Rise of the Runelords

Catacombs of Wrath

Burnt Offerings, Part 4

Fireday, 6 Lamashan, 4733

Having created an enormous racket thanks to Lea and Zavian’s efforts to destroy the altar to Lamashtu in the catacombs beneath Sandpoint, the party has attracted unwanted attention.

The goblin hero Koruvus, mutated into a three-armed, man-sized freak wielding what appears to be a magic sword, confronts them over their desecration of the shrine. He is joined by two more of the pale-skinned monstrosities the party fought before.

Lea charges the goblin head on with her earthbreaker. He replies by spitting a stream of acid onto her and Zavian. Meanwhile, his two companions flank Astrid. The rest of the party moves to her defense. Astrid manages to stab one of the creatures in the brain, but her sword catches in its skull, leaving her vulnerable to counterattack.

Another of the pale monsters, this one carrying a ranseur, bursts through the doors at the opposite end of the room. It charges towards the cluster of adventurers, but slips on the waters of Lamashtu that spilled forth from the broken altar.

Lea bashes in the head of Koruvus, while Amelia tricks the new creature into not attacking her.

Lea shakes off a hostile spell. The spell is followed up by another, a ray fired by a quasit. The creature then flits into the adjacent room, hovering over a glowing well, and spills some blood in it, summoning two more pale-skinned monsters, which diminishes the glow.

As the party finishes off the remaining enemies in the shrine, the two new creatures move up to guard the door to their chamber. Marcus, his spirit inflamed by a bite from one of the monsters, punches one in the face telekinetically. Then Astrid runs up the length of its ranseur and stabs it in the brain

As the party closes in on the other creature, the quasit summons a dretch demon. That fiend calls forth a stinking cloud that disrupts the party’s actions and nauseates Marcus.

The adventurers rush out of the cloud. Zavian and Astrid attack the remaining pale monster, while Marcus rushes out to steady himself on the wall and Lea goes after the dretch.

The quasit tries to charm Astrid, but Amelia countersongs her attempt. Lea and the dretch face off.

The remaining pale creature is taken down and Zavian flanks the dretch with Lea, but the cleric has trouble damaging it. Marcus examines the wall, finding a crack.

The dretch badly wounds Lea. The paladin calls on her goddess for strength, then strikes back against the demon, hammering it into submission.

Marcus leverages the wall into collapsing, creating a path into the room around the cloud. The quasit finally compels Astrid to flee in terror.

The party tries to identify where the invisible fiend is lurking. The quasit reappears near Lea, cutting her with a returning dagger. The paladin takes a running jump at the demon, but loses her grip on the earthbreaker and faceplants on the ground. Zavian tries to hit the creature with his crossbow but misses.

The creature descends to hit Lea with a touch spell. The paladin resists it and grapples her. The quasit struggles free and rises up into the air. Zavian summons an eagle, which locks itself in battle with the quasit, tearing at it with beak and claw. Lea rises to her feet, climbs up onto the dais, and leaps at the demon again with her sword, finally cutting it down.

The party regroups and loots the bodies, finding an enchanted morningstar on Koruvus and a tiny dagger on the quasit. Marcus feels the ranseur tugging him towards the triangular well.

The paladin and the cleric can’t identify it, other than to confirm it has nothing to do with the faith of Lamashtu. Marcus decides to thrust his ranseur into the well, and is struck with a series of visions.

He sees the well sitting dark an empty, as if for a long time. Then, suddenly, it flares to life, the glowing orange liquid bubbling up out of nowhere in a flare of orange light. The vision follows the light as it ripples up and out of the catacombs and spreading across Sandpoint. The light gradually fades as it spreads, dying out just beyond the town boundaries. But three small lights linger behind like embers—one on Chopper’s Isle, one at the old chapel, and one at Kaijitsu Manor.

Marcus then sees a flash of images of violence and pain. The Chopper’s victims, including Das Korvus’ wife and child, being cut down and mutilated. A door being wedged shut, a fire being kindled. A gruesome shrine to some bird-like monster. Angry shouts in a foreign tongue. Someone being thrown from a cliff in the dark. A woman crying out in labor. A monstrous stillborn child being swaddled up and hustled away. The well sitting dark and empty once again for long months.

Then Marcus sees goblins charging through the streets of Sandpoint on the Swallowtail Festival. He sees himself and his companions cutting down the goblins. For each that perishes, the well glows brighter with orange light. He then sees blood falling into the orange liquid, and sees another of the pale creatures rise out of the well, as the orange glow diminishes significantly.

At this point, Marcus is able to remove the ranseur from the well. He tells the others of what he saw and they debate what to do. the discuss the possibility of spilling blood into the well to summon more of the creatures, kill them, and drain down its power. But Lea is concerned that the well could be recharged again until the party defeats Nualia and the goblins. Marcus suggests that they consult with the local sage, Brodert Quink. First though, they must finish exploring the complex.

They discover an ancient prison and put down the remaining, zombified captives. Astrid discovers evidence that the prison was visited more recently—the black leather quiver of an elven warrior of Isandria, with the name “Dace” scribed on it in silver elven runes.

The adventurers find signs that the complex was the also site of some sort of grotesque experiments on the prisoners. They come across a meditation chamber under a permanent levitation spell. They retrieve a mostly-full bottle of Magnimarian wine, a wand of shocking grasp, a scroll, and a book of Lamashtu written in Abyssal. They also find a stairwell leading down. The stairs seem to be solidly blocked by rubble, which is good because strange sounds and a creepy vibe emanate from below.

The final area they investigate is a tunnel leading up, which passes through a small chamber with a large basin of water ringed with skulls. Zavian and Lea believe it to be a washing well of the kind used by various temples to cleanse petitioners before they enter a sacred space. Cautious, they send Lea to investigate.

As the young paladin approaches the basin, a grotesque floating head rises up from the well and opens a mouth full of fangs and lets out a terrifying shriek. Amelia freezes, paralyzed by the sound, but the others are able to keep the blood from freezing in their veins. Marcus lunges at the creature with his gilded ranseur, but the polearm slips from his hand and flies into the basin. The water begins to boil. The adventurers manage to cut down the head before it can do more than bite.

Lea then sloshes into the basin to retrieve the ranseur. As she touches it, a wave of intense, directionless wrath washes over her. Suddenly, she sees a room, somewhere else in the complex, back when it was still new. The building is shaking with tremors that send dust sprinkling down from the ceiling. Humans in long red robes, with their hair bound up in elaborate headdresses rush back and forth, manipulating glowing runes that ripple and shift on the walls.

The humans are tall, fair, with dark hair, high cheekbones, and violet eyes. They rush about with an air of desperation, while an illusory head, many times larger than life, floats over them barking orders in a strange tongue. It is the same woman who was portrayed in the red marble statue, now alive and furious. She shouts some final command and then vanishes. The humans gather together, performing some strange ritual. Then the walls ripple with fiery energy, which surges upwards, leaving a darkened facility behind, which begins to collapse.

While Lea is stricken with her vision, the ranseur glows with fiery orange energy, which lances up into the ceiling in a terrible flash, boring a hole straight up into daylight. All of the water in the basin boils away, leaving only the steam, and the polished skull of the monster. The ranseur is cold to the touch.

After discerning that the stairs leading up are also blocked by rubble, the adventurers double back to reemerge in the Glassworks. Lea returns to the Rusty Dragon to change, while the others head to the White Deer for lunch.

At the Rusty Dragon, Ameiko throws a surprise party for Lea to celebrate Ascendance Day. The Minkaian bard acts out a morality play of Iomedae’s Eighth Act, playing the Inheritor while using an illusion to create the graveknight that she talks into falling onto its own swords. As feats of physical and mental prowess, she arranges an arm wrestling and riddle contest. Lea manages to overcome both and is awarded a fine white cloak, the traditional victor’s prize. Ameiko explains that she saw how glum the paladin looked that morning over the lack of celebration and after everything Lea had done for her, she wanted to give back.

After the party, Lea reunites with the others and they go pay a visit to Brodert Quink’s house, an old building located as close to the looming ruin of Old Light as possible.

That night, Lea summons the rest of the party to her room, where she reveals her heritage as Princess Ecclesia Ionomia of the Houses of Kroft and Nox. Marcus is skeptical of the hidden princess until Amelia vouches for her. The party agrees to keep her secret, which could become inconvenient if known in Magnimar.

Lea then goes to confide the truth in Ameiko, who says that she has known all along. As a well-informed innkeeper and a noble, she’d already heard a great deal about the runaway paladin princess with the strange eyes and had quickly put two and two together.

The following day, the party makes purchases and prepares for the expedition to Thistletop.

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