Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Colony - Turn 41 - Sarcophagi

Start Date: August ?+2, near noon
Start Status: A wrap?
Start Location: Mountain ruin, lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

Despite resistance from Maarek, who would rather not disturb a grave site, and Xon, who just wants to get out of the ruin and find the way home, the party decides to open the sarcophagi. Before they begin, Aaron copies the drawings on the lids for later reference.

After using Rennard's magical stones to secure the door in an open position and block the lids of the other sarcophagi, Jinx, Rennard and Xon lift the lid from the first sarcophagus. While they work, Aaron and Mendel keep an eye on the other parts of the crypt and Maarek stands guard in the hall. The trio can barely move the heavy lid. Rennard's grip slips and the heavy slab crashes to the floor, breaking into several pieces. Luckily, no animated corpse takes advantage of the noise and confusion.

When they look inside the sarcophagus, they find the mummified remains of a tall, slim figure, clearly one of the humanoids from some of their visions. The body is wrapped from head to toe in black cloth that covers every square inch of skin. Aside from the remains, there is nothing else inside the sarcophagus. "Well that was a waste of time," mutters Xon as Rennard checks around the interior of the sarcophagus for secret panels or doors [no magic or evil detected in the box].

Jinx eyes the broken lid. "That's not going back on."

"Let's just get this over with," says Aaron.

The group repeats the process with the other two sarcophagi with similar results. None of them contained anything other than carefully wrapped remains. The group replaces two of the three lids, Rennard retrieves his stones and then pulls the door shut on the tomb. "Now can we go?" asks Xon.

Aaron takes a last look around before he nods. "I can't think of anything else we should do here. Let's head out and see if we can find a place to camp that's not flooded." The sound of rain falling on the flagstones in the courtyard reminds everyone there's still weather to deal with.

The group resumes their usual marching order, crosses the main temple to the portcullis and starts their march, making their best guess as to the direction of travel based on Aaron's previous levitate-assisted view of the locale. Beyond the flank of the mountain, they find some open ground surrounded by trees, but the heavy precipitation limits their view. Eventually, they find the river again and curve their path east-southeast to avoid its flooded banks. Gloomy day turns to gloomy evening, and the group makes a soggy camp under the scant shelter of a huge oak tree.

August ?+3

The pounding rain continues the next day, although the wind drops off considerably. With their food supply in question and no clear idea where they are, the party continues their eastward course along the river, which should (eventually) lead to the coast. They encounter an obstacle almost immediately, a tributary stream, swollen with rain, blocks their way. Unwilling to risk the fast, debris-filled waters, they backtrack along this waterway until it splits and narrows enough for a crossing. This takes them into lighter woods, with mountains barely visible to the south and southwest. Despite the soggy conditions, the group manages to cover about 10 miles through mixed woods. They camp that night beneath a cluster of tall pine trees.

August ?+4

During the night, the weather breaks, and the sun rises on a beautiful day. Anxious to get their bearings and see if they're any closer to their destination, Aaron uses his levitate spell to rise above the trees to see what he can see. The area revealed is a broad expanse of woods and, to the east, the coast! Unfortunately, nothing looks familiar. He sinks back to the ground and explains what he's seen, ending with, "I guess we can follow the river, or we could cut southeast to the coast if we think we're still north of New Kavlin."

[I'm going to stop here so you can revise your plans if needed.]

Meanwhile, at the Tulip

August 11 is a miserable, rainy day, and the group spends their time quietly, indoors. Brigg checks in with Mosk, who reports no disturbances in the White Tulip (and no dead rats near the poison bait either). Adrienne prepares for a trip to Vinehold to find out what she can about the situation at the Silverstream mine. Brigg agrees to join her.

The weather turns nice on August 12 and Adrienne and Brigg head to Vinehold. They check in first at the manor house, hoping to finally meet the mistress of the manor, but no such luck. The guards at the gate inform the pair that the house is shut and the lady and her staff are at their town estate. When Adrienne asks about the Silverstream, the guards – local boys by their garb and appearance; they lack the more formal attire used by the Vine mercenaries – shake their heads. "That place ain't right. Been bad since they opened that deep vein."

"Wasn't no vein, if you ask me." The second guard lowers his voice. "My dad's cousin worked the mine back when they opened that place up. It was a tunnel, already cut in the rock. Old work, he said. Me, I think they woke up somethin' down there. Somethin' bad."

"You may be right," says Brigg. "Lady Vine sent her mercenaries up to investigate, didn't she? Any idea where we might find them?"

The first guard says, "Most went back to town with the Lady, but three were laid out pretty good. They're likely hanging around down at the tavern."

Adrienne and Brigg thank the guards and head down the road to the simple tavern in the town square. The three guards are easy to spot; all are sporting an array of bandages. After buying them a few drinks, Adrienne and Brigg get the story.

The guards were supposed to go make contact with the team of miners sent to reopen the mine. When they arrived, no one was outside, so they made camp and waited for the miners to put in an appearance (they weren't interested in venturing into a potentially unsafe mine). When no one showed up by late afternoon, the guard captain and three men went into the mine to see what they could see. They found some signs of recent activity, but not the miners (at least not within the entry area). They retreated to camp, hoping the miners had just lost track of time. The captain's plan was to wait until morning and then do a more extensive exploration of the mines after sending a messenger back to Vinehold.

That never happened. Shortly after midnight, the miners returned, or so the guards thought. Too late they realized the miners were possessed or undead or something. They attacked the guards with mindless ferocity. By themselves, they were no great threat, but there were... other things. One merc said he was attacked by a crab-thing with a human head. Another claims a living shadow clawed and bit him. He lifts bandages and shows a series of deep wounds that could only be made by claws and teeth.

Eventually, the captain rallied his remaining troops. Three mercenaries were killed, the others retreated from the mine entrance. The enemy seemed content to let them go. The mercenaries made it back to Vinehold early on August 6th, down three people.

Adrienne and Brigg buy another round for the mercenaries before taking their leave and heading back to town. Along the way out of Vinehold, they ask a few locals about Silverstream, but no one seems much interested in talking about the place. Several make warding gestures when the mine is mentioned.

End Date: August ?+4, early morning
End Status: No rain
End Location: Lost

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