Eberron: Echoes of the Past

Oh, rats...

Zor, Lharvion 24th, 998 YK (late afternoon)

Last time, the party dealt with a pair of mephits that had been trapped within a metal keg in a chamber of the Sunless Citadel. Within the keg they find several small gems, which Civic informs them that are often used to bind extra-planar entities to the material plane. Continuing on, they enter a larger chamber where they find a ruined cage, a large fire pit, a makeshift altar, and a creature hiding and crying in the folds of a bedroll.

The creature is Meepo, a kobold who informs the party that he was stationed there to watch after his tribe’s pet dragon, Calcryx. The dragon, however, has been stolen by the goblins that also reside in the Citadel, and Meepo fears the punishment from his tribe when they learn he has lost their pet. The party offers to help him rescue the dragon in exchange for information regarding Kerowyn’s missing children. Meepo doesn’t know their whereabouts, but believes Yusdrayl, the leader of his tribe may, and offers to bring them to meet her if they promise to be nice. An agreement reached, they head off.

Meepo leads them through several hallways, calling out a strange phrase in Draconic, which he explains is the password that will keep the tribe from killing the party on sight. Eventually they reach a large hall, where they are brought before Yudrasyl, who is understandably angry that Meepo has brought strangers among the tribe, as well as for failing to protect the tribe’s dragon. She does, however, give the party a lead regarding the missing Hucrele kids, stating that they’d gone to fight the goblins but never returned, either having been killed by the goblins or something she calls “the Outcast.” Seeing that their goals align, the party reaffirms their intent to rescue Calcryx in exchange for a favor. Yudrasyl agrees, and offers Meepo’s aid in the task, much to the kobold’s dismay. He reluctantly agrees, and the party prepares to depart.

Yusdrayl (returns to throne): Now go. Find our dragon. Do not return if you fail.
Meepo (sighs and looks up at Quinton): We go now. Come. I show you way.
Garl Auraspeaker (to Yudrasyl): Don’t worry, we never fail.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s get to moseying, then.
Civic: This is very exciting. I’ve never seen a dragon before. This is a very unique opportunity.
Garl Auraspeaker (pointing at himself and Quinton): We’ve seen a dragon before. Ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. At least underground the flight shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Civic: But this one is apparently domesticated, which I didn’t even imagine was possible. Just think of all the valuable research that could be accomplished with a domesticated and compliant dragon.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, true, would probably be quite helpful.

The party follows Meepo as he leads the way back down the hall toward where they’d entered. The kobold looks backs over his shoulder.

Meepo: Calcryx not ‘mesticated. Calcryx wild dragon, scary. Keep ugly goblins out of kobold home. Eat goblins that get too close.
Civic (alarmed): Not domes….hmm…this endeavor does not seem wise.
Garl Auraspeaker (chuckles): You’re catchin’ on now, friend.

They reach the room with the fire pit where they first encountered Meepo. He leads the way through the room, grabbing a small backpack from the floor as he passes. Continuing to the northern door, he pauses.

Meepo: We need be quiet going through here. Goblins close by. They kill us they hear us, find us. So shh.
Garl Auraspeaker (indicating his armor): Uhh, I ain’t exactly the stealthy type.
Meepo (looks at Garl and points to a large wooden beam that bars the door): You, fake dragon, move beam!
Garl Auraspeaker (snarling angrily): How about I move my fist to your face, Meager-po?
Quinton Greymane: Simmer down there, Garl.
Garl Auraspeaker (points at Quinton as he moves to the door); This is all your fault, you know.
Quinton Greymane just simply shrugs in amusement.
Garl Auraspeaker easily lifts the beam out of the door and and sets it aside.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: How did they steal the dragon if the door was barred?
Meepo (looks down in embarassment): Meepo move bar, not put back right. Goblins stick blade through and lift beam, then barge in to beat on Meepo, steal dragon. Not want to talk about it!

goblin_area1.jpg

The door opens onto a nondescript hallway that runs about 25 feet before turning towards the south. The floor is littered with debris, mostly small stones and crumbling masonry. A thick layer of dust covers the floor, though it’s fairly easy to see that some of the dust has been disturbed. The party moves through the hall as quietly as possible, though as he warned, the walls echo with the sound of Garl’s armor as they pass. The hallway turns again, heading further east for about 40 feet or so. Meepo silently leads the way to the single door to the north, which stands ajar.

Meepo (whispers): Stupid goblins musta left door open when come steal dragon. Make easier to get through, but goblins probably expect it. We need be careful.
Civic suddenly thinks of something and pulls out his journal to make note of it.
Civic (chuckles to himself as he writes): As if you could actually calculate that… just ridiculous, Civic!

As they continue on, they find empty rooms littered with rat dropping, dust, and debris. Garl notices some tracks in the dust and quietly points them out. A closer inspection reveals that many of the tracks belong to rats, very likely part of the brood which they’d already encountered. Some of the tracks, however, look to have been made by three to four human-sized humanoids moving to the north of the citadel. The differences in the tracks allows Garl to determine that the humanoid tracks are at least a month or more old.

Quinton Greymane: Hmm, looks like our people may have gone this way. Good eye, Garl.
Garl Auraspeaker: Of course, dragons are known for their excellent eyesight.
Meepo (shrugs, muttering in Draconic, as he moves to the door): Still doesn’t have a tail.
Civic (in Draconic): Why do you refuse to acknowledge his tail? Is this a cultural thing among the kobolds?
Garl Auraspeaker: I think Meepo is just bitter he lost his dragon.
Meepo (ignoring Civic’s question, tries to open door): Uh oh. Door locked.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (moves up, pulling tools from her pack): Let me try to open it.

Gishkaa sets to work with her thieves tools, attempting to open the simple lock. In no time, an audible CLICK! Can be heard. Meepo looks impressed.

Meepo: Not bad… for goblin.

Gishkaa smirks as she slowly cracks the door open and peeks through, revealing dust and odd bits of stony debris and rubble lie scattered on the floor of a medium-sized chamber. An ornate fountain is built into the eastern wall. Though cracked and stained, the fountain’s overarching carving of a diving dragon retains its beauty. A relief-carved stone door stands on the western wall.

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As they enter the room, they notice the same tracks as before continue through this area. Some of the humanoid tracks lead to the door to the western door, then continue on to the north. The tracks continuing to the north are less distinct, mostly obscured by the passing of the rats. Garl and Fenora move over to inspect the fountain.

Garl Auraspeaker: Hmm anything interesting about this fountain?
Fenora carefully inspects every inch of the fountain, which is dry save for a thin layer of scum in its basin. On the face of the basin, she finds a well-worn inscription, which she is only able to make out after she wets and wipes away a layer of grime and dust.
Fenora Finnley: Fire? Why would a fountain have anything to do with fire? It says here “Let there be fire” inscribed in the basin.
Meepo cocks his head to look at Fenora with curiosity.
Civic moves to take a look.
Garl Auraspeaker: Hmm, that sounds suspicious.
Quinton Greymane: Yea, I’d stay clear of that thing. If it’s about dragons, maybe it does just spit fire.

As Fenora reads the last word aloud, reddish liquid begins to the well from the diving dragon’s mouth, slowing accumulating in the basin.

Fenora Finnley (backs away from the fountain): Uh oh…
Quinton Greymane: Might want to get out of here!

After a minute, the flow ceases, leaving the fluid pooled in the bottom of the basin.

Quinton Greymane: Hmm, alright. Seems like it hasn’t exploded just yet.
Civic: I’m curious about this fountain. Would a small break be allowed while I attempt to detect magic?
Quinton Greymane: Just be careful, ya hear?

Meepo looks into the basin, then dips a claw into the fluid. He touches his fingers together, noticing the viscosity of the fluid, before he puts his fingers to his mouth. Fenora looks at Meepo, horrified!

Garl Auraspeaker: Or eat it, that’s an option too.
Meepo: Mmmm, spicy!

A sudden spark of flame ejects from Meepo’s mouth.

Meepo (fans at his mouth as if he’d eaten something very hot): ACK!!!
Civic: Oh my! That could be useful. Must be a potion of fire breathing. Does anyone have a container to put this in?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (looks around at the others.): If no one else has anything, I can use my waterskin.
Garl Auraspeaker: Uhh, yeah, sorry. Nothing that could really be used for that.
Meepo (produces a small jar of green dye from his pack): Meepo guess you can use this.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Thank you Meepo.
Meepo: You give back later, right?

Gishkaa takes the jar, empties it, rinses it out and then scoops up as much of the liquid as possible. She replaces the jar stopper and adds the potion to her pack as she looks up at the others.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’d like to see what’s behind the fancy door. Fancy doors are the most likely to be trapped, though.
Quinton Greymane: Well, based on what we saw with the tracks, I’d wager the goblins might have gone left and our people went straight ahead. Just a hunch though.

As the party approaches the western door, they are taken aback by the carved skeletal dragons on its surface. An inscription is carved into the surface between the dragons.

Civic (moves to examine the door and its inscription): The craftsmanship is remarkable. “Rebuke the dead, open the way.” What an odd saying.

Gishkaa approaches the door, putting out a hand to check the door for locks. As she touches the door, she quickly pulls back her hand. The door is definitely locked, and oddly, its surface is freezing cold to the touch.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Well, it is locked, and just feel how cold it is!
Garl Auraspeaker (concerned): Ya alright there with your hand?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (indicating the door): It’s cold to the touch.
Garl Auraspeaker: Sounds funny. I don’t like it, guys. I don’t think going that way is a good idea.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Want me to try to open it? It’s so fancy. There is probably good stuff in here.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, what do you think, Civic? Fenora?
Civic: Do you know what is behind this door, Meepo?
Meepo: Meepo never go this way. Goblins usually here, fight clan when they come thru. That why keep door locked. Stupid goblins bad.

Meepo looks at Giskaa out of the corner of his eye, who just responds by rolling her own eyes back at him.

Fenora Finnley: We should at least try and check it out before we open it…shouldn’t we?
Quinton Greymane (sighs): Alright then, let’s try opening it. Just be careful, Gishkaa.

As the others have been debating, Civic has been busy casting a spell to detect magic. He sense a fading magical residue from the fountain, likely the remnants of the fluid they’d collected from the basin. He is alarmed to find that the western door registers with some foul energies. Unaware of this, Gishkaa grabs her thieves tools, sticks her tongue out the side of her mouth in concentration, and gets to work.

Civic: There is some necromantic magic emitting from the door.

As Civic calls out this warning, a hidden sythe swings down from the ceiling, cutting a deep slice across the top of Gishkaa’s wrist. With a cry of surprise and pain, she jumps back from the door, glaring up at the ceiling where the scythe trap is hidden.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I didn’t notice that when I was inspecting it.

With the trap spent, Gishkaa tries the lock again. Unfortunately, the pain is too distracting, and she is unable to unlock the door. With a snort of disgust, she returns the thieves’ tools to her pack and glares at the door.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (annoyed at her defeat): We’ll be back, fancy door.
Meepo creeps further to the north, waving a clawed hand as he reaches an intersection.
Quinton Greymane (following): What’s around here Meepo?
Meepo (looks up at Quentin): Goblins. Duh. Be quiet so they no hear.
Quinton Greymane (whispers): Alright, lead the way, then.

To the east, the wall crumbles into a pile of large boulders and crumbling masonry. To the west is another door. To the north, this section of hallway contains six doors, all slightly ajar. The air is filled with a musky, animal-like odor.

As the party continues to the north, they notice more of the tracks they’d seen earlier. Oddly, although the humanoid tracks that moved north came from four figures, it would appear only three returned to the south. There are considerably more rat tracks here, as well, some of them made perhaps only minutes earlier.

They reach the end of the hallway with what appears to be several cells. The thick, musty, animal smell hangs cloyingly in the air, mingled with the stench of rotting meat. From the open cells ahead, a chorus of feral hisses emanates as several giant rats emerge.

rat_prison.jpg
Rat.jpg

The rats leap to attack. The first is killed instantly as Fenora fires an arrow into its skull. One of the rats bites into the flesh of Quinton’s hand, but Meepo fires a small stone from his sling, hitting the beast squarely between the eyes and kills it instantly. As the final rat squares up to attach Garl, Gishkaa slips in from behind and skewers the beast. As they tend to their wounds, Meepo boasts about his kill.

Meepo: Meepo did good! Kill rat with one stone!
Fenora Finnley: Good job. Meepo!
Meepo puffs up his chest with pride.
Quinton Greymane: Yeah, that was a good shot.
Civic: Meepo the slayer!
Garl Auraspeaker: Psh, anyone could have done that…
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (grumbles in Goblin): Garl, the complainer.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s take a quick look around. Look for any treasure or any more rats hiding about.

With a thorough search of the cells, they find two small gems and a handful of silver pieces hidden among the rats’ nests. Unimpressed with the meager find, they continue on to the north. As they reach the end of the line of cells, they find themselves standing at the edge of a pit. The trapdoor that would have hidden the pit seems to be held open by a short metal rod. The pit appears to be some 20 or so feet deep, its bottom littered with rat bones, rusted metal bits, and miscellaneous filth.

Across the room, they can see that another trapdoor stands open in front of a door leading west. The north wall holds a dry fountain carved with an overarching diving dragon. The faint rotten stench from the rats’ nests pervades the room. Fenora eyes the fountain warily.

rat_nest.jpg

Civic: Do we need to go this direction? There is another door back there.
Meepo (shrugs): Meepo not know. Never been this far into goblin territory. Only know how to get here, not where it go. I follow you now.
Quinton Greymane: Well, if we know the pits are there, we can just climb in and out of them if needed. Though opening that other door might be tricky, looking at it.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I have some rope we could use. Although, it’s not that far. We could jump it.
Quinton Greymane: Probably.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat squats a couple of times and shakes her legs out to limber them up.

One by one, they all make the leap over the pit, everyone landing safely on the other side. Except for Garl, who stumbles as he reaches the edge. As he begins to fall into the pit, he twists his torso, and just barely manages to grasp the lip of pit and keep from falling to the bottom. Meepo laughs as he points at Garl.

Garl Auraspeaker (grunting in pain): Argh! Oof! That almost really hurt.
Meepo (laughing, in Draconic): Ha ha, fake dragon!!
Garl Auraspeaker grabs the ledge on the other side and pulls himself up
Garl Auraspeaker: Damn Khyber, that was close!
Civic: Ouch, you almost made it, but your tail was weighing your hind end down and dragged you in.
Civic (distracted): A similar fountain…
Quinton Greymane: Think it does the same thing then?
Civic (looking for an inscription): It’s worth a try.

Civic inspects the entire surface of the fountain and its basin. After a couple minutes, he at last finds the inscription in Draconic he’d expected to find.

Civic: I wonder what kind of potion “let there be death” would create.

As Civic speaks the words aloud, the fountain begins to emit a gaseous green cloud which quickly fills the room in front of the fountain. Everyone but Meepo is enveloped by the cloud, and they all begin to cough uncontrollably.

Fenora Finnley (grimaces and covers her nose): Ughh what’s that smell??? It smells like rotting meat!
Meepo (looks horrified): What you do?!
Civic: I just read the words, let there be…wait, I should probably not say it again.
Meepo: Good idea.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat backs away from the fountain and takes a seat with her back against the wall.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I don’t feel too great
Quinton Greymane: Yeah, this doesn’t look good.
Garl Auraspeaker: Let me heal Gishka. We could all probably use a rest.
Civic: I’m sorry everyone. I wasn’t expecting such nonsensical design in a place that one fountain would be beneficial and another a trap.

As Garl heals Gishkaa, and the rest recover from the gas exposure, Meepo inspects the pit in front of the door. He pokes at the rod that is wedged in the trap door.

CLINGclangclingcling clang!

As the metal rod falls into the depths of the pit, Meepo stands up, putting his hands behind his back, trying to look innocent. The others turn around in time to notice the trapdoor has sprung back into place.

Quinton Greymane: What you doing there Meepo?
Meepo: Meepo not do it!
Quinton Greymane (chuckles): Smart
Civic: Any way we can jam it in this position?
Civic (after inspecting the trapdoor): I think if we wedge some daggers in the corners it might be enough to get across.
Quinton Greymane: Sounds like a plan.
Meepo takes out a rusty-looking dagger, and wedges it into the corner closest to the door.
Meepo: Meepo help. But now Meepo not have close weapon if goblins come. 

Gishkaa wedges one of hers opposite it, then tentatively tries to put her weight onto the trap door. The daggers seem to do the trick, keeping the door from opening when weight is placed on the area. However, she realizes it would not be wise to spend much time in the area, either. She moves to open the door, and discovers it is not locked. She pushes against it and it opens easily.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: It’s open, and the floor seems sturdy enough.
Garl Auraspeaker: Alright, good luck.

An oppressive smell suffuses the air, rising from chewed carcasses of cave rats, smaller vermin, and a few humanoid-looking creatures. The bodies lie upon a floor of filth, old bones, hair, and fur that combine to make a particularly large and vile nest.

Garl Auraspeaker: Looks inviting over there
Meepo: Smell bad.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Ok. it’s really really gross in here, guys.
Quinton Greymane: Still, we should investigate in case the kids came this way, unlikely as that may be.
Garl Auraspeaker: You can go check it out then, I pass.

Gishkaaa shrugs and begins to move deeper into the chamber, followed by Meepo and Quinton. Near one of the bodies, Gishkaa feels movement near her foot and looks down, startled. A giant rat emerges from the chest cavity of the closest half-eaten body and snarls a challenge. Answering snarls echo throughout the room.

rat_mother.png

Quinton Greymane: Well, looks like that was a bad idea…

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