Ghost Wolves

True death

The undead of Aerne appear to be quite different than the ancestral Komori spirits, not to mention the lack of respect that seems to be accorded to their dead, rather than setting them to rest anywhere sacred they seem to view the corpses of their fallen ancestor as detritus to be cleared from the path of progress.

This said, their protection of their own lives borders on fanatical without any regard to the knowledge that might be used to combat the very threats they are so afraid of, as we delve back into the mines we have agreed to clear, we have discovered instance after instance of knowledge wasted, a library burned and the lab we believed to belong to the necromancer we have vanquished destroyed without a thought given to the tortured souls left in cells for hundreds of years, filled with rage and devoid of understanding, trapped on our mortal plane.

Vorseveris Arn, the perpetrator of these horrific soul bindings is called Vorseveris Arn, he was what appeared to be a warlord risen from the ashes of the dal riada, Legends tell of his evil and brutality, and lead me to believe that those who trapped him here were simply to weak to cleanse this place of its evil; no matter, we will finish the task that they had started with extreme prejudice.

Laurelyth tells me that the life of a tortured soul is less than a pleasant one, filled with naught but pain and revenge, Perhaps the original creators of this place had intended this pain for all who dwelled within.

—Beneki

View
Excerpt from Ambrose's Journal
Necromancer? I barely know her!

It wasn’t easy, but we managed to get back to camp and rest up. I swear half the battle of getting better was getting Ben to hold still long enough to do some good. He is so full of spirit… heh, well at least his sword is. I’ll have to remember that one…
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Desario is going anywhere. I guess he too had contracted the slimy doom, but I guess it was late to set on because he doesn’t work very hard. Oh well, we could really use him down there, but I’d rather have him not die.
Before we left I conferred with Bran to see if we could do anything to increase our odds against such foes. We put our heads together and came up with a few ways to detect and protect against the undead.

It wasn’t long after we re-entered the lair, that we found out why this place is so full of undead. It looks to be a long-forgotten Necromancer’s lab. Not far from the lab we could hear the strained moans that can only mean one thing… zombies.

The cells of this…prison are full of all sorts of unfortunate souls. I can see now that these are no ordinary zombies. Something is off about them in the worst sort of way. We managed to get at them without much reciprocation, fortunately.

I couldn’t believe it hadn’t I seen it. Some sort of evil armor was animated by the malevolence of this place. It was enormous, almost as if that suit was built specifically to hold such evil spirits. I’m just glad that I was trained to fight this sort of thing. Were it not for the ability to call forth the positive energy of the light I don’t think we’d be alive for anyone to read this. Hmmm. I don’t like the idea of my journal being some treasure of bauble to be found hundreds of years later by some other hapless adventurers. We have to survive!

We’ve made it to the end. I think. Let’s see what await us down in that sarcophagus…
I was right, that was the end… almost. The Necromancer had been sealed away by the combined forces of some ancient heroes and we almost let him out. Fortunately we were mighty enough to put a final end to him. As much as I was reticent to disturb what had been so carefully sealed away, I’m glad that we were able to make the seal obsolete. Perhaps the souls of those who worked so hard can rest a little easier now that we have vanquished that which they could not.

View
The Doom of Varsevis Arn

We returned to the mines, this time intent on being prepared for the horrors within. I brought a candle that will alert us of any malicious spirits, and Ambrose and Ben prepared all of their undead repelling and healing spells. Hopefully this time we would not be caught unaware.

This must be some sort of underground lair, or castle. We found rooms with manacles and cells that contained the skeletons and undead remains of the people who died there. We found living chambers, but the furniture within was old and destroyed by time and rot; there was nothing salvageable. Behind one door we found the sad remains of a large and exquisite library. The shelves were burned and all of the books completely destroyed. A terrible waste…

In one room we found a destroyed alchemical lab. Ambrose inspected it closer and deemed the devices and ingredients to be more nefarious than just alchemy: this was the lab of a necromancer. And confirming his suspicions we found another door covered in arcane symbols that warned any readers that trapped behind this door is the necromancer Vorsevis Arn. The tales of his foul deeds have spread far and wide. Now we know, to ward off the evil in this place we will have to lay to rest his despicable soul.

Though the sealed door was unyielding to my attempts to break the lock, we had noticed a large pillared hall that we saw while looking down from the second level. Inside we saw a sarcophagus that could only have held Varsevis’ body. The stronger members of the group climbed down to meet the horrible witch in battle, while Ambrose and I kept watch from the bridge. Though his magic and strength were beyond any we have heard of or encountered, we took him down at last.

As luck would have it, there was plenty of loot and fine things to be found in Varsevis’ old bedchamber and on his corpse as well. Many gold and platinum and some fine pieces of jewelry, weaponry, and tools. Some will fetch a pretty price in Colm, but others we have kept. It must be said, that despite the horrors we face, we are very well compensated for our troubles. Let us hope the miners will agree that our work is worth the price.

—Bran Harvish

View
We pass through the mines

It is dark in these mines but I am trying to be brave. The miners warned us that there were walking skeletons and strange writing on the walls so I did my best to keep my eyes wide open the entire time. Luckily for me, I saw the first group of animated skeletons coming for us and they were easily knocked down with the others blunt weapons. My fiery crossbow won’t deal much damage against the undead.

We found several doors with strange ornate locks on them, glowing with a blue light and carved with arcane magic. In one long room lined with pillars, the lock was marked with the symbol for holy light and a message that read, “The cold Undead shall not pass this seal.” And as if on cue, a shadow seeped out of the walls and fell upon us. I ran back to the seal, hoping to find a way to unlock it—but as I touched it there was a bright flash that destroyed the shadow and as my eyes adjusted to the dark, I suddenly realized that Zadok, Sarge and Subaka were nowhere to be found!

We must have been transported! The door with the seal is gone, so we must have made our way into a different room. Soon more shadows rushed in and in a few moments the others appeared as well. The healing spells that Sparrow and Ambrose shot at the Shadows soon made them dissipate, though our strength seemed to fail quickly. But we pressed on, and found the room that we had transported out of and passed through the sealed door…

A large room waited behind the door with several passages off. Sparrow and I split off to investigate one leading off the far side of the room and came to a set of stairs. At the top waited a huge skeleton, whose bones seemed to be made of black stone, with red eyes that burned from his skull. I felt all my remaining bravery drain away, and though I am ashamed to admit it, when I saw him move towards us, I ran as fast as I could, and hid until the skeleton lay in pieces on the floor.

This quest may be a little more than we can handle. We agreed as a group that we have to leave this mine for now. At least until we can regain our strength. My poor friend Sparrow can barely hold herself up and I am quite shaken. Perhaps after a day of rest above ground we can regroup and try again soon. Though at this point, I am growing weary of these underground adventures.

—Bran Harvish

View
Excerpt from Ambrose's Journal
Beyond a shadow of a doubt

I don’t really feel we’re welcome in this miner’s camp. I can see them casting wayward glances our way. We must look like quite a sight to them though. I can hardly imagine a more mismatched set than ourselves, but I guess that’s why we work so well together. We shore up each other’s weaknesses.

I guess the foreman had sent word to get a band of explorers down into their mines to clear out whatever horror they had found. I guess Dwarves aren’t the only ones who can dig too deep. Maybe they just had the misfortune of digging in the wrong spot. Either way we volunteered our services in exchange for the lion’s share of the loot that may be down there.

Our suspicions are confirmed. There is… something down here. There must be something worth something in here. it is sealed off better than anything I have ever seen. The magic is so strong, it is certainly beyond us. We may have to do some research to get in.

Ha! I almost forgot about Bran! Our moving research library. That little guy knows just about everything I think. He identified the script on the seal and translated for us: “By the light of Sarenrae, the cold undead shall pass this seal”

No sooner did he finish translating that a chill came across the room. The shadows themselves were grabbing at us, draining our life force away. It sure was a good thing that Sparrow and I can call forth the healing light of our faiths. It’s a rare opportunity to be more effective than Killja in a fight.

This gave us an idea. The best way to seal undead away was with positive energy, something an undead can never have access to. We focused our energies toward the seal, and it opened. Now let’s go see what treasures lie in wait…

We barely came back from that one! We were not prepared for the level of undead that was being sealed away. We need to head back and prepare for a crypt, not a stronghold. Fortunately I have plenty of ways of dealing with such things, I just need to know what I’m getting into.

View
Excerpt form Ambrose's Journal
Now that's what I call a sticky situation!

I’m not really itching to go back underground, but at least this time we’re more prepared. Mentally and physically. Surely there must be more to this keep than a simple bandit’s lair… it’s so finely constructed, but I’m troubled by how remote it is. Could it possibly be from Dal Readan times? It doesn’t seem that old. Another mystery for another time I suppose.

I’ve never found the undead anything, if not unsettling. It’s unfortunate that we happen to know whose corpse it was that was attacking us, and also that we managed to give a final rights to. I don’t know how much Laurelith can sense about the world around her in this form, but for her sake I hope not much. I would think it too much to bear.

Sometimes it’s all I can do to keep my allies alive, let alone dispatch whatever is un-mending them so quickly. I’ve heard tales of the “corpse slime” or the “ocher jelly.” Frankly I always thought it to be one of the many boogeymen to teach us to be good and stay away from graves. I was wrong. It was all too real. What was truly horrifying about it was how whenever we seemed to find a way to actually do damage to it, it would split into multiple. How do you kill what you cannot dent? Fortunately I remembered that I had picked up some alchemist fire and acid. Although not the most effective, it at least softened the stuff up for my allies. I don’t see Bran that active in fights, but the little guy manged to get the “killing” blow on the ooze. Way to go Bran!

It would seem that we have accomplished as much as we can at the keep and Greenbriar, so we’ve decided that since we’re so close and so provisioned we should pursue the triangle. It’s not too far from here, but not specific where it is. It looks like we need to visit the mountains to learn more…

View
To the Mountains

Onward once more to another adventure!

We have decided to pursue the “Seeing Stone” that Copperpot mentioned in his diaries. As the mountains were so close to Greenbriar we decided to take advantage of Zadok’s mule train and carry the various lootings we found among the ruins of the Briarstone Keep until we returned once again to Crumple and Colm. The locals have heard tale of a Seeing Stone atop one of the mountains beyond the forest but can’t say which mountain it is. I hope we won’t have to check every one…

Our newest destination is the Crag Break Mine. Reve Thorsen tells us we may find more information about the mountains from the miners. So off we went, following the Greenwash Creek to the foothills of the Teeth. Our travels were not so uneventful as they normally are.

Our second night away from Greenbriar we were awoken by a group of Orcs storming our camp. They were dealt with quickly enough and the rest of that night passed uneventfully. The next night however proved almost deadly, as Sparrow, Zadok and Ambrose fell ill of a horrible disease that I believe to be the Slimy Doom. By the next day Ben had fallen ill as well, and he and Ambroke took nearly 5 days to recover their strength. So it took us more than a week to reach the mines, but here we are at last.

Upon arriving we met a miner who told us he’s had some trouble in the mines as of late. One of the shafts has had to be shut off as they had dug too deep and disturbed some trouble beneath. Of course we can’t leave a challenge like that alone! We’ll rest in the barracks tonight. It may be the last time we have a roof over our heads and ale in our bellies for a long time.

—Bran Harvish

View
Beneath the Keep

We found a hidden door beneath the Keep and opened it, revealing a narrow passage with doors on each side, and a set of steps leading down. We followed the steps (there’s always time for looting after a battle after all) and found ourselves in a large room with arches up to the ceiling. At the far end of the room I saw the skeletal remains of a man laid upon an altar. Ben ran up to him and spoke for Laurelyth: this was her lost love, Halford.

As Ben reached for the man to examine him more closely, suddenly a bony hand shot up and grabbed Ben’s throat! The others rushed past me to fight the undead creature off of him; I’m afraid I felt frozen into place by the memory of the animated skeletons Sparrow and I fought last summer in the dwarven monastery. I watched in horror as they bashed him into pieces. But as this was Laurelyth’s lover, he still deserved a proper burial. Ambrose spoke a few words and we left him his sword that we had recovered in the tower walls, and arranged his bones in a respectable position on the altar.

In the other rooms we found a few tokens of interest, among them, a locket that bears the name Harva Chernin. I told Ben that her name is remembered in the tale of the Bloody Bride, who slaughtered her husband and wedding party on the night of her arranged marriage. He has finally found all the names of the descendants of Laurelyth’s killers. I also found a switch that lifted a set of bars, revealing a dungeon. Inside was rotting straw and a hideous ochre jelly. We managed to split it into quite a few pieces before rendering it inert. I believe Zadok would have slipped it into his pocket if we hadn’t been watching him closely…

Our adventure at the Keep completed, we turn our faces back to Greenbriar to rest up and reconvene with Reve Thorsen. He was a pleasant man and though I do not believe he quite understands our lust for danger and excitement, he seems ready to dole out advice and knowledge, and perhaps he will be interested in our tale.

—Bran Harvish

View
Excerpt from Ambrose's Journal
Here we go Again!

We tracked down the lore of the Bandit King’s hideout to be just outside of a small town where the nightmares of what has happened at the keep seem to never end.

As far as we can tell the last activity in the area was about twenty years ago. The Reve of Greenbriar had apparently traveled to the keep to save his wife from a group of ne’er-do-wells that took to living in the ruin. He was ashen as soon as we mentioned that’s where we were heading.

We made sure to be cautious of anybody living in the keep as the reputation of the place leans toward the lawless. Zadok is not happy about leaving his Donkey trian behind.

Phew! It appears that there is another band of adventurers are out here looking for their own destiny. They are a welcoming lot, a rarity among adventurers. If only I had met us with these folks first… I probably wouldn’t have hada blade to my throat upon first Arrival! Ha ha ha!

Ben went off with the leader of the adventurers to get a tour. Hopefully he learns enough about the past of this place to be helpful. AND one of the lower ranks went with Zadok to help move his train to the pasture. What kind people!

Whoah! That was unexpected. I guess we were wrong about these people. When we thought that they were kind adventures wanting to share in kindred spirits, they were just thieves and brigands all along! At least we showed them what a REAL band of adventurers is all about. Land-Eater Style!

And if I sisn’t know any better, I would say that Kai was talking to me during that last fight. I guess we are just really getting into sync. Or have I become more in tune with the spirits of my ancestors?

View
Betrayal.

With what seemed sure to be the location of Briarstone keep my hopes rose as we left town for a way point known as Greenbriar from whence we would journey to Laurelyths former home. After a night of restless sleep in Greenbriar we set off towards the keep (Zadok crowing the virtues of his new mule train all the while).

upon arrival at the keep we decided to yell greetings to what seemed to be an fellow group of adventurers and were greeted with what seemed to be great warmth and hospitality “come drink with us” were the words of the starkly pale elf (whom I did not trust) and as we talked he offered to show me the keep after my continued questioning on the subject.

As We walked the staircase to the keeps tower his voice grew louder as if to silence the footsteps of someone above us, and as I listened I could still make out the heavy footsteps of someone. “Who is up there” I snarled just as i felt the bolt of his crossbow press into the small of my back…

“Come quietly” growled the stranger and as I resisted I felt his bolt tear into me and with a sick slowing of everything I realized I had been poisoned as my vision went black…

The sounds of battle awoke me from a sleep to deep to be natural and as I came to, I realized that battle must be my friends fighting for their lives and struggled fruitlessly. The poison finally cleared my system as Zadok tumbled in the room his form holding the same stranger immobile and as Bran untied me I was glad to see all of my compatriots alive and well, if a little scuffed.

My attempted Interrogation of the (albino)Drow proved fruitless, and as such I asked my companions to leave the room at which point I set to work preparing the rituals of the blood transcription through which I can learn the spells of a fallen enemy though it does require me to consume a pint of life blood. I asked once more If he knew anymore of the history of the keep and as he refused I set the spell in motion with the removal of his head. .

The keep itself was far more informative than the fool I decapitated for his insolence(no knowledge was gained through the ritual, disappointing.) with Laurelyths guidance we found many artifacts of her love and were given a solid foundation from which to begin the quest of avenging her restless spirit.…

—Beneki Oniwaka

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.