4/30/11 – “The Defiled Temple”
Upon defeating the undead in the room underneath the library, the party began to leave and head back up to the town of Mardeth. Berowyn and Levandius first looked around and saw that their companion, Rockwell, was no where to be found. The party was interrupted by the faint sound of voices seemingly coming through the walls. Levandius searched around the pedestal where the old musty tome had been lying, and found a hidden lever that once triggered, revealed a secret trap door leading down. As the sun began to set, the two heroes descended down into a room where a sacrificial ritual was being conducted. The faint voices overheard were actually that of 5 members from the Order of the Twisted Hand cult. They were chanting in a strange tongue, all while facing the center of the room where a large minotaur creature stood chained to a pedestal in the middle of a strange bubbling liquid. The party elected to attempt to save the beast from his bonds and attacked the cultists. Taking out 4 of the cultists resulted in the chains of the beast being broken, but the victory was short lived. The final cultist, later revealed to be Mauru the Mind Taker, finalized the enchantment and proceeded to bring forth from the bubbling liquid a large ochre jelly monster. Once the monster was raised, Mauru gave a familiar sinister look to the beast and fled through the rear door. The heroes eventually defeated the ochre jelly and then began with the introductions, although the beast was somewhat reluctant to divulge his true name.
The party began to look around the room, but as they were a loud clicking sound was heard followed by evil laughter…the way back into the library of Mardeth was cut off. Gathering their courage, the campanions decided to give chase to Mauru through the rear door. The beast was especially motivated as it appeared that Mauru had stolen the minotaur’s ritual book. Going through the door towards the back of the room, the party found a long hallway that branched off at the end into 2 separate hallways. The hallways were dimly lit by the near setting sun. Painted all over the hallway walls were murals. Looking at the murals carefully, Levandius was able to determine that depictions of evil deeds, sacrifices, and other unsavory acts were painted over the top of much older murals. At the back of the hallway was a large statue of the demon lord Orcus, but something odd stood out about this statue. Berowyn noticed that the statue of Orcus appeared to have been placed over the top of another statue, possibly that of the god Erathis. It was clear at this point that the party had stumbled upon a defiled temple, dedicated to the worship of Orcus. It was at this time that the minotaur heard a strange hissing sound coming from one branch at the end of the hallway. Unsure of what was truly making the strange hissing noise, Levandius elected to scout out the other room at the end of the branch of the hallway. Peering into the room, Levandius discovered a small library with several bookshelves lined with ancient books. Upon seeing the joy on Levandius’ face after the discovery, Berowyn remarked with “whoa! Your fave!”. Levandius searched the bookshelves for anything of value, but found nothing except various documents spread over the floor with some bearing the mark of the Order of the Twisted Hand. These documents also were all written in a strange language, but the beast was able to decipher a few words…all relating to that of enchantmens, and necrotic energy in particular. The beast continued to search and found the Journal of Mauru. Looking at the book, the beast was again able to only decipher a few words: “Orcus…necroshard…undead army”. Levandius then discovered a small wooden chest underneath a table in the corner which contained the magical Boots of Quickness, and a strange black rock that is embedded into a backing of gold and bound to a leather neck strap.
The party deduced that this rock was possibly the “necroshard” that Mauru spoke of in his journal. A test of the shards’ power was attempted by waving the rock close to a dead rat. The rats’ skin split as the shard began to glow with a green aura, followed by some bones beginning to emerge from the corpse. Levandius put the necroshard around his neck, and the party trudged on into the other branch of the hallway where the hissing sound began to grow louder. Entering the room, the party saw large metal pipes lining the ceiling as strange necrotic gas flowed through openings at the end of the pipes and down into 4 piles of skulls in each corner. A large tomb guardian skeletal being was in the center of the room standing over an arcane symbol, and began to attack the party immediately by summoning skeletal warriors that rose from the necrotic enhanced skull piles. The necroshard hanging from Levandius’s neck began to glow the green aura it had before, so Levandius began to wave the necroshard in front of the skeletal warriors violently in the air. This act enraged them and the monsters flocked to Levandius…drawn by the power of the necroshard. The minotaur beast discovered during the battle that there was a large mechanical structure that seemed to be controlling the necrotic gas flow. Levandius and Berowyn battled the skeletal warriors while the minotaur disabled the mechanical structure by solving a runed puzzle. With the skeletal warriors ceasing to become reanimated via the skull piles, the party dispatched of them and began to take on the tomb guardian. This fight though would prove near fatal for both Levandius and the beast. Before being knocked unconscious, Levandius desperatley heaved the necroshard to Berowyn, while the minotaur lay helpless on the floor. Berowyn also acting in desperation, threw the necroshard into the middle of the room on top of the arcane symbol. The necroshard began to glow even brighter than before and then appeared to consume all of the remaining necrotic gas in the room into it’s core before pulsing out a necrotic wave that would spell doom for the tomb guardian.
With their enemies defeated, Levandius and the minotaur managed to regain consciousness…but the rest would be short lived. The sun faded completely and the room was suddenly covered in darkness. The familiar voice of Mauru the Mind Taker was overheard telling the party that “this shall be your final resting place!”. This theat was followed by a horrific sound that the party determined to be that of several undead beings making their way to their vicinity.