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

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The rest of the watch for the half-elves was quiet outside. The night was cool though, and rather pleasant were it not for the uncertainty and anticipation. In time, Arturs awoke to find Krusk already done with his daily meditations and prayers, and donning his armor once more.

Arturs looked around and gestured at his boots, hitting them with a prestidigitation cantrip to warm them before he slipped them on with a relaxed sigh.

He slipped on his tunic and belt, tucking his dagger into it and lipped past the curtain to the tables, where he found an apple and took a bite.

Krusk and Arturs stepped outside and found the pair of half-elves talking a little.

"Looks like it is our turn." he said to the pair as he glanced around, resting a hand on his belt, near his dagger, trying to push down his fear.

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Krusk slaps his hand onto Arturs' shoulder. "Don't worry. If nothing happened so far tonight, I doubt anything will happen to us." He walks a little farther out past the doors and slightly into the darkness. He smiles and nods, thinking to himself that he is finally out doing something... ANYTHING with a real purpose.

He begins to walk towards the door on the opposite side as Artus is standing and once he gets there, he places his hand on the door and slides it down slowly. "These are large and sturdy doors. It is fortunate you have these to protect you from whatever it is that scratches and frightens your town. If things get worse, this may be the best place to gather the people." He turns to look into the darkness, moving his feet to a position in which he can stand for a long time.

"Say Artus, could you tell me more about the tomb for the famous bard? Have you heard of anything strange happening there? Maybe an evil presence or something that disturbs it?"

As he waits for Artus' response, he looks out to see if he can notice anything.

 

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Eon cocked his head to the side in surprise. Seeing the Paladins arrival with Wizard in tow. Still, he supposed. Saved him the effort of turfing them out of bed for their watch. The Paladin was probably used to it. Most religious types were, from his experience. Temples kept the strangest hours. Shrugging, he greets the two with a quiet "Morning" and a nod.

As everyone else exchanged brief pleasantries, he drew his cloak tighter about himself to ward off any more of the nights chill. He was going to be glad to be back inside. His lifestyle was oft nocturnal as it was, but he still preferred being inside and in the.... not quite as cold, at least. 

"Been all quiet so far. Nothing of any particular note. Although, we did take a look around earlier. The scratches on the door seem to actually form sigils and carry at least a slight charge of magic. A curse of some description. We decided to leave 'em be for tonight and talk it over with everyone in the morning." he says, gesturing towards the front of the house, indicating the sigils. "just figured you'd like a heads up for your watch, so you can go ahead with everything in mind." He offers the two a small smile. "Now, if you don't have any questions, my bed is calling me." he nonetheless doesn't move, allowing them time to gather their thoughts and ask any questions they might have.

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Arturs listened to Eon and then nodded to the half-elves, considering what he had just said. Krusk's question was a slight surprise to the young wizard, rousing him from his train of thought about the scratches, but he nodded and answered at the half-orc looked about, scanning the village for threats or anything unusual.

"The tomb is two chambers. The outer chamber has Ardis Softnote's story inscribed on the walls, in stone. It is where we all learned his story growing up. The inner chamber is where his body was laid to rest, inside a stone coffin. One of my duties as Toral's apprentice was to open the tomb on holidays, so that people could go in, recount his story, and even pay their respects at his coffin." he explained and thought a little.

"I cannot say I have ever heard of strange goings on there or any sorting of haunting or presence. For us, the tomb was a place to celebrate his life and recall his story. According to the stories, he was a rather jolly fellow around the shelter, his songs and stories are many which we still tell today. I think they helped the first generation in the shelter a great deal, to be honest."

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Krusk quickly turns around and stares at Eon. "A curse? Are you sure? This has to be more serious than what I thought!" He quickly walks to the door and sees if he can notice the symbol. He comes back and quickly reaches Eon before he has left for his bed. "Eon, you mentioned a charge to these marks... err sigils. Do you know if there is a trigger that might set them off or if it might be something else? In the morning when we are all together again, I would like to check on them even more."

He then turns to Arturs but is clearly shaken up a bit. "Yes, thank you for that Arturs." He puts his hand out toward Artus and says "I am glad to hear that nothing has happened with the tomb before. I am just... wondering because he had a connection to the horrors. I... just want to make sure that nothing has changed. It would just be a VERY short stop." He turns back towards the door and then quickly back to Arturs, not trying to be rude. "I just want to check this out so we can eliminate any possible connection and focus on the full problem."

He goes back to the door with the symbol and places his hand on the door near the symbol but carefully to the side. He tries to see if anything from his studies has allowed him to glean anything from this symbol and then looks back out to the darkness, looking for something that may not come.

 

Edited by BrellK

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Krusk examined the mark, but for all of his religious studies and training at the temple, the mark did not belong to any god, pantheon or religion that he knew of. Granted, over the generations in the shelters some god fell out of favor, and some nearly lost to the sand of time, while others were discovered or grew in popularity. If the symbol belonged to some lost god, he would likely never know.

As Krsuk examined the marks, so did Arturs, who performed a ritual to conserve his limited arcane power. When completed he examined the marks too, and the homes.

"I do not believe there is a trigger. The homes are enchanted... cursed, from what the others said. At this point, I do not believe altering or even removing the marks would do anything. The enchantment is set. I looks like that is what was already done, like the curse was set and then the scratches added to disguise it, I would think. I certainly did not notice the symbol among the scratches until it was pointed out. That would imply a level of.. I don't know.. planning? Insidiousness?" the young apprentice explained as he held the torch close to the door, further examining the markings.

"I do not like this. We though some beast or such had moved into the shelter, but this... this is all together different." he said, shaking his head and resting his hand on his belt, near his dagger.

 

The half-elves turned in, leaving Krusk and Arturs to stand their watch. The rest of the night was quiet and calm, even peaceful were it not for the lingering feeling of anticipation and the unknown. In time the sky begins to lighten and one by one homes begin to open. Some of the villagers set about their chores, though with a bit of caution in these pre-dawn time, while others end up sleeping in, having drank or feasted too much the night prior. Eventually dawn arrives and the sounds of a few roosters and other livestock begins to intermingle with the metallic strikes from the blacksmithy and the sounds of sawing and woodcutting.

The villagers do not disturb those still sleeping within the village hall, and instead set up a table outside of it, and bring food for Krusk and Arturs and the rest when they awaken.

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Rhosh opens his eyes and blinks a few times to loosen the sleep from them. He sits up in his cot and looks around the empty room save for Dread, Eon, and Shayuri. He holsters his daggers, stands up, and shoulders his quiver and bow. Among the remaining smells of ale and spoiling food from the previous night, Rhosh finds a hint of fresh food in the air and follows the smell outside to find the villagers preparing and serving food to break their fast.

After a moment taking in the sights and smells, some familiar voices at a far table reach the dragonborn's ears. Rhosh looks to see Arturs and Krusk discussing something that seems to have the brunt of their attention. Rhosh grabs some food for himself and pulls up a seat alongside the two companions. "Morning. Neither of you seem to have had much trouble last night from the looks of things, but something is clearly on your minds. Anything of interest?" directing this to the both of them.

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Dread walked out into the morning air shirtless, behind him a young woman flushed as she clutched a wrapped blanket to her bosom and scurried back off to her home.  The villagers gave him a look as the giant human walked among them.  It was a disapproving glare that silently chastised the fighter for deflowering the young maidens of the village they had come here to help.  "What?"  He asked in his deep, gravely voice as his companions raised an eyebrow.  "They're a grateful people.  Far be it from me to refuse hospitality."

When the second young maiden shyly tried to sneak through the early morning streets before someone noticed her, Dread tried not to smirk.  When the third young woman swiftly chased after her friend, clutching unbound garments to her chest the citizens disapproving look only grew deeper and along with it Dread's grin.  He wasn't concerned with them or their opinions, he was here to complete a task.  He offered a shrug to his assembled companions.  "Fine.  Very grateful."

After a long pause he moved past the moment.  "One day you kids will know the touch of a woman, or three... let's move past my greatness and focus on getting everyone up and getting in there and kicking ass so we give this shit hole the laugh."

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Krusk hears Rhosh and looks to see him seating himself near Krusk and Arturs. "Yes Rhosh, I hope you slept well. It was brought to our attention that the scratches on the buildings weren't done in the brutal fashion of an animal, but they are actually magical sigils. Did you see these while you were on watch?" He looks at the marks again, still puzzled at their origin.

After a bit of time, he becomes frustrated and looks around the hall to see if anything new has happened. Krusk sees Delgath now entering from his slumber and he extends his right arm outwards towards Delgath. "Delgath" he yells. "How are you doing this fine morning? Looks like you are in good spirits." He motions for him to come toward the door.

He turns back to Rhosh and Arturs. "I mentioned this to our friend Arturs at the beginning of our watch. I think we should check out the tomb of the bard before we go too far. With his connection to the Horrors, I think it would be a good idea to do a sweep of his area. Make sure nothing has lingered. I can see if I detect any evil from the area, and from the sigils. If everything is safe there, we at least have narrowed that possibility down." Krusk is standing up straight with his hands on his hips and jaw in the air, trying to look like he knows what he is doing. "Anyone have any other thoughts?"

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"The bard's tomb has merit," Dread agreed with Krusk.  He was not a likable guy, but wasn't about to argue a good point.  "I think, however, we should stop screwing around and get things done.  We seem to be wasting time on door carvings and talking about door carvings, and detecting for evil door carvings.  Auril's ass cheeks, are you seriously going to detect the carvings for evil?  What then?  Smite the carving?  They're curses, genius, it's implied.  Can't say I've ever heard of a benevolent curse.  Guys, they are door carvings.  Sure, they are here, but they are a symptom, not a cause.  We need to find the source, remove it, and then concern ourselves with the clean up."

He raised a finger to enforce his next point.  "And don't say that understanding the door carvings is important to understanding our enemy because we know sod all more today than we did yesterday.  If it's that big of a deal, then leave the arcane wastes of space here to play with the doodles while the rest of us go and actually do something."

Dread didn't fear magic, quite the opposite honestly.  Magic was a powerful weapon that certainly had its place on the battlefield, he respected magic.  He did not, however, respect those who wielded it.  As a true warrior of House Delgath his swords were not weapons, they were tools.  He was the weapon, spending years honing his skills to be ready for any eventuality on a battlefield.  Spellcasters were not weapons, their magic was the weapon and with it they were arrogant and believed themselves without equals.  Without it, they were nothing but feeble men and women cowering behind warriors until they could rest again to regain their arcane courage.  Delgath's were arrogant, sure, but they could afford to be, even without a blade they were always ready for battle.  They had no fear.  None had ever heard of a Wizard or Sorcerer ever proving their mettle without their magic.

"So, let's eat, quit playing grab ass and dispense with the 'good mornings' and get to work."

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Rhosh quickly shook his head. "I'm not saying we don't get to work, but we need to consider the nature of the sigils. If we know these sigils will dissipate once their creator is destroyed, then sure. Let's go bash some skulls in and get this over with. But if these sigils need to be willingly removed by their creator, well...let's just say I don't want to be responsible for removing any way to remove the sigils on the village." Looking over at Delgath he adds, "It would be hard to get one woman, let alone three, if we made that mistake."

Rhosh quickly moves on and looks around for Shayuri and Eon. "Anyone seen the other two? Krusk, did they see the sigils too?"

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"Any enchantment can be broken." Arturs said simply.

"These sigils have told us more though. We thought some beast or creature had moved into the shelter. But these marks mean that it is something, or someone, capable of casting magic. That is valuable information." Arturs continued as he cut a slice of sausage and then caught Dread's look and added, "Um.. or.. uh.. so I would think."

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"Artus is right," Shayuri said as she walked up to the others. "We have some idea of what to expect now, at least in part. That said, Delgath the Unwashed also has a point. The best place to learn more now is the one or ones who did this. Our next step is to find them and deal with them appropriately."

"Killing the one who did this won't necessarily remove them, but it will stop any more from being made. The worst case scenario would be that the affected villagers would just need new places to live until the magic ends. More realistically, with some time and study we can work out how to disrupt the magic. First things first though...we stop the source."

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Arturs reached into his satchel and pulled out a rolled up piece of paper. He unrolled it and set it on the table, using utensils to hold down the edges.

"This is a map I drew this morning of the shelter. It's not perfect, by any means, as I am no map maker, but it should give an idea of the layout." Arturs said as he showed the map to the others. 

 

OOC: His map does not have numbered areas. The numbers are for our use to explain what room is being talked about.

Click map for larger view.

large.Shelter_Map.jpg.7abf145c0dd1aa94cd

 

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Krusk puts his hand on the back of his head and shows a little bit of red in his face. "Yeah, I guess I was getting a little too enraptured by it. I think it's safe to say they ARE evil at the very least but I do agree we shouldn't worry about that too much until we find the source."

He bends over a bit and looks at the map that Artus has provided. "Hmm... well it looks like the tomb is right near the entrance so we're going to have to go by it anyways. I still stand by what we say. I don't think there's much more we want to do here since it sounds like we all want to find the source of this evil. Shall we get going to the tomb here?" He points with his large finger to the tomb, very carefully not to obscure it with his large, armored gauntlet.

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"I'm not here to help these people relocate, move from their homes, or any of that shit.  We signed up to handle a creature that was making these people disappear.  You wanna solve every mystery along the way, fine, but you do it after the contract.  On your own."  He pulled his swords around his waist and secured his baldric.  He looked to Artus.  "No offense kid, I know this is your home and you want it safe, but you don't hire people on charity and then expect them to solve all your problems.  We do the job we agreed to: kill the creature, caster, ghoul, whatever."

"The rest, kid, is on you and your people, unless one of these guys wants to stay behind and be your savior."  He looked at the map that Artus had scrawled.  "Alright kid, you know the place better than us.  Where do we start?"

He took in one deep breath and didn't look at anyone in particular.  "And I wash."

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"Arturs, you mentioned that there's been the idea that something moved into the shelter...I see there are animal pens and a fishery in the shelter. Are those areas still being utilized?" As Rhosh asks, he takes a large bite of sausage and grabs some fruit to add to his meal. "Isss juss that *smacks* I wonner wha happens *swallows* when it runs out of food. On that note I say we get in there after everyone has eaten and D gets the dried seed off his leg." Rhosh continues eating with a subtle smile as he chews.

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"Yes, that's a good point. Things may get even worse if we don't take care of this soon. We owe it to these people to not dally." Krusk finishes his meal and puts his gloves back on. He stands up and gets ready for a move on, perhaps too anxious.

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Eon stepped out the door, raking his fingers through his hair and putting on his hat, pulling it down to shade his eyes from the early morning sun.  Blearily blinking against the light, he spies the rest of the group and approaches the table in silence helping himself to some food. Offering little more than a grunt in greeting. Unusual for the usually smiling and chatty Bard, it was something the rest of the party had had to get used to as they travelled. Eon was not a morning person. He'd perk up a bit once he had some food and drink in him, but wouldn't reach his usual effervescent self till mid-day.

Quickly downing a glass of water, he sighed. Cool, sweet, Refreshing..... and not coffee. Gods he wished he had remembered to bring some along, but he'd been in a bit of a rush at the time. Nothing like it to put some pep in your step.

When approached about the plan he grumbles something approaching assent before returning to his food, already looking much less like a corpse than he had been.

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Rhosh stuffs his last bite in his mouth and stands up as he brushes his hands free of any crumbs. "Well I don't know about you all, but I just need to grab my pack and sword to be ready." He glances at Eon and remembers the bard's distaste for mornings. There wasn't much to do about it, though. Enough time had already been wasted with the gathering the night before as opposed to running reconnaissance. Maybe Eon would perk up being out of the sun at least. Before heading inside to grab his remaining gear, Rhosh threw a quick Thieves gesture to relay a 'Sorry' to the half-elf.

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"Come on Bard, look lively," Dread said in his deep, attention commanding tone.  "If my greatness is to be properly chronicled I expect you awake and alert enough to capture my exploits with all the splendor and epic prose they properly deserve."

He was hardly joking.  House Delgath certainly had no shortness of egomaniacs but with their reputation as the finest swordsman and women anywhere in the region, they argued it was a very well earned ego.  Having a bard along meant one thing that every Delgath loved: someone to tell the tale.  The house reveled in a culture of telling tales of their exploits and having a long chronicle of epic deeds worthy enough to impress their ancestors and allow their tale (and by proxy, them) to live on for eternity.

He took in a deep breath and rolled his shoulders as he exhaled, every muscle on his perfectly sculpted frame glistened in the early morning sunlight.  "Hope you brought lots of ink and paper... because I'm amazing."

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"Oh, I'm sure SOMETHING about you will be chronicled, Delgath!" Krusk mutters under his breath in a joking tone. "Well, I am ready whenever you all are. We need everyone at full strength for this excursion, especially since we don't even know what lies ahead." He looks around the hall, waiting for the companions to pack up their belongings. Krusk had packed everything up after his morning prayer, anxious to be on his way and help these people. Though he had fond memories of the Monastery back in 'Crossing', he was glad to be so close to what he really wanted to do more than anything; help those in desperate need.

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"More than ready," the exotic sorceress confirmed. "The wizard quarters are off to the right from the Village Hall. We should start looking there first. It would be where his equipment and library are, I expect."

"Come on!"

She took off at a brisk jog, rather impatient to see the inside of this shelter and crack the mystery of what lurked within.

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"The only part of the shelter still in use, that I know of, is Toral's quarters. Over a year or so we gradually built homes and such and moved out from the shelter. Now I think it is little more than something we can fall back to, I suppose, in the face of a big storm or raiders or something." Arturs said as he gathered his things.

"There might be some fish still alive but the livestock is now out here, with us. I suppose a goat or something could have wandered in, but if so, I have never heard or seen it. I'm am sure some rodents have found their way in too. But to be honest though, I rarely walk in the rest of the shelter once we left. There could be a kobold village in a remote part of the shelter for all I know." he joked.

 

 

With gear gathered, armor donned and weapons at the read, the villagers took note and formed a small crowd following the adventurers toward the shelter. As they drew near the doors, perhaps a hundred feet away, they stopped and an older woman moved to Artus with a large bundle of cloth.

"Here, Artus. I was up all night making this for you. I know it is not much, but I hope it keeps you safe." the woman said as she held out the bindle, revealing ti to be a quilted gambeson, her hands trembling faintly.

Arturs reaches out to take the armor, placing his hands on her own.

"It is more than enough. Thank you." he said sincerely to the woman who stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug.

"May the Gods keep you safe." she sobbed as Arturs returned the hug and patted her on the back

"I will be fine. I enter to aid the greatest heroes in the Crossing. I am in good hands." he soothed.

The woman nodded and finally released him, to help him don the gambeson, fastening the buckles and dusting off his shoulders as she looked him over, doing her est to hold back tears.

"Look at you. All grown up... a Wizard... bravely going forth to save us all. Your mother would be proud." she said with a nod and sniffle.

Artus nodded with a shy smile and the woman returned to the crowd.

Alrid stepped forth and looked over the braze souls who were stepping forth, possibly risking their own lives to aid his village. He cleared his though and raised his hands in a sweeping gesture at them.

"Thank you all for your aid this day. May the gods watch over and protect you and may you vanquish whatever evil lies within. Know that you will forever have our thanks." the old man said  as he bowed deeply and stepped aside, returning to the crowd and urging them to back up.

With torches lit the small party stepped forward past the doors of the shelter, quickly disappearing from the villagers' sight...

 

 

According to Artus, the entrance tunnel was perhaps 150' long, and was lined with traps and arcane protections that had sense been disarmed or worn off. The tunnel itself seemed roughly hewn from the earth and varied in width from 5'-10' at different points. The floor was lightly covered in dirt, blown in over the many moths of the doors being open, and a few bits of grass even grew here and there for first dozen feet or so, managing to get enough light through the opened doors.

As the party tooks its first steps down the tunnel, Arturs asked,

"So where do you wish to go first? Ardis' Tomb, or Toral's Quarters? The Tomb entrance is very near the end of this tunnel, where it opens into the market. Toral's quarters are across the market and through the Hall and living areas. Farther, but not far."

 

Spoiler

If anybody wants to make any rolls, let me know. Also, I assume that there are one or more torches/lanterns, given that Delgath and Arturs lack Darkvision? If so, who has them?

 

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"Well I for one think we need to stop at the tomb first. I would like to see if I can detect anything suspicious. It will only take a minute and it's clearly a link to the past when horrors were rampant."

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Arturs nodded and guiding the others down the tunnel until it opened up into an a much bigger chamber. The light they carried with them fell off into darkness and and every sound they made echoed in the chamber, making it easily to tell that the map Arturs drew was not entirely to scale. This chamber had to be enormous, hundreds of feet by hundreds of feet judging by the echos, though it was impossible to tell for sure with their faint light.

As they stood at the end of the entrance tunnel, the only other light was to their right; several pieces of faint light quarts set into the wall, shedding just enough light for one to navigate along the wall, past a couple of other exits from the camber and to the entrance of the former village hall.

The air had a slightly musty smell at first, but quickly the faint, but unmistakable odor of decomposition found its way to noses, causing Arturs to cough and fight back his gag reflex.

"The tomb.." Arturs said, pointing along the wall to the left, "..it is over there. It is a good thing I am with you, for only Toral, Aldir and I know how to open it." he managed to get out, slowly gaining control of his stomach.

"This was the market and dining area. There is still some old junk left in this chamber, but anything of value we took out to start the village." he explained as she led the way along the wall for perhaps a little under a hundred feet before something caught the attention.

The burnt husk of a body was stretched out on the ground, almost as if it had been crawling and nearly made it to the foot of a large, stone door set into the wall. The door was closed, but dark stains could be seen on the ground at the base of the door as well as various spots spreading across the door and where it met the wall. The door itself was inset with several carvings of a hooded, bearded man and writing in dwarvish.

If you can read dwarvish

Spoiler

"Here rests Ardis Softnote. May all who enter learn of his story so that he may live on in hearts and song."

"This is the door to Ardis' Tomb. Shall I open it?" the apprentice wizard said, pointing at the stained door.

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"Yes Arturs, if it wouldn't upset your people then I would like to look inside. See if any evil presence has any connection to the great hero of this hall." He puts his hand behind Arturs and motions him to hurry to the tomb. "I am afraid that I do not know what it says on the door. Do you know what it says Arturs?"

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"Uh, buh, is that normal?" Shayuri asks, indicating the body on the ground and the stains. "The mess, I mean. Were those there when everyone left?"

The magic light that shone from the stone in her left hand, wavered momentarily.

She knelt down to get a closer look, her nose wrinkling in distaste at the sight and smell of the remains.

(Arcana check to see if she can tell if this damage was done magically or not. Arcana: 1D20+4 = [12]+4 = 16)

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"My hero," Dread said with all the sarcastic joy the gruff warrior as known for.  "Yeah, let's let the boy go first, in case anything in there is hungry it'll get him instead of us."

He walked forward, stepping past the charred corpse like it wasn't an issue worth his time.  He looked to Artus.  "Listen, boy, you open that door and then you move, understand?  Let us do what we're being paid to do and stay as far out of any battles as you can.  Do that, and you'll be back home with your people tonight, living a long and full life."

The boy was still young and eager to prove himself to his people and possibly himself.  The advice may fall short of hitting it's mark, but Dread had done what he could.  If the boy refused and chose to fight, it wasn't Dread's life he was throwing away, but his own.

He turned his gaze to the kobold sorcerer.  Dread may be a mean, gruff, and with a perpetual chip on his shoulder, but there was a life's worth of expensive education under the barbarian attitude.  "It's a corpse.  Yes, it's normal.  That's exactly what happens to a body when you burn it.  They're crawling towards the door, which means whatever did this attacked the person from behind.  They were retreating to the door for sanctuary, and didn't make it.  Mystery solved."  He shrugged.  "Or the door was trapped and the guy just got screwed."

You two," He motioned to the Paladin and the Sorcerer.  "Read the walls and sniff the floor.  I'm gonna do what we were paid to do."  He nudged his head towards Artus, giving him the signal to open the door, less so to rush and be done with it and more so to accept the warning the body on the floor had given them.  The party was at a dead end with a solidly sealed door barring their path... he wanted that dead end removed before whatever did in that corpse returned and did the same to them.  Until they had room to maneuver in the hallway, they were all bunched together in a close grouping, which put them at serious tactical disadvantage.

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"The inscription is Dwarvish. It reads, 'Here rests Ardis Softnote. May all who enter learn of his story so that he may live on in hearts and song.' It is just a basic welcome, for inside the tomb is inscribed his story." Arturs explained to Krusk/

The young wizard moved closer too the door and shook his head.

"Those stains are new, and there is no traps on the tomb." he clarified while Shayuri examined the body.

Considering the lack of trace of incidental fires, much less sources of fire of fuel, the heal-elf was certain that it had been a magic fire consumed the body.

With Delgath right behind him and swords drawn, Arturs set about opening the door by pressing a series of runes of carvings, triggering some sorts of internal locking mechanism. A few clicks could be heard and then the door shifted just slightly ajar. Arturs grasped the edge and opened to door, stepping behind it to use it as a shield with a small cringe.

Inside the tomb was silence wrapped in darkness which gave way to Shayuri's light. Inside the tomb lay several bodies, a half dozen at least, mostly sitting against the walls and in various states of early decomposition. The smell was horrid, the putrescence of at least a half dozen slowly rotting copses all contained within a single room...

The walls were covered in dwarvish writing, as well as some relief carvings and painted murals depicting a cloaked dwarf wielding a dagger. In some of the first scenes he is shown with an elven woman wielding dual sward, an older man, probably a wizard by the look of him, and a truly enormous, long haired, shirtless man covered in tattoos and strange red dots, wielding an enormous, dark metallic greatsword with a flat tip. On the western wall another stone door could easily be seen by the ornate carvings around the doorjam, but it too was closed.

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Pulling up the half mask to cover the bottom half of his face and hopefully filter out some of the smell, Eon grimaces in disgust.

"Well. I think we found some of the errant Villagers."

He takes a step into the room, breathing shallow. Approaching one of the corpses, he hunkers down, the dagger a glint of steel in his hand as he uses the flat to raise the head.

"Throats in one piece. No obvious wounds..... looks like they sealed themselves in. Might have suffocated if they couldn't get the door open again once they closed it. Which means that whatever we're looking for is likely elsewhere in the Shelter."

He lets the head drop back down to the corpses chest. Standing up, he takes a look around the room.

"How many people would you say have gone missing, Arturs? My guess is this lot is the group of villagers they sent in. No Women. No Children. Though given the room was sealed, what we're looking for is likely elsewhere..... although....."

He focuses on the door once again.

"You said only you three knew how to open the door, which would explain why they may have gotten sealed in in the first place, but that doesn't explain why the door was open to begin with. You said it's only opened for special events? I'm assuming the last one wasn't particularly recent."

One of the corpses by the door catches his interest and he moves over to it, wincing in sympathy as the extent of it's injuries.

"Ah. Mostly no obvious wounds." The corpse in front of him was just by the door and one of it's arms and legs was mangled beyond recognition. "Caught in the door maybe?" he winces in sympathy "Not a fun way to go."

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Dread was impressed by the bard's observations.  He was thinking, and the warrior respected thinkers, even if Dread could not claim to be as sharp as the bard.  "Then possibly the corpse outside the door could have sealed them in?  Sacrificing himself, or just was running to make it before the door closed, and wasn't fast enough."  He pointed to the sheared corpse with his sword.  "Like that one."

He looked around the room, shaking his head.  "They deserved better than," he searched for the words but lacked the bard's flair of synonyms.  He gestured around, sweeping his arm to the entire tomb.  "This."  He traced three finders down his chest across his heart and spat at the ground, an ancient and superstitious gesture to ward off evil and spell casters.

"Perhaps a prayer to send them on their way?  To see that their souls do not suffer any more than they already have?"  Arturs asked no one in particular.

"They didn't die in battle," Dread replied, dryly and without tact.  "Tempus has no use for their souls.  This creature's suffering will be legendary.  It's all I can offer to them."

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"I will say a prayer for them. These people may have died in agony but their souls deserve the bliss we all hope for in eternity." answers Krusk. He looks at the intricate carvings on the walls, mystified at what sort of magnificent stories must be written on them. He makes his way toward the far door and when he gets three quarters of the way there, he motions to it. "Arturs, are you able to open this one as well? Is this the chamber where Ardis lies?"

He begins moving back to the bodies and looks the first one over, kneeling down to be as close to eye level as possible and making sure they are in a relatively decent and respectful position. Krusk looks into their faces and feels sorrow for their untimely deaths. "I am sorry that we could not help you." he mutters to the first one. He quietly begins chanting a prayer from his Church to help the souls of untimely death find peace. One by one, he goes to each body and carefully studies it, respectfully positions it if needed and says a few prayers.

"Arturs, I would like to get into the chamber where Ardis was laid to rest. Just in case, I would like to see if I can detect anything on the chamber. As soon as this is over, these people will need a proper ceremony. However your culture does it, I hope that these individuals can be cared for as soon as is safe."

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"No. It should not have been opened. I was gone, and Aldir said he never entered the shelter, so that means Toral opened it... for some reason, as I doubt they accidentally managed to open the tomb. I can open the door to the interior chamber, though. And thank you all, for your kind words." Arturs answered, holding a quilted sleeve over his nose.

Arturs moved to the interior door as the others gathered in the chamber behind him, cautiously preparing, unsure of what they may find. As they stood ready, they detected motion, only it was not from in front of them, but to the side... the tomb door was rapidly closing, pushed with some force!
 

OOC notes

Spoiler

You may each roll a Dex save for the chance to act before the door closes, if you like.
The door is well past half way closed by the time it is noticed, and closing quickly.
To try and jump out, you must take the Dash action and make a fairly difficult Dex (Acrobatics) roll (you probably don't want to fail this roll). 
Post your save total and proposed action (if any) in this thread. If you do not make the save, you simply do not act.
If you have any questions, ask me in chat, here, or PM me.

 

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As the door closed, Rhosh and Eon both reacted with roguish reflexes and each dove for the opening, while Krusk charged the door, trying to push it open, or at least slow the rate of closing, to buy the others time to get through. The simultaneous reactions of Rhosh and Eon caused them both to collide, each one knocking the other off course, sending Eon into the lap of one of the dead and Rhosh against a wall, though he managed to stay on his feet. All the while Shayuri and Arturs stood there in stunned surprised while Dread calmly watched, knowing better than to add another body to such a tight space.

Despite Krusk's efforts, the door closed with an audible, locking click, sealing everybody inside. With a sigh Krusk rested his head against the door while Dread shook his own head, rolling his eyes.

"Can the door be opened from the inside? Do you know how?" Eon asked Arturs as he got back to his feet.

"Yes, to both." Arturs said as he took a step from the inner door to the outer door and then paused, his eyes wide and his body trembling slightly.

Slowly he looked down, bringing attention to the hand of one of the dead villagers, now clearly grasping his ankle.

"Wha..?" Arturs stammered.

The dead body's head tilted up, opening its eyes to reveal milky while eyeballs as it's mouth opened and let out a mixture of gurgling hiss and snarl, yanking the foot out from under Arturs, sending him to the ground while the other bodies pushed off the floor and walls and rose to their feet, mouths open, ready to bite with clawing hands outstretched before them.

 

OOC Notes

Spoiler

 

Be glad Rhosh and Eon both had the exact same Dex save, as they both failed the Acrobatics check and would have had an unfortunate encounter with a heavy stone door. Instead, you ended up saving each other from catastrophe by pure luck (and my generosity ;)).

The surprise round was the zombie tripping Arturs.

You are now in a fairly small room with a half dozen, aggressive, animated dead/zombies/whatever.

Roll Initiative and post the result in this thread.

You may begin with weapons drawn since you were prepared for the next door opening.

 

 

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Eon felt a shudder of revulsion claw it's way up his spine as he landed in the corpses lap with a sound that he did not want to think to hard on the provenance of. He was no stranger to dead things, but sitting on top of them was not something he could claim any degree of comfort with.

Feeling the corpse jolt underneath him, he closes his eyes in resignation

"Of course, you wouldn't be as dead as you appeared. Of. Fucking. Course."

Pushing off from the wall, he nimbly takes his feet, drawing his rapier at the same time. Looking down on his opponent he feels a sneer of disgust creeping across his face.

"Ugh. I can't tell whether being left to rot for a week made you better or worse looking. Either way." he shudders dramatically, the corpse reeling under the force of his magically bolstered disdain.

"Come on! They're only corpses. They've already died once. Just gotta make it stick this time! Come on Shayuri, talk about frying fish in the barrel!" the surprise at the sudden animations gives way under the force of his exhortation, his sheer belief in the parties capabilities bolstering resolve, and spurring them on.

The room, being lit only by Shayuri's glowing rock, gave the undead an aura of menace. The strong light cast harsh shadows on them, further exaggerating their decaying forms. Nearly within reach of Eon, Delgath stood, sword in his hands, wringing the grip like it were some poor fool's neck.

"Where were fancy senses Holy Man!?"  Dread said, enraged. 

He grunted and took a step towards where one of the zombies was already lurching towards Arturs who was quickly running out of room to back into the wall, and barely sidestepped the grasping hands of another as he stepped away.

Normally he wouldn't have struck an enemy from behind, but these were mindless and in his mind were not, to a Delgath's standards, worth a true warrior's time.  He plunged his sword into the shambler's back to get its attention.  It felt no pain and simply continued trying to move forward.  It was obvious to him that that tactic wasn't going to work so he went with something less tactful.  He withdrew his sword swiftly and chopped down hard upon the undead.  The cut deep into its shoulder spraying blood and viscera in Artus direction, though most of it splattered the wall behind him as he lay on the floor.

On the other side of the room from Deltha, Rhosh glances around the room quickly noting where his closest allies are beginning to face the rising corpses. As the body between him and the door struggles to its feet, the dragonborn jabs a dagger into the withered shoulder and takes a step back to avoid any recoil. As his feet find their starting position, he hears another corpse behind him, hoping that it would be kept occupied rather than attacking his flank...

As Delgath moved away, Shayuri realized that there was one place she definitely didn't want to be, and that was isolated. While the zombie between her and the south wall was busy trying to club him, she took advantage of the opening to move over to where Eon and Rhosh and Krusk were bunched up, hoping for some safety in numbers.

She then incanted words in Draconic and a flame appeared in her hand. She held that strange bright fire up in front of her face, inhaled deeply, and blew outward with all of her lungs. Magic snapped and snarled, and as her exhalation hit the flame in her hand it exploded outward into a roiling mass of flame that bathed over the zombies south of her!

The gout of flame washed over the undead, searing their flesh toff the bone in places and catching clothes aflame, which added the smell of burning flesh to the room, causing everybody's stomachs to churn as the smell reached each of them. The undead were not fazed though, no longer feeling pain left them undeterred.  

Across the room though, Arturs scrambled to his feet and backed against the gore-splattered wall as his hands fumbled in his belt, finally withdrawing his dagger which he swiftly plunged into the undead creature before him, stabbing deep into the thing's chest, near the gash Delgath had sliced into it, though no pain registered in it's dead, blank eyes.

Taken aback by the corpses rising, the same ones he prayed and cared for only moments ago, Krusk is scared by the sudden danger of which he is not used to, but more importantly sees this as an affront to both life and his gestures and intentions only moments earlier. He begins channeling his power and raises his holy symbol, a medallion emblazoned with Bahamut's profile, high above his head. It lights up and glows in a bright yellow-white aura as he begins chanting the prayer again, that only moments earlier was meant to help shepherd these poor souls into the afterlife, channeling the divinity of The Platinum Dragon.

The light from the medallion of Bahamut fills the room for a moment, causing the first emotion to be seen on any of the faces of the undead... Fear.

The animated corpses back away from the paladin, their backs pressed into the unyielding stone walls as gnarled hands rise up to shield their eyes from the light as they turn away. The shambling thing to Krusk's right even turns and runs, its undead legs finding a new swiftness as it flees from the holy light of Bahamut, but not before Krusk brings his greatsword down on the thing's shoulder, chopping deep into it's ribs, sending it staggering. The unusual gait imparted by Krusk's blow causes the zombie to stumble past Eon's blade, though Arturs' dagger strikes true, stabbing into partially desiccated flesh, allowing more putrid gore to spill forth from the wound.

All of the undead fled or backed away from the holy light, except for the one in the corner farther's from the paladin, shielded partially by the number of upright bodies between them. The zombie actually ran closer to Krusk, but instead of making its way to him, it strangely moved toward Arturs instead!

Dread wasn't about to give the Paladin any more credit than was due. Seeing his opportunity, Dread grabs his zombie by the arm, flailing it around and away from Arturs.  Smashing it with the pommel of his sword is staggered slightly.  The two right hooks the followed that staggered it greatly. With a might kick to the chest he slammed it against the wall.  Still it let out a guttural moan and shambled forward, straight into Dread's downward stroke.

He glared at Arturs.  "Stay out of the way, boy!"  He nudged his head in the direction Arturs should run, now that he was trying to hold them off.

The zombie continued toward Arturs though, utterly ignoring Dread and the wounds he inflicted and instead lunged for the apprentice wizard. Arturs' eyes went wide and he twisted to the side, narrowly causing the creature to miss.

"Anywhere I go there's more of them!" Arturs cursed, holding his dagger out in front of him as he kept his back to the wall with the inner door to his right.

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The blade of Dread's sword pierced under the zombie's jaw and penetrated the top of it's skull with a shower of gore.  With feral tenacity he held the undead aloft and drew his dagger from his belt.  He thrust downward several times, hollowing out it's chest until finally spearing it several times in the abdomen.  With a bellow of victory (or anger, it was hard to tell with him) he lifted the zombie and flung it over his shoulder, casting it into the zombie behind him.  They crashed to the floor, tumbling over the other leaking fluids and viscera.

Only one of the zombie stood up... shambling towards him as he stood in a wide stance, welcoming all challengers.  "Defend yourself, and do not strike back, you'll expose your weaknesses.  Most of all boy, stay calm.  Your wits are your greatest strength in a battle."

"Don't strike back!? They're trying to kill me!" Arturs countered, clutching his dagger more tightly and stabbed at the belly of the zombie beside him, but the steel failed to find purchase int the undead flesh, glancing off of a leather belt.

Turning to the Zombie doing his utmost to chew Artur's face off, Eon raises one eyebrow.

"You know, Arturs, it's sort of alarming how they seem to be fixating on you a bit. Something we should know?" letting our a piercing whistle to catch the Zombies attention, he continues. "I see the gods really broke the mold when they were making you.... have you tried asking for your money back?"

"How should I know!? I'm just an apprentice! I can barely cast a spell, much less anything that could hurt these things, or anybody really!" Arturs replied.

As the majority of the group bunches in, Rhosh focuses his effort on the corpse in the corner next to him. He lifts his sword and swiftly brings it down, digging into the putrid flesh for the undead as it seemed to try and push itself through the wall in order to get away from Krusk. The steel slicing into its shoulder seemed to snap the creature out of it's overriding fear of Krusk, it's attention now focused on the rogue.

With a gargling hiss, the thing raised its gnarled claws toward Rhosh as Shayuri clapped her hands together and snarled a single word, and lightning exploded from between her palms, crawling around her fingers and arms. She reached out to touch the nearby zombie, and a lick of lightning snapped out and grazed over its decayed flesh. With a scowl she reached her other hand out as well, resulting in another torrent of electricity that dazes and scorches the creature, pausing it for a moment before it continued on its coursed and grabbed at Rhosh, only to find the rouge's reflexes more than a match for its decayed agility.

As his momentum from the swing of the fleeing zombie turns him slightly, Krusk sees Arturs cornered and Delgath starting to move to help him. The large Half-orc begins to run toward Zombie #3 and prepares for a great attack. Above all else, Arturs must not be harmed for he is both innocent and the charge of these adventurers. He brings down his heavy sword on the zombie, imbuing his holy gift from Bahamut onto the forsaken enemy. As the steel touched the undead flesh the blade glowed and then flashed, hacking into the zombie and cleaving it half from the right shoulder to its left hip. The bottom half fell to the ground while the thing's left hand reached out and grasped at Arturs, clutching his gambison, hanging from that grip for a moment before finally falling to the floor before him.

Arturs shook visibly and pushed himself against the stone wall as the thing finally released, watching it fall to the floor and looking back up in time to realize that another zombie had been approaching. It's desiccated hands reached out for the apprentice wizard, but managed only to claw uselessly at the stone wall beside him.

"Why do they keep coming after me?!" he exclaimed in fear and confusion.

 

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The giant warrior cursed to himself as one of the zombies slipped past his guard and took a swipe at Arturs.  He'd told the boy to fight defensively and, of course, what did the apprentice do?  The exact opposite.  His an angry sigh and a heave he kicked the zombie in it's right flank.  As it staggered off balance he took a swing at it with a wide arc, hid blade digging deep into it's side, shearing it's arm off in the process.

It slammed against the wall with a squishy thud, and moaned, gurgling up fluids.  When it pushed itself off the wall in a lazy gait Dread rolled his eyes.  He'd already had enough of these things and they just wouldn't quit.  He bellowed his annoyance with a shout as he threw his dagger into the shambling corpse.  It pierced its skull all the way to the hilt and when the cross guard prevented it from burying further it carried the zombies head with it all the way back to the wall, lifting the zombie with it.  The dagger lodged into the stone wall and the zombie hung from it like cloak in a homes foyer.

He was now in a position to guard Arturs from further attacks.  He swung his about his hand, looking to the others who had finally take one down.  "Should I slow down, maybe give you guys some time to catch up?  There's four of you over there... quit screwing around!"

"Amateurs."  He shook his head then looked to Arturs.  "You.  Stay put."

Eon tisked in derision.

"You know, Dread. I think I understand why you have to compensate so much. Maybe if you took some of the dick out of your personality, you'd have been able to satisfy some of those poor women."

He casually steps to the side, the tip of his blade a flicker of glinting steel as it first tears the throat of one of the zombies and then pierces through the eyesocket and punches clean through the back of it's head. The zombie gives a briefly terminated groan as he withdraws the blade and it drops like a sack of potatos.

"Besides. I thought your were supposed to be awesome? Am I supposed to be impressed yet? What stories I will be able to tell. Brave and mighty Dread. OF such skill that he was overcome by zombies and needed his party to bail him out. Tisk tisk."

The derision in his voice was thick enough to be a physical thing. Could have been, if he had projected it a bit more.

"Hurt is hurt, if it makes them easier to kill, stop bitching and fucking kill them."

With the last two undead consumed clawing at the walls in a pathetic attempt to flee from the glow of Krusk's holy symbol, they were easily dispatched by the adventurers' superior numbers. A few seconds later they lay on the ground, finally fully dead as the attention of some shifted to Arturs, still backed in the corner by the interior door with several dead zombies littered all around him.

 

OOC Note

Spoiler

Free posting can resume!

 

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Eon let out a small sigh, flicking some of the errant gore from the length of his blade, quietly running a cloth over the steel to remove any lingering traces of the rot. A moment in the field saves an hour off it. Or so his mentor had said, at any rate.

Sliding the rapier back into it's scabbard with a whispering rasp, he turns to the Party. "Well. That went well, I think." there's a moment of stunned silence at his chipper declaration and he shrugs. "Yeesh. Tough crowd. But I think we learned a lot today. Really grew as people. Oh, and found out that our mysterious villain is some flavour of Necromancer or undead abomination and seems to have a fixation on our young friend here." he throws an arm around Arturs shoulder, all bright smiles with sharp edges.

"So...... know any Necromancers you may have pissed off in the last ever? I'll admit, I have suspicions now. Or rather, some of my already established suspicions are looking more likely as time goes on. Cause that level of dedication isn't spawned on a whim. They really desperately wanted to kill you. So you either A) Pissed someone off royally or B ) Someone reckons out of all of us, you are the most dangerous to them, either by knowing something, or posessing something."

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"There are no necromancers here. Toral and myself are the only ones with any training or skill in magic even." Arturs said as he cautiously kicked at one of the corpses with a toe.

"And I certainly haven't garnered anybody's ire, especially not a necromancer. I'm just an apprentice wizard, and most of the time I am with Toral I am studying or doing menial work or something. I don't really have a time or a way to piss of anybody." he explained as he carefully wiped off his dagger and slipped it back into his belt.

"And how could I be dangerous to anybody? I'm no evoker or war mage. All I know are cantrips and one spell. I make sparks, warm a cup of coffee, clean a shirt, fix a broken tool or tell if something is magical. Not exactly fear inducing power. " Artus added and looked down at himself.

"And all I have is what you see, aside from a couple of changes of clothes in a chest back home. Clothes, a gambison, a dagger, spellbook with one spell in it and a few coins. That's it. So I cannot father why those things wanted me dead so badly."

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