Flocktime 8 (continued)
After dispatching the false Brother Egil, Braast, Darius, Jorak Dinbeard and Kindric decide that they have had enough of the stench and filth of the sewers. They head for the somewhat cleaner streets of Freeport, leaving Heylyn Arnell, Ishta, Nathen and Talis in the tunnels. Nathen is still separated from the rest of the group, having climbed above the sliding roof during the activation of the mechanical trap. He manages to figure out the lever system to open the roof without activating the rest of the rock crusher, and Heylyn joins him in the upper level. There is a passage about 20’ up from the “floor” of this room, and Heylyn climbs up to discover a smooth shaft sloping upward. He attempts to climb up, but slides back and falls into the room, getting bumped and bruised for his efforts. They decide that this is probably a dead end, and meet up with their companions down below.
As the group is heading back into the sewers, Talis senses a secret door a way down the passage. This opens to reveal a low, steeply-sloped ramp leading down into the dark. Once everyone has made it down safely, the passage stretches off into the darkness. After a fairly long walk, there are several openings on either side of the corridor. The first is a storage room filled with all variety of supplies for running a temple or performing religious rites. The second doorway leads to a library, entirely filled with books written in the serpent tongue. After some searching in the sole desk of the library, a book written in common is found. It is called The True and Secrette Historie of the Brotherhoode of Free Port.
The party then continues down the passage, which begins a gradual curve to the right. After completing a semi-circle, a lighted room is visible at the end of the corridor. Cautiously approaching, the party sees that this room is a temple to the The Unspeakable One, rebuilt here with artifacts taken from the original Temple, recently cleansed by our heroes. On the altar is the bound form of Brother Egil, with a priest of the Yellow Sign standing over him. Nathen surprises the priest with a couple of arrows, but he is able to pull a bell-cord before he falls. The rest of the party reaches the altar in time to defend Egil from a series of serpent people, who emerge from a hidden door. During the fight, Heylyn is bitten by one of the serpent people and is poisoned.
Once the dust settles from the fight, healing is doled out to all that need it, including the former prisoner, Egil. He is weak and wounded, but tells the party that he was attacked in his home by an unknown number of assailants and knocked unconscious. He awoke on the dais in front of the altar, and was tortured for some time before being rescued. He is anxious to return to the surface, and urges the party to carry on, instead of resting here in the dark.
The group (plus Egil) examine the door from which the serpent people entered, and find a rough-hewn room that appears to be a sleeping den and guard room. The passage continues on, and eventually leads to another steep ramp, this time leading upward. It ends at a door that opens into a large cellar. There are many different vintages of wine here, and the party takes a few bottles each. There are stairs leading upward, and the party ascends them to find another door. Opening the door reveals the main hall of a very well appointed house. The group has just decided to return to The Scholars Quill when a blood-curdling scream is heard from the upper story of the house. Egil almost panics at this sound, and asks to leave before the party investigates upstairs. Talis opens the front door to see if the way is clear for Egil and recognizes that they are in the house that he and Nathen investigated the previous day – the home of Verlaine at 100 Wave Ave. No guards are present on the front street, so Egil heads out and the four adventurers return to the task at hand.
The upstairs seems to be even more luxurious than the lower level. There are three doors off the hall, all of them closed. The first reveals only the bathroom, which is empty. As Talis opens the second door, he is immediately attacked by a man wearing chainmail and swinging a long sword. Talis tries to squeeze past his assailant to allow his friends to back him up. As he does so, he leaves himself open to a massive blow, and he falls to the ground, rapidly dying. The rest of the group is able to defeat the swordsman, and manage to get some healing potions into Talis before his life slips away. The fallen enemy has a rug filled with pilfered valuables from various parts of the house.
The last door on the second floor opens onto a scene from an abattoir. The hacked bodies of four of Verlaine’s private guards are strewn around the room, and Verlaine himself lies butchered on the bed. Ishta decides that she wants nothing to do with this, since Verlaine is the head of the city council and the law would look very poorly upon his apparent assassins. Heylyn rushes to the bed to see if Verlaine is still alive. Just as he realizes that the scream they heard earlier was probably Verlaine’s last gasp, he staggers as a dagger strikes him in the back, thrown from the wardrobe in the corner. The assassin leaps to the attack, and the rest of the group rushes to the aid of the sorcerer. During the fight, the assassin throws a flask of alchemist’s fire at Talis, but misses, starting a fire in the corner of the room. He is eventually slain, and the fire is put out. The assassin also has many items stolen from Verlaine, as well as a rough map of the Temple of Aarth. The map has arrows pointing to all the entrances of the temple. There is also a note that says in part that all eight members of the party (listed by name) are responsible for Verlaine’s death, as well as the deaths of the clergy of the Temple of Aarth. Our heroes deduce that since the attack on Verlaine has just happened, the attack on the temple might be happening at the same time, and it might be up to them to save their friends and allies! They feel that there is no time to waste, so they…