Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Seekers of the Ashen Crown, Part 4

Sunday, Wealsun 23, 552 CY (50 AN)

After the harrowing experience, the group takes a second to rest on the stairs before pushing open the door to investigate the next room. Inside, they find a room lined with alcoves. The center of the room features a grate set into the floor. At each corner of the grate sits a statue of a weird, catlike entity with six legs and two tentacles emerging from its back. Water falls from the ceiling into the grate — apparently caused by erosion rather than any natural feature of the tomb complex. Standing atop the grate are three figures, one humanoid and two bipedal, reptilian things. The group astutely notes that they are undead, and additionally notes that they are hard to see not because of the water, but because of a distortion effect from the statues around them. They also note that they have been seen, but that the rotting things in the water have not moved to them. Additionally, the group notes that three of the remains in the alcoves are moving slightly.

Bosabrieln tries to parley with them, and when that yields nothing, the group decides to move. Peren moves toward the door, opens it, sees a hallway, and realizing that he doesn’t know what comes next, closes the door and returns to his position. Torinn moves along the same path, but is interrupted when the undead creatures rush at him. The humanoid, an undead hobgoblin, throws globs of its own flesh as the reptiles move in to bite. Small pieces from the remains in three of the alcoves move into the room, and a kruthik flies down from the ceiling.

As the battle is joined, the crawling pieces of flesh from the alcoves are quickly dispatched, followed by the reptilian undead. The kruthik manages to claw and bite Torinn until he loses consciousness, and attempts to drag him away to feed. However, between Bosabrieln and Emma, he is revived and the kruthik is destroyed. Overwhelmed, the undead hobgoblin falls last. The group finds nothing of value in this room, but the group determines that the four statues are depowered. Since their eyes appear to be made of amethyst, they remove the stones before going further.

The group moves through the hallway to the next room. In it, they find four doors, two alcoves with sarcophagi surrounded by bone piles, and a central stone cauldron. The cauldron is enormous, being roughly 10 feet across, and firmly attached to the floor. It is filled with bubbling, agitated blood.

The group moves to investigate the room. As they do, Bezaldooz investigates the cauldron. He notes that runes around the cauldron read, “The blood of my enemies slakes my thirst and that of my servants and sword siblings, now and for all time.” When he explains this to the group, one of their number recalls that goblins sometimes drink blood to celebrate victory, and “sword sibling” should mean “honored ally.” As the others move to the alcoves, Bezaldooz moves to the cauldron, and finds he has the most irrational desire to drink from it. Determining it is harmless, he sneaks a drink when no one is looking. Meanwhile, everyone takes positions around one of the sarcophagi, and Torinn moves to open it. He notes pressure behind it, but still opens it. Bones explode outwards, knocking him down. Just as that happens, three of the four doors open, revealing small tombs and a hobgoblin skeleton and some form of fleshy hobgoblin undead pour out. Several skeletons form from the mishmash of bones surrounding the sarcophagi. Torinn manages to quickly dispatch the skeletons surrounding him, and though Bezaldooz is quickly surrounded, he vanishes when he is first struck, allowing him to escape. Though the hodgepodge skeletons are quickly dispatched, the hobgoblin skeleton and the fleshy undead are much tougher and better armed. During the battle, a mysterious scream emanates from the room, forcing everyone to panic and scatter in all directions before tripping and falling. Despite this, they manage to defeat the skeleton and undead after a protracted battle. However, as they do, they become aware of the presence of a ghost — the invisible thing that screamed at them during their battle with the undead. Since the ghost loses visibility at intervals, they have difficulty fighting it, but Emma finally manages to dispatch it when Bosabrieln blunders into it, and it appears to strike at him.

The group then travels through a hallway to find Ashurta’s tomb. They are relieved to have navigated the entire tomb complex, but Bosabrieln realizes that they have not yet found the kruthik nest, which means they will have to crawl through the kruthik tunnels to get there.

The group decides to return to the town proper and complete their business before returning to the tomb the following day. Bezaldooz takes his flying kruthik corpse to Morgrave University, and his contact is thrilled. Then, they spend the rest of their time in town before retiring for the evening.

The next day, they return to the tomb complex for what they hope to be the final time. They move into the entry room, and seeing four kruthik tunnels, they eventually decide to take the one next to the double doors. Torinn moves first, followed by Emma, Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Peren. They crawl through the dark, humid tunnels before coming to an intersection. Choosing to go right, they loop around before finding themselves in the entrance chamber again. Climbing into the tunnel next to the doors again, they crawl forward, taking the straight lane in the intersection this time, and crawl until coming to a fork in the tunnels. They take the left fork until they realize that it leads into the puzzle room with switches on the floor, labeled in Common. Backtracking, they take the right fork and crawl forward.

Torinn drops the sunrod into the room they find, a cluttered, rubble-filled chamber that was probably an old tower foundation. He has only a little time to note this before the kruthiks attack.

As he manages to fight his way out of the tunnel and stand, the others follow suit. Torinn dispatches a few of the hatchlings and manages to injure the bigger ones. Once Peren gets into the open, he engages a few before he is felled. The others throw magic, and once Emma manages to revive Peren, he leaps into the fray again until all kruthiks lie dead, the smell of vinegar permeating the cavern. Figuring that the egg chamber must be close, the group takes a moment to gather themselves before moving to the (hopefully) last chamber.