Rose and Thorn: Sessions 27 and 28

Well, uh, life got in the way and so the write-ups for these two sessions are combined. I would blame deadlines, but uh, I can’t blame it all on that. I’ve been a little disorganized and scatterbrained lately, and I think I might be spread a little too thin across my various projects. No matter, though – things will lighten up soon. I’m not expecting the craziness to last much past November (and then, as always, I return to my own self-imposed craziness).

 

The Party:

Max, halfling bard

Samzon, half-elf cleric-rogue

Mordora, tiefling warlock-wizard

Zavin, human paladin

Alkar, elf mystic-artificer

Kronch, half-orc barbarian

 

The Setting:

The Ruins of the Sky Temple of Akadi

The Hidden Tomb of Khafrenet III

The City of Pearlmouth, on the Coast of Splendors

 

The Story So Far:

Having tricked and sneaked their way past the immense golden doors, narrowly avoiding the traps held within, the group found themselves in an immense round chamber with two possible paths leading out of it (besides the one they’d entered through). Before they had much time to react to the room itself, however, they heard the sounds of ghastly, horrible cackling from within, and three sickly green flames came to life from within. Giving the party little time to react, the three flameskulls guarding this chamber flew at them, shooting fireballs and rays of heat.

With their skilled attacks – both magical and non – the party handled the flameskulls with ease, taking little more than a light singe in the process. The room they found themselves in was some kind of torture chamber, with various mechanical devices and restraints, many still with skeletons clinging to them. The floor was stained dark brown with blood, marring the ornate golden tile that otherwise adorned it. Sun motifs abounded, on the floor and ceiling, along the walls, even engraved into the wood and metal of the torture devices.

The left path took them into a room that had once been used for some type of embalming or mummification process. A cold stone slab lay in the middle of the room, now bare. Shelves of empty canopic jars lined one wall; trays of tools and accoutrements filled the rest of the room. A door from here lead them into a room where the canopic jars seemed to reside once filled. They made the executive decision not to mess with the preserved organs of the deceased… except for Samzon, who took several of the most expensive looking jars – encrusted with gems and gold – and began emptying their contents into a convenient nearby barrel.

Returning to the main room, they now explored the path on the right to find another large room with a sarcophagus at the center of it. They sensed a strong magical aura coming from the stone coffin, and all hesitated to come near it. Well, mostly. Mordora stepped closer to read the runic inscriptions engraved on it – odd twin symbols of both Amaunator and Ilmater – and the lid of the sarcophagus began to move as well.

What emerged from the sarcophagus was more than an ordinary mummy, but not yet a mummy lord. Zavin’s holy paladin energy protected them from the poison and disease of mummy rot, but could not protect them from the mummy’s claw attacks and fearsome gaze. The undead remains of King Khafrenet III fought viciously against those who disturbed his final rest, those who threatened – and indeed had already begun – to steal the riches he had been entombed with. Nothing quite like an enormous pair of golden doors to motivate your adventurers.

Indeed, they returned to Pearlmouth with their pockets (and Bags of Holding) laden with gold and gems, exactly what they had come to these ruins in search of. On the road back to the city, they noticed an unusual amount of traffic – farmers bringing in food from the harvest. Some of the party noticed that each wagon or cart of food also bore with it a scarecrow, brought in from the fields. Zavin, a local to the city, explained that it was an annual custom – when the harvest was complete, an enormous feast was arranged in the city center and the scarecrows were piled into a big bonfire. At the stroke of midnight, the bonfire would be lit, to symbolize prosperity through the cold winter, a spark of hope before the long night.

All agreed that a festival – feasts, games, ale, burning things – sounded lovely, and sought ways to take part in the festivities. All, that is, except for Alkar, who instead sought out the nearest library to begin researching some of what they’d uncovered right before they left the city. Kronch, taking interest in the assortment of gourds and squashes being brought into the city, bought a butternut squash and bit into it like it was an apple. Mordora went bobbing for apples and was the unlucky one who got the “trick” apple – laden with hot and spicy peppers to. She struggled to maintain her composure as her tongue felt like it was on fire. Max and Samzon kept their skills from getting rusty by running minor cons on the locals – shell games and the like.

After the feast, everyone reassembled for the lighting of the huge bonfire, kept contained by the legion of fire-controlling wizards employed by the city for exactly this event. Everyone cheered as the pyre sprung to life, sending sparks and smoke high into the sky, visible for miles around. Few noticed, however, something stirring from within the fire. Most of the participants were taken unawares when a series of flaming scarecrows and wood woads emerged from the bonfire to terrorize them; luckily a series of seasoned adventurers were just about raring for a fight, after a night of food and ale.

For their services in protecting the city from the flaming animated creatures, the governor awarded each of the heroes with a keg of the city’s finest ale and a purse of gold.

 

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