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December 4, 2002

Combing the Catacombs

Drusilia's Journal

Starday, Planting 8, 592 CY

Luckily, our night passed uneventfully. There was some bumping around outside of the room we holed up in— apparently the melted-looking creatures wandering around. After a quick breakfast of trail rations, we opened the trap door we’d rested beside, and with Ghelt leading, climbed down a full 100 feet to catacombs that stretched out as far as we could see. The halls were filled with niches holding remains of the Everstons. Trap was able to make out the nameplate on one: Marcus Everston 348-402 CY. The last date we found was still 161 years old, and we lost count of the sepulchers after about 100. Halls full of burial vaults branched off from the main one and we just wandered through them until we came to a pair of staircases, both leading down. There were footprints going back and forth between the two in the thick dust, and, noticing a horrible stench emanating from the one on our left, we chose to check it out first. As soon as we reached the bottom of the stairs, we were hit full force by the smell of death and decay. Dozens of burial vaults lined the walls, each having been smashed open. Two undead humanoid creatures turned at the far end of this area started shambling towards us. I turned them so that they would not attack our party, and while Ghelt started to hack at one with her axe, Fafnir lit arrows for Trap to shoot at the other. Though Ghelt clearly had the upper hand, she was suddenly attacked by small, zombified rats, so I took greater effort to invoke Pelor’s blessings. The zombies were destroyed. We were fortunate not to encounter any more undead in this area of the crypts. We did come to a door, sealed with Pelor’s fiery sun emblem, and though Trap really wanted to see what lay within, the rest of us were concerned that the seal had been placed there to keep some great evil away. Breaking the seal may have caused unknown damage, so unless we learn more about it, we will leave it be.

We eventually went back to the level above and took the other staircase. This one had a bronze door with the symbol of Nerull, god of death set upon it. Trap was sure the door was trapped. And he was right! He made several attempts to disarm the trap, resulting in a spiked pit trap opening in front of the door each time he opened it. One time he even fell in, but was fortunate enough to land between the spikes. He found the body of a duergar in the pit, and after looting the long dead corpse, found some gold, a sling with bullets, and best of all, a mithral axe (which Ghelt is putting to good use!). Knowing now where the pit was, the rest of us were able to jump across using Ghelt’s rope to prevent more mishaps.

We now found ourselves in a large room containing a sacrificial altar and a statue of Nerull. After I checked for magic, I found a line of runes partway through the room, no doubt some form of protection or alarm. Armed with this knowledge, we stepped across the line, weapons ready, only to have eight armed skeletons appear and attack us from doorways surrounding the altar. I had to turn them twice, as they seemed to find strength from being so close to the hateful statue. Though I couldn’t attack the skeletons and maintain Pelor’s holy force against them at the same time, my comrades were up to the task and dispatched seven quickly, allowing me to finish off the last one.

We quickly searched the area of the altar and the doors, and found that two of the doors lead to hallways. Taking the left hallway first, we encountered five cell doors similar to the ones where we spent the past night. One contained a zombie that badly wounded Ghelt, and another held a four-armed skeleton. Further on, we found a torture chamber, and a bedroom beyond that. The bedroom appeared to have been unused for many years— layers of dust coated everything. As the others were examining the desk and bed, I noticed a door cleverly concealed in one wall. It was hard for me to point it out to Trap, but once I did, he was able to open it. What awaited us was a horrible sight. In a little closet-sized space, we found an altar unlit candles on it. Before it knelt a figure in a tattered black robe. My entire party reacted as one as the grey-skinned ghoul turned to face us—Fafnir zapped it with a spell, I called upon Pelor, and Ghelt hit it with her mithral axe. And Trap, ever resourceful, threw his lantern at it. The dry husk of a creature simply blazed up and was destroyed as quickly as we found it.

This left us with the foul creature’s altar to destroy. We removed the gold candlesticks, and I picked up the little altar to simply smash it. As I did so, we discovered a locked box under it. Trap was able to open the box. We found 100s of coins, gems and a femur bone with necromantic runes etched into it (which we will need to destroy properly). Fafnir then found the key to the already unlocked box on the remains of the ghoul. We have yet to destroy the statue and sacrificial altar in the main room of this complex, but are already in need of rest, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Ghelt has spoken of taking up the clerical arts herself, and I’m sure we’ll need that for the rest of these catacombs.

Posted by Kristin at 14:08 | Drusilia’s Journal