As Above - So Below

25 Day of Mirtul, 1489

A ghost from the past

Entering the lower portion of the moathouse proved, initially, to be like any old ruin.
Wet.
Cold.
Dank.
Slime infested?
Voices in the dark calling out to people who are not there?
Growls in the dark?

The sounds of undead gnolls garnered the attention of Ser Harkuren, as Dorn calls out to Wan’whivarn that something is on the ceiling. Slime. Green slime that drops and envelops him.
Yet this slime does not harm him. It coats his body, soothing and warm.

DD_GreenSlime2.jpg

The others deal with the gnolls, and Feng attempts to remove the slime with the help of Kedwyn.
A voice calls to Wan’whivarn’s mind – Serve. With all his willpower he replies no. The slime is no longer comforting, but burning.

Serve!

“No” he replies again, and had it not been for the efforts of his friends, he may have very well indeed joined the slime as one.

They explore a bit more, and discover that the zombie gnolls had tattered robes with a symbol of an eye. Wan’whivarn confirms that it is the eye of Ghaunadaur.

They enter a small room that was locked, debris and a pile of black clothing are piled on the floor. Water drips from the ceiling in a few places.
The clothing also bears the symbol of Ghaunadaur on it.

They find another door in this room, and upon opening it, Ser Harkuren is assaulted by magic!
Resolved in the face of thaumaturgy, he pushes ahead, with the rest of the party behind him.
The battle is fought in the tight confines of the small pillared room. 3 cultist and a foul undead creature who taunted Harkuren. After three of the four foes had fallen the last claims “yield”, but in her haste, Vrinne strike the cultist down with a wave of magic missiles. No information would be gathered today.

A group of cultist have made this place a reclaiment of sorts. The party finds a bed sheet laid on the floor with 4 items.

An iron torch with three black cones black_incense.jpg

A black scepter with violet gems Iron_Sceptre_inventory.jpg

A small black sphere Small_black_sphere.jpg

A black metal tube black_tube.jpg

While the others investigate these items, Ser Harkuren and Dorn discover a secret door. The open it and explore what lies beyond.

The hidden path stops at a portcullis that Ser Harkuren muscles up to get through, he thinks he may have broken the mechanism for it while doing so. Beyond the gate are is a Y section, both illuminated by torches.
He chooses to go left and in doing so discovers a strangely large room with 3 doors across from his entry point. He proceeds to investigate the doors, the first two doors are fake doors with brick walls behind them, the third one is a trap and portcullis drops behind him. In the noise and commotion, a pack of gnolls emerges from a room to the north of his position. They begin to cackle and laugh at him as they move forward to kill him. But not before Dorn charges into the room taking on all four of the beasts.
3 confront him while one remains in the back barking at the pack and firing arrows at him.

He delivers many strikes against them, but is flushed away to protect himself, and finally Ser Harkuren frees himself from his trap and engages the rest of the gnolls. The battle is swift and deadly with the lead gnoll spewing acid from it’s maw at the heroes. Once slain they examine the beast, it had at some point had sacs surgically sewn into it’s head that allowed it to produce this … foul liquid.

The two move to the gnolls room. Fur, fecal matter and worse fill the air. The heroes search the room, Ser Harkuren discovers a gauntlet identical to the one was given by Baron Ateos. Curious, the two begin to go to the other corridor.

Back in the cultists collection room, Kedwyn examines the items, he discovers the black tube to be a scroll case and inside an insidious descriptive ritual require all manner of sacrifices and spells beyond his means to summon or control something called the Black Cyst. As he reads, he begins to see shapes and movement from the room they came from.

He launches a crossbow bolt into the area, nothing.
He companions are surprised and questions him. He tells Wan’whivarn there is something out there. To which the warlock uses his otherworldly powers to “see” through Kedwyn’s sight. And he… sees nothing.
He uses his own sight, and nothing.
Paranoid, Kedwyn agrees with Vrinne and Feng that they should go find the others.

They catch up with the two warriors as they are making their way toward the second hallway. The group moves on discovers a large mishappen room with 4 doors, 6 misplaced beds(each with either a bag or chest at the foot of their bed). Searching the room Ser Harkuren hears knocking on one of the doors. He opens and finds a young man wearing armor, and wearing a brooch with the symbol of house Ateos.

The young man is surprised to find them, and they him. He asks if Burne sent them to find him? The group looks at each other and he replies “No.”
The young warrior continues on asking questions about Burne and Rufus, Lady Saryiel, Haestus and the rest of his companions.
Harkuren asks him his name and he replies “”/characters/aemon-ateos" class=“wiki-content-link”>Aemon Ateos, squire to Lady Saryiel."
Confused, more questioned are ask and finally years are in question. The man answers that the current year is 1465 DR. Harkuren tells him that, “No. It is actually 1489 DR. You, I am afraid, are dead.”

Taken aback, the man refuses quite profusely that he is not dead. That this must be a mistake. Some spell, or curse has been cast upon him. He was just with the others, and there is no way that he is some ghost or apparition.

To prove otherwise, Harkuren offers the gauntlet he found. The boy surprised, asks how and where he got it and then accepts it from the Knight of Bahamut. To everyone’s surprise it slides on. He then accepts a weapon, and agrees to accompany the group to determine what is going on.

They agree to have him along and help him finish what his group started.

The group goes to an adjacent room, and burst open a door where they find 4 large Bugbears gambling. The fight is quick and brutal. It is this fight that Aemon Ateos finally begins to consider that he might be dead, as a punch from to a Bugbears face passes through the creature, draining it of life.
Shocked, both step away, but the bugbear doesn’t get to go far as the companions take him down.

Ateos moves away from the rest of the group and passes through walls to get away, not even noticing that he is doing so. His gauntlet drops, as does his weapon.

The group finds him moping. He agrees that perhaps he may be dead, but he needs their help to find his body and end this.
He and Harkuren take watch and during Harkuren’s watch as the party rests – a shadow orb with several stalks protruding from it float past the hallway and doubles back. It has seen the group!

zb_orb.jpg

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