Mysteries of Mystara 003

Mysteries of Mystara
Session 003

Rest Easy, Child


The group woke at dawn to prepare for the day though Panya, the strange monk, had been up since midnight reciting litanies, performing katas, burning incense, and meditating. When she finally finished, the group headed back to Old Lord Stelenov's tower to confer one last time with the Traladaran Priest, Father Berabellus. Dak excused himself to run another errand but promised to meet up with the group later. 

Father Berabellus

The cleric once again thanked the group for tackling the problem of the haunted keep nearby. As promised, he was able to pull together some items that might help against the incorporeal undead that had been discovered. A scroll containing an old spell that, once cast, enables the target of the spell to directly and physically interact with spiritual entities was given to the party in addition to several vessels of holy water. Finally, the priest blessed the gathered adventurers in hopes of protecting them in their upcoming exploits. 

Ilya the Red

Cass of the Gray Company

The group then meets up with their two hired mercenaries, Cass and Lev, members of the Gray Company, a renown group of hired soldiers and guards. The mercenaries then introduce the group to their mage associate, a young Traladaran woman with red hair wearing orange robes called Ilya the Red. Panya and Ilya stare at each other with wide eyes and mutter, "You?" at the same time. Clearly both know each other from a previous incident involving pushing someone off a mountain, though neither seem interested in elaborating. 

They take the "Old Road" back to the keep, hearing the mournful wail for the last mile of a several hour hike. Malachai seems to struggle with the hike and Panya once again feels the chilling effect of the howling. Finally, the keep is approached and just before entering, Lucky casts a spell to help Panya overcome her fear. 

The enormous death vulture is perched atop the defeated willowhaunt tree and the remains of the deaf thief are nothing but cleanly picked bones. Malachai once again engages the winged creature, but no real information is gained besides the vulture's desire to consume all of the adventurers. Talyn heads toward the door to the building just north of the entrance where Malachai and Dak each detected movement thought to be undead. Kicking the door open,he finds himself surrounded by sword-wielding skeletons and a wight blowing on a set of darkly enchanted panpipes.

The wight

The rest of the group quickly moves to engage with the undead, though somehow, Talyn gets isolated inside the building battling the wiley wight while the rest of the group trades blows with the skeletons in the courtyard. After a gruelling battle of back and forth, the undead are finally vanquished. Malachai, intrigued by the panpipes, moves to inspect them and feels a dark energy emanating from them and into himself. Suddenly he realizes that the light shining in from outside is painfully bright and he has to shield his eyes. Ilya, the mage, offers to analyze the magic of the pipes, though states that it will take her at least an hour to do so. Malachai agrees and moves to pass the pipes to her, then changes his mind and holds on to them himself.

While resting, Panya grills Ilya on why she did not help fight the skeletons, noting that she stayed behind Dak for the duration of the conflict. The mage in the orange robes replies by stating that she is not a combat mage or adventurer, but does have many magics that could be useful out of combat. The two seem to be at odds, but Panya tries awkwardly to bridge the gap peacefully. Cass and Lev stay out of it, just watching how the group of novice adventurers work together. Lev was quite battered during the battle and receives some healing in the form of potions and spells. Lev points out that adventuring is much different and dangerous than mercenary work. From the shadows of the skeleton-inhabited barracks, Malachai coolly informs the mercenaries that if they were to turn on the group there would be consequences. The mercenaries proclaim the honor of the Gray Company and pledge to uphold their end of the contract.

After patching up and resting for a bit, the group makes their way into the next outbuilding by squeezing through a narrow crack in the wall that might have once been a window. As Panya and Talyn make their way into the darkness of the next area, a growling can be heard from a dark corner. Malachai follows them in, and hearing the growling sounds, bravely steps forward to discover a dog-like creature with stripes of blue, glowing fur. Malachai looks and says, "Its a blink dog. I don't think it's aggressive."

The mercenary Cass calls from outside, "We'll stand out here. A blink dog? What's that?" Malachai cautiously approaches and explains they are magical creatures, typically of a good nature but shy around strangers. It growls some more and Talyn fishes some food out of  his pack, tossing some dried meat to the animal. It takes the food and quickly starts eating it. Malachai suggests leaving the beast alone as it is not a threat. The group makes their way back out of the crumbling building.

Heading back to the main tower, the group moves around to the kitchen area and the trap door leading below ground. More of the brown, metal-rusting spider webs have been strung about this area, though not as many as before, are easily cleared away by waving a stick around. The group follows their glowing warrior back down the narrow stairs. Once again at a crossroads, the group decides to head to the left this time. Finding the door secured, Lucky attempts to open the lock using the thieves tools he had recently picked up. Sadly he is not yet skilled in that art and finds himself unsuccessful. Talyn proceeds to bash it in with his found crowbar. After several mighty swings, the door is in shambles and the group is greeted by a foul, damp smell. Moving in, Talyn finds himself in a small cramped storeroom. A pool of murky brown water dominates the leftmost half of this room while hogsheads filled with moldy ale stand against the curved northern wall. Looking up, it is seen that the ceiling above is damaged and seems to line up with the broken floor at the base of the tower stairs. Falling through would have deposited Talyn into this stinking pool of brown water. Hoping to find more treasure or clues as to what is going on here, Talyn begins smashing barrels open, only to find dark, sticky liquids inside.

Finding nothing, the group proceeds to the next unopened door. Lucky again tries to pick it, but fails, so Talyn uses the crowbar to bash the door in easily. The path passes through a rough stone area into a room lined with flagstones. A crumbling table and chairs dominates the center of this strange underground conference room. While exploring the dark corners of the room, Talyn triggers a bit of a rockslide as the floor and walls crumble and fall away. He is just able to dive away to avoid falling down into a darkened pit below. The group moves on into another rough stone passage and finds a doorway off to the left. Lucky and Talyn check the door out and both find it difficult to open. It seems there has been some settling and the rock above the door frame has moved down to block it. Talyn swings away until it is opened, revealing a dark, curving stone passage that follows some steps downward.

The group opts to remain on the current level before delving any deeper and takes another passage out of the room. As they move into another worked stone corridor, they are accosted by a suddenly manifesting massive skull bathed in purplish flames. It croaks in a low, unearthly voice, "Go away!" then suddenly vanishes.

Flaming purple skull

Ilya the Red shrieks "Ahh. That was scary!" and moves back behind Lev. 

The rest of the group, undaunted by the warning, continues forward to find what looks like the beginning of a dungeon block. Several ironbound, locked doors line the hallway. Small metal panels in the bottom of each door allows a peek in if the observer does not mind lying prone and forcing a light through the opening. Several of the chambers appear empty though some are “occupied.” One chamber has some human remains as well as another shadow guardian that reaches out and caresses Talyn’s face, sapping his strength before he can roll away and shut the panel. Panya also encounters a shadow that claims to be the lord of the keep and proclaims, “Come for me, have you? No need! I sent myself to my own watery grave!” Panya is able to nimbly roll away before being touched by his shadowy, grasping hand. Panya looks puzzled, "How would a ghost go to a watery grave from a locked prison cell?"

Ilya responds, "Sometimes a spirit does not manifest where it passed. There is a reason it is here though."

The group quickly moves out of this area and continues through the dungeon, finally entering what appears to be a torture room. As he enters, Talyn notices that his celestial nimbus dims and the torches some of his companions bear also seem to shed only half their normal light. He then hears quiet whispers coming from some manacles bolted to the far wall. The far end of the room seems to have suffered a bit of a cave-in and it is quickly deduced that it was caused by Talyn’s earlier search in the conference room. Thoroughly creeped out by this area, the group continues on. The exit passage leads around and up some stairs, connecting with the door that was hampered by the settling rock, making something of a circle. Malachai groans. "Human architecture makes NO sense."

Finally the group gets into a discussion about the source of the wail and Ilya the Red says that despite the presence of spiritual activity in the basement, the source of the wail needs to be dealt with, and its source seems to be from the upper floors of the tower, so the group heads back to the surface to climb the upper floors of the Mourning Lady’s Keep. 

Carefully bypassing the broken floor at the base of the stairs, the party climbs to the second floor of the keep. The second floor room at the top of the stairs contains nothing but some scraps of destroyed furniture. The mournful keening can be heard coming from behind the door to the next chamber. The stone stairs continue up to what used to be the third floor, but the unfiltered light of the sun shining down indicates that there is not much left up there. Malachai curses quietly and shields his face from the intense light and asks Lucky to read the incantation on the scroll to imbue his weapon with the ability to interact with the banshee if it comes to blows.

The Mourning Lady

Peeling paintings of unicorns and fairies cover the walls of this once lovely room. A gaping hole in the roof permits natural light. The wooden floor is heavily water damaged and covered in many long, dark fingernail scratches. A sobbing and moaning phantom of a woman crouches in the northernmost corner of the room. A badly weather damaged painting hangs on the wall behind her. It seems to depict two girls playing by the willow tree in the courtyard. She wears an incorporeal crown of white flowers on her head and clutches the tattered remains of two little girl dolls. She paces then turns to face you, “Why? Why did you do this!” she screams at you.

Talyn calls back, “Do what?”

His only reply is an increase in the wailing sound and her crying, “By babies, my babies!”

Immediately, the group begins to question her about her babies and how they can help though the banshee seems to not really follow their line of questioning. Malachai looks at the painting and ponders, "The bones. the bones by the tree illusion."

"Where are my babies? They need to go to bed. It is much too late." She moans loudly and a wave of intense cold hits both Talyn and Panya. Seeing this as an attack, Talyn charges, swinging the Mace of St. Yuric at the phantom. She glides away but the holy weapon strikes her, "Oh nooooooo!" she cries. 

The phantom of the woman does not really even seem to pay attention as the group moves to attack. She floats across the room and gazes out the window. Dak asks, "So we're fighting this thing?" Malachai frowns, observing her behavior. Numerous attacks on her seem to have very little effect on the ghostly apparition as she floats from one side of the room to the other, moaning and gazing out various windows. Talyn’s assaults as well as Dak’s magical attacks seem to do the most good. Panya finds that using the holy water seems to help, though she is not quite sure she wants to attack the phantom anymore.

Panya cries out, “Could we find another way? She seemed beyond comprehending us!”

"I can try to repel her, but she does not seem to be attacking us," Ilya responds. 

Malachai begins playing his panpipes to try to negate the banshee’s wail, which works quite well and keeps her from more damaging wails. The battle ranges back and forth across the room with many ineffective attacks against the banshee and her seemingly unaware of the attacks. After a few moments, it is decided to retreat out of her chamber and regroup. She does not pursue while the group heads back out to the courtyard. It is decided that they must find and recover the remains of the Lady’s children, which just might be found near the willow. 

While the search for the children’s bones begins, Malachai goes in search of the blink dog in an attempt to get more help. Ilya says she may be able to find the bones via her magic, but states that it may be difficult as she does not have much connection or knowledge of them. She is encouraged to try but she is unsuccessful and cannot attempt the same spell until a week has passed. Everyone else starts physically searching the courtyard near the tree. The ground is a thick mat of dirt, debris, and leaves from years or being undended.

Meanwhile, Malachai finds the blink dog watching from near the outbuildings. He approaches in an unthreatening manner and casts a spell to be able to speak with the fey animal. The wild defender crouches and speaks to the blink dog, "Little one, how long have you been here?"

The blink dog replies happily, "Hello, my name is Lesaro. Are you here to help the sad lady?"

"We are,” Malachai replies. “She's sad because she wants to find her children. You, knower of bones, have you seen the bones of human children?"

Lesaro yips happily, "I have been here for a while. I am glad you destroyed those undead and that tree. The Vulture still scares me though,” it says, glancing up to the upper reaches of the nearby tower. "As for the children’s remains, they may be in the yard, but beware, sometimes the children return to the yard. They are scary. I have seen them play around the tree."

Lesaro the Blink Dog

Malachai flashes a concerned gaze to the tree. "When do they come back? When the sun falls?" Malachai asks.

“Yes, mostly yes, at night. They are SCARY," Lesaro explains, quivering in fear as he speaks.

Malachai nods and says, "I see,” he smiles warmly. “Thank you, friend. We will not harm you, and we will do our best to help the sad lady." Just then, Malachai recalls something from his journey to Veseya and gasps. "Lesaro...! You-!" He quickly reaches into his pack for the token he was to give.

Seeing the wooden feather token, Lesaro jumps up and down a few times, then suddenly teleports around Malachai several times in little blue flashes. "Thank you for the message from Robin Graywing. By the way, I can understand Sylvan if you can speak it, I just can't speak it myself." Malachai nods at this, confirming that he can in fact, speak Sylvan. Lesaro seems interested in helping the party in their quest to ease the suffering of the Lady of the Tower and agrees to help find the remains of her children. Malachai relates what he has learned from their new blink dog ally.

With Lesaro’s help, the remains of the children are located and dug up. They are taken up to the second floor of the tower and presented to the banshee. Upon seeing her dead children, she breaks out sobbing uncontrollably again and flies into a wild rage. Quickly, Lucky plays a song and enacts a magical spell to silence her. She rages across the room and does not seem to want to see the dead bodies of her babies. Quickly the group retreats back outside, Malachai sticking to the shadows and keeping out of direct sunlight as best he can. 

After some deliberation, it is determined that the remains should be buried somewhere. Talyn thinks it is a bad idea to bury them on the ground of the keep with so much undead activity around they could reanimate. Lucky says that most Traladaran nobles would have a nearby family plot or graveyard. The group spends the next several hours searching the nearby forest until they finally find a small and weather-beaten cemetery. Malachai uses his magic to shape the earth into a grave for the two long-dead children. Talyn says some words and attempts to recreate some funeral services he has witnessed before, though it is quite evident that he did not quite get it right. Lucky changes some words and phrases to a traditional Traladaran mourning poem as the final bits of soil are moved on top of the grave.

In the distance, the wailing moan of the banshee continues.

Session Pics

Session Notes

Missing a player again tonight (we miss you, Ben, come back!) the group followed through on their plans anyway. More exploring, making a new friend, battling a foe that did not seem interested in battling back.

Cast of Characters:

Malachai, Faetouched, Wilderness Defender - played by JeCorey H
Talyn Dilectus Vanyilam, teenage Celestial warrior on the run - played by Don K
Dak, a Makai islander fluid mage - played by Ben L
Panya Masika, a bronze skinned Nithian monke stranded out of time - played by Carol C
Vlajic Savago, the Lucky Savage, a Traladaran bard - played by Dan E

and GMJasonGURPS as the DM

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