Vita est ludus
The thin line between fantasy and reality...













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 1 - Into the Dordrien Crypts

Marpenoth 28, 1372 DR (12:30 PM) Daggerdale

A pair of large stone doors is set into the hillside, with large stone handles set onto each valve. They are flanked by large columns carved to resemble skeletal warriors in full plate armor, with the open visors revealing grinning skulls.

Hazen examines the door. "Look at these scratches and chips. Looks like somebody used tools to try to break in. This must be closed real tight. Let me look for traps. Anyone want to help?" Igor and Tebryn also search, but no traps are found.

"OK! Looks safe! Break it open!" says Hazen. Igor, with the help of Kress and Veracity, applies his shoulder to the door and breaks it open. Inside, a dark passage extends into the mountains.

"Who has light?" asks Igor.

"Who needs light?" says Tebryn. "Looks like only you and Kress - the humans."

"I have a glowstone," says Kress.

"Good," says Igor. "You wear it. I'll walk a bit off from you."

Forty feet along the passage the party finds a stone door on the left. Lying on the floor in front of it are five dead drow - two females and three males - wearing tabards adorned with the symbol of a red spider in a silver web. All had been stripped of armor and arms.

"The symbol of Lolth!" says Veracity. "Her followers, struck down, here. I wonder why?"

Hazen examines the bodies. "They got nothin' on 'em. Huh. Those guys were bludgeoned, and these were killed by small crossbow bolts. Look!" He displays some small quarrels.

"Hand crossbow bolts," says Veracity. "A typical drow weapon. Killed by other drow?" She laughs. "Common enough, I'm afraid. Yol - how about casting speak with dead? Let's learn what happened here. It could be useful to us."

Yol shifts uncomfortably. "I did not learn that spell today. I figured we could question our enemies while they were still alive - before we killed them."

Veracity stares. "Too bad. Here are some who are already dead. Would that I knew who killed them. Huh." She stamps her foot in vexation. "How about if you learn that spell next time you can?" Yol nods.

Hazen, who had been searching the area, notices some tracks. "Ah ha!" he says as he pulls out his onyx dog. "Oh. Wait. Never mind." He puts it back in his pack. "Why did I think this item could track? It's not an onyx bloodhound! Can any of you guys track?" He looks around at his companions, but all shake their heads. "Nuts! Well, those drow came from that direction!" He waves his hand in an arc, gesturing down the hallway.

Veracity rolls her eyes. "Well, duh, Hazen." She looks at the door. "I wonder why they were at this door? Anything in here?"

The three rogues search the door, finding no traps. Kress opens the door and the party sees a corridor extending into a crypt with alcoves on either side. All is as empty as it initially appears.

"Let's go," says Igor. He and Kress lead the way down the corridor and around a corner. The corridor continues, with several doors on either side. Igor examines the closest door. "Look. This was plastered shut, like that tomb on the surface - but the plaster is all cracked. Looks like this has already been broken into."

"Well, let's see what's in it!" says Kress. He puts his shoulder against the door and shoves. "Wait, Kress," says Hazen. Kress smiles at him, pushes open the door and steps in. "Kress!" calls Hazen. "What about traps?" Kress chuckles and walks into the room. Igor hastens up behind him, with Veracity on his heels.

A dangerous looking glyph on the floor becomes visible and flashes bright blue. With a pop, two twelve-foot long lions, regal, noble, and slightly glowing, appear in front of him. "Grr!" growl the lions, as one swipes a claw at Kress and the other at Igor. Both miss.

Veracity stops. She shakes her head and, sighing, pulls her godstone from its pouch. Yol steps up and speaks some mystic words while gesturing with her holy symbol. A slight gray pall briefly coats the lions and their demeanor seems less confidant. Hazen moves up to flank Kress's lion and draws his short sword. Kress draws his battle axe and slashes his opponent. Brianna starts to sing an inspiring song of valor.

Veracity activates her godstone and her skin takes on a momentary sheen before fading to normal. She stows the godstone back in its pouch. Igor draws his sword and slashes his lion. Tebryn speaks some arcane words and gestures with his hands, causing five darts of force to shoot out, only to fizzle harmlessly as they strike Igor's lion. "What?" says Tebryn. "Hmm." Yol speaks similar arcane words and makes similar gestures, but the three darts of force which she produces strike the same lion and cause normal damage. "Who's more powerful?" smirks Yol. Tebryn scowls at her.

Hazen strikes Kress's lion severely. It claws Kress, only to be finished off by slashes from Kress's battle axe.

Igor's lion claws him. Veracity steps up and slashes it with her long sword, momentarily distracting it. Igor takes the opportunity to strike it hard with his great sword and finishes it off.

"Idiot!" says Hazen, to Kress. "Stepped right into that, didn't you?"

Kress stares at Hazen. "What's your problem? The door wasn't trapped, just plastered!"

"Ah, and cracked - just like you!" retorts Hazen .

Kress ponders. "True. But, I'd rather be plastered!" Both chuckle.

Tebryn waves his hand impatiently. "Enough bickering. As long as we're here, we may as well see what we can find."

Around the room, ten stone sarcophagi are set. Each contains a body, but only three contain any interesting treasure. One wears a silver necklace set with moonstones. Another wears a gold ring set with a large black pearl. Yet another was buried with a shortspear and a wand. Examining the carvings of ivy and birds on the spellcaster's coffin, Brianna comments, "this was clearly a nature lover. A druid, perhaps?"

"Perhaps," agrees Veracity. "We are done here? Let's proceed."

Down the corridor, the party finds another door.

"Kress, don't just stick your head into this. Let me look first!" says Hazen. He examines the door. "Hah! This one is plastered but not cracked. Anyone want to help look for traps?"

"Igor was right," says Veracity. "Do we need to waste our time opening human tombs?"

"Ah, come on, Veracity. Just keeping in practice!" says Hazen, clasping his hands together and flexing his fingers.

Igor and Tebryn step up and search alongside Hazen.

"Nothing here," says Igor.

"Are you blind?" asks Hazen. "Look at that!"

"A magical ward of some sort," agrees Tebryn.

"I can take it off," says Hazen. "Perhaps the rest of you should step back."

This suggestion meets no resistance, although Tebryn stands closer than the rest of the party, to watch Hazen's technique.

"Some people say you can't disable a magical trap, but it's as easy as ... AARGH!" as a magical effect courses through Hazen's body, momentarily revealing the shadows of bones within him. He shakes his hand and sucks his finger. "... pie, as I was saying."

Tebryn looks at him and shakes his head. "Good thing you resisted that slay living spell."

"Say, what?" asks Hazen, growing even grayer than usual. "Ah, I just disrupted it with my magic. Anyone care to heal me?" he continues, looking at Yol.

"Certainly," says Yol. "You chose to not join with Hel? You will surely die a slow and grisly death, in place of the quick and merciful one you refused." She incants and touches Hazen, who laughs nervously, even as much of his damage fades away.

With the trap having been discharged, the strong members of the party break through the plaster easily enough. Within the room stands a large statue of a regal human woman with an imperious and imposing look. Two doors behind her and two doors flanking her exit the room.

The statue suddenly speaks: "Yogen lestet most. Lestet norg."

"Huh?" Tebryn speaks an arcane phrase and makes some mystical gestures with his hand.

Veracity suddenly stiffens. "Uh, oh!" she says, as she covers her eyes with her hand and turns away to face the door.

A ghost, appearing out of etherealness, manifests in front of the party. She strongly resembles the statue, but her horrific appearance raises the hair on back of the neck of all who gaze upon her. All shudder in horror but are unharmed, save for Kress, who feels some of his stamina and innate quickness drain out of him.

Veracity shudders. "Yikes!" she yelps, as she runs from the room, still covering her eyes, fortunately not crashing into the door.

Kress looks grimly at the ghost and extends his left hand in a fist, prominently displaying his ring of nekros. "Bow to my will, foul creature."

The ghost looks at him and says, "meget wo stigget ni, chakan?"

"Huh?" says Kress.

"She said: 'How may I serve you, master?'" translates Tebryn. "Let me question her."

"Oh yes," says Kress. Turning to the ghost, he says, "Who are you? What did you say before? What do you want?"

Tebryn starts to translate, but the ghost looks at him and waves her hand impatiently. "I can understand him, even if he can't understand me. I am the Lady Quallem. I said: 'You must leave. Leave now.' I cannot rest until my last descendant is buried beside me."

Tebryn relays these words to the party.

Igor frowns. "What if her last descendant is not dead yet?"

Tebryn snickers. "Clearly, we must find him, slay him and bury him here."

Kress says "Just stand there and we will lay you to rest." He slashes her into oblivion.

Tebryn clears his throat. "Come back, Veracity." She returns.

"I took care of him," says Kress. "What was your problem? You turned away before the ghost appeared. How did you know that was going to happen?"

"Good job, Kress" says Veracity. She pats the hilt of the Sword of Kas. "I had advance warning."

"Well, running away certainly saved your neck, but you left the job to us," said Igor. "Didn't make you look too good."

Veracity blushes. "Sorry. Um. Well. We may as well clean out these crypts."

Nothing is found except in the tomb of Lady Quallem's son, who is wearing a gold pectoral and a magic ring. As Tebryn removes these from the body, a magic mouth speaks to him in ancient Thorass: "Whomsoever despoils my tomb will be devoured by demons seven days hence." Tebryn laughs and responds in the same language, "ha ha. Do your worst!"

The rest of his party looks at him quizzically. "What did that say?" says Hazen. "It just told me a joke," responds Tebryn.

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Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com> Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
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