Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Seekers of the Ashen Crown, Part 3

Sunday, Wealsun 23, 552 CY (50 AN)

The group awakens in the Rusty Razor, and sees to breakfast before returning to the tomb complex beneath the goblin slums. During breakfast, they are approached by a gnome whom Emma recognizes as Bezaldooz, a wizard who used to perform research at the temple in Jepson. After introductions are made, he explains that he spoke to Molric Torranol and wishes to help with the kruthik problem. In addition, he explains that he seeks samples of the flying kruthiks on behalf of Morgrave University.

After a brief discussion, the others allow him into the group. They finish breakfast, and then collect themselves to return to the slums.

Once again, the group presses into the slums, as several goblins start their respective days. Again, the goblins attempt to avoid the heavily-armed mercenary group as they travel the streets.

They once again arrive at the crumbling tenement and make their way to the basement, where they find the shattered tunnel into the tomb complex. As they enter, they explain some of what they found to Bezaldooz. He finds a battered flying kruthik cadaver and sets it aside to retrieve once they exit the tomb; they indicate that they may be able to retrieve some kruthik eggs, as well. Peren asks if he can read Goblin, and he says that he can. He takes a few minutes to prepare the Comprehend Language ritual and then he looks over the inscription in the entrance to the tomb. It indicates that the tomb belongs to Ashurta, keeper of the Blade of the Ashen Crown, that he has influence over devils or fire elementals, and that he has fought against Far Realm incursions. Based upon the tales of the Far Realm incursion through the Living Gate, it is likely that the tomb is centuries old. Additionally, the Goblin journal they found last time indicates that the person who carried it was a member of something called the Kech Volaar, the Wordbearers of Darguun. The goblins came to the passages seeking “Ashurta’s Tomb” and “the Blade,” and that the goblins had a key to the tomb’s entry doors. They surmise that this is the same key they recovered last time.

The group then leaves the entryway, returning to the room with runic tiles upon the floor. They explain the puzzle to Bezaldooz, and how the southern passage was only revealed after they solved the puzzle with the help of the leather scrap they found in the Goblin journal. After further discussion, they decide to take the revealed passage, leaving the eastern door for later.

As they traverse the corridor, Peren notes a pressure plate in the floor. They note it and move to the door, which they open.

Opening the door reveals a large room. To the left — the eastern portion of the room — lies another set of double doors and two statues, one in each corner. To the right, or the west, lies a dais statuary, two stone boxes, and a large sarcophagus. The center of the room is dominated by a four-sided statue of a hobgoblin in salute. The group moves to investigate the statuary in the northwestern corner, and they note gleaming, yellow gems in the statues’ eyes, but as they examine the statue, the motes of light illuminating the room are extinguished. They hear the crashing of rubble and the shuffling of feet as a gruff voice calls to them from the western side of the room, calling them defilers and usurpers. Something attacks Peren and Torinn in the dark, and Bezaldooz illuminates his orb, revealing two cadaverous hobgoblins advancing on them. They wield chains, and one appears to be the thing that attacked in the darkness. Everyone takes positions, and as a sunrod is used, the whole room is illuminated, revealing three other zombified hobgoblins. Two are slower and more necrotized, while the last bears heavy armor and a ceremonial blade. By his bearing, it is possible that he is Ashurta, or some other important entity to this tomb complex.

Battle is joined. Though the group is initially surrounded, the Ashurta-thing is held at bay by Bosabrieln’s evil eye, and Emma draws upon the power of her faith to repel and weaken the tide of savage undead. From there, the battle goes swiftly; one by one, the undead drop. Though Emma falls and nearly dies during the fight, they manage to revive her and end the fight with no casualties. They attempt to interrogate the Ashurta-thing, but he crumbles to dust before they can make an appropriate inquiry. They do find eight amber gems in the shattered remains of the four statues in the corners of the room. They also find a key on the Ashurta-thing, and this appears to open the stone boxes. In the boxes, they find a total of 54 gold pieces, as well as a skull mask and a wide belt. After examination, they determine that the skull mask and the belt are both magical, and Ashurta’s blade is likewise, apparently having the power to reform itself as several types of blades.

After resting, the group decides to return to the puzzle room and try the other route.

Proceeding through the double doors, they enter a stairwell. Scouting ahead, the group finds a small room at the bottom of the stairwell, and another set of stairs heading back up. The room is designed to resemble a stylized dragon’s mouth. The stairs appear to have loose mortar in the stone, and in the room itself, some of the floor tiles appear as though they open. Other ceiling tiles have mortared holes that could yield for spikes or darts of some kind. Four tiles in the center of the floor read, “open,” “close,” “up,” and “down.” They press each in turn, and though they hear a grinding sound, nothing happens. Peren jogs across and examines the door at the top of the other set of stairs. As he opens it, a mechanism grinds and the trap springs to life.

Immediately, the stairs flatten into a ramp. Some floor tiles fall open, revealing an enormous grinding ball underneath the room. Those that do not are hit by spikes from the ceiling. The tiles in the middle of the room rock violently. The group quickly determines that the trap has no “ending” mechanism, merely resetting after a set schedule, though they are keenly aware that they have no idea when that schedule might end. As they attempt to maintain their footing, kruthiks boil out of the gaps in the floor and start clamboring the walls to attack them. As most of the group tries to defend against the kruthiks, Peren — now separated from his companions by the violent rocking and grinding of the room below — dispatches the kruthiks that attack him, and after losing his footing, climbs back up the stairs and begins working to pull the locking rods out of the door hinges. The others set about maintaining their footing until the trap resets. Bezaldooz, Emma, and Torinn fan out into the room after losing their footing, though they find safe haven as they manage to disable some of the spikes in the ceiling. Bosabrieln falls into one of the pits and is ground by the ball before he manages to climb a rope thrown down by Torinn. Finally, after about thirty seconds, the trap shudders and grinds to a halt. The spikes retract, the pits close, and the middle floor tiles stop rocking just as Peren opens the door. The group moves to the stairs and briefly rests before pressing onward.