The party continues to fight the undead shades they encountered in the crypts beneath Pillar Vale
[Round Two - Party Initiative]
Ohwatoo starts to cast a spell!
Dagmarten starts to cast a spell!
Durego raises his holy symbol and calls upon Erlinga to turn away the remaining shades as the others prepare for another chilling assault. The thing on the balcony hesitates, then turns and retreats into the shadowed depths of the upper floor, emitting a faint wail as it disappears from sight. The other remains.
Ohwatoo's spell goes off, and there are suddenly three of him in the hall. Dagmarten completes his spell and a glowing spear springs into being above his head! "Nice trick," mutters Maro as he and Rawon release their arrows. Neither shot connects.
Raúguey, Strom and Ingvild close with the remaining shade, and attack, while Grendor pulls out a flask of holy water and hurls it at the creature. [Wow, that's like the worst set of dice rolls ever]. None can score a hit, but as the fighters close they see a change in the thing's form. Transparent gaps appear in its body while streamers of black power curl and twist away to nothing. "It's falling apart! Keep swinging!" cries Durego.
"Allow me," says Dagmarten. The glowing spear hovering above the cleric's head streaks into the fight, piercing the shade's body [4 damage]!
"The one we killed must have been controlling or creating the others," adds Grendor.
"This one's still mighty cold laddie!"
It is, and those nearest are chilled by the thing's aura. [Durego, Raúguey 1, Strom 2, Ingvild, Grendor 4 damage]. The shade reaches for Strom, and the cold that invades the dwarf goes beyond base physical pain, draining vitality and strength.
[Round Three - Foe Initiative]
The creature presses the attack against Strom, but as it reaches out, its outline shifts and fades further. The dwarf braces for an impact that never comes. The faint purple glow fades away, and the black shadow splits into a dozen fragments of black energy that fade to nothingness. There is a final forlorn wail, answered by another cry from overhead, then silence.
A quiet moment stretches to two. Strom, ever ready with a quip, opens his mouth, but Ingvild gestures sharply for silence. Seconds tick by, then a full minute. With hand signs, the thief indicates that the others should boost him up to look onto the balcony, and Raúguey and Durego comply, moving as quietly as they can in heavy armor. Grendor and Strom cover their backs while the others keep watch in the hall.
The thief sticks his head over the edge, then cautiously pulls out a light stone and raises it. A few moments more, then he scrambles all the way up. "Nothing here. Both balconies are empty. I think we did it!"
There are nods of agreement all around, and immediately Raúguey moves to check out the altar while Saurabh, Durego and Dagmarten apply healing spells to those most in need. [Durego 2 cured, Strom 7 cured, Grendor 6 cured].
"Don't touch that!" snaps Ohwatoo, as Raúguey reaches out to touch the white orb that decorates the altar.
"Know it all," mutters Raúguey, but he leaves the altar alone, content to examine without touching. It is a plain stone table about four feet high. A white stone orb, either built into the top or resting in a depression, is the sole ornament. There is nine-pointed star inscribed in its surface, but there are no other decorations anywhere.
Meanwhile Durego, Ohwatoo and Maro have moved up to look over the bodies on the floor, for bodies they are. Durego and Ohwatoo kneel next to the still forms of their former servants while Maro approaches Tesso's remains. "What did you see, I wonder," whispers Maro. He reaches out and touches Tesso's mailed arm, then recoils in horror as arm and mail collapse to dust! "No!" he cries, but it's too late. The slow dissolution spreads, and in moments, there is nothing left but a pile of dust that swirls and twists across the floor, animated, perhaps, by some remnant of necromantic energy. The decay spreads, and in short order both Jonquil and Gorvil's remains meet the same fate, leaving the party in an empty, dust-filled room.
Ingvild looks around the balcony area, but there is nothing to be found, and no doors or exits that he can see either. Finally, he drops back to the lower level and joins the others.
The priests and Ohwatoo examine the altar. None have seen anything like it before, and there is no magic present. The star engraved in the orb is much like the gold wheels found on the spider men from Hill Hole, but larger. The orb itself seems permanently attached to the altar.
"Well now laddies, I guess we should be looking into some sarcophagi now, eh?"
If you're going to open sarcophagi, give me some sort of order. I've added some call-outs to the map for reference. It'd also be good to get a broader plan of action too, and don't forget that Mordikarr is still outside alone. Protection from Cold, Bless, and Find Traps are still running, so tick tock.