Having no supplies really can be a nuisance. Especially when you have eight hungry mouths, and only a few rabbits to sustain those mouths, let alone when half of those are vegetarian. Hungry, desperate, and in need of supplies, it seemed like a blessing when the outline of a small town could be made out at the edge of a forest. Except, even from this distance one can tell that something is extremely wrong. A makeshift barricade surrounds the town, consisting of everything that the creators could cobble together, including wagons, trailers, farming equipment, and pieces of lumber connecting them all. The guards, just as thrown together as the fence, are utterly malnourished and outfitted with equipment that are ill-fitted or crudely made. When the party, with the new addition of their new bard that they picked up at The Wandering Mare, finally reached the sole entrance to the town, the guards there informed them a little of what happened to cause all this.
Apparently, three weeks ago, the mining foreman, Falcus Henrius, and the captain of the guard, Caius Semperitis, claimed that the city of Haddix was now its own sovereign nation, separate from the host kingdom of Fyndin. After handing over their weapons, the four moved to the general store, where they purchased plenty of supplies, including salted meats, grains, fresh fruits, and others, in exchange for a small gem picked up on a previous adventure. Shortly after, they visited the tavern called “The Tamed Beast”, which catered to the miners that worked the nearby silver mines that dotted the surrounding area. In fact, the only non miner themed feature inside the entire tavern was the dark, drunken mass in the corner.
Obviously, from being outsiders, the group decided to peddle around the tavern to try to get information about the goings on of the town, while they wait for the manager of the general store to compile their supplies. The bard, and Cora Wittlewood, elected to tackle the drunk, while Senten Snow went to a group of miners playing a card game, and Thokk Warmonger elected to gather any information he could from the bartender over a flagon of ale. The most information garnered came from the drunk, who called himself Thamior Liadon, who informed the two that the slaves, prior to being released and pressed into service in the newly formed “army”, uncovered an ancient set of ruins buried deep into the recesses of the hill side.
Realizing that there is a good source of information present, Cora called for Senten across the bar, prompting a remembrance from Thamior. Apparently, Thamior was an ex-paladin and former member of the Royal Knights of Fyndin’s Royal Guard detachment, that was assigned to escort the newborn bastard child of the King to one of his former field commanders, Fiels Snowe, but after a training accident resulting in a grievous injury in which Thamior thought that the child was killed. Wallowing in the knowledge of failure, Thamior searched far and wide, looking for something to replenish his sense of honor, which resulted in him picking a fight with a troublesome group of minotaurs. The fight was won, but it caused severe scarring along the left side of his face, causing him to blind in his left eye.
Trying to atone for his past negligence, Thamior recommended that party visits the camp of the Royal Knights of Fyndin, and to find what was occurring in the minds that “truly” caused the revolution, rather than the cancellation of an unimportant supply line. Taking his advice to heart, the party decided to pay the Royal Knights a visit…after they gather more intelligence by visiting a few more key areas of the city, namely the local Chapel of Pelor and the town hall.
The Chapel, usually filled with the warm ambience of prayer and divine might, was instead replaced by the cries of the suffering and the feeling of misery. Father Prewet, doing the best he can do by himself, has been trying to heal those that are wounded, but since he has been unable to connect to the magic of Pelor, he has been stuck with trying to use traditional methods of healing. Upon questioning, he reveals to the group that a great evil has risen in the past three weeks, exacting some sort of ancient plan.
Worried by the corresponding events that have come to light, the group moves to the town hall, to try to get the opposing viewpoint as well. However, that doesn’t go over so well, as the group accidentally offends the new mayor, Falcus Henrius, and his captain of the guard, Caius Semperitis. Due to some keen ears, they overhear Caius talking to Falcus about their questioning of the ruins, but due to time constraints, they decide not to tail the two as they went off into a private meeting, and instead they move to the Royal Knight’s Camp.
Once there, they converse with an old acquaintance, Waltin Mayler, the Knight who was passing by The Wandering Mare a week ago. He informs them of the location of the mine, while slowly building a battle plan with this new intelligence taken into account. After a questioning about a guide, Mayler informs the group that most of the Knights and their squires are actually from the city of Elukin to the east. With all the information and orders gathered, the party decided it was time to set off to its final destination: the ruins inside the mines.
Throughout the dark, murky mines they saw plenty of glimmering silver reflecting off of the torchlight in little spots, some here and some there, along the roughly made walls of the tunnel. After twenty minutes of fumbling around in the mine, they finally come across this great stone double door, with ancient writing inscribed onto the stone itself. It required some effort to get the door open due to the sheer weight of the thing, but they finally get it, revealing the darkness inside, penetrated by the light of torches.
Shortly into it, the ruin split into two paths, with the statue of the god Fharlanghn who’s pantheon covers roads and choices, and each hand of the god points down a separate fork. However, before a choice could be made, the adventurers found three guards, created by some sort of foul magic, advancing on them, with only one intent: to kill. Quickly, the bard proved her worth, by bolstering the morale of the team, and taking one out from afar with her crossbow, leaving the rest to the others, who quickly dispatched the group.
It was almost as if some divine hand guided the choice of the path to take, as in the battle a crossbow bolt lodged itself in the statue’s left hand, pointing down the right corridor. Following this sign, the group proceeds down, setting off a small javelin trap that struck Thokk in the side weakly. Afterwards they moved one more chamber down and found a huge room, with large, checkered tiles alternating between two different colors, in front of them.
Using his intuition, Thokk realized that some of the tiles were trapped, and others were safe to walk on, and proceeded to use his ten foot pole to find a safe route. Thinking that he knew what the trap was, Senten tried to take a different route, believing that if they took the same route they would be killed, but ended up setting off a trap, and got sprayed with burning hot flames.
After a while, the group made it through the checkered trap safely, with only a few close calls. Using her wits, Cora made a hand drawn map of the area, and detailed which tiles were safe, and which tiles were not. Along the way, they found a charred and blackened body, with no distinguishing features on it short of a silver ring, with an inscription that said “Daniel Prewet.” Realizing that this is someone related to the priest of Pelor, they bickered a little about what they should do with it, and finally deciding to give it to the Father.
Moving on, they make it to another hallway, and realize that they should have Cora, the stealthiest, sneak ahead and gather some recon. However, she was so focused on sneaking around, that she accidentally stepped on a cloth designed to look like the flagstone floor…which also hid a deep hole underneath.
Falling and yelping, Cora hit her head on the descent, knocking her unconscious by the time she landed. Now, there is a problem. Add that to the fact that two more of the undead construct things, made aware of the party’s presence by the screams of the falling halfling, rounded the corner, and began their slow robotic march towards the intruders. Showing an unknown amount of bravery, the timid little bard tied a rope around herself and gave it to the fighter and the barbarian, and leaped down into the hole to rescue her rogue friend.
Making it down there safely, she tied up the halfling, and called out for assistance in raising her body. Reacting instantly, Senten literally pulls on the rope hard enough for the pair to fly up into the air, to be caught by their companions. Afterwards, they commenced their attack on the two dread guards, giving cover for the bard to heal the rogue. The fight ended seconds later, when the two constructs fell down into the pit below. After placing a ladder across, that Thokk carried, they climbed across and found something…interesting.
On the other side of the pit, and a little curve later, they found a room, filled with tables, along with a few book shelves and a small altar dedicated to [[St. Cuthbert]]. On the tables, the group found multiple maps, of Haddix, of the surrounding region, and a hand drawn map of Knight’s Camp, with arrows drawn in of some sort of invasion plan, as well as a small journal with “Sanguis” penciled in.
The bard, with some knowledge of dealing with codes, found out what the book actually said, including how Sanguis and another spirit “found suitable hosts” and “disposed of the local leader”, and how they were going to “exact their longforsaken revenge.”
Cora, curious about the altar, decided to investigate the alcove that it was in. Nothing noteworthy, besides a few ancient bloodstains, and layers upon layers of dust. In fact, dust layers everything, from the tables, to the flagstone floors, to the altar, actually just about the only things not covered in dirt are the bookcases, the journal, and the where the party stepped as they searched the room. Realizing the significance of this, Thokk and Senten each moved a book case, eventually finding a double door behind a double bookcase.
This double door is much weaker than the ones on the entrance, and much newer. Inside, is a large room, completely featureless except for one thing: four stone coffins resting in the middle of the room, two of which have been opened. Splitting the team up, with the bard by the door on watch, Thokk and Senten investigating the two open coffins, and Cora skulking around in the shadows.
Thokk, opening one up even farther, found scratch marks along the inside of the sarcophagus, like something was inside of it and was alive. Although now, all that is inside is barely a skeleton, but mostly dust. Suddenly, out of nowhere a voice rang out from behind them, and into the darkness.
There, in shadows at the edge of their torchlight, stand Falcus and Caius, with both their eyes glowing red, and their hair rising up into the air. Speaking together, like some infernal chant, they gave one last warning to the group: their deaths will fill the Resurrection of their two brothers. And with that, they stepped into each other, and their bodies morphed and twisted around each other until they were one single, red, pulsating mass. Then, the mass formed into the shape of a large, red man, about seven feet tall, and completely furious.
The ensuing battle was fierce, bloody, and brutal. Drawing attention to himself, Thokk ended up getting knocked unconscious while distracting the bloodhulk for a few critical shots by Cora. Eventually, Senten landed a good blow against the brute, directing its attention on him and away from his two weaker counterparts. A furious duel took place, where blow was exchanged with blow, giving Cora enough time to run over to the unconscious Thokk and revive him. Shortly afterwards, he plunged himself back into the fray.
Finally, after a long and drawn out fight, Senten finally gets around to the nightmare’s back, knocked it on its knees, and put his sword to its neck. Heaving backwards, and with a sick popping sound, the head flies into the air and into one of the opened coffins. Realizing the need to seal the area up, the scrounged around the prior room for any sort of alchemical device they could use, finally founding a small jar with black liquid inside. Pouring it all over archway and door frame, and leaving the rest stacked next to it. Then, using their torch, they lit the stream and boom. No more access to the coffins.
Realizing the need to rest up and heal their wounds, the group flees back to the Tamed Beast and rent out the common room, setting up and falling asleep there. After a quick conversation with Thamior and the general store manager, Parker, they found out that the Knights swooped in on the town while the party was out, using them as bait to get the two leaders of the revolution away from their forces, to make it almost effortless to subjugate the rest of the population.
Heading back out, they realized that the second half of the dungeon, which felt nowhere near as big as the first half they visited, was much less strenuous. Sure the party members had to figure how to get Corra, the small little halfling, across a chasm to get a chest filled with gold and a shield (COUGH COUGH COULD BE MAGICAL) and again when she had to cross back. Both times, she fell and hit the side of the wall, the first time using a grapple hook as a piton and digging her way into the rock face, and the second time (after a utterly failed leap) requiring the help of the two friends at the top. All that was left inside the rest of the dungeon was a small barracks covered in dust.
At the end of the day, the four finally returned to the town with no intent of ever coming back to the mine. Following instructions, they found Waltin Mayler organizing the reconstruction of the town and told him of their exploits and grand duel with the revolutionary leaders. Trying to reward them, Mayler offered the group a small chest filled with platinum pieces, cobbled together by the wealth of the noble knights. After much debate, and mutual agreement, the party decided that the wealth should instead go to the town, to help them recuperate and reach the prime of its time. Maybe opening a new mine, establishing a caravan route with Freton, or the like. Either way, it will help in the long run.
Insistent that they should accept some sort of reward, Mayler offered a large tract of land that the old mayor bought to create a small villa for himself. Thinking of creating a grand fortress eventually, they accepted the agreement and told the Knight that something “evil” was in those ruins, and must never be unearthed again. Taking their advice he posted somebody at the mine entrance until it could be sealed. Permanently.
Then, with everything in order, the adventurers set back off.