TOREN 2003 - Stories|
TOMB OF ABYSTHOR
The party decided to go after Tavik next. They traveled south along the rocky shore of the Darsin Sea. They arrived in Ossan where they heard the following rumors about the dungeon where they believed Tavik was hiding.
Sumeolus? Trasparia? What good do dead gods do me? Can they fill my purse? Can they shod my horse? They can't even protect their own temples!
I heard from a band of dwarves who were deep in their cups in the inn tell a story of their lost companion who was killed by a strange insect thing. They said they fled and left his body behind-as well as his magical armor.
Rangers say that the crystal lake is now polluted and foul.
Hah! Those priests say that Abysthor was on some holy mission. I heard he never even went to the dungeon at all. He was old and frail. He was no adventurer!
Yes my son, you have heard correctly. It is true that a great collection of holy tomes and tracts are stored beneath the shrine of Sumeolus.
I was forced to leave my friends behind. We encountered these strange things with many tentacles. My friends fell all around me. I am ashamed, but I have my life. I wish you luck if you head into that death trap, friend!
They say that a great dwarf warrior, renowned for wielding a wicked magic axe, met his end in the caves below those halls.
The stone of Tircople-a piece of the altar of the ancient temple-is said to be in the dungeon, guarded by fierce creatures and fell magic.
Legends tell of a statue in the caves beneath the halls that hold the power of all the Spyropik Mountains. Beware the word it will speak!
They traveled west to the ruins of Ossan Castle, the last stronghold of the paladins of the Kingdom of Ossan.
There, they spotted a pair of weathered white marble obelisks that marked the start of a path that lead north into the mountains. The path was narrow and steep, so they decided to leave their horses behind. At points the path was very steep and consisted of stone stairs cut into the side of the hills. A feeling of calm blanketed the party as they traveled the ancient path. At the end of the path was another pair of weathered obelisks of white marble.
The party walked between the obelisks and found themselves in a vale of verdant green, dotted with birch and pine. The foothills of the Spyropik Mountains climbed above them on all sides. In the vale before them stood two Romanesque buildings about 100 yards away, but even from that distance, they could see that the buildings had been blackened with fire and were in a state of disrepair. Beyond the buildings was a small lake, then, beyond that, forested hills rising higher and higher.
The party came to the first building, a shrine to Sumeolus. As they peared in, they could see movement in the darkness within. Four bloody red skeletons came clicking toward them with their swords raised. Xavier called on the power of Sumeolus and blasted the skeletons to bits with the power of his god, "Not in His shrine foul undead!" The party investigated both shrines. The first was dedicated to Sumeolus and the second to Trasparia. Both had been desecrated and burned. In each, the party found a secret door that claimed to be openable by the truly faithful. Xavier knew he was still struggling internally and had not come to the true faith, but he tried to open the secret doors anyway, he failed. Despite the realization of his lacking faith, he vowed to cleanse both of the shrines after he killed whoever was responsible for their desecration.
After investigating the area around the shrines the party found a path that lead up to a nearby hillside. There were two large, toppled obelisks in front of it. They looked to have once been covered with holy symbols of Sumeolus and Trasparia, but they were now defaced and covered with blood and humanoid feces. The party entered the cave and came upon an abomination. Before them was a fountain of what once was white marble, now stained crimson, filled with blood and bones. A glowing red rune, had been rudely carved into the once pure fountain base. Gouts of blood bubbled and spurt grotesquely from the top of the fountain, spattering the floor around the font with red ichor. The pall of evil hung heavy on the hearts of the party. As they carefully approached the thing, four blood-covered skeletons climbed out of the fountain pool and attacked them. At the same moment, Dunbar fell into a pit at the back of the party. The fall was long, and he was badly injured. Above, the party destroyed the skeletons, but within seconds four more had climbed out. The party defeated these as well, but the battle was starting to take its toll on them. Seconds later four more skeletons climbed out of the fountain. The skeletons kept coming and coming and the party was steadily loosing strength. "Run!" Beonna commanded as she was cut down. But the party did not leave, they tried to come to her aid. Next Roath fell, then Almon, then Legion. Xavier tried his best to turn the things, but he could not muster the power he needed and he watched in horror as his party fell all around him. Morgan fled but was not fast enough to get away from the skeletons and was cut down. Finally Xavier fell.
Dunbar heard the last dying screams of his comrads. "Roath!?!?" he yelled. No answer. "Almon!?!?" No answer. "Anyone?" No answer. He could hear the clicking sounds of what could be more of the skeletons walking away from him. Minutes past but seemed like hours. He could not climb out of this pit. The walls were too slimy.
Meenwhile, in a distant brilliantly lit palace…"Ulisan, Xavier is in need. He has entered the Tomb of Abysthor. The foul undead of Orcus have slaughtered his party. If the priests of Orcus find him, he will be lost. Go, take them to My shrine, revive them." "Yes, Brilliant Sumeolus," the great solar Ulisan intoned.
Dunbar looked up when he heard a skittering noise. A huge rat poked its head over the edge of the pit and eyed him. Dunbar shuddered when he pictured the rat gnawing at the bodies of his friends. Rage was building in Dunbar's barrel chest. Then there was a great flash of light. Dunbar saw the rat burned away in a glowing fireball but the light was so intense that Dunbar was blinded. He heard rats scurying and crying out. Then everything got quite. Then he fealt like he was being lifted into the air. Was he flying!? He fell into a peaceful slumber.
"Wake up Dunbar," Xavier proded. Dunbar opened his eyes to see his friend standing over him. They were all in the shrine of Sumeolus in the valley, but none of them could remember how they got there. The last thing they remembered was the terrible fight with skeletons. When they looked around they found the shrine had been completely restored. It was shining and filled with positive energy. The very air seemed charged.
They were all fully healed and although they were not sure what day it was, they decided to head back into the tombs immediately. This foul abomination would not stand, but they now knew they would have to be more prudent in their attack.
Instead of facing the font of bones again they took a secret side passage. The passage lead deep down into a series of caves and dark passages…
The first level of caves was home to shadows, rats, skeletons, and a large ogre who was a proficient fighter. The party slayed all of these and chased the ogre as he fled. He led them to a small shrine of Orcus guarded by a wight. They could tell that this was not their final enemy. They also discovered a door with a very intricate lock that they could not open. They found a passage leading down deeper. On that level they only explored a little a fought of a huge bat and some strange eel-like monsters before retreating. They did run across a strange statue there. It was disconcertinly life-like.
Cyrus, Dunbar, Jezebel, Legion, Roath, and Xavier returned to the Tomb of Abysthor on Seaday the 16th of Dursar 7410 AR. They explored the first level of caverns some more and found a rat's nest with some minor treasure and ran into a huge burrowing insect. The insect's tunnel had revealed a pathway down that did not go as deep as the level with the life-like statue. On this level the party found more dank, dark, natural caves. In their exploration of these they ran across a huge stone face that appeared to be on the verge of uttering some terrible word. Remembering the rumors they heard but ignoring their warning, Xavier tried to get it to speak but to no avail.
Further on they came to a passage that was filled with a purple mist that obscured all sight beyond 5 feet. They tied themselves together and penetrated the mist. It was cold and clamy and it seemed to to creap into their armor and clothing and chill them to the bone. As they proceeded with Legion leading the way, a dark man-sized humanoid form came into view. At first they thought it might be a statue because it did not seam to move, but then is slowly raised up a huge axe and swung at them. More of the things crowed the party and attacked. From the sounds they made, it was obvious that they were heavily armored. Xavier, sensing that they did not seam alive, raised his holy symbol high and called on the name of Sumeolus. The things burst into holy flame and their charred remains fell to the floor and their armor clattered around them.
The party found that the undead had been guarding a door. They opened it and found a carved hall beyond without the clinging purple mist. Stairs lead them down to a large room with a huge pentagram carved into its floor and one exit on the far side. They carefully skirted the pentagram and looked through the opening on the far side. "Zombies!" Dunbar cried as he charged down the passage. Roath felt the hair on the back of his halfling neck stand up and it was not because of the zombies.
Suddenly a light appeared above them then streaked down to the ground. When it hit, it burst into a huge ball of flame, badly burning everyone. Roath and Legion spun around to see a dark figure high on the wall of the room. It appeared to be a female dark elf. They both got shots off with their shortbows and both hit her before she fired off another fireball. The second fireball dropped everyone except Roath who rolled out of its area and Dunbar who was too far away.
"Surrender halfling" she said. Roath and Dunbar thought about escaping but relized they did not have any hope. She told them that her name was Natasha and offered to spare their lives if they could do her a favor. She did not like the presence of the upstart priests of Orcus in her dungeon and if the party would swear to destroy them and not to come back into her area she would spare their lives. Dunbar and Roath readily agreed. They dragged their comrades out of the dungeon and loaded them on horses to take them back to Akos Castle to have them raised.
Almon, Dunbar, Legion, Morgan, Toturi, and Xavier returned to the Tomb of Abysthor on the Skyday the 22nd of Dursar 7410 AR. They continued their exploration of the second level of caves. They fought stirges, spiders, and, when they braved the purple mist again, more zombies. They found a burial vault for followers of the Sumeolic Pantheon that had not been disturbed. They also found a room with a door on the far wall that was covered in the same vile ruins of Orcus that filled the entry level, but did not go through it. There were two exits on the second level, both in the lair of the three huge spiders they fought. One exit lead to the outside and the second lead down to the 3rd level of caverns.
They took the stairs down to the third level. They found another statue that looked like a petrified human cleric holding up a holy symbol and trying to cover his eyes. Behind him was a door with strange ruins covering its iron banding. Morgan stepped forward to try and read them and as soon as he did, they exploded. Legion came forward and searched for any more traps while Xavier healed Morgan's burns. Legion disarmed a second trap then the party proceeded through the door. A worked passage lead them around a corner then up a flight of stairs. Just before the stairs, Almon's keen elven sight spotted a secret door in the wall of the passage. The party continued up the stairs were they found a large circular chamber with a single painted statue in the center. The statue stood on a short stone dias with what appeared to be a single word in a strange script carved in the side facing the party. The statue stood only 4' tall and depicted a bloated, hairless creature of humanoid shape. It resembled a bruised and battered corpse of a gnome left too long to decay in the heat of summer. Its skin was dark blue and its eyes were vacant black bowls. Each of the thing's long arms ended in a three fingered hand with long red fingernails, stained the color of blood.
No one in the party could read the writing on the base of the statue. Dunbar decided he would see if anything happened when he touched it. As soon as he did, it came alive and attacked. The party fought back. The thing resisted many of their blows until they brough magic weapons to bear against it. Almon hit it with a telling blow. But, when he did, a wave of energy burst forth from the thing and injured everyone around it. Legion snuck up behind it and landed a critical blow almost dropping the thing. But, as with Almon's attack, a wave of retribution burst forth from the thing and did as much damage to everyone nearby as Legion had done to it. Unfortunately that was enough to kill Legion and Toturi. Dunbar was leary of attacking again, but he did anyway. He did just enough damage to kill it but not enough to kill anyone else in the party.
The party gathered up Legion and Toturi's lifeless bodies and started back toward the exit. They took a quick minute to check behind the secret door they had found and they were glad they did. Inside was a wizard's library. There were many books of arcane knowledge, some very valuable. They also found several magic scrolls.
After dividing their treasure and having Legion and Toturi raised from the dead, the party returned to the Tomb of Abysthor. They continued their exploration of the third level where they found another Sumeolic burial area. Two pillars stood to either side of a large set of brass doors engraved with Sumeolic images. The doors swung open when Xavier stepped between the two pillars. The room beyond was peaceful and calming but only Xavier and Almon were able to enter. All other members of the party who tried to enter were repulsed. Inside, Xavier found the body of a man perfectly preserved and lying on a stone slab. Xavier was not positive but he believed it was the body of Abysthor. Xavier spent several quite moments praying in the holy room hoping for some revelation but received none. He believed he could take the mace that laid by the man's side if he were to only use it to clear the area of the priests of Orcus, but when he tried to leave the room with it, it was wrested from his grasp by some unseen force and returned to the side of the man on the rock slab. Unsure of himself, Xavier exited and the doors closed behind him.
They had seen several signs of some sort of monster that could petrify people on this level, including a half dozen earily life-like stone statues, and they set out to find it. The first passage they went down held the lair of a strange pair of creatures. They appeared to be baboons, but they hung off of stalagtites high on the ceiling with lizard-like tails and their arms ended in sharp lizard-like talons. As soon as the party saw them one let off a strange screach that echoed in the caves. The other one swung overhead into a position to attack. Just as he was overhead the party was hit by some sort of mind power from the other one. Each of them fealt as if their minds had be blasted with some terrible force, Almon and Legion dropped what was in their hands and stood there stunned. Soon the other baboon creature did the same thing and Xavier and Toturi were also stunned. Now only Dunbar and Morgan were left to fight the things. Morgan fought with his magic, but the things were right on top of him and soon overpowered him. Dunbar was not as easy a fight, however. He swung away with his axe and quickly brought both of the foul baboons down. He rushed to Morgan's side, fumbled for a potion of cure light wounds, and tried to force it down Morgan's throat, but it was too late. Morgan had passed on. The other party members soon recovered from the mind numbing blast of the baboons. Everyone returned to Akos Castle to bring Morgan back from the dead.
For their next expedition, they prepared for a fight with the petrifying monster, purchasing every mirror they could get their hands on. They returned to the Tomb of Abysthor on Songday the 11th of Trasar. They planned on making this a quick raid and they hoped that the beast would have plenty of treasure. They found the thing on the third level. It looked like a giant lizard. Its body was dull brown with a yellowish underbelly. A single row of bony spines lined its back. Its body was about 10 feet long including the tail and it had 8 legs. But its most ominous feature was its eyes which glowed with an eerie, pale green incandescence. Everyone tried to avoid its gaze but it quickly caught Dunbar's eye and turned the dwarf to stone. Almon, Xavier, and Morgan quickly hid around a corner from it, Legion tried to sneak up on it, and Toturi just closed his eyes and blindly closed on it. Legion got a shot off from hiding and hit it right in the soft spot between two of its legs. The thing screached and looked Legion's way turning the halfling to stone. Morgan stepped out to cast a spell on it but was immediately turned to stone as well. Only Almon, Xavier, and Toturi were left. Xavier and Toturi both closed their eyes and fought it blindly. Almon kept his eyes opened to help direct the other two but he kept them averted from the beast as best he could. On a couple of occasions he caught a glimsp of the things eyes and could feel his body tightening but each time he fought it off and kept fighting. Finally the three killed the thing. They found that it had a large horde of treasure, which was good because it would cost quite a bit to get their friends turned back to flesh. Back to Akos they once again traveled.
The adventurers continued on until they destroyed Tavik and the temple of Orcus...
(sorry the ending was not detailed, just got a little burned out on writing)
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