That night* everyone but Gideon has nightmares, waking fitfully during the night, and in the morning feeling the worse for wear. Only Gideon and TomlinsonTomlinson are rested well enough to feel no ill effects, the rest feel weary; but that isn’t going to stop them from getting on with the job: to descend the shaft, entering the evil shrine (or temple, or whatever it is) and finding the relic they have come to retrieve. Leaving Oswald and Geoff with the horses and camp, with orders to come looking of the rest of the party have not returned by sunset, the others head to the cabin.
Securing ropes to the trapdoor, using a couple of iron spikes for extra support, they descend into the pit shaft, Gideon leading, followed by Alvis, Armis, Tomlinson and Iral bringing up the rear. The constant whistling-hum, like some twisted music, is louder as they climb down, and the temperature drops to freezing. Wrapped up in their furs, Alvis carrying a lantern and torches ready to be lit at a moment’s notice, they assemble at the bottom of a 50’ shaft, with a corridor leading off. In the light, they see the corridor is carved with hundreds of faces screaming in pain and horror; they cover the floor, walls and ceiling, and end at a pair of bronze doors shaped like a many-toothed maw. Gideon takes lead, and while walking and examining the faces (which seem to writhe and shift in the flickering light), screams issue forth from their fixed stone faces! But these adventurers have faced worse, and with stout hearts (and helmets that block their ears) they carry on down the corridor, and get Armis to study the doors. Alvis blesses him, giving him some divine guidance; he finds no traps, finds a key in the lock, and opens the door. The room beyond has pedestals with skeletal hands on each, and another set of bronze doors lead out, marked with a symbol that makes them all feel uneasy and nauseous just by looking at it.
The doors lead into an immense chapel, obviously demonic and evil: jawless skulls hang from chains dangling from the ceiling; wall murals show people being impaled, decapitated, hung. An organ made of bones stands in one corner, an altar shaped into a giant mouth sits at the back, a stained bowl with a ruby-studded dagger and necklace next to the bowl. Doors lead off, and one pair have a couple of fonts of dirty water. With Tomlinson standing guard, lighting a torch so he can see, the others spread out and start looking for possible traps, secret doors and anything unusual, or valuable. Finding nothing, they head through one set of doors, finding and exploring a set of what appear to be common rooms, dormitories and private chambers of whatever priests once lived there. They find a ruined library too, and a search reveals a plain gold ring that Iral detects magic on and then uses a scroll to identify it as a ring of invisibility, which he pockets. Finding nothing else and no way out, they return to the chapel and the other bronze doors; these do not have obvious means to open, and Armis can’t find anything either. Iral stirs the water in the fonts, discovering teeth inside. Knowing how such evil cults sometimes operate, Alvis and Iral decide that a fresh tooth is needed to trigger the open door: the elf almost suggests giving up one of his own teeth, but Alvis has a better idea and heads back out into the mountain cold with Gideon, to where they found the dead body; he knocks out the man’s teeth, and returns. Keeping a couple of teeth each, they use another to open the doors, by placing it in one of the fonts. Just before they continue on, Iral convinces Armis to grab the ruby dagger and necklace.
Through the door they find a long corridor, down which the whistling-humming-music comes loud and clear. Doors of bronze, with turning wheels to open them, lead off: exploring behind them the adventurers find crypts, hundreds of bodies interred behind thin plaster walls. Another door leads into a room with ancient tomes on pedestals, each with its pages eaten away; Iral finds an eye-piece, which allows him to translate the text of the temple writings they have found; one room has a large tome about the creation of flesh golems, which they leave for now, intending on collecting it on their way back out. Further along the corridor they find a room with ink and quills, an inscription that no one reads out loud, and also the source of the whistling, which is now as loud as a troupe of bards: a plant, spiky and with hollow reed-like tendrils, blocking the corridor; beyond it lies a room…
End of Session
NB: Iral gains enough XP to reach Level 3, finally catching up with the others.
Total Kills: 1 monster, 34 bandits, 1 dead man, 9 mosquito-bats, 1 giant spider, 5 ghouls, 1 troll, defeated a party of three adventurers (but let them go free), 1 gelatinous cube, 1 ape-creature, 5 ogres;
PC deaths: 1 (and 1 lost an arm);
NPC deaths: 1 (Bran)
Shields Splintered: 11;
Total XP: 26,999.
*day 61 of the campaign (game-time that is).