Into Tarnruth’s Rest
Having defeated the orcs at the entrance to the ancient burial tomb, the party sets their sight on entering the crypt that dates all the way back to the ancient Empire of Eaerlann.
Initially, as they enter, the find a large chamber spread out before them, with a filth riddle orc camp, signs of recent battle, non-orc corpses tossed into an alcove, magic motes drifting through the air, and a beautifully carved set of double doors blocking access to the tomb’s further reaches.
As expected, the non-orc corpses turned out to be none other than Halaskar’s lost companions. What wasn’t expected was finding that one of them, a dwarf by the name of Joyin Bladebight, was still tentatively clinging to life! Acting quickly, Quintin Fortier used his arcane powers to save the fallen dwarf. Joyin, surprised and grateful to be alive, quickly gave an account of what happened. For the group, there wasn’t much in it that they hadn’t heard before from Halaskar. Joyin and the others of the Fellowship of the Spear were chased through the forest, driven into this cave. Things were bleak and an effort to escape was made, but no one made it (at least, that’s what Joyin believed). Joyin watched as they tortured and brutally killed the others, one by one, until his turn came up. Cruelly treated, grilled for information on the crypt that he didn’t know, they eventually left him for dead. Alive and overjoyed to hear that Halaskar had also survived, Joyin was still too battered to offer any help beyond that of returning the corpses of his dead companions.
The Double Doors
With Joyin resting and guarding over (as well as prepping) his fallen comrades, the group set about learning more of the lost elven tomb which meant trying to discover the secret behind the double doors that stood locked against further intrusion.
Noell’s sharp Wilden eyes quickly noted quite a few details to the doors that would aid in figure out it’s locking mechanism. It would be Virgil’s religious knowledge that would recognize the significance of the stars and their relationship to the constellations of the immortals which, coupled with Quitin’s historical recollection of the gods, eventually lead to the group’s discovery that realigning the constellations to that of Kelemvor (although, they believed others could have been used) would unlock the doors… which it did.
Beyond the doors, they found a tomb that was full of detailed wonder not stale air and accumulating dust, much to their wonder. The initial passage was ten-feet wide, sloping steeply downwards, with walls molded to the likeness of an incredibly lifelike, intricate representation of a lush, verdant forest. So real were the carvings that the trees that rose above them created a canopy that blocked seeing the ceiling (if there even was one!). All of it brightly illuminated by the motes of magic that drifted down from the stone leaves above.
Cautiously, the party descended deeper into the tomb with only the Wilden Ranger taking the time to admire the beauty of the delicate, detailed elven sculpting.
A Quiet Room, An Elven Statue, and a Gentle Pool.. Seems Innocent Enough! Guess Not…
At the base of the downward slope they found another wondrous chamber, a room that seemed more like a woodland glade than a stone walled tomb. High reaching, life-like oaks soared above, creating a stone canopy that again blocked vision beyond. The walls gave the illusion of being within a quiet forest and the quiet pool (with its small island in the middle) that centered the room only added to the impression.
Unfortunately, there were all-too-real guardians of the chamber that came alive and attacked when the group entered it too deeply.
Noell is No Elm!
The chamber’s protectors turned out to be tree like creatures come to life, stepping out of the scenery into forms of very real, very dangerous humanoid-like trees. Anyone under the impression that a tree couldn’t really hurt much (unless you happen to have one topple over and fall on you) has never been leaf-slapped by an Elm Skirmisher! Nor could they possibly have ever been stone stomped or branch bashed by an Oak Brute either. Being a plant life himself, you’d think that Noell, the good-hearted Wilden with a love of roaming through nature, would have been spared the ire of the (stone) woodland garden, but no, both he and the brave paladin Virgil were the early targets of the guardians. Very early on, it became quite apparent that this was not going to be as simple as cutting a little wood for the hearth, but a struggle for survival against foes that might well be too much for the four who dared venture into their home.
The very first strike by the Elm bloodied the paladin, rocking him in his plate boots and staggering him. As Virgil staggered, it was poor Noell who was getting trampled by one of the Oaks as it charged over him, leaving him sprawled upon the floor and lightly wounded. Undaunted, Noell scrabbled to his feet and struck quickly with two arrows (with one striking and marking it solidly), trying to aid Virgil against the dangerous Elm as the Skirmisher clearly was capable of slaying the holy knight if it landed a second blow as powerful as the first. Virgil followed Noell’s lead and carved deeply into the Elm’s with his sword, calling upon the divine powers of his deity. The Elm sagged under the attacks, wilting as it were against the deadly strikes, but not fallen.
Unfortunately, another Oak Brute entered into the fray and trampled over both Noell and Virgil, wounding each further, knocking each prone, and leaving them both bloodied (with Virgil being near death now!). As if that wasn’t dire enough, a third Oak emerged to trample through Nimor, who had been quietly following and trying to stay safe as he was weak from previous encounters. Now, the sly drow was fully engaged, modestly wounded and sprawled across the floor as was everyone but Quintin. Rogue that he is, though, Nimor was quick to his feet and ready for action when it was called for. Striking in a flurry, the drow struck swiftly then encompassed himself and two of the Oaks in a sphere or darkness that blinded his foes while granting him the perfect environment for his stealthy maneuvers. He might have rejoiced at his own cleverness had it not been for the sound of a friend and fellow adventuring letting out a dying gasp. Glancing to where the cry came from he would see Noell crumple to the ground, the victim of a deadly trap which fired forceful arrows.
With one of them down, dying, and the Paladin near death himself, things appeared grim indeed, but that’s when true heroes are made. Acting quickly, it would be Quintin’s healing that would ensure that Virgil could survive more deadly attacks, refreshing the Paladin and removing most of his wounds. Quintin was also capable of inflicting wounds himself with his arcane powers which he did, striking at the Oaks with his magics.
Rejuvenated by the Bard’s healing, Virgil proved to be both the stalwart defender he believed himself to be, but also the heroic holy knight he wanted to prove to be as well. Risking leaving himself vulnerable, he rushed to Noell’s aid, using his own divine healing powers to bring his fallen companion back to life! With that done, he swiftly rejoined combat by strike back at the Elm again, killing the dangerous Skirmisher with one mighty blow!
Unfortunately, the remaining Oaks and the deadly Archer Trap still threatened the group which was all too much, once again, for the Ranger Noell – arrows from the trap stuck him again and again and he was down dying once more. At the same time, with Nimor protected by the globe of darkness, the Oaks struck at the bard too great effect, battering and bloodying the healer.
Again, though, Nimor’s quick blades and deadly crossbow would come into the fray with severity. Striking from the shadows again and again, the drow blasted and punished one of the Oak Brute, eventually proving more lethal than it could withstand. Quintin, giving some breathing room, healed himself and retreated towards the paladin and safety. Virgil was all too ready to protect the Bard and the rest of the group, slicing into one of the remaining Oaks and ending its threat to the party. Finally, it was Quintin himself, through Arcane Song that created powerful energies that struck through his sword, finished off the remaining Oak.
All was not well, though, as the trap still threatened to kill any that were exposed to it and Noell lay dying on the floor. As Virgil rushed, again, to the fallen Noell (stabilizing his wounds and dragging him to safety), Nimor quickly darted from stone tree to stone tree, seeking to avoid the deadly arrows, in hopes of finding a way to approach the trap from a safe angle. The drow, swift of foot and clever of mind, did manage to approach the traps before it could strike and disarmed it.
Relieved, the grouped gathered up and rested safely near the entrance to the chamber, using magic and care to bring back Noell from the brink of death.
A Magic Orb and Some Gold
The battle did not come without some spoils, though, as the group found a magic orb that would aid anyone capable of using it to augment arcane powers (which, unfortunately, none of the four could take advantage of) and a good handful of gold coins.
It was time to take a deep breath and look deeper into the tomb.
More Elven Beauty
What occurred after was quite mild by comparison. The party found a number of chambers with the delicate, intricate elven carvings depicting beautiful woodland scenes. There was a section that was notably different though as the hallway leading to it was decorated by wall-hung paintings that recounted the life of an elven woman, from birth to her elder years. It showed scenes that started with joy and discovery of magic to grim dark accounts of her battles against marauding orcs. The hallway lead to a shrine room dedicated to Corellon, Elven God of Magic, Music, Arts, Crafts, Poetry, and Warfare. Although the group was tempted to take of the god’s offerings, they eventually left the chamber in peace.
The False Tomb
Eventually, the party (very carefully) passed through a hallway with elven statues and came to a burial chamber. It was there that Virgil felt a divine calling that guided him to look deeper into the strangely unadorned chamber and what he found was that it was a false front to a secret passage that lead deeper into the crypt. Believing this to be at the heart of things and the right thing to do, the paladin proceeded down where the secret passage lead. As if confirming his choice, Virgil received a boon for his actions – a magic amulet that would protect him better for attacks against will, reflex, and fortitude as well as from poisons.
One More Deadly Trap
Beneath, the four found a strange chamber that was a large mosaic map of a bygone era – the depiction of the area as it existed during the reign of the Empire of Eaerlann. Spread out across a large chamber’s floor, it reached from wall to wall in astonishing detail, complete with small mountain ranges reached up from the floor and two silvery pools that reflected lakes in its time. Captivating and wondrous, the group approached the scene in awe only to find that another trap was sprung upon them.
The doors, slamming tightly behind them, sealed them in and suddenly, the seemingly harmless pools were stirring to life as they began to bubble and boil, spilling out over their edges and beginning to spread out across the floor! And as if that wasn’t enough, from it, eerie tendrils of blue liquid began snaking from each, reaching for the heroes it what was clearly vicious intent!
What Comes Next….
...we will only know once the adventure is rejoined next time.