The Veiled Blade

Session Twenty Nine

Farewell Sweet Elf

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The group stands within the main hall of the cathedral ruins; they have two choices before them, stairs leading down to a closed door or a flight of stairs going upwards. Cadrigar wants to go downwards, as they are on a mission to retrieve relics from a crypt; however, Jeffric and Carla want to explore the tower first. The woodsman and mage make their way up the stone steps and discover a room filled with nothing but dust and long rotted fabrics. Undeterred, they keep climbing upwards and soon find themselves emerging at the top of the tower; there is no roof, as it has long since crumbled, and there is no floor space as there is a mass of interwoven tree branches forming a nest, amidst which are the rotted and skeletal remains of some terrible beast’s previous meals. The duo stand around gawking at the sight before them when Jeffric’s sixth sense kicks in and he instinctively ducks just in time as a massive winged beast comes swooping down and makes a grab for him. The woodsman twist around and manages to see the terrible winged beast as it flaps its wings and circles back around – it is a wyvern!

Sebastian and the Palace retinue, who were all stood guard or recuperating outside the tower, run screaming off into the ruins and woods as the winged serpent glides down towards them. The rest of the group within the cathedral’s main hall hear the commotion outside, and Durgar, Ulric and Fickenja decide firmly against going out to investigate, sensing imminent danger. Cadrigar, however, takes leave of his senses, his curiosity getting the better of him; the elf pedlar leaves the safety of the cathedral and goes outside. He looks around and sees no sign of Brent and the Palace guards nor Sebastian, and is about to go wandering off looking for them when the wyvern swoops down and plucks the unfortunate pedlar up in its sharp talons which puncture his body, causing horrific internal injuries. The beast sails high up into the air and then releases its barely conscious prey – the last thing the poor heroic elf sees is the ground rushing up to meet him. A short time later the wyvern lands and snatches the limp body up and flies it up to its nest in the ruined tower where it will feast on it for the next few hours.

Unsure of what’s occurred, but fully aware that time is marching on and darkness is only a few hours away, the group inside the cathedral opt to head down into the crypt. Jeffric once more leads the way and checks for traps and finds none; he tries the handle of the closed door and finds it unlocked. The group forms up into a column and the door is opened, revealing nothing but absolute darkness and silence. They edge forward, Durgar and Ulric leading the way due to their natural night vision. As they proceed down a corridor Ulric catches sight of something humanoid move across their path a short distance away. The group creep forward and the corridor opens up into a chamber, but no one pays any heed to their surroundings, instead they are all focused on the immediate threat up ahead. They can see it more clearly now – it is an animated skeleton, marching backwards and forwards across the width of the chamber. Heinrich and Fickenja creep to the front of the group and ready their bows; they loose two arrows at the creature and miss! The creature turns and marches towards the group with its sword held ready; Durgar and Ulric charge at the skeleton and smash it into pieces with two mighty blows. They look up from the sentry to find a steady stream of armoured skeleton warriors flooding out from a side chamber.

The group recoils in horror as the undead shuffle en-mass towards them. A desperate fight for survival begins with Heinrich and a dwarf mercenary firing arrows at the enemy while Durgar, Jeffric and the two other dwarf mercenaries rush towards the threat and enter into hand to hand combat with the undead horde. The skeletons are fairly easy to destroy as they are very fragile, and the four warriors take down several with powerful and well aimed blows from their swords. Yet the undead are numerous and they continue to rain down a stream of relentless blows, succeeding in killing one of the dwarf mercenaries. At this point Ulric finally looks around and takes in their entirety of their surroundings – there are two corridors to the left and right of the chamber and a third straight ahead. The beggar and his sister push forwards while the rest of the group holds the horde at bay; the young pedlar opts to scout the corridor to the left while his sister decides to explore the one at the far end of the chamber.

The fighting continues, but as the undead continue to spill out from the adjoining chamber many of them push on coming towards Heinrich and the dwarf crossbowman – the pair quickly lose their bottle and turn and flee, running to join Carla near the entrance. Ulric peers down into the corridor to the left and spots a mass of creatures and more armoured skeletons stood to the ready – they spot the beggar and the hideous creatures, eight in number, immediately spring forward and come racing towards him; Ulric turns and flees in terror. A golden tranquil voice speaks to Fickenja and beckons her to come to him. She reaches the far corridor entrance and pushes forwards on her own, her way lit with a lantern. Jeffric and one of the dwarf mercenaries, hearing the commotion behind them and seeing Heinrich running back for the entrance lose their nerve too and turn to flee. Both men receive strikes to their exposed backs as they turn and the dwarf falls dead. The woodsman, although wounded, is still able to make it back over to Carla and the pair frantically attempt to retrieve the flagon of grease from his backpack with the intention of laying a firewall across the corridor and blocking their foes’ path.

Fickenja emerges into a smaller chamber but as she scans her surroundings she sees that there are two sarcophagi on either side and three up against the far wall. There is evidence that the room was once richly adorned with statues and murals but these are long gone and now only rotted rags and dust remain and even the once ornate carvings on the warrior tomb’s are now eroded by time. She cautiously moves to the first tomb to the left and after some initial exploration finds no apparent threat and decides that time is of the essence and pushes off the lid. The stone slab smashes onto the floor to reveal a skeleton adorned in ornate armour; but there is nothing else there apart from a sword and shield. She moves on to the next sarcophagus in line.

Back in the main chamber Durgur turns to make a fighting retreat towards the far corridor which Fickenja disappeared into. He takes several blows in the process as a stream of assailants peel off and follow him. Ulric runs screaming across the width of the chamber into the very corridor the twenty or so skeletons emerged from, still hotly pursued by the eight baying ghouls. Meanwhile the other half of the horde are almost upon Carla and Jeffric, and the pair still frantically struggle to remove the lid off the flagon of grease. The Tilean mage finally manages to remove the stopper and splashes the contents down on the stone floor across the width of the corridor, covering herself in the flammable liquid as she does so. The first line of skeletons arrive and Jeffric panics and smashes a lantern down onto the ground to ignite the grease. A wall of flame shoots up and engulfs the woodsman, Carla and the last dwarf mercenary; the trio roll onto the ground, aflame. Carla manages to cast a spell that snuffs out the flames on their bodies and restore their health, but it is too late for the dwarf as he has succumbed . The first line of skeletons march into the flames and continue to walk through them. Heinrich continues to fire arrows but Jeffric is at his wits end, and he turns and runs for the door.

Fickenja finds only an identical skeleton in the second sarcophagus; the long deceased corpse is wearing the same uniform of armour as the first. Aware that her and her group’s time is fast running out the female beggar stops and thinks for a fraction of a second, the strange voice that was in her head is now silent but her instincts tell her to skip the next subsequent tomb and move directly to the central sarcophagus. It looks much like the rest as it too is time worn. She slides the lid off and another skeleton is revealed, but this one is slightly different – its armour is different, more ornate, and it has a strange carved metal pendant adorned with a large central green gem around its neck. Putting caution to the wind the plucky beggar grabs the amulet with her bare hands and places it around her own neck – she can sense a power flowing through her but nothing else occurs. She can hear the sound of screams and fighting still coming from the main chamber. She explores the rest of the tomb’s contents and spots only a shield and an even duller worn blade next to the warrior’s body. She picks the sword up and it immediately appear to her as the most pristine and beautifully wrought blade she has ever seen.

Fickenja is suddenly pulled out from her body and she flies up out of the cathedral and high into the sky above – she is looking down on the now restored town of Grenz. A horde of hundreds of skeletons are swarming into the town and a line of knights wearing the same armour as the corpses in the sarcophagi are frantically fighting to hold them back. Then, from the rear of their ranks a warrior dressed in fine grey-sheen armour and bearing the same sword that was in her hands, strides to the front rank and begins to cut a large swathe into the undead’s numbers; and then she is propelled away in flight, over the nearby woods, across the mighty Reik, across a tremendous expanse of forest, over a massive range of mountains and across an expanse of dead and decayed blighted land. As she flies over the strange abysmal land beyond the mountains she sees nomadic tribes of strange goblinoid creatures and then sees a large obsidian city with a multitude of dark towers pointing up at the grey skies like accusing fingers. Streams of black acrid smoke belch out from gigantic furnaces and chimney stacks and she can see squat figures amassed around strange and terrible engines of death of the likes she has never seen. Then she passes over this too and is racing down the desiccated remains of a once great riverbed until a large and foreboding granite tower comes into view; she flies straight through the walls of the terrible citadel and down through its internal corridors, down into its bowels until she arrives in a massive underground chamber containing a colossal tomb of immense proportions. She sense that something alive is contained within the tomb and feels its tremendous power when the golden voice speaks inside her mind once more and tells her to come back. She instantly returns to her body and finds herself stood once more over the tomb of St Ignacious. The voice speaks to her once more, saying “I am Lex”.

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