Eberron: Echoes of the Past

The Book Was Better

Sar, Lkarvion 26th, 998 YK into Sul, Llarvion 27th, 998 YK

Last time, the party continues deeper into the sub levels of the Sunless Citadel. Having disposed of some of the goblin residents, the party searches the area, coming upon a strange sight: a diseased giant rat is strapped down to a table. With the aid of a ritual, Civic determines that the concoction in a nearby vial is likely the source of the rat’s condition. Civic collects a sample from one of the rat’s many tumors before putting the creature out of its misery, as the rest of the party collects anything else of use in the area before continuing on into the next area.

They find themselves in a large area that seems to be used as some sort of farm. Luminous fungi clings to the ceilings and grows along the walls and floors. Their presence does no go unnoticed, and they are attacked by a furious female bugbear. They quickly dispatch the creature before moving into the northern-most room, finding it to be filled with a wide array of flora common to the Underdark, or Kyber. Finding nothing useful here, they move through the door to the southwest.

In the next room, they find a carved statue of a red dragon, with glowing eye sockets. It’s unfurled wings cast a large swath of darkness behind it, which they soon discover hides a shadow creature, which attacks the party recklessly. Unperturbed, the adventures quickly dispatch the shadow, turning their attentions to the statue and the strange circle of draconic glyphs in front of it. Reminded of the fountains they’d encountered before, Garl utters the draconic phrase aloud while standing within the circle and is bathed in spectral flame. The flame leaves him unharmed, but Garl does feel himself to be more eloquent as a result. When the same result fails to happen for Gishkaa, the bewildered party moves on.

Erky Timbers: So now what?
Quinton Greymane: Let’s just open doors until we find the boss around here.
Erky Timbers (shrugs): Sounds a bit reckless, but okay.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well, we could sit on our hands and wait for them to come to us.
Quinton Greymane: Well, let’s just be careful and watch out for anymore surprises. Seems like the further in we go, the more dangerous it gets.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, getting a bit tired of this nonsense.

As Gishkaa sets to working on the locked door to the north, Fenora stares up at the dragon statue, awesome by the size of the thing. She walks around the statue, taking in the scope of its size, and accidentally knocks loose a stone as she bumps against the wall in the tight area. Looking closer, she finds that the stone covered a small niche, in which she finds a couple of flasks and a small pouch of coins.

Fenora Finnley: Hey! Found some goodies!
Quinton Greymane: Oh, nice find!
Fenora Finnley (emerges from behind the statue, tossing one of the flasks to Garl): What do you think it is?
Fenora Finnley opens the pouch to count the loot, not waiting for an answer.
Garl Auraspeaker (shrugs): Seems like Civic’s department. <passes> What you think?
Fenora Finnley: 32…33…34! Not great, but not awful. Got a total of 34 gold pieces here.
Civic (looking at the flask’s contents closely): Looks like alchemist fire to me. It looks old. You can see the phosphorescence from the fungus used as an ignition source has lost some of its photonic qualities, but based on my reading that sparkle isn’t actually the quality needed for ignition and it is still viable for quite a long time.
Garl Auraspeaker: So it’ll still burn stuff. Got it.
Fenora Finnley (chuckles as she hands the other flask to Garl): I’ll let you hold onto this, then.
Garl Auraspeaker: Okay, sounds good.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (gesturing to the now unlocked door): You all done playing with fire? Can we move on?
Fenora Finnley (sheepishly): Sorry, Gishkaa.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: You’re fine, Fenora. That was directed at these two.
Gishkaa sighs and goes through the door, muttering in goblin under her breath, “Men are useless.”

Leaning and fallen stone bookshelves fill the next chamber, though a clear path connects wooden doors on opposite walls. Torn and burnt pages, bindings, and scrolls form disordered piles in the corners. Civic sees the crumbling bookshelves and runs in.

Quinton Greymane: Hmm. Looks like some sort of library?
Civic: Oh no. What’s happened to these poor things? Are any salvageable?
Fenora rolls her eyes.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, well we can take a look around.

The adventurers all enter the small chamber, making it even more cramped with the addition of so many bodies. They search the shelves carefully, moving debris out of the way where needed, trying to find anything worth saving. While much of the shelves’ contents crumbles at the slightest touch, they do find some things of value: a pair of spell scrolls, and a worn tome bound in what looks to be dragon scale. The text on the tome’s pages is in draconic.

Civic: Hmm a book on dragon sexual positions. Not the most useful knowledge, but it will be valuable to some collector’s I imagine.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well, well, well… Let’s not be hasty there..
Erky Timbers stifles a snort of laughter.
Quinton Greymane (shakes his head): You’ll never grow up, will you?
Fenora Finnley: Maybe we should keep moving before Garl decides to get freaky.
Quinton Greymane: Agreed. Let’s keep moving.

The other door leading from the room is not locked, and opened onto a musty and moldy smelling hallway. Damp and crumbled steps descend sharply. With Quinton in the lead, they descend the stairs to enter a long hallway. The scent of mold and damp is cloying here, and the way is dimly lit by some luminous fungi on the ceiling… the same fungi they’d discovered in the northernmost chamber above. They quickly realize they must be passing directly below that chamber before they at last emerge on the other side. Another set of stairs leads up to a hallway that continues another 30 or so feet before turning sharply to the south.

Garl Auraspeaker (sighs as he tries to work the kink out of his back): Bloody tunnel to nowhere!
Quinton Greymane: Hah, stairs getting to you then? You should have kept up your daily exercises.
Garl Auraspeaker rolls his eyes.

Continuing down the hall, two doors on the eastern wall emerge from the darkness before the tunnel ends. Gishkaa stops to inspect the first door, which she finds to be locked. However, a fine wire attached to the upper hinge gives her pause.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: The door is locked. Looks like it’s trapped, too.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s step a ways away.

As the rest of the party moves back to give her room, Gishkaa gets to work with her tools, carefully snipping the wire and rendering whatever trap it was connected to inert. With the trap dealt with, she begins to work on the lock, but has trouble getting the tumblers to line up. She breaths out a sigh of frustration.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: This is a good lock.
Fenora Finnley: Want me to try?

study.jpg

Gishkaasticks ignores her as she sticks her tongue out for the extra concentration power that gives her. A minute later, an audible CLICK! can be heard. Fenora looks crestfallen as Gishkaa opens the door. Inside the room, a layer of soil covers the floor. Rough wooden shelves, filled with a scattering of tomes and scrolls, line the north and east walls, and a rough-hewn desk stands in the center of the chamber. Fungus on the ceiling provides light, apparently in sufficient quantity to nourish several small bushes and pale saplings that grow in the soil.

Civic: I need to collect some of this glowing fungus before we leave. It’s light output is very impressive.
Fenora Finnley: I don’t know if we have any more jars, Civic.
Garl Auraspeaker: Could just pour out the alchemists fire,I guess.
Erky Timbers (looks aghast at the notion): Um… I do hope you are in jest, my friend. That would not be wise.
Garl Auraspeaker (smiles an odd toothy smile): What? I’m always serious.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (shrugs): Seems like a good plan to me.
Erky Timbers: Very well. Just give me enough warning before you do.

Civic moves into the room and starts examining the books on the shelves. Crowding the shelves are several ledgers tracking records of growth, precipitation, harvest, and similar notes for the surrounding lands for the last dozen years.

Civic (turning pages): Hmm these records are meticulously kept.
Quinton Greymane: From what you’re saying, that sounds a bit odd. Why would someone have these records at the bottom of a dungeon?
Erky Timbers: It is odd, but I do recall my captors talking about some sort of harvest, but I did not know to what they referred. Obviously it was something of some important for there to be scuh extensive records being kept here.
Quinton Greymane: It seems so. Must be some sort of evil plot, then.
Garl Auraspeaker (picks up a book randomly): Hmm…Looks like it’s in draconic.

book.jpg

Garl opens the cover the the book and flips the first couple of pages. A large glyph fills the entirety one of the pages, and as Garl looks down at the page, the glyph begins to burn with an alarming intensity. Before he can slam the book shut, an explosion of light bursts from the page, blasting them all back off their feet with icy energy. As the dust settles, the party pick themselves up off the floor, brushing dust off their battered and bruised bodies.

Fenora Finnley: Dammit, Garl!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (shivers and wraps her arms around herself): Fucking hell, Garl!
Garl Auraspeaker (a wisp of smoke floats up above his brow): …whoops.
Quinton Greymane: Well, we should probably take a rest now.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (still shivering): I’m okay with that.
Erky Timbers: I think that would be for the best. We might wish to find some place to secure and hold up for the night, that way I can recover some of my healing abilities. Especially if we can expect accidental surprises like that one again.
Erky Timbers glares at Garl as Fenora mutters, “Doppleganger,” under her breath.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Where do you think we should hole up at?
Fenora Finnley (shrugs): Here, maybe? Though I worry we may be closer to the source of dangers here then we would want to be while resting.
Quinton Greymane: Probably by the dusty dragon statue. Seems like no one goes that way.
Erky Timbers (nods): I agree. And if I recall correctly, it did not seem like there were many access points to the room, so we might be able to lock it down suitably to get some rest.

The party backtracks through the halls, making their way to the small shrine chamber far to the south. Once there, they secure the door and bed down for the night with Civic standing watch over those sleeping. A couple of hours pass as most of the party sleeps, while Civic sits on the floor near the dragon statue, reading though a book he pulled from his pack. Suddenly, he is startled to alertness by the sound of the doorknob being turned.

Civic (looks up): Ope, umm, door’s on the other side… Quinton…<nudges> Quinton, I think we have company.
Quinton Greymane (grumbling): Grrr. Never a moments peace here.

As Civic moves to wake the others, a heavy SLAM! shakes the door in its frame.

Garl Auraspeaker (whining sleepily): Nooooooo! One more minute…
Fenora Finnley (leaps to her feet, slapping Garl with her bow as she does): Oh shit…

SLAM! The hinges on the door start to give way.

Erky Timbers: They’re coming in, whether we like it or not! Best prepare!
Garl Auraspeaker (grumbles):: Fine, dammit!

The surly dragonborn stomps over to the door, mace in hand, roaring in anger as he throws it open wide.

Garl Auraspeaker: Okay, who wants to die?!

Three goblins stare up at Garl in surprise, before in unison they yell and attack! Gishkaa leaps forward in a flash, sinking her blades into the throat of the lead goblin, killing it instantly before it has a chance to act.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: You knocked on the wrong fucking door today!

One of the other goblins slashes at Gishkaa, slicing a nasty wound across her chest. Reeling back in surprise, the pain overwhelms her and she falls down unconscious. Quinton slashes down at the goblin with his sword, slicing the little creature in half from the force of the blow. Fenora fires an arrow into the chest of the remaining goblin, the arrow sinking to the feathers, but the goblin still weakly stumbles forward, sword raised to attack. Civic steps forward, stomping a foot to the ground, sending out a wave of thunderous force, blasting the goblin against the wall, where it finally falls down dead. With the last enemy defeated, Erky dashes to Gishkaa’s side and begins attending to her wounds.

Erky Timbers: She’ll be okay, but that was a close call. Maybe we should move that statue in front of the door?
Fenora Finnley: Couldn’t hurt… assuming it can even be moved.

With a little effort, they move the statue in front of the door, effectively securing the only way into the room. Satisfied that not further incursions to the room are forthcoming, the party returns to their rest.

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