The party entered a small chamber that was mostly empty, save for the body of a villager sprawled in the center. Perched atop the corpse was a man-sized brown and yellow beetle trying to push the corpse into a corner where a pile of trash and filth awaits. As Patrick and Flint, who lead the party entered the room, the beetle clicked its mandibles together and charged. The nimble monks easily dodged the charge and the beetle turned, moving with a speed that surprised the party. Patrick and Flint moved to flank the beetle, and the beetle breathed out a cone of acid that monks once again easily dodged taking minimal damage.
Patrick hit first and hit hard cracking the beetle’s carapace. Flint followed up and landed an equally sharp blow with his weapon severing one of the beetle’s legs. Clod entered the combat and lunged with his spear sliding along the back of the beetle without doing much to slow the creature. Ivy drew an arrow with her bow and fired missing completely. The beetle attempted to grab Flint with it’s mandibles but missed leaving Patrick an opportunity to once again hit the creature hard and finish it off.
Looking around the chamber, the party found nothing of interest and continued down the hallway, but Ivy began to hang back. “I don’t want to go down there. Bad things happened down there.” Flint and Patrick exchanged a look between them but nodded and turned in a different direction coming to a dead in wall.
Patrick looked at the wall. His keen dwarf mind taking in the details and finally after much deliberation declared, “It’s a one way door. It must open from the other side.” Flint heard only, “It’s a door” and began to bash the door in. After almost and hour, Flint had reduced the door to rubble and the way was open once more. Clod muttered, “Everything in the crypt knows we are here now after all the noise he made.”
Patrick peered into the new opening. A single pillar in the center of the room supports this wide domed chamber. The pillar is surrounded by a pit, but a stone bridge crosses the pit on the south side. Dozens of arrows jut from the pillar, facing every direction. The party moved into the room and the pillar began to rotate and began to fire blunt arrows at everything in the room. The Dwarf ran for a door on the south side safely as did Flint. Clod was hit with an arrow but made it to the other end. Ivy waited, and waited and waited and when the pillar was out of arrows …calmly walked to where the other members of the party stood. As the party grew impatient with Ivy, she said, “You rush to death. It would run out of arrows and it did.”
The southern hallway lead chamber containing a staircase leading down to a lower level. A continuous carving of mourners ran along the walls the lead to the staircase on the south side of the room. As they continued into the room farther, bloody human skeletons drug themselves out from behind the pillars. One directly behind Clod cutting him off from the group. Clod struck the creature with his spear, but as the blood flowed over the skeletal frame it healed and pushed up the spear until it’s claws were able to rend the throat of Clod ending his life as he struggled to breath and yell, the blood foaming about his throat. Clod stared at Ivy as the truth of her words hit home, “You rush to death.” His eyes glazed over and he moved no more.
Patrick played a game of cat and mouse with the skeletons luring them close together and then channeled his faith outward, hitting all of the skeletons with positive energy. The skeletons blew apart and were permanently destroyed by the cleric’s faith. Turning to Clod, the young adults knew that they were not going to be able to save him. His soul had departed to Pharasma’s Court for judgement.
Flint and Patrick examined the now destroyed skeletons. Flint found that one of the skeletons was wearing a tarnished silver necklace and appraised it as junk. Patrick asked to see it and realized that it was necklace of a style that was about 200 years old and was worth about 200 gold coins if cleaned up a bit. Patrick looked at Flint, “Yes, I agree…It’s junk, but I’d like to keep it anyway.” He placed it in his pouch as Flint continued searching.
Ivy remained half hidden in shadows as the monk-fighter and monk-cleric examined the room. Hopefully, they would not remember any of her predictions or anything that would cause them to turn on her. People had turned on her for less and she waited for the backlash. She wondered if the rest of the party could hear the dripping of water from down the stairs and an occasional low moan, but didn’t trust herself or them enough to draw their attention to it.
Flint and Patrick discussed going down the stairs but decided that they did not want to leave the tomb unexplored and danger behind them while they were below. So they back tracked to the area that Ivy did not want to go. Ivy followed them at a distance and kept quiet. She realized that it was her path that was uncertain, the party could easily kill her for a “witch” as the superstitious townsfolk have grown to believe or accept her. Her death here in the tomb would never be questioned….they have already lost townsfolk, Holly, and Clod. Who would mourn Ugly Ivy…she probably wouldn’t even be taken back to town, but just left here in the tomb.
Ivy was so caught up in her own thoughts, she didn’t hear herself begin to mumble, “The pain, the pain and fear. It’s afraid of the fire. It’s burning. The anger. The pain. It’s screaming, but it’s already dead.” Flint and Patrick up ahead heard the mumbling and made out most of the words, but didn’t know what they meant.
The room they had entered held the remains of a small fire that smoldered in the center of a broad chamber. The fire let off a plume of oily smoke. Fed by a heap of burning gear, debris, and more than a few bones, the fire casts a flickering lighting across the walls of this room, partially obscured by the veil of smoke.
Patrick closed his hand on his holy symbol and cast Create Water calling forth enough water to extinguish the flame. The resulting billowing of smoke and acrid air filled the room choking everyone and causing it to be very hard to breathe. In the obscuring smoke, Flint felt a brush of air against his face. “We aren’t alone in here.” Patrick and Flint backed into the hallway leading into the room, as a ghostlike shadow figure stalked them.
Ivy from behind the front line where she couldn’t see anything continued to mutter under her breath. “It’s one of the townsfolk. He died in this room and was terribly afraid of fire. His burning death caused him to rise as again as a shadow. The anger and hatred he feels is so intense.” Patrick cast Shield of Faith and then Magic Weapon on Flints sword. Flint became a terror striking at shadows, mists, and vapors in the hope of hitting the creature and perhaps guided by luck or faith, managed to accidently skewer the shadow. His weapon enhanced by the holy magic of Patrick laid the shadow to rest.
After the smoke cleared, which seemed a lot longer than it actually was, the party found a key and in the fire itself where it didn’t burn a glowing dagger. As it probably hot, they used some debris to fetch it from the fire remains and then Patrick doused it with his Create Water spell again until it was safe to touch. Patrick cast Detect Magic and confirmed that the dagger had a magical aura about it but nothing more.
Returning nearly to the entrance of the tomb and heading through the first door instead of following the moans from Roldare, the three remaining adventurers entered a large chamber. In the center of the room was a large pool of clear water, fed by a fountain on the wall above it. The fountain had as tone statue of a weeping nymph holding the slain body of Kassen, but the head of Kassen had been broken off and was nowhere to be seen. A voice booms out of the darkness, saying, “Magic is the key.” The voice slowly fades, leaving a dreadful silence.
Examining the room, all the doors out of the chamber were locked. Patrick cast Detect Magic once again. Patrick could see the faint outline of a key at the bottom of a pool. “I can swim down and get it.” The Dwarf sank quickly in the water his heavy bone structure pulling him like a rock to the bottom of the pool. Using his darkvision, he could easily see hundreds of keys at laying on the pool’s floor and knew how difficult this would be without his ability to cast spells. He swam over and picked up the glowing key, but the weight of the key suddenly revealed how truly dangerous a trap this was. The dwarf struggled to swim upwards with the weight of the key pulling him down.
Patrick struggled and was thankful of his inherent sturdiness and constitution as it helped him to eventually retrieve the key. A weakling mage or sorcerer could easily have been drowned since they tend to favor intellect over physical training in general. He spent a few moments catching his breath and then displayed the key for the rest of the party to see. Once out of the water, the key weighed nothing at all.
Patrick and Flint took the key and began to open the locked doors. When the door unlocked the key dissolved into water and disappeared. Ivy filled her waterskin and an extra one from the fresh water flowing from the nymph fountain before joining the two monks.
A small hallway lead to an open chamber that contained a small stone bench. The bench sat in the center of a dusty chamber. On the far wall was a faded mural depicting the hero Kassen defeating the mercenaries at the entrance to the crypt, with his blade piercing the chest of the mercenary leader. These figures stand alone in the center of a scene of carnage, with dead villagers and mercenaries all around them.
Ivy pointed out that both Kassen and the mercenary leader are wearing golden necklaces, each made up of a simple golden chain, from which hung an oddly shaped medallion. The two medallions while not identical were very similar. Nothing else of interest in the room, the party moved further along and found the entrance door that opened one way to the circular pillar that fired arrows.
Retracing their steps once more, they took a second hallway. The long corridor was flanked by a row of human statues, set into alcoves on each side. The statues looked like Kassen, and each one held a longsword out in front of it. The blades of roughly half the statues were wrapped in leather padding.
“It appears the villagers were trying to diminish the deadliness of this hallway but didn’t finish their work before the skeletons got them.” Ivy offered. Flint took the lead trusting his nimble agility to save him before the trap turned deadly. He jumped out of the way when he felt his foot trigger the pressure plate between the third pair of statues. All of the statues suddenly and swiftly swung their blades downward and would have easily hit anyone trapped between them.
The swords remained down once the trap was triggered disarming the trap but it created a barrier that was difficult to navigate as they had to climb over the angled swords. Being careful and using pillows they had found earlier to help pad the remaining blades, all of them made it safely through the hallway into yet another chamber.
One half of this lofty chamber had a lowered floor, with stairs on either side to reach the bottom. Standing opposite the door was a tall wooden statue of Kassen grasping a gigantic wooden shield in each hand. One of the shields was inscribed with the word “home” while the other read “family.”
Flint looked to Patrick and said, "I bet we found the “shields” Roldare babbled about. Patrick nodded and began to assess the situation to see how best to proceed