The Legacy of Heroes

Kingdom of Silent Voices

WORK IN PROGRESS

Thom awoke to find a note from his fling for the evening, Tabys Minwyn thanking him for his special brand of hospitality. He folded it up, tucked it into his journal, and took his leave of the Comeback Inn after the departure of. Thom gathered his things and as he departed, he noticed the tense and almost-somber vibe of the Inn. His drums and art supplies under arm, he wandered through the lobby of the Comeback Inn and saw no guests, only Inn staff and armored guards mulling about concerned with matters discussed in hushed tones. Thom, having already paid for his stay, passed through the foyer and exited back onto the streets of Blackmoor, where its citizens spoke of the strange colored lights in the sky above the Inn. He hurried back to The Fetch for the night and waited to meet with his companions in the morning.

Vetnik was first to rise, as he was often to known to do. In the dining area, he took samplings of both the dwarven and gnomish eats (the former of which suited him more.) Grum woke next and hit the floor to do a quick exercise regiment. He headed downstairs and spotted Vetnik enjoying a pair of plates.
“How’s the food?”
“Not too bad. I got a bit of each, feel free to enjoy some. These Dwarves portions are too large for one man.”
Grim nibbled at the Gnomish cuisine, appreciating the leanness and earthiness. “This is far more complex than I would’ve imagined.”
Trios comes down, refreshed and well-rested, having stayed in and called it an early evening after checking in at The Fetch.
“You seem chipper!” Gr
“Yea! I’m eager to get this over with, to get back home.” Tr
“As long as you’re feeling better.”
“You’re fine. I don’t worry about you at all. And I mean that in the best way possible.”
“Thank you, Grum! Means a lot to me!”

Trios takes a portion of Vetnik’s large, Dwarven meal and the two enjoy together. Thom heads down next and joins the guys for breakfast. Vetnik waves to the staff for more food and drink. Grum asks for Dwarfsod (Oerth’s version of coffee.) After enjoying a brief nibble, Thom excuses himself and steps outside and sneaks between the Inn and guard station to practice his forms. While Thom is away, Moira comes downstairs with an expression of defeat.
“Good morning, boys. How are you? Sleep well?”
“After a round of drinks I did.” Vet says, welcoming her to the table. “Please, sit. Have something to eat.”
“Thank you.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, just…”
“C’mere, sit here!” Gr
Moira does so and confesses it’s Lyssa (yet again.) The trio of boys nod knowingly.
“Here, take a sip” Grum hands her some Dwarfsod.
“Ooh! It really has a kick!”
“Yeah, that’ll get your mind off of it.”
“I dunno, seems a little too strong for me.”
“It’s an acquired taste, honey. Let’s leave it at one sip for you today.”
“Has anyone seen Lyssa yet?”
They all shake their head no.
“We ought to check her room then.”
“Perhaps we wait a little while longer. Lest we ‘offend’ her.”

15 minutes later, Lyssa wakes from a good night’s sleep. Something burned out of her from that moment in the Comeback Inn. She comes downstairs and sees her group, among the tallest in the inn. She saunters to the table and sits at the head of the table, eyeing Moira.
“Hey Lyssa, how’d you sleep?” Trio
“Fantastic,” she says eyeing Moira. Moira doesn’t acknowledge and continues nibbling on her food. “What do we have to eat here?”
“Dwarven and Gnomish cuisine.”
Lyssa noticeably perks up at the sight of Gnomish food and takes a plate of it, enjoying it.

“Vetting, any thoughts as to what we should do today?” Mo
“Nothing yet.”
“Grum?”
“We should discuss potential destinations and investigate from there.”
“Where, there’s Mosshold, the last known location for the Eye. One of the things that’s concerning there is this fallen Paladin of Celestial. I just… don’t understand though.”
“Don’t understand what?”
“Why she would cling to this obviously false shard of a religion. Why she still devotes her life to such a… lie.”
Lyssa looks up from her meal visibly rolls her eyes then continues eating, while Vetnik sighs aloud.
“Well, her beliefs are real to her.” Gr “Everyone has a different reality.”
“We all have our weaknesses. I’m sure why this Paladin fell has something to do with that weakness.” Th says returning to the dining room.
“Moss hold is only a day away then. Shall we ride?” Mo
“As long as you’ve got more of that cheese and ale packed!” Trio
“Of course! Let us make haste then!” Th

They stand up and, as they head to the door, Lyssa cuts past Moira and slams her portion of silver down on the table. Moira averts a direct gaze and heads out with the others, avoiding Lyssa. Outside, they mount their steeds and head towards the Western gate. As they open, they watch in wonder as the black iron gates open mechanically, gears spinning and puffs of smoke spurting out. They pass and head into the wilderness across dry, grassy shrubs. In the distance, they see a town in disrepair. Its stone and wooden structures covered in layers of unruly ivy. Where Blackmoor’s grounds were mostly earth and cobblestone, the native plants have wildly grown and collapsed the entire city. They ride through a lot of nothing, the sound of hooves against grasses and plants the only thing that sound beyond wildlife scurrying through the brush. Entering Mosshold, they see the occasional human. They conceal themselves behind fallen structures and shield their children. Deeper into town, more and more humans can be spotted but they keep to their alcoves and thresholds. No sight of children playing, no free range animals, no sounds of a community. They are hushed and those that don’t immediately rush and seal themselves off into their homes watch in silence.

At the center of town, the party sees Inns, trading posts and other buildings are seen boarded up and broken down. Castle Mosshold waits behind them all, its silhouette imposing but its structure just as abandoned. Only three corner towers stand, the forth and front most tower having been destroyed taking with it the nearby parapet walkways and turrets. Through the rubble, shards of brilliantly colored stained glass shoot up alongside weeds, rotted wood, and the decay of finery like tapestries and upholstered furniture. Nearing the Castle, Lyssa extends her hand and tries to detect magic, but her radar picks up nothing.
“This place is void of magic,” Lyssa informs.
While Lyssa scans the area, Thom places his hand upon his shoulder and intones himself in an aura of Strength magic.
“You guys, the townsfolk here are watching you cast spells and are freaking out.” Grum whispers to the pair. Lyssa and Thom look around and confirm their feared reactions. Not wanting confrontation, the party picks up their pace and head towards the castle at double the pace.

Once in the shadow of the castle, they park next to a thicket of old, untrimmed trees. They notice no guards and no visible sight of activity around or within the castle. Ravens circle above and fly out of view while, behind them, the townsfolk cautiously step back out of their homes and leer from afar. Together, they strategize as to what to do while searching the castle, Thom takes a seat in the shade and begins to concentrate on relearning his magics.
“Well, why we wait, we can set snares around the carts and make sure that these sketchy townsfolk don’t take off with our goods!” Gr
Grim gets to work on setting a series of snares in a ring around their stuff. Lyssa watches Grum lay them out in his quiet and efficient way and asks Grum to show her how to lay them, which he obliges. The two set up traps while Thom steeps himself into his spell book; Moira stands guard, keeping an eye on the leering townspeople while Vetnik and Trisoll wrangle the horses and keep them calm. The daylight fades into early evening, the setting sun changing the blue sky to golden red. After all the snares were laid, Thom stepped in and cast a field of Invisibility over himself while Vetnik and Trisoll concealed the goods in netting and tied the horses off to nearby trees. Grum showed Lyssa where the trigger mechanism for the snares was and covered it with grass before the pair returned to the rest of the party. Over the past few hours, Vetnik and Trisoll debated on how best to enter the castle. Once all together, it was decided that the Black brothers would enter by climbing up the mountain of debris into the castle, scouting ahead beforehand. The twins obliged; Grum scaled the rubble with cat like grace but it was his brother who struggled, twisting his ankle in such a way that it prevented from allowing him to meet his brother’s speed. The brothers treaded carefully across the rubble of the ruining tower into the damaged parapet walkway and quickly dashed towards the keep. Making their way down to the bailey, they saw only more decay and disrepair. A fountain in the center stood filled not with fresh flowing water but with mud and dying plants, the stone figure in the center so concealed by veins of ivy that its original form was too far beyond recognition.

Inside, Grum and Thom wandered, detecting no noise, and successfully busted open the first door in sight and entered into a sacked guard armory. Dust and cobweb-covered weapons and pieces of armor littered the room. To the north, four chambers. To the east, another door. In the middle between the two was a grand spiral staircase descending down below the earth. Thom approached the first door to the east and detected no noise. Grum stepped up and found the door unlocked. With his dagger, Grum poked the door open. In the dark, Grum could see rows of cots scattered throughout. On a table, flies buzzed over rotting food stuffs. Grum entered and sacked the room, but found nothing. Only lingering ephemera: a quill here, a quilt there. Grum exited the room and as he exited he, saw his brother’s ear against a chamber door. He pressed his finger to his lips as Grum approached.
“I hear a maiden, sounds like she’s talking to someone but no one is responding.” Thom whispered.
Grim kneeled down and peered through the keyhole. Inside, he spied a lone woman decked out in unpolished silver armor sitting in a dusty, damaged throne. She cradles a large, imposing broadsword in her lap while she wearily makes pleas to Celestian. She is beautiful but solemn looking; the fading light from outside shining through the large glass windows sparkled upon the brooch holding her soiled velvet cape closed: the holy symbol of Celestian!
“Stay here,” Thom ordered his brother before darting off. Across the broken stone and weeds of the bailey, Thom hurried back the dilapidated tower. Sliding down the makeshift rockslide, Thom snuck upon his party members and informed them of all they saw inside.

“Looks like we’ve discovered a blonde, Paladin muttering to herself inside.” Thom whispers to Vetnik.
“Undoubtedly the fallen Paladin of Celestian.” Vet
“I’m going to go back inside and attempt to open the proctillus, I’ll return shortly!”
The party hears Thom’s hurried footsteps rush away and in the distance, hears him climb back up through the rubble. The rest gather at the front gates waiting for their companion.

“What do you all think we ought to do with this Paladin when we find her?” Vet
“Well,” Moira begins, “we can ask her for her help. I’ll talk to her, show hr Cortex’s way and—“
“Yeah, Moira, you don’t wanna push anything on her. It’s… her choice!” Trio
“I don’t think she’s in the best place mentally.” Vet
“Yeah, it might not be the best idea.” Tris
“What about you, Lyssa? Any ideas?” Vet
“No.” Less says, not even looking up from cleaning her nails with a dagger.
“Everybody believes in different things. Trios doesn’t believe in the same things as you.”
“Well, Trisoll is… cute. But misguided.” Moira says uncomfortably. Trisoll scowls, almost offended.
“So, those who don’t believe in Cortex are misguided? That’s a shame.”
“It’s… it’s ok. Cortex doesn’t require you’re obedience. It’s true, and I can tell this paladin this!” Moira says, while Lyssa chuckles.
“Moira, I really wouldn’t recommend it.” Trisoll pleads once more.

Their debate is cut short by the creaking of the iron from broken stone. The gates rise and the party looks around, wondering how the gates are rising. They scrape against the stone and metal, sounding across the Castle. “Hurry!” Thom whispers. With daylight waning, Moira and Vetnik light their torches and following the sound of footsteps left by Thom.

Meanwhile, the sound of the gates rising echoes through the quiet castle. Grum watches as the paladin sits up and looks around the chamber. As the gate hits it hilt, the paladin takes her broadsword into her hand and cautiously stands and approaches the doors. Grim quickly goes flush against the nearby wall, hiding in the shadows, as the paladin throws open the doors.

“Who goes there?! Who’s out there?! Leave me be… the ghosts… no… the voices… NO! Show yourself!” the paladin cries out into the chamber, her voice echoing. The faint glow of torchlight approaches and the paladin swings around and positions herself.
“Anyone want to show themselves?” Lyssa jeers. “Thom?”
“I’m not showing myself!” Thom hisses back.
Moira leads the party into the chamber, torch in one hand, the other raised in a show of peace, and there they see the defensive paladin standing ready to strike. Her eyes glow in the torch light with a madness.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?! Speak, ghosts!”

The party looks to each other confused. Suddenly, Lyssa forcefully pushes Trisoll out from behind Moira towards the front. The paladin points her blade, despite seeing the golden triskelion of Trithereon embroidered across his tunic.
“Hello! We.. I don’t mean any harm. Um…”
“Why are you here?! To rob me? I have nothing for you, not even a soul to take!”
“Can we talk, is that alright? What is your name?”
“I am Morrigan Shearwood! Why do you wish to talk? I told you I have nothing! I have…” The paladin’s defensive tone weakens to soft murmuring. She relaxes her blade and sinks to the floor. “I have nothing.”
Trios cautiously approaches, palms forward. “It’s alright, I don’t want anything from you besides a moment of your time. Please, you’re among friends.” Trisoll notices her hand still upon her broadsword. “May I come a little closer?”
As Trisoll steps forward, the sullen paladin’s grip tightens around the handle of her blade as she slowly drags it up from the ground. “No,no,no! I’ll sit over here!” Trios says, retreating, sitting cross-legged on the floor across from her. The paladin says nothing and keeps her head down.

“What do you mean you have nothing. It looks like you’re a paladin?”
“No more… no more. I have been forsaken.”

Moira is itching to step forward and looks to Vetnik. Vetnik shakes his head no.

“I don’t hear Celestian’s voice anymore. It’s all gone. I have nothing. The Eye…I was supposed to guard it with my life. I… I… My men, I sent them to their deaths! I did not know! And now I am cursed!”

Grum steps out of the shadows and leers behind the paladin. He waves to Moira to step forward. She does. “Hello?”

The paladin looks up and tenses up once again.

“I mean you no harm, Morrigan. I am Moira Steelshaper, a Paladin of Cortox.”
“Cortox? That symbol you wear, Paladin. The stars, what do they mean?!!”
“Cortox is the lord of all, sister. And his love encompasses the stars.”
“No…no that was influence of my god! Celestian has forsaken me! Is it not enough for the taunts, the whispers at night! Have you come to taunt and torment me, witch, with words from this false god!” Morrigan stands and takes the defensive, putting her sword between Trisoll and Moira and herself.

Vetnik approaches, his hands up as well. “Morrigan, please.” Morrigan swings and points her blade at the cavalier. “My lady, Celestian… when did you lose touch with him?”
Morrgian locks eyes with Vetnik and her hands tremble with the blade in them. “The Reunification (DATE).”
Trisoll stands and takes a similarly passive stance. “This doesn’t have to get crazy, maybe we can help you get answers!”
“Yes sister,” Moira interjects, “once you realize the power and grace of Cortox, he will be able to grant you any answers you seek!”
The party as a whole turn their eyes towards Moira in unspoken frustration. Morrigan’s trembles no more, angered by the utterance of Cortex’s name, and in a furious rage she approaches Moira. “HERETIC!” She cries out at Moira. Grum leaps forward with bow and arrows drawn. Morrigan looks back and forward frantically. “Torment me longer, cruel spirits!” she hisses, taking pause.
“Calm yourself,” Lyssa says stepping forward. Her eyes flash and immediately, Morrigan sinks back into a stupor. “Sheathe your blade,” Lyssa commands, though Morrigan is unresponsive at first. “Sheathe your blade!” Lyssa barks, less patient. Morrigan tosses her blade aside and stumbles around until squatting back down against the stone floor.
“Take the blade, take the blade!” Grum cries out to Trisoll.
Trios rushes up and reaches out to grab the blade. Picking it up with both hands, he looks at her (the weight of the blade a bit of a shock to Trisoll) and asks if it’s alright that he takes it from her. Morrigan is unresponsive.
“It’ll be fine.” Lyssa says to him. “Stand paladin!” Morrigan reluctantly does as she’s told. “What keeps you here?”
“I am cursed to be here.” she mutters.
Grum relaxes his bow and places his hand upon Morrigan’s plated shoulder as if to comfort her. “You do not have to stay cursed. Come with us, we can help you.”
“I wish that were true. So many others have died. Men and women in my charge…” she responds, her voice cracking
“Is it because of the Eye?” Vet
Morrigan says nothing, only looking to Vetnik with a hangdog expression.
“Where is the Eye now?” Lyssa asks sternly.
“Below. Beneath the castle, inaccessible to me.”
“Why inaccessible to you?” Vet
“What lies beneath the castle?” Lys
“Terrors.”
“Then you come, fight with us.”
“I cannot! I am cursed, not to enter, not to leave. At night, I hear voices taunting my cowardice.”
“Who are these voices?”
“I don’t know?”
“Is it your own voice?” Gr
“No, no… sometimes my own voice is my only comfort.”
“We are friends are we not?”
“Yes, of course!” Mor responds to Lys.
“Then you come with us.”
“I cannot! I cannot go down there, please!” Morrigan pleads, nearing the staircase.
“Come, I’ll tell you a story,” Vetnik says as he guides her along.
“I told you, I cannot! The curse, the demon below!”
“There’s a demon?!” Thom cries out
“Morrigan, I implore you. You don’t wish for your dear friend to come into harm, do you?” Lys says. Morrigan blinks and shakes her head, awakening from Lyssa’s charm. She sees Lyssa, her eyes aglow and pushes Vetnik aside. “You dare enchant me, witch! Sending me to my doom? Where is my blade!?” Morrigan looks around and sees Trisoll cradling it in his arms. Realizing she’s outnumbered, she runs across the room to a corner. “I will fend you all off, all of you with my bare hands if I must!”

“Let me tell you a story, a tale of Celestian my father once told me,” Vetnik says, once more trying to pacify the paladin. “would you like to hear it?” Morrigan slightly relaxes at the sound of Celestian’s name, her fists still trembling. “At first I didn’t believe in him, as a boy. I couldn’t fathom how so many people believed in gods like Celestian. In my kingdom, deities were not so revered. My father though, he told me the tale of how Celestian became a part of Cortox and how—“
Morrigan resumes her defensive stance, confusion washing her face. “Lies.” she whispers, “now stay away from me! Go to your doom if you must, but leave me be! And leave my sword behind, cleric, so help me Celestian…”
Trisoll around for approval from his party, unsure of what to do. Trisoll looks to Grum, unsure of what to do. Vetnik steps back and approaches Trisoll, reaching for the sword. Morrigan attempts to rush forward in the same direction, but before she can get too far, Lyssa waves her hand and slams her against the wave telekinetically suspending her up into the air. “Enough of this!” Morrigan swings and kicks but is too far up off the ground to hit.

Grum steps forward and pats Lyssa on the shoulder. “Steady her if you don’t mind?” he whispers.
“No, no you cannot!” Moira cries out. Before she can stop Grum, he fires an arrow into her. “No, Grum! This is terrible!”
“AGHHHH!” Morrigan cries out.
“I told you to watch it.” Gr
“A tad dramatic, no?” Lys
“Look, Moira, I’ll take care of her wounds. Less, keep her up there.”
“We shouldn’t do that kind of stuff!” Mo
“No, honey. You shouldn’t do that stuff!” Gr to Mo.
Thom, invisible, mocks Moira. “The true God commands you to relax!”
Grum and Lyssa chuckle while Vetnik sighs and moves past them towards the stairs. Trios reaches up to pull the arrow out but cannot reach. Morrigan passes out from exhaustion and pain.
“This is cruel.” Moira groans. “Lyssa, please bring her down?”
“No, the Hell with that! Keep her up there!” Thom interjects.
Lyssa shrugs at Moira and shoots her a cocky sneer. Moira’s frustration increases. “Please! Trisoll, Grum!”
Trisoll winces and gives up trying to reach her. Grum sheathes his bow and heads towards the staircase. “She’ll be fine there. Who knows, perhaps she’ll find Cortox’s grace while she’s up there!”
Trisoll sheepishly passes by Moira and follows Grum towards the stairs. Moira looks back to Lyssa one last time, who immediately turns her back and follows the others. “You head to your doom!” Morrigan moans to Moira, who sighs in disappointment before meeting up with the others.

The party descend the grand, stone staircase that leads into the bowels of Castle Mosshold. At the foot of the steps, they find Vetnik waiting for them. Grum leads Thom westward down a long, dark hall while the rest of the party wait with torches in hand. They continue South down it before coming up a doorway. Grum rushes back to the party while his brother listens for noises. Behind the door, he hears the whirring and clicking of mechanics (much like the machinations he heard ringing throughout Blackmoor.) Grum returns with the others and together the Blacks find that the door is untrapped and unlocked. Grum slowly cracks the door open and peers in and find a hall of horrors: shuffling behind the door are a series of five figures. Their bodies are a patchwork of various dead fleshes, their limbs and joints hinged together with strange, bronze gears and pistons. In unison, their heads swivel and turn towards the door and their jaws let loose a tinny groan! Just as Grum closes the door behind him, he looks up to the ceiling above the mechanical zombies and sees a strange, gelatinous blob of yellow ochre dripping and writhing. Grum rushes to try and lock the door with his lock picking skills but fails.
“Well, time to run now!” Gr
“What’s wrong?” Mo
“Well, the mechanical zombies—“ Gr
“Zombies?!” Tri
“Yes, behind this door, let’s go!” Gr
The door is pounded into splinters and the zombies burst through, the scraping of unlubricated gears echoing against the cold stone walls. Thom whips his drum out and begins to bang a beat out under the veil of invisibility, bestowing a charm to the party. Moira steps forward and rushes the zombies pouring out into the hall with her longsword.
“Out of the way!” Lyssa cries out to Moira who’s busy cutting down a zombie. She summons a small glowing orb of fire and concentrates on sending it through the throng of zombies. The glowing orb grows and grows until reaching the middle of the zombie crowd, where it reaches full blossom and explodes, setting fire to both the zombies. The jelly drips down its yellow ochre goo onto the zombies who continue to rage forward. Grum rushes forward with Lyn and Slå and jams them into one of the undead machinations; the daggers surge with cyan blue energy and the party watches as the zombie lights up from within, sparks of electricity bouncing off the metal pieces causing them to slag and fuse to the corpse skin. When Grum pulls them out, the blue glow is gone — much to Grum’s disappointment. Trisoll, spying the slagging metal caused by Grum’s electric blades, decides to stand back and concentrate on the metal lining their bodies. The mecha-zombies keep rushing forward, taking aggressive interest in Moira. They crash down upon her with blind fury, throwing their mechanically-enhanced limbs into her, knocking her around. Moira is able to parry one of the zombies by knocking the gears in its arm out of place! Vetnik fends off a zombie but is clubbed by one.

The zombies break through the frontline of defenders (Moira, Vetnik, and Grum) and set their sights on the others. One clubs Grum while another falls to the ground stunned while Grum tears its loosely-hinged arm off. A second mecha-zombie attempts to strike Grum but the half-elf is nimble and dart out of the way, causing the zombie to fall stunned to the ground. Grum pauses and takes notice of the metal parts of his attackers: he sees them begin to sear and burn; he turns back to see Trisoll’s eyes closed and hand extended, heating up with glowing heat energy. Vetnik is far too caught up in the throws of battle and, as he swings his longsword, his shoulder piece becomes unhinged and interrupts his blow. Lyssa pays special attention to the stunned mecha-zombies and casts burning hands over them but she struggles to conjure more intense flames. Moira takes two swings at the mecha-zombies and only manages to make one. Thom continues to drum and rushes past the combat into the next hall, through the dripping tendrils of ochre jelly. Inside, he sees gold littering the floor of the room. Trisoll’s lowers his searing red hand and opens his eyes; glazed over and white, he utters the blessing of Trithereon:

“To thine own self be true!”

With renewed vigor, Vetnik charges at a standing zombie but misses. A nearby zombie swings at Lyssa, but misses twice. The second charges after Moira and bashes her in the skull with its armor-plated fist. Lyssa, seeing Moira exhausted from the abuse at the hands of the mecha-zombies, creates an invisible shield around her! Thom watches from the safety of the next room, invisible and continuing to pound away at his drums (in a nearby corner, he spots a carved ivory coffer). Grum drops Lyn and Slå and draws his longsword, but as he pulls it out he slips and falls to one knee, wildly slicing into Trisoll! Trisoll shrieks out in agony as Grum cuts through his leg. Moira cuts at a zombie and watches as the metal parts of the creature continue to heat up until red hot, causing one of the fallen zombies to slag and stop moving. Trisoll limps over to Moira and places his hands upon her, healing what wounds of hers he can.

Steeled, Moira slices twice at a mecha-zombie and cuts it down to shreds. It collapses to the ground and writhes, the gears and pistons making up for movement. A badly burned zombie rises from the ground but Vetnik swings around and jams his longsword into him, knocking it back with a mighty blow. Grum takes on the most mobile of the zombies and cuts into it with both a longsword and handaxe, bringing it to the brink of true death. Thom sneaks back past through the dripping jelly and yanks out an important gear of one of the zombies, causing it to collapse. The last two standing zombies attempt to strike Thom and Trisoll but both miss. Lyssa pulls a random dagger from her holster and pulls out the red glass blade from Athas, jamming it into the zombie. As the blade pierces the zombie’s skull, a sudden wave of intense warmth fills the two rooms. She pulls the blade out and sees sweat begin to collect on everyone’s brows — especially on Vetnik and Moira, who become visibly more uncomfortable. Vetnik swings and misses the first but he fells the second shambling machination. Moira sees the last one standing and cuts it down.

In the next room, the party sees puss-like dripping goo slowly drip down from the ceiling and slither to the ground. It collects into a pile and as it reconstitutes, Lyssa steps forward and blasts it with another wave of burning hands. The ochre jelly recoils and does its best to crawl away from the jet of fire.
“Does anyone know anything about these kinds of creatures?!” Moira cries out.
“Don’t let it touch you!” Vetnik replies.
Seeing the adverse reaction to Lyssa’s burning hands, both Vetnik and Moira pick up their torches and jab at the jelly with them. Grum passes his arrowtip through Vetnik’s torch and shoots a flaming arrow into the ooze. Together, they watch as it explodes into a mess of semi-transparent yellow tendrils that melt into the cracks of the floor. Once dissolved, the party enter the room and scoop up the found gold in the now-empty room. Thom picks up the ivory coffer looks it over: a battle scene is carved into it, with locks and hinges made of gold, but realizes it alone is not worth much. With no traps on the hinge, Thom cautiously opens and finds nothing inside. He pockets it and together the party continue West.

They find the door not trapped nor locked. Swinging it open, Grum sees only a long, dark hallway. He scouts ahead by himself, his half-elf eyes finding the the end of the hall splitting off into three directions, each of which are unlit and continue on. He whistles for them to meet up at the bend. They continue on together, Grum at the front and head North. They continue down the winding hall until coming upon a great, wooden door. Thom hears nothing, Grum however finds traps on the door. He successfully removes the trigger mechanism, but is unsure of its make or effect. He finds the door unlocked and he presses it open. In the center of the room, he sees a rotting corpse in leather armor, its hand outstretched. As he opens the door more and the other empty in, they see a pattern drawn in sand in the center of the room: a giant pentagram. Grum inspects the corpse and finds a small locket around its neck. He pops it open and sees the portrait of a beautiful, young brunette in simple robing. Lyssa inspects the pentagram and feels the ruddy-colored sand between her fingers. She looks over at the corpse and sees that the hand of corpse has broken through the mystic symbol.
“May Cortox guide you,” Moira whispers over the corpse. She stands and looks around the bare, undecorated room. Evil still vibrates throughout the room, which causes Moira to shudder. “Come, we should move on.”
Grum pockets the locket and leads the party down another long hallway westwards out of the ritual room. Just ahead, he sees the hall break off in opposite directions. They turn left and see a door at the end; the brothers make their checks on it and, as Thom presses his ears against the wood. Beyond the footsteps, he hears a series of voices speaking in foreign tongues. He concentrates and casts Comprehend Languages, and as the spell takes hold, he realizes the origin much to his shock. He almost immediately recoils, feeling his mind swell with horrid voices from the Abyss.
“No, no, no, no!” he mutters to himself, shaking his head as he heads away from the door.
“What? What is it?” Moira asks trying to calm him, Grum approaching attempting to do the same.
“What’s in there?” Lys
“I’m not going in there! I’ll drum out here, but I am not going in there!” Tho
“What did you hear?”
“There’s some intense evil behind that door!” Moira confirms, feeling the demonic presences.
As Moira and Grum do their best to calm the frantic Thom, Lyssa approaches the grand wooden doors and holds her palms to them. Her eyes flaring with chaos energy, she channels the energy through her hands and attempts to cast Knock. Suddenly, the energy is send recoiling back up through her arms and the chaos energy leaves her eyes. Lyssa steps back and looks at her hands and then the door. She turns to the others and as she opens her mouth to speak, the others stare back at her confused.

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