The Thin Man

The Weeping God

Wednesday, 15th June 1498 – Night

The first chamber we encounter when we proceeded deeper into the caverns turned out to be a trap. Water flooded the caves and Zamas was drowned by sinuous, thirsting leeches. An unfortunate end for our new companion but we were able to entomb his lifeless body in one of the sarcophagi that had been broken open. At least he may have some rest here.

We seemed to not be the only ones who were lost in the maze however as a druid named Shanae arrived to assists us against the leeches. She seems far from home and the implication of her arrival is staggering. This infernal maze must stretch for miles in all directions, or else all space is meaningless to it. 

Continuing onwards, we found a mercenary named Leera who had fallen foul of one of the malicious traps in this place and had been left for dead. I advised caution, as she was clearly one of Xeron's flunkies, but Guillaume was down that pit like a shot to pour one of our precious potions down her throat. One might think he had taken a liking to he looks! We convinced her that we were working with Xeron, using a contract taken from the earlier encountered goblins, and that she was best of staying with us as the way back would be treacherous.  She didn't much seem to care for Xeron so we planned to have her assist us in dispatching him. In return she would gain a measure of payment and revenge for her fallen friend who had not been so lucky!

It seemed that Xeron's group were taking casualties too, and at a rapid pace. Every room we pass through seems to have more horrors to fight through as well as a number of corpses of the large goblin creatures. It definitely seemed like they were rushing through without care for their own. Construct creatures with wicked blades and broods of spiders fell to our swords and magic however as we methodically wound our way through the tombs. Even the Fey who dwelled here chose not to trouble us.

Leera's company proved helpful however. Her knowledge of the history of this place, and her skills in dungeoneering are clearly the reason she was hired and we were able to use her presence to convince more of the goblins to let us pass. Enough confidence and bluster will get you anywhere!

At last we arrived at the final rooms of the complex. Magical, moving pictures depicted key points in the life and death of Hasdrubal. For the first time we seem him as he would have looked when alive – an imposing figure with blonde hair and brandishing a mighty black sword. He is joined in the images by his presumed wife – a sorceress queen with flame-red hair wielding the power of lightning. They are joined by a character we have dubbed the Betrayer – a raven-haired general with two curved swords. We see them defeat some evil beast with great eyes and mouth before the Betrayer cuts Hasdrubal down as the Queen lies mortally wounded. 

Unfortunately, the Betrayer was still inhabiting this place. We found a black-haired man sitting on a golden throne not long after and we tried to reason with him, to learn from him. What Guillaume said must have angered however as he leapt to attack! The glamor faded from his form and revealed the truth – a broken, corpse of a man on a stone throne and a crown of rust. He dealt a vicious blow to Lydia, who barely survived and near pinned me into a corner! It is only by the narrowest of margins, and with the help of the others that we were able to defeat him. Guillaume and Lydia took his swords and goods as recompense, although I cautioned against this action.

Finally we came to Xeron himself. With only a single follower remaining, the rest sacrificed to make it this far, he was in the tomb of Hasdrubal, the Queen and their faithful retainers (an elven lady with a green cloak and ivory bow and another tall human with black hair and a salt-and-pepper beard). We backed them into a corner where Xeron revealed his true form as some scaled creature whilst Lydia sowed confusion with her magics until Xeron was left begging for his life. His lies found no purchase in our ears however and Lydia and Leera disabled him using their sorcery before Guillaume ended the fiend.

A tunnel extended further down, although to an unknown destination, but we were too exhausted to continue. We chose to spend the night in this space to regain our strength.

Thursday, 16th June 1498 – Morning

We attempted to make good on our promise to the water guardian, but Guillaume insisted on taking Hasdrubal's black sword from the tomb rather than return it to its rightful place, despite my protests. I warned him that it will be his responsibility if it comes to answering to the guardian.

We returned back through the caverns without incident, making notes about the structure of this place as we went. In particular we found a recurring motif of a Sword, Scroll and Passage. 

The presumption is that the Sword is the black blade we now had with us and that the Scroll may be the original of the text we now have inscribed in the crocodile-skin book, but the Passage eludes us. 

As we came to finally exit and return to Kingsholme, things took a turn for the worse.

The water guardian was not pleased with an artifact such as the sword being taken from the tombs, and it was contradictory to our agreement, but Guillaume was convinced that it was not safe here. Much discussion was had, but eventually Guillaume decided that a test of might would be the only fair way to determine where it would be best kept. It was certainly an epic combat and Guillaume emerged victorious, although seeming quite drained from the ordeal.

Then the black sword which he was using came to life. It whispered evil things to him, was covered in flame and refused to be sheathed. It called itself the the Weeping God and bade Guillaume to slay more people on the surface. I have never seen such power! Clearly this is an evil thing that should never have been unleashed. After several minutes its power disspiates and it returns to its original, unsuspecting form. 

We should have left it back in the tomb, beyond the maze, but Guillaume was like a man possessed. He would not be reasoned with and I fear he'd have struck me down like he did the elemental had I insisted. Lydia clutched her ill-gotten coins tightly and I fear they've both been corrupted by the lure of money and power. Have they so easily forgotten our noble purpose?

We sit back at Kingsholme now, but there is a great unease. The weight of what we've seen and what Guillaume carries hangs over us and I fear it will tear us apart. The power of such a blade is too much for any man to handle and will be coveted by all who seek power – and I doubt many seek power than the royalty of this land or their night orders. They should not be trusted. The sword should have remained forgotten…

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Making Friends

Wednesday, 15th June 1498 – Evening

We couldn't tarry long in Kingsholme for fear that by the time we returned to the tombs the perpetrators will have made their escape already. Whilst we no-doubt inconvenienced them, they seem well prepared and we had no doubt that they could escape if they put their minds to it.

As we were about to leave, laden with fresh supplies graciously given to us by the locals, a suspicious (he didn't have a hat!) Gnome named Zamas called for our attention. He explained that he'd followed us from the Acadamie in search of 'adventure' and to practice his crafts. We decided to take up his offer of joining us as more swords are always welcome but warned up that this was not a jolly expedition and we could not guarantee his safety. How prophetic our words were to be…

Upon returning to the tombs we quickly lowered the rope ladders again and descended into a vast chamber with pillars acting as a series of platforms to the far end. We crossed without much incident – except for one fleshy creature that tried to attack us but was swatted out of the air by Lydia's magics. The rough, unworked walls in the chamber suggest that the decent we made was to another, possibly older, part of the tomb complex.  Does this place have no end?

Beyond that cavern was possibly the greatest surprise we could have imagined. A grand room with a table, chairs and place settings all ornately carved out of obsidian! There were three exits, one of which was fiendishly trapped. Some careful searching revealed boot-prints and scuff-marks near one of the exits so we proceeded in that direction. 

From here, every room became stranger and stranger and it was soon clear that we were trapped in a labyrinth of some kind. The entire area was cloaked in powerful, impenetrable magic and there was nothing for us to do but proceed onwards in the hopes that we'd stumble upon the exit before the creatures inhabiting this place wore us down. 

After some time we were greeted by a creature that claimed to be a Hound Archon which lead us to the exit. It mentioned something about us being watched and to "look at the shields" but was evasive when asked about who had sent it or why.

I have no reason to believe that it was anything but another illusion created by the maze…. 

Still, the area it lead us to seemed safe enough and we are taking the opportunity to rest before venturing onwards. I have a feeling that things will not be getting easier.

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The Plot Thickens

Wednesday, 15th June 1498 – Afternoon

Well, we survived the night. Good thing too as I dosed off during my shift and would have had a lot of explaining to do in the afterlife!

I took the opportunity to climb back out of the tomb to take stock of our surroundings and to get our bearings. The statue that was standing solemnly at the top was none other than Hasdrubal himself – the four-pointed crown giving him away! I took a look around the abandoned campsite too, but there wasn't much to see.

Just as I was heading back though I was ambushed by a snake of leviathan proportions! It almost managed to loop a coil around me before I slipped free and made it back down the tunnel! We went back up to look for it, but there wasn't so much as a trace of it, magical or mundane. We warned Tyrer that it was too dangerous to leave now and that she should stay with us.

Exploring on, we came across a continuation of the river that Guillaume fell into before, this time inhabited by an elemental of water. It seems it was a guardian of this place and had dispatched two goblins, who were carrying a number of the strange coins we found before. We agreed to help clear the tomb of intruders in exchange for safe passage. Guillaume certainly has a silver tongue or maybe the elemental could sense his noble blood and deemed him trustworthy?

Further on we encountered more of the animated dead, but made quick work of them. These slow, ungainly creatures are easily dismantled and have a rather bad reaction to my alchemical compounds. We trapped their Wererat accomplice in an antechamber but let him take his chances with the water elemental in exchange for information. We now knew that we were dealing with a foe named 'Xuron', believed to be a powerful necromancer.

I do hope the rat made it out, we've all made foolish decisions for money but such follies are` rarely worth someone's life.

The room we'd fought in contained a number of sarcophagi, clearly in the middle of being broken up and looted, but we left everything as-is. Our agreement with the elemental forbade us from taking anything from the tombs, not that grave robbing was an appealing thought anyway.

Journeying on it became clear that whoever had broken in was intending to strip the tombs and resurrect the dead as guards whilst they work. We came across a hobgoblin further in the tunnels, protected by a further four animated skeletons, but put him to the sword at Tyrer's request when he refused to answer our questions. The grave-goods he was carrying will be returned to the rightful places once all this is over. 

The journey onwards looked to be more hazardous yet. A rope ladder leading from the hobgoblin's room down another fifty feet into darkness appeared to be the way to proceed, but low on food and supplies we were in no position to continue. Tyrer was looking exhausted too, poor girl, and we had no intention of subjecting her to yet more trauma.

So we pulled up the rope ladder leading downwards and left the tomb, sabotaging the bridge leading back and pulling up the ladder to the surface too. The hope was that this would inconvenience anyone trying to leave for long enough to allow us time to return.

So now we sit back in at the inn at Kingsholme, taking a drink of beer and some food before heading back out. Tyrer's been reunited with her steward and will hopefully be able to put all this behind her for now.

We can't do the same though, very soon it'll be time to head back and find out what other horrors await us in Hasdrubal's tomb.

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The Littlest Tomb of Horrors

Tuesday, 14th June 1498 – Late Evening

Okay, "another half hour" was a probably optimistic estimate of how little time we'd be staying in this hellhole…

After a bit of bickering we finally convinced Guillaume to see sense and and agree to take Tyrer Yurling with us. Understandably she wasn't happy with this but she'll thank and forgive us when she gets to grow old because she isn't dead. This also lets us keep an eye on her because, frankly, anyone that needs to be locked away so securely must present some kind of danger.

We sealed up the remaining bodies in the alcove that we found Tyrer in, just in case any of them decided to go for a posthumous jaunt, and explored further into the mausoleum. The first place to look was behind an ornately carved door, just past the stupid-wasp-room, which had an image of a beholder on it and a number of symbols around the outside. The room itself had a central 'eye' and three antechambers which shared these same symbols.

Whilst Lydia and Guillaume picked the pockets of an unusually large and ugly looking goblin I rearranged the symbols in the room to match those on the door and found a hidden ladder leading below! So much for getting out of here quickly. At the bottom of the ladder we were ambushed by a skeletal wolf and four skeleton guards. The latter weren't much of a problem though as Lydia greased up the stairs we were standing at the top of and we just knocked them back down as they tried to stagger up towards us.

This all raises more questions though. Why are there four, armed skeletons (and a wolf) just waiting around guarding this place, because it doesn't seem to be something the Yurlings would do. No, there's definitely something darker, or at least much older, at work here. Tyrer tried to run off at one point, but fortunately Lydia's crow – Corbin – was watching her and raised the alarm. She's the reason we're down here and there's no way we can let her get herself into trouble.

Beyond the skeletons was another door leading to a rickety looking bridge spanning a largely unworked corridor. Guillaume gallantly charged across the bridge and then gallantly fell into the chest deep murk below when the bridge inevitably collapsed. Frankly, I wasn't in a position to drop down and fish him out so it's a good thing that he gallantly diced up some amorphous creature that was stuck down there with him too. After effecting some makeshift repairs on the bridge, we were able to cross.

The room at the end contained two doorways, the left one leading to a vicious and well concealed trap that I was fortunately able to disable but only at detriment to myself. Inside was a bizarre creature, which we have dubbed the 'bird-eater' that almost consumed Corbin before it was put down by a series of magical and mundane bolts from Lydia. A rope ladder in the room lead almost sixty feet straight upwards with a strange looking statue and the remnants of a campsite outside.

The room behind the door on the right housed three more of the oversized goblin creatures. One was clearly undead and shrugged off our blows but two others were still quick and all the more dangerous for that fact! We were pushed back into the doorway, wounded and staggered when Lydia decided to unleash her magics, stunning Guillaume and both the living goblins. I beat one to death with a chamber pot and Guillaume ended the other with his dagger once he recovered.

Could it have been these creatures that had made camp above and dug a hole for the rope ladder? Why were they guarded by their undead companion? Was the bird-eater working with them? There are too many questions and too much uncertainty….

So now we wait here, tired and hungry. The goblins had straw piles to sleep on which make passable beds for those weary enough, so we secured the room and ate what little was left of our rations before collapsing. If anything comes in the night I'm not convinced that we'd be able to hold it off, may the Gods watch over us.

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A series of poor decisions...

Tuesday, 14th June 1498

This whole thing was a stupid idea. We aren't even getting paid!

Here we are, in a stupid, cold, dark crypt with stupid undead and stupid mechanical wasps with a stupid plan. It's cold, we're hungry, we're tired and we're arguing. At least we found the girl I guess? 

I should probably write down how we got here in case anyone finds this diary on my zombie/wolf-chewn corpse…

We finally made it to Kingsholme after three days of traveling and had picked up some items from a goblin tinker (wonders never cease) named Grobnar which have rather dubious functionality. In particular a rather tatty, but supposedly magical, pair of gloves that seem to give you every disease that it looks like they ought to. Hard to say if that's actually magic really, but it might be worth something to someone. Probably stupid decision number one.

When we arrived at The Royal Oak inn to have some proper lunch we were greeted with a great commotion. It looked like half the hamlet was there! We were mistaken for mercenaries when we arrived, so I guess we are putting on an intimidating look, which is nice, although I was disappointed that nobody recognised one of the Heroes of Sandpoint.

The innkeeper, Ian Turbrand, and a priest, Hergon Piedmont, sat us down with a plea for help as a number of locals, including most of the local noble family had gone missing in the local graveyard. The one tended to by Piedmont it's worth mentioning. We agreed to go take a look around that night (stupid decision number two), but at least we had time to wolf down some food and beer first. 

Naturally the graveyard wasn't nearly as quiet as we liked. A group of three wolves were eating the remains of a couple of the Yurling's retainers but I chased two of them off with a firebomb and clubbed the last one over the head with a rock – with some help from Guillaume. That great beast of his doesn't half move quick!

We decided to scout out the mausoleum from which blood trails lead to the two retainers (stupid decision number three). Most of the remaining Yurlings (Gunar, Desiree, Moran and Gunar's Brother as well as another retainer) were down there, dead as can be, laid out on stone slabs. Pretty darn creepy, but not half as creepy as when two of them sat up and started attacking us! Fortunately Guillaume is pretty handy with that sword of his and made short work of them.

Then we set about exploring the rest of the place. Guillaume got to work wrenching some metal pitons out of a great slab of door behind which we could hear muffled shouting while I went to go take a look around. What do I find? A stupid room with four stupid mechanical wasp things in it that try to kill me as soon as I walk in to take a look around. Stupid decision number three.

This place sucks.

I managed to stuff one of them in a bag and wrap it up with rope before locking the door behind me. I put the wrapped up one in a sarcophagus for safe keeping as it kept trying to tear its way out of the bag and left the rest behind. Good riddance to them. Maybe I can sell the one I caught so at least something good comes out of this pit.

Guillaume eventually gets the door he was working on open and inside is none other than the last Yurling – a young girl named Tyrer. She's understandably in quite a state so we give her some food and water and Lydia sits with her for a bit whilst we work out what to do next. It does occur to me that it's pretty strange to so reinforce a door just to trap a small girl though. Why would they even keep her alive? It's all pretty suspicious and now Guillaume wants to wait behind, with all manner of unsavoury creatures potentially still lurking whilst we run the girl back to town. Pure foolishness! The last thing I want to do is fight a zombie wearing plate-mail when I get back!

So here we are, arguing about what the least stupid decision out of all the possible stupid decisions we could make is. Hopefully he'll come to his senses and realise we need to all carry on together. The girl has been here two days already and another half hour won't kill her.

We'd better be known as the Heroes of Kingholme after this…

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Our Investigations Begin

Friday, 10th June 1498 – Morning

After a day of inaction with regards the murderous furniture at the Acadamae, we decided to take matters into our own hands and take the matter to the watch. We didn't expect any justice from the mages at the Acadamae themselves and we, or another innocent bystander, might have been killed!

Sergeant Maastricht agreed to take on our case, but he seems reluctant to deal with the magic users of the Acadamae in any way, preferring to leave them to their own devices. After hearing our concern he said that a message will be sent to us if anything comes of the investigation however.

I doubt we'll hear from him.

We then gathered supplies for our journey back to the Monach Estate. Pierre helped me acquire a dog, a mutt we've named Bandit that I'm not convinced won't try and eat me given half a chance, and we met with Lydia and Jean-Luc before heading on.

Friday, 10th June 1498 – Afternoon

We arrived at the Estate without incident and let Jean-Luc loose on Lysienne Monachs study. I have never seen someone's eyes go so wide so quickly!

The Cat arrived, inevitably, but this time we were prepared for it and Lydia Starshine bound it into a chalk pattern. I won't pretend to understand how this worked, but I wasn't about to complain. Imagine being trapped by something so minor as a drawn line, how sad. Ha!

Finally left in peace we left to explore the manor. The place must have been quite grand back in the day – well furnished and lively. The ballroom in particular would have been a thing of beauty, surrounded by mirrors and full of laughter. It lies empty with broken panes on the wall now. A shame that this fate would befall a beautiful home over a trivial matter of family! Humans certainly are strange in some ways.

 A cry from Jean-Luc bought us back to the study as he had found the, in hindsight rather obvious, answer to Lysienne's clue. Merely stroking the hand of an engraving of Horus allowed the stone block it was carved into to move, revealing a secret room!

The room was full of artefacts, notebooks, diaries and a rather conspicuous pair of sarcophagi. We had been looking for the remains of a cat, at Lydia's suggestion and the smaller of the two looked like a good candidate. We took it upstairs to show Jean-Luc only to realise that the cat was loose!

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Crimes against Archaeology

Friday, 10th June 1498 – Late Afternoon

Well, we did it. The Cat was destroyed. It's remains were deposited in the fireplace, after many of Guillaume's feeble attempts to smash open the sarcophagus it was in, and I lit it with alchemical fire. The opalescent, incorporeal form of the animal faded from sight also. 

Our celebrations were not long lived however as the sound of lacquer being smashed was heard from the hidden room! Jean-Luc sent up a warning and once he was clear I sealed the room using the Hand of Horus whilst we formulated a plan.

Between Lydia and myself we had enough knowledge, or at least had heard enough rumours, to suggest that this thing might be a mummy and that it might be vulnerable to fire. It was Guillaume who came up with a plan to defeat it however. We lured it into a flaming trap in the kitchens and let it burn to ashes before dismembering and burying the remains. 

With the expectation that nothing else would bother us, we continued to search the hidden room. There were a vast amount of items there, all appearing to be genuine. Thousands of shillings in fact! Enough for many men to retire from.

We collected a number of smaller artefacts to take back with us to the Acadamae, as well as a number of notebooks – one of which contained invoices for work on the so-called [[Leyline Mill]s outside under the name of Ifig Loriquer, a carpenter in Vannes. 

After storing the most valuable items from the study behind the Hand we decided to settle in for the night in the now peaceful rooms with a few good bottles of wine. A well deserved reward.

Saturday, 11th June 1498

After an easy ride back to town we took breakfast at the Red Trumpet and I spent the day exploring the markets. 

Sunday, 12th June 1498

With plenty of time to spare until Professor Blanchard-McGonagall finishes, or even starts, her translation of the Dragons Book we decide to take an excursion to Kingsholme. As what is supposedly the resting place of Hasdrubal the Fair, it may give us some clue as to what Black Fang was after.

Guillaume invited Lydia Starshine to join us, in exchange for a half-share of our profits, but I rather suspect he had ulterior motives. The fine shade of red he turned when i questioned him rather betrayed his normally calm demeanor. 

Imagine having to display such emotion so uncontrollably – what a blessing having fur is

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Monsieur Vaans and the Cat

Wednesday, 8th June 1498 – Morning

We started our journey to decipher the Dragons Book this morning.

Guillaume was contacted by Monsieur Vaan whilst waiting for me at the Rusty Dragon. Vaan asked us to take a delivery of 500 shillings to Linna Montrovale at the Acadamae in Vannes and bring back some book in return. He believed that her life was in danger and suggested that this money would be used to fund her retirement somewhere safe. We quizzed him about the origin of these funds and about the book itself, but it all seemed legitimate. 

I think he was quite taken aback by our strict questioning, it seems that my run-in with Bledic has shaken my trust more than I expected.

No payment was given to us for this job, but it would be helpful to have someone of influence owe us a favour in the future, and we planned to go to the Acadamae anyway, so we agreed to the task.

 

On the way we decided to stop by the Monach Estate, Guillaume's family home and where his Aunt Lysienne Monach lived before her death. It was roughly in the right direction so it wouldn't be much of a detour and he wanted to check in there. Something about leylines I think?

There were all kinds of strange structures erected around the estate which were all in disrepair and had an unknown purpose. Most unusual and nothing like what I had seen before!

The manor itself had clearly seen better days, having been unoccupied for the better part of two decades. The cellar had been well kept however and i managed to find a few decent vintages to ease the rest of the journey. Riding these damned beasts ll day is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst!

We later discovered though that the manor was not quite as empty as we had believed! There was some kind of Cat residing there which looked positively ethereal. Despite my usual disdain for such creatures, and their's for me, it seemed to draw me to it in a quite peculiar way. I can't say for sure what happened in the aftermath of first seeing it, but I came to some minutes later outside the mansion, standing on the corpse of some poor, starved fellow, attempting to repair one of the strange contraptions with a femur! 

Guillaume confided in me the contents of his Aunt's letter, as well as a little more of his family history, and we left in a hurry while planning to return and deal with that wretched feline. We were accosted on the way by a crowd of farmers – but it seems their only interest was not having their livelihoods disrupted by a return of nobility to the manor. No doubt they wished to continue avoiding the payment of any taxes due! We reasoned with them and they let us pass without incident thankfully.

 

 

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Linna Montrovale and the Mimic

Wednesday, 8th June 1498 – Afternoon

The remainder of our journey to Vannes was uneventful. Upon arrival at the Acadamae we rushed straight to meet Linna Montrovale as, although we weren't imminently fearing for her life, we did not much care for the responsibility of carrying around this much of someone else's wealth!

When we arrived at her classroom it was to find Linna in a pool of her own blood at the front of the room! Fortunately we had arrived in time and using what precious little magic there was left in our wand were able to revive her. 

What we didn't know was that her assailant was still in the room with us – a Mimic disguised as a lectern! the Mimic attacked, no doubt instructed to kill anyone entering the room, but we dispatched it by all but hacking it to pieces. I was lucky to not escape more serious injury as it seemed to exude a sticky mucus from its entire body which trapped anything that made contact!

Linna quickly thanked us, exchanged the book for the shillings we were carrying and departed in a hurry. I hope for her sake that she made it away safely! 

Many students and professors were drawn to the sound of the scuffle and the Mimic was quickly taken away for examination (and parts, no doubt), although we couldn't tell by whom. The person who placed it may even have been there in the room with us and we'd never have known. Would such a person take revenge on us for meddling? There seemed to be accusations leveled at a professor known as Balthazar McGoateeface – an alias, no doubt – but nothing could be immediately proven.

We spent the rest of the night in a local tavern, noting that Linna was conspicuously absent from people's conversations, trying to make contacts to help us with queries about the Monach Estate and the Cat which haunted the place. 

We believe that Lydia Starshine and [[Jean-Luc Duchamp]] may be interested in helping us with our investigations.

Thursday, 9th June 1498 

Today was a quiet day. I took some time to tend my wounds, fix my clothes and recover with a bath and a hot meal before meeting with some of the Professors in the afternoon.

We spoke to Professor Blanchard-McGonagall about the Dragons Book and they confirmed that it contained a powerful, early-Carthaginian binding ritual used for Outsiders or Deamons and that it was likely initially written by Hasdrubal, although ours was merely a copy.

We also discussed the issue of the Cat with Professor Plume and are planning to have a binding performed on the creature upon our return!

It will be caught like a cat in a trap! Ha ha ha!

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