Friday, April 10, 2015

Westmist Session #94 & #95 - One Destroyed and One Got Away

... The party moved fast as the misty Jax drifted away. After taking a few moments to loot Bjorn's still warm corpse of valuables, they started chasing the quickly receding mist. It drifted towards the 30' wide corridors, turning left at a four way intersection. The party chased, with Erijay and Kern in the lead, but soon lost sight of the mist. In the wide passage they found four narrow side passages, two on each side, before the main corridor came to a semi-circular end. Inlaid in the floor there was a silvery unholy symbol of Yg. Rather than mess with anymore Yg-things, the party backtracked and explored the first side passage.  The 5' side passage extended just 10' before ending in a wall of dirt. Dug in this was a narrow, low tunnel, which would require crawling and hand and foot to explore. Erijay sent one of her mini-meerkats into the tunnel and scouted along using clairvoyance. The rodent found a maze of tunnels 2'-3' in diameter, and soon ran into a pair of giant rats! The little meerkat turned and fled back to it's mistress, and the party decided to search elsewhere.

Heading to the other side of the main passage, they found the first narrow passage on that side led into a series of smaller rooms. Erijay paused for a moment to cast detect invisible from Bjorn's spellbook, then took the lead into the rooms. The first had a floor ankle deep in guano and a ceiling thick with bats, which took to wing as the elf maid entered. These she froze with a blast from her wand of cold, and the little frozen corpses fell to the floor in a tinkle. Passing through another narrow passage, she spied a room with about a dozen human forms. Many she recognized as people from Westmist, included their old fence, Afflain. Alas, they were no longer themselves, but barred teeth and slipped over to claw and bite at the elf. She pulled back out of the way to allow Lomar to step forward and use the power of Salue to drive the foul fiends away. Meanwhile, Erijay caught an invisible glance of Alia, standing in the narrow passage on the opposite side of the room. Shouting a warning to everyone else, she pushed Lomar out of the way, bypassed the retreating undead, and dove at the red-headed witch with her sword. And slammed the point into the wall. Meanwhile, Guy and Jasper moved up and started lobbing holy water, one of which instead drenched Erijay from head to foot. More holy water was lobbed, Erijay missed again with her sword, and Lomar was unsuccessful in turning Alia. But the vampiress wasn't planning on staying, and turned to a giant bat and quickly flew away out of the party's sight.
After a cursory check of the remaining rooms, the party headed back to the four way intersection and decided the investigate the other two passages.   One extended just 40' before ending again in a semicircle and symbol of Yg on the floor. The other corridor was similar in length to the first and also ended in a semicircle and symbol of Yg on the floor.There were a couple of large archways leading off the corridor. One led to a collapsed room, the other into a large room filled with sarcophagi! Rather than manually search all the  sarcophagi, Erijay cast locate object to track Jax via the stuff he was wearing. Surprisingly, the spell pointed them back towards the giant rat tunnels. Heading back that way, they resigned themselves to crawling single file into danger. Using the meekat to again scout ahead, they navigated the winding passages and mostly avoided the rats, before discovering a small wooden coffin stuffed into a low burrow. Kern wiggled to the front of the line and checked it for traps before popping off the lid. Inside lay Jax, slowly reforming into human form. Wasting no time, the merchant staked the vampire through the heart, shoved Salue's blessed sheaf of wheat in his mouth, and decapitated him. There was a faint. disembodied ghostly howl, and the body suddenly crumbled to dust. Kern and Erijay did a little happy dance; their long arch rival was now gone for good!

But there was still Alia to deal with. So Kern lifted what objects Jax left behind (some jewelry, armor and sword, and a scroll of protection from magic) and everyone proceeded to crawl back out of the tunnels. Kern also used the scroll, figuring they might need the protection if they ran into Alia again. And sure enough they did. Just as they approached the end of the tunnels, Guy (in the lead) spied the vampiress crouched in the narrow corridor ahead. With a wicked smile she cast a lightning bolt at the trapped party, only to have that smile turn to a snarl when she realized it had no effect on the protected party. With a scream of rage, she ran off before the party could all get out of the tunnel.

When they did all emerge, Kern passed the shield of the Gann to Erijay, and donned Jax's medallion of thought, planning to hunt down Alia by her thoughts. He was unsuccessful though; she must have already moved too far away. Guy, meanwhile, noticed something while gloomy looking at the floor. Out of the mess of tracks on the floor, he spied a fresh set that could only belong to a light footed undead woman. Off in pursuit the party swnt again, only to find the tracks suddenly end at about the four way intersection. Guessing she must be near though, Erijay started the process to summon an air elemental with the brazier looted from Bjorn's body. Meanwhile everyone else headed back to the sarcophagi room, assuming her coffin must be in there somewhere. Searching almost a hundred stone sarcophagi wouldn't be easy though; it took Lomar and Guy almost 10 minutes to pry off one lid. Inside they found a disturbed pile of old bones, and hidden under the skull a gold and diamond necklace. At this point, a low rumbling sound was heard coming from the dome. With the now-summoned air elemental in the lead, the party headed that way. At first they saw nothing, until suddenly a massive earth elemental burst out of one of the large archways. Erijay swiftly sent the air elemental in the battle with it, and the two magical beasts tore at each other. Lomar, Guy, Jasper and Kern at first tired to help their windy friend. In the end they decided to back away and search the room for Alia, assuming she had summoned the elemental and was somewhere nearby. Checking out the base of the three giant states of Yg, Kern found nothing. Lomar and Guy, exploring the room the elemental had emerged from, also came up empty. At this point Erijay shouted a warning; the air elemental was almost spent and the earth elemental was still strong and powerful. With that everyone fled back to the sarcophagi room, hoping to hide there. The elemental followed them though, and started bashing at the wall to break in. Kern fired crossbow bolts at it and Erijay used all the remaining charges in her wand of cold, and in the end the summoned monster was blasted to pieces.
Heading back out, Lomar decided to investigate the unholy symbols of Yg on the floors. Thinking they might open some hidden chamber, he touched each in turn. No chambers opened, but he did steal some life force from Eriajy and found his skin starting to slowly turn to scales.

Desperate, the party went back to the big room and started ripping open sarcophagi, looking for Alia's. They mostly found piles of old bone. Plus one wight, which Lomar pushed backed with the blessings of Salue, before Guy and Jasper popped the lid back on the sarcophagi. It did not take long before they found one empty sarcophagi,  but for a bit a dirt in the bottom. Thinking this might be it, Loamr poured a flew flasks of holy water in, and was rewarded with a hissing and popping sound that indicted it must have been unholy dirt and probably Alia's resting place.

Speaking of whom, she suddenly appeared in the doorway behind them. With a sneer, she mockingly thanked them for freeing her from serving Jax. And with a final laugh, turned to a bat and flew away. Once more chasing her, they saw her fly into the dome and then up out of sight. Presumably out the hatch and away. She had, it seemed, escaped them. Disappointed, but ready to leave more than ever, they headed for their rope to climb out of the dreary buried temple. Only to find it had been cut and left on the floor. Erijay muttered as she pulled out Bjorn's spellbook to cast fly  from it's pages. At that moment, above them in the hatch, they could see a light, and a familiar voice called down. It was Lord Merdwyn, and he asked for news of their success. Kern told him Jax was destroyed but Alia escaped. Lord Merdwyn chuckled, and said that perhaps they should then renegotiate their deal. He instead proposed that  Duncal replace the now departed Jax as his  seneschal in Westmist. The party could become Duncal's guard, much as the Company of Good Cheer was Lord Merdwyn's. The March Baron also hinted that he knew Duncal was going to pull up stakes and run at the first chance, so the role as seneschal could then fall to one of the party.  It was, the March Baron said, the best deal for them all. Especially since he had the party trapped in an old evil temple and at his mercy ...

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