Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Seekers of the Ashen Crown, Part 10

Starday, Reaping 8, 552 CY (50 AN)

Entering through the door to the south, Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Emma, Peren, and Torinn find themselves in a short hallway leading to a more open chamber. The chamber is strewn with rubble, and odd shadowy patches that seem to ripple underneath the shine of the sunrod. Bezaldooz does not quite recognize them, but he knows they are some sort of hazard and should be avoided. The chamber also has two places where the floor has crumbled, revealing a lower level. Peren notes that a shadowy, translucent figure lurks in one of the rubble-strewn pits.

Torinn moves into the room first, where he is immediately attacked by two other ghosts with a hobgoblin shape. The original, shadowy ghost from the lower level also rises through the floor to attack him. As everyone moves into position, carefully avoiding the shadowy patches on the floor, they start attacking the ghosts with weapons and spells. Emma calls upon the power of Pelor to drive back the vicious undead, and they fall back.

Swiftly, it is finished. Peren finds an ornate dagger in the lower chamber, but otherwise, there is nothing to be found. After resting and using the sending stone to check on the Wordbearers’ progress, the group presses onward.

As the heroes make their way through the tunnels, they see a small, ghostly shape. As they approach, they see it resembles a goblin. It looks at them and hisses, its almost translucent skin revealing a skeletal visage. It then runs and floats down through the floor.

At the end of the tunnel, a ten-foot wall leads into another chamber. Peren sets up a rope from his climber’s kit, and waits for everyone to climb. Torinn goes first, and is again beset by ghosts — this time, the ghosts are small, resembling goblin warriors like the one seen in the tunnel.

The others start to climb, and Bezaldooz is beset by a rotting, mutated thing that resembles a hobgoblin with tentacles sprouting from its back. It lashes out to strike him with its tentacles from over ten feet away. Similarly, another rotting hobgoblin thing appears, this one with only wicked claws. It jabbers at Bezaldooz, rending his mind with its words, and though he is reeling, he still draws upon his fey glamour to disappear.

With everyone in the chamber, the fight continues. Torinn keeps pressing the attack against the three ghosts, while the tentacled thing engages Peren. Between it and the jabbering thing, they manage to savage Peren, but he endures and returns the punishment, cutting deeply with his swords. Bezaldooz and Bosabrieln throw spells, while Emma sears the undead with holy power. When the tentacled thing falls, the jabbering thing raises it again, until it is again slain and lies still. The jabbering, rotting mutant falls next, and finally the group manages to discorporate the ghostly goblins that have been attacking Torinn.

After a rest, the group climbs down into a small chamber with two tunnels. Choosing the left tunnel, they start to clear it. After about five minutes of work, they start to hear the sounds of battle on the other side of the chamber. After another five minutes, they break through to an octagonal room resembling a barracks. Stone benches and worm-eaten canvas draperies decorate this place, and in the center, three, small, mutated creatures with two mouths and four arms each attack a force of three, ghostly goblins. The group watches — Peren and Torinn place bets on which side will win — until one of the mutants rushes forward to attack Torinn. He attacks the beast, but after one of the creatures falls in combat with the ghosts, the others scatter, running into a tunnel to the north. The ghosts then engage Torinn. Bosabrieln keeps one, apparently the leader, at bay with his evil eye, while Torinn and Peren begin attacking the other two. Though the incorporeal ghosts are difficult opponents, the group easily dispatches them.

Once they have a chance to look at the room, they note that the western door is sealed with iron bars. A mummified beast resembling a flayed gorilla with huge hands is splayed across the door, impaled by a dusty spear that is jammed into the door. The group also notes some art objects in the room — namely a horn with gold accents as well as some bloodstone playing pieces with a gameboard — which they take. After Emma prays to Pelor to sear blasphemous undead — suspecting that the mummified beast is undead, which the lack of movement or reaction suggests is untrue — she pulls the spear from the door. Bosabrieln determines it to be magic, and after it is cleaned, Peren takes it and begins using it in place of the silvered, magical longsword they took from the goblins of Kiris Dahn.

After resting, communicating with the Wordbearers, and accumulating their acquisitions, the group examines the northern passage. Odd, maddening runes line the rubble-strewn passage, which only has a small passage to the west. Bezaldooz determines that the runes are warnings of the dangers ahead, and the group decides to check the eastern tunnel. They determine that to be the righthand passage from the previous room, choked with rubble as the left passage was. Finally, Torinn breaks the bands on the door and the group presses onward.

After passing through another tunnel and a larger chamber, the group comes to a somewhat large chamber with another ten-foot cliff leading down into a lower area. To the east lies a tunnel and to the west lies an open door. The group sees lights bobbing in the lower area, as two of the small things with two mouths and four arms wander with torches. A large creature, resembling a flayed gorilla with enormous hands, patrols nearby. Upon seeing the light of the sunrod, the creature rushes the cliff, scales it, and charges forward at Peren. He reaches out to grab Torinn, but Peren lashes out and parries the massive hand. The group assails the massive creature as the two things in the pit fire volleys of crossbow bolts; the creature lashes out only once before it is slain. Peren and Torinn then rush into the pit, finding that the next room contains another of the small mutants and a large, mutated creature resembling a hobgoblin with tentacles sprouting from its back and no eyes lurks there. It lashes out with its tentacles at Peren and Torinn.

Despite the efforts of the mutated creatures, soon everyone jumps down the cliff — though Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Bezaldooz’s dog Wilson sort of tumble and fall rather than jump — and engages the creatures. The large mutant dies first, followed by two smaller ones. The last flees into the eastern tunnel.

The group then communicates with the Wordbearers, and both determine that rest is needed. Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Emma, Peren, and Torinn close the doors, finding themselves in a small chamber with doors to the west and northeast, secure the perimeter, and prepare to rest for a few hours before continuing.