The battle with the twisted Kruthik was savage; their dark auras and poisonous barbs dealing savage wounds to the party.
However, the hard-fought battle was another victory for the party. Once the smaller beasts were slain, they were able to concentrate all their attention on the large hive lord and quickly bring him down.
With all the beasts dead, the party was able to explore the corridor, including the rune-inscribed door.
Examining the door, Leif determined it to be based on the same principles of the wards and locks of the underground tomb the party had found under the tower several weeks before. It would require the work of several people to open without setting off the protective wards.
Familiar with the previous door, the party had no problems quickly dismantling the ward, and were easily able to open the door to the room beyond.
What lay beyond the door was a treasure vault. Boxes of coins, weapons and other items filled most of the room. Searching the room, many valuables were found.
800gp in open-topped boxes
2000sp in open-topped boxes
2000cp in open-topped boxes
12 suits scale armour
12 suits chain armour
12 battle axes
A large Dragon-Head carving, with its forelegs arching downwards. Acts as a Door Warden (AV2 p80)
A suit of chain armour with the symbol of a serpent eating is own tail on the shoulders. Acts as +2 shared suffering chain armour (AV p51)
Placing the Door Warden on the entrance to the vault, the party moved to investigate the door at the far end of the hall.
It proved to be neither locked nor latched; it had been forced from the inside at some point in the past, and swung open easily.
The room beyond was an ancient storeroom, with boxes of decaying tools and other items of little value.
Searching the room, Ghesh managed to knock over a stack of the boxes, which fell on both him and Zanne, inflicting several wounds.
Despite the falling boxes, the pair managed to find a tight hole in the back wall of the storeroom, which lead to another storeroom, though this one was far less cramped, and also contained little of value.
Exiting carefully through the dilapidated door to this room, the group found themselves in the basement level of their own keep back in Hedeby.
Taking advantage of their unexpected providence, the party quickly moved their new-found treasure to a more secure location in their longhouse.
The party also took the opportunity to check on how the town was doing in their absence.
There was little that required their attention, and, after a rest, the party re-entered the dark void, in the hopes that it would take them back to Descott.
The second trip through the void was not as strenuous as the first, and the party managed to re-emerge into the Kruthik tunnels relatively unscathed.
Quickly heading back to town, they found Himmel waiting their return. His messengers had made it back early, bringing with them the last of the information that he as looking for, and he wished to leave immediately for the capital.
He had procured additional horses for the group, which would allow for them to trade-off mounts on their journey.
He had also obtained a guard of 10 additional men from the Yarl, as well as extra mounts for them as well.
Leaving immediately, Himmel pushed the party and the guards hard, not allowing for rests, and trading off horses regularly.
Unfortunately, the pace set by Himmel was very difficult on Ghesh; his dragonborn frame was simply not built for riding a horse, and as the days passed, he became more and more exhausted by the riding.
Finally, due to bad weather and the need for real sleep the party stopped for a night’s rest.
Unfortunately, the night was not peaceful. Just as the camp was settling down for sleep, a large group of undead attacked the camp.
The undead came in 2 waves; 1 towards the party’s side of the camp, the other towards the Yarls men.
Hoping that the party would be able to handle the closer undead, Himmel raced to organize the remaining men to fend off the second wave.
The undead were not very powerful, yet they radiated an intense cold that froze the very blood in the party-members veins, and it only became more intense as the undead got closer together.
They were defeated quickly though as the party through their most powerful attacks against them.
The yarl’s men, though they defeated the undead attacking their side of the camp, did not fare as well as the party; several were killed by the un-natural beasts.
Searching the corpse of the largest of the undead, Leif found a holy symbol implanted underneath the skin of the brute. It as easily identified as Derosan.
Himmel, seeing the symbol, quickly had the party search the area in the hopes that they would be able to locate whoever sent the undead after them; it was no coincidence that the group was attacked this close to the capital.
Searching the area, the group did find a small lean-to where someone had obviously performed some recent magic, and who had abandoned it quickly, leaving behind several items of interest.
250gp on gem dust
Jewelled silver dagger, 100gp
Carved bone scroll tube with gold inlays 200gp
With their return, Himmel quickly got the camp disassembled and the group moving quickly towards the capital again, without any more time to rest; he feared more attacks.
The last day and a half of travel to the city was uninterrupted, and the party was quickly taken to the palace of the Konungar without interruption.
There Himmel briefed the party on what was to come: they would present their evidence to the Konungar, and attempt to prove the existence of the plot by the Derosans to start a war between Estvar and Jotunland.
While the trial started off badly, the party managed to turn it around with the presentation of the evidence of the plot that they had found.
• The undead attacks
• The doppelganger assassins
• The scroll obtained from the Jotun
• The holy symbol from the giant undead
With the party’s testimony, and the evidence they presented accepted by the Konungar, the Derosan plot was foiled.
Yet, before the ambassador could be arrested, he withdrew a vial from under his robes, and, calling down the wrath of his ancestors upon the PCs, he quickly drank it.
The ensuing death spasms of the ambassador were terrible to behold. He thrashed about violently, the snapping of his bones echoing throughout the massive great hall, and blood spewing from every orifice.
Finally, after almost 2 minutes of thrashing, he lay still.. Guards, moving to check the body found that despite his apparent harmlessness, he was still dangerous. With a merest touch, the guards also exploded into fits of convulsions and fountains of blood, which, landing on their fellow guards also caused them to erupt into violent death throes.
Before it was over, and the bodies immolated by fire from the warlock and burning wood thrown onto the corpses by the remaining guards, a half-dozen of the Konungar’s best men lay dead in the great hall.
Wanting to get awy from the scene of devastation, the Konungar had the party brought to his private sitting room, and providing them with food and drink, had them tell the tale of their adventures.
As they spoke, Himmel was sent to bring the group a reward from their monarch.
A set of 5 matching torcs, set with small rubies at the ends and carved with flowing runic patterns, were presented to the party with his thanks.
The torcs are all part of a set, and are identical. They act as +2 Brooch of No Regrets (AV p149)
The Konungar also arranged for the group to be housed in his castle for the duration of their stay in the capital.