We returned to the room through which our path inevitably led—the room with the arrow trap. Using the shield we acquired from the living statue, we determined that the west and east doors were one way door that only opened into the room, leaving only the door to the south. We made it to the southern door unscathed, (and learned in the process that the arrows were blunted), then left the shield behind and proceeded through.
The door opened into a short hall, with images of mourners carved in relief on the walls to both sides. The hall led to a room where we are attacked by four hideous, bloody skeletons. We dispatched the foul creatures, (securing a silver necklace from one of the skeletons), and followed the foul stench that permeated the hall to a round room with four doors—one at each of the major compass points. We had entered through the north door, which left three other doors as possible paths. The east door was inscribed with script that mentioned a wheel “to open the gate”. The door to the south was inscribed with script that described a place where we could take our ease to rest and reflect. The west door was labeled as the path to Kassen’s crypt.
We began our explorations through the eest door, and found a maze-like catacomb. In one of the many alcoves that lined the walls, we found a pack which contained a map of the local terrain, 13 gold pieces, and a potion of healing (of moderate strength). We also found, (or were found by, as it were), the source of the awful stench—zombies who were covered in pulsated tumors of some sort, which would erupt with a foul smelling gas when punctured. We continued south, and found a pool of stagnant water, beyond which a doorway was blocked by a lowered portcullis. The pool proved to be enchanted—we were compelled by its evil magic to look within its dark water We all saw images in the water—images of ourselves attacking our companions. Luckily, our will was strong, and whatever ill effects the magic was meant to cause never took hold of our minds.
We fled the pool chamber and made it back to the round room, where we headed west, following a gurgling noise. The passages there were filled with water, and sloped away from us, making for deeper water and treacherous footing. We reached a door which was only opened by the considerable strength of Krug and Woodcreeper. Beyond the door, two feet of water filled the room, along with three stone sarcophagi, covered with moss. The source of the water was a hole in the ceiling which let in a burbling stream of water from above. The room was inhabited by three giant frogs, who apparently mistook us for oversized flies. They attacked but were soon overcome, and a thorough search of the room revealed a previous victim of the creatures—a body that had floated in the water for around two months. The body held no answers as to the riddle of the crypt, but carried a couple dozen gold, and (on its right hand) wore a gold ring with a simple blue gem that emitted evidence of some sort of magic.
We then passed a room covered from floor to ceiling with a blue fungus. Four decaying corpses floated in the water, along with three rats and another giant frog. We ignored the room for the time being, and proceeded to a large chamber, the floor of which was covered by a foot of dank water which hid deep pits in the floor on either side of a thin bridge that led to the southern end of the room. Across from the door was a large wheel, attached to that southern wall. Also at the end of the room were six skeletons, who seemed fairly interested in keeping us from reaching the wheel. Their interest was no match for my companions’ steel, and as soon Woodcreeper turned the wheel we heard a gate open elsewhere in the crypt. The script above the doors in the round room came back to us then, and we hurried back there.
Once back in the round room, we explored the door to the south, where the meaning of the script became clear. We found a font of clear water, untainted as the water in the rest of the crypt. The words “Kassen’s legacy lives on—drink and be refreshed” decorated the font, and refreshed we were as we drank the crystal water. Our wounds were healed by the magic water, and we rested as best we could, protected by Kassen’s spirit. Once rested, we headed back to the portcullis, which as we suspected, was now raised high to allow further exploration.
Beyond the portcullis was another catacomb, infested with swarms of bats (which retreated from my magical spell of light) but nothing more. Beyond the catacombs was a room, longer than it was wide. A narrow bridge stretched to the other side of the room, flanked by deep pits to either side. At the far end of the bridge, two large statues rested. I was the first to traverse the bridge, my crossbow at the ready for I was expecting some sort of devious trap, and my expectations were well founded. Halfway across the bridge, I stepped upon a particular stone in the floor which caused the statues to be propelled down the bridge right at me! I almost fell into one of the pits, but regained my balance just in time. Two more attempts found me pushed back to the start of the bridge. Seeing little chance of success getting past the statues, we used ropes to climb down into one of the pits, then traverse the pit to the other side of the room and climb back up next to the statues, and safe.
We found a huge set of double doors behind the statues, which opened into a vast crypt, lit by torches mounted above. At the far (southern) end of the crypt, steps ascended to a raised dais upon which Kassen’s crypt rested. Next to the crypt, we saw a body—the unconscious or sleeping form of Dimara. A dark form materialized in front of us before we could reach the young woman. “Kassen’s adventurers come again,” it said. “You will be a fine addition to my undead army.” My blood froze in my veins, for there before Kassen’s crypt was his foe from those many years ago—Assar—now undead, his evil spirit inhabiting a skeleton with glowing eyes. He was joined by four wicked looking skeletons. We knew we had to strike quickly. Krug gave himself over to his rage, and attacked with his mighty flail. Woodcreeper leapt into the fray, his blades whistling through the air, meeting metal for metal. My prayers to my goddess were answered, and her wrath damaged the nature-twisted creatures again and again. Finally, they were down, vanquished by blade and magic, and a solemn quiet returned to that once holy place.
We lit the antern we had brought from the town of Kassen, and were greeted with the spectral form of the great adventurer. “Thank you”, he said. In awe, we spoke with Kassen’s ghost, learning more about what had happened in the crypt. The rising of Asar was not something that should have ever happened—but what was its cause? Kassen told us of three amulets, two of which had been taken from the crypt. When combined, the three amulets created a key that would open a vault holding the great treasure that he, Asar, and an Elven Sorceress named Eramine found and shared.
Kassen then reached into his crypt, where his body still lay inside a beautiful set of platemail, holding a shining longsword, and he bestowed upon us gifts from inside—a powerful axe for Krug, that would return when thrown, a blue elemental gem of water, and a bag of holding. He also gave each of us a green scale to attach to our armor—Kassen’s boon, he called it, to help us face the dangers ahead.
The spirit then went to Asar’s remains, and took the wicked-looking chainmail and longsword from the body. The armor and weapon then lost their dark look, and began to shine once again. He gave us these, as well, and disappeared.
We explored the rest of the large room. To the east, we found the crypts of the villagers who fought with Kassen, which was undisturbed. To the west, we found the crypt of the raiders who fought with Asar, surrounding the sarcophagus of Asar himself. Asar’s sarcophagus had been disturbed, and next to it lay the crushed remains of a human. There was no amulet inside Asar’s tomb, but a pack next to the body held a note (that we couldn’t read), a magical wand of some sort, bracers of protection, a horn, 54 gold, and a wizard’s spell book. Who the wizard was, we could not determine, but we grew impatient to leave the tomb behind. We gathered the treasure, and picked up Dimara, and headed back to Roldare.