Dark Knight and Spiders

Somewhere in Northern Tarlanor, 15th March 1626

TacMap 3 - click it for larger image!

Caitlin drained her second healing potion, while Yoshin rather atypically scouted ahead along the corridor through which the hobgoblins had approached. The right-hand turn didn't appeal, so he indicated to the others to take the straight ahead choice.

The passage he followed was short, and at the end was a final chamber. A long, stone table dominated the center of this chamber, and bright bits of gold winked from within the dust that covers the floor. Upon the table lay the well-preserved but long-dead corpse of a tall lizardman wearing the tabard and belts of a knight. Looking at it, memories stirred in Krizzen's mind, memories of tales of an ancient kingdom.

Long ago, in the north of Alair, the land of Sinval was erased by the vengeance of the Dark Dragon Varkar Barduric. Two hundred years later, a small but mighty humanoid kingdom called Morglas existed in the extreme north of the resulting wilderness. Lizardman warriors leading bugbear and ogre armies fought brutal wars of expansion, earning great fame and amassing considerable fortunes from their predations. Those who died in battle were buried in large tomb complexes dug into hillsides and honored as patrons of the living. Among these tombs was the large tor known as Hightower. Though it was neither the largest nor the most famous of the kingdom’s tombs, Hightower did represent a typical example of this kind of structure. These humanoids worshiped Shushkrah, the Scales of Steel, the god of the Lizardmen of the Trakar swamps, rejecting Varkar's ruling that all lizardmen should worship him as a god instead. As happens to all such nations, the cruel kingdom Morglas eventually fell to a more powerful foe. The forces of the Dark Dragon returned, and razed all its cities and outlying fortifications. Of the tombs, only Hightower escaped destruction—largely because it was an unimportant monument in a remote location.

These tales echoed around Krizzen's mind, but for Caitlin there was only a stone slab with a worryingly intact body on it. Stooping, she scooped up a handful of pebbles and threw them in a curve at the catafalque. Her aim was a bit off in that she missed the occupant, but the stones rattled against the side of the slab, making a considerable noise. Suddenly, the corpse sat up, lifting an old, rusted morningstar in one hand and a javelin in the other. As it climbed off the table, its mouth opened to loose an eerie moan.

Krizzen, head still filled with tales of mighty knights of his own people, dropped to one knee. "Hail, my Lord!" he cried in Krultac, bowing his head. A scraping sound made him look up just in time to see the mindless zombie hurl its' javelin at him. He lifted a shoulder to protect his head just in time to deflect the weapon as the zombie lifted its' morningstar.

Shocked by the zombie's sudden movement, Yoshin peeled off a Disrupt Undead spell with frantic speed, but he rushed it and the ray zipped past the zombie's armoured form. Caitlin danced in to jab with her rapier, probing its' defences as Krizzen scrambled back to his feet and readied his great axe. The Tellaran fenced around the massive bludgeon, weaving a net of steel as she explored his defences for an opening, while Krizzen struck again, and again, the heavy axe tearing through the old armour to shear off pieces of undead flesh, and receieving a stunning blow from the great spiked weapon in return. Yoshin, recovering from his buck fever, sent two more bolts of Disrupt Undead slamming into the zombie, wearing it down. It staggered drunkenly as Krizzen lopped off an arm, then the elf sent a final bolt of positive energy into the monster and it went down, its' body too badly damaged to hold the necromantic magic that drove it any longer.

With the knight returned to his rest, they relieved him of his treasures; some gold, the morningstar which Krizzen took, and a handsome elvish rapier that he'd left behind on his slab, almost certainly magical. Caitlin eyed the slab. "Could we move that?" she asked. "No!" barked Krizzen. "If there's anything nasty under there, we don't want to let it out!" Caitlin muttered, but subsided. Yoshin indicated the passage they'd bypassed.

"I vote you guys go that way..." he said.

Around the Corner - click for bigger image

With Krizzen leading, they headed down the passage, and after forty feet or so a right-angle turn became visible. Krizzen rounded the corner.. headlong into the floor-to-ceiling webs that filled the next part of the passage. Hopelessly webbed, the lizardman pulled fruitlessly at the strands as large shapes began to scuttle across the ceiling. Caitlin jabbed at one and clipped it, making it draw back, and another tried to bite through Krizzen's armour and failed. Two converged on the shrinking Yoshin and one sank its fangs into his shoulder. Through a wave of dizziness as the poison took effect he saw the other swing towards him, miss, and smack into the wall next to him. It clung to the stone, legs bent, evidently slightly stunned. He glared at it and worked a quick Magic Missile which smacked into it, knocking it off its' perch. It scuttled back to recover before attacking again.

Still enmeshed in the webs, Krizzen had been partly cut free by Caitlin, and pulled to try and free himself more, unfortunately only managing to get tangled up all over again. Spinning, the Tellaran girl stabbed again, snicking a couple of legs off the spider that was trying to reach her. Behind her Yoshin cursed as he was bitten again, pulling off the fangs before the spider could inject its' poison. Angered, he changed tack, and cast a Sleep spell, grinning as he felt the magic bite. His grin faltered as exactly one spider went down unconcious. Caitlin shrugged and lunged, impaling a descending spider on her rapier. It slithered down the blade, leaving it coated with sticky black spider blood, to stop against the swept hilts. Caitlin flicked her wrist and hurled the corpse off, then turned her attention to the spiders attacking Yoshin. Between the pair of them, they finished it, after which Caitlin despatched the sleeping one.

Gritting his teeth, Krizzen put all his strength into a pull and managed to tear free. Hefting his axe, he joined the fray, slashing the last spider out of the webs dead as it came back to attack him.

Numerous body-shaped lumps were visible under the webs, each wrapped carefully in layers of grey thread like woven mummies. A search revealed several very shrunken and dessicated human corpses, a potion of Enlarge and one of Cure Moderate Wounds (which Yoshin promptly drank) and a hundred and seventy-two gold pieces. There was also a flight of stairs, leading down into the darkness.

"I vote you guys go down the stairs..." came Yoshin's voice.

Session Date: 23rd March 2013