posted by wererat
July 21, 2009, 22:41
Category: Merla's Journal

Sarenith 11, 4709 AR
River, Darkmoon Wood

I suggested that we had back out of the ruins and head for Falcon’s Hollow. Keth pointed to a door we hadn’t explored yet. By point, I mean opened. We followed him down a passage until he brought us to a room with the sounds of fighting in it. Once we saw that it was seven kobolds versus one halfling, we jumped into the fray. Sadly, the halfling did not survive till we got to him, but six of the kobolds were quickly dispatched while one ran from the room. I had to keep from scolding Biff, who wanted to loot the halflings body while I was still checking for signs of life (turns out the poor thing had neither loot nor life). As we discovered that, we heard a sharp yip from the hallway— a yip cut short. A moment later, a floating dwarf-like ghostly thing appeared in the room, dripping fire and dragging a dead kobold.

We ran.

We went in the general direction of the way out, but came to a room we’d not passed through before. Keth could tell it was a trap: the large circular chamber had an obelisk in it, though this one did not contain steam, but rather, headless skeletons. The obelisk itself was covered with a green mineral and metal bands, and the room had three other doors, two closed, and one additional open door. Liake thoughtfully added a head to the room— she floated the shrunken head she’d been carting around, rubbing it against the obelisk, but it didn’t seem to react to it. Keth carefully crossed the floor, but found a pressure plate— as soon as he hit that, the open doors swung shut, and the shut doors swung open. We heard a zap inside, followed by what was probably swearing. We started yelling too, and Biff, who had wandered a short way off, came running back, as Thorab and I tried to break down the metal door blocking us from Keth. Biff used the gauntlet he wore to magically bore a hole through the stone wall beside the door, allowing Keth to scramble out, followed by two sinister floating heads— varguoilles! We dispatched the two evil creatures, but not before one attacked Keth. The kiss of a varguoille is fatal, but not immediately— it takes about a day for the victim’s transformation into one of the hideous creatures. Now the room full of headless bodies made sense. As we pushed our way through the bones and got the other door opened, we found that headless body we had seen being chewed on by giant rats before— no doubt a victim of that obelisk room. We inspected the body. Liake found that the boots were magical, and it was obvious the body didn’t need them, so she took them before the rats got to those. The body also clutched a blood-soaked journal. Three entries were legible. Two mentioned the evil servant of Droskar (perhaps the undead dwarf we’d fled from?) and how he’d warned a companion that this place should be left alone. The third was the insane ramblings of someone no doubt transforming into a creature like the one (or possibly the one) that attacked Keth.

Time was of the essence to get Keth out into the sunlight, which might delay the transformation. On our way out though, we could not resist checking a few doors near the courtyard, on the off chance that a cure was somehow waiting in one of them. One room contained a chair and a mummified dwarf holding a silver hammer (dedicated to Droskar) and a bit of parchment with a note to the “Dark Father of the Forge.” Another room had only a soiled hat and a mushroom in it. We then came to a room with pews and an anvil in it. As we looked at the anvil, which had been defaced, we were enveloped in darkness. I cast a light spell in time to see two darkmantles drop from above— thankfully they were easily killed. Yet another room contained a library— full of spores. I managed to breathe some in and had to be healed by Thorab so that I could stay coherent enough to continue on. The library was ruined, save for one book with hymns to Torag in it. It contained a divine scroll which I’m carrying for safe keeping.

The last room we visited contained a half-eaten crow. I was puzzling over that (it could be an omen from Pharasma) when I noticed dark shapes just out of the corners of my vision. Thorab kept me from harming myself more while our friends checked the room. They had a net full of garbage and junk fall on them, making a loud clatter, and then Biff got hit by a crossbow bolt when he opened a trapped door. Apparently they’d found another kobold, though this one was more interested in hiding than fighting and managed to escape. They found some gold and a ruby that is apparently an altar stone but alas, we have no time to investigate further.

We headed southeast to the river, hoping to shave off some time getting back to Falcon’s Hollow. I fear I will not be able to save Keth, and I don’t believe there is anyone in the town that can either (else they would have cured themselves!), but we cling to the hope that there is a stronger healer passing through when we arrive with the ingredients to Laurel’s cure. Halfway to the river, it got too dark to continue at a good pace, so we camped for the night. I was relieved to notice that the dark shapes were no longer assaulting the edges of my vision. When we broke camp, it was plain to see that the disease was affecting Keth already— his hair had fallen out and his ears looked longer.

We decided that Keth, Biff and I would go to the river and wait for Liake and Thorab, whose shorter legs couldn’t keep the pace with us. I planned for us to look for a boat or other means of crossing while they caught up to us, but Biff and Keth had other plans. Keth, I fear, was already experiencing a rapid change into that hellish creature and jumped into the water and swam out across it— neither Biff nor I could follow without drowning ourselves. Biff decided to take the long way around the river, hoping to somehow reach the town faster, I think, but Liake has most of the ingredients for the cure we are taking back anyway, so there’s no sense in leaving her and Thorab behind. I used the time to gather wood and fashion a raft— at least the three of us with the cure will get it to the town. Hopefully Biff will get there eventually. I fear we’ll not see Keth again.

Pathfinder is a trademark of Paizo Publishing. The mention of or reference to any RPG in these pages should not be construed as a challenge to the trademark or copyright concerned.