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IC: D&D 5e: A New Age - A New Legend Is Born

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"Yeah, went great."  The large warrior grunted at the bard.  "Don't know why you're wiping off you're blade, elfling, it's not like you used it."

His charm was bursting at the seams after that scuffle.  "When I go to a blacksmith for a blade, I expect a blade.  A weapon of quality that I can trust.  When I venture with others, they are my blade and expect quality from them.  Not mewling in a corner while I do all the work... a blade of poor quality holds no value to me.  Use that big mind of yours to do the math."

He stomped around, unable to sit still, he was edgy now, thirsty for war.

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"Let's not bicker about who killed who..." Krusk exclaims as he puts his arms out to both the fighter and bard. "The important thing is that we survived being caught off guard, and it's clear that we are irritating some evil while we are here. We must be on the right path."

He walks over to Arturs and bends down slightly, looking him over. "Yes, it looks like you made it out unscathed. Good thing too! We need your help and you are under our care until this is over." He straightens back up and looks directly at Eon. He puts his hand out and says "Eon, you said you... had some ideas about this? Who could have done this?"

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"Good thinking. I think we should just check out this next chamber while we are here for. That's what we came for and it may be the reason why these things attacked." He heads toward the door but suddenly turns around to Shayuri. "But... you make an excellent point. I think it was wise to suggest it before. Now... well now it seems like the best possible idea."

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Eon looks askance at Dread, letting out a snort thick with scorn. A blade of ill quality indeed

"I saw no mewling. And to claim as much speaks more to your own inadequacies than any potential fault of the rest. A paladin that turned away every undead within sight. I saw fire and lightning turned to our aid and I saw recognition of capabilities, where those that recognised an inability to outright kill struck in ways to deflect and delay.

And then I saw a meathead railing about the injustice of it all. Your inability to recognise any contributions because they didn't result in an outright death immediately is ill becoming a warrior of your supposed tactical acumen. But then, why am I bothering. I'd be better served talking to one of the corpses. They might at least contribute something meaningful to the conversation. They're certainly more personable."

He'd met Dreads sort time and time again. On both sides of the law. They kept going to a certain point, full of braggodocio. And then they're found face down in a canal with a dagger in their back and a belly full of poison, just to be sure.

He inclines his head to the Paladin.

"I'm a suspicious sort, at the best of times. Growing up as I did, I tend to assume the worst. It means I'm pleasantly surprised when they don't come about. Worst case scenario for me. Toral, in an attempt to contribute more to the village, summoned up something he shouldn't have and he's being used like a meat puppet. Option two: he somehow woke up this long dead wizard and the wraith is doing much the same. Both of these explain the potential fixation on Arturs as well as the use of the undead. But then, that's my knee jerk reaction, as I said. Option three: the wards were doing more than just keeping the shelter intact and protected, but were in fact acting as a prison of some sort. The danger seemingly past, Toral is not just maintaining the wards, but actively studying them and trying to make changes. Predictable results ensue and the end result is much like options one and two."

there's a brief pause as he cocks his head in thought.

"Actually, worst worst case is we're standing on top of a portal to one of the hellscapes and the entire world is about to be eaten by demons or the horrors are back. But I don't think that's happened. Far too little screaming so far. But anyway. The rest are more boring and or mundane. Those are the ones which fit what I know..... as well as making for a better story."

The deadpan look he receives from some of the party has him chuckling.

"Hey, I'm a Bard. Stories are my thing, and no matter how warped they may become, there's a grain of truth to pretty much all of them."

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"That's amazing," said Dread uncaringly.  "Just like your swordsmanship: pure speculation.  We've been through all this already, and once again, we can talk about it, or we go actually find out.  Arturs, lead the way when you catch your breath."

Dread pulled his dagger from the stone wall, wiped it clean and placed it properly in it's sheath.  He and Eon didn't say much else to one another.  They way they spoke to each other was like a brawl was about to erupt between them at any moment, but it stayed simply at the level of smithing words into weapons and nothing more.  As everyone took a moment to compose themselves after the battle Arturs approached Dread.

"You called me Arturs."  He said, trying to approach from Dread's flank.  It wasn't the first time he noticed that the giant warriors bicep was almost as thick as the young apprentice's head.  The fighter intimidated the hell out of him.  "Y-you always call me 'boy'."

"You survived your first battle," he replied calmly, wiping down his sword with more love and care than he'd shown any of his companions.  "You stood tall and defended yourself, as well as you could, at any rate.  You're not a boy anymore, you're a man.  A deserves to be addressed by his name, you've earned it today."

"But, you told me not to fight.  You told me to sit by and only react, to defend and not go on the offense.  I disobeyed you.  My weapon didn't even taste blood."

A sliver of a grin formed on the gruff giant.  "I'm not you're Lord Arturs, I can't command you no more than I can command them," he motioned to the others, which only mad them curious as to what was being discussed.  "You did what you thought was best for yourself and you did it with courage of heart and no reservation in your mind.  There is no better time to perform great deeds then when you are being true to yourself.  That's how legends are written.  Your dagger, let me see it."

Arturs practically puffed at the compliment.  The warrior Delgath who had little to nothing kind to say to anyone, offered the young apprentice a fair appraisal of his own worth as a not only a man, but a leader among his people.  He slid his dagger from it's sheathe and presented it to Dread.  The warrior held it, tested it's weight and thumbed the edge.

"This is a tool." He said, looking him in the eyes.  "You are the weapon.  Whether sword or spell, don't you ever forget that."  He slid his own dagger from it's sheath.  It was thick bladed and might as well have been a short sword.  "Here, a blade worthy of a man.  The weight is more suited for you, the blade as actually sharp, and it's grip won't slip when you swing it."  He presented Arturs with his 'dagger'.

"Lord Delgath, I-I couldn't..." he stammered, unsure what to do.

"I'm not your Lord, Arturs, take it.  You're a warrior this day, as much as you are an apprentice.  You need a weapon worthy of a warrior.  Leave your old one to buttering bread."  With shaky hands the young apprentice accepted the offer.  "You shed blood with me.  We're brothers."  He slapped the shoulder of Arturs and knocked him down like a house of cards.  Dread sighed.  "...half brothers, maybe.  Distant cousins... twice removed, tops."

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Arturs managed a small smile and nodded.

"Thank you. Thank you all." Arturs said with another nodd to the party.

Arturs then turned to the door and moved his hands hands over the carvings, pressing here and there, causing an occasional audible *click* or some other sounds of a mechanism being triggered inside the door. He paused for a moment and looked over his shoulder at the others. 

"Uhhh... it is almost unlocked. I am not sure what might be waiting on the other side, so I will press the last trigger and then push the door open. Be ready." he said. The others readied weapons and prepared spells in anticipation and Arturs turned back to the door, said a small prayer, pressed a carved rune and pushed.

Just like the entrance door, this interior door was heavy and made of stone, but remarkably well balanced, allowing Arturs to push it open without too much effort. The light from Shayuri's glowing stone spilled into the much smaller room as the smell of decay wafted out of it. Hands tightened on weapons at the smell and Arturs spun to the side as they waited for any sound or movement, half expecting zombies to come pouring out of the small, inner chamber.

Dread rolled his eyes and strode through the doorway, ready for all on comers, but he was met with just still silence. The others entered behind him, allowing Shayuri's stone to illuminate the small room. The walls were covered it more relief carvings and dwarvish writing and in the middle of the room sat a stone sarcophagus, with the lid slid half off. Inside was the skeleton of a being of short stature, held together by remains of desiccated sinew, Ardis Softnote apparently, along with some bits of jewelry and a remarkably well preserved cloak, set of boots and leather armor. Even at a glance it was apparent the remains had been disturbed, the hands crossed over his chest having seemingly held something at one point were now empty.. 

In the far corner on the inner chamber was two bodies. The first lay on its back, severely charred,, male as best as anybody could guess. The other was slumped against the wall , a much older human male with a dagger tucked into his belt and his robes ripped open to bare his chest, where a dagger was plunged through his heart. One palm was cut, and on the stone wall next to the body, written over part of the story of Ardis that was carved into the wall, in blood where the words,

I TRIED
TRAPPED HERE NOW
I'VE FAILED YOU ALL
PLEASE FORGIVE ME
 

"Master!" Arturs exclaimed as he pushed his way through the others and knelt at the side of his dead master, trembling hands reaching out for the body, but unsure of what to do.

"This.. It is.. was... Toral." Arturs said as he fought to hold back tears at the sight of dead master.

 

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"Well," Dread said with a sigh that stated his lack of concern for the apprentice and his sob story.  "I'm sure the rest of you want to stand here and talk for the next several hours about the bodies, the dead dwarf, and spin a series of speculations that get us nowhere..."

He pointed to a comfortable spot.  "I'll be over there."

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"Well shit." Eon mutters to himself. Placing a commiserating hand on Arturs shoulder, giving a light squeeze.

As Delgath pipes up he responds "You'd be more useful by the door, actually. Stabbing anything that tries to lock us in. Again. But thank you." paying the irate warrior no more heed, he moves into the room.

"For all that, though. It looks fairly straightforward. Toral was in here and was attacked. He killed him or it with fire, but the door had been sealed and he wasn't able to open it from the inside. He committed suicide rather than facing a slow death by starvation or suffocation." he pauses for a moment, eyes glancing over the message left behind and frowning. "Or possibly just in shame. About three days ago." he hunkers down, glancing in askance at the dagger still on his hip and the one lodged into his chest. "Though why the Dwarfs dagger is beyond me." He gestures to the pictographs displaying the Dwarf wielding a dagger and again at the Sarcophagus distinctly missing a dagger of any description.

With a quiet "Pardon me" to the corpse, he reaches forward and, one hand splayed against the chest, withdraws the dagger with the other. Standing up and looking at the dagger, he grunts. "Well, it's a dagger, certainly. Of good quality. Dwarven, obviously. Beyond that, I've got nothing. Could be magic. Could not. You know anything about it, Arturs?"

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Arturs listened to Eon, but looked confused for a moment.

"Toral knew how to open it from the inside, just as I do." he corrected..

Arturs looked at the carvings and thought for a moment, recalling the stories of Adris Softnote and nodded.

"Well, the dagger was Adris' weapon of choice, a gift from his father when he left Silver Hill. He carried it on his journeys and adventures, and it served him well. While his companions favored other weapons, Jhulae and her dual swords, Nolim and his magic, and Bowlloff and his Hammerblade, Ardis always trusted in his dagger. Together, the four of them had many adventures, and when the Horrors began to appear, they opposed them. For years they battled against them, and in time, only Ardis remained. Even alone he fought against the Horrors, with the aid of his magic and stealth, his dagger would often find its way into their vulnerable spots, wounding and slaying many and even wounding and driving off Neth'ka when it attacked as our shelter was being sealed. it served him well in his time before the shelter, and even during his time with us in the shelter, it is said that dagger never left his side." he stated, reciting parts of the story of Ardis that he learned so well in his studies.

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Krusk shakes his head. "What a terrible end for a good man." He sighs and then heads over to the body, going through rites and putting it at rest.

After he finishes, he stands up and moves to the sarcophagus. He moves his hand over the side that is open and then peers into it to view the corpse. He moves away from it and casts 'Detect Evil and Good' to see if there is anything in the room currently or beyond the room they are in, maintaining concentration until noted otherwise.

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"That guy," Dread pointed at the charred husk.  He tore off a bite of bread from his pack and chewed.  "Was robbing the sarcophagus.  That guy," He pointed to the dead wizard.  "Was trying to stop him.  He got off the spell, but not before the creature plunged the dagger into his chest.  Mutually assured destruction.  Trust me, Eon, I've dedicated my entire life to knowing how to kill things." 

He gave Eon a 'you should know better' look.  "C'mon, scholar, a man doesn't stab himself in his own heart to commit suicide, we both know that.  The breast bone gets in the way.  You either need to go upwards and under the bone or go in at an angle around the ribs... if he was looking for the easy way, he was smart enough to slit his wrists.  Very little pain, quiet way to go.  He was dying swiftly and expectantly, hence the hastily written message."

"Let's just clean off the blade, put it back with it's rightful owner, and be on our way.  The dead deserve better than us leering over their corpses, especially a hero."

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10 hours ago, 'Dread' Delgath said:

"That guy," Dread pointed at the charred husk.  He tore off a bite of bread from his pack and chewed.  "Was robbing the sarcophagus.  That guy," He pointed to the dead wizard.  "Was trying to stop him.  He got off the spell, but not before the creature plunged the dagger into his chest.  Mutually assured destruction.  Trust me, Eon, I've dedicated my entire life to knowing how to kill things." 

"I find that a dagger through the heart is pretty immediately terminal. There'd be no "Oh, I have been stabbed, better slash my hand, daub this message, put my dagger away and quietly expire." There would be "Oh," and he would be dead. Particularly with the blade actually buried in his heart." Eon sighs.

10 hours ago, 'Dread' Delgath said:

He gave Eon a 'you should know better' look.  "C'mon, scholar, a man doesn't stab himself in his own heart to commit suicide, we both know that.  The breast bone gets in the way.  You either need to go upwards and under the bone or go in at an angle around the ribs... if he was looking for the easy way, he was smart enough to slit his wrists.  Very little pain, quiet way to go.  He was dying swiftly and expectantly, hence the hastily written message."

"Several issues with this. One; We both do not know this. Because people do. Not everyone is well versed in a blade to know the most efficient methods of killing themselves. Two; What you are talking about are what you would do were you trying to kill him. Not him committing suicide. Three; There is nothing hasty about his message. If it was, it would have been a fraction the length, the letters would have been different sizes and it would have faded in and out as he ran out of blood and continued on rather than going over everything clearly. Four; if it is as you say, he managed to turn around and barbecue his attacker without sustaining any other defensive wounds. Five: If that is so, I suppose he tore his own shirt to paint a bullseye on where he wished to be stabbed? AS I find it hard to believe that if there was enough of a scuffle to tear his shirt there are not other cuts or abrasions on his person, and what killed him was a single stab, not a slash, and further, a stab that was not pushed the whole way in..  Sooooo no. I sincerely doubt he was killed by this thing. Besides. Were he dying, why bother writing trapped in his message at all?"

10 hours ago, 'Dread' Delgath said:

"Let's just clean off the blade, put it back with it's rightful owner, and be on our way.  The dead deserve better than us leering over their corpses, especially a hero."

"In this regard, we are at least in agreement. Though I'd like to know why Shayuri thinks we shouldn't first." He leans back against the wall, one foot resting on it as he takes out the cloth and proceeds to at least clean the dagger of any blood.

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Krusk focused and asked Bahamut's aid and his eyes were drawn to the dwarven dagger in Eon's hand, sensing the touch of the divine on it, but aside from that, nothing else was brought to his senses.
 

The dagger...

Spoiler

 

 

large.ardis_dagger.jpg.c4167af88535b8be0

 

 

 

Arturs shook his head as Dread spoke and waited for him to finish.

"And how did they get past both locked doors? Only Toral, Alrid and I know how to open the tomb doors. And if this person did manage to open the doors, then how would Toral know to come and stop him? Why write the note? Tried? Trapped? Failed? It does not fit." Artus said, his mind shifting to more analytical for a moment, so as to not dwell on the sight of his dead master.

"And why the zombies? Who or what made them? Why was the other chamber full of them? Who or what sealed us inside with them, like a staged trap? This charred body may have been one. And there was a charred body outside the tomb too, remember?"

And why did they want me dead so badly? I own nothing of value, have offended nobody and the only things of note I know are a smattering of magic and Toral, but Alrid knows him better I think." Arturs asked, still confused. 

"And how to open the Tomb too, I guess." the young apprentice added with a shrug.

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"Because she's a coward."  Dread said plainly to Eon.  The warrior didn't hear any of the explanation about how the man ended up dead.  Eon loved the sound of his own voice and Dread had long since learned to tune him out when his lips started moving.

"And I don't know Arturs, nor do I care.  You didn't ask us to solve the mystery, you asked us to destroy whatever is causing all this, and you're paying us poorly to do it.  Maybe my companions are addicted to the drama of your little hamlet, but since we've got here all we've done is waste time and not move fast enough towards wrecking whatever is causing all these conveniently placed little mysteries.  You'll have the rest of your life to figure all this shit out once we've dropped whatever it is that has caused all this."  The apprentice's constant manipulation of his party members by weaving in all manner of questions to keep their drama thirsty, easily distracted minds off the task at hand was starting irritate the warrior.  "Stop dropping all your questions and problems in our lap.  Your shelter, your people, your problems."

"Give it back to the dwarf, Bard, and let's give this place the laugh."  Dread quietly approached the sarcophagus on the side of the lid where he could push it closed.  It was likely that he and Krusk were the only two strong enough to close the lid with little effort.

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"Because," Shayuri said after Delgath had his tantrum, "This body died by Toral's fire, but if the wizard didn't kill himself...which I do feel is unlikely...then there's only one thing in this room that might have done that particular deed."

She nods at the skeleton in the sarcophagus. "Lets hang onto it for now. If, in the end, we discover the skeleton is just a dead body that can't do anything harmful, we can replace the dagger at that time. If not, then at least it won't be armed when it tries to ambush and kill us."

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Arturs positioned himself between Eon and Dread, raising his hands in a gesture asking for calm.

"Toral and myself were the caretakers of this tomb, and since my master is dead, that leaves me, I guess. I would rather not have Adris' remains further damaged or defaced if we can avoid it, especially the severing of the head. I think there is wisdom in Shayuri's words. It may be wise to retain the dagger for now. When we depart the tomb, I will close the doors behind us to protect the remains of the dead, and possibly us from them. After all said and done, and we have slain, banished or destroyed whatever evil we find here, I will return the dagger to the tomb, with the supervision of Alrid, and Krusk if he may be so kind, as we lack a cleric in the village. For now, let us leave this tomb and find whatever has been doing this to the village, and then there will be time for reverence of the dead and proper burials" Arturs said with a surprising amount of newfound confidence.

Arturs pulled out the dagger that Dread gave him and looked it for a moment before sticking it back in his belt.

"If it is agreed that Toral's quarters would be best sought out next, then I know the way." he said, her expression more serious as he blinked away the tears, his focus on on finding whatever did this to his mater and making sure it met and appropriately gruesome end.

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Rhosh sticks quickly checks the pockets of what remains of a few of the corpses as the rest of the group examines the inner chamber of the tomb. The banter back and forth between Eon and Delgath just makes him tsk. "Lotta pride over who saw what," he thinks to himself. As he finishes rummaging through belongings, he resumes his stance by the door that trapped the party in the first place. He holsters the short sword and readies his bow as he hears the consensus to head towards Toral's quarters.

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"Well, I guess we should move on then. Take care of that weapon, Arturs. It is special for more than sentimental reasons. We best be on our way so that we can put an end to this quickly."

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"That's what I've been saying,"  Dread pursed his lips in absolute frustration, glaring at the Paladin with daggers in his eyes.  "You know what, never mind.  I'm sure because you've said it now it's much more profound and important."

He rolled his eyes and moved to the door to wait for them.  The barbarian warrior had a whole new series of suspicions and doubts rolling through his mind after all of what Arturs had said.  He was sure he should voice them, but it wasn't worth it.  He had no desire to hear Eon tear the ideas a proceed to let everyone know all of the reason why he was right and everyone else was wrong.  Truth be told the half-elf was one more snide insult away from losing a tooth, or at worse, his tongue.  Now they were desecrating a grave and the Paladin was all for it.

He took a deep breath to focus his thoughts, lest he have a rage fueled outburst that would end up with Arturs, the only guy who could open the doors in this place, sealed in the sarcophagus along with the dead dwarf.

Better to let all this play out though.  The bard knew everything so surely he was one step ahead of things, not to mention he had fire and lightning on his side so anything Dread had solved at this point, surely he'd solved it hours ago.  Dread was being paid nothing and his interest was swiftly dwindling.  The only thing keeping him here at this point was his word to help these people.  "I'm ready to be done with all of this.  Let us hurry."

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Shayuri, for her part, toyed with the notion of suggesting everyone wait a few minutes while she did a magic detection ritual to see if the skeleton, or the burned body, still had residues of necromancy on them...just to see if she could nudge Delgath over the line once and for all.

But no. Mustn't be petty. Well, not that petty. Not yet at least.

"Lead on," she urged Arturs gently.

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Arturs nodded and allowed everybody to exit the inner chamber, saying a small prayer and giving his dead master one last glance before he closed the door, locking it place. They then gathered around the outer door and Arturs reached out, his hands drifting over the carvings and runes, bringing forth an occasional *click* until finally the door shifted just slightly. With a push, the door swung open to reveal... nothing. Just darkness, and the charred corpse that lay on the floor from before, undisturbed.

"Who... who would have locked us in? And why?" Arturs asked himself softly as he glanced around, fully expecting some other creature to come storming out of the darkness at then. Instead, there was nothing.

"It is this way. Across the market and through the hall." Artus explained, pointing ahead as he began to carefully walk across the massive chamber.

Shayuri's glowing rock illuminated around them for several dozen feet in all directions as they moved toward the village hall. What was once a simple marketplace was now nothing more that scraps or wood, rags, tattered cloth and broken bits of wares that were once for sale. It had an eerie feeling, the gigantic room so silent and littered with the detritus of generations of life in the shelter. The light cast from Shayuri's stone caused even the smallest of objects to cast long, dark shadows, only further enhanced the haunting feeling the place had.

"This was the market, where the residents would barter with one another for goods and services. It is a large part of why we have such little money. Within the shelter, coins lost much of their value. Over there," Artus said, pointing off in the distance a bit, "was were Lorn would offer the tiny clay figurines he would sculpt. I traded many hours of chores in return for some of them, so that as a child, I could recreate the stories I had heard." he remembered fondly.

"And over there, Morina would offer the small bits of sweet root that she would candy with its own juices. She has begun a small bakery in town. When this is all done, you should try some." Arturs said, looking back over his should with a smile that faded as he caught a glimpse of Dread's rather unimpressed expression.

"I am sure it will be delicious." Krusk said, giving the apprentice wizard a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

The room was a couple of hundred feet across or so, and by the crude map Arturs had drawn, that was the short way across. The wall came into view and was followed for a few dozen paces until the opening to the village hall was found. The former hall was a large chamber, but not nearly as big as the market, and had rows of simple benches made from long, crudely formed stone blocks. At one end was a raised area and to either wide were hallways. Arturs chose the hallway on the right and led the others down it and through what had once been simple living quarters; a large room that has been separated mostly but screens and curtains into individual living quarters of various sizes.

"The elders and their families lived in these quarters, off of the village hall, and the quarters for the wizards' connects them both. At one time there was more than one wizard, but over time it became difficult to find apprentices to train, so eventually there was only one wizard." Arturs explained as he pointed to another hallway at the other side of the living quarters as they neared it.

"Through there is the Toral's' quarters." Arturs said, pointing at the hallway.

"Finally. We are getting somewhere." Dread groaned, which prompted an eye roll from Eon.

Arturs drew his dagger and led the others down the hall to a closed, door. He tried it, but the door did not budge.

"The wizard's quarters are one of the few places in the entire shelter with an actual door, and a locking one at that." the young apprentice said as he reached into a pouch on his belt, "But I have the key have the key." he said as he produced a key and slipped it into the lock. "Toral gave it to me when I achieved a new level in my training." he added.

"Be ready. We do not know what may lay beyond." he warned and unlocked the door, pushing it open.

Light flooded out of from the room an into to the hall. it was not overly bright, but it was easily the most well lit room they had encountered thus far. The room itself was large for a living quarters and well maintained with a desk and chair, some smaller tables, a bookcase, an armmoir, and two beds with a footlocker at the end of each. On the ground, near one of the beds, sat a cloth-lined basket with a crusty loaf of bread, a couple of pieces of well overripe fruit, a ceramic bottle and a few other items wrapped in cloth. It stood out somewhat because it was the only thing in the room that seemed to have a lady's touch.

On the table was several dishes with bits of half eaten food, but aside from that, the room was very neat and tidy. The light was cast by several glowing crystals set into the walls, making it easy to read withing the room. On the opposite wall was another door and several tapestries of various sizes covered the stone walls, which, along with the furniture and several overlapping rugs covered the floor, softened the room great deal, making it much more inviting.

"Trough there is a hall leading to more living quarters and back to the Village Hall. Toral always kept it locked. Hopefully there is some clue here has to what is going on here." Arturs said as he looked around with a faint sadness on his face.

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"I'll keep a look out at the doorway. No need to repeat the events from earlier." Rhosh lights a torch of his own and turns around to face the path used to get here.

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Krusk moves next to Arturs so that if anything comes at them, he will be protected. "Not a bad place to do one's studies, especially if you have to do them alone."

He moves toward the tapestries to see if there is anything of interest in them. He also uses his 'Divine Sense' to see if there is anything undead, celestial or fiendish in this room.

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Shayuri hunkers down by the mouldering food and chuckles.

"Toral you sly dog...who were you meeting down here?"

She reaches out to open the cloth wrappings. As she does so, the sorceress adds, "This is where he lived, but not where he worked. Arturs, does he have a laboratory? Library? Arcane workshop? I need to see his work, not his last meal."

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Arturs nodded to Shayuri.

"Indeed. He has a study, but I have not yet seen it. Toral was a bit protective it. Or maybe I thought I would get into sometime dangerous. I think the entrance to it is in this room though. There are times that I left something for him here and then remembered I forgot something a few moments later, and when I returned he was in this room." Artus said as he looked about the room from where he stood.

I am not sure if the entrance in magical or mundane, but I do know a spell that reveals enchantments to me." he adds.

While they speak, Krusk's senses reach out, but detects nothing new. 

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"Well have at it Arturs" Rhosh calls over his shoulder. "The longer we're here, the more likely we are to cross paths with whatever else is here."
While continuing to monitor the black outside Toral's living quarters, he turns occasionally toward the group until he locks eyes with Eon. Rhosh flashes a couple thieves signs to encourage him to look for a hidden door or lever of some kind. He then turns back toward the black and resumes his vigil. 

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Krusk continues to look throughout the room. Though he moves things without knowing what they are, it is clear that he still cares to keep them in good shape and treat them as if they were still owned by an individual. He is looking for anything that may seem out of the ordinary.

Perception Roll = 1d20+1 = 16+1 = 17

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Dread casually leaned against the wall.  His blade was drawn, and he had it pointing towards the floor.  He was ready enough for whatever this place threw at them next, but all the while he was unconcerned with the current search.  He took another bite from his bread loaf out of his pack.  One of the young women in the village had prepared it for him, a special seasoned loaf with sprinkles of various cheeses baked into it.  He attested that if Arturs's whole keeper of the crypt did work out he could probably find a food future in bread baking.  His people were pretty good at it.

"You guys done yet," he asked.  Chewing and speaking at the same time.  "My goal is not to retire here, so if we could make this happen before... oh, I dunno, before I'm venerable.  That would be great."

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"Patience," Shayuri chuckled. "If it takes a few more years, you may actually have a chance to grow up by the time we leave."

She looked at the apprentice.

"Go ahead and do your spell. Lets find this entrance to his lab, yes? Before Delgath finally snaps?"

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Arturs nodded and cast his spell. He looked around the room, but shook his head.

"I do not see a magic trigger or the like. Hmm. If there is some sort of concealed passage, then I think it may be by mundane means." Artus explained.

As Arturs cast his spell and looked around, Krusk had already began to inspect the room and its contents, moving and carefully replacing things in a respectful manner, rather than some haphazard search. He eventually found his way to a large bookcase, where he paused for a moment, sniffing at the air.

"I can spell incense, yet I see no braziers, or even ash." he commented as he focused his attention on the bookcase, checking the frame and each shelf methodically until finally he noticed a rather worn knot in the wood on the side of the case. Cautiously he pressed it and a small *click* could be heard as the bookcase shifted, as if it were on hinges. The others looked over as Krusk began to swing the bookcase open, revealing a passageway behind it, from down which sobbing could be heard.

Cautiously they proceeded down the passage which widened into another small room after twenty feet or so. In each corner was a silver incense brazier and the floor was covered in a large rug, in the middle of which a woman law on her side, motionless, with two small children huddled over her, backs to the party, as they sobbed.

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Krusk begins running toward the woman and children in order to help them. As he reaches the end of the passageway, he remembers that they nearly died just a short time ago from a trap and that this entire area is unfamiliar to him. He stops to a halt right as he approaches the room, now waiting for his companions while simply standing in the entranceway.

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"Coward."  Delgath said as he walked past the 'paladin' with a stiff shoulder, and into the room like it was own, scanning the left and the right of the entrance.  "Woman, are you hurt?"

At the worst, this was some illusion and he'd be in a cell or the floor would collapse and he'd die on a bed of spikes.  He'd heard all the dungeon tales and horror stories before.  "You've obviously energy to sob, so you've energy to answer me," he glared at the three bodies, then knelt down beside them.  "I've had a hell of a day, so you're going lunge and make it worse please do so.  Of not, look up at your rescuers, well rescuer... and know you've no longer a reason for sadness."

He reached out to touch the woman.

Spoiler

Played long enough to know that there is a good chance I'm dead... but YOLO.

 

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The woman lifted her hand and weakly grasp Delgath's wrist,  at which point he could see her fingers where somewhat long and thin, while her nails were enlongated and sharp, nearly claws. Before he could react he felt a wave wash over him and through the muscles of his body, radiating from where the woman's hand touched him.
 

 

Spoiler

Dread needs to make a Con save vs Paralysis.
If he fails, he cannot move or speak and it would take an impressive notice roll to realize that he's even paralyzed, as he just looks like he is kneeling beside the woman to comfort her.
If he succeeds, then he can act normally (and can roll initiative if he wishes to attack).

 

 

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At first Krusk made an excellent wall, obscuring what was happening in the room. When Delgath burst past him it made an opening that Shayuri squeezed into. Her heart sank to see the motionless woman, the crying children. She didn't see blood, but surely...

Then the woman moved, taking Delgath's hand in her own. Perhaps it wasn't too late after all!

She pushed past Krusk as well, though didn't crowd in close...her magic was of little use for healing. Instead she looked back at the half-orc and said, "Your gifts may be needed here, yes?"

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"Ah yes..." He gathers himself before shaking his head and stating "My apologies. I guess I just... got caught up in the moment."

He shivers a bit and shuffles toward the woman, still a bit shaken at the whole sight before him. "Excuse me madam, I hope that we can be of some help. Please do not be afraid of Delgath here. He means well, most of the time."

He shakes once more, before taking a few large steps and plants himself to the side of both the woman and Delgath. He puts out his hand and reaches for the one not already holding his party member, attempting to help her rise to her feet. "There we go. Lets get you back to health here. Children, children. We are here to help and get you out of this terrible place! Soon you will be safe."

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At the woman's touch, Delgath felt a ripple in his muscles, radiating from the woman's hands and running down his arm before radiating out across the rest of his body. His muscles tensed and tightened for a moment, threatening to hold him place like a statue, kneeling beside the woman. He shook it off with a grunt as reached down to help the woman to her feet.

Now aware of the strange, paralytic touch of the woman, Delgath noticed the same, faint tensing in the muscles of Krusk's face at the woman's touch, just as the little girl beside him turned toward him, her head still down and sobbing as she lunged at him to throw her arms around Dethgath in a thankful hug. Deftly, with an unusual grace for a man of his size, Delgath rolled back and to his feet, avoiding the child's grasp.

"Filthy whore!" Dread shouted and stepped back swiftly, clutching his blade tightly.  For a moment everyone behind him thought the warrior had finally gone mad and been consumed by his rage... or it'd been too long since he'd punched something.

"That's no woman!  Ready yourselves!"  He called to the others.  With one sword in his hand he shook the lethargy out of his wrist.  He glared at the woman with anger in his eyes.  He pointed at her with the tip of his sword.  "I'll have your head, wretch, in just moments you will be a trophy."

Krusk stood still for a moment, likely stunned in surprise at Delgath's words, as the woman rose and snapped her head up, whipping her hair back from her face with a hiss, while the children did the same. They were clearly not who, or what they once were, but some sort of twisted mockery of their former selves, ghoulish, but not entirely so. Their eyes solid black and their faces gaunt, skin stretched more tightly over their skull, while their fingers were longer and thing, nails elongated and pointed into near claws.

The 'boy' darted toward Shayuri with a snarl, lunging at the half-elf with with a lithe, claw-tipped hand!

 

Spoiler

 

Krusk has to make a Con save vs Paralysis vs DC 16

Shayuri needs to make a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (you get to pick) vs a 12. Failure means being Grappled and making Con save vs. Paralysis vs DC 16.

Post your results, and any accompanying fluff, HERE.

 

  

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