“.. or a decapitated body.” The dwarf finished off for Nicolai. But the rogue did have a point it could be a trap – something or someone killed that poor fellow- and surely a vault this large held had been intended for much more than the few coins present. He stepped back out of the way and motioned the rogue to take the lead in further investigating the vault. While Nicolai did that he ambled over around the room, checking for further concealed exits – the ladder was interesting but without Nicolai’s light to shine upwards there was little he could see of the roof except for by his infravision which annoyingly was disturbed by the ambient light of the torchs and lantern.
“Do those coins seem like the remnants of a larger cache?” Saeth asked of those up front inspecting. “Who’d have left it behind?” After a moment, she added, “And any sign of what it was that decapitated that fellow? Odd to have a headless body in a safe…”
Miklos avoided the crowded entrance to the vault and went over to the ladder that Nicolai had been investigating. Miklos looked to see if it was used to access some hatch in the ceiling, but from his position on the ground, he couldn’t see the top of the wall very well.
Looking and the corpse Maruc guessed that it was simply that, a corpse. Not some unholy revenant, at least not an effective one without a head. “Hasan, I doubt if he was a descendant of yours. Especially if Nicolai’s assessment is correct. Although this has the markings of a political err… ‘removal’ apart from the clothing. Were I more in favour with mighty Halav, I might have been able to beseech Him to draw this soul from the void and question him. But it is distasteful, not possible and wasting time. I don’t think there is anything down here to surprise us in the upper halls. If there are no further hidden panels within the vault I suggest we return to the main circular entrance chamber and seek what is behind the double doors in the northern wall.”
“May I see?” Nicolai started to approach the corpse.
“Do not disturb the dead, Nicolai,” warned Hasan. “This may be the remains on a long-dead ancestor of mine, and it pains me to see these remains defiled as they have been already. What could have motivated such brutality?” Hasan, hoping to identify whether the remains are elvish and glean some hint of the origin of the coins, moved into the vault and approached the headless body. Old bloodstains were spattered about the floor in front of the skeleton.
Suddenly, a large secret compartment quickly popped open in the top of the vault. Long steel blades pivoted and swung in a swift arc through the chamber. Hasan moved with the quickness and agility of his race and avoided the same fate as the headless raider, taking a wound on the shoulder for his trouble.