Previously, on Phoenix Rising…
… she just could not go on anymore and Zerak decided that he needed to take her to the surface to rest and stay out of harm’s way. They would wait on the usrface until the other four party members finished their quest for the items and would then leave this city of death when they do…
Once rested and after saying a short adieu to Jobi and Zerak, the rest of our heroes pressed onward and deeper into the catacombs. The next chamber they came to looked to be an old treasure room. Most of it had been looted already but there was three chests and three urns that were untouched. They were all made of metal and looked to have significant locks on them. Blackwell went to work and had to disarm and unlock all six of them to finally get at all the treasure that had been left behind. They found 3,500 gp three ioun stones (incandescent blue, iridescent and orange), five 1,000 gp fire opals, and an amulet of mighty fists +2. The group pocketed all the items and some took the ioun stones to use immediately. Then they continued their exploration of the catacombs and finally came to its end with only finding one more item, a mummified body that had appeared to be tossed aside in a corner alcove. They found a platinum amulet around its neck with the initials, ‘MJ’ on it and Asphodel deduced that this could be the missing body from the sarcophagus in the first room of this underground complex. So they took the body back there, put it back inside the coffin and closed the lid. Almost immediately a ghostly figure appeared with a forlorn smile upon its face. He looked at the four heroes and made a slight bow and thanked them for bringing him back to rest. Then he slowly disappeared. Seeing that there was no longer any where to explore down here, they decided that they now needed to go back to the three buildings on the surface to continue their investigations and promptly ascended the long flight of stairs to the surface.
After quickly checking in on Zerak and Jobi to make sure they were still OK, they headed to the three large buildings in the back of the complex. Through experimentation they determined that the large medusa heads on the floors of each of these building were in fact teleportation circles that led to the exact same destination. After their first teleportation to this destination they saw the following:
This great, domed chamber is home to hundreds of funerary urns of every description, housed in niches along the walls. The domed ceiling thirty feet above is decorated with images of old Cormyran aristocrats engaged in passionate debate, locked in duels, or poring over great tomes together. A carving of a medusa’s face decorates the floor in the room’s center, flanked to the sides by two trios of stone sarcophagi. An archway to the north opens into a large pillared hall.
Their examination of the medusa carving revealed the following unusual aspects of the medusa seal:
a keyhole in its right eye
a starburst indentation in the left eye
a thin slot in the mouth
and an oval indentation in the chin
They figured out that the large key and mithral dagger they had found earlier fit correctly in the eye and mouth respectively but now knew that they were missing two other items to complete the puzzle to allow whatever was supposed to happen, happen. So they ventured forth into the large room beyond and say the following:
This massive hall hosts a vaulted ceiling fifty feet above, supported by huge pillars of marble running down its center. The walls are lined with vaults, stacked in columns of eight, twenty feet high. Lavish murals occupy the thirty-foot stretch of wall above the vaults, depicting naval confrontations between Cormyran and Qadiran ships to the east, and Cormyran ships and what appear to be ghost ships to the west. The dominant ship in the painting appears in both battle scenes, its mainsail proudly flaunting the mocking medusa; a handsome figure clad in archaic captain’s uniform grips the rigging in one hand while he rallies his sailors by waving a falcata over his head. The man has thick white hair and a long beard divided into three braids.
But just as they were investigating this large chamber someone materialized directly in front of the staircase that led downwards and began to speak in a booming voice to our heroes:
“It is apparent that none of your assembly is of the blood, so I must conclude you are thieves. To avert my righteous vengeance and leave in peace, answer me these three questions. First, what was the name of my flagship? Second, how did my first darling wife die? And third, why is my eldest son’s body not here with us? All the information you need is
within this chamber. I give you ten minutes.”
The four then set out examining the room’s murals and plaques to find the answers to the three questions. And with just enough time to spare they had their answers:
The Flagship: Pasco’s flagship was the Harlot
Pasco’s Wife: Pasco’s first wife, Annavale, died in childbirth
Pasco’s eldest son: died at sea
Since the party answered the questions correctly the ghost of Pasco told them, “Good! One should know of those who came before, and tread reverently. Disturb not these three tombs before you and I shall not vex you further,” before fading away into nothingness.
So next they decided to explore the two outer hallways leading to two similar rooms. Both rooms were identical except for the names on the coffins and the fact that they were mirror images of each other:
A marble fountain, the basin of which resembles a huge shell, sits near the entrance to this room, its waters cascading from between the fingers of reclining mermaids. The chamber beyond is empty, save for a single sarcophagus at the far end of the room.
The room to the west had a sign on the sarcophagus that said, "Vespacio Voxus Adella, 4349–4401.” It contained what they determined to be the reliquary of Vespacio, a necklace of gold with a small globe of crystal suspended from it. Within the crystal is a human finger bone and it functions as a greater ring of energy resistance (cold) that takes up the neck magic item slot. They gave this one to Zola.
But when Zola tried to enter the room on the east, she became very nauseated and decided to wait in the large chamber while the other three went in to explore the room. The room to the east had a sign on the sarcophagus that said, "Vincenzo Voxus Adella, 4349–4401.” It contained what they determined to be the reliquary of Vincenzo, a necklace of gold with a small globe of crystal suspended from it. Within the crystal are three human teeth and it functions as a greater ring of energy resistance (cold) that takes up the neck magic item slot. This one they gave to Kel.
But something odd happened when Kel got back into the large chamber. Both Kel and Zola, when they looked at each other felt a wave of disgust towards each other because they each had the other reliquary in their possession. But Kel was infuriated and drew her weapon and landed a harsh blow to Zola. Asphodel slammed Kel to the wall to stop what was going on and Zola was able to use one of her abilities to snap Kel out of her murderous possession. After this, they both seemed OK and the group continued on to the center stairwell and made their way down. However, as time went on, both Kel and Zola felt an annoyance over the other one having the other reliquary nearly every minute from then on.
But after a few steps, thick white mist filled the stairwell, obscuring further vision. Three circular tiles are set into the floor inside of the archway at the head of the stairs; each tile depicts a different medusa’s face—one howling in rage, one mocking with a forked tongue, and one with crossed eyes.
As soon as they entered the mist, the disembodied spirits of four young women materialize and swoop up from the mists, swirling about our heroes, disconcertingly whispering a few repeated phrases in their ears: “Are you of the blood?” “Have you come to pay your respects, cousin?” “Is his name still spoken?” Kel attempted to answer the apparitions but to no avail, they did not seem to hear her words or even respond that the recognized that she was talking to them. So the party ignored them and pressed the tile with the howling medusa face and entered the mists and found themselves teleported to yet another location:
Flickering light dances on the walls of this room, thrown from fat, black candles in silver fixtures wrapped around supporting pillars that rise twenty feet to the ceiling. Frescoes cover the walls, all depicting a handsome, red-haired man of noble mien engaged in acts of heroic prowess: single-handedly dispatching a cohort of fearsome demons, speaking movingly
to an adoring throng, and leading a column of Cormyran soldiers toward an enormous mob of Qadiran infantry. On a raised dais in an alcove on the northern wall, an elaborately carved mahogany coffin, decorated with motifs of vines and eyes, sits on a stone base.
Then they went up to the locked coffin and Blackwell started to attempt to unlock it, but his first couple tries were unsuccessful, so Kel jumped in and decided to use a crowbar to unpin the hinges and get it opened from the opposite end. She needed help from Asphodel to get the hinges to break but once they were, Asphodel, and the others stood back while Kel forced open the coffin. Inside they found mummified remains of what appear to be the man in the murals along the walls. He had a +2 cold iron greatsword with a large ruby in its hilt and a ring of evasion on his finger. The party took these items and after only a very cursory glance around the rest of the room, they started to head back out. But then they heard a loud wailing coming from in back of them and turned around to see a ghastly undead creature surrounded by the four girl ghosts they saw earlier. The creature, which they determined to be a rare undead called a nemhain lashed out and attacked with great force against the four heroes, nearly taking Kel and Blackwell down. But after a few tense rounds of combat, they were able to defeat the creature and then destroy the white pillar that she was bound to – ultimately destroying her permanently. Then they group headed back up the stairs and through the mist into the large chamber again.
This is where we have to leave our group of heroes until next time…