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Death Among the Undead

Drusilia’s Journal

Waterday, Flocktime 12, 592 CY

While we seem to be getting better at working as a team, we lost a team member in the process.

As planned, we explored the temple in the southwestern quadrant of Arun-tosa, and as expected, the bronze doors were emblazoned with the skull and scythe symbol of Nerull. Walking in, we saw vaulted ceilings and a balcony, as well as an altar on a raised dais. A wispy humanoid form rose from the altar, and both Korin and I became fascinated by a hypnotic murmuring that came from the undead creature. Jonathan ran forward to attack the thing with his waraxe, while Fafnir stayed back to cast ranged spells, and Ghelt (thankfully) ran to me to snap me out of my trance. Unfortunately, the creature touched Jon before we could finish it off, which the Sword of Pelor did— my turning attempt didn’t seem to do much more than upset it. After Korin came out of his own trance, he told me that even though he was still upset by it, he’d like to carry the sword again, which pleases me greatly. We stabbed each other with it a few times, and he seemed delighted that it healed (as we knew it would!) and later after making some rather prolonged eye-contact with me, turned to Ghelt and told her, “Not blue— violet!”

In addition to an altar (which Jon knocked over in his fervor to hit the ghostly creature), we found two doors— one went to a small cloakroom with stairs leading to the balcony, and the other also led to the balcony, and to a lower level. Before we could stop him, Jon went down the steps, so we followed. The room below had a huge seal with Nerull’s symbol on the floor, and a set of doors with glowing runes beyond it, which looked as though a circular key was needed to pass through them. I’m now sure that the undead thing in the altar did something to Jon’s wisdom, for he immediately stomped right across the seal, which obviously drained some life out of him. Ghelt called for him to come back, which he did— right across the seal again, which drained him a bit more.

Before we could deal with the seal however, we heard Korin upstairs fighting something, and the something apparently had caught him on fire (and also melted the candle he was toting around). While Fafnir puzzled over the seal a moment longer, the rest of us dashed up the steps, just in time to be wreathed in flames by the attack of a winged skeleton. Jonathan was immediately knocked out. I cast Create Water on Ghelt (who fought the creature), Jonathan and myself while yelling to Korin to roll around to put the fire out on himself. We managed to kill one creature— the other took off. Thankfully we have the sword to heal us, for even with three clerics in the party (I see that Korin has decided to heed the wisdom of Yondalla), we would be out of healing spells very quickly in this place.

We decided to head to the barracks-like building in the southeast quadrant of the city, seeing that most, if not all, of the buildings between the temple and there were in ruins. As we walked, the evil surrounding us was almost palpable, and I cautiously suggested that we stand back to back (though Korin decided to face the wrong way so he could moon any would-be assailants). We were soon surrounded by 13 ghouls, which thankfully, are not a match for a cleric-filled party!

We quickly finished our trek to the barracks. It stands about 40’ tall, with much higher towers— Korin climbed the outside of one of the towers to gain entry while the rest of us investigated a door at the back. I was hoping we could gain entrance without alerting anything inside to our arrival, but the wisdom-damaged Jonathan began to hack at the wooden door with his waraxe. He soon broke through, and had his hand shaken by a wight. We slew that wight and three more following it, then followed Jonathan into the barracks.

We immediately found ourselves about to enter a chamber with five demonic creatures in it— four were pathetic blubbery things (dretches) that seemed unable to attack us effectively, and one mass of tentacles with a slug-like head that lashed out at us, immediately pulling Jonathan and Ghelt to it. Jonathan was crushed instantly. Ghelt was able to get herself free of its tentacled grasp while Fafnir and I hurled spells at it (and Korin came running down from the tower as quickly as he could). We were able to kill it— Fafnir used every spell in his arsenal and the last magical missile brought the creature down. We made short work of the dretches.

Ghelt seemed a little, well, stupid after the encounter— she didn’t seem to know who she was, how to speak, or who we were, or even what to do with her weapons and equipment! A restoration spell brought back her ability to speak, albeit monosyllabically. We had to rest for the night so I could cast enough to get her back to herself again. Thankfully, the night passed quietly.

Now, we have to decide how to put Jonathan to rest, not only because it’s the proper thing to do, but in the City of the Dead, improper death rites may result in him coming back to us as an undead creature— a fate he certainly does not deserve. Fafnir and Korin are already trying to figure out how to carry all the equipment our larger companion carried for us. He was only with us for one short week, but he will be missed.

Posted by Kristin on May 13, 2003, 18:44 | Drusilia’s Journal