Grand Duchy 101

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 101
September 8-29, 2017

Closing and Opening Doors

Nytdain 8 Klarmont

Darkness Behind the Door


With the outer vault doors closed, the smaller interior door opens easily. The darkness inside seems to almost swallow up the holy light shining from Draven’s holy symbol and all the other divinely enchanted objects. Remar pulls the door open, keeping its bulk between him and whatever may be in the chamber beyond. Dust can be seen floating in the air, stirred up by the opening of the door. Draven stands next to the Alphatian mage, holding his cross aloft while Iris and Griffin stand next to him, holding their crossbows at the ready. Ree and Kasiex stand a little further back, watching the vaulted archway leading to several more doors to this chamber. Kifein stands at the main entry doors, having just pulled them closed.

“What do you see?” the Hutaakan priestess whispers loudly.

Curiosity, mingled with bravery and galvanized with disgust at the feeling of wrongness about the place drives Draven forward. He steps to the open doorway threshold and shines his holy light in, all but willing the darkness to try to resist, knowing that his friends will literally have his back.

Remembering the last time she rushed in to explore, Iris hangs back to allow the more martially inclined of her companions room to operate.  I never imagined it would take this much willpower to wait my turn, Iris chuckles to herself.

Kasiex readies an arrow as he warily watches the western alcove as Remar and Draven advance. As they open the door, he sniffs the air warily, trying to focus past the scent of old dust and aged stonework to gain any hint of what might lie before them.

From his position by the now open door sweeping his eyes once more over the chamber they are currently in, and listening for anything off, Remar stands ready to support his team wherever they need him, or wherever trouble stirs.

Griffin steps up next to the doorway, then sweeps across the interior with the aim of his crossbow. He stops and his shoulders slump. “Huh. Looks empty, guys.”

As his new companions more closely examine the door and room beyond, Kasiex’s sensitive nose detects a faint scent of death.

Iris purses her lips then closes her eyes and sighs quietly. She quickly brightens, however; thinking of the other rooms they've yet to open.

The doorway is cut out of 3 feet of solid stone, blocking off part of the room’s view. As he leans in to check the nearer corners, Griffin quickly finds out that the room is not, in fact, empty. A pair of mummified hands and arms lurch out of the darkness near the door, reaching for him. With a moan, the clawed hands come down toward Griffin’s chest. He quickly sees that the arms are connected to a whole mummy, a Hutaakan mummy.

Griffin leaps back, twisting in mid-air to avoid the mummy’s claws. “Gah! Not empty, not empty! Guys, let him have it!” He lands and, without thought, fires his crossbow at the creature, but misses. Quickly he drops his crossbow and readies Serenity.

The mummy shambles out of the room after Griffin.

Kasiex, arrow already on the string, draws and fires at the mummy when Griffin jumps away, knowing that the creature will have cover once Griffin re-engages with his blade.

Griffin stands his ground and chops quickly at the foul, bandage-wrapped monster, hoping to drive it back!

Iris utters a particularly undignified yelp at the sight of the dusty, desiccated corpse careening toward Griffin and attempting to pull him into a deadly embrace. She quickly sidesteps in order to give herself a clear shot at the abomination.  Iris brings her crossbow up to loose a bolt…then hesitates as an intriguing thought pushes to the forefront of her mind.  “Kifein!  Can you call off the Vault's guardian? Tell him in Hutaakan to stand down---tell him he's amongst friends and allies! Command him as a priestess!”

Already muttering the beginnings of a prayer to turn this unliving abomination into so much dust, Draven does pause long enough to allow Kifein to react. It’s not right, relying on someone’s heathen gods to try to protect us, he thinks to himself, comforted with the knowledge that when her entreaties fail, justice will be meted out regardless.

Hearing Iris’s warning, Kifein shouts something in Hutaakan while stepping back away from the mummy but the creature pays her no heed. “Show it the key!” Kifein shouts back at Iris! Kasiex’s arrow hits the mummy square in the chest and sticks there with a crunchy thud but the undead guardian does not seem to notice it. He does, though react to Griffin’s strike by lurching forward, narrowly managing to avoid the blow and close the distance with Griffin at the same time.

Closer now, the mummy claws for Griffin’s throat, though it misses its target, his claws do rake across Griffin’s chest.

Iris leaps forward and brandishes the ancient key in the dreadful creature's face. She inwardly curses herself for not putting in any real effort to learn to speak Hutaakan.

Oh by all the gods I hope this works.

Iris does her best to keep herself from cowering before the monstrous guardian.

The mummy does turn its head toward Iris when she waves the key in his direction, but it definitely does not stand down. In fact, another mummy appears from the darkened room and charges across the space toward her, arms outstretched!

Griffin reluctantly gives ground to gain space to defend against the mummy’s attacks. He knocks the claws aside, slashing the monster’s rag-covered arm as he does so!

Griffin knocks off a crusty part of the mummy's arm in his defense against its attack.

Pressing his advantage, Griffin’s blade whirls through the air, flashing twice at the fiend. The first looks like a palpable hit, but the creature is faster than Griffin expected from one so long dead, and sidesteps his second blow, causing Serenity to twist in Griffin’s grip! He fades around the fell foe’s flank, hoping to buy time for Draven and Remar.

Kasiex snatches another arrow from his quiver and fits it to his bowstring, drawing and taking aim at the Mummy attacking Iris, preparing to fire if the various efforts of the party are for naught.

Why did Iris just duck down, hide her face in her elbow, and wave that key in front of that thing?  Was it something Kifein said the wizard quickly ponders...and then sees another mummy lurch for Iris.

Oh no, no, no…

It certainly looks incendiary, du’ent it?

Yes...yes it does.

Remar concentrates to bring the Fireball to bear.

The mummy tries to dodge the rapid strike from Griffin’s blade by lunging forward toward Draven but the blade bites deep into the dried out wrappings and shriveled corpse underneath.

Damn.  That backfired almost perfectly, Iris thinks, as she’s staring a second mummy in the face.  Risking a quick glance at the first mummy fully engaged with Griffin, she notes the arrow sticking out of its chest, seemingly causing the walking corpse no difficulty. Iris puts two and two together and drops her crossbow.  She then begins weaving invisible threads of power with a healthy dose of her own energies and intones the words of magic she has so painstakingly learned.  She coaxes into being a tiny spark upon the mummified Hutaakan before her.  Though small, the spark blazes radiantly as though it were a star; leaving afterimages on her eyes. The spark, now swiftly growing flames, seems to consume the dried, musty wrappings covering the shriveled humanoid’s body.

The dry wrapping of the approaching mummy quickly ignites and flames leap from out. The mummy makes a gurgling, moaning sound as it burns.

Remar takes a second to line up his shot at the mummy coming for Draven but then Draven raises his arms, holding his glowing holy symbol in one hand and shouts a curse at the abominations that are attacking. A pillar of blue flame descends from the ceiling and surrounds Draven then explodes in a bright blast. It rips through the mummy menacing Iris and completely obliterates the one coming at him.  
Draven shares his holy fire with the Mummy

Shielding his eyes against the blazing blue flash of light, Remar blinks rapidly to focus on the new scene before him.  There doesn’t even seem to be a trace of the first mummy, and the second…

It’s too close to the others.  I’ll have to hold this and see how things pan out.

‘Opefully tha’ thin’ isn ta sentimental huggin’ type!

The wizard grimaces, holds his spell, and takes aim just in case.

The flaming, now considerably more destroyed mummy continues to advance on Iris, its long, flaming, outstretched hands clawing at her pale white throat. The shambling undead seems to have taken quite a beating from Iris’s and Draven’s fire, but it still presses the attack.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Ree holds her position, trying to watch three separate entrances to the area while Kasiex engages with his bow. Distracted by the fire and holy blast behind her for but a moment, she turns and screams out a warning to Kasiex that he cannot understand, swinging her bow around to point at another mummy shuffling up behind him! Ree flings a rock at the approaching mummy and begins incanting a magical spell but not before the mummy attacks her new Hutaakan companion. The newest mummy slashes at the Hutaakan’s back. Kasiex has just enough warning to defend himself!
Kasiex is taken from behind while Iris experiences a fiery embrace

Kasiex, focused on the tableau before him, doesn’t even register Ree’s warning until she flings the rock - spinning on his heel, he slides backwards away from the grasping claws, dodging each swiping claw before drawing and sending an arrow into the attacking Mummy!

Kasiex feels the hardened claws of the mummy scratch his back through his armor and fur even though he leaped away from the attacking creature. He watches his arrow fly and merely shoot through some loose wrapping.

Leery of angering the gods - though how they could get more angry than they must be with these abominations, Draven can scarcely consider - he draws his mace from his belt and turns to face the remaining threats.

Remar breaths a swift sigh of relief at seeing Iris nimbly skirt away from the melting mummy’s swiping arm.  Way to move it, girl!  At hearing a startled cry from Ree, he turns his attention on a new threat.  Ah Gods another one and it is running down Kasiex!  Remar’s thought turn to that day when they thought they were just fighting Gnolls.  Bolting and burning Gnolls was OK.  Bolting and burning Hutaukaans…

This is really eating at me.

Well trow it at ta walkin’ tinder den an’ stop yer belly achin’.  Tis wearin’ on meh Rema.

Already in motion before he can even think to deny the claim, Remar sets in at about 8 meters away.  With a flick of the wrist, aimed to the side of Kasiex, he lobs the melon-sized incendiary at this new threat...

The mummy tries to avoid the incoming fireball, but leans right into the blast. Remar’s magic envelops the undead Hutaakan, covering it with magical flame. As the magic disappears, the fire burning on its dry wrapping remains, quickly spreading to cover its whole shambling body.

Remar’s bolt flashes past Kasiex, illuminating the mask that doesn’t quite conceal the Hutakaan’s snarl at the inefficacy of his weapon against this foe.

Seeing that Iris is clear of the beast, Griffin steps up behind it. Serenity flashes twice, both blows dealing solid damage.

Griffin’s blade slices through the burning cloth and desiccated form beneath, reducing it to nothing more than a pile of burning embers on the ground.

Iris stares wide-eyed at the remains of the mummy for a long moment and makes an effort to get her breathing under control.  She looks up at Griffin and forces a smile, "Wow, Griffin!  Nice sword play...I really owe you one." Ugh, why do I always sound so insincere when I’m thanking people?!  She shakes off the thought and massages her neck abstractedly, then looks around the room to see how everyone else has fared against the creatures.

Iris turns to see one more mummy, this one also burning, bearing down on Kasiex. Remar stands near, his fingertips smoking. As the mummy lurches forward, it emits a sad, deep moan and then falls to the floor in a burning pile. The room is quiet except for the slight crackling of the burning mummies. Little bits of burning mummy wrap float through the dusty, stale air.

You Scratch My Back...

Kasiex chuffs quietly, musingly to himself as he looks around to ensure there are no further threats.  Looking at Ree, then Remar, he speaks in very carefully enunciated Traldar “Thank. You.” Nodding to them, he quickly strides to Kifein to ensure she is unharmed.  As he trots to Kifein, he grimaces underneath his mask, stretching a hand around to his back to try and touch the spot the mummy scored a hit.  To Kifein, in Hutaak’a he asks “Are you well, mistress? Nothing assaulted you? What is it that drives our ancestors to attack us…? Is Pfflar angered at our presence here?”

Spank.  Me?  Remar thinks to himself, hearing Kasiex’ words.

‘E tanked ya, ya daft fool!  Where’d ya learn tis language anyway?
Oh...I knew that.  I was just testing you.  See I’ll show you...

Seeing Kasiex grimace and scrabble at his back, he plans to say in Traldar, “Kasiex?  If you are hurt I...I can help fix that with a magical wiggle of my fingers if...if you want.”


Looking over at Draven and the others he smiles and says in Thyatian, “Whew!  I’m glad that’s over, at least for now.  Draven, I’ll help with the minor injuries so that you can save your strength for bigger things if you are OK with that.  I get the feeling we’ll need more of your kind of magic in here then mine.  I think I should be able to tap into my mystical reserves for it as they recover more quickly than I do directly.”

Iris says, “Oh my…” and covers her mouth with a hand to hide her smile. She risks a peek in Kasiex’s direction to gauge his reaction to Remar’s words.

Did he….again!? Maybe if I just ignore it….ugh, I must learn their tongue if they’re to stay here in the Valley.  Kasiex blinks for a moment at Remar’s words, acknowledging them but offering no other comment as he waits for Kifein’s response.

“Griffin, Ree, help me to do a quick reconnaissance of the areas that are open. We want as few repeats of that experience as possible. Remar, if anyone you heal looks like they might have been infected - mummies sometimes carry a rotting disease - I can help”

He strides boldly into the newly opened room, holy symbol held high for light and scans in all directions, looking for any sign of other undead or anything else of interest.

The mage looks at the blink-dog and thinks that maybe his words were lost in translation.

Maybe I just need to say it slower and probably not so loud.  Their ears seem to throw back along their head every time I talk.

“I magic fix Kasiex’ bad-itch?  Back-itch?”

Griffin is already cocking his crossbow as Draven proposes his plan. “Right.” He gives Ree a nod and she proceeds through the room to the west, while he follows Draven into the northern room, much more carefully sweeping the corners. Once the room with Draven in it is secured, he methodically proceeds to every corner, every wall. No secret doors will let you sneak up on us if I have anything to say about it!

After Kifein’s response, Kasiex carefully examines the fallen mummy remains, cautiously prodding them with an arrow before closing into potential clawing range.  He checks them for anything concealed in the wrappings that might give insight to why they have risen against the Company.  He notes that Griffin’s sword was much more effective than his arrows, and realizes he might need to invest in some cutting arrows for such situations - not that that will help much now.  He casts about, looking for anything that might serve as a sturdy club.

“...mummies sometimes carry a rotting disease…”

Iris abruptly looks back at Draven with a horrified expression on her face.  She moves at a brisk pace toward Remar and pulls her collar back to better expose the scratches from the now charred mummy.  She sounds a touch worried as she says, “Does it look alright? Do you see anything strange?”

Remar turns to Iris as she pulls her collar away from where she thinks she’s scratched on her neck.  Not seeing anything, he says, “Hmmmm…,” pulls it a bit more to get a better look, and in the process, can’t help but note how the shadows in here play of the nice curve of her…

Letting go of her collar and scrubbing his lightly bearded face with his hands as if in an effort to wipe the heavy rouge off with them, he takes another look...this time searching for the scratches she is concerned about on her neck.

Focus man!  If it doesn’t look infected with pus or anything else obvious, you can heal her up at the very least.  Odd though.  I don’t see anything that looks like a scratch…

Ooo!  She’s curvy.

Hearing the concern in Iris’ voice, Griffin pauses abruptly in his search. “Brother, can you give her a look as well? No offence, Remar.” He waits until Draven and Remar have given the go-ahead before he resumes his investigations.

“Oh...uh no offence taken Griffin,” Remar says with a look like a panicked, cornered animal trying to escape.  “I...I...I’m not sure about seeing any pus or anything, though her skin feels sorta hot to the touch.  Um...it doesn’t even look like it got you...uh...I think.”  He swallows hard.

Probably ta most ya’ever touched a lass I bet, eh?

Remar blushes again and steps away awkwardly seemingly allowing room for Draven to take a look.

“Uh...uh...my...my staff.  Did anyone see my staff?  I think I dropped it during that encounter with Shifirax.”

Um...ya picked it up.  Ya relly ar flumuxed, arn’t  ya?

“Oh wait, nevermind.  That’s right.  I picked it up and leaned it on the wall,” he says and hurriedly continues his awkward-walk over to it.

Obviously alarmed, Iris's gaze quickly flicks between Remar, Griffin, and Draven.

Oh. My. God.  He's completely losing his cool---my skin must be rotting off already. Look at him.  He's trying to get away as quickly as he can!  He must be trying to make me feel better by saying it's not a big deal. Why would they ask Draven to look as well if it wasn't horrible?!

Iris closes her eyes and steels her nerves, unwilling to appear the squeamish girl before her hardy allies.

Fortunately it looks as if Iris was untouched by the mummy, Kasiex, on the other hand, has one small scratch on his shoulder. The wound already looks like is has been there quite some time and the fur immediately around it has died while the skin nearby has turned flaky and thin.

Ree carefully looks around the far western end of the chamber and reports that there are no further mummies lurking anywhere, just three closed portals, one to the north, one down some stairs to the south and the two large double doors leading further in. The chamber with the open door likewise holds nothing of value. Some bent and corroded metal rods and piles of indeterminate material might indicate this was some sort of changing room or cloakroom possibly. Griffin spends about 15 minutes doing a complete search of the walls of the room for secret doors or other hidden things.

Kasiex emits a quiet whine, removing his body armor and rolling his wounded shoulder, trying to catch a look at the wound itself.  Already it smells of old injury and wrongness.

He asks Kifein to ask the Company if there is anything anyone can do.  Best to avoid any chance of misunderstanding.

Kifein approaches her fellow Hutaakan and examines the wound. She sniffs it and makes a bad face. “Yes, it is already rotted like it was a very old wound. Let me help you.” She speaks a few Hutaakan words of prayer to Pflarr and she channels the healing magic into the wound. Magically the wound clears up and then closes, as if it had never been there before. She smiles then frowns, “Oh no!” she exclaims in Hutaakan, though everyone, including Remar, understand her words. She watches as the skin again turns flaky and the wound reappears, as if it had never been healed. She turns to Draven, “This wound is beyond my ability. Do your gods have power over this type of wound?”

Hurrying to the warrior’s side, Draven lets out a heavy sigh. “Yes, this is ill news indeed. I have the ability to cure the disease, but the underlying curse may be beyond my ability.” Laying his hand aside the wound, Draven begins to pray, hoping that by removing the disease he can at least slow the progression of the curse long enough to see Kasiex through until the curse can be lifted.

The Hutaaka grimaces as the wound reopens after Kifein’s ministrations, stoically bearing with it until Draven completes his ritual.  As the spell takes hold, he breathes out and relaxes.  “I am healed, mistress?” he asks Kifein (and through her, Draven) in Hutaak’a, as he dons his armor once more.  

The thin, flaky skin near the wound seems to have returned back to normal, a little. The area around the wound still looks bad but not as bad as it did before. The wound, now reborn, will need to be tended again.

Overjoyed at being cleared for any signs of disease, embarrassed at her own overreaction, and worried for their new ally’s health and wellbeing; Iris observes the proceedings from a distance.

Witnessing the phenomenon from afar and understanding a little of what is said in Traldar, Remar can’t help but remember the last time he saw a curse in effect.  It was during one of the many nameless battles between the army he was part of and another.  

Yes, I remember.  We never really did keep tabs on where we were or who it was that we were fighting.  Only glad that we were doing so, because it meant that we would be fed gruel twice a day.  Things were not going well for our side.

The officers huddled over their maps and figurines in the command-tent, wild assumptions flying to and fro.  Remar huddled in the cold, rain just outside the tent, as inside, his handler threatened to bludgeon another officer for his “asinine assumptions.”

Good ol’ Captain Jebton.  The jaundiced-eyed bastard.

Then another handler, kicking Remar into the mud in passing, brought him in.

Malthius Diorae.

Like Remar, Malthius was an Alphatian forced to serve, but he retained his accent.  He was also chosen to dabble in the...darker arts.  As Remar peeked inside and listened, Malthius was ordered to explain what he had told his handler earlier.

And with his hood draped over his eyes, the light from the braziers playing strange shadows over his sly and almost lustful grin, so Malthius did.  

“Ey, I can swing tis battle ‘round.  An’ all’s I need ar ta ‘orses an’ yer promise tha’ you’ll no’ blame me fer ta results a’ when I cast me spells.

Eager as they were, the officers set plans in motion.  Before the next battle began, the horses were all but trussed up and placed thus with Malthius and a few of his schools’ brethren nearby.  Combining their power to perform some sort of ritual that would in turn provide enough power to fuel the curse cast against the enemy, the horses -withered-

All those poor horses.

And then the darkness descended upon the advancing army...and the screams started.

Shaking himself free from the grip this vision...this momentary lapse had on him, Remar focuses once again on the problem at hand, realizing that the time has come for him to achieve one of the goals he’s sought since that day.

In Thyatian, the now somber mage speaks aloud to the group at large, slowly walking toward them from his previous position against the wall.  “I’ve seen spells like this before:  Curses.  My grimoire references countermeasures to such spells.  For other reasons, I’ve sought to master enough of the book to eventually allow me to master the removal of such dark spells as well.  We haven’t had a good, long rest in a while where I’ve been able to focus on just...myself and learning such as this.  If given a day or two of quiet study and experimentation, I believe I could harness the power to remove this curse.  But obviously, it’ll have to wait until we are out of here.”

Then, returning to familiar, sheepish tone he adds, “Can...can someone else please translate that for me?  I’m getting the feeling that my Traldar isn’t coming across as sincere as it should.”

Iris carefully translates Remar’s words for him, and makes a mental note to offer to help him along in learning Traldar.  Learning a new language on one’s own is never easy, and she wouldn’t mind spending a bit more time getting to know him.  Now over her initial shock at discovering that a mummy’s mere touch could rot the skin, Iris finds herself yearning to explore the rooms instead of merely searching for potential dangers.  After all, that is why we are here, she thinks to herself.  She looks over again at Kasiex and feels a pang of guilt at her excitement to search the area.  

“I think, between us, we can keep body and soul together with diligence. When we manage to get our way out of here, one of us will find a way to lift the curse. Perhaps even your mistress, back in the fortress will have the ability to purge the last of this from you.” Surveying the rest of the party, he says the utterly unnecessary: “Let’s all do our best to avoid any further close encounters with the living dead. Even the mildest of them can be rife with disease, and the greater ones - well, suffice to say that a curse such as this might seem mild in comparison.”

Remar shivers at Draven’s mention of worse curses.

I hope that we can find some manner of solution to this for the poor fellow.  Draven wonders.  The gods have been uncommonly kind to me, but I fear that this is beyond my piety to bring forth. What has it come to that I might wish my magic were as common and cheap as Remar’s, to come from a book and not from the almighty powers themselves?

“What now?  We face any number of choices of how to proceed, and it seems even our local friends aren’t entirely sure what to expect behind each mysterious door. Have we played the listening game at each keyhole yet, Griffin, that we might at least be prepared if something mindless and hungry waits on the other side?”

Griffin throws up his hands in disgust. “Bah! I was so sure there was nothing in that room, and then they came out. There must be some hidden door, but I’m damned if I can find it.” He looks around. “Iris, are you sure you’re okay? Do you need to rest more?” His eyes search the room for Ree. “Ree, have you found anything?”

Iris snaps out her self-recriminations at Griffin's words.  "Hah, oh..no, Griffin; I'm fine!  Just great!" Iris grimaces at her overly cheerful tone, then stands up and dusts herself off.  Moping won't help Kasiex, but finding something of use here might!

Eager to search the rooms herself, especially since it's been thrice swept for mummies, Iris grabs her things and pores over the vacant rooms.  Unlike the others, Iris is not searching for hidden foes, but rather hidden meaning in long neglected history.  Etchings, drawings, pictographs, hieroglyphs, hidden switches.  Heck, I wouldn't turn down a bit of graffiti, either!  

"What I wouldn't give for some daylight," Iris mutters as she looks around.  Murmuring words of magic, she enhances her vision as she slowly examines the walls, ceilings and floor for clues as to the purpose of the empty chambers.  Feeling her adrenaline pumping now for an entirely different reason, Iris enthusiastically endeavors to unlock the Vault's secrets.

Kifein translates the discussion for Kasiex’ benefit.  As she finishes, his ears flick in the Hutaakan version of an accepting sigh.  He speaks for a few moments in the strangely musical Hutakaan language, and Kifein laughs.  Turning to the party, she says “Kasiex says ‘when the storms bring rain, you can keep hiking or look for shelter; either way, you’re wet.”

She pauses, considering.  “I fear the saying is more poetic in Hutaak’a. He thanks you for your efforts, and agrees we should push on while he is still helpful.”  Kasiex mimics a human nod as she finishes speaking, shakes himself from nose to feet in a jingle of scales and leather buckles, and prowls around the area Griffin scouted, keen eyes and nose working to discern anything he might.

Coming upon the wreckage of what was once a mudroom or cloakroom of some sort, he sifts through old wood and finds a mostly straight length of metal bar.  He tests its integrity, wipes it mostly clean, and swings it experimentally a few times.  This will do.  If only that damned pink hadn’t broken my sword!  Still...I suppose he more than paid for it.

The Wildsteward thinks back to his encounter with the human, their conflict, and the days of strange camaraderie that followed.  He hitches his quiver and bow into more comfortable position, and those with a sharp eye for such things might note that the quiver and bow are of Traldar make.

Iris pauses and looks at Kasiex as he enters the room and smiles without baring her teeth.  I have to imagine a toothy grin means something completely different in Hutaakan body language.  Unsure of what to say, she watches him swing the bar a few times and then gets back to the task at hand.  

Hearing Griffin and watching Kasiex, Remar gestures toward the searched rooms and the other doors.  “Are you meaning for for us all to check further for anything else in here, that room the mummies came from, or the 3 other doors, Griff?  I think I can at least see if I sense any strong magic emanating from the doors as I did in the Temple of Pflar.”

Griffin shrugs. “Yea, see if there’s any magic going on in there, then check the other doors. I’m going to check out the door at the bottom of these stairs.”

Remar starts to bring his right fist to his chest and then catches himself, instead nodding toward Griffin in acknowledgement.

Stay in the here and now, Rem, the here and now.

He systematically checks each area, looking them over for magic or other oddities.  If neither are detected, the Alphatian reaches out and runs his left pinky along the examined surfaces.  Finally, if that fails to bring anything forth, he places his ear along side, closes his eyes, and listens.

Hearing Remar enter the room, Iris turns and meets the mage's glance, then giggles as his steps falter.  "Draven said I'm all clear, you don't have to run away," she quips in Thyatian.  She turns back to the dusty walls and continues searching for any clues as to why the mummies would have been in this particular room.  Reveling in the chance to study an ancient culture's sacred, secret places puts Iris in an optimistic mood.  There's really no telling what we may find here!  I only wish we had more time, but we certainly need to get to it for Kasiex's sake.

Griffin and Ree don’t hear anything while listening to the doors leading out of this chamber and Remar busies himself examining each of the doors. After 5 minutes or so, he reports that each and every door in the chamber is magically enchanted in some way, though in what ways, he does not know though possibly similar to the first two doors that prevented one from opening while the first was still open as well.

“Right, my instincts tell me that ‘forward’ means through those double doors, but I’m leery still of what we leave on our flanks if we do. Is it worth it to open each door and review what we find before we make a final choice?”

Griffin ponders for a second, then shakes his head. “No, I think that would just lead us down a rathole, Brother. Open a door and see two more. Do we then check them out before proceeding? And behind them, two more?” He takes a deep breath and readies his shield. “I think we just need to decide, and move forward. There will be obstacles no matter which direction we pick. Personally, my penchant would lead me down the stairs to the door to a lower level. But that is when I have no other basis to decide. The big double doors will lead to another large room, possibly with a lot of danger. The north door has merit, as it leads to somewhere still on this level, and we have already dealt with some of the foes hiding here. This door,” and he gestures to the open door where he had been investigating, “leads nowhere.”

“Based on what we have seen so far, are there any hints or cues to help us decide? If so, say on. If not, let’s head down the stairs.”

Listening intently to the plan, Kifein speaks up, “I believe that the lower levels would have been storage and such, though I could be wrong and there may be other reasons to explore there as well, but I don’t know for sure. We should be careful as we proceed, there could be protections and wards on the Vault to keep out unwelcome visitors. I believe I should be ok, and Kasiex here, being that we are of Pflarr, but you are not of Pflarr and your presence here may be, um, difficult to our progress.

Kasiex listens intently to Kifein’s words, and then her translation of them into Hutaaka as he would when learning a new beast call. To Kifein, he asks “Would the protections on this place perhaps be more permissive if I was the one to open/touch the doors when needed?  If so, I will do so happily.  If it would please you, Speaker, would you tell the others, so they understand I am not trying to force them into subservient roles by entering first?”

Kifein nods her head and tells the Wildsteward that it is possible but she is not sure. As far as she knows, no one but Hutaakan have entered this vault since it was created, though she knows that it was used as a repository of all important documents the Hutaakans of centuries ago were wary of it falling into other hands. She translates Kasiex’s suggestion for the rest of the party as well as her thoughts on it.

After noting the sense of urgency in Draven and Griffin’s voices and listening to the retranslation of Kifein and Kasiex’s points through Iris, Remar nods and says, “It sounds like you all aren’t interested in taking more time to search around in these rooms for more clues.  I’m OK with moving through any door you want if we’re ready.

It’’s too bad we are pressed for time though.  If I had but two spare hours, I could put the finishing touches on a couple spells I’ve been studying that I now know would have been useful to have in my repertoire before entering.”

Tink tha’ mumms woulda been a important ting ta mentioned afore we got inna ‘ere.  Ah well.  ‘Indsight an’ all tha’, ‘eh Rema?  Get it?  ‘Indsight?

The wizard pales a little, clears his throat, and continues.  “The first spell would allow me to set metal weapons alight.  Wood weapons as well, but they turn to ash afterward.  With either material though, the wielder may handle it as usual without any ill effects from the flames.  It will then scorch anything else it touches in addition to the weapons usual physical effect.  The other spell would allow me to…”

Oh, oh, say enshroud ‘em, say enshroud ‘em…

“...forgive the pun...enshroud ‘em...I mean, them in a protective blaze.  Should they melee a foe, they’ll also burn them, much like was described with the flaming weapon but to a lesser degree.  In addition, should a foe hit the immolator, it will cause another retaliatory, fire spell to…”

Fire off!  Fire off!

“Fire off at them retributively.  Finally, if a foe grabs that enchanted person, or the enchanted person a foe, it will end the spell, but not before the spell first attempting to incinerate the foe in either case with about three times the effectiveness of the retributive spell.

My thoughts would be, if we can find the time, I do this.  Then when we encounter more of these foes, I’ll be able to concentrate both of these effects on at least one ally, maybe more.  If just one, I’d recommend Griffin as he seems the most spry in the realm of melee among us.  Anyway, I just wanted to mention it as something to keep in mind for any better-late-than-never planning.”  He smiles to indicate his willingness to help however the party sees best.

“Perhaps your methods would be better in that regard, Remar. The gods grant me the selfsame ability to set weapons alight, but only for a short time before their patience grows thin at such showy theatricality. If you could do that for some length of time without wearing yourself down to a nub, it might be beneficial here, but if you are similarly constrained, it might be best left to another time.” Continuing in Thyatian, “If only for the sake of our new friend - time we waste here may be time he doesn’t have, if my abilities can’t keep that necrotic curse at bay.”

“I understand,” the Alphatian replies.  “But, maybe that time would be an investment rather than wasted.  I can set and maintain those spells for a minute or two on one person when the time comes, using mystical reserves outside of my own endurance.  I’d then need just ten minutes or so for those to recharge.  Later, I’ll study up and should be able to find a way to imbue such things for longer periods.”  His eyebrows draw together as he continues.  “I fear if those were the common door guards, there may be worse things deeper in and want to make sure we’re better prepared for next time.  We definitely won’t do Kasiex any good if we all end up similarly afflicted.  I mean, he seems a great ally and all, but you guys…”  Remar seems to stop himself from saying something.  “I just don’t want that to happen to any of you too.”

Continuing the conversation in Thyatian, Iris jumps in and says, “I know it’s not really my place to comment on combat tactics, but here are my thoughts anyway.” She smiles to soften her words.  “One, Kasiex was wounded through all of that armor he’s wearing. Two, arrows don’t even seem to give the creatures any pause, whatsoever.  Three, and I’ll call myself a coward here straight off---I can’t move the way Griffin does, so I’m not so keen on giving them another chance at my skin.” She nods in Griffin’s direction as she makes her last point.  “I won’t shirk my share of combat, but if it has to be in close quarters with my saber, I’d feel better about having some magical protection.  I can also light the dusty bastards on fire, but my version didn’t stop them; it only slowed them down.”  Iris takes a deep breath and continues, “I apologize if I’m overstepping my bounds.  Those are my two cents.”  She briefly glances at Kifein and Kasiex, who seem to be patiently awaiting translation.  “How much of our conversation do you want translated?”

Remar nods in agreement at each of Iris’ points.  “I don’t think you are stepping over any bounds, Iris.  Those all seem good points to me.  Unless someone else minds, you can translate what I said...except that last bit if you don’t mind.”

Kifein and Kasiex briefly discuss, and ask Iris to do running translation as best she can.  Via Kifein and Iris, Kasiex asks Remar if his enchantment can affect Kasiex’ bow without ill effect, or his arrows directly? In any case, Kasiex indicates, he is in favor of taking time to prepare, to spare others his affliction if at all possible.  No sense trying to take down a bear with a scratching-stick, if nets and spears are an option with a little time.

After hearing Iris’ translations of what Kasiex says, Remar replies, “  The one I can finish learning would not work with bow and arrow.  I’ve heard of such spells that allow one to fire flaming arrows that don’t burn the bow to cinders.  Unfortunately, I don’t think those are in my book.  I’d be able to alight that metal club you’ve found though if everyone would rather I focus on you and not Griffin, or if I have enough energy to spare...or if the situation turned dire.”

Kasiex shakes his head “Spend your energies on Griffin’s blade; we’ve no notion whether my club will be any more effective than my arrows.”

Seeing how shaken Iris is at the unfortunate turn of events, and hearing Remar’s offer of a serious improvement in the team’s magical fighting potential, Griffin nods. “Okay, good points, folks. Let’s take an hour. Remar, if you can get us that light-your-sword-on-fire thing, do that. It sounds awesome. The other one? I’m with Iris - I’m hoping never to get close enough for those things to suffer its effects.”

He looks with concern at the team’s archeologist. “Iris, do you want to sit this out and rest up? You don’t have to keep soldiering on - Ree and Kasiex and I can handle things if you want.” He looks at Ree and she gives him a scowl, then a shrug. “We’ll check the other doors.”

He turns to the Hutaakan scout. In Traldar, he says “If what Kifein says has weight, we might need you to do things with the doors. Your god might look with more favor on you. Okay?”

“It will be so” the Hutaakan replies via Kifein.

A hurt look briefly flits across Iris' features, then she raises her chin and begins in a haughty tone, "I appreciate your concern, but I believe I have---" She cuts herself off, sighs softly, then continues more gently, "I'd like to do this. I want to help, to contribute, and I feel like I have a particular skill set that could really be of use right now." Iris moves to stand near Ree and says, "I'm ready."

Griffin gives her a grin. “Well, all right then, let’s do this! Kasiex, you’re with me.”

Hoping to prepare themselves better to face other undead guardians that might be in the Vault, the Company decides to take a break in the foyer area, with the door to the ancient cloakroom kept open in hopes that it prevents any other doors from opening. The party’s curiosity regarding the other doors is tempered by the very real threat of more mummies or other undead abominations. Remar sits quietly with his book while the others spread out, in pairs, to search the rest of the area as carefully as possible. Draven also spends the hour in meditation, communing with his Patrons. Some of the others notice that Remar occasionally shakes his head and seems to speak harshly to himself while studying.

The others search the room, taking their time, looking for any secret passageways or traps. No passageways are found, though it is possible that the collapsed area could be dug out and it may go somewhere, though it is not clear where. Iris does manage to find many interesting carvings and areas with writing and runes on the wall. Kifein is of much help to her, translating and explaining much of what she sees. Iris takes some time to copy down some text and make a few rubbings of the relief carvings. Unfortunately, none of what she discovers seems to help the Company on their current quest, but it does give Iris more understanding of the Hutaakan culture and life in the Valley.

After an hour or so, Remar carefully shuts his tome, a mischievous grin flashing across his face.  “I’ve got it.  Griffin, will you draw your sword so that I can do the honors?”

Seeing the magical flame engulfing Griffin’s blade, Ree steps up and presents her finely crafted long knife toward him. “Can you do that to mine too?” the young, pretty Half-Elven girl asks.

Griffin swings his blade back and forth a few times. “Neat.” He watches as Remar works his magic on Ree’s blade.

The Alphatian replies, “Absolutely.  You and Kasiex next then.  I’ll get Iris’ sword, Draven’s mace, and maybe even my own silver knife as well, though we’ll need to wait another 20 minutes or so...so that I have enough oomph to get these off.”

Pondering for a second and looking at the gear carried by the rest of the group, Griffin gives a chin raise in Draven’s direction. “Brother, as we move forward I think it might be best for you to join me in the front line. Why don’t you get the next touch of fire?”

Draven nods and presents his weapon to Remar as well. The mage takes the weapon and performs the same magical ritual to it cause it to burst into flame. Iris presents her own rapier to Remar as well. He casts the spell and it too burns with arcane magical power!

Kas’ jaw drops from below the muzzle of his armored mask in a canine grin as flames wreath his club and the weapons of his allies.

After using his magic to cause fire to enshroud the weapons, Remar stops. “I need a moment to recover some energy. If we can rest for just 10 minutes longer, I should be ready to go.”

After a short 10 minute break, Remar nods and indicates he is ready to go by waving his now flaming knife above his head and smiling.

Flame Lights the Way

“Okay, based on what Kifein said, I think we should go through the north door. Stairs down lead to storage - that’ll keep. Big doors could provide too much of a chance for us to get overrun. North door seems like the best chance to get in subtly.” He looks around. “Sound good?”

Remar nods his assent and begins to fall into position behind the front-liners, but then has a thought.  “I’ll likely be bolting anyway...want me to just do so from the rear Griffin and help another watch for anything potentially sneaking up?”

“I like it! Let's do it,” Iris says to Griffin.  She stands in line with the others, very careful to keep her fiery saber a good distance away from her companions.  Inwardly she repeatedly chants to herself, “these things are nothing to be afraid of. No different from a living foe. Nothing to be afraid of. Your saber is literally on fire. Nothing to be afraid of...”

Griffin, at the front of the line, motions toward Kasiex to move forward and try the door. The Hutaakan ranger slinks forward, quietly padding on the hard stone. He reaches out tentatively and grasps the iron pull ring in the middle of the door. He gives a quick look back at the others waiting behind him then pulls. The door does not budge.

Kifein speaks up in Traldar, “Ahh, the magic of the doors. The cloakroom door is still open, that might be keeping this door closed. Recall that there is magic preventing more than one door from being opened at the same time. Shall I go close it?” She looks over her shoulder back toward the first door they had opened upon arriving inside the Vault.

Iris pipes up, almost too quickly, “I’ll go!  I’ll shut the door.  I’ll be right back.” She flashes a nervous grin, translates what was said, and jogs back to the cloakroom and shuts the door.

Once the cloak room door is closed, Kasiex tenses, waiting for anything that might happen in response.  Warily, he waits for Iris to resume her position, looks around to make sure everyone is ready, and attempts to open the door before him again (using the door to provide cover for himself).

Remar watches about carefully for anything untoward as Iris moves to the door, shuts it, and makes her way back.  He’ll continue watching the company’s backs with whomever else it is at the rear with him as everyone else moves forward.  He sees Ree beside him and happily gives her a wink and a smile.

Iris carefully squeezes past Remar and takes her place next to Draven.  She manages a small smile; she can’t help but feel safer with the steadfast priest at her side. “All ready!” she whispers to the group at large.

With everyone ready at the door, Griffin nods at Kasiex and the Hutaakan reaches out and grasps the pull ring. The door slides open easily, only barely scraping on the stone floor beneath it. A faint smell of decay reaches everyone's noses. The two Hutaakan snarl at the smell. The light from divine lights and arcane flame illuminate the center the room beyond. Debris litters the floor around the edges the room. No sound or movement is detected. The Wildsteward indicates smells decay but not the death smell of the mummies.

Kas looks over at Griffin, signing in the near universal language of woodsmen and warriors; the signs are familiar but the order is different; the Human warrior looks puzzledly at Kasiex.  

Tha’ dogboy just gave yer numpty ta middle-digit!

He did, didn’t he.  Does he mean for him to switch to his crossbow?  But where would he put his flaming sword?” Remar ponders.

Griffin gives a vacant smile back to Kas and the universal forefinger-and-thumb circle. Uh-huh, yep, not sure at all what that means, but I’m right there with ya, buddy. Let’s do this thing!

He steps through the door and moves left, keeping his back to the wall as he clears the way for reinforcements to join him.


This part of the Vault is also a Dyson Logos Map. Flear's Temple has been altered a bit and combined with another Dyson map to create the Vault. Thanks +Dyson Logos for all your wonderful maps!

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer with help from +Patrick Burke 

Remar Umerusan Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army currently marshalled by +Patrick Kelly 

Iris Vardaa Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure, now guided by +Stephanie Kelly 

Kasiex, a Hutaakan Wildsteward used to ranging the mountains and valleys now led down a new path by +Patrick Burke 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM

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