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













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 2 - Deeper into House Morcane

Marpenoth 29, 1372 DR (1:30 PM) Szith Morcane: House Morcane

"All right!" says Veracity. "Just let me cast a couple of spells." She utters an arcane phrase and touches Dessa'a glaive, making it seem brighter and sharper. Dessa examines the weapon and nods in approval. Veracity then pulls her godstone from its pouch. She concentrates briefly and her own skin temporarily takes on a gray sheen. She stows the artifact and looks up. "Let's go!"

In addition to the archway through which the party had entered, this room has two exits: another archway and a closed door. Through the other archway is a room, formerly used for storage, judging by the ransacked cupboards lining the walls. The current residents of the house have found another use for it, however: three wooden coffins are set up on trestles in the middle of the room.

The party quickly pries open the coffins and discovers, to nobody's surprise, that two of them contain the vampires that had been driven into gas a few minutes earlier. The third coffin is empty.

Igor looks around the room and picks up some sharp pieces of wood from the shattered cupboards. "These will do," he says, as he hammers the wooden stakes into the chests of the currently dormant vampires.

"That will keep them from regenerating," says Veracity. "Let's loot them and then dump the coffins over the edge of the chasm. That'll neutralize them for good, I'd think."

"But the coffins will just break open at the bottom and release the vampires," says Igor.

"So what?" says Veracity. "They still need to regenerate back to health within their coffins. They can't do that if the coffins are broken into splinters."

"Good enough, I guess," agrees Igor, dubiously.

Each vampire noble guard has a mithril chain shirt, a mithril large shield, a rapier, a flask, and an empty flask.

"Good," says Veracity. "Now let's dump all three coffins. I'd hate for us to find another vampire and have him come back to this coffin to regenerate, only to attack us yet again after he'd recovered."

"Oh, this coffin was surely intended for Dessa," says Kress.

"Perhaps. All the more reason to dispose of it, if so," says Veracity. Igor, Kress, Veracity, and Dessa make quick work of dumping the three coffins over the edge of the chasm.

Igor searches the door. "Looks clear," he comments, as he pushes it open. The party enters the long corridor and approaches the door at the far end. "How about if I go through first, invisibly, so that I can fly over the heads of any foes and land behind them?" asks Igor.

"Fine with me," says Veracity, "as long as Kress is up next to me. I don't want to be the whole front line by myself."

"OK," says Kress, coming up from the rear.

Igor activates his ring and remains visible. "Um ..." says Veracity, as Igor pushes open the door and steps into the room. "It didn't work, Igor." Igor looks down at himself and up again. "Oops!"

The room is large, with a set of double doors off to the left and another door in the far wall. Enormous lurid tapestries depicting grisly deaths and walking corpses adorn the walls. Near the right wall stands a massive stone block draped with black silk and adorned with silver candelabra and bowls, and a silver handled dagger.

"I like these tapestries," says Yol. "Impressive works!"

"Nice workmanship," comments Hazen. "Too bad they're too big to bring home!"

In front of the double doors are two hideous creatures, each with the body of a huge spider and the torso, arms, and head of a drow. Their eyes glow with feral intensity. Behind the drider vampires stands yet another drow vampire noble guard. "Another one!" exclaims Kress. "You were right, Veracity."

The leftmost drider conjures and glimmers a little. Kress charges through the door, his battle-axe raised and strikes the other drider. Igor charges and stands next to Kress, swinging his sword at the same drider, but missing.

"More undead, eh?" comments Brianna. "I have just the song for you." She starts to sing.

Veracity mutters some arcane words and starts moving more quickly. Yol moves up to the door and looks in. Hazen moves past her into the room.

The vampire noble guard quaffs a potion and starts moving more quickly.

Dessa and Tebryn move into the room.

The shimmering drider strikes twice at Igor, hitting him once. He flinches back, but is not seriously injured. The drider bites at him, missing.

Kress strikes the rightmost drider twice, driving it into gaseousness. Igor strikes the other drider twice, afflicting it similarly.

Veracity charges at the sole remaining vampire. She swings at it three times with the Sword of Kas and once with her Life Stealer, but misses every time. "How did that happen?"

Yol brandishes her holy symbol at the vampire. "The priestess of Hel rebukes you, creature of undeath." The vampire looks at her and laughs. Yol scowls.

The vampire swipes three times at Veracity, hitting her once. She shudders, but resists its energy drain.

Dessa moves up behind Veracity and hits the vampire with her glaive. "Yes!"

Kress moves up and strikes the vampire. Igor moves behind the vampire and hits. Veracity deals it a mighty blow with the Sword of Kas and it goes gaseous. The gas seeps out the door and down the corridor. From the room formerly containing its coffin, the party hears a gaseous wheeze of anguish. Hazen snickers.

"This room used to be the audience chamber," says Dessa. "They seem to have turned it into a make-shift temple."

"Well, they don't need this stuff," says Hazen. "Load up all this silver, Tebryn!"

Tebryn loads 3 silver candelabra, 3 silver bowls, and a silver-handled dagger into his portable hole.

"OK," says Veracity. "This far door, then. Where's it go, Dessa?"

"Into a long corridor, which turns to the right. On the left were the quarters of the minor priestesses of the house," answers Dessa. She scowls. "Including me, at one time. Long ago, before I left. Before I came back."

Veracity looks at her and nods slowly, her eyebrows raised.

"Ready?" says Igor. He searches the door and pushes it open, exposing a long corridor, exactly as Dessa had described. Thirty feet down on the left is a door.

"Let's clean out everything we find on the way to Dorina," says Veracity. "We don't want any foes to come at us from behind."

Igor searches the door to the left and shoves it open. The party finds a room with three archways leading out.

The leftmost archway leads into a well-furnished but unoccupied room. There is a comfortable looking bed, a dresser with a mirror, and a makeshift altar with an unlit brazier. Underneath the bed is a heavy trunk.

Hazen searches and opens the trunk. He pulls forth a bag of miscellaneous coins and a wooden case, containing a set of thirty-two beautiful gold chess pieces.

"Very nice," says Igor. "That'd be a nice trophy for our house in Sigil."

The middle archway leads to a similarly furnished room, but this one is not vacant. Igor spies a drow priestess who might have been the twin of the cleric who attacked the party in the night. In front of her stand two quth-marens.

Igor immediately charges in and strikes a heavy blow against the rightmost quth-maren. Veracity steps up behind him and sends five missiles of force from her hand into the same creature. Kress moves past them to stand in front of the other quth-maren.

The priestess incants and a zone of silence falls, centered on Veracity.

Brianna cheers for her team, silently.

The two quth-marens gaze, in turn, at their opponents. Kress cringes and shrinks back, affected by magical fear. Igor resists the effect and silently taunts the quth-maren.

Dessa moves up and sees that she can't reach the battle, even with the extended reach of her pole-arm. She moves back.

Igor strikes his foe twice. Veracity steps up next to him and delivers another blow to the quth-maren. It falls.

The previously indecisive Hazen sneaks up, attempting to hide, and ends up unnoticed next to the priestess. When the unaware priestess starts to conjure a spell, Hazen hits her with his short sword and disrupts her casting. She wheels to face him, uttering a curse in Drow.

Brianna notes Hazen's action and continues to cheer, silently.

Kress's opponent hits him. He snaps out of his fear.

Igor steps up to strike the priestess. She falls over, dead, and his stroke carries through to hit Kress's opponent. He hits the same quth-maren twice more. It remains standing, but falls immediately when Veracity steps up and hits it with the Sword of Kas.

Veracity crouches next to the priestess and examines her. "Igor, you killed her. I was hoping to torture her, too."

Igor shrugs. "I can only help you with plans you tell me about," he comments.

"I couldn't very well tell you in that zone of silence, could I?" responds Veracity. She looks back at the dead priestess and continues her musing. "Huh. She could be the twin of the other one. Well, maybe she'll cooperate with us in death." She looks up at Tebryn. "Brother. Load up her body into your portable hole. We'll question her later." Tebryn complies.

Veracity searches the dead cleric and finds equipment almost identical to that she'd stripped from the other priestess: dark elven chain mail, a small shield steel, a dagger, a ring, a wand, a cloak, two flasks, 4 doses of drow poison, and a small collection of coins.

The room relinquishes no further loot.

The rightmost archway leads to a deserted room, whose furnishings had been intentionally ruined. Dessa growls. "This one had been mine."

The party goes out into the main hall and proceeds to the end, where it turns right. the corridor proceeds a short way farther and opens up to a room. On the left is a door. Opposite the door is a set of double doors. Dessa points to the portals. "The double doors are the Matron Mother's quarters. The other leads to the Patron's quarters."

"We believe that Dorina will be in the Matron's rooms. Therefore, let's guard our rear by clearing out the other room first," says Veracity.

Igor inspects the door and applies his shoulder to it. The door opens easily, revealing a large, lavishly furnished room. It is furnished with fine leather couches and large armoires decorated with gold filagree. Golden lamps hang from the ceiling and the walls are lined with majestic tapestries of purple and gold.

The room is also occupied. A fearsome creature with a large purple puma-like body and two fifteen-foot long tentacles emerging from its shoulders stands a short distance into the room. Its eyes glow red with fiendish malice as it stares through the doorway at the party.

"A displacer beast," observes Igor, as he moves in next to the creature's right shoulder. It takes the opportunity to strike at him, but is fooled by the displacement effect induced by his cloak. Igor smiles. "Fair's fair!"

Hazen moves through the door and moves to the right, out of reach of the creature's tentacles.

Veracity enters the room and positions herself across its back from Igor, flanking it.

Dessa enters the room and looks in both direction. She frowns. "Huh. Nobody's checking what's around that corner," she comments, as she moves to correct the omission.

Tebryn moves up to the door to watch the battle. Brianna enters the room and moves next to Hazen. She looks towards the beast.

The beast strikes four times at Veracity, hitting only once, but her stone skin spell absorbs most of the damage dealt by from the successful blow.

Kress tires of guarding the double doors and enters the room, approaching the front of the beast, which whips a long tentacle at him as he approaches.

Igor swings three times at the beast. Twice, the blade simply cuts through the magically displaced image of the creature, but one blow hits true, drawing lots of blood. Veracity also strikes three more times at the creature, and similarly strikes only its image twice.

The beast focuses its attention on Kress who is standing directly in front of it, and strikes at him three times. Kress's armor and shield block two strikes, but one hits home.

Kress responds by striking it twice.

Igor finishes it off with an even more mighty blow.

"Please cure me, Brianna," calls Kress. "That creature really whacked me around."

"Gladly," responds Brianna. She comes up and sings two short tunes, touching and healing him after each one.

Meanwhile, the others are searching the room. "Nice couches," says Igor. "Sure would be nice for our Solarium."

"Impractical to bring back, Igor," says Veracity. "Way too big. But, I imagine we could have couches this fine made for us in Sigil. If you especially like the design, I am sure Hazen could sketch it for you."

"Glad to!" agrees Hazen. "These are mighty fine." He pulls out his sketch book and quickly makes a little drawing. When done, he stashes his pad and joins the others in looking through the armoires. These contain at least a dozen drow aristocratic ensembles, all covered with sinister spider designs. "Not what I'd call current fashion in the circles I travel in," says Hazen. "But, I'll take this hat as a souvenir." He selects a suitable item of clothing and hands it to Tebryn, who is loading the gold lamps into the portable hole.

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