The Mountains of Morpheus

Session 13: The Ashoumite Catacombs, part one

Overview

The player characters (PCs) continued to discuss future steps, eventually deciding on offering their services to the Old Faith in the city of Strigis, thus able to investigate Rohfa and her vanar vadrana, while being adequately compensated by an organization. Cicero was successful in scheduling a meeting with the Temple Ilendra, the city’s premier Old Faith temple, with the PCs set to discuss matters on Wednesday, December 2, with the temple’s High Druid, Nestoria Winters. In the meantime, the PCs ran a few errands. They were also acquainted with a paladin in service of the Temple Ilendra, a noble’s son named Conrad.

During the same night, Janduin met by chance an old soldiering comrade named Levon. Levon told him that Janduin’s friend and comrade, a soldier named Marcus, had gone missing during the riots of the previous today. It had seemed that Marcus had fallen in love with a prostitute named Reena working in the city’s west-side slums, and took advantage during the frenzy of the riot to attack Reena’s pimp, a man named Waylan.

Although it had seemed possible that Waylan had, in turn, injured or killed Marcus, the PCs found through their investigations (involving Waylan himself) that Marcus had in fact been ambushed by a small band of ruffians led by a dwarvish warrior. Reena herself had also gone missing a few days before this attack. The PCs, though briefly deterred, were able to track down these ruffians to the White Light Chapel, an Ashoumite haven for the slum’s destitute and lost. Though it seemed unclear why an elderly Ashoumite might allow criminals and kidnappers to roost in his poor chapel, the PCs instigated a scuffle. The ruffians — a male dwarf named Riswoan, and a female dwarf priestess named Leira — relented, being outnumbered. They offered to allow the PCs to rescue Marcus and Reena, whom they had kidnapped and stowed away in a segment of the Ashoumite catacombs beneath the city, the entrance to which lay beneath the chapel.

The Ashoumite catacombs were, according to Leira, walled off from the rest of Strigis’s subterranean world, all of which was forbidden to Strigis’s denizens by Princely degree. In pursuit of Marcus, the PCs, with Riswoan and Leira, trekked briefly through the catacombs. They were beset by “Vengeful Ones,” which were according to Leira Ashoumite spirits; in the ensuing combat, the PCs defeated the spirits, with Riswoan and Leira’s aid.

In the catacombs, behind an illusory wall, the PCs discovered Reena, dead from mutilation and torture. Marcus was alive, chained and also tortured. When pressed for an explanation, Riswoan simply said that he had wanted to get rich. Reneging on their agreement — that they would release Riswoan and Leira in exchange for their assistance against the Vengeful Ones — the PCs pummeled the kidnappers into submission. Morgran healed Marcus, and Janduin delivered the solider and criminals to the nearest of the Magistrate’s soldiers.

Being agents of order and justice, the Magistrate’s soldiers briefly detained the PCs to record their testimony. Gaining little from deceit, the PCs complied, turning over the kidnappers. The next morning, Janduin was summoned to the Fortress Strigia, the city’s principal government and military stronghold. The former solider was sternly welcomed by the Sky-born Lord Count Aneth Arawn, from the kingdom of Kala Anar, conqueror of the city of Strigis.

Lord Arawn chastised Janduin for flouting his decree that none should enter the Ashoumite catacombs. He congratulated Janduin for his heroics. He gave Janduin an offer to serve his lord and kingdom once again …

Details

Cevei showed Constansia Pasolini, the High Wizard of the Strigis Wizards’ Society, the “demonic” nightjar-parasite that the PCs discovered in their travels. Constansia preserved the creature’s decaying corpse, showing Cevei a tome on demons describing the parasite. She said that it could be some otherworldly creature summoned by magicians, to use as a weapon against other magicians. Although she was, at present, unable to aid the PCs in their investigation of this creature, she advised Cevei to return in a few weeks, when she could potentially give him a useful lead.

The PCs paid the Strigis Wizards Society to restore the Griffin Shield: a down payment of 160 gp, with another 160 gp to be paid upon the task’s completion. The Society pledged to complete restoration in about three weeks. This agreement was observed and recorded by the Society.

The PCs visited several of the slum’s seedy, decadent taverns, including the Silver Knife, the Hungry Boar, and the Goblyn. (Although Strigis’s slums are the poorest, most crowded portion of the city, the average slum-dweller lives about as well as the average peasant, and probably eats better. The area is probably better described as seedy, colorful, and vice-ridden rather than destitute.) At the last establishment, they sampled “goblin-wine,” a sort of drug-alcohol recently imported from Kala Anar, the kingdom to the west that now enjoys hegemony over Strigis. It’s dark red, sticky, thick, strong, and when drunk to excess creates weird hallucinations: the feeling of dizziness, and the perception of strange, blurry little men standing at the corners of one’s sight.

The Ashoumite catacombs are filled with numerous niches in the walls, in which Ashoumites likely stored corpses. Most of these columbaria are empty, but the PCs did notice that one was not: it seemed to contain a person or corpse with a heavy blanket thrown over it. The PCs speculated that it was some kind of undead creature, as the being was visibly moving beneath the blanket, as if a restless sleeper.

Inventory

The party spent:

  • 26 gp, purchasing goblin-wine.

The party’s adventuring bill for this session is 4 gp: a bit higher than usual, thanks to money spent investigating in the slums.

Comments

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