Family Ties

Crypt of the Everflame, Session 1
A Journey Ends, and Another Begins

From the Journal of Flynn a’Lynnalynn, Cleric of Desna

page 173
My time here in Kassen over the past year has been a delight. Father Prasst has taken me under his wing and I’ve learned much from him during our talks, though he is quite young, even by human standards. He is a very wise soul, however, and the perfect spiritual guardian for a town such as Kassen—although he serves Erastil, he maintains small shrines in the temple for Mother Moon, and other deities, making this a welcome place for those who travel through. I wish the townsfolk respected his council more, but I hope that in due time, they will come to see his value as I do.

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In any case, finally, the day has come—the Anniversary of Kassen’s victory over Asar! After hearing the history of Kassen from a barge-runner on the River Sein, (see page 136), I knew I had to visit this quaint town and witness the Autumnal pilgrimage to the Crypt of the Everflame myself. The Great Dreamer’s luck must be upon me, however, because I was chosen by Mayor Uptal himself to accompany two local Kassen folk to the Crypt! My companions are Krug—a huge hulk, half-human and half-orc, who works with the local smith and is prone to violent rages—and a local ranger who goes by Wood Creeper—also a half-orc—who knows the area around town as well as anyone. I have spent some time with both of them the past few days, as we have prepared for the journey, and though they appear fearsome, they have good hearts, and we have become fast friends. We set off soon, and will follow a trail through the Fangwood to the Crypt—two days’ journey, at least—with the ceremonial lantern with which we will capture the flame, and return it to Kassen for the winter.

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page 178
We’ve reached the Crypt at last, and we’re lucky to be here in one piece. Just a few hours south of Kassen, we encountered some savage orcs, who attacked us. Krug and Wood Creeper fought valiantly, and we vanquished them, only to find out they were illusions. I suspect the fine folks of Kassen, in particular the wizard Holgast, had created them to add a taste of adventure to our trek, (Wood Creeper recognized the rascal’s pipe smoke at the site of the battle).

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Our next encounter in the forest later that evening, was no illusion, however. We had bedded down in a clearing Wood Creeper recommended, and were attacked by a pack of starving wolves. The poor creatures had been driven to madness by their hunger, and we had naught to do but fight them. I couldn’t be happier that Krug and Wood Creeper are on this journey with me—they are formidable fighters, and we would never have made it to the Crypt otherwise. Krug struck one wolf so hard with his greataxe that he nigh split the poor creature in two! After we return to Kassen, I would like to investigate why the animals were in such poor shape, if possible, but first things first.

The next day, we discovered a grisly scene on the shore of a small lake south of Kassen—a dead body that had been attacked and poisoned by something from the lake. It had been there for about a month, and there was no sign that the attacker was nearby. In a hurry to reach the crypt, we skirted the lake and avoided any trouble, but when we return to Kassen, we’ll let the Mayor know that a dangerous creature may still reside there, so he can warn the townsfolk and the merchants passing through town to be on their guard until we know for sure.

We reached the valley of the Crypt, and spent one more evening’s rest before scaling the steep side of the valley to reach the bottom, where the entrance of the Crypt resides. On the valley floor, we discovered an even more disturbing scene. Directly in front of the entrance to the Crypt of the Everflame, we found three pack animals, and two horses, all still roped to pegs in the ground, as if by their owners, and all three quite dead, hacked to pieces by crude weapons.

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Crypt of the Everflame, Session 2
Into the Crypt

From the Journal of Flynn a’Lynnalynn, Cleric of Desna

page 179
Our shock at discovering the slaughtered animals outside the Crypt was quickly forgotten as we searched the site of the attack. We found one full saddlebag amongst the carcasses, and the others were emptied, so our first thought was that brigands had most likely attacked some poor travelers passing through the area. We then found ancient bones near the animals, which made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck—the thought that the animals may have been slaughtered by undead skeletons crossed our minds. I made a small prayer to Mother Moon that the grisly site was merely another dweomer set in place by Holgast and the people of Kassen for our entertainment, and we approached the stout wooden doors of the Crypt, one of which hung ajar. Our guard was up. We drew our weapons and entered the Crypt.

Inside, our worst fears were realized. The owners of the horses were indeed townsfolk of Kassen, and victims of a hideous crime. Just inside the entrance of the Crypt, two bodies lay, which we discovered were Gerol and Vark, a woodworker and farmhand from Kassen. We also discovered, to our horror, who murdered them—or what murdered them, rather. Undead skeletons rose up around us and attacked. Krug and Wood Creeper fought back well, and Desna smiled upon me, granting me her power to blast the undead back into lifeless piles of old bones. Wood Creeper fought the skeletons with particular vigor—I suspect his hatred of the undead runs as deep as mine. As for Krug, the anger at seeing his neighbors slaughtered lent a strength to his weapon that was staggering to behold.

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As we explored deeper into the Crypt, we found evidence that Gerol and Vark were indeed there to prepare a welcome for us—one that must have quickly gone horribly awry. A frightening wailing echoed through the desolate place, which we tracked to a door at the end of a hall. Beyond the door was another member of our unfortunate welcome party—Roldare—who was panicked and nearly mad. I talked to him until he calmed down enough for us to get small bits of useful information from him. He told us the group numbered six, and had arrived at the Crypt three days ago to set some harmless traps for Krug, Wood Creeper and I. They were attacked a day after they arrived. One of the attackers, with a “Voice of Death”, had taken Roldare’s sister Dimira, and we immediately vowed to rescue her. We left Roldare barricaded in his haven, but before we left, he told us we needed “shields and keys”, and gave me a fine crossbow to take along.

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We explored deeper into the Crypt. We found another body of a Kassenite, and an acid-spitting beetle atop it, which was almost too much for us to handle. The beetle was nothing, however, compared to the evil shadowy creature we encountered in a large room just a bit further south. A large, smoky fire blazed in a firepit in the center of the room, which must have served as a campsite for the Kassenites before they were attacked. Krug’s greataxe passed right through the creature, and I prayed to Desna that her power would help us vanquish it. To my astonishment, Wood Creeper leapt into the fray, wielding his two blades, and sliced at the creature with such ferocity that I would swear his weapons glowed with the power of the divine. Perhaps it was just an illusion created by the smoke and flames in the room, but nevertheless, Wood Creeper did what I thought would be impossible—his blades both struck true, and the shadow was undone. As an added benefit, Krug found an enchanted dagger, which will come in handy if we meet any more of the malevolent shadows further on.

Near the center of the Crypt, we almost blundered into a room dominated by a particularly deadly arrow trap, but we fled the room before disaster struck. As for the “shields and keys” Roldare told us we would need—we eventually found both. A room with a deep pool, where a loud magical voice proclaimed “magic is the key”, led us to an enchanted key. And the shields were not far from there, just down the hall through some entrapped statues. Unfortunately, the shields—oddly labelled “home” and “family”—were in the hands of a huge animated wooden statue of Kassen. Krug’s axe made short work of the golem, however, and now with shields and key in hand, we head back to the trapped room to face its many arrows, and whatever lies beyond.

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I pray to Desna we find Dimira safe and sound.

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Crypt of the Everflame, Finale
Assar and Kasen

From the Journal of Flynn a’Lynnalynn, Cleric of Desna

page 183
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.

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A Green Dragon and Child

From the Journal of Flynn a’Lynnalynn, Cleric of Desna

page 187

After facing the undead form of Assar and his minions, we were understandably eager to head back to Kassen—no one more than I, to be honest. The dreary, evil nature of the tomb was lifted by the lighting of Kassen’s flame, but it seemed like weeks since I had breathed fresh air and stretched my legs in the open spaces, Desna be praised, though it was only three days since we departed on our journey.

We set the tomb as right as we could, destroying remnants of the creatures and undead where we could, and collecting the bodies and gear from the unfortunate townsfolk who came to prepare the site for the ceremony. We buried the townsfolk just outside the entrance to the tomb, I prayed to Desna that they would find peace, and we headed back north to town.

Along the way, we stopped near the lake where we had found the dead body near the spoor of some large beast. We decided to see id we could coax the beast out of the water with some game—Woodcreeper hunted a deer in the nearby woods, and we collared and staked it near the water’s edge. Then we waited, safely hidden in the treeline. Our plan was a success—if you call luring a huge five headed snake out of the water to feed a “success”. Any thoughts of staying hidden were dashed when one of the heads turned directly toward us and hissed. Our cover blown, we engaged the beast—I summoned a wolf to assist us, and Krug and Woodcreeper both leapt into the fray with mighty battle cries. The battle may not have gone our way, but a mysterious figure appeared, and joined the fight.

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