Labyrinth Lord Lives

Into the Mirror Prison World

The Nice Company headed back towards Karameikos to help coordinate between Camille Amber and Magdalene the Distracted. We heard about a town were the inhabitants had disappeared and went to investigate. The town was completely empty. It looked like the people had been herded into the center of the town square and then just disappeared. We found a list of towns, some of them crossed out. However, one of the towns that was still pending was New Kuln.

We were on our way back to New Kuln, when we stopped in at Tonwich. There was a couple of shady men watching us. Verdant tried to follow them, but they slipped away through the Inn. We rented a big room and planned on investigating the town further.

However, once we entered the room and closed the door a bunch of dudes jumped out of the ornate mirror on the back of the door. We all fought, more or less valiantly, but they pulled us through the mirror.

Faced with forty men with crossbows the Nice Company reluctantly surrendered. Our gear was stripped and we were tossed into the dungeon.

It took a little bit of time, but through clever use of bits of magic and gear that the party had hidden when they were stripped they escaped the cell. We slaughtered the guards, freed the other prisoners, and took back our gear.

We’re out of our cell, and have our gear. but need to find the dude who has the command word to get back through the mirror

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Averoigne Final

Having finally assembled the ring, mirror, sword, and potion the Nice Company set out to summon the Tomb of Camille Amber.

We exited the town of Ximes after making sure that Rustu and her henchmen got sent back in time. We werent’ sure what would happen if they didnt’ get sent back? Would the help they gave us escaping persecution/prosecution for the Abbots death be gone? Anyway we decided not to mess with time. And sending them back in time was kinda nice too. Gets them out of the way, at least for a while?

Anyway, exiting Ximes.

We found a nice little secluded section of forest a couple miles out of town and decided to do the ritual to summon Camille’s tomb there. Luc Le’Chaudronier was nice enough to lend us his ring. In fact once I (Kayoshin) put the ring on for a moment he yelled “I’m free!” and sprinted off. Kinda worrrysome,

So Ring was touched to Mirror. Potion was poured on Sword. Sword was used to break Mirror. Mist swirled, the world faded away, and then we were in front of a very large tomb. It was quite impressive. There was the crest of Amber, and some very lovely double doors.

We of course entered the doors and were faced with a rather large blue dragon sleeping on top of a quite enormous pile of silver and gems. It was so picturesque that we didn’t want to wake it up. So we tried to quietly walk to one of the two doors leaving the room. Regrettably while most of us were looking at the door and concentrating on walking silently. Karamail was looking at the silver and concentrating on just how many coins there were.

The dragon woke up at the clatter of armored dwarf hitting the floor.

I tried to sweet talk the dragon into just letting us pass. But it was less than cooperative, and breathed lightning on us. At that we all turned and hacked/arrowed/webbed it to death. And then shoveled as much of the gems and silver as we could fit into the bag of holding. Sadly it was a very large pile, so we couldn’t fit all of it. We also spent a little bit of time and took some dragon scale and tooth trophies.

The door we’d been making our way to opened up into a room of clouds. The path was a fairly wide cloud through the long and angled room. Once we were a bit inside a Wyvern attacked us! Happily we didn’t try any sweet talking this time and just killed it.

Next room was a stone giant. He was guarding another door and also a pretty large chest. Attempts to sweet talk the giant were met with a resounding lack of communication as none of us spoke grunt, and he didn’t speak anything else. Despite the language barrier he was still adept at shaking his head no whenever we pointed at the door we wanted to get through. Fortunately I(Kayoshin) and Verdant came up with a novel distraction plan. Verdant hid behind the chest and I sent Lok’tar to pee on the giants leg. While the giant was busy trying to shove Lok’tar away Verdant jumped out and stabbed him in his giant back.

All those times that Lok’tar peed on Xandros paid off!

The door the giant had been guarding was carefully opened to reveal a manticore. There was a bunch of shooting of arrows, and some return shooting of spikes from the manticore. And then there was a dead manticore.

Inspection of both doors leading out of the manticore’s room revealed one room that opened on to an extremely deep room full of water, and a second door that opened onto a room full of mud. Given that every single room thus far had contained some sort of large creature trying to stop us from getting through, we were quite naturally worried about what sort of not immediately obvious creature inhabited each of these rooms.

We decided on a quick test of the water room. Our genius plan was to tie one of our ropes to the manticore corpse and toss it into the water. Regrettably, instead of pulling whatever water creature out so that we could fight it on land we had to cut the rope to the manticore. We did see a very large dorsal fin cut through the water as the manticore corpse was pulled under.

Instead of drowning while fighting a scary large shark, the party investigated the room of sucking mud. We disassembled the chest from the stone giant’s room, and put it’s pieces on to the mud, to form part of a path. Then Karamail hammered some spikes into the wall to provide a bit of a support railing. He got halfway along the wall before a mud creature started to rise from the mud. We shot and bludgeoned it until it disintegrated back into the mud.

Next room was a five headed hydra. It was speedily dispatched and we opened the door to the final room.

We were faced with Camille’s actual tomb. There was a sarcophagus, with both candelabra and braziers at the head and foot of it. Unsurprisingly the candles were amber and the braziers had amber smoke coming from them. There was also a fine tapestry on the far wall that depicted two assassins murdering Camille.

Before we could investigate the sarcophagus more closely a shimmering doorway appeared on the wall to our right. It looked like it opened onto a misty forest, and Rustu and her two henchmen stepped into the tomb.

Rustu gave us a big spiel about how Camille was not good, and we should in no way bring her back to life. There was talk of a curse, and some flowery words about how Rustu would be such a good custodian for Camille’s knife that can cut through anything, including souls. Brandr and Kayoshin distracted and questioned Rustu for a bit, to try to determine if there was anything to the curse that she was suddenly bringing up.

Meanwhile Gertie opened the sarcophagus and read to everyone the inscription on the inside of the lid. This inscription said to burn the tapestry to set Camille free from her assassination. Gertie was not interested in listening to Rustu’s blathering. In fact she decided that Rustu was just trying to stop the Nice Company from their mission and also was trying to acquire the knife that we didn’t want any of the desert people to have.

“I surreptitiously set the tapestry on fire.” – Gertie

As the tapestry burns the smoke fills the room and condenses around the skeleton of Camille. After a few moments Camille sits up and thanks us all for freeing her from the machinations of her husband and his mistress.

Camille transports all us back to Glantri to the lawn in front of the Castle d’Amber. It is quite reassuring to see the familiar scenery and not be stuck in the weird castle or Averoigne.

That untrustworthy bint, Rustu, starts to tell Camille that she was the one who saved her. She even asks for Camille’s magical knife. I interrupt to let Camille know that Rustu actually had nothing to do with it. The Nice Company were the ones to assemble the items for the ritual,. We were the ones who fought our way through the tomb. Gertie was the one to set the tapestry on fire, certainly not Rustu, who tried to stop that from happening.

Camille fortunately isn’t hoodwinked by Rustu. In fact, she says notes that people who ask for her knife never deserve to have it and she tells Rustu that she should leave. Then suiting actions to words, Camille makes Rustu and her henchmen vanish.

Now given a chance to talk, without Rustu interrupting rudely, the Nice Company fills Camille in on the current status of Glantri. She offers to lend her knife for helping against the MacGregors. She is also glad to hear news of her family in the Castle d’Amber. And for our good works there offers to gift us some magical items.

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Saved from the maw of the worm

We woke up one by one. Xandros, Kayoshin, Karamail and Gertie were each lying on their very own stone slab, tied there by braided vines. Brandr and Loktar were naked in a rather small metal cage. Loktar is the dire wolf pup. I’m calling out that he was naked since he is usually a bit armored. Brandr had no less armor than he normally does, but 100% less robe. Beyond the two of them in the cage, Verdant had apparently drawn the first class cabin and was locked in a wooden cage with a statue of some goat-hooved god and a few pieces of furniture even.

Nearby was a huge fire and past that a huge throng of robed figures chanting. Among them a few black-robed figures waving scythes and staffs purposefully. Oh and a huge wooden model of the worm Mor-i-thal , complete with gaping maw. At least it was pretty obvious it was Morithal cause the robed throng was chanting “Mor-i-thal” over and over.

Verdant used her goat legs (curse?blessing?) to kick a hole in her fancy cage, took two splintered wood staves and squeezed out. She gave one pointed stick to Brandr and kept the other. This caused a panic among the robed peoples and they started trying to shoot us with blowpipes again but an enormous wolf came from out of nowhere and began to basically rip all their throats out.

Meanwhile a mini throng of the robed figures surrounded Gertie, untied her and tried to drag her towards the fire and/or towards the Worm thing. While we were variously succeeding and failing at getting ourselves untied and free, Brandr webbed a bunch of robed dudes and used a spell to find where our stuff was. The 3 ominously black-robed dudes cast ominous spells, one of which seemed to develop slowly into a dark storm overhead. With another spell they summoned a lightning storm and things looked bad but this lady in a midnight blue robe showed up and her staff somehow sucked all their lightning into it.

Possessed deer with huge antlers and rolling eyes tried to prong Xandros and he killed one, clad at that time only in a helmet, a sword and a shield. Other deers without rolling eyes fought on our side at one point. Other wolves showed up (half the size of the huge one) and savaged more robed people. Verdant discovered the great joy of jumping 30 feet in the air and landing hoof-first on an evildoer’s skull. It was mayhem.

When the dust settled and the newly throatless had gurgled their last gurgles, we put on our clothes and talked to the mysterious newcomers (for some, not in that order). The werewolf turned out to be our friend(?) Malachie and the lady’s name was Moriamis. We told her the whole story because at that point what the hell. She was intrigued by the potion of time travel and said those were her invention. She was most curious about how we had come across one. We showed her the dregs of ours and she believed it to be her recipe although not the work of her hands. She gave the current time “by the roman reckoning” of 700. So that’s something. About these druids she said they have been here for hundreds of years but worship Morithal now. That Morithal seeks to eat the worlds from within and has some means of travel between them such that he is present in many or most.

Brandr and she talked at some length about how in Averoigne magic is a deadly business and how its use can bring a corruption upon your soul. She has some means of protecting herself from this corruption but apparently the learning of it takes 600 years minimum. So, pass.

When asked about the ring of Eibon, she said the works of Eibon are said to come from the land of Hyperboria, the land of the sorcerors in the far north. A place and time considered dangerous and treacherous.

Moriamis said that since the followers of Morithal want nothing more than to see him eat the world, she always sends them 4000 years into the future so they can witness precisely this as they die. While we watch she administers potions and one by one they fade away. Somehow this does not imply that Morithal will necessarily win at the big world-eating contest, so the moral I guess is that time-travel is complicated.

Skipping ahead a bit, we stayed with her and her people for almost a week, learning what we could learn and healing up. She was happy to brew us each a potion apiece to get back to “our” time, plus one extra potion for the whole camille-tomb thing. We requested to arrive a month or so earlier than we left and she said it should be no problem. We said our goodbyes, drank our potions and it seemed to have worked.

Back in the… future? We headed northwest. Eventually we found our way back to the road to Vyones. On the first night we saw that meteor we’d heard about before. Specifically the multiple meteors in the sky that joined up and headed north as a single meteor.

The next day or maybe it was two days later, we came to Vyones itself, found a tavern and tried to blend in. Chatted away and dropped questions about “Gaspard Du Nord” and “Luc le Chaudronnier” etc, following our leads about the Ring and the Mirror.

A man there named Gros Michel, who turned out to be a well-traveled dragon-hunter (!!!) and for whom we bought several ales, said that Gaspard Du Nord actually lived right in Vyones but that he wasn’t in very good standing with local society. Apparently he had studied with “bad sorcerors” for a time.

Later that night a much needed rest was interrupted by a great shrieking as apparently a lot of dead had risen from the Vyones cemetery and were shambling off to the north.

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Meeting Mor-i-thal
DnD, rendez vous at the dolmen for the blood sacrifice, bring a friend.

You awake, still drugged, bleary in the night,
the chill night and stone slab you rest are drawing away the heat from
your naked body, and you limbs seem bound with.. braided vines?
druide.JPG

You become aware of rhythmic chanting, rising then falling again.
A figure stands before the others wearing white robes and a sash of
mistletoe; a bronze sickles catches the moonlight.

A fire before him begins to grow in intensity, and you can see a large
wicker structure in the shape of a beast. Some type of dragon?
No, the form is much squatter and with a more specialized mouth..

“mor-i-thal..
mor-i-thal..
Mor-i-thal!”

In the distance a wolf begins to howl.


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From Ximes to times
First

First day at Averoigne. The nice company stayed at the tavern.
We discovered that we were able to understand the local dialect, but that the locals did not trust much our foreign coins and were not very aware of Elves or Dwarves, only humains. The also believe a particular deity only, and considered the other magic as pagans.
Xandros learned about recent events and a bright light fallen from the sky to the south. Also it appeared to Gertie that each cleric spells triggered some magic ripples in the air in this place.

Our Quest here is still not clear, some place seems to match the towns around.

  • The Enchanted Sword of Sylaire (Sylaire, Sephora, Malachie ?)
  • The Ring of Eibon (Yvones – gaspard du Nord )
  • The Viper-Circled Mirror (Perigon – Luc le chaudronnier)
  • A Potion of Time travel (Les Hiboux, Xims? – Azederac, Jehan, Moriamis ?)

We decide to go south to Ximes and les Hiboux. A merchant was traveling south, but we decided travel on our own. It took several days of walking, and on the way we discovered that undead are frequently walking around, from swamp on the south to the north.

Once at Ximes, we had to pretend being a carnival troop to explain our clothing and sizes. Especially Verdant with her goat legs, Kayoshin whith her Fey traits, Xandros with it’s tail, Karamail and Brand’r with their 4th feet height.
In town Verdant and Kayoshin meet a women from high rank and were invited to a Ball the coming weekend, for which they had to find a taylor. Karamail looked for a cure for it’s curse of insatiable hunger, and on the way found a very good pie recipe.
We aimed for the person who may possess the potion of time travel. We assumed that the Bishop was a good candidate. He is powerful here, and ensured that it’s opponent died mysteriously. He also has a hitman in town Jehan. We were able to find him under a false identify, and Brand’r decided to charm him and invite him to join us for a dinner.

However it appears that the spells of the mage didn’t work, maybe the place or the man lying skills. Jehan came to the dinner and we tried to make him feel friendly and get more details on the Bishop.
The sneaky thief poured a special wine in our cups, and after even the dire wolf puppy had a sip, he claimed : “You fool tried you could trick me, but instead you got the potion what you were looking for : You drank it, go away now.”
The following second we were all transported to another time, in the flatland close to the river. where the city of Ximes had not yet been founded.

After a moment of confusion, we collected the rest of the wine, in case the potion of time travel was still potent. Xandros eructed of joy, claiming that we were finally in security in a time and a world where our enemies didn’t existed yet. We suppose that this is also before the Castle of Amberville left this world.
After exploring around, we found a dolmen of stones, from the ancient inhabitants. And decided to head north on the river and the forest where we hard of ancient pagan ruins may be.

A few days later we saw a strange scene, a woman was swimming in the river, and singing. While a large beast wolf like was prowling around. Xandros jump in the water to protect her. The beast walked back, and the women laughed : " charming, but unnecessary, Malachie likes to drink the magic spring to make him large and impressive, to impress me, but he will never hurt me."
She was Sephora the enchantress, and after putting on clothes invited us to her place.


Notes from Xandros

Alrighty
So we were at the Inn named “Bonne Jouissance”, between Vyones to the North and Ximes to the south.

We had some notions of where the 4 objects might be – ring, mirror, sword, potion.
We decided to start with the potion of time. We had evidence that it was to the south in either Ximes or Les Hiboux. also that its location was somehow related to the names Jehan and Azederac

The next morning Gertie cast a healing from the staff on Xandros and it did something funny and made some “ripples”. We decided ripples were bad and that we’d to do a whole shitload of healing right then and there and then take off. In case there was any Ripple Triangulation whereby people could find us.

South, to Ximes. Much trudging. 2-3 days.
At camp on two nights we saw what looked like corpses headed north.
We arrive at Ximes. To play down our strange clothing we started claiming to be a newly formed traveling circus troupe.
We went to a tavern at Ximes, “The Portly Chef”
- Xandros and Brandr talked to a man named Francois dressed in a fancy robe embroidered with magical looking sigils. He turned out to be a bitter old fortune teller and a fake one at that.
- Kayoshin (and verdant?) greeted a woman with fancy clothes, an elaborate hairstyle and an attendant even. She asked about the “avant garde” leggings that Kayoshin had. K claimed they were from Les Moulins north of Vyones. They inquired about who might be able to make a costume for them in time for the Ball!
- Someone…. talked to a strange man named Michel who was talking to his invisible companion Georges.

Overall, we learned:
- There is a ball and a big Harvest Festival this weekend.
- in Ximes the Cathedral is the Cathedral of Saint Mary and is the seat of the archbishop
- the town is famous for “the lonely sausage” which is, one can hope, a food item.
- there’s an old rumor around the founding of the Abbey of Perigon, which is a town 5-6 dayswalk to the west. The story concerns pagan worshippers who were converted by St Paul
- there some rumors of long ago druid worship in the hills to the NE.
- Les Hiboux is to the south, boggy, marshy and more than a little smelly.
- The Legend of the Beast of Gevaudan comes up here and I think we’re closer to its territory than we were at the Inn of Bonne Jouissance.
- There is a man named Jehan (Mauvassere ??) he makes people die and goes around in disguise. stay away. (the name from our clue!)

The next day Brandr finds Jehan’s favorite cafe and follows him. Finds his house.
Karamail tries to find the best chef in town and tracks down an old chef named Betty. He acquires a recipe for a fantastic pie.

We also learned from someone that the Bishop’s history more than about 15 years ago is a total mystery, except that his family is from Vyones.

Brandr followed Jehan again, cast Charm Person (fails, but doesn’t know it). invites jehan to dinner with the whole company and he accepts.
btw, on the casting of “Charm Person”, our first arcane magics cast in this land, Brandr felt decidedly bad and corrupted.

At dinner we all get drowsy and he says “You fools! Puny sorcerors. You think you can {something something}. Go away with you to the past!”

and so, we uh, did. We are now in the past. The two rivers are still here, joining in what looks like the same way, but the town of Ximes is gone.
Karamail suddenly recalls that when he received his answers from the Book of Truth, one was that he might die at one of various different ages, one of which being “negative 300 years”.
Xandros is overjoyed. Not only can none of his enemies, imagined and otherwise, follow us into the past, but here we can “get the jump” on anyone who needs the jump gotten on them.

We followed some tracks north east. Saw a lady swimming in the river. Saw a huge wolf stalking her. Xandros charged at it, Verdant shot a crossbow at it. Brandr casts Sleep. It slinks away before we could harm it.

Intersting to note – the casting of the magics felt weird but not corrupting in the same way.

The lady refers to herself as Sephora the Enchantress and to the wolf as Malachi. The wolf was apparently once a human who was enamored with her. As to how he became a wolf, “he drank from certain waters and thought to make himself stronger”.

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Silvers Keys and Rastu's souvenir

Down the laboratory we found a group of rooms that were unexplored.

One contained a giant lizard covered by a pile of coins, the beast has the tome to ingest Xandros, and has to be cut open to retrieve him.
And one of the room had a Lion statue and the Silver gate. As we were missing some of the keys we tried to forge some copies while under the attack of automatons, but the copy keys didn’t worked,
Then we explored around. Another room had a fortune teller with cards, one had a pound of acid with one key inside. And finally we encountered a group of 3 people, one of them was Ratsu, a person we heard of, from the tribes of the Rahib. They are on a quest of their own, probably the hearth, etc…

We made a temporary alliance to share our silver keys, and open the door.
After turning all the good keys, the door opened, and revealed a magic tunnel to another world.
The Rustu’s group went first, then we followed and ended up in Averoigne.

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Xandros and the Palomino

Xandros’ Soul is waiting under the Throne, while it’s body is running around.

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Chasing Gertie

Gertie’s soul under the throne is waiting.
While the nice company is trying to catch her body and Simon.

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Removal of Chimney-corpses and murderous goo excluded.

The next morning we make our way back to the chapel. Two statues come alive as we pass and grope at Brandr and I (I = Xandros). The curse that gets Brandr shrinks him down to about 4 feet tall and the one that gets me grows me a big scaly tail with a barb at the end. It is amazingly uncomfortable in my plate mail so we stop and with karamail’s help make some emergency modifications. We go back through the garden to the west wing and climb up to that overhead catwalk. Following it one way we find a catering kitchen full of translucent caterers making translucent food. We move on down a hall and open a door to find 2 figures made out of mist, one male one female, seated primly at the edge of a bed. They come at us with arms outstretched in that familiar “please please kill us” way. With some difficulty we oblige, but Karamail takes some damage and seems in an instant to grow younger and less, experienced?

The next room seems to be that of a lady. The curtains on the 4 poster bed are all closed but we rudely open them. Finding an enormous sleeping lady inside we peer and poke at her a bit. She wakes up and is shocked not at us but at her own attire not being suitable for guests. She squeezes into a dress and rips it a bit. See, she’s 8 feet tall with a brutish face. 500 pounds or I’ll eat my helmet. Things are not quite right. But we chat with her and keep up the charade. She says she is Janet, daughter of Frederick, claiming with a straight face that she weaves and paints pretty pictures of flowers. When she tries to light the fire and manages to set fire to the table though, etiquette breaks down completely. To quell her sudden murderous rage Kayoshin casts sleep on her and I clap our Giant Leg Irons on her. (!!!I’ve been waiting so long to use these!!!).

We search the room and we find not only a secret door but also a body stuffed up into the chimney. A lady who looks approximately the same size as the severely torn dress the Ogre lady was trying to squeeze into. A bracelet with an engraving confirms that the mistreated corpse was the real Janet.

We feel like some action on our part is required to set this ugly business, if not right at least less wrong. Someone and I believe it was Kayoshin, asks Gertie for what the moral guidance of Zaandu the insignificant would be at this point. Gertie says Zaandu’s catechism here says “Swallow her whole and wait for two days”. After a shocked silence we demur.

Through the secret passage, we find an office with a very large desk, at which is seated a very large lion-headed figure with golden plate mail (ooh), Richard. Let’s call him Richard the Lion-Headed. We tell him the sad tale of Janet nextdoor. We like him because a) he’s also not a fan of all the casual murder and mayhem going on, and b) He doesn’t like Simon either.

Conversational Highlights:
- before the present difficulty he was captain of the guard.
- The current situation is caused by a balance of curses.
- Therese and Etienne were jealous of Camille and cast powerful curses on her. After Camille’s disappearance however, she must have had hidden curses that struck back. Thus at Therese and Etienne’s crowning ceremony they and everyone in the room became Skeletonified.
- The arch is very old and it’s from Averogne. The dripping blood however is new.
- Frederick is in the east wing.
- Richard has passed through the throne room a few times since the Grand Skeletonification, and no harm has come to him.
- Camille and Etienne may be able to help. (did he mean Therese?)
- Lady Isadore’s room is not reachable by normal (unmagical) means, and in fact many other rooms are like this too.
- However we may find Isadore in the library.
- ADVICE – “in the room of words, do not mix the words.”
- FAVOR – “If you meet Petit Songe, please incapacitate him rather than kill him.”
- Guillaume is self serving and fickle.
- Mary-Helene is fairly trustworthy and a genius with a sword
- The recosta work for Richard, (being I think the cat-headed folks we met downstairs).

Richard gives us a “to whom it may concern” note that we’re seeking a restoration of the castle, and bids us good day as we leave. Nice lion.

The last room down is itself a corridor with three doors. We look into the first room and down a couple steps it looks like it once was a sleeping chamber, except that the floor is flooded with greenish goo and all the non-stone bits of the beds are gone. The goo proves to be indeed very corrosive and quite deep. 15 feet in there’s a stone chest however on a raised platform. It seems an easy jump for Verdant with her magical goat-feet, so with some reservations (and deflecting comments about goat feet) she goes for it. OK bad idea. The platform was a monster, the goo was monster I think AND there was a third black oozy monster thing that fell from the ceiling and very nearly killed her. Long story short we throw a huge amount of burning oil behind us as we flee. There is a pause outside as we heal Verdant (until she looks less dead) and while we listen cheerfully to all the goo sizzling in pain behind the door.

The second room is similar in layout but FULL of cobwebs. I burn some with my torch and we see a struggling woman who cries “Help me! They’ll eat me!” Except she wasn’t real and the sneaky illusionist spiders there managed to put Kayoshin and Karamail to sleep. Me they just charmed so I spent these moments shouting for everyone to desist, “Let’s see what these spiders have to say!!”. Anyway everyone else smooshes the spiders and we find a wooden box in which was a leather bag and much jewelry. Karamail goes through and appraises it all (marginalia: silver necklace w/ 3 rubies ~1000gp, diamond ring ~1200gp, bag of gems of 5 different sizes and cuts, 500gp, 10gp, 100gp, 50gp).

The last room is a linen closet which seems anticlimactic except when we realize that linen can be soaked in oil and thrown at oozey tricksy things pretending to be chest platforms. So 4 flasks of oil and a shitload of ruined linen later we set the entire first room on fire and it was glorious. Although even with the hellish blaze, it did still take a fair bit of conventional fighting before we prevailed.

After it was quiet and we looked around a bit — “This is probably the most cleaning we’ve ever done in a single room.”

The chest turned out to be a giant coffin. Delirious and irrational, we simply throw it open. Devoid of monsters, it contained a corpse with 3000 gp, a staff and a sword. The sword has a green gem in it that looks like a cats eye.

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Never been so happy to see good old predictable zombies

Short version: everything here will try to kill us eventually, even if they’re nice to us for a while TO FOOL US!

So there we were in the chapel, having just had a statue come to life and touch Brandr. He said afterward that he felt smarter. There seemed to be no women to impress nearby so I think it was true. No women if you don’t count the ostensibly female screaming and sobbing sounds from a corner of the chapel floor. We manouvered around creepy statues, pried up some stones, and dug out one Magdalene D’Amberville, much bedraggled. Bleeding from her torn fingernails perhaps a bit ominously but otherwise by all evidence an actual human D’Amberville. She said she fell asleep and woke up, er, dead? or in a coffin at least.
I trusted her enough to give her a magic sword and I have NO idea why. In hindsight it was a really poor move.

She joined us and we all went into the back bit of the chapel looking for Simon, who Isadore said might help us.
Door number one was full of cowled skeletons seated in an ominous semicircle. Our query as to the location of the restroom made them all stand and draw their swords, so we backed the hell out of there. Next door had some curious little alcove doors in it so Verdant checked them each for traps and we opened them. Each concealed the end of a chute, up one of which was a bag full of gold. Up some or wait, possibly up all of them were also very large insect creatures and a nest. We closed all the doors and backed the hell out of there.

We’re totally familiar with the idea that everything is trying to kill us, but these little opportunities to slam doors and/or run away before the killing happens, these are nice.

The third door revealed a priest in gilded plate armor (ooh) by an altar. Simon! He seemed willing to help and said in the East wing there might be appropriate items to stave of the “feast affliction”. The blood of a magical creature and a silver symbol of… [something that I didn’t write down].

We asked him about the politics. The Isabel who can help with the feast affliction, the Etienne who created the feast and who with Theresa plotted to remove Camille from power. The Camille who plotted to break the link between worlds and strand the castle here. He said Camille could be swayed to help us. He also said that at this point if we could land the castle in pretty much any world everyone would be happy. This is good to know.

Instead of going straight to the East Wing, Simon agreed to a quick detour to check out the chapel library and there we met Magdalene’s brother Claude, aka some crazy old man in a nightshirt. There was a bit of a spat between Magdalene and Claude by which I mean they tried to kill eachother spectacularly. Apparently Claude was the one who judged his sister to be dead, thus he was responsible for her being buried alive and all that. A bit of magic and violence ensued before we got them both separated and subdued. I took back my sword.

This was when Simon gave them something strong to calm them down and I made Claude drink the truth serum, being our scary bottle with the floating eyeball in it. IT WORKED! except that Simon later said it didnt work and it was just ancient vinegar but whatever screw that guy. Claude started to spill the beans. He said he had been hearing a voice in his head. The voice said that Magdalene would take the castle back to Averogne and this is why he, er, kind of buried her alive a little.
Returning to Averogne is bad apparently, as that’s the place they were long ago kicked out of. There were serious allegations there of the D’Amberville’s engaging in Black Magic and Dark Necromantic Things. Quite accurate allegations, as was cheerfully acknowledged since apparently “most of the family” practices this sort of magic. (OK so worse than the “not leaving here alive” thing is the newly-imagined “leaving here as the undead” thing ).

Simon had a suspicion that the evil voice might be Azederach, a powerful Averognian bishop.

We decided to leave Magdalene there recovering and we took Claude with us back through the forest towards the East Wing. On the forest path Simon took it upon himself to educate us that the pools of water were totally not harmful but in so doing he disturbed some water lily flowers which spewed a pretty cloud of pollen that then knocked out everyone except for Verdant and Simon.
Kayoshin and Karamail had it the worst because they fell off the path. the path, you’ll remember, that we were never supposed to ever stray from. The same path just a few feet from which some grasses and a rose bush then came to life and tried very hard to kill Kayoshin and Karamail.
Verdant woke me up (me=Xandros) and then Simon, helpful helpful Simon came over to me and laid a glowing hand on my shoulder causing… tremendous agonizing pain. So I tried to kill him. Verdant went on waking people up, Karamail freed himself and then set about saving Kayoshin from the murderous plants, Simon threw a staff at me and used a command word to make it transform into a huge python. Gertie not to be outdone, threw her own python-transforming staff at Simon. “Raise your hands if you have a stick that does NOT transform into a python” said someone, possibly me.

And then just moments before I could remove his head, Simon pulled out a broom and flew away. Rude.

As we were regrouping Brandr lost it a little and angrily questioned Claude about the family’s murderous tendencies. Claude gave us advice, I think that we should seek Richard? possibly in the dungeon? I forget, still occupied imagining all the moments I could have beheaded Simon unexpectedly and saved us all this trouble.

We make it to the “East Wing”. To get into it the path leads under an ancient stone monument. A pair of standing stones with a third stone across the top. Blood drips from the stones. From what, it is not clear. Apparently the blood has always dripped thus. We go under and it really really feels like it was a bad idea but we just don’t know why yet. And into the East Wing, which is…. a Throne room. The throne room Isadore said we weren’t supposed to go to yet cause we weren’t ready and not being ready we would be killed. The throne room, on each of which thrones sits a skeleton. There’s also a welcoming throng of skeletons before the thrones, a courtier skeleton holding a parchment in mid gesture, and lots and lots of guard skeletons along the edges. We back the hell out of there. back through the Arch of Almost Certain Badness but not before I made and hung a little “Do Not Disturb” sign on the throne room door.

Now we got it into our heads that everything Simon had told us was WRONG. And winding it back he had not wanted us to go see the monks in the chapel. So we went to see the monks, and OK Simon was right, the monks were horrible horrible zombies dammit and we killed them all and that was it. Claude also turned himself invisible somehow and fled. le sigh. We spiked the door and settled in for the night.

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