DMs Log, Mirtul 19th, 1479DR
Mirtul 19, 1479DR
Entering the cave system our heroes find the main way blocked by a heavy-looking solid steel door, Ahn detects that it is magically reinforced and recommends that it should not be interfered with. The wall alongside the door features a socket of some kind and Ahn confirms Kat’s assertions that the socket is a form of magical lock for the door. With no obvious way forward the team doubles back to seek a way to open the door or for an alternate way forward.
Exploring some side caves the group discovers a series of chambers populated with a large colony of bats. Growing in the bat guano are many species of fungus, a number of them exceptionally large. Several of the giant fungi belong to species that have developed defensive or offensive features and these trigger as soon as the heroes are within range. The effects of the fungi make progress difficult and dangerous, however the group works together and quickly pulls through without incurring any injuries.
In the northeastern-most chamber of the bat roosts the PCs discover the remains of an Orc. Mostly consumed by the place’s fungi only bones, metal and stone the humanoid was carrying remain. Amongst these is a stone rod that looks as if it might fit the socket next to the secured door.
The group also discovers an underground river that sweeps away from the direction they wish to travel. Ahn, the water Genasi, swims upstream and affixes a rope to a structure he finds there. The group feels this may be a wise precaution if they need to make an unanticipated escape.
Returning to the steel door the group finds that the stone rod does indeed fit the lock, causing the portal to open.
The first chamber beyond the doorway has a single entrance, followed by a rough wooden bridge over a small river and then three exits. On the other side of the bridge sit several dog corpses, guarding the passageways forward as though still alive. As the group of heroes move onto the bridge the dogs attack. With battle joined sodden corpses emerge from the waters to attack from the sides and several floating balls of necrotic origin move against the rear of the group.
At this point Sunsetmoon calls upon the might of her deity in a huge burst of divine power and radiance. Several of the undead are destroyed outright and others are pushed into the underground river and downstream. The other heroes make short work of the few remaining undead hounds.
Investigating the chamber’s exits it is plain that most traffic has been through the west-most exit and that most of that traffic has been made by living humanoids – likely the captives the group hopes to free. It is also clear to Roaka’s keen eyes that one small set of foot prints has managed to slip down the north-most passage without being followed.
Eager to save the captives the group makes their way down the western exit.
A short series of forking and merging passages lead to another chamber. This chamber features a pit, some debris and a flaming brazier. Around the brazier are three undead figures and near the pit are two more undead dogs. One of figures is heavily armoured and holding a conversation with a shifting figure within the flames.
Having approached stealthily the group is able to overhear the exchange between the two…
“…and the item has been sent to our new ally?”, comes the voice from the flames.
“Yes my master”, responds the armored figure.
“You have discharged your duty well, Masgrat! We who lobbied for your turning find ourselves justified. You owe us much.”, the voice from the flames points out.
“Yes master.”, comes from the one presumably called Masgrat.
“You have an eternity to repay us.”, says the voice from the flames in a magnominous tone.
“Thank you master.”, Masgrat responds.
“Care must still be taken.”, the master’s voice say pointedly.
Startled, Masgrat begins to respond, “Surely Keevan would not…”.
“Silence fool!”, the master’s voice cuts him off, “Our divinations tell us that a small band of upstart heroes pursues you. Our bargain with Beechhaven is fulfilled and our payment provided, so he owes us naught. Under our agreement it is our responsibility to transport our new stock home. Should these upstarts somehow prove troublesome our new ally will be under no compulsion to replace our payment.”
“I will have the approach cordoned off by my strongest Lieutenants!”, Masgrat replies.
“Indeed.” Responds the master’s voice dryly.
“They will not prove a problem.”, Masgrat reassures the figure in the flames.
“Even so, continue to perform the ritual to transfer the captives.”, instructs the crackling voice.
“We transferred more than expected with the first casting.”, Masgrat points out.
“Just so. Continue to use the youngest amongst them to power the casting. Those are of minimal use to us. Many of the older humans we can corrupt over time and turn to our best use. The rest… Well we can always use more soldiers, laborers… And yes, even food.” And the master’s voice falls silent.
Suddenly Masgrat waves a hand and the smoke dissipates, the fire returning to normal.
Turning Masgrat calls “You there! Hiding in the passage. Make yourself known…”
The ensuing fight is short but furious. Fortunately for our heroes they manage to defeat their opponents just before several reinforcements join the fray. Any longer and they might have been hard pressed!
Further along in the cave complex the group defeats several lesser minions of the Vampyr Masgrat and learn that a number of the villagers have been sent through ritual portals fuelled using the lifeforce of innocent children. Further along in the caves the heroes discover most of the villagers not yet accounted for – several hundred in number.
Weary from the back-to-back fighting and exploring the heroes are loathe to rest when they discover a ten year old boy has slipped away into dark and unknown parts of the caves.
Trailing the lad’s sign, the group discovers the remnants of an Orc tribe that occupied these caves before the Undead invaded it. Amidst the fighting the missing boy runs into the fray calling for everyone to put up arms. It turns out the tribal group has befriended the lad and is protecting him.
Finally our bone-weary heroes are able to take a well-earned rest, after gathering the village survivors into a camp and setting a watch.