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Dolmenwood: The Abbey of St. Clude (Session 05)

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).

Marje and Maydrid knock frantically on a grand oaken door, the night rain pouring down in torrents. A few seconds pass before the door is opened by a well-dressed butler, eyeing us warily.

“What business do you have? It’s the middle of the night, for god’s sake!”

“We know where Lady Harrowmore’s daughter is,” Marje responds gravely.

Without another word, the butler ushers them in.

.: :.

“Hmm,” Wyrmspittle ponders, staring through a magnifying glass at the spot on Hogrid’s arm. “Well, mister, you don’t have much time, that’s for sure. You got the black rot. You’ll last a week, maybe two. Should’ve amputated the limb when you had the chance.”

Hogrid sighs in disappointment, not surprised but not happy. “How do I cure it?”

Wyrmspittle smiles a toothy smile and shrugs. “You either somehow get the Archbishop to cast a spell on you, or you find nobbled mandrake. And that ain’t easy to come by.”

.: :.

“A gloam,” Lady Harrowmore mutters to herself, nodding intently. She sips from her expensive cup of tea. “They are obsessed with collecting things, and are dangerous, but at the very least they are known to charm lesser-intelligent creatures and take care of them, in a way. My daughter isn’t in the best hands, but she’s safe.” She passes her cup to a servant before standing. “Rest, for the night. The weather is too unpredictable to go now, but we ride in the morning.”

.: :.

Lady Harrowmore summons 15 knights with 15 squires, as many men as she can spare. She loans them all horses for the journey, along with a spell scroll, which she entrusts to Hogrid. “Even my knights might not be able to best the gloam, and if not, use it.”

The journey is much quicker back to the abbey than it was leaving. The weather is clearer in the morning, and the dewy grasslands they speed past catch the rising sun in little mirrors. There is a solemness that claims their small army as they ride.

Unlike the first time they arrived at the abbey, their party approaches the tower directly, unwavering. Hogrid casts a protection from evil spell on Tassian and Boone, who push the unlocked door open cautiously. Tassian begins to play a tune on his flute, the noise drifting up the halls of the tower. Within seconds, the three children come skipping down the stairs, humming along to the song merrily and seemingly without a care in the world. As soon as Boone reaches out to them, screaming resounds from outside as a murder of crows swoops down from the tower and attacks the knights.

Everything happens in less than a minute – as Mr Raggenbones flies between victims, he transforms into his humanoid form, and then back into crows seamlessly. A few of the knights fall victim to the black rot, and even more are thrown off their horses by the relentless crows.

In a flurry, Hogrid whips out the spell scroll gifted to him by Lady Harrowmore, and mumbles a few religious words. A flash centered on Mr Raggenbones explodes outwards, harmless to the knights but causing Mr Raggenbones to disintegrate into little, black feathers, which drift away in the breeze.

Wasting no time, Hogrid rushes to the sides of the fallen knights who are clutching their wounded limbs. “Quickly!” he yells to the others, unrolling a leather scroll lined with medical equipment. “We have to amputate or the infection will spread.”

There are five infected, and only two of them survive, much to the group’s dismay. On the brighter side, the children are no longer infatuated with Mr Raggenbones, and the knights clothe them with warm coats.

“We’ll take them home,” one of the knights says, hoisting the children up onto a horse. “Will you be coming with us?”

“No way!” Madrid exclaims. She gestures to the tower. “Who knows what kind of loot there is in there?”

.: :.

The tower is largely uninteresting, contrary to Madrid’s eagerness. There is a small shrine set in an alcove on the first floor dedicated to Saint Wode, the saint of baked goods. “The Church teaches us that he once calmed a rampaging dragon with a basket of freshly baked buns, hence his domain.”

The second floor looks to be what used to be the children’s sleeping quarters – there are rags strewn across the floor for makeshift beds next to a pile of stale bread. Maydrid shuffles through them quickly, eventually producing a tattered map. A chapel is drawn on one side, with an arrow pointed down at an altar with an ‘X’ on it. The back of it reads, ‘On the vanquishing hand access to the sacrificial bounty.’

“X marks the spot,” Madrid says joyfully. “The chapel and altar look like the one in this abbey. We should check it out after we explore the rest of the tower.”

The third floor is definitely interesting, if not a little terrifying. Dozens of patchwork dolls hang from the ceiling from ropes or sit, slumped on the floor. Teeth are erratically sewn into their faces and arms, with no rhyme or reason to them. Madrid curiously picks one up and grimaces, squishing the doll. “They’re filled with teeth…”

It takes them a few minutes to dissect each doll to reveal the teeth, and some of them even have coins in them, which they gladly take. Sprue picks up the sack filled with teeth and says, “Let’s go to Scryke – surely the teeth he’s looking for is in here somewhere.”

.: :.

“…eighteen, nineteen… twenty-two…” Scryke sits on the floor beside the open sack, counting teeth carefully. After a few minutes he jumps up with a smile. “Ah! Finally, complete! Thank you, dear friends. Now… for the secret…” he motions for them to lean closer, placing a finger on his lips. “There is a secret vault beneath this abbey… the only way to open it is with a set of keys that only the abbot carries.”

“A vault!” Madrid exclaims. “Does that mean more treasure?”

“No questions!” Scryke admonishes. Suddenly, he opens his mouth wide enough to swallow the skeleton he has just pieced together whole, before growing slightly bigger. He tips them another smile and disappears into the ground without a word.

“Well…” Marje ponders, tapping a finger to her chin. “Sounds like we have multiple reasons to explore underground.” She nodes towards the map clutched in Madrid’s fingers. “Let’s investigate that. Surely we’ll discover another ‘secret’.”

.: :.

“On the vanquishing hand…” Maydrid repeats outloud, staring at the mosaics. “I mean, Saint Clewd is doing something with his right hand in every mosaic except the seventh.”

Hogrid steps up to the altar and to the mosaic behind it, examining the right hand of Saint Clewd. “Bingo,” he murmurs to himself, plucking out a ring that was flush against the wall and camouflaged with the mosaic. “I found something!”

He examines the ring to find that where a gem would ordinarily be there is a protruding piece that seems like a key. Madrid looks back down to her piece of parchment, noticing the altar drawn in the map. She searches the altar fervently, before she finds something that could just be a keyhole. “Over here! I think the ring goes here.”

Hogrid complies, and after a soft ‘click’, the altar’s lid cracks open to reveal an inner chamber, where a small chest lies in the dust.

“Just what I was hoping for!”

.: :.

They are back at the secret door again, listening to the voices in the next room. Boone has his ear pressed against the wood and nods, holding up his hands to indicate at least seven voices.

Tassian nods back and begins playing his flute, the melody silencing the voices. A few seconds pass before feet shuffle over to the wall, and after a few more seconds, a button or lever is clicked or pulled beyond the wall and it swings outward, revealing them and the secret passage.

There are seven men, old and wrinkled, wearing priestly robes. Some of them wear their hoods up, and others down. The one that stands directly before them looks normal enough, but they spot one or two behind him that are acting slightly… off.

“Who are you? And what are you doing here?” the man demands, shaking a fist.

Tassian continues to play, undeterred, and slowly the sound soothes the man before his angry expression placates into an amiable smile.

“Who are you?” Marje questions, her hand not leaving the sword at her hilt.

“Monks, of course. Of Saint Clewd and this abbey.”

“We thought all the monks died long ago.”

“Oh, we did. That’s why some of my friends are… strange.”

Marje tilts her head to one side and glances at the other men. “Why stay down here? Why not return to your families?”

“Because we serve Saint Clewd, and Saint Clewd is alive!” The monk throws up his arms in a grand gesture.

Hogrid glances at Marje, confused. “But…” he responds, befuddled. “Saint Clewd died fighting the Bicorn a long time ago.”

“Well yes, he did, but we managed to resurrect him! And oh, what a glorious day it was, to have our beloved Saint Clewd back, before we realised he was crazy. He’s not exactly the same Saint, and so we’ve locked him in his tomb for now.” The monk strokes his chin in thought. “Also, when we resurrected him, it created some kind of rift, and not only did St Clewd come through, but also a Bicorn.”

Hogrid stares at the monk in utter disbelief. “That can’t be… not a Bicorn! Where is it?”

The monk shrugs, almost sheepishly. “We don’t know. We don’t know where it went.” Abruptly, another monk steps forward and nudges him, whispering something in his ear. It causes something to darken over his face. “That’s enough questions. You should all leave, and don’t come back.”

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, OSE, The Ninth World

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