Stamus Contra Malum: 1013 YE

The Lost Vault Part 4

Juselen 14th-15th 1014 YE

Night at the Library

Juselen 14th 1014 YE

After returning to the library on the upper level, Avery sealed the door with magic and the party finally rested safely. After a full night of sleep, the party began to attend to their many injuries. The party decided to spend the whole day in the library, Avery and Garrick wanted to transcribe the spells they recovered from the dwarven tomb into their spell books,

During this time Damien noticed that Oberron had disappeared. Getting up he looked for the dwarf, his sixth sense told him something was wrong. As he wandered around, his nose detected the coppery smell of fresh blood. Following the scent, he found Oberron naked lying in a pool of his own blood. Someone or something had carved him up like a hog for the Fall Festival.

Damien yelled for help as he checked to see of the dwarf was still alive. He could see that Oberron was still breathing, if only shallowly. Lozen came running over and quickly saw the dwarf’s dire condition. She and Damien picked up the dwarf, brought him back to where the others were. Lozen began to administer first aid while Damien unsheathed his sword, lit a torch and went looking for whoever had attacked the dwarf.
Lozen used her Staff of Healing on the wounded dwarf to stabilize him and then began to clean his wound. As she washed away the blood she noticed something odd about the wounds.

Damien had made his way over to where he had found Oberron. Damien held the torch aloft and noticed something metallic shining in the blood. It was a dagger, was it the murderers? He vaguely remembered the dwarf asking to borrow one the night before, was it this dagger?

Damien soon rejoined the others. Lozen had finished cleaning the dwarf’s wounds and have a puzzled look on her face.

“Will he recover?” asked Ivanova

“Yes, I believed so, most of the wounds were not deep” replied Lozen

Avery knelt down beside Oberron and spoke in a hushed tone. “His wounds look a lot like dwarven runes with some Thracian hieroglyphs thrown in. That looks like the sign of Ianna, the goddess of love and war.”

Ivanova looked up as Damien approached “Did you find anything?”

Garrick cast a sideways glance at Damien as held up a dagger. “You want to tell her or me”

“It is my dagger that I loaned Oberron last night.” Garrick spoke forthwith.

“I don’t think Oberron was attacked, I think he did this to himself” Lozen spoke.

Everyone seemed shocked at this. Why would Oberron do this to himself?

A Fury Born

Several hours later, Oberron began to stir. Everyone gathered together around him as he woke.

“Why you all looking at me like that?”

“What happened to you Oberron?” Lozen was the first to speak.

“Oh you mean the new haircut? I felt like I could use a trim”

Lozen gently boxed Oberron’s ear “Stop being funny and tell us what is going on”

“I decided that I need a change and it seems Ianna has shown me a new path, the Path of the Fury. I have you to thank for this Lozen” Lozen looked a bit skeptical of this but accepted this newly re-born dwarf.

A Little More Conversation

While Oberon was recovering from his self-inflicted wounds, Avery pulled Ivanova aside.

“Can I have a moment of your time, my Queen?”

Ivanova, still trying to get used to the moniker, nodded in the affirmative and they moved into a secluded corner of the room. As per usual, Garrick followed his brother.

“This is what’s going on, my Queen.” Avery pulled out his sword, a beauty even when not lit up with elven flames. “Flamebrand has been a valuable tool for us, but as you know, I have given up the art of flame.”

“Yes, and I remember thinking that it was quite noble. I haven’t had time to talk with you about it, but I approve of your decision and I know Lozen does as well.”

“Are you sure?” Avery asked.

“I trust her and you,” Ivanova replied.

“Well, trust is exactly what I wanted to discuss. Our new paladin friend, Damien. Do you trust him?”

“I have no reason not to as of yet,” Ivanova said as Garrick scoffed from the shadows. “He joined us for a reason. He came from the orphanage that I set in flames that brought me to this path. That cannot be a mistake.”

As Garrick made another sound of impatience, Avery spoke again. “I want to give him this sword, as a token of trust. I do not trust him yet, but I feel that this might be a gift of welcome as well as a symbol of trust. What do
you think?”

“It’s a terrible idea!” Garrick stepped forward. “That sword speaks to him in our mother’s voice! Why on earth should my brother give up such a strong item to a man who thinks his god speaks to him? It’s insanity!”

“Calm yourself, brother,” Avery admonished.

“Is this true, that your mother speaks to you through the sword?” Ivanova asked.

“Well, yes,” Avery admitted. “But I don’t know if it’s her exactly, perhaps just her voice… Anyways, I feel that is it right to give up the sword, and why not kill two birds with one stone?”

“But what if Damien is untrustworthy!?” Garrick exclaimed, exasperated. “It’s a bad idea.”

“If he betrays us, I will cut him down,” Avery said calmly. “But I wanted her majesty’s opinion, as we do not yet fully trust Damien, but this sword could be an olive branch. Also, to give it up would definitely mean I will not go back to flame magic.”

Ivanova leaned in and took Avery’s hand. “My friend, I trust you and think you made the right decision in giving up the flame magic. You are powerful, and wherever you concentrate your arcane arts, I know you will be successful. As for giving Damien the sword, well-” she put her hand on Garrick’s shoulder and looked at the brothers steadily-“I think that you should trust in your brother Garrick. And if his trust in giving Damien the sword is mislaid, then I would expect nothing less of my general than to impale the paladin with Flamebrand. Agreed?”

“Now we’re talking,” Garrick smiled.

“Agreed,” Avery said. “Now, let us join the others.”

The rest of day passed quietly. Garrick, Avery and Lozen had a private conversation in a corner of the library. At one point, whatever they were talking about seemed to get heated with Garrick throwing some dark looks in the general direction of Damien.
Passing of the Flame

Later while the group broke bread during dinner, Avery undid his sword belt and wrapped around the scarab of his enchanted sword of flame.

“Damien, I have given this some thought and I have decided that this sword no longer favors me. It is a powerful weapon that in the right hands could be a weapon of freedom and justice that sees too little of it.”

Avery offered the hilt of the sword to Damien, while Ivanova and Garrick looked on, Garrick expression had a sour twist to it.

“I don’t know what to say, I am truly honored”

“Then honor me by wielding it in good faith and with a fair heart.”

The party went to bed, tomorrow brought with it a day of new challenges


The Great Hall

Juselen 15th 1014 YE

The party broke camp in the library and headed back towards the great hall. Avery removed his seals on the door and Garrick and Oberron quietly opened the doors. The elf and the dwarf took a quick peek inside. The purple smoke that once covered the floors was gone, instead the floor was covered in gore and blood. Piles of dead dwarves, gnolls, shattered weapons and armor covered the floor.

It seemed the Gnolls in the valley had discovered their way into the vault and had engaged the undead dwarven sentinels. The north wall of the hall had been broken open revealing a hidden chamber behind it. The sound of rushing water could be heard echoing from this chamber. On the south side of the hall a cart had been rolled in from outside. A number of slaves were loading the dead on to it under the supervision of two gnolls.

Garrick and Oberron turned back towards their comrades and relayed what they saw. Avery and Ivanova who were right behind them started to formulate a plan when Damien shoved his way past them without a word and marched into the hall. The rest of the party was in shock as Damien then proceeded to loudly whistle at the two gnolls guarding the slaves before charging them. Everyone was dumbfounded by the reckless actions of the Dane.

The rest of the party at a loss charged in after him watching as he charged right into the gnolls with his flaming sword. What the party did not see were the 13 battle wounded gnolls who were resting in the chamber beyond the broken wall. They charge the heroes catching them off guard. Ivanova took command and ordered everyone into a fighting withdrawal.

Avery and Lozen closed in on Ivanova’s flanks preparing to make the gnolls pay a high price for their blood. Garrick ignored Ivanova’s orders and instead moved towards were the paladin was fighting. Was he going to help Damiem? Or was he worried the warrior might run off now that he had Flamebrand and leave them all to die?

Damien made short work of the gnolls and shouted to the chained slaves to fight for their freedom. Most of the slaves looked stunned except for one, a silver haired elf, who picked up a halberd and charged forward to fight the gnolls.

The heroes and the gnolls on the other side of the hall traded ringing blows. Lozen called down the blessing of Ianna upon her friends but her efforts were thwarted. A gnoll bedecked with fetishes had stepped out of the doorway which the purple smoke once poured out. The gnoll shaman called down a dark curse of the Bel the Slaughterprince negating Ianna’s blessing.

A giant hyena appeared from behind the shaman and launched itself across the hall to maul Garrick. Avery sensing the battle slipping away from them stepped back and unleashed a furious lightning bolt that struck down many of the gnolls. Additonal aid came when the elf slave joined the heroes and fought against the gnolls with great furor.

Lozen, Oberron and Ianna carved through the remaining gnolls, while Damien came to Garrick’s aid and helped put down the hyena. Lozen brought down the gnoll shaman with a savage blow and the last of the gnolls fell beneath Ivanova’s and Oberron’s blades.

A Family Reunion

Lozen began to use her healing arts to tend to the parties many wounds. Ivanova walked over to were Garrick was sitting and knelt down beside him.

“How are you Garrick?”

“Tenderized, the damn hyena tried to turn me into a snack; luckily he did not break anything.”

“That is good.” Ivanova reached out and grabbed Garrick’s ear and whispered. “If you ever disobey my orders in combat again, I will cut off your fucking ears, do you understand me?”

“I am sorry Ivanova” mumbled Garrick. Ivanova stood up and then spoke to Damien.

“As for you, do me a favor, trying thinking with your brains instead of your balls. We are a party and we work as a group.” Damien said nothing but sheathed his sword.

Ivanova surveyed the room and noticed the silver haired elf. He was tall for a high elf with high cheekbones. His body lean from depredation and enslavement still betrayed the grace that only elves had.

“Who are you?” asked Ivanova quizzically

“Greeting Champion of Fionnghuala the Fair Shouldered,” said the elf in a surprising rich baritone voice. “My name is Connor Morning Star; I was once Clan Lorde of Clan Morning Star and commander of the Winged Lances of the City of Selenica. Until now I have been a unwilling guest of these beastmen.”

This was shocking news to the group, because Mornya had mentioned her family in passing and told stories about her uncle who supposedly perished during the fall of Selenica. In short order, Avery relayed this information to Connor, whose cool elven façade cracked with the overwhelming emotions. He had believed for so long that he was the last of his clan and the news that some of his family was still alive dazed him.

After taking some time to collect himself, Connor provided a great deal of information about the activities of the Gnolls in the valley and what had been going on in the vault. The gnolls had found some kind of weapon known as the Fire Seeds in the priest chambers next to the great hall. They had also discovered the grand shaft and the lifts to the lower level were the Banes were supposed to lie.

The party found out that 3/8ths of the Gnolls had died in the hall and one warband had been give the Fire Seeds to take them to the Citadel of Fulgrim. Leaving just four warbands in the valley and one of them was on the lower level which meant there were only three outside. There was also a great many slaves being held captive.

The heroes decided they needed to secure the Banes before tackling the gnolls outside. Connor and the other slaves agreed to keep up the ruse that everything was fine in the vault and they would keep drag out bodies outside.

The heroes then entered the room behind the false wall. The room was covered in blue tile and contained fountains of cold clean water that the party took advantage of. Beyond the fountain room was the Grand Shaft, a shaft dug straight down hundreds of feet. Water cascaded down the side of the shaft and this rushing water powered the lifts that would take the heroes to the lowest level. After killing the three gnolls archers who were on sentry duty they took one of the lifts and descended back into the depths of the vault.


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