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Piecing It All Together

Page history last edited by Kirk 1 year, 6 months ago

back to the Index, or to Chapter 66:  Henry the Head Gardener 

 

Chapter 67

Piecing It All Together


 

9:30 Dragon, 16th day of Justinian - Summer

 

Our Previous Adventure

 

     Our Heroes had landed at dawn on the peninsula north of the Bay of Denerim, about five miles from Alton Keep -- Wardens and possibly other allies were being held prisoner there by Arl Howe. Our group consisted of:

 

  • Sextus - Senior Enchanter, Master of the Dark Arts, Commander of the Wardens in Ferelden

  • Shivanna - elven mage from Arksmonten, joined Wardens at Ostagar

  • Bran - human warrior, one of the Helwyr

  • Landon - human mage and Warden

  • Eornan - elven scout/guide, from Denerim; a strong ally of the Wardens (but not one himself)

  • Alpheus - human mage and Warden, with ties to Orlais

  • Bartreg - dwarven warrior and Warden, formerly a prisoner of the Architect

  • Sir Roderick - human Templar and Warden

  • Zevran - elven assassin from Antiva, now working with the Wardens (though not a Warden himself)

 

     We'd taken refuge in an abandoned house during a heavy rainstorm (including hail and strong wind); it was only a mile or two from the keep. The name of the house was Linna Manor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the main level of the manor house, eight feet above the ground outside

 

the upper level of Linna Manor; the floor here is twenty feet above ground level outside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the attic; the floor in here is twenty-nine feet above ground level outside

 

     Over the course of an hour or two spent in the house, Bran, Sir Roderick, Bartreg and Shivanna had gone missing ... taken away by the supernatural forces embodied by the building. A battle in the back yard with the skull of Henry the gardener had left us with serious injuries. 

 

Current Events

 

     Fixing Landon's collar bone and Sextus's arm took an hour. Meanwhile, Zevran and Eornan managed to open the door to the office on the top floor.

     With all of us healed, we investigated the office. It had a window, whose glass was mostly broken; dampness had gotten in, along with spiders and moths. There were hundreds of books (in very poor condition), and a desk with a reading-stand; a magician's journal stood open on the reading-stand. The journal had some illustrations, and was written (mostly) in Ancient Tevene. Alpheus cast a Glyph of Preservation on the book, so it wouldn't fall apart. Magical candles stood burning on the desk and in various sconces around the room.

     The journal told of the experiments and spell research of Aurelinus, the last owner of Linna Manor. He had accidentally bound a soul to the plumbing of the house, and had spent much time -- and hundreds of human lives -- on attempts to duplicated that effect. Most of his attempts failed, but some were partially successful, usually with only limited intelligence. The last page of the journal had written on it, "Beware of happy accidents, as they torment you to your grave." Many of the journal pages had mechanical or clockwork diagrams, annotated in dwarven language. Part of his quest for useful animated items called for the human subject to be either aroused or in pain ... "But torment is so much easier."

     Landon asked Alpheus to look around for any souls not in human bodies -- and indeed a quill on the desk held a soul! It quivered when we addressed it, so we placed a sheet of paper and some ink near it; and it began to write.

      The person bound into the quill was named Ameil; their wish was for it to kill them. Were there other spirits nearby bound into objects? "Alone". Were there other souls placed in objects? "Many". Who did this to you? "Aur ... " followed by angry scratches. Was Aurelinus still around? "Yes". Alpheus asked the quill, "Do you want us to kill him?" ... "Yes!".

     Ameil wrote that Aurelinus was "below", so we descended, eventually into the kitchen. We cast defensive spells, and opened the formerly-locked door, where we'd thrown the skull of Henry.

      Behind the door was a short passage, which turned to one side and revealed a stairway leading down. The stairs were 8 feet wide, and very steep. We rushed down the stairs (since our spells were 'on the clock'), to a door at the bottom. Beyond that door was a high-ceilinged room, cluttered with old household debris -- broken barrels, bits of lumber, and unidentifiable trash. There was no other door in the room's walls, but Alpheus spotted a ten-foot-wide trapdoor sort of hidden by dust and trash. Getting the hatch open even partly took all of us; we wedged some boards under it to keep it open and looked inside.

     Under the hatch was a deep hole, with the sides plastered; a chain ladder, with the rungs covered in leather, descended into the darkness. Eornan led us down the ladder.

     At the bottom of the hole, the ladder hung into a much-cruder passage, with a low ceiling, a dirt floor and crudely-carved stone walls; it led off to the north. There was faint light visible in the distance; we advanced towards it, led again by Eornan.

     As we moved forward, we entered a faint mist or fog; ahead of us we saw a tall, narrow shape, lit from behind by greenish light. The shape -- possibly a humanoid form -- turned towards us. We heard a strange voice say, "Mistake", and the sound of rapid pattering footsteps passed us by.  We spun around, but nobody had felt or really seen the running figure; but when we turned to face forward again, Eornan had vanished!

     The passage behind us was blocked by a stone wall now; and the likelihood that we'd passed through a Rift into the Fade was brought up.  A strange sort of wailing or gibbering was faintly heard. There was little we could do but proceed forward, however.

     At the end of the passage it opened into a dimly-lit undercroft or dungeon, with heavy stone pillars supporting a vaulted ceiling. Some torches flared and crackled in brackets on the sides; on the floor near where we entered was a corpse on fire. Vague shapes were visible down the length of the wide pillared space; on either side were iron bars and cell doors. This was, in fact, a dungeon -- the items along the floor were torture devices, including stocks, racks, spiked iron chairs, forks, ropes with barbs, chains and pulleys hanging from the vaults, vices, saw horses, etc.

     We picked our way carefully through the grisly devices; the first several cells had no occupants, but then we saw a cell with some person shackled into a rack. Strange light beams were emitted from the neck, and tubes were inserted into the body's flesh.

      Hesitantly we entered the cell, and discovered that the body was Bartreg! Alpheus looked at the dwarf's spirit -- it was very small; Landon noticed that Bartreg wasn't breathing and had no pulse. A black stone was attached to his chest, over his heart, the tubes connected to his leg and neck; much of his blood had been drained.  Alpheus tried adding a point of mana into Bartreg. As we began trying to heal him, he saw Sextus and said "Commander". We asked the dwarf, "What happened?"; he replied, "There was this darkspawn, he was big ... he was sayin' stuff about Duncan ... disrepectful ... I took my axe to strike him ... killed him ..." He mumbled on some more of a tale clearly concocted by Aurelinus to bring out the dwarf's temper.

     The dwarf's clothing and gear were in a chest in an corner of the cell; even when healed, the dwarf was weak and barely able to stand on his own. We had to help him walk into the passage. His eyes had turned gray, and he seemed to get around better with them closed.

     Four cells along, another body was bound to a rack in a cell, with strange lights; blood was being drained from the body's neck to a cistern. The nude body was Sir Roderick; his left arm had been removed, and replaced with a strange clockwork arm. The palm of the clockwork arm had strange runes (or a glyph) inscribed on it. 

     Sextus removed the arm, but a strange beam of light continued to connect the arm to Roderick's neck. Landon began removing tubes from Roderick's flesh, when suddenly Alpheus touched the beam -- and disappeared! Sextus tried to dispel the beam, and also disappeared into the beam.

 

The First Dream of Battle

     Alpheus and Sextus entered the dream of Roderick ... 

 

     After only a minute, Sextus and Alpheus re-appeared. Sextus asked Alpheus to put some mana into Roderick's neck ... no effect. His palm ... no effect. His body ... no effect. Roderick was dying.  We put the arm back on, since Alpheus detected a soul in it; then a point of mana from Alpheus seemed to bring Roderick back to life. His eyes were also grey (but he could at least walk on his own).

     Since both Roderick and Bartreg had been desperately thirsty (and drained of blood), Sextus cast a Spring spell to provide some fresh water.

     Dreading what we would find next, we advanced along the passageway between the cells. A glimmering light from another cell showed us Bran, strapped naked to another rack; an axe (not one of his) was hanging on the wall above his head, with a line of blue motes of light trailing from a tattoo on his neck to a rune on the axe. His blood was being drained from his thigh into troughs to a cistern at the head of the rack, and from there back into his neck at the tattoo. He was not as far gone as Roderick or Bartreg (he still had a pulse). He spoke with us, saying he needed to kill an enemy -- Sextus and Alpheus replied that he shouldn't do that. He claimed to be ready to return to sleep ...

     While Landon began work to stop the blood from being drained from Bran, Alpheus touched the strange axe -- and disappeared!

 

The Second Dream of Battle

     Alpheus found himself at a location in the Korcari Wilds -- wet and marshy, with decrepit wooden bridges half-sunken into the weed-filled water. Strange mists obscured the distant trees and hills.

     Nearby was Bran, healthy and carrying an axe and shield; he was charging an enormous revenant -- Alpheus followed as best as he could.

     Bran and the evil spirit traded axe-blows; Alpheus healed the warrior and used his dominion over spirits to command the revenant to surrender. The mage's command worked soon, but the spirit was able to break free when Bran continued to fight it (despite Alpheus urging otherwise).

     The mighty spirit was injuring both Bran and Alpheus, so Alpheus cast a Force Field on Bran, and then once again commanded the revenant to surrender. While the revenant sulked angrily, Alpheus explained to Bran the need ... the need for speed!

     Alpheus ran for the rift where they'd entered this dream-world, and Bran followed the moment the Force Field wore off. They made it back just ahead of the pursuing revenant!

 

     After a minute, Alpheus reappeared and Bran re-awoke. He told us of a terrible pain in his gut; we gave him a dose of Hale's Mercy, removed him from the rack, and helped him put his clothing and armor on. He told us of a dream of a wedding at Linna Manor.

     It seemed that Aurelinus was building a revenant to incorporate qualities from various victims -- Roderick's Templar powers, Bartreg's dwarven ... constitution?; and Bran's affinity with weapons (or perhaps just axes).

     Approaching the final end of the dungeon passage, we still hadn't found Shivanna or Eornan, but did find a blank wall, and a double door to the left.

 

Landon's condition at end of session:  -74 mana, but fully healthy.

 

On to The Enchanted Workshop

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