon die at the end of cold steel. The party continues to search the room. One notices that the large sarcophagus is opened a crack. Bruno uses his strength to open the lid. Inside is a scroll and a second key. Maia takes her time to examine the scroll. She opens it, only to see a single symbol written on the parchment. Puzzled, she presses on with the party.
The party continues their trek down the hallway to the last of the rooms. Before they get to the opening of the cavern, they can hear squeaking and rustling. Three large swarms of rats have taken up residence in an otherwise bare room. Walen notices that one of the swarms is covering another key. Maia cautiously enters the room, hoping the colorspray the swarm so that she could retrieve it. Uzi tells her to wait, for he has a brilliant idea. He leaves and then shortly returns with chunks of hacked up Orc. He throws the into the far corner of the room. The rats, smelling delicious food, scurry to the far end of the room. Maia quickly picks up the key, and after a brief search, decides that there really isn’t anything worth having in the room.
The party once again finds themselves in front of the three magically locked doors, but this time they have three keys, a book, and a scroll. The doors are searched for keyholes but they find none. Maia deduces that since the doors and the scroll are the only magical items that they have found, she thinks that the scroll is the key in answering this riddle. Once again she unrolls the parchment, and the symbol begins the glow. Suddenly three distinct noises that sound like the tumbling are locks are heard. Maia successfully found a way to open the doors, but the question is, which one do they go through? After much debate, followed by trying to match the symbol found on the scroll to the one above the door, it is decided to go through the first door.
The walls of the new room become smoother and carvings embellish the walls. The floor is now composed of rich dirt. As the party enters the room four great stone carvings of dwarves are found in each “corner” of the room. A large stone slab with slats carved out is in the middle of the room, and has been stained russet brown. The party notices buckets underneath the slats. Beside the slab is a large pedestal with sharp instruments and rolls of linen. Some of the instruments look quite sinister. At the head of the slab stands a podium with nothing on it. As the party searches the new room, Walen gets an idea. He places the burial book on top of the podium. The book sinks a bit into a depression, and Walen can hear a distinct click. After a brief search of the podium, Walen sees a ‘switch’ and flips it. Suddenly a panel slides open and reveals the fourth key. It was around that time that Bruno realizes that taking handmade potions from someone who can’t craft anything is a very bad idea. He finds somewhere where he can go and have ‘tummy troubles’.
Fissure excitedly claims that he found something. As the party gathers, they see an ornately carved stone door with five large key holes. Fissure exclaims that he knew he was right, that this was the entrance of the MacGuffin tomb. They would just have to find the last key.
The party finds a final small room on the other side of the burial chamber. A putrid odor fills the room. Inside the room are rickety bunks and clapboard desks barely holding together. The party sees a faint glow emanating from the chamber. At the back of the chamber, a corpse is reduced to bones and rags. He sits slumped up against a wall, with a torch softly burning beside it. Beside him on the wall a message is scrawled. “Duaine was here. He is in pain. He charged the wall, and hurt his brain. His luck ran out, his breath is thin. May fortune treat you better than him.” Walen again gets a great idea that the party should try to find a hidden door in the walls. As they again search the room, Walen notices that the body of Duaine has his hand in an awkward position, as if he is specifically pointing somewhere. They follow the line to a spot on the wall. Uzi can immediately tell that it isn’t made of stone. Bruno then uses his shoulder to bash through, and is immediately overcome by a foul stench. He is sickened by it. Inside the small alcove what appears to be a larder/supply room. Rotting meats and cheeses are the source of the smell. Alain braves the odor and comes back with some vials, a backpack, some gold, and most importantly, the fifth and final key.
Rushing back to the entrance to MacGuffin’s tomb, Fissure inserts the keys into the locks, and one by one turns them. The door begins to quake and groan, but finally it opens. The party enters the tomb of Malachi MacGuffin. Immediately they are puzzled at the lack of treasure or finery. There is a large sarcophagus in the middle of the room, with five smaller ones built into the sides of the walls. After a quick search, they see an alcove, and perched on a ledge was the MacGuffin decanter. Walen does a quick search and detects no traps. The party takes a few moments discussing how to best remove the artifact. In the end, they just decide to take it.
As soon as they do, the doors immediately shut. The lid to MacGuffin’s sarcophagus blows off, and soon the party is face to face with the drauger of Malachi MacGuffin. Obviously the thing he protected in life, so shall he do so in death. Bruno charges the drauger and does some considerable damage with his scythe. MacGuffin barks out a laugh and calls upon the help of his servants. Five undead skeletons rise from the walls, cutting off part of the party. Alain tries to push forward to aid Bruno, while Uzi and Walen take care of the skeletons. Fissure valiantly tries to protect Maia, but she pushes him aside and throws around a few disrupt undead spells. The MacGuffin is fierce in his attacks, and strikes out at Bruno. After a few well-placed blows, Bruno crumples to the ground.
Seeing a comrade fall causes the party to fight with renewed vigor. Fissure even manages to kill a skeleton. Though the battle is wrapping up, the party knows that they can’t get to Bruno in time. Before he fades into darkness, Bruno suddenly remembers the wishes that Maia had given him. He uses his wishes and stabilizes long enough for the party to render aid.
With everyone surviving and the MacGuffin artifact secure, the party treks back to Dwarfington to tell Ilde the good news.
The party finds Ilde and she is simply overjoyed with being reunited with her son. Walen tells of their adventures, to which Ilde cannot believe until they show her the decanter. Fissure then broaches the subject of him adventuring. Before Ilde could argue, Alain interjects and suggests an ambassadorial position for Fissure. He would be able to travel and see new places, but it would be a safer occupation. Ilde considers and says that if the king agrees then they might have found a compromise. She hesitates a bit before saying that she will take them to see the king.
A short time later, the party approaches the gates, Ilde spies Tannin and goes over to talk with him. Disbelief and bewilderment flashes across his features before he gives a short nod and ushers them inside. Ilde follows Tannin into the throne room, and stands before an astonished King Bramblebeard. “Ilde,” he says, “Wha-What are you doing here? I didn’t think you would ever come.” Ilde responds that he bring him incredible but completely joyful news. The party then presents the decanter to the King and Walen tells him of their journeys thanks to Fissure. King Bramblebeard graciously accepts the gift, and proclaims that tonight they should feast. Preparations are hastily made, while the party goes off in order to rest and revive themselves.
That night, a banquet was laid out with great splendor. Succulent meats, fine cheeses, tender greens, soft bread, and many more dishes were laid out. The finest wine, beer, and mead were offered as well as music and entertainment. The MacGuffin artifact stood before the throne on a pedestal so that all may see it. And King Bramblebeard brought the party and Fissure forth to bestow his personal thanks and gratitude. He made Fissure a royal junior ambassador (with chance of promotion in the future). And he bestowed great gifts upon the adventurers; Gauntlets of Ogre Power for Bruno, Magical studded leather for Uzi, the Will of Thrana Amulet for Alain, Gloves of Dex for Walen, and a Cloak of Charisma for Maia. He also gave his official response to the King of Kingsport, remarking that this should make King John satisfied. He then dismissed the party to enjoy in the festivities.
No sooner had he returned to his throne, that he noticed Ilde off in the shadows. She was staring at him, unmoving. He rose and joined her, but before he could speak, she beseeched him. “Please,” she said. “Please keep him safe.” He measured the moment for a while, and then blew out a sigh. He reached out and took her hands in his, and looked her straight into her eyes. “I promise. By my will, in this life, and the next. I promise.”
Ilde gave him a small smile, and then turned around a left him without another word.
The party enjoyed the feast beyond measure, and slept on soft mattresses with down filled pillows. By morning they were ready for travel. They bid their farewells and started their journey back to Kingsport, eager to give King Bramblebeard’s response to King John. They journeyed for less than a day, when all of a sudden a figure jumped down from the trees and landed right in front of them. “Stay your weapons,” she immediately calls out, “I am not here to bring harm.” With that she gives a saucy look to Maia, “Why hello, lover. Did you miss me?” It was then, Maia remembered her as being the mysteriously lady that Stoke was after at the Velvet Hammer. “Who are you?” asks Maia.
With that, the figure removes her cloak and reaveals a rather beautiful Tiefling female. She introduces herself as Metzli, a member of the Umbrage order. When asked what the Umbrage order is, she laughs a bit, “Sometimes truly good people have to do terrible things for the greater good. Instead of dirtying their hands, kings, nobles, and dignitaries alike call upon the Order to complete their tasks. But I don’t have time to tell you of an organization concealed in shadow. I have been following you for several weeks, and I now feel that you are the adventuring party I seek. For you see, I have intelligence that is of a most terrible nature. For what I am about to tell you will rock you to your very core.”