Previously, our heroes managed to infiltrate the headquarters of the night master in an attempt to find and liberate Luca’s good friend Hamish. During the rescue attempt several aberrant lords tried to interfere, but the heroes defeated them, as well as several guild members. Unfortunately, Hamish seemed to have been robbed of his faculties, and to top it off, the heroes found their exit quickly being cut off by what sounded like a horde of skaven.
Fifth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)
The heroes had defeated several aberrant lords as well as a handful guild members who decided to oppose them. The rest of the guild members had either departed into the ancient waterways, or had hid behind sturdy doors and showed no interest in showing themselves. Besides liberating Hamish, the heroes also managed to save Brandomiir from guild interrogators, as well as a custodian named Jan who had been taken hostage and subsequently had a slug implanted in his eye by one of the aberrant lords.
Quentin asked James whether he knew an alternate route out of the night master’s headquarters, hoping that the young rogue could combine his experience in the ancient waterways with what he learned during their time in the carceratum. Unfortunately, James thought that the only two options the heroes had were departing through the ancient waterways and risk getting cut off by the skaven, or departing through the portal they had seen in the night master’s room.
While the rest of the heroes discussed the two options, Luca tended to Brandomiir’s wounds by calling upon the power of his patron. Since the last time that Luca and Bran had spoken to one another, the young warlock’s relationship with his patron had changed considerably when he found out that his mysterious patron was Aurion; a celestial with a complicated history of service to Paladine. This all explained the surprised look on Bran’s face when a healing warmth coursed through Luca hands and began to rapidly mend broken bones and knit together cuts and tears.
The heroes made it to the night master’s room just in time to see him plunge into the dark portal behind his desk carrying an armful of rapidly gathered items. He had plundered the drawers of his desk in haste, as if he had been looking for something specific. It was quickly decided that Emrys would go through the portal last; the heroes were keenly aware of the strange, disruptive effect the sorcerer had portals. The custodian became very uneasy as he watched the heroes go through one by one. James convinced him that he would not want to risk his life at the hands of the skaven and he reluctantly went through the portal.
When the darkness receded, the heroes found themselves, together with Hamish, Brandomiir, Jan and the dragonling, in a very large, cavernous space. The room was circular, with a ceiling so high overhead that it could not be seen by torch or lantern, even by those in the group whose vision was aided by their heritageor the enhancements of the Arms of the Senhadrim. The floor was tiled and the curved wall was decorated with very detailed relief sculptures of armies of winged warriors fighting a crawling chaos. In eight alcoves, evenly spaced along the wall, stood metal pillars which each held a softly glowing crystal.
In the middle of the chamber there was a circular shaft leading straight down, large enough for two dozen people standing shoulder to shoulder. Shining a torch into its depths revealed that the walls were tiled and decorated with more relief sculptures. James used small metal ball bearings to gauge the depth of the shaft, but it was so deep that he couldn’t make an accurate estimate. He did find, however, that there were sculptures of large faces of winged warriors set into the walls. The first of these was about fifty feet down from the top of the hole, and they were large enough that James was confident that he could climb down and stand on the top of the head. When he did so, he also found that the deeper he went into the shaft, the more the walls of the shaft became covered with fleshy slugs, each slowly crawling towards the top.
While the heroes were discussing how to proceed, Xarrombus took control of Hamish and told the heroes that it would let them leave, but that it would never relinquish Hamish back to them. Immediately, the heroes started to hear the same impassive voice itching in the back of their minds, filling their thoughts with intrusive thoughts which undermined their confidence. Most of the heroes were able to shake off the negative effects of what the voice was telling them, but Emrys fell victim to it and felt overwhelmed by melancholy.
James used the rope with which he had been exploring the hole in the ground to immediately bind Hamish’s hands and feet together and put a blind on him. At the same time, Luca attempted to restore Emrys’ confidence by channelling the power of his patron, but unfortunately it had no positive effect.
Luca suggested reaching out to Réonan using the ring that the heroes were given. He wanted to ask whether they would know of a way out of the vault, but James argued that if they were going to attempt to save Kingsport, they would have to go down the shaft and confront Xarrombus.
All of them were fatigued and despite being underground they all realised that the hour was growing late. Quentin took Róisín out of its flowering scabbard, sat down and started sharpening the blade with a whetstone. The sword, meanwhile, hummed the melancholic tune that Quentin had heard Ser Estienne d’Epines play.
After some rest, Emrys seemed to recover from his deep melancholy. The dark voices were still whispering troubling things to the heroes, but each of them had found a way to keep the despondency at bay.
Sixth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is in low sanction)
The heroes decided to contact Réonan and ask for assistance. The ring allowed for a limited message to be passed between it and the grand archmage of the Circle of Mages. This lead to several messages going back and forth in which Réonan suggested that the teleportation circle could be used after the vault guardian was defeated. Confused, the heroes soon learned that the series of pillars and crystals were part of the teleportation circle, and could be used to travel to another vault.
Réonan also said they would organise a rescue, but needed to know where the heroes were and how they got there. The heroes responded by saying that they went in through the night master’s portal which collapsed behind them and that they would continue forward and confront the vault guardian.