Session Twenty-Five Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)
Session 25, December 30 2020
We continue at 5PM on the 17th of Tenrilden with the party about to enter the Temple of the Winter King in the catacombs beneath Vilgrim ...
We enter the Temple of the Winter King.
We find two wooden coffins on stone plinths. We don't recognize the wood. The underside of the lid has a painted scene of a dead warrior in repose.
When we opened the firmly sealed lid, the skeleton inside rose up, and Lambertus turned it. Skeletons from as yet unseen niches come to attack us, and Lambertus and Felix turn them all.
As we continue to explore we find many empty niches and the ceilings of each have paint that is similar to the scene in the coffin.
We gathered up the electrum coins we found.
There are three statues and an altar with a sacrificed surface elf.
Statue of Winter King:
They think that his doom was sealed for aye (ever), /
by no prayers to be diminished: /
To hunt until the last Judgment Day /
Till World and Time were finished
Statue of mounted hunter with Bow East of stairs:
The hunters’ shouts, the thunders’ crash /
Roared high in the lust of slaughter, /
Through horses’ whinnies, the snap of the lash, /
Above the livid water.
Statue of mounted hunter with Bow West of stairs:
Just before them, roe and hart /
Flew as if on hidden pinions /
From the Winter-king and his minions, /
Cleaving the slow mists apart.
Altar with inscription
There is a body on top of it. NOT old, but much fresher.
Human, maybe an elf. It is split down the center, ribcage cracked.
A lot of blood. Not killed here since not enough blood. Fairly fresh, it is sticky.
Inscription on Altar:
Sacrifice is made, the forest sated. /
Elf, animal, and all share /
The pledge of blood, belief /
That through this guilt incorporated /
The elements return to balance /
And power renews in every creature.
Back wall behind Altar:
From oblivion resurrected /
Champions in their rest ejected /
From the dim necropolis
Velkin shares the tale of the Ware of Winter and Summer:
The War of Winter and Summer:
Even older legends, of which only partial accounts remain in the crumbling tomes,
obliquely reference the war that split the elven peoples and led the Drow to abandon the surface.
This conflict was a battle between the forces of the Summer King and Winter Lord.
These otherworldly beings granted their followers extraordinary powers that could alter reality
in ways that sound like they surpass anything available to practitioners of dwarven magic.
Inscription above the Door going out (opposite side of door we entered temple):
At their head there flitted, leading, /
Tall and white, a wounded hind /
Stuck with many arrows, bleeding, /
Shaking, in the midnight wind.
We go West and find a passage leading South. We investigate and soon find a niche with a single coffin. Someone banged on the coffin and we heard howls of wolves to the North.
Next we find a passage to the West with a door, and the passage we are in continues South.
The read of the Party, Bortham and Aubry are assailed by wolves who breathe cold. They each injure a wolf, but Aubry is brought down.
Rallion rushed back and took Aubry's place and pulled Aubrey out of combat and Forcas, the Pech slave of Velkin, bound Aubry's wounds and Lambertus healed him.
Kauri cast Web and blocked the wolves from getting close.
Rallion used his sceptre to charm the wolves and to speak to them.
Lungmold confused one of the wolves, but they breathed and injured Lambertus and dropped Lunmold. Lambertus dragged Lungmold to safety.
Rallion asked the charmed wolves to tell their friends to stop attacking. They did so with howls.
The wolves attacking the other end of the hall were ready to stop, but Gath the Troglodyte charged and killed one that Lungmold confused, and Oskar attacked another.
Another breathe of cold and Gath went down and Oskar was hurt.
The last two wolves decided to leave. Oskar's parting shot only dealt a severe blow, not quite killing one.
Lambertus used his two heal potions to try and get Lungmold and Gath on their feet. Rallion used a potion on each as well, and they were finally able to walk. Rallion has one potion left.
Rallion now has 4 new pets and they join the party in the Temple of the Winter King since it is a dead end with a door, so we can rest up and hopefully learn spells. Lambertus hopes to level and may be able to speak to the head of the sacrifice.
Rallion skins the 3 wolves we killed. He offers the meat to his new friends and fashions packs from two large sacks and some rope to carry the meat and take turns having each wolf carry it. (If they agree to carry such a load.)
We found 638 Electrum pieces with a motif of the Winter King.
We enter the Temple of the Winter King. There are wooden boxes with pegged lids. One of which we remove and a skeleton emerges. It’s quickly dispatched by the male priests of this group. There are paintings inside the boxes of a warrior in peaceful repose surrounded by reddish flowers, maybe poinsettias? There are many skeletons that rise and attack. The two male human priests, quickly dispatch them with their powers to destroy undead. I wonder if their priestly magics extend to spellcasting.
The masked one, Kauri, looks around and informs us that he does not see any magic. The niches and the one box have coins the party collects and as we explore the room there are 3 statues and a recently used alter, all with inscriptions. The central statue is of a hunter riding one of the shaggy horses holding a horn. Statues to either side of the alter are of bowmen on horses facing away from the alter at an angle.
The verses are as follows:
They think that his doom was sealed for aye, (aye = forever) by no prayers to be diminished: To hunt until the last Judgment Day (Round plinth with a hunter with a horn on horseback) Till World and Time were finished
The hunters’ shouts, the thunders’ crash Roared high in the lust of slaughter, (SE of the alter bottom of the stairs) Through horses’ whinnies, the snap of the lash, Above the livid water.
Just before them, roe and hart Flew as if on hidden pinions (SW of the alter bottom of the stairs) From the Winter-king and his minions, Cleaving the slow mists apart.
Sacrifice is made, the forest sated. Elf, animal, and all share The pledge of blood, belief (On the Alter) That through this guilt incorporated The elements return to balance And power renews in every creature.
From oblivion resurrected Champions in their rest ejected (Behind the alter) From the dim necropolis
At their head there flitted, leading, Tall and white, a wounded hind (Above the doors exiting the Temple) Stuck with many arrows, bleeding, Shaking, in the midnight wind.
The sacrificial body: leather armor, stamped with decorative elements of suns (Stylized like Tangled’s sun), not snowflakes. This is the temple of the Winter King. There is a dark green cloak we collect. Druul is carrying it.
Kauri hasn’t seen magic with his mask at all. I can't see any magic either... nice mask.
We make our way further west and then south down a hallway with a niche and another coffin. We hear howling of wolves to the north. As we’re examining the door to the west we’re attacked from the north by a pack of wolves. The Githyanki, Borthan, and Grotecop faced them at the entrance to the hallway we’re in. These wolves breathed a freezing cloud that dropped Grotecop and Kauri, the masked one, cast Web. How I’m not certain, but I hope to find out. I move to backup Borthan and order Forcus to aid Grotecop. Rallion moves up and using a magical scepter, charming the wolves it seems, and then speaks with them. At that point we’re attacked from behind. I didn’t get a good look at what was happening that far back, but in the end we all survived and 2 of the wolves escaped. Rallion expertly skins the wolves and butchers them. Lungmold, Gath, Grotecop and Oskar, the lizardman all were injured. The party was free with healing potions among all their members regardless of race.
Interesting the group’s cooperation among individuals of varying backgrounds and races. If this is how the surface world works, then Herig’s philosophy will prove valuable in dealing with them. Mutually beneficial advancement of interests.
Kauri fills me in in on Transpatial energy theory: blood magic, Stone magic. Now we’re getting somewhere! I fill them in on what I know of the War of Winter and Summer and the split between elves of the ancient past.
We move back to the Temple room to rest. I intend to talk with these folk more and pick their brains on what all is happening... Also what their goals are… Vilgram is in chaos, opportunity to bring new avenues to abate that chaos may lie in working more closely with this motley crew. Kauri’s notes if he’ll allow me to collaborate with him ought to get me started along the blood magic lines and maybe we can figure more out. Who knew learning to read all those ancient texts would come in handy in revitalizing magic. What else do these people know.