Giantslayers

Episode 6: The Plague House, Part III

Upon returning to town, the group went straight to the Sanctuary and told High Priestess Tyari Varvatos that the former Iomedean church, the Plague House, is overun with undead monsters. She looked troubled but regained her composure, and proceeded to heal the injured among them.

Afterwards, Silaqui went to the Longhouse and found Jagrin Grath, who was just turning in for the night. She told him that he needed to warn the town’s leader, Halgra of the Blackened Blades, that orcs and flood trolls were working together, and that a major invasion of Trunau is imminent. She then presented him with Rodrik Grath’s original hopeknife, which the party had found inside the Plague House. Upon reading the inscription (“to Rodrik, my love”), he wrinkled his nose and tossed it back to the elf. “Give it back to Brinya Kelver,” he instructed her, “it belongs to her, in any case.” He then shut his door, muttering something about his distaste for half-orcs.

The next morning, Janekfan—together with Draken and Gydion—went to Lessie Crumkin’s bank and deposited the undead giant king’s golden crown in the vault, for safe-keeping. The three then stopped at the local magic shop, the House of Wonders, and traded the gems they acquired from inside the Plague House for healing potions. While there, Jane told Agrit Staginsdar (the proprietress of the magic shop) about the golden crown, and Agrit told her that, if Jane was interested, she could find a buyer for it—and added that the group could perhaps get 400 gp for it. Jane politely declined.

After leaving the magic shop, Gydion suggested that they return Rodrik’s hopeknife to Brinya. Rodrik’s beloved girlfriend was extremely excited to see the knife, and thanked them again and again. She immediately took the precious knife to the Sanctuary, and gave it to Asa, who returned it to Rodrik’s body in the temple’s basement, where it was being prepared for burial.

As night began to fall, the party prepared for their second journey to the Plague House. From what they could remember, they had one more level to explore. As they returned to the scene of their ambush by trolls the night before, they noted that the bodies of the flood trolls were missing, as were some of the orcs. The remaining orc bodies, meanwhile, had been thoroughly ransacked, and their eyeballs were missing. They entered the burned church and were immediately set upon by what appeared to be freshly-made orc-zombies. Draken and Asa led the charge and attacked, while Silaqui poked her head inside the large, adjacent haunted infirmary. Seeing nothing, she turned back towards the rest of the party, and pulled out her magic sword—it was humming, in response to the undead in the next room. By the time she joined the rest of the party, however, Jane had already dispatched two of the undead monsters, and her wolf animal companion had destroyed the third.

The group heard low moans and growls coming from the hole in the floor across the room. Approaching cautiously, Jane lit a torch and threw it down, revealing scores of zombies writhing around in the darkness below. Tying a rope around her waist (with the others holding tightly to the other end), Jane approached closer, and hurled flaming flasks of oil down the hole, setting some of the zombies on fire. After this, Gydion, Draken and Kingsley started pushing furniture into the hole—including the large bookshelf. Unfortunately, Kingsley got too close to the edge, and started to fall in—luckily, the two she-elves, Jane and Silaqui, stopped him by grabbing his tail. It was a close call.

Giving up the idea of punishing the undead hordes from above, the group turned once more towards the dark staircase in the corner. Although they had barely survived the encounter with the undead giant king the night before, they knew they had to clear the last, remaining level of the Plague House… so they filed down the damp, stonework stairwell once again, the darkvision-endowed dwarf, Draken, in the lead.

Again, they felt the oppressive darkness closing in on them; and again, they heard strange, otherworldly noises emanating from below. Soon, Draken could look through the stair’s railing at the chamber below, and warned the others: six zombies were waiting for them! Silaqui drew her bow, and, moving to the front of the line, shot one of the beasts. Draken, Gydion and Kingsley then rushed down the stairs and engaged the others. Asa, who was towards the back, jumped over the railing onto the statue of Iomedae, while Jane stayed behind on the stairs, shooting arrows at whichever zombie she could get in her sights.

The group makes quick work of the six zombies, although Kingsley suffered serious injury from a zombie’s claws—luckily, Gydion saved him with his quarterstaff, knocking the head clean off his undead attacker. After the battle was over, Asa layed hands on the lion, and Silaqui, who was also injured.

There were three exits from the room: two doors, and one staircase. They had explored the staircase the night before, so they focused their attention on the two doors. Silaqui took the lead, opening one door and heading the hallway that presented itself. After about twenty feet, she found the stone floor moving under her, so she jumped backwards, narrowly escaping a pit trap. Up ahead, she could see that the hallway turned to the right, where a soft glowing light emanated. Shouting a warning to the others about the trap, the ranger downed her potion of Invisibility and, jumping over the trap, continued down the hall.

Asa checked out the second door. Cupping his hand, he listened and heard a faint voice, calling for help! He threw open the door to find absolute darkness awaiting him. He took out a torch and lit it; he then reached his torch-bearing hand inside the darkness. The paladin was amazed to see that the darkness was indeed absolute—and it was clearly an unnatural, magical darkness, because the torch was completely useless within it. Puzzled, he backed away and shut the door. Jane and Toboe then grabbed the halfling (frustrated with him and not wanting to lose him) and pulled him, together with Draken, into the hallway where Silaqui had disappeared. Gydion and Kingsley stayed behind in the chamber, standing guard to ensure that nothing threatened the party from behind.

Meanwhile, Silaqui found herself in a large, brickwork chamber, softly lit by wall sconces. The chamber was lined with six waxen statues. One of them (the largest) looked like an angel; the other five were disfigured, Bizarro-like versions of celestial beings. Suddenly, Silaqui felt the angelic statue’s eyes upon her, and soon found that when she moved, its eyes tracked her—even though she’s invisible! Alarmed, she walked up to the angel statue and pushed it, but it was too big for her to move. Her actions rendered her visible, however. Frustrated, she pushed another statue—one of the disfigured ones. To her horror, it immediately came to life, and, joined by the others, closed in on her, about to attack!

Luckily for Silaqui, Asa, Draken, Jane and Toboe had nearly reached the room, distracting some of the golems as they entered, and allowing Silaqui to find her footing. Draken cleaved through one, and then landed a second, solid hit on the one adjacent to it. Asa and Jane both injured another one, Asa slicing its arm off with a critical hit. Toboe attacked the angelic one, but missed it—in response, the angel met the wolf’s eyes with a sad gaze, and Toboe moved cautiously away.

Eventually, after many rounds of combat, the party gained the upper hand, and Draken dropped the last golem with his mighty battleaxe! All that time, the angelic wax statue remained motionless, silently watching the proceedings. Finally, as the last golem fell to the ground, the angelic figure began to glow. Softly at first, and then more brightly, completely enveloping the party in a sphere of pure, radiant light. Instantly, they felt better (healed for 6 hit points each). Then, as if by telepathy, the statue asked them a question: “Will you accept a gift from me?” Asa and Draken immediately said yes, but Silaqui, Gydion and Jane hesitated. After a moment of staring into the statue’s soft, pleading eyes, however, the elves and the human acquiesced. Suddenly, everyone present was infused with warm, celestial energy—permanently granting them one point to their major ability, and permanently altering their alignments to Good. While Silaqui and Asa were unaffected (both already being Lawful Good), the other three found themselves changed forever.

It was then that Asa recognized the statue: It was none other than Jingh, a celestial being of the highest order, and Iomedae’s right-hand man. He bowed down in reverence.

After clearing the room and collecting what treasure they could (including five magic potions), they explored an adjacent chamber, which contained wax-making forges, cauldrons and machines. The group then left the brickwork chambers, and headed towards the last remaining unexplored part of the Plague House: the supernaturally dark hallway that Asa had discovered about twenty minutes before.

The group opened the door, heard the plaintive cries for help, and contemplated the situation. Eventually, they decided to send Toboe down the hallway, with a rope tied around his waist. Toboe soon found himself in complete darkness, followed by a sharp pang of fear—and the next second, Jane pulled him back, to safety. Jane herself headed down the hallway next, with the rope around her waist, bearing a rock with Light cast on it. After about 30 seconds, she returned as well, coming out of the darkness and warning the others that something awful is coming! The party backed away and waited in silence.

The party waited in the chamber for the thing to appear. Suddenly, they heard the door slam shut. Apparently, whatever was inside was not about to leave the safety of the hallway. The rest of the party questioned Jane about exactly what she saw, and she tells them it was awful—a rotting orc corpse, putrid, floating in mid-air. She had shot an arrow at it, but the arrow just stopped, frozen, about a foot from the corpse.

After a quick discussion, the party decided they had no choice but to go after the creature, and rescue whatever was calling for help inside. Although it might be a trap, they reasoned, they had to chance it. What else could they do?

Draken went first, followed by Asa. When they reached the edge of the supernatural darkness, they saw exactly what Jane had described. Next, Silaqui came up from behind and shot a flaming arrow over their heads, which also stopped in mid-air. However, the extra light shed by the arrow revealed that it was some sort of transparent, gelatinous creature—and the rotting orc was trapped inside it—its latest victim! Jane and the others then entered the narrow, five-foot hallway, bringing up the rear.

Draken and Asa drew closer and, elbow to elbow in the narrow hall, attacked. As the others fired arrows over their heads, the dwarf and the halfling continued hacking bits of its gelatinous flesh. To their horror, the gelatinous cube rolled over on top of them; while Asa tumbled out of the way, Draken wasn’t so lucky—he was trapped inside its jelly!! The two desperately starting hacking at the cube, and Gydion started barraging it with Produce Flame spells. Meanwhile, Silaqui heard the door slam shut behind them, so she rushed back and tried to open it, to no avail. Then, swallowing her potion of Gaseous Form, she slipped out the door as a trailing mist, and examined the door from behind. She saw that it had indeed firmly locked itself, and so returned to her companions with the news that they were locked in.

Meanwhile, Kingsley and Toboe had joined Asa and Draken, engaging the jelly in melee, while Jane and Gydion continued to attack it from a distance. Silaqui, meanwhile, slipped around the creature in gaseous form and found that the hallway ended in a solid, metal door, from which she heard a voice calling desperately for help. Resuming her solid form, she took out her magic sword and sliced into the jelly-creature. A moment later, Jane brought down the foul, rubbery cube with one last, well-aimed arrow, and it collapsed into liquid around her now-freed dwarf brother.

Silaqui opened the door and found a pale, young boy—who couldn’t have been more than 15—looking up at her from the shadows. “You’ve saved me,” he cried, and ran into her arms. “My name is Othdan—I’m the pig-farmer’s son, from down the South road!”. The others quickly gathered round as the boy hurriedly explained how he’d been kidnapped by a half-orc while exploring the Plague House on a dare. He didn’t know how long he’d been locked in that room—a few days, perhaps?—and knew that he didn’t stand a chance against his gelatinous prison guard. When questioned further, he said he’d heard snatches of conversation from outside his cell, including talk of a planned orc invasion of Trunau. One of the voices was his half-orc captive’s; he didn’t recognize any of the others, though. Gydion offered him some water and food and allowed him to pet his lion Kingsley. The strong animal seemed to comfort the shaken boy.

Further exploration of Othdan’s dirty cell revealed 55 platinum pieces hidden under a pile of coal. The party added this to their treasure from the rest of this episode, which consisted of:

470 gp
95 sp
144 cp
5 magic potions (to be determined)
1 book of How to Make Lesser Wax Golems
Red gold unholy symbol of Nulgrath (worth 60 gp)
6 black onyx gems (25 gp each)
Star rose quartz amulet (75 gp)
Shiny dagger
Steel scroll case (50 gp) with damaged scroll inside
+1 sturdy magic chain mail shirt
fine silver mace (260 gp)
wand of Cure Light Wounds (21 charges)

Experience: ? xp

Next: The Wedding from Hell!

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