There were many ways to go for the Thralls, and so they began scouting out the corners of the basement. ZAKNAFEIN led the way to a nearby door and unlocked it. Inside was a skeleton slumped on a couch, as well as two others on the floor. The torchlight flickered off of several valuables scattered about the room, but also illuminated a warning message on the wall saying not to take anything, or die. The equipment on the skeleton slumped on the couch matched that of one of the figured in a painting on the first floor, the one depicting the slaying of the triceratops; that of Donatalus BISBY. This was one of the Pathfinders mentioned in the Cruxnote, and he was said to have knowledge on the artifact that might have caused the shadow beasts. The Thralls thus used one of their precious grave candles to try to talk to the spirit.
As SUNDERHOFF advanced with the lit candle, BISBY's skull head turned and screamed "Thieves, THIEVES, THIEVES!!!" Shadows rose up from the two skeletons on the floor; the favored enemy of the Thralls. The BISBY skull looked at SUNDERHOFF and all of a sudden, the Dwarf saw himself marrying the paraplegic sister to the second cousin of King Janderhoff. The shock sent a wave of pain through his mind. The shadows then attacked the Dwarf, with one reaching into his soul plucking out a piece. He sent out a small wave of positive energy, wounding the three undead slightly. ZAKNAFEIN screamed to the gods, and then entered a Dervish Dance, his scimitars dancing, while avoiding outstretched shadowy fingers. Each undead creature took a scimitar slash. SHAMUSthen moved in with his hammer, and smashed the two shadows, his hammer ignited in holy smiting radiance. KWAN then weaved into the crowded room and punched a shadow, sending it back to the afterlife.
The skull turned on SUNDERHOFF and again screamed "THIEF!!!" This time, the marriage image he saw in his head was obviously not real and he pushed aside the Phantasmal Killer. The remaining shadow slashed at the Dwarf and drained away more life force. The cleric turned and tried to touch the shadow with a healing blast, but the nimble undead moved away from the hand. ZAKNAFEIN again continued his dance, his scimitar again hitting the undead. The Drow slipped on a femur bone and nearly tripped. SHAMUS however was there to smash the shadow to death. As he did so, the skull fell to the couch again. The skull then suddenly spoke out, even though the grave candle was no longer lit. BISBY's voice came forth, and said that he sensed that much time had passed. He asked if the Thralls had found the Totemrix as he sensed its presence nearby. BISBY sensed that his old friend ILNERIK had succumbed to the Totemrix’ vile magics. He also said the Morrowfall was safe down below in the Amber Arca, the lodge’s secret vault. That could only mean the second part of the statue which, when united, would end the curse of Delvehaven. KWAN then asked how one exited Delvehaven. BISBY said that you simply had to use the doors, assuming you did not exit them alone. The spirit said that to get to the lower vaults, one must go to the Amber Arca doors and enter the password: “Behold the Amber Arca” and a passage would appear. He also said to be wary of the desk in the room. After that, the skull went inert. The Thralls quickly looted the room, and exited.
The Thralls continued exploring, opening the doors to an almost unbearable bright room. The light seemed to be coming from crystal lanterns on the ceiling. In the eastern part of the door, was a large red door. It seemed they had already stumbled upon the Arca. Within the center of the room was a summoning circle. This was not where the Thralls wanted to go yet, and so they continued their exploration of other doors.
The next room they came to was decorated like a tavern, obviously a social gathering place for the ancient Pathfinders. This was the place that ZAKNAFEIN had seen a fiendish hound patrolling. SHAMUS, who was in the lead, heard some giggling coming from the corner. He advanced closer and noticed some strange animated dolls. A dragon, a teddy bear, a scarecrow, a baby doll and an Amazon doll, all of which seemed very happy to have someone to play with. SHAMUS called back to his friends as to what he saw, and KWAN took no chances. He walked into the room and kicked the baby doll. He crushed the plaster face it and it started crying. ZAKNAFEIN then moved in, his glaive slashing through the straw doll. The baby doll looked at KWAN and tried to convince him that she was no threat, but to no effect. The straw doll then tried to get at ZAKNAFEIN, and the Drow was quick to cut it again, while KWAN tripped it as it walked by. Baby doll then tried to walk past, and she too was tripped. The Amazon moved in and stabbed ZAKNAFEIN with an evil looking, poison coated blade. Teddy then tried to get by his toys, but he too was tripped by KWAN. Dragon was next into the fray, going in front of SHAMUS and spouting forth a small gout of fire. SUNDERHOFF smashed his pick into the dragon’s head, drawing a squeak of pain. SHAMUS then smashed the dragon even harder, bringing a scream of pain.
KWAN kied and kicked the scarecrow, punched the baby doll to paste, head butted teddy, and tried to grapple the Amazon. Somehow though it avoided the grapple, and that pissed the monk off. All he wanted to do was destroy the Amazon until the little critter was dead. ZAKNAFEIN took out his scimitars, slashing scarecrow once and knocking it down. A second slash hit the bear. It retaliated, but its claws were hit aside, and countered with a scimitar slash to its head. The Amazon then stabbed at KWAN, but it missed. After a few more seconds of weapons and screaming dolls, the fight was over with the Thralls barely scarred. After a quick search, several potions and expensive bottles of wine were discovered as well as a secret passage.
SHAMUS led the way to another room, filled with beds and couches, as well as an exercise area. Obviously it was a place of comfort and so they decided to relax. A Pre-Chelish banner on the wall would make a great inspiration piece for the Children of Westcrown. A Detect Magic revealed several arcane scrolls, as well as a hideous looking, moldy suit of hide armor. And so they took some time to pray for spells and relax tired battle muscles.
After a few minutes, the four continued exploring. They came to a new room with a variety of bottles whose contents contained small ships. SHAMUS detected evil and felt a presence within. SUNDERHOFFmeanwhile detected magic from a sail of one of the ships. Fearing another haunt, SHAMUS braved the room before anyone else as he was more resilient to such things. Sure enough, after a few seconds, the paladin smelted salty air in the room. He felt the floor sway and suddenly he was on a ship on a stormy night. He saw BISBY and ILNERIK arguing on the bow of the ship over their latest adventure. Soon the image faded, and SHAMUS was back in the room. He signaled the all clear to his friends who entered. SUNDERHOFF took the sail in hand and noticed golden letters appear upon it. It was a Breath of Life spell.
KWAN suggested taking a few couches from the living area and bringing them to the Arca room, where there they assumed they would be safe from the vampire that was ILNERIK whom they knew was somewhere. As they started relaxing, they noticed the letters on the door start becoming a light blue. Fearing some sort of magic, the Thralls left and went to sleep in the living area, now devoid of comfortable cushions. ZAKNAFEIN kept watch while his friends slept. As the hours wore on, the vampire capitalized. Its eyes looked upon ZAKNAFEIN and tried to Dominate the week-willed Elf. In that moment, the Drow used all of his will to push out the voice that suggested to slay his sleeping friends; and succeeded. ZAKNAFEIN however decided to try to pull a fast one on the vampire, and told him that he would obey. The vampire didn't fall for the ruse and transformed into a mist and made her way out of the room. ZAKNAFEINwoke everyone up, and the Thralls followed her, where she disappeared in the Arca room, through a crack in the floor.
They debated how to follow the vampire, and in the end, opted to start smashing the floor with hammer and pick. That was enough to trigger the summoning circle in the middle of the room. From it, came forth some sort of invisible force. This was a Hellcat, and it clawed at KWAN. It then tried to trip the monk whose ability kept his footing. Although invisible, both ZAKNAFEIN and SHAMUS saw the slight outline of the beast due to their perceptive eyes. And so ZAKNAFEIN Fairy Fired the devilish beast, making it visible to all and a much easier target. Despite the illumination, SUNDERHOFF missed with his pick. KWAN then backed up and drank a potion to heal up his own wounds. SHAMUS smashed the Hellcat twice with his holy hammer. It retaliated with claws and a bite, all of which ricocheted off of plate armor.
ZAKNAFEIN slashed with his glaive, bringing more pain. SUNDERHOFF again picked the Hellcat successfully. KWAN then tumbled around the Hellcat, inviting the devil to hit the monk. Both combatants missed their attacks. SHAMUS however hit heavily with yet another hammer blow, bringing it closer to death. The Hellcat managed a lucky bite on SHAMUS' calf as it tore away muscle. ZAKNAFEIN then went into his Dervish Dance, but each scimitar was parried aside. Again SUNDERHOFF connected with his pick, barely scratching the beast. KWAN then went into a flurry of attacks, with a kick, knee, and then a palm strike to the Hellcat's jaw. SHAMUS' next hammer simply bounced off. Now the Hellcat's attention was on KWAN who took a claw across the ribs.
ZAKNAFEIN continued his dance, but bumped into SUNDERHOFF's immovable form, and that stopped his movement. SUNDERHOFF didn't even notice, picking apart the Hellcat with yet another weapon strike. KWAN continued his massive attack, smashing the devil twice with two head-butts. SHAMUS got in another small hit, but the Hellcat stayed fighting. It clawed at KWAN who punched out at the same time. That punch struck claws that shattered in the air. ZAKNAFEIN finally connected with a pair of scimitar attacks, bringing it even closer to death. SUNDERHOFF moved closer to KWAN, but the Hellcat bit him very hard. The Dwarf hit the cat but the weapon bounced off of hellish armor. KWAN was still reeling from the solidity his fist on claws, and the pain took him a few seconds to get over. SHAMUS smashed the Hellcat twice, yet still it stood. It clawed only once and bit at KWAN, hurting the farmer very bad. ZAKNAFEIN's scimitars found a soft spot in the Hellcat, getting in another paper cut.
SUNDERHOFF placed a healing hand upon KWAN, giving wonderful relief as wounds closed. KWAN wanted to finish the fight, but this time the Hellcat dodged all the incoming punches. SHAMUS too missed his attacks. The Hellcat clawed at SUNDERHOFF and bit ZAKNAFEIN. That threw the Drow off of his dance for a few seconds. After a flurry of misses by SUNDERHOFF and KWAN, it was up to SHAMUS whose hammer nearly caved in the hellcats head. SUNDERHOFF took a claw and bite that nearly downed the poor cleric. ZAKNAFEIN yet again hit, but this time the blades bounced off. SUNDERHOFF then Channeled a wave of energy, healing all of his allies, including himself. KWANchanneled his inner monkness and Stunned the Hellcat with a mighty punch. A follow-up punch and elbow brought the Hellcat to the brink of annihilation. SHAMUS' hammer finally finished off the beast.
Wounded, and with little resources, the Thralls decided to leave Delvehaven as a group. This time they were able to get out of the lodge successfully. The Thralls dared the night and went all the way to the safe house, where there they relaxed and slept in peace. They soon got their equipment identified. ZAKNAFEIN suggested getting potions of Silver Sheen which would make their weapon silver for a limited time and thus be able to hit the vampires. The items they had found were all identified and divided out to the ones that needed them the most, while the rest was sold off. ZAKNAFEIN and SHAMUS diced for a particular ring. Oddly, they seemed to tie with each roll until finally SHAMUS beat the Dark Elf.
Soon enough, the Thralls were back at Delvehaven. They thought about going after the vampire below but it was decided to open the Amber Arca, and SUNDERHOFF called to his god for a Comprehend Languages spell. After seeing the symbols in his proper language, he entered the password and the passageway where the vampire fled opened to a basement below. Flickering lights gave a faint illumination as the four walked down the stairs to their goal. ZAKNAFEIN led the way as his sight would warn his friends of trouble.
They came to a long corridor with doors at various sections, each one destroyed. At the end of the corridors was where the light was coming from. To the left and right were other corridors. To the left, ZAKNAFEINnoticed a pair of red glowing eyes lurking in the darkness while to the right four vampire spawn jumped out, two of which were decorated in Hellknight armor. SUNDERHOFF was quick on the trigger, and blasted the undead with a ball of fire. ZAKNAFEIN jumped into his Dervish Dance, his blades like stars in the night as he injured a spawn further. The vampire eyes to the right looked upon ZAKNAFEIN and he sent a Dominationspell that easily destroyed the Drow’s metal defenses. SHAMUS was next into the melee, calling to Iomadae for the Right to Smite. His hammer crushed the skull of one spawn. KWAN seemed to be strategizing before he finally moved into melee. He kicked, punched, and elbowed three spawn, finally downing one.
SUNDERHOFF smashed his pick into the nearest vampire spawn but it seemed to absorb the damage. ZAKNAFEIN continued his Dance, cutting again at undead flesh. The vampire spawn retaliated but the Thralls avoided their strikes. SHAMUS moved to the nearest undead but his hammer bounced off its armor. KWAN again tumbled through the undead ranks, countering their reaching claws and injuring them further. SUNDERHOFF then sent a small wave of energy out, damaging the undead and bring them both down, ending the fight. The eyes in the night, that no one saw, sent a silent command to ZAKNAFEIN and he obeyed.
None of the Thralls seemed to give ZAKNAFEIN a though has he walked into the corridor with the light as they seemed to be examining the vampire spawn. The Drow was suddenly hit by a Sunbeam, severely blistering his dark skin and temporarily blinding him, but did not slow him down in his quest. The light at the end then began flickering faster. SHAMUS noticed a doorway to the right and he went to investigate. He began concentrating on his Detect Evil to see if there were evil forces on the other side. ZAKNAFEIN meanwhile continued walking, even in his blinded state. He came to a wall and followed it to his destination. From the lights, another Sunbeam shot out as the Drow instinctively dodged it partially. Yet the spell hurt badly, very badly, and still the Drow continued.
SHAMUS finally finished his spell and detected great evil. KWAN and SUNDERHOFF continued to observe their dark friend curiously, but not daring to follow in his path. They did call after him to come back, but he heeded them naught. ZAKNAFEIN ran on and the light grew brighter. It sent forth a Sunburst but which he was able to dodge aside. The blast did blind him yet again, but he was finally at his goal. He reach out and found the object he had been commanded to find…, and destroy. ZAKNAFEINstarted hacking at the object, but to not avail. He thus came up with another idea: he would place the object in the Haversack and throw it on one of the land mines outside. That seemed to be the most obvious way to destroy the Morrowfall after all.
His eyes adjusted to the brightness and as another blast of nearly burned his soul to whips. ZAKNAFEIN started making the walk back down the corridor, with only destruction in his mind to carry forth.