Our adventurers were making their way to the last site marked on the dead gnome's map, following the elven druid and human scout in a winding path through the hills. Flambo at one point asked the druid why they were going over some hills and not others, or through some light copses of trees and not others and the druid simply replied that they were sacred ground to the Earthmother Avar'rein the Goddess of Nature and Faerie-kind, an explanation Flambo accepted without any further comment.
They came across a recent battlefield and made a good search but found nothing salvageable. Flambo did find a metal plate with the word "THUN-" but it was broken in half. A more thorough search found the other half of the plate and when put together, spelled "THUNDERWICKET". It had no meaning to them, but Flambo decided to keep it anyway. After completing their searches, Flambo gave the remains of both Man and Orc combatants Last Rites to Vulknar. This raised some questions from Vendee about how Vulknar's priests view death and whom is deserving of an afterlife, but Flambo simply replied - "I worship a God, he can sort out who he wants and who he doesn't".
Leaving the site, later in the day they stumbled across a ramshackle campsite inhabited by Cregg and Rak'Shan, former caravan and expedition guards of one of the gnome and dwarves' competitors. They fled the expedition when all was lost and gathered what they could to survive. Not fully trusting that they weren't telling the truth (the popular thought was they were actually looting the fallen on the battlefield), Vendee and Flambo allowed them to join with the remains of their expedition.
Traveling the rest of the day through the hills, the adventurers made their way to the failed expedition’s camp and decided to camp out for the night on a nearby hill overlooking the site.
Throughout the night, the people on watches took note that odds and ends were move around and out of place, but nothing was missing. It was suspected that Cregg and Rak’Shan were initially responsible, but everyone could account for their location throughout the night. The only clue was the abundance of light poke marks in the soil. The human scout commented they didn’t look like any type of tracks he was familiar with, it was a mystery.
Over the next day the group explored the excavation site and discovered there were three areas where digging occurred. There were some tools (shovels and spades) in the holes, and an abundance of the poke-tracks in the area. In one hole they found the digging went down to a slab of worked granite, full of cracks. Another was only about 10 feet deep, but looked as if digging was just stopped due to nothing interesting found. The last excavation site was the most interesting - in a hole 30 feet deep and roughly 20 feet across, they found a roughly ogre-sized metal giant, similar (if not smaller than) to the one they saw in the Legion’s Crypt a few days previous. Vendee climbed carefully down to investigate it closer, cautious so he could attempt escape should it react to his presence.
Unmoving, the thing was clutching a great, giant-sized hammer of strange metal and covered in runes of powerful enchantment. One of the humans accompanying Vendee freak out and ran from the hole screaming about the metal giant and hid behind a wagon. Vendee discovered there were handholds and ports all over the thing, most likely to maintain it since they all opened to joints and gears and other things he couldn’t identify. Behind one port he found a bunch of levers and dials, but couldn’t surmise their purpose. There was also a place for a metal plate about the size of the broken one Flambo was carrying, so the group christened the metal giant ‘Thunderwicket’. The group determined that one of the other expedition’s wagons was built to carry it here, then it was lowered into the hole and used its hammer to break through the stone. Some discussion ensued over taking the magical hammer and finding a buyer back at Sirac’s Point, but was put on the back burner after several factors were taken under consideration.
On the floor of the dig opposite the hulking metal giant was a large hole, opening into darkness below. The human scout noted there were an abundance of the tracks here as well. Flambo dropped a torch into the dark and discovered the floor was 20 feet distant and was a large room. Hovering down, he secured the room while the rest of the group climbed down rope ladders. The expedition guards were left topside to guard the claim, but Cregg and Rak’Shan were invited to join for a standard half share, which they accepted.
They found a large room with marble floors and 4 stone doors. A thorough search turned up nothing. Determined to move east, the door proved troublesome and Rak’Shan noted that there was about a handspan between the bottom of the door and the floor. Finally opened, they found a short hall ending in a “T” intersection with stone doors at either end similar to the previous one. Checking the southern most door, Rak’Shan determined it safe and while opening it heard an audible ‘click’, but nothing happened. The room beyond was a simple warrior’s tomb with a carved sarcophagus of a knight with a silver inlaid sword and the symbol of Apathos, Lord of the Gods emblemized on his shield. Opening it, they found dust and some teeth, so they resealed it and left the room.
Some discussion ensued over returning to Sirac’s Point since they found an obvious tomb of an Apathos-worshipping warrior, but couldn’t confirm it was Haindrad’s Tomb, so they pressed on to the northern door. Rak’shan deem this one safe as well, but upon opening it, got a nasty surprise.
3 hands and 3 feet, in various states of decay attacked the group, clawing and kicking their way through the first rank and inflicting many minor wounds. The group prevailed, to find an altar room, long defiled with a black fist-sized orb resting on a blood-stained altar. The blood was long-since dried and old and Galeena was in greed mode as soon as she saw what she thought was a huge black pearl. They eventually talked her down and determined to leave the tomb to rest for a day, regain magic and plot their next course of action and better organize. They also determined that the crawling appendages were the source of the strange tracks and that they have free roam of the crypt with the doors created the way they are.
So they went topside to rest the remainder of the day, with Flambo using his healing skills to create poultices and tend to everyone’s wounds. That night, they were awoken by the alarm of one of the guards. Just in time, the group saw a hand outlined in electrical sparks, then 3 balls of lightning shot from it and struck the human guard, frying him to an immediate crisp. In the flashes of lightning, Vendee noted the glint of a ring on one of the hand’s fingers and tried to keep track of that one, but lost it in the chaos of the darkness and fighting. A short combat ensued and ended with Cregg channeling the power of Tymira and driving off 14 of the creatures (many of which had not sprung from their holes). Rak’Shan noticed a head among the hands and feet scattering. He chased it down and tried to grab it, but it turned on him and bit deeply into his arm. When the rest of the group saw him go down in a spray of blood, they retrieved him quickly and made sure he was stable. The creatures did not return and in the morning healing magic was applied to those hurt the worst still.
With some magic left, they descended back down into the marble hall and check the northern door. Finding it safe, they opened it to a hall with statues set into alcoves, 3 on each side and a portcullis at the far end of the hallway. Much time was spent in careful searching, but no traps were sprung or found. Neither was the lever for the portcullis. Flambo decided to try lifting the statues one by one, finally finding one with a button under one of its feet (it was thought that the statue was balanced to be tilted slightly and press the trigger). Cautiously pressed, the portcullis raised up, allowing access to another part of the tomb…
Solenus 13th-15th, 5231 A.C.
XP given out:
Acolyte Flambo of Vulknar, Male Endu - 180 xp (965 xp)
Vendee the Magi-scout, Male Elf - 217 xp (1,151 xp)
Galeena Bramblefoot the Woman-at-Arms, Female Halfling - 52 xp (407 xp)
Lirus the Prestidigitator, Male Elf - 52 xp (407 xp)
Cregg the Acolyte of Tymira, Male Human - 180 xp (180 xp)
Rak'Shan the Initiate, Male Tigran - 192 xp (192 xp)