Adventurer's Beware

23 Marpenoth (Leaffall) (cont) – The Aftermath

The next several minutes passed as the party searched the Forgotten Temple and the glowing Seal. Tamnai assisted the gnome, who introduced himself as Proo Chromatospark, off of the altar and provided some food and drink so he could compose himself. Aelith, Carden, Rhogar, and Dyan’ette searched the chamber walls, pillars, platform, and eventually the twisted stone holding the glowing seal.

The group investigates the form frozen in the ice to discover that it is a human female. Proo announces as the group prods the figure, “That is Eerayda, the leader of our group…I mean…was, since all of them are now dead.” Seeing the inquisitive stares of the group, Proo waves the group over to the stairs he rests upon. “I imagine you have plenty of questions? I would if I were you. I can provide what I know.” The group gathers near the gnome and he looks at them with a sadness in his eyes. “We were a competent adventuring group, with plenty of success and coin to spend. Bando hired us to do this mission and we were eager to be back at our trade. We found that the first seals were breached, likely months ago. We investigated and destroyed the undead remains from those that likely came before us. Whether to rob the tomb or to discover its secrets, we did not know. However, our sources were depleted after the chamber filled with a score of undead resistant to even Tymora’s radiance. On our way back out, Eerayda discovered a hidden corpse and that damned bone whistle. She said that the whistle spoke to her and assured her that the seals were not enough to prevent the resurgence of the evil beyond them. She was always determined, but I should have seen this new swell of commitment for what it truly was, obsession.” The gnome pauses and wiped the tears forming in the corners of his eyes. He shrugs and then continues, “We returned of course and that is when the well of shadows took Llorah from us and even turned her against us as one of their own. My faith in Tymora prevailed, but too late. We thought to turn back then and there, but Eerayda convinced us that to avenge Llorah was the clearer choice and we must determine if the next seal was intact. We found the door along with its seal at the bottom of that pit burnt open by acid and Eerayda admitted that her negligence in targeting the shadows cowering near the door had done so. Gurt, our strategist and muscle, suggested that we retreat until we could speak with Enth again. I think he was worried about Eerayda, but would not openly admit such. She had saved us all in the past and we never had a reason to question her before. Alas, she wanted to find the next seal and advocated that it should be it be intact and then we would return to the surface. Devarist, our elven rogue, simply smiled and took the lead again searching for traps. She was correct! We did find the seal intact upon a stone door in a circular chamber.” The gnome pauses as if finding courage to speak his next words, “That…was where…I failed them. Devarist had cleared the room of traps and Eerayda was studying the seal. Gurt paced impatiently and I was tired and became careless. I simply leaned against the wall near the entrance…and…they paid the price. As a spear slid through my thigh, I watched in horror as Devarist was pierced through the head from behind and then lifted by another shaft through his torso. Gurt was hit also, impaled through the abdomen and lifted a few feet above the ground. I tried, you have to believe I tried to get to him. I could not get free of the damned barb and even the surge of healing I imbued to stay conscious was not enough to allow me to get free. I could see Eerayda making her way to Gurt, but he was pinned as well. She winded through the chamber and joined me as I was slipping. Her magics freed me, but then something rippled as if another trap had been sprung. I faintly remember her carrying me back toward Gurt. With fear and panic in her voice, she told me that if we stayed in the room, we would die…we would all die. I vaguely remember Devarist shriveling as a slow wave washed across him and I had to turn as it touched Gurt. His screams simply lessened and then fell silent. I was certain we were dead, but awoke in a dimly lit room full of crypts. Eerayda was sobbing and looked defeated. She just kept saying that we were betrayed, that she was betrayed, and that she had betrayed us. We tried to rest, but something came at us a few hours later. The grinning parched faces of death long lost to our realms took us. The smell of their old leather mixed with putrid scent of skin claimed by death. The only other memory I have before the torture upon the altar was Eerayda shrieking over and over. She kept repeating ‘Why do you abandon me now, why do you abandon me now?’ Then Tymora called to me, take the chance, follow the light even when it burns. So, I did and here I am.” The gnome released a heavy sigh, then made a half-hearted attempt at a smile.

Dyan’ette was able to determine magical auras within the room. The most powerful was the seal swirling within the blue radiance above the stone foundation. The frozen corpse of Eerayda bore Bracers of Defense and a scroll tube with a scroll of Evard’s Black Tentacles. Proo offers Tamnai her Blessed Cassock as thanks for reviving her and allowing her to look upon the realms again. He insists and states that he plans to take a prolonged sabbatical from the adventuring life and seek Tymora’s path in less dangerous endeavors.

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23 Marpenoth (Leaffall) (cont) – The Final Seal

The corridor’s floor slightly tilted into a ramp downward toward the darkness. The group edged forward with as much stealth as Rhogar’s plated footfalls allowed. Seeing a discoloration ahead, Carden exposed the light to reveal a similar stone door like those passed previously, but the stone of the door was reddish as was the corridor and walls within ten feet of the door. A cautious check for any traps upon the discolored stone and the door revealed nothing and Carden decided to stealthily open the door. With some help from Aelith, the heavy door slid inward a few inches without sound. The group could now here a chanting of sorts in a low voice some distance from the door. A dim light could be seen through the crack in the doorway as it appeared to change in hue from red to orange to yellow to green to blue to white and then back to red to repeat the sequence. Carden opened the door just enough to see what lie ahead.

A long chamber likely over 100 feet in length and some 50 feet in width was seen with a stone floor, walls and arched ceiling some 40 feet high at the center. Strange patches of ice along the floor could be seen and Carden noticed a limp body covered in ice about 50 feet into the room beside a stone stair to a raised platform. The most intriguing object was a twisted stone bier grasping a large orb that radiated the ever-changing light. Within the sphere was the same symbol the party had seen as seals described by Enth. Other stairs were to each side with a jagged armored form standing with long shield and blade. The closest creature was dressed as the previous Prince of Red, but in black weathered leathers. It watched intently as another figure, more gaunt and tall, was positioned before the orb chanting. This creature was dressed in silvered robes and wore an antlered helm that matched the depictions of the King in Silver in the crypt room. Little from the door could be seen on the platform other than the shoulders of the King in Silver between four glowing stone pyramids. Carden relayed his view to the others and suggested he sneak in along the wall and then Aelith would follow to surprise these denizens of death.

Everyone started to plan their spells and targets as Carden slipped into the room. As the rogue slid across an ice patch quietly, it flashed and triggered an icy explosion. He reacted quickly, but winced as the magical frost still singed his exposed skin. Now alert of the intrusion, the Prince in Black and the armored figures turned to prepare their defense. Carden slid along the shadowed wall and blended into the darkness as the armored creatures called forth frost to coat their forms. The Prince in Black’s eyes glowed as he finished a spell to pierce darkness and any illusions. Aelith rushed the hall and closed with the Prince in Black, but Rhogar and Tamnai were not able to match the distance and paired off against the armored figures. Dyan’ette entered and sent a ball of flame toward the King in Silver to interrupt his ritual and possible breach of the seal. The flames erupted and engulfed both the King in Silver and the Prince in Black. As the battle waged, Aelith and Carden were able to down the Prince just after Rhogar caught the prince in his lightning bolt from the javelin that pierced the King’s chest. The armored undead proved tougher than expected as they cast both magics to claim the mind. Sheer will of the heroes along with some protective wards by Dyan’ette prevented anyone from losing their wits or focus on the enemy ahead. Once engaged in melee, the defensive shields of ice combined with flames that rebuked those that harmed the undead Gloomguards punished Rhogar and Tamnai alike. Carden rushed the King in Silver and noticed the bound gnome form, both charred from recent flame and lightning, upon the altar between he and the King. As the rogue passed the outer pyramids, a flash of light and smell of burnt flesh pulsed through the chamber. The closest pyramids dissolved to expose the headless Princes of Red and Black in their place. The forms placed the horned helms they carried on their neck and rejoined the fray. Another hidden armored undead knight emerged after attempting to mind magics on the party. Tamnai called forth blessings from Sune to fight the atrocities while Rhogar battled furiously against the armored knights gaining the advantage. Dyan’ette slung both offensive and defensive magics in an attempt to turn the fray. Aelith managed to amazingly dodge a series of powerful mystic bolts of force and closed on the King with Carden. The king disengaged Carden and Aelith since his ritual was interrupted and he was being pressed. Tamnai fell limp as an armored knights rebuke left her dying. Seeing this, Carden leaped back to the main floor to save her, leaving Aelith alone against the King and Princes. Another set of force bolts speeded at Aelith. The ranger dodged two, catching one with his blade which hummed with the force as if catching its power. However, another rocked the man back into a stone column and then last blasted his breath from him as he lay dying near the altar. At that moment, Dyan’ette sent another fireball at the King in Silver to consume him. The tattered horned crown toppled to the floor along with the ashes of the king’s remains. The princes convulsed before they two dissolved to the floor where they stood. The remaining undead knights renewed their assault with a burning vengeance in their glowing green eyes. Desperation fled about the room as Tamnai dying form received a visage stab to the neck by a knight as it passed to engage Dyan’ette. Rhogar defeated one of the knights but then fell dying from another one’s mystic magics. Carden reached Tamnai and healed her just in time before death claimed its final breath. Dyan’ette created images about him that allowed him to slide by the knight nearest him. Tamnai heled Rhogar as Carden engaged an undead knight. The last knights were defeated, though the effort dropped Rhogar one last time. Dyan’ette saw to Rhogar’s wounds with his keoghtom’s ointment while Carden and Tamnai rushed to reach Aelith and heal his unconscious form. The ranger slowly made his way to his feet and the others joined upon the platform. Carden pleaded with Tamnai to use her blessings to bring the gnome back as he felt certain that he was alive before the party attacked with such destructive magical force. Uncertain and knowing it would consume the last of the diamond dust the party possessed, Tamnai eventually started casting trusting Carden. As the dust dissolved, a flash of light sunk into the gnome’s limp form and the glowing seal above settled into a bright blue radiance. The gnome gasped for air and bolted upright before regretting the move and the obvious pain it caused. He smiled at the party as he looked about and then sheepishly commented, “Now we get to talk about the aftermath?”

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23 Marpenoth (Leaffall) (cont) – A Seal of Hope and Shadow Walkers

Finding some more dried blood stains similar to those in the spear room, Carden and Aelith continued to lead the group forward. As they approached an opened stone door in the distance, both paused as they felt a strange tingling. Worried about traps, they retracted and felt the sensation repeat. After considering the event, they asked the others to see if they felt it. All but Rhogar shared their discovery. Dyan’ette asked the group to pause so he could cast the ritual of detecting magic to determine the effect if possible. Frustrated to pause yet again, the group agreed and Dyan’ette did discover a magical field bisecting the hall. After passing through it, he shared that it was abjuration in nature but was uncertain of anything beyond that. The group agreed to proceed and Dyan’ette went to replace is spellbook into his magical haversack only to discover that it was not operable. He returned beyond the barrier and discovered his haversack worked. The group shared the hope that this could mean that the final seal was still active since Enth had warned that the tomb seals blocked such magics. Everyone removed any needed items from dimensional pockets and Dyan’ette confirmed that Desdemona could not be called forth if stored and Aelith questioned the use of his gloves of recall. Carden decided to use the remaining summonings from his bag of tricks. The first produced a very animated baboon and the second was a large axebeak bird. Carden sent the axebeak with the baboon mounted on it forward into the mazelike room ahead. The group followed slowly just entering the room. The absence of any smell was the first thing gaining the party’s attention in the strange angled room with unconnected walls blocking sight from one side of the room to the other. A thick darkness hung in the corners and recesses of the room. The walls were once decorated with brightly painted images on the smooth stone, yet the colors had long since faded and suggested remains of what once was depicted. Everyone felt as if forms moved within the walls in their peripheral vision, but vanished when looking at the spot they were seen.

A sudden screech from the axebeak along with a series of low growls and savage attacks emitted within the room ahead. A single painful howl from the baboon and then total silence alerted the party that they were not alone. Rhogar called forth his faith and ‘Sentinel’ flared with light. The group decided to quickly move through the room and started navigating the tight corners with small breaks in the panels. As they winded through the segmented walls, ‘Sentinel’ warned all of the impending attack as mastiff like hounds flowed from the shadows as if made from its essence. The group tried to position to keep every angle covered, but the walls were angled to allow the shadowy beasts the ability to seep through the shadowed recesses of the segments. Another terrifying hound-like creature revealed itself. Visibly skeletal in nature with purple flames mixed with dark shadows constructed its body. Sickly glowing green eyes focused on Carden at the lead and then the undead horror howled a chilling bay that rippled across everyone that could hear it. From behind a wall, Rhogar wavered and took a step back refusing to look around the wall at whatever howled. The others assaulted the shadow hounds and the undead hound furiously while using the walls to keep from being surrounded. Eventually, the group overwhelmed the shadowy mastiffs and focused their wrath on the undead hound. Its demise left only the bones of whatever it was in life.

Carden and Aelith took the lead again in search of traps. A few signs of dried blood similar to that found in the spear room was the only sign anything had passed in the dark corridor. A narrow circular stone opening lied ahead. Stepping through the narrow archway, the group saw only a wide hallway leading to the right. The floor featuring what must have once been an elaborate and brightly colored mosaic, depicting a stylized representation of the afterlife, but exact details were hard to determine due to many of the tiles being cracked or missing altogether. At the far end of the hall, the face of a draconic creature was carved into the stone wall of an alcove. Water trickling from its mouth into a large stone basin directly under it in the floor. Expecting a trap, Carden and Aelith slowly worked their way down the corridor until they reached a small circular opening in the left wall. A quick glance through the opening revealed another ten-foot-wide corridor. The group discussed ignoring the fountain and just following the new corridor, but Carden’s argued that the fountain could be something more. Rhogar stepped into the new corridor and suggested the others do likewise while Carden continued toward the fountain. The rogue discovered a plate pressure trap barely visible in the cracks of the mosaic tiles in the center of the hall as he inched closer to the fountain. Aelith confirmed the trap and discovered another slightly beyond the first. Confident that the trap targeted the center of the corridor, the pair avoided it to discover that the fountain was simply that and likely just a ploy to lure the curious down the hall. The party assembled in the new corridor and Dyan’ette handed Carden a bag of sand to activate the trap behind them. Upon the bag striking the pressure plate, four magically accelerated metal rods fired down the hall and embedded deep into the stone wall where the party originally entered. Curious at what dangers laid ahead, the group continued.

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23 Marpenoth (Leaffall) (cont) – The Mausoleum

After nearly two hours in the trapped spear room, Carden and Aelith share their belief that the trap was likely two-fold. The entire wall seemed to be the trap that triggered the spears and a detailed investigation resulted in Carden discovering an indention in the wall about three feet high near the entrance. His assumption was that the Halfling perhaps unknowingly leaned or placed a hand against the wall and was injured during the trap since a blood trail was discovered from that point to the door with the broken seal. The ring of dust around the broken seal door was mirrored along the entrance doorway and seemed to come from the absence of moisture. The belief was that a second magical trap was triggered after the first and it slowly swelled across the room consuming all moisture from those in the room and the very stone itself. With unsolved questions of what caused the sealed door to explode the group gathered themselves and pressed forward.

Continuing their search for traps, the group approached another open doorway with a heavy stone door carved with an angular elven-like face. Carden produced a small ball of fur and tossed it ahead to transform into a small jackal. He motioned the jackal to move forward and search and the small beast did so sniffing about and entering the room. As the group followed, the tunnel led to a long dark chamber filled with crypts in alcoves along its outer walls and clay burial urns in recesses along the inner walls. Under the illumination of light, a language similar to elven was visible along the stone crypts and bas reliefs depicting the inhabitants carved beyond each. Dyan’ette took the time to prepare comprehend languages ritual as Carden’s jackal searched the room and the remainder of the group inspected the first few crypts along the right wall. The crypts and urns each had a name and a possible title beneath them whereas the bas reliefs were intricately carved visages of those within the crypt and carefully sculpted portrayals of those in the urns.

Under magical exposure, the crypts along the right were revealed to hold the following:
• Kythaela Ianneeras titled as Deathwalker and depicted as a robed female elf with a thorned helm and thin blade
• Aerilaya Thyrath titled as Bloodbride and depicted as a gowned female elf with dark flaming hands
• Ialantha Elalyn titled as Gloomwarden and depicted as a gowned female elf with a dark aura and clasped hands
• Ciyradyl Miraldarr titled as Nightwalker and depicted as a lightly armored female elf with daggers and a dark shroud
• Nakiashia Waesvaleer titled as Nightcaller and depicted as a lightly armored female elf with hand crossbows
• Halaema Pamaerisl also titled as Nightcaller and depicted as lightly armored a female elf with hand crossbows

Casual observation revealed that one of the crypt’s lid along the right wall was cracked and stained with dark dried blood rivulets down its sides and about its foundation. It was the crypt labeled bloodbride and Rhogar sensed a sickening sense of dread and evil upon using his divine gifted senses. Hearing such, Carden quickly pushed the cracked piece of the lid to reveal the contents. Before he could look within, a partially translucent beautiful young elven female with bloodstained white linens rose through the stone and lifted an accusatory finger before gliding toward Carden with lifeless eyes swelling with tears. The group immediately reacted to the obvious undead presence steered by immediate attacks from Carden, Tamnai, and Rhogar. As Rhogar’s radiant strike landed, the visage of the translucent form twisted to one of pain and horror. A baleful wail erupted from her elongated mouth and Carden and Tamnai collapsed to the floor while Carden’s jackal simply disappeared. Tamnai’s death ward spell surged and Carden’s eyes flared with shock at such a potent strike from the undead banshee. Dyan’ette launched a magical assault of flaming bolts. Aelith struck with Shatterspike and Winter’s Breath while Rhogar smited with holy power. The form shriveled at the attacks and dissolved upon Rhogar’s last strike of radiant energy. Carden crawled to Tamnai’s limp form and released a wave of healing energy that recovered the Sunite. Everyone took a few moments to collect themselves and pass some healing to those in need while Dyan’ette used his mage hand to scour the crypt’s contents through the exposed break in the lid. The mage recovered twelve finely crafted amber gemstones likely valued around 200 gold coins each. The drow also retained a small sliver of bone from the remains, but alerted the others that the bones were very brittle and certainly ancient. The group finished searching the right hallway and catalogued the urns believed to be family collections of deceased. They numbered the following:
• The first urn was labeled Liavyre and depicted nine elven adults and three children
• The second urn was labeled Carphyra and depicted twelve elven adults
• The third urn was labeled Pamaerisl and depicted one elven adult and four children
• The fourth urn was labeled Urithai and depicted five elven adults and five children

Opening at the end of the right hall of crypts was a large chamber divided into three smaller chambers open to the center. A cursory glance revealed three elaborate stone coffins open with their heavy stone lids lying on the floor beside them. Mismatched faded tapestries covered the worked walls of the three areas about the coffins and appeared to depict family sigils, scenes of battle, and possible suggestions of those that once laid within. The group agreed to backtrack and search the left hall of crypts before entering the larger room with the coffins. Retracing their path, they carefully searched the left hall of crypts to reveal the following names and titles. They catalogued the urns believed to be family collections of deceased in the left hall as:
• The first urn was labeled Ianneeras and depicted seven elven adults and three children
• The second urn was labeled Ianneeras and depicted four elven adults and one child
• The third urn was labeled Miraldarr and depicted ten elven adults
• The fourth urn was labeled Nerineiros and depicted four elven adults and six children
The actual crypts along the left were revealed to hold the following:
• Lathai Ianneeras titled as Deathspeaker depicted as a robed male elf with bone staff and half-sun amulet
• Inialos Chaelyth titled as Bonecaller depicted as an armored male elf with skull helm and thick rod
• Myriil Miraldarr titled as Nightwalker depicted as a lightly armored male elf with daggers and dark shroud
• Taranath Shaymaris titled as Gloomguard depicted as an armored male elf with shield and long blade
• Arun Urithai titled as Gloomguard depicted as an armored male elf with shield and long blade
• Elluin Nerineiros titled as Gloomguard depicted as an armored male elf with shield and long blade
The last three crypts titled Gloomguard had been shattered and only stone rubble remained. The party rummaged through the stone, but no bones or wealth were found.

The party spread into the larger chamber with the stone coffins. Dyan’ette sit to focus and start the ritual for detecting magic while Tamnai and Aelith moved to the left part of the chamber and studied the ancient tapestries trying to determine their origin and the flow of the story depicted. Carden and Rhogar inspected the left coffin and then circled to the central coffin. An investigation of the first coffin revealed scores of deep, seemingly haphazard scratches along the inside near the top where the lid would have closed. Similar investigation of the lid revealed matching scratches along the inner lid suggesting that whatever was inside had escaped. Whether by sheer strength or by determination, whatever was within had escaped some time ago. The search of the central coffin proved a similar finding. Aelith and Tamnai talked the story depicted out and it seemed as if the coffin’s occupant was known as the Prince of Red. A tall royal with elven or eladrin features seemed to rise and lead similar troops in angular armor against humanoids depicted as grotesque creatures with crude weapons and metal armor. Aelith related that he believed this to be an ancient battle, later confirmed by Dyan’ette that it could have been during the Crown Wars. Tamnai discovered a dark sun symbol that could relate to an ancient death god worshipped by predecessors of current races. Upon completing his detect magic spell, Dyan’ette walked the halls again looking for magic from the crypts and urns to no avail. He returned to the large room to see Rhogar and Carden discussing the central tapestries with the others. The central tapestries revealed the rise of a King in Silver with a horned crown ruling a land along the coast and covered in forests. The most disturbing depiction was that it appeared that the King in Silver beheaded the Prince in Red and then replaced his head with a thorny helm. This was likewise on the opposite wall, but the Prince there was depicted as the Prince in Black. Both Princes were suggested to be the actual since of the King in Silver.

Listening to their discussion, Dyan’ette climbed into the coffin on the right. The drow noticed something crouched near the lid beyond the coffin. The gaunt skin of an undead creature was visible as it rose and the Hammer of Warning surged to alert everybody of the danger. The creature dressed in parched red leathers raised its clawed hand and spoke archaic words. Two bolts of sheer force launched forward. The first at Dyan’ette struck with a sickening thud and doubled the mage over in pain. The second barely missed Rhogar standing upon the raised stairs near the central coffin and shattered the stone beyond while shredding the tapestries there. The party quickly responded. Carden rushed forward to strike and then nimbly rolled away avoiding the creature. Dyan’ette dropped darkness about the undead remembering Carden’s ability to operate in such. Tamnai healed the drow while Rhogar and Aelith prepared to strike anything that erupted from the darkness. When the undead did not emerge, Carden leaped back in to strike and quickly realized that this creature’s eyes glowed with magic likely able to pierce the magical darkness. Announcing such, Dyan’ette dropped the darkness and used faerie fire to outline the foul denizen. The others quickly took advantage of this and struck repeatedly to slice the gaunt skin and pound the lithe frame. A white ichor oozed from the wounds as the undead retaliated, but it succumbed to the assault in quick order and the party remained breathing heavy and disturbed by such a foul presence. The undead form shriveled into nothingness leaving only shaded stain of darkness upon the stone.

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23 Marpenoth (Leaffall) – The Forgotten Tomb

The group awoke and prepared spells and equipment they felt necessary for the journey into the ancient tomb. Carden informed the druid that if he recovered the bone whistle, that he would need help in destroying it as it was connected to the dracolich, Dragauloth. Enth agreed to help if she could and then took them deeper into the Mere and pointed to a small patch of ground above the waterline with thick vegetation. A square mausoleum of aged stone covered in thick moss and strangling vines could barely be seen. She provided a sketch of what the seals should look like and reminded the group that there should be six of them. She also advised the group to avoid any gems or jewels with a glow within as they would be connected to the seals and should be left alone. Enth gave them a small wooden thrush and instructed them to throw it skyward and speak her name when they exited the tomb and she would come for them. Aelith eagerly took the sketch and thrush before nodding to Carden for them to lead the expedition ahead.

The inner mausoleum was smooth and muddy from its recent traffic. The single sarcophagus in the center was opened with its heavy cracked stone lid on the floor to its side. A steep stone stairway descended and switched back thrice before opening into a chamber below. The stairs were slick from moisture leaking slowly through the cracked walls to form moss-covered patches on the stone.

The group entered the first chamber in darkness trusting to their darkvision. After discovering the room littered with parts and only one visible exit across the room, the party called forth light to investigate further. Pieces of twisted limbs with purplish taunt skin were determined to be the remains of ghouls that the other party likely destroyed. A heavy stone door with an obvious match to the seal Enth described was clearly broken with pieces missing. Beyond was a long hallway with several pitons wedged into cracks in the floor. Carden and Aelith easily identified that the pitons were disabling a trap that would drop stone blocks from the ceiling onto unwary trespassers. The hallway ended in a circular room some 15 feet tall with a dozen smoothly carved alcoves with pedestals. The pedestals were empty, but the remnants of statues were crumbled throughout the room. Carden mentioned that the statues closely resembled the elven-like statues they encountered in the Sunken Citadel where he first discovered the bone whistle. The group concluded that the statues were likely guardians destroyed by the adventurers before them. A single exit was in the form of a spiral stone stair in the center of the room. As the group started to descend, it was brought to their attention by Dyan’ette that another seal was placed here, but now faded and only visible once flush with the floor.

Descending the spiral stair slow and carefully, Carden and Aelith remained alert for traps. Reaching the bottom, a long 15ft-wide and 50ft-long hallway stretched beyond with small elevated pillars along both walls every two feet. Calling upon light again, the pair of searchers identified that a trap was still in place but previously circumvented. Chalk marked a line on the floor showing the area that likely opened into a pit trap if any stepped on the floor beyond the chalk. More marks on the pillars identified the path to be stepped upon to circumvent the trap. The group easily avoided the trap and collected at the end of the room beyond another chalk line. An arch led to another circular room with no apparent exit. The room was filled with hundreds of bones from skeletal remains of numerous humanoid races. A search revealed human, elven, halfling, gnome, dwarven, lizardfolk, goblin, orc, and gnoll remains. After a lengthy search, the group finally discovered a panel that caused the entire room to rotate and reveal an exit. The opening remained open a minute or so before returning and a lever on the opposite side was present to open the exit from within. The third seal, burned and scarred into the wall was broken. Aelith reminded everyone that this was where the first group of adventurers progressed before they returned to rest according to Enth.

Beyond the exit was a short descending ramp that opened some 20 feet beyond into a high cylindrical chamber with a narrow 3-foot spiraling walkway from ceiling to bottom. Seeing that the chamber was some 60-foot-tall and the ledge they approached was roughly 20 foot from the ceiling, Aelith and Carden decided to ascend first while the others remained in the mouth of the corridor. They discovered that the previous rogue had disarmed yet another trap that would have dropped a heavy ball of some nature from the ceiling to crush any along the spiral ramp. They gathered the others and used light to better investigate the smudges of dark ichor left along the ramp at various points. Further investigation suggested that the smudges were the remnants of undead shadows burnt from existence by holy fire or divine will. The group also discovered the clothing of a female along with scarred leather armor and mundane items that suggested that the other party’s bard may have perished here. The survivors likely scavenged any items of worth before continuing. The last discovery was that of a thick iron door with a seal upon it. However, the lower half of the door had been melted and pitted with the iron reforming on the ground below. A fourth seal had been breached and the group started to worry if the adventurers were at fault or following something that was piercing the seals.

The long 5ft-wide corridor extended some 50 feet before opening into a room intertwined with long metal poles to form a web of death. The group discovered two forms with skin taunt and eyes sunken as if they had been drained of all fluids. It was quickly determined that these two were the elven rogue and the human fighter. The party had to slowly wind through the steel barbs after Carden and Aelith agreed that the trap had been sprung and likely could not reset. Across from the entrance was the rubble from a thick stone door appearing as if it exploded. The remnants of a seal could be seen upon many of the pieces of stone, thus the fifth seal had been penetrated.

The group could see blood streaks heading beyond the door as if someone was injured, but paused to search the forms of the fighter and rogue. Both seemed to retain their equipment and Dyan’ette took the time to cast a Detect Magic with luck.

The fighter’s plate armor was pierced beyond repair and his spear was sundered below him. However, his furry boots and a sharp steel javelin on his back radiated magic. A pouch with 32 gold and 16 silver coins dangled from his neck in a small purse.

The rogue, impaled through the head and stomach, carried several items still usable. A 50ft silk rope with a collapsible grappling hook was found in his backpack along with a small bag containing a broken nonmagical lute, a strange looking whip and a vial, with the latter two detecting as magic. Another magical dagger with a green hue was discovered on his belt and a brass rod of magical nature was on the other side of his waist.

The group decided to wait and allow Dyan’ette to determine the items properties in case they could be of use as the party continues.

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22 Marpenoth (Leaffall) – Rhogar’s Return

The morning was crisp and Enth had prepared the small clearing of grass for the spell. She waved and the earth shifted to create a hole in the center where she placed the right hand of Rhogar’s corpse. She covered the hand and continued carefully placing the gemstones and creating intricate patterns with the silver shavings, powdered gems, and rare herbs. Soaking the patterns with the oils and blood primed for the ritual, she asked the group if they any items of significance to place into the circle to help call forth Rhogar’s spirit. The group searched through Rhogar’s belongings and finally decided on his breastplate emblazoned with Bahamut’s symbol, the knight piece from his Dragonchess set, and a small stylized gold ring he carried. Enth waved the group to a distance and then started the spell. The oils flared with a greenish flame and the pungent scents herbs and metals filled the air. Everyone watched as Enth finished her spell and turned to them to inform them that they would know soon if Rhogar chose to return.

The earth rolled as if something within was moving and then a thick ruddy hand with five fingers burst out of the ground followed by another. A moment later, an unclothed upper half of a hairy dwarf emerged. His thick golden mane and matching beard were filled with dirt and the dwarf kept touching the hair as if it was foreign and unknown to him. The golden eyes of the dwarf settled on the group before his voice boomed, “What in Bahamut’s name has happened?” The next several minutes were a mix of joy, confusion, and discovery for the group. Before them was their friend, Rhogar, but in a different form, the form of a tall and muscular mountain dwarf. Enth gave them their space for a few hours as the group relayed all that had happened since the night Rhogar died.

The green-skinned elf-eared druid returned with a collection of berries and nuts for the group and then sit before them to discuss her need of them. The group listened intently as Enth revealed her dilemma. Revealing that she sought adventurers willing to penetrate a tomb in the Mere of Dead Men. A tomb sealed far in the past as part of a ritual to banish a malevolent being of great power when the veil between the Shadowfell and Toril were thinner. Bando had provided an able group of adventurers two months ago and they had entered the tomb on her behest. The previous group included a human sorceress, an elven rogue, a human fighter, a half-elven female bard, and a gnome priest of Tymora known well to Bando. The first adventure group discovered that seals were broken and the halls beyond were laden with undead that they battled furiously before they had to return to rest and heal. They had discovered three seals broken of the supposed six in place and their leader, the sorceress discovered a bone whistle that whispered of power. She found it on a corpse of a likely intruder that had been slain and turned to undeath. She claimed the whistle was a treasure that could assist them and they again submerged into the tomb after resupplying in Amphail. That was nearly two ten-days ago and she suspects them either dead or trapped somehow. She informed the group that the seals that imprison the entity also prevent any teleportation or planar shifting travel. She alludes that this same power prevents her or other fey entities from entering or escaping the tomb. After recommending that the group travel to Amphail to equip their nearly nude dwarven friend, she will transport them all to the Mere of Dead Men that evening.

Aelith refused to enter Amphail and Carden and Dyan’ette also decided to stay outside the town. Tamnai and Rhogar entered Amphail and purchased needed clothing and exchanged the plate armor sized for his larger dragonborn form for a suitable set sized for the dwarf. Wanting to keep the breastplate, Rhogar exchanged his Everburning Torch to a smith with the ability to resize the breastplate to a comfortable fit before the evening. The two returned to the party just before sundown and Enth found a tree to use for her transport spell.

The spell opened a portal in the tree and within mere seconds the group exited into a fetid and humid swampy terrain with abundant insects and strange noises. Enth recommended the group camp and Dyan’ette’s magical hemisphere was truly appreciated for the night as it kept the humidity and bugs out and allowed for temperature control to reduce the discomfort. The night passed uneventful beyond the noises of an unfamiliar terrain.

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21 Marpenoth (Leaffall) – A Druid’s Travel

Carden and Dyan’ette pulled watch as the last of the night sky hung over them. Hearing something, Carden investigated the area near the horses only to be tripped and covered with a cloak of leaves. The commotion and slight giggling of Pavril alerted the others. When they approached, the half-elf was jesting about Carden’s appearance. After introducing herself to Aelith, she continued her talk with Carden as the others lost interest and returned to the camp. The half-elf questioned the rogue’s capacity to get into trouble and informed him that it takes her time to receive any missives. She alluded that he could drop any future reports at Tamnai’s shop in Waterdeep or to Miros Xelbrin in Goldenfields. She approved of his wearing the ring she had left and told him that their paths would certainly cross in the future. After a ruffle of his hair and comment about his white streak, Pavril left as swift as she appeared. A whistle followed by the pounding of hooves called her mount. The half-elf nimbly mounted as it passed and turned back to the south while the others started breaking the camp.

Before noon, the group approached the Floshin Estate. An inquiry with the estate guards directed them to the gardens to the east of the estate below the cliff’s there. The cold waters fell from the cliffs and gathered in a pool at the center of a lush garden with stones laid to mark its paths. After hobbling the horses beyond the garden, the party noticed a lone green-skinned figure swimming in the pool. As they approached, she noticed them and walked from the pool in the nude. Both Carden and Aelith averted their eyes to show respect. Tamnai and Dyan’ette simply watched her as she approached. Seeing the human’s reactions, she summoned a shawl of vines and flowers that climbed her form from the ground below. She announced her newly clad clothing and addressed the entire group with a lyrical voice. The group quickly turned the conversation to the need to reincarnate Rhogar. She agreed to perform this task for their aid in return as long as they had the ingredients for the spell. The group quickly agreed thinking little of what her task entailed as long as it returned their friend. She agreed and informed them that they would be travelling to the north and that their mounts could not join them. Enth expressed that she would perform the ritual to reincarnate Rhogar at dawn the following morning, but she would arrange for their mounts to be cared for by the estate. She approached and spoke with the horses, who followed her as she took them to the estate. Enth returned some time later and asked the group to follow her. She approached a large tree and stated that all were to enter once the portal opened. The party agreed and immediately stepped into the tree as a green misty portal formed at Enth’s touch and strange words.

The group, somewhat disoriented at first, noticed that they stood in a thick forest. The druid revealed that they were in the Westwood, a forest to the west of Amphail which was only about 10 miles away. She asked them to make themselves at home while she prepared for the ritual in the morning to bring back their friend, in whatever form nature chose.

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20 Marpenoth (Leaffall) – The Trial

Morning came swiftly and the group ate a light breakfast and prepared for their trial. After coordinating that their magical items were secured, the group was escorted to the River Shining Tavern for their trial. Upon arrival, they joined Yeshua and Dyan’ette in the tavern’s main room. Mya explained that the council usually met here as it was the largest room and historically had been the preference for council meetings and large trials. The common room had been cleared and seven seats upon a lifted platform were in place for the judges. The group stood as the masked council members entered, all wearing the masks Mya had explained to them. A dozen guards were in the room as was several benches filled with townsfolk there to witness and confirm the trial. Opposite the council were the two tables for the pleaders and the chairs for the party members.

The trial was long and tiring as both pleaders made their case and called for the supporting evidence. Each member of the party was called to testify and did their best to remember the points Mya had counseled. Yeshua’s testimony was sufficient and the monk refrained from placing any blame and simply stated the facts to his best recollection. Carden’s and Tamnai’s testimony were less impressive, as each stumbled a few times with their expressions and words. However, Mya nodded to each as if they were sufficient. Surprisingly, Aelith’s and Dyan’ette’s testimonies were well received. The hunter delivered his words with clarity and emphasis that made the Untherites appear as both instigator and deceiver. The drow used his persuasiveness to insinuate whether his actions or his race were actually being tried. He expressed a loss for his friend Rhogar that had been an honorable and respected paladin and member of the Order of the Gauntlet.

A brief recess was taken and Mya expressed her approval of the trial thus far. When the trial resumed, additional testimony from others, that performed the investigation of the site and in the town, along with Bando’s discussions with the departed seemed to support the story the party had provided. The two pleaders made their way forward to give their closing remarks. The prosecutor started strong, but faltered when addressing the charge of murder by speaking Dyan’ette’s race. Mya’s delivery was extremely strong and she capitalized on the possible bias of the prosecutor as well as the Untherites premeditated savagery and vile actions.

Another short recess occurred before the council voted. The charge of murder against Dyan’ette was tied at three votes of guilty (Rayon, Deldrin, and Silvui) and three votes of not guilty (Derval, Theera, and Nartan) before Balabar Smenk voted not guilty to solidify Dyan’ette’s innocence. The charge of Offensive Spellcasting with Malicious Intent against Dyan’ette was tied at three votes of guilty (Nartan, Deldrin, and Silvui) and three votes of not guilty (Derval, Rayon, and Theera) before Balabar Smenk voted not guilty to solidify Dyan’ette’s innocence. The charges of Trespassing were unanimously not guilty with the exception of Deldrin’s vote for guilty. The charges of Structural Damage were unanimously guilty with the exception of Theera’s vote of not guilty. The charge of Arson was tied at three votes of guilty (Derval, Rayon, and Deldrin) and three votes of not guilty (Theera, Nartan, and Silvui) before Balabar Smenk voted not guilty to grant the party an innocent result.

A punitive fine of 150 gold coins was assessed for the structural damage charge of guilty and the group’s release could be processed upon payment. The group thanked Mya for her representation, paid the fine, and reformed at the Lady Luck tavern except for Yeshua who said his goodbye after the trial’s results. The party gathered their horses and gear, arranged for the respectful cremation of Rhogar’s remaining body, dropped Rhogar’s borrowed shield back at the Table of the Sword, and then traveled to Derval’s Bright Blade shop. Once there, they purchased another shield from Derval while expressing thanks to the guildmaster. He simply replied that there was still unfinished business regarding the revenant of Derwin and excused himself back to the forges. Dyan’ette delivered a couple of missives to Mya and the group visited the Fairfortune Hall to get more information about the druid from Bando.

Bando welcomed the group and explained that the druid they seek is known as Enth and she could be found at the Floshin Estate some 25 miles north of Daggerford. The Halfling described the route to get to the estate and further revealed that she seeks an adventuring group to complete what another failed to complete. As the patron of adventurers, Tymora guided him in helping the druid and he wants to ensure that his recommendations are not affiliated with failure. He handed the group a set of rare oils and herbs that should cover at least half of the ingredients for the reincarnation spell they seek. He also handed a list of rare ores and gemstone materials needed and suggested that Korbus could provide these if the party has the funds to cover such. The group immediately visited Korbus and coordinated the preparation of the ingredients for 500 gold pieces. An hour or so later, the group departed Korbus’s with the ingredients. Dyan’ette also received the collection of knowledge on gems and their magical properties he ordered prior to the trial. As the group exited Daggerford, Dyan’ette handed out cloak pins in the shape of a dragon wing with the letters W and C upon them. He tucked the other two away in hopes to hand Rhogar one in the near future. After a two hour ride, the group found a suitable spot to camp and settled under the starry sky free of Daggerford and its politics.

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19 Marpenoth (Leaffall) – The Council of Judges

The day dragged as the group waited to hear anything from Mya. Eventually, she arrived and escorted them to the Pleader’s Consortium. She explained that they are not to mention or name any of the members of the court, but she had knowledge of those appointed and discussed them so the group understood their jury and judges.

The seven masked members of the council selected for the trial were as follows: (1) Derval Ironeater of the Blacksmiths’ Guildhouse would be wearing a thick iron bull mask. He was familiar with your group and hopefully considered your efforts in the past with favor. (2) Rayon Deloreen of the Leatherworker’s Conglomerate would be wearing a red/purple leather mask with pursed lips. She was known to dislike adventurers and her area of concern, the Tannery, was where the incident occurred with damages. She was appointed even after Mya argued of bias toward the group. (3) Theera Marrora of the Mariner’s Alliance would be wearing a bone female face with peacock feathers. She was very fond of Ronan Stormweather and he likely influenced her appointment. (4) Nartan the Merchant of the Merchant’s Guild would be wearing an elaborate gold mask with gem and pearl accents. He normally favored adventurers since they stimulate the economy, but was known to be very pragmatic. Mya felt he was a member that could be an asset in their favor with the facts uncovered to this point. (5) Deldrin Baleson of the Thinker’s Fraternity would be wearing an angular silver mask with scrolls and musical notes upon it. This was not a good omen as Eldrac was of this guild and Mya argued the obvious conflict of interests to no avail. (6) Madame Silvui of the Taverner’s Consortium would be wearing an elaborate brightly-colored butterfly mask with filigree and gemstones. She was a wildcard, but had been seen in the company of Nelkin “The Snail” Danniker the past two days. The last member, Balabar Smenk of the Miner’s Syndicate would be wearing a full white mask of various metal filigree with a triangular jaw. His presence was rare as he usually avoided councils, especially any criminal councils.

Mya covered the rules and behaviors expected of the trial and went over each member’s statements and likely questions to be asked of each. The day was filled with the tedious process and all were happy to return for rest, even Yeshua.

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18 Marpenoth (Leaffall) – A Small Friend

Around noon, Mya escorted the party to the Pleader’s Consortium and left them in the familiar room. Shortly after she left, a Halfling with a cane and an obvious deformity entered and introduced himself as Bando the Lame, the priest of Fairfortune Hall, shrine of Tymora. After chastising the group for never visiting him and his shrine, since they had made efforts to visit the other temples and shrine in Daggerford, he claimed it as pure luck since he is the only order in the town to not have previous exposure to the group. He relayed that his spells had provided the questioning of the deceased and that he was inclined to attempt a few other attempts to solidify the facts thus far.

Bando explained that he was informed of their current deceased friends issue and that he visited the remains being kept at the Table of the Sword. He also revealed that he could offer a more certain solution in the form of a druid available to perform the reincarnation if the group could aid him after their legal woes were ended. The druid he has access to is only 25 miles north and currently needs assistance in an endeavor familiar to adventurers. After some additional drinks and banter, Bando departs and the party seem more confident in their hopes to bring back Rhogar.
Shortly after Bando’s departure, Mya returns and explains that she is still attempting to secure favorable judges. She also reveals that the group likely has some opposition in town as others are sinking coin into obtaining unfavorable judges as well. She returns them to the Lady Luck tavern so she can continue her case to represent the group.

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