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Dolmenwood: Winter’s Daughter (Session 02)

Gamelog for my Dolmenwood Campaign written by Maydrid the Rogue.  Rogue’s Gallery:

  • Marj Smith the Fighter.
  • Maydrid the Rogue.
  • Madrid the Rogue (twin sisters).
  • Jackie-of-Many-Colors (Elven Magician).
  • Spruce-Upon-Gallows (Elven Enchanter).
  • Hogrid Weavilman (Cleric).
  • Boone the Hunter (Hunter).
  • Tassain (Minstrel).

Hogrid Weavilman is crouched in prayer, his hands solemnly clasped together. His thoughts are interrupted by clunking and scraping in the room adjacent to his, followed by what sounds like a few violent coughing fits. He stands up and warily cracks the doors apart, and when the spore cloud disperses, he watches a small band of mortals, along with two elves, start looting the room and unhooking the weapons from each statue.

His hunger outweighs his self-preservation instincts, and he opens the door slowly, approaching even slower. A woman holding a red and black sword notices him first. “Hail!” he says, smiling cautiously. “I’m Hogrid, a lone cleric. I’ve been down here for some time now – you wouldn’t happen to have any spare rations?” He gazes across the group and notices their grazes and gashes. “I can offer my medicinal skills in return.”

Marje casts him a suspicious look before finally sheathing her sword. She turns to the group. “We could use it,” she says, shrugging. Madrid nods in agreement and begins unrolling a pack of rations.

“Here,” she offers, holding it out. Hogrid takes it gratefully. “Why are you down here anyway?”

“I’m a cleric, and this is a temple. Purely for religious reasons,” he responds, smiling again. “My memory isn’t the greatest, however, and so I’ve forgotten the exit.”

“Stick with us,” Madrid suggests. She looks back at her group, posing a question. “We don’t plan on being here for long.”

Sprue scoffs. “Not another human,” he grumbles, and Jackie elbows him.

The doors they came from suddenly burst open, and two skeletons, one larger than the other, waltz into the room. They are hovering above the ground, spinning and twirling elegantly despite their rough appearance, and they are covered in a thin layer of goo. The smaller one is wearing a pearl necklace and the other a medallion. “Come, dance with us,” they beckon. Jackie feels a strange impulse to comply, and so she obeys, toing and froing amongst the skeletons. Soon, Madrid joins the company, much to Maydrid’s protest.

The pair of skeletons eventually twirl out of the room and into an unexplored corridor. The party follows closely behind, but at a more cautious pace. The corridor eventually opens up into a circular room; opposite the entrance is an empty plinth, devoid of its statute, and above the plinth against the wall hangs a grand mirror.

The skeletons dance past the mirror and into the next room, and as they do so a layer of frost covers their bones, before disappearing just as quickly as it came. “Of course the mirror is trapped,” Sprue comments, gesturing to it. “There’s no way of getting to it, either, without standing in front of it.”

Marje stares at the mirror for a long while before reaching into her pack. “I have an idea,” she says confidently, pulling out her bedroll. She carefully maneuvers herself so that the mirror never ‘sees’ her, and she drapes the bedroll over it, blocking its reflective surface. “Perfect,” she remarks, standing back to admire her ingenuity.

“You mortals are good for something, at least,” Sprue scoffs before pointing to the floor. “Drag marks, and it looks like something heavy.” His finger follows the marks towards the doorway the skeletons disappeared into. Tracing the markings leads him to a small, square room that seems as if it is a perfect square. There is a closed door directly across from him, and to the right is a staircase leading upwards; specks of daylight somehow filter through and land on the stairs. The most curious thing, however, is that in each corner of the room there is a small pillar, and atop each pillar is a moldy object: a silver crucifix, a statue of a cherub, a holy book and a huge candle.

“Hmm,” Sprue ponders as Jackie catches up to him. Unthinking, she goes to step into the room, and he stops her by holding out his arm. “Don’t. Something is off.”

“I sense a heavy holy presence,” Hogrid comments, peering into the room, and Sprue rolls his eyes.

“Holy schmoly, what could be the worst?” Madrid says optimistically, a smile adorning her face. She pushes everyone else aside and steps into the room; much to her dismay, the candle suddenly blazes with a flame and the objects rise from their places, attacking her all the while screaming invectives at her to leave the tomb of Sir Chyde. She screeches as Maydrid reaches out and grabs her by the arm, yanking her back in place.

“You need to be more careful!” she admonishes, searching Madrid’s arms and face for bruises and cuts.

“It’s just a couple of scratches,” Madrid grumbles, shaking her friend’s grip from her.

Marje stares into the room and notices that the thick layer of dust on the floor has obscured a mosaic. She looks back at Hogrid. “It’s just holy magic, right?” she asks, pointing to the objects. Hogrid nods in response. She inhales a deep breath and steps into the room, wincing slightly at the possibility of being attacked, but the candle remains unlit and the objects still.

“Whew,” she mumbles to herself, brushing the dust away from the floor. It reveals a multi-coloured mosaic depicting Sir Chyde on a white steed charging at an army of Fae. Words in Old Woldish are inscribed above the image, saying, ‘Here lies the noble Sir Chyde, slayer of frost, defender of the King.’

“His tomb is closeby, and let’s hope he has the ring,” Maydrid comments. “Then we can finally be done with this place.”

“Oh, lighten up,” Madrid teases. “The undead here dance! Next we’ll run into a ghoul that sings!”

Jackie glances at Madrid strangely. “Let’s hope not.”

Marje climbs up the steps quickly, and upon seeing the top, returns. “That’s the entrance with the giant slab we couldn’t wedge open.” She points to the door. “That has to be where the tomb is.”

“You might be right, but at this point, Madrid and neither of the Fae can cross this room,” Hogrid points out. “Perhaps the trap is only triggered if the room is entered. You could gather the objects and place them elsewhere.”

Marje nods in agreement and gathers the objects into a sack, before hauling it up the stairs and disposing it somewhere. “Well, all or nothing,” Jackie says, stepping into the room, but nothing happens. She sighs in relief.

One by one they cross the room and exit through the door. Beyond is a long room that is divided in half by a fissure in the flooring; there are two opened sarcophagi on the left side of the room and three closed sarcophagi on the right side. A seam in the roof above the fissure drips slime onto the floor, and at present, the pair of dancing skeletons.

“Sweet!” Madrid exclaims, rushing over to one of the closed sarcophagi. As she reaches out to touch it, the skeletons suddenly freeze, and in an instant they dash over to Madrid, the larger one yelling, “How dare you disturb my family!”

“Does this girl ever keep out of trouble?” Boone mutters, shaking his head and drawing his bow. Maydrid and Marje dive into combat, unsheathing their weapons and attacking the smaller skeleton. With enough hits, it crumbles into dust, and the larger one wails in grief and anger.

It doesn’t take long for the larger one to join his partner, falling away; guilt washes over Madrid as she stares at what remains of them. She notices that the necklaces the skeletons had been wearing have clattered to the floor, and that twin owls are engraved into the medallion – Sir Chyde’s family crest.

“Lady Emerada, Lord Brigworth, Brandywhiff the Good, Brigford the Wise, and Emaline the Chased…” Sprue reads aloud, perusing the plaques on each sarcophagus. “Who are they?”

“Sir Chyde’s family,” Maydrid answers grimly. “But no Sir Chyde. I bet none of them have the ring we’re looking for either.” They search the coffins quickly, but nothing lies in them except old and brittle bones.

“Hey guys,” Jackie calls out, staring into the fissure in the middle of the room. “Is it just me, or is something there?”

“You’re right,” Marje agrees, coming to stand beside her. She is staring at what looks like the bottom of the fissure and the snow that lies there, glinting in the light. “How is that possible?” Marje reaches out into the fissure, and her hand connects with the slime; abruptly, her hand is lifted into the air without her doing, and she stares at it, dumbfounded.

“That’s how they were floating!” Jackie muses, trying to pry a lid from a sarcophagus. “Somebody help, please? I have an idea.”

Hogrid walks over, and between the two of them, they haul the lid over to the fissure. Resting its curved-side up allows it to gather the slime over time, and little by little, the lid begins to float up towards the seam in the roof before it’s covered entirely. Soon enough, the slime in the fissure clears, and the sparkle below is beginning to look more and more like snow.

“What if the ring is down there?” Jackie says as she unbuckles and gathers up her cloak, dipping it into the slime. It begins to float, as if losing its material weight. “I’ll investigate. Anyone have a rope?”

“I do,” Maydrid answers, dropping her pack to the floor as she fishes it out. She ties one end around Jackie’s waist and the other around a nearby pillar.

“Here I go,” Jackie says nervously, before jumping feet-first into the fissure, and disappearing with an audible ‘pop.’

“Oh no!” Maydrid exclaims, holding up the end of the rope that was tied to Jackie, now severed.

.: :.

Jackie stares in wonderment at the landscape around her – the ground is thick with snow and the wind is biting. She stands right beside a forest of pine trees, which sway in the draught, and she notices skins of some kind hung from the branches; the sight sends a shiver of fear up her spine.

Looking up, she can see the fissure from whence she came, now a purple crack in the sky some twenty feet high. She can almost make out the faces of her companions peering down at her.

Suddenly, there is the sound of pounding hooves and yelling, and bursting from the forest is a creature that can only be described as a goblin riding a sled. The sled holds a large sack tied tightly at its neck, and without so much as a glance towards her, the goblin continues sledding across a large, frozen lake; in its center is an frost covered white marble tower. As she watches, a white crow appears and gracefully lands at the only window in the tower. The window opens, and a blue hand appears, taking something from the crow before it caws and flies away.

Jackie stands there for a few minutes, unsure of what to do, before her sharp ears pick up the sounds of low growling and barking from the forest. Fear grips her again, and she quickly runs back under the crack in the sky, trying to reach it, but she falls short.

.: :.

Maydrid notices Jackie, now almost a speck, jumping up and down and flailing her arms. She quickly grasps the grappling hook at her belt and unfastens it, throwing it down into the fissure. It, too, disappears with a ‘pop.’

Jackie hastily ties rope to the grappling hook as the growling turns to howling and the barking turns to explosive cries. She tries once, then twice, and on the third throw the grappling hook latches onto the edge of the fissure. In her panic, she ascends the rope, and she hauls herself back through the fissure with one last ‘pop.’

Jackie sits there for a few seconds, breathing heavily, as she is bombarded by many questions. She describes what she had seen, and then adds, “Let’s hope the ring isn’t down there. We still haven’t checked the room with the dog statues in front of it.”

.: :.

“Flaegr and Chydr,” Boone calls out to the dogs, and they animate, standing up and pulling on the chains connected to their leashes. This causes the heavy doors to open upwardsto an elegant, wide room; a single, ornate sarcophagi stands on a low pedestal in the center of the room, adorned with carvings and inlaid with gold.

Opposite where they stand, a portrait mounted on an elegant easel depicts a beautiful elven woman, a stargem crown on her brow, and bowing before it is the image of a man, ghostly in appearance. The man stands up and turns around; it is Sir Chyde. “Please, come in,” he invites with a hint of warmth to his tone. “I vow that you will not be hurt. I have not seen mortals in a long time, and I beseech your aid.”

Marje hesitates, slightly suspicious. “What does everyone think?” she asks, hushed.

“We should talk to him,” Hogrid replies. “I sense no evil. He doesn’t intend to harm us, and he is a man of religion, so his word can be trusted.”

“But what if he closes the doors on us and traps us in there with him?” Marje responds, still doubtful. She shakes her head. “I’m staying here just to be safe. The rest of you go ahead.”

“Suit yourself,” Hogrid says with a shrug, stepping forward into Sir Chyde’s tomb. Sir Chyde smiles and hovers his hand over his sarcophagus, muttering a few words and causing it to slide open with ease. He plucks out an expensive ring, set with a moonstone, and holds it out in his hand. Maydrid recognises it instantly as the ring Mostlemyre asked them to retrieve.

“I am betrothed to Princess Snowfall-at-Dusk, one of the daughters of the Frost Prince. However, for hundreds of years we have been separated, for she is imprisoned in Frigia by her father and can never leave. Please, I beseech you to take this wedding ring to her, so that we might be united even in my afterlife.”

Jackie’s interest is piqued, and she asks, “Is she trapped in a tower?”

Sir Chyde nods. “Yes, she is. You can reach her through the passageway beside a statue I had made in her likeness.”

Hogrid turns to the group and says, “We should help him. He’s waited so long for this.”

Madrid thinks of the money she might be losing, but also of Sir Chyde’s family tomb they had desecrated, and the guilt wins her over. “Fine,” she concedes, sighing heavily. “Let’s bring Princess Snowy-Night her wedding ring.”

.: :.

A shallow pool in the middle of the room is filled with a thin layer of water. Numerous candles float and hang around the room, unlit. A grand statue of the Princess stands at the center of the pool, a saddened look painted across her face. When Madrid steps into the water, disturbing its membrane, the now familiar ‘pop’ sounds and she, along with the others, are transported into a pine forest. The candles are still hanging, suspended in the air, but now they are aflame.

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, OSE, The Ninth World

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