11th Day Of Nightal – Time Unknown – The Temple Of The Six – 10 miles East of Fallcrest
Our heroes regroup and stand ready to storm Malareth’s laboratory, at the doors they discuss strategy in hushed whispers, debating the best way to deal with whatever lies beyond the doors. Emboldened by their recent victories, Grimdal and Torinn kick the doors open to announce their arrival…
They are faced with a large room, filled with the smell of the dead and fresh blood. Gaius is tied to a table in the centre, Malareth preparing to perform some dark magic on him using Aristine’s staff of power. Solo fires an arrow, hitting the necromancer in the chest. At this, he looks up in disgust at the party and, with a flick of the staff, commands his creations to attack the adventurers.
A group of skeletons charge the dwarves who form a shield wall in front of the others. From the corner, a huge roar shakes the room as a hulking ogre-zombie shudders and comes alive.
As the group counter the first skeleton attack, Solo manages to kill Malareth with a volley of arrows. As the necromancer dies, he shouts “You will never stop the night from falling, another will find the dark crown!” With that he explodes in a cloud of necrotic blackness and all light from the dungeon is extinguished. An unnatural darkness envelops everything. Producing torches to see by the party watch as the skeletons fall back, but realise it is only to allow room for the zombie to charge. The pestilent ogre rushes Torinn and Grim, knocking them both prone. Grim is seriously wounded in the attack and falls unconscious, muttering something about zombies…
Aristine casts an illusion spell which opens an enormous phantom chasm at the feet of the ogre who, unbalanced by the illusion, falls prone in the chasm. Orianna finishes the vile creature with Witchfire while Solo cauterises Grim’s wounds to stabilise him and Torinn gets back on his feet.
Solo charges in to the room to assist Gaius before one of the skeletons can dispatch him, charging past another skeleton and using his cape to confuse it and push it into Aristine’s chasm.
There is a huge roar from the half-cremated ogre-zombie which, with a shuddering groan, manages to right itself and attacks Torinn who raises his spiked shield in defence and slams it into the zombie, slamming it back in to the chasm. Grim rises to his feet with Torinn’s help and casts healing runes on himself and the party while bolstering their attacks against their remaining foes.
As Aristine and Solo dispatch the skeletons, Orianna breathes fire on a skeleton and then shadow walks past it in to the room to free Gaius. Thankful to be freed, the elf attacks the last of the undead to aid Solo in finishing it. As its remains fall, there is another groan from the oozing remains of the zombie, which begins to twitch and right itself again. To Grim’s dismay it rises and immediately attacks him, knocking him unconscious once more. Orianna uses the force of the ogre’s own attack against its mind, obliterating it into tiny pieces.
By torchlight, the group heal Grim and Gaius, burn the remains of the undead and search the room. Among the supplies they find a handful of useful potions, brews, bombs, incense and other useful items. They also retrieve the ornate black box, as requested by Travis. The box is impossibly black and gives off an aura of evil, even while closed, and is inscribed: “Only those that live in the dark, shall survive the night”
Before attempting to open the box, the party move to the altar that Grim had previously sanctified. After performing a prayer ritual to Moradin, Grim opens the box to reveal a plush interior lined with red velvet and containing a human skull. The aura of evil increases greatly as the box is opened. Recognising the skull as an evil artefact, Grim steps back, hefts his craghammer and brings it down with all his might against the skull. The weapon bounces off and throws Grim across the room, leaving no mark on the skull. The group decide to return to Travis with the item to find out more about it. They hide it in Solo’s Backpack of Concealment for safe keeping, and begin to leave the dungeons via the route identified by Varsil as the exit.
As they reach the lair of the deceased dragon Faralax, still in utter darkness apart from that cast by their own torches, they hear the chittering and screeching of dire rats, hundreds of them, rushing towards them attracted by the light.
Solo lights the incense of Beast Bane, retrieved from Malareth’s laboratory, and with the help of Torinn shelters the wounded Gaius and Varsil in the incense’s limited aura as they run towards the exit. Aristine uses illusions to blend in to her surroundings while Orianna pulls the shadows around herself to slip past the rats. Grim, shouting to his friends to run, calls out a prayer to Moradin and hefts his Thundering Craghammer in to the air and smashes it down in front of the waves of oncoming dire rats and charges after his allies, smashing the beasts aside with his shield and craghammer…
The group finally emerge in to the fresh air outside the dungeon, leaving the dire rats behind. They emerge near a stream and, after catching their breath, decide to wash some of the blood and gore from their armour. As they are doing so, a crow drops down from the sky and delivers a note from Travis:
“I must speak with you all about the box, I have no doubt by now that you have discovered that it is no ordinary trinket. I have learned of a plot threatening Fallcrest and I believe that the box may be the key to saving this city and the people in it! I am renting a room at the Red Drake Inn, please meet with me here so that we can discuss how best to destroy it and stop those like Malareth getting their hands on it! By Avandra please help me, you’re our only hope.”.
The group decide to return to Fallcrest to find Travis and answers.