Monthly Archives: February 2013

We Yet Live

“We yet live…Kforedz.” Stephan would normally have addressed a ruling female as ‘my lady’ but found it difficult give this particular lady sported the head of a jackal. “Did you suspect that something in the crypt might have brought us to an untimely end?” The Traladarian did not expect an answer and simply smiled back at what he took to be a courteous acknowledgement from Kforedz.

“Indeed, we found the Tome and more beside,” interjected Hasan. “A great crypt lay below the temple, but buried lay no more. We were attacked by the dead, a great power from ancient days, but we repelled that assult and found this Tome.”

Miklos interjected, “Yes, it is very clearly outlining a religious ceremony of some type, but Hasan and I could not understand it. You will need to tell us what you read and what it means for the Vale as soon as possible. Come now, let’s begin. I will show you what we have learned ourselves. Come now, quickly, this knowledge is surely precious.”

“Easy, Miklos,” insisted Maruc. “Kforedz, I will remind you that you swore last night to bring peace to the Vale, and that never again will evil slavery stain the Hutakaa. That was the price of our services rendered — nothing less. We have done what we swore. Now you must tell us how this Tome will advance your cause and ours.”

Feldard hung back as Hasan and the humans spoke with the Hutaakan priestess. The dwarf knew he wouldn’t be needed for a while as they discussed the tome, so the dwarf found himself a quiet place to sit down and relax.. maybe find himself an ale or two to drink.

While those more astute in such things discussed the tome with Kforedz, Stephan monitored from a short distance just in case the situation turned sour. He longed, however, to join Feldard who seemed to have acquired a pint of ale and was actively reducing any stress he may have built up.

Kforedz anxiously studied the contents of the ancient book. The normally reserved priestess got visibly more excited as she continued her reading.

Ludo followed Feldard to look for a pint of ale, finding the tome he suspected would only be the first step. He thought about the challenges ahead. This valley seeped with a source of evil that need to be defeated. Thsts what drew the Sons of Night here.

This village was not the source of evil, nor was the Vault where they had located the book which Hasan had passed back to the Hutaakans. No it was somewhere else. He chuckled to himself, what was usually the source of evil? Money and religion. He smiled, he better not mention that to Maruc. The Hutakkans had very little money that he had seen, could it be the Tralder? Slaves usually had very little money, so most likely not. No it must be elsewhere in the valley, another settlement that they had not been told about. “Feldard, I suspect we will have to go deeper into the Valley on the morrow to find what we are looking for, there is more to this valley than meets the eye. If we had some horses or mounts we could move faster and cover more ground.”

* * * * *

“You have done it. This shall be our salvation!” she proclaimed to Miklos, Maruc and Hasan. “I need to speak to you all,” she said as she sought out the full contingent of adventurers.

“Tomorrow we must travel to the Temple of Pflarr and perform the Cleansing Ceremony. Please, will you accompany us?” She implored the heroes. “I fear that without your protection, we will not be able to perform the rites. If we are successful, the dead in the Valley will finally be put to rest and peace may be restored.”

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Restless Night and a Return to the Village

“‘Arrange themselves’?”, Stephan echoed Maruc and Miklos’ words they read from the ancient tome. “So the priests stood around at certain spots?” Stephan looked around the floor for spots. “I don’t see any spots.” Looking up, “I say we get out of here. The jackal heads up there will know what to do with the tome. Maybe they can stand around in spots. There’s naught else to learn here.” He turned and started up the steps to join Feldard at the top.

Ludo crouched beside Stephan and Feldard at the top of the stairs and gazed at the setting sun. “It took us most of the day to travel here. We know these lands are filled with the walking dead after sunset. Would you agree it would be prudent to stay here tonight and return to the village on the morrow at first light? Just a thought.”

Feldard looked out over the ruins as the sun began to set. He nodded at Ludo’s words. “Quite prudent. We’ll take turns at watch. You can have first. I’ll take the mid-night watch.”

With that said the dwarf moved back down the stairs to inform the others. “We’re staying the night. Rest while you can we’ll likely have undead visitors during the night.” He began pulling out some dried meat and biscuits from his pack as an evening meal then settled himself down to eat and rest.

“Well, Miklos, I see nothing,” a resigned Hasan complained. “Tomorrow, we shall return this text to the Hutakaa and see what they can make of it. When it comes time friends, let me do the talking. And keep those under your wraps,” the elf nodded at the jewels found by the Hutakaan grave.

Maruc bent over the pale glow of a yellow candle, that emitted a sharply piney smell a it burned. The cleric prayed for the cleansing of the tomb and the might of Halav to strengthen his hand as he brought justice to those who brought the foul dead to haunt such places. When the priest finally ended his reverie, he joined his friends in a modest meal of salted pork and smoked cheese. “Yes,” he agreed with Feldard, “We should stay. I suspect our Hutakaan guard have long fled their posts.”

“Who could blame them?” Miklos interjected. “We face foes greater than any web have before. We were fortunate against that mummy, but the next time may not go as well. The Hutakaa and even more the black Darkers have much to answer.”

Stephan eyed the door, ensuring that it could at least be barred in a fashion with an ancient but seemingly stout plank of wood left discarded in a dusty corner.

“Da,” he said as if some great decision had been reached. “By Halav, I’m not happy to pass the night in this place.” Looking to Maruc, “You’re sure that Halav has cleansed this pit?”

“Yes, Stephan,” Maruc rested a reassuring hand on the woodman’s shoulder. “Though dark forces have long been at work here, I feel Halav’s strength in my prayers. He has provided. We are safe for now.”

Stephan took some measure of comfort from the priest’s words. Maruc, despite wielding remarkable ferocity in battle, could sooth the more grievous of wounds to the soul.

Miklos did not seem appeased by the priest of Halav’s words. “Might Halav also remove the smoldering remains of that mummy and provide some proper bedding?” Maruc’s return gaze at Miklos was withering. “Of course,” Miklos uncharacteristically stammered, “Mighty Halav has delivered us and we… I… am grateful.”

* * * * *

It was a restless night in the crypt. The party was troubled by strange ghostly noises, distant wailing and the like. Those who were able to sleep were troubled by nightmares of unseen ancient evil and hordes of undead.

At daybreak, they were all quite eager to leave the Hutaakan ruin. Their Hutaakan guides were long gone, but Hasan had no trouble retracing their route back to the Hutaakan village. The normally reserved jackal-headed humanoids actually showed some signs of excitement at seeing their return.

Kforedz and her flock assembled to greet the heroes.

“You have returned!“ she exclaimed. “We had feared that you had met your end inside the Vault. Have you found the Tome?”

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