Rise of the Runelords

The Black Monk

Fortress of the Stone Giants, Part 14

Oathday, 8 Pharast, 4734

The Rune Wardens, now accompanied by the knightly lamia Seleval, have gathered in the frigid confines have gathered in the frigid confines of the Black Tower. Above them, the tower is hollow and empty. But they have discovered a hidden trap door leading into a chamber below. Seleval has warned them that it is the home of a powerful undead creature known as the Black Monk.

They pry open the trap door and Zavian casts his azure gaze into the darkness. The trap door leads to a 50 foot shaft, which opens out onto a room below. The aasimar can barely make out the floor below. He casts light on a pebble, then tosses it down. It hits the icy floor and slides out of view.

The party gets out a rope and secures it soundly before dropping it down the shaft. Astrid uses her slippers of spiderclimb to warily descend. The room below has a 20-foot ceiling and numerous alcoves along its round walls, all of it coated in a thick sheen of ice. The temperature is unnaturally frigid.

Worst of all, as Astrid peers into the room, she discovers that the Black Monk is floating near the ceiling, waiting for her. He is wrapped and bound in ancient yellowed linen, and wherever his flesh peeks through it is blackened by age. In one arm, he cradles a rune-inscribed adamantine scroll case. His other had lashes out at Astrid with a series of swift, precise jabs and strikes.

The rest of the Rune Wardens are swift to come to Astrid’s aid. Amelia casts feather fall on the party and they drop one after another down the chute. Even Seleval, who has assumed a human form to descend the narrow shaft.

The Black Monk takes swings at them all, but concentrates his strikes against Astrid. The redheaded half-elf is eventually battered into unconsciousness and tumbles from her perch on the ceiling. Her potentially fatal fall is thwarted by Seleval’s cat-like reflexes, as the lamia snags hold of Astrid and gently carries her to the floor.

Lea heals Astrid and then hits the Black Monk with a spell that compels him to attack her or suffer divine repercussions. The Black Monk responds by letting out a terrible screech that travels up the shaft into the hollow tower, where it reverberates.

Soon, the siren sound of a harpy can be heard filtering down from above. Two more harpy monks swoop down to attack. Zavian calls on righteous might to grow to gigantic size and battles them.

Lea and the Black Monk trade devastating blows. Marcus moves up to support the paladin with his ranseur, while Seleval bolsters her with a healing spell. Lea’s earthbreaker blazes with holy light as she batters the mummy into smithereens.

Meanwhile, the enlarged Zavian uses his enormous flaming scimitar Sunspark to cut a harpy in half. He then squeezes his way up the chute to confront the singing harpy above. However, it manages to escape his clutches. Down below, Amelia lands the killing blow on the other harpy.

The party scavenges the adamantine scrollcase that the Black Monk had been guarding. Marcus realizes it has a complicated lock written in Thassilonian, which will take time to decipher.

Seleval asks Lea for permission to eat one of the dead harpies. Lea waits for the others to ascend the chute before agreeing to let the lamia have a few nibbles. She quickly regrets her decision, as her steel gorget tightens around her neck and her bonded spirit Ell-Hayzar shouts at her from across the aether. Lea calls Seleval off, but then acquiesces to the lamia’s request to be made a proper knight.

Lea and “Ser Seleval of Korvosa” clamber up to join the rest of the party in the ground level of the Black Tower. They can hear angry giants at the gates, demanding to speak to Mokmurian. The dragon Longtooth appears to have vanished.

Amelia uses glibness and a bead from her necklace of fireballs to pose as Mokmurian and scare off the giant chieftains below, at least for the moment. The party decides to descend below and confront Mokmurian.

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