ADVENTURE 6: Mysteries of the Past: The journey back to Port Grinetos was fairly uneventful. At the nearby monolith, they cremated Kerits body and head, knowing that the monk had no desire to return to life. Tyro said a few words of prayer, and after the funeral, the party headed north again, past the moor where shadowy cats prowled, beyond the mysterious marsh, and eventually back to town. Here they rested, shopped, and paid a large sum of money to raise their dead friend Sithdar, who awoke, alive and well the next day. In the tavern the party met Ruklon, a mercenary warrior and master of the scythe, who had come to the isle for adventure and glory, hearing the rumors of the dungeon. After a brief talk with Tyro, he decided to join the group. Before heading out, they bought a few magical items with their hard-earned wealth.
Tyro, Sithdar and Ruklon then looked around town. One building that stood out was an abandoned house on the edge of the port. The outside was covered with graffitiimages of a wand with a skull atop it, or slogans such as Die, Orcus, die! The door was trapped with a poison needletypical of the Orcus cult, but Sithdar managed to disable it and open the lock. Inside was a ransacked and dusty old home, with little to see but rubble and a spiral staircase going up to a tower floor. When the thief searched around, he discovered a former secret passage, now sealed off by rubble. After hours of hard work, the three adventurers cleared it out, revealing a dark stairwell descending into the black earth below. Oddly, nobody detected any evil from the area, but rather a slight aura of goodness. Also, in the stairwell the characters discovered markings in the celestial language, signifying a holy site. At the bottom was a desecrated temple to St. Cuthbert, holy symbols shattered on the ground, skeletons huddled together in the corner, and an altar with a huge crack down the center, and sings of blood long spilled. In the crack, they discovered the end of a blade, made out of some black metal, which they took, wondering at what had happened here. The tower was just as hard to get into. Apparently, it was sealed from the inside, as if the occupant had locked themselves in. It took a shatter spell to destroy the wood, allowing entry. In a small study room they found another skeleton, clothed in a white cloak, with a holy symbol of Cuthbert on his neck and a tin box in his hands. The box was warded with some kind of rune, and when they tried to open it, the rune forced all but the elf Tyro into a magical sleep. After a long while, he managed to get it open by constantly slamming it against a wall. Inside was a small leather-bound journal, the journal of a priest named Michael, who had come to these isles searching for a holy relic: the mace of Cuthbert, which had reputedly disappeared along with Bofred when he assaulted Rappan Athuk. The journal spoke of a hidden cult of Orcus still active among the populace of the isles, a cult who threatened and harassed the priest when he learned of their presence, though the authorities paid them no heed. The priest concluded that Bofreds tomb was somewhere in the dungeon, behind a series of wards and barriers, which only a diverse party could pass. He also spoke of a rumored holy sword, its pieces scattered about the island, though he knew little of it. Finally, the priest talked about escalating chaos and madness on the isle, and wrote of one final night when the cult broke into his home, killed his family and cornered him in his tower, where he wrote his last journal entry and starved to death.
After this odd reading, all the characters set out the next day, intent on returning to the dungeon of graves. This time, they took the eastern route, where the fish-men were rumored to lurk. They passed a light-house and another small village before seeing a large mansion in the distance, near the isles center. Wondering what was there, they went towards it. The house was a wreckabandoned for centuries. Getting inside, they found a formerly beautiful but now wrecked inside, golden trimmings fading from the walls and images of angels defaced. Tyro could sense undead somewhere within, and Welby could detect evil; Sithdar wanted nothing to do with the house, and walked out. Just then, they all heard footsteps coming down the central stairs, though they could see nobody. Soon after, a frightful image appeared: a ghostly figure of a young man, half his face torn off, screaming in agony. Ruklon and Ashrem ran out, but the others stayed, and the brave halfling paladin managed to turn the undead horror, causing it to disappear. After it was gone, they searched the rest of the house. Sithdar found an old painting in one room, and seeking to take the golden frame, he removed it from the wall, and heard a sudden click. Nothing happened. Meanwhile, Karl, in the main hall, saw a slight shifting of the shadows underneath the central staircase. He yelled for the others to come. Ruklon went to examine the underside of the stairs, and was immediately impaled by a spear that jutted out from the side. Sithdar soon found a similar spear-trap on the other side of the staircase. Obviously, someone was trying to guard something. It turned out that a panel had moved aside, revealing a small spot in the rock under the stairs where they could now see an indentation of a seven-point star; looking like a slot for some kind of key. They searched more of the house, since they had no such key, and found another room, this one being trapped as well, and containing a desecrated cathedral to Pelor, along with a single body, and stained-glass windows depicting the heroic life of a paladin. Upstairs they found more horrors: one room was a childs; with a child-sized skeleton lying headless on the bed, its head in the far corner. Tyro tried detecting undead, and could feel a presence in the room. He suddenly heard a young girls voice speaking to him, Daddy, is that you? Please daddy, I wont be bad any more! the voice turned to horror and he heard a blood-curdling scream. The next room was fiendishly trapped. Another poison pin caught Sithdar, nearly killing him. Inside was a master-bedroom, the bed burned to a crisp, a single skeleton lying charred atop it. A horrid darkness covered everything, but was soon dispelled with a Daylight spell, which caused a brief silhouette of a woman to appear near the bed. The cleric used his magic to speak with the corpse atop it, and learned the sad history of this place. The body was the wife of a Sir Gerald Navarre, a former paladin who had been governor of this isle in ancient times, before being converted into the Cult of Orcus, therefore allowing them entry to the isle, where they built their evil dungeon. His corruptor was some noblewoman called Lady Deserach, though the wife knew little of her. After joining the cult, Navarre grew mad, slaughtering his family and renouncing his faith. He shattered his holy sword, breaking it into many pieces, one of which his wife claimed with beneath the house in a secret room that only Navarre knew how to open. As the spell wore off, we concluded the meeting.