Day 30 - Off again to Sith Morcaine

Day 30 - Off again to Sith Morcaine

We get back early – nifty... The mausoleum still looks as wrecked as we left it and front doors into the tunnel complex are open... 'They' immediately fall to bickering about whether we left them that way or not. Damir examines the ground and finds our tracks and a set of newer tracks.

"About six people going in but not coming out... sometime in the last 12 hours," he says.

After a quick trap check, we enter. Down though the catacombs we go, to the first of the (previously) bricked up doors... someone's unbricked it. 'Someone' has also opened all the doors within. We move through the complex, in the centre of one room lies a broken statue of an elvish lady, a smaller door in the wall to one side is closed. Damir opens it with cavalier disregard. Within is a sarcophagus, broken open with a pile of dust on the floor – Vampire Slayers??? I follow him to another set of doors – double doors. More open sarcophagus... these with the disturbed remains of human skeletons – 'someones' been having fun... I glance round suddenly and sigh with relief... Yes, Banipal is still with us! Further investigations reveal that the family 'of the Lady Quallem' were buried here...

We follow Damir who's tracking the tracks... There are signs of two creatures being dragged – he tracks on... We cross the main cavern where another toppled statue lies across the floor – this one looks like it's been blown apart! The tracks lead on, though they're starting to fade now. We find the body of a naked female drow, she looks familiar... AH!! That's because we killed her – and her friends who we find further along the corridor – strangely they're all naked... It seems "someone's" stolen their uniforms. At least it wasn't us! We continue to follow the trail of devastation through corridors to another area we'd left bricked off!... Like the others... it's now open!! We creep further on, further in. Bodies and more bodies all wearing uniforms stolen from the undressed drow. A long dead dryder lies at the far end of the room and a concealed pit contains the remains of an unwary adventurer, impaled on spikes. Banipal can't restrain himself, he starts to clamber into the hole to search the corpse but stops when Yuna tells him she can't detect any magic.

"Hardly worth it!" he shrugs.

We keep going – more dead spiders... more dead dryders... lots of web... Same old, same old.

Yet another room and again there are signs of a fight – the torn up female human littering the room is a BIG give away. "Someone’s" really into overkill. Norton does a Speak with Dead – apparently she was in a party sent by Sybil (Bertrands mad sister) and was killed by a dryder mage while trying to get information on Sith Morcaine back to her mistress... We don't find out anything useful, the recently deceased have appalling memories... We seem to be back on track and have reached the platform before the chasm.

A flash of movement on the far side of the cavern wall catches my eye; I hiss at Rumbles – he saw it too but couldn't make out what it was. 'Ah well, too fast and too far away.' We make our way to the tunnel Solom advised us was the one into House Morcaine territory.

No sooner do we enter than we're attacked by two Quth-Maren - those flayed elf things. Damir swings into them and Norton throws in a tangle-foot bag, it misses.

Rumbles looms up behind me "Let me kill 'em!!" he growls...

I consider for a moment, knowing he'd be just as happy walking straight over me. "Since you asked so nicely..." I step aside and let him pass.

He decapitates the first one with a single blow but it keeps coming, the loss of its head doesn't seem to bother it overmuch, though it does make it clumsy... He continues to hack till it realises it's dead.

Another two try to surprise us from behind but Banipal and I were ready. I instinctively hurl a couple of poison darts before realising ('Doh!') how useless it is to poison undead! Meanwhile at the other end of the fray Damir and Rumbles have taken care of their Quth-Maren; Norton's attempting (unsuccessfully) to rebuke those remaining and Banipal predictably dives into the fray to deliver a series of unarmed blows earning himself some damage from their acid blood – some days you just can't win. I dive at the one nearest me and hack it nastily, Banipal attacks again in spite of the acid burns. At the front of our party another group arrives, guards this time – Norton wastes no time in hitting them with a Flame Strike; it's hard to resist when they're bunched up like that; he wipes out a few. Amazingly one of the 'guards' attempts to grapple Banipal... foolishness!

I finally kill my Quth-Maren and pause to see what's going on with the rest of the party. Damir is fighting two of the 'guards' – they appear to be tougher than they look but he and Rumbles seem to be holding their own though they're struggling. Banipal's still thumping the living daylights out of his opponent, it responds by turning gaseous and trying to get away but he thumps it anyway – he really is good at this. Norton just misses bashing his and another slips through the wall, escaping in gaseous form. We strip the bodies of the two headless vampires and get two Drow Mithral Shirts, which we leave as they wretched things disintegrate in sunlight. We take two Rings (with a weak aura), a couple of Spiked chains, a brace of Potions, a Hand crossbow and a pair of vials of Drow poison.

Our choices are limited – left, right or up... Norton Air-Walks up to see what's on the next level. There is a web-covered ladder leading up into a dark tunnel – how inviting - it travels along about 10' then bends slightly off at an angle. He travels up a bit and sees a faint light some feet ahead, it opens out into a large open chamber. The room is flagged with smooth flag-stones and lined with pillars. The pungent smell of decaying flesh fills the air. At a glance most of the corpses filling the room look as though they were killed in battle but as they're sort of slimy and decaying it seems like they've been here a while.

Norton appears to have come up in the 'head' section of a room shaped like a spider – how trite. We clamber up to join him making sure not to touch the ladder. The smell is vile, there are seventeen corpses (YUP we counted them!) all wearing the vestments of Lolth and all rotting... Up toward the spiders 'head' looms an altar, at the other end is a shattered iron gate. Norton approaches the gate, it's been smashed open and the figurative carvings on the walls have been defaced, the entity apparently being worshipped has been totally obliterated. Using Detect Magic, Norton finds a strong aura of Summoning – around the gate... maybe. Just inside the gate hangs a tapestry which has been shredded beyond hope. While the Detect spell is still running Norton has a look around the altar. A female drow lies dead staring vacantly at the ceiling a cross-bow bolt still protruding from her neck, like the others, she seems to have been there a while.

This is clearly a sacrificial alter and Norton picks up a sense of strong Necromancy – with uncharacteristic caution, we choose to leave it alone. Meanwhile Banipal – apparently bored – gingerly slips through the broken iron gates. The air in this area feels thick and unusually cold. He circles the room – discarded weapons are scattered on the floor among the throw cushions; he checks behind the torn tapestries lining the room. Without warning a spirit materialises keening – banshee's are a bloody pest – the Monk drops to the ground. Hhhmmmm... he could be dead – he certainly looks dead from here! Norton casts a silence on himself, we both take potions of 'Hide from Undead' and head into the room, the banshee seems to ignore Norton and comes after me. I back-up, it follows and while it's distracted Norton gets to Banpial and heaves him over his shoulder... A sort of Monk-like Battering Ram – it has possibilities. I back down one of the corridors, the spirit passes through the iron gates and keeps on coming, I can see Damir in the corridor just across from me. He and Rumbles race forward to attack it; seems a little weird... attacking incorporeal creatures. Moments later Norton appears from the room without his burden. As I retreat I encounter steps leading down – I back down them!!

Rumbles attacks the spirit from behind his sword just seems to go through it, Damir steps in and hurls a vial of Holy Water but apart from making it wet, it doesn’t seem too fussed. Now Norton's within range, the spirit is thankfully silenced by the spell he cast earlier. It gives up keening, reaches out a claw and touches Rumbles burning him just a little. He retaliates and Damir and Norton hack at it. It flees through the closing circle of attackers and turns to cast Flame Strike back at Rumbles, who tries to fling himself out of the way and sadly doesn't quite make it – nor does Damir who gets hit with the backlash. Thankfully they're only lightly singed. They exchange blows and again the spirit moves to put itself out of range and again it hurls a fireball at Damir and Norton this time... dwarves in full plate are not very dexterous and Norton gets quite burned. Damir managed to evade some of the damage and swung at it again, the wretched creature dissipates – about time too!! Yuna snatches up Banipals body and vanished – we can only assume that she's either gone to search his body in private or maybe delivering him back to Bertrand at the Inn although, she could be doing both!

While all the banging and hacking's been going on behind me, I continued down the tunnel. This was similar configuration to what we just came through; shallow stepping grooves cut into the rock, leading to a webby ladder. Avoiding the ladder I climb down into the cavity below and pause to listen – there's a scraping noise, like the footsteps of more than one creature but from the way I've climbed down I can't see into the room and there's not enough space for me to turn around in here. I silently climb back up and re-orient myself to climb down so I can peer through the hole in their roof. There a couple of drow (at least they're the same size and shape as drow) standing still as if on guard. I move around the hole to see the rest – there's another guard-like figure in the angle of the room – it appears to be looking at me. I freeze, he begins to come in my direction, I move back quietly and climb back out of the tunnel where I pause and cast Invisibility on myself. I settle down, draw my swords and listen and wait. A drow levitates out of the hole – I retreat further back and loose sight of them behind the curve of the wall. I can hear the footsteps of several people – probably drow guards, behind me on the stairs... Being neither a Monk nor an idiot, I activate my Boots of Speed and get out of there to find the rest of the party.

Damir with suicidal resolution heads back to the sacrificial alter and starts to search around. He easily locates the vestry, as it's only a curtained alcove. Within he finds half a dozen complete sets of clerical vestments (Church of Lolth) hang on pegs behind the door – gold adorns the fittings and fixtures, so Damir - logically enough - starts removing them. He stows one large (110gp), one small brazier (70gp), six candle holders (35gp each), six censers and six blocks incense, all with a spiffy spider motif (from Fane of Lolth). A pile of cinders and ashes indicate some items have already been burned.

Finished with that bit and flushed with his apparent success he heads round to the front of the alter and resumes poking about – 'Protect me from amateurs!' Whaddya know... from somewhere a spectre appears, fortunately Norton's on the scene and even better, the spectre takes one look at his holy aura and flees his presence. Having found and frightened an undead he decides his work is done... for the moment and just as he's about to exercise his inimitable searching skills as I skid into the room – "There’s a bunch of whatsits behind me – vampire drow... maybe. I think they can levitate but there’s only three..."

The Three Vampires

Having startled Damir, I continue "Hide!"

Rumbles turns invisible and everyone – except Norton, dives for cover behind pillars. Norton stands boldly in the open – dwarves are just insane. Two drow fling Javlins of Lightning at him – they miss and Norton replies with a fireball. Another volley of Javelins fly out of the tunnel and again another fireball rolls back into it... I think Norton's trying to fry them incrementally. The rest of the party hold back and watch with interest! Damir takes advantage of their distraction and shoots off his Wand of Lightning Bolts a couple of times – I think this is the first time he's used it – I duck, even though I'm not precisely in his line of fire... He has a history!!

The drow close with Norton, Rumbles moves in and takes a swing and I move up to the next pillar so I can be close enough to backstab. Norton casts a Searing Light into the face of the closest drow and somehow misses – that's uncanny! Damir produces his Ebony Fly and takes to the air to engage the two levitating drow. I stab mine from behind and carve a piece out. Rumbles cleaves, he's looking a little miffed - they're proving harder to kill than he expected. Norton tries to Rebuke them but they don't seem impressed at all... Hhhhmmmmmm... I thought they were undead too!?

Damir and his Fly are swooping round the room hacking at the levitating drow, again he does damage but they're remarkably tough. I take a wild swing at the one I was attacking as it levitates out of reach – 'Coward!' I yell, managing to hack a piece out of its leg as it wafts ceiling-wards. Of course, being undead, it doesn't seem too fussed. Determined to get it right, Norton tries his Searing Light spell again. Whhoooo-Hoooo! It disintegrates. Good thing Banipal isn't here – he'd be really peeved that we couldn't loot the body. The remaining two Drow are out of reach of us barring Damir who, with his Fly, is having a ball, swooping and hacking and stabbing and slashing. The drow tries to grapple him but they slip past with ease. Norton flings a fireball at the one above me and Damir strikes at his. To our great surprise they disintegrate too.

"Bravo! Bravo," and the sound of clapping comes from one of the corridors. This just gets worse and worse – I'm not quite sure what racial mix this creature is... In fact I'm not even certain what sex it is – and that is frightening. Apparently it's name is Ogala but we can call it Og! She(?) was down here sometime about a month ago with another party who have all been killed – except perhaps one, Camille, a scout – who's still missing.

Back to The Inn of the Far Shore.

Stupid things we've overheard...

It's daytime... it's gotta be safe.

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If there were no God, there would be no Atheists.