A shorter session tonight due to dallying and character creation, but enough time to conclude A Single Small Cut, which we began last time. Again, so close to character deaths, so far away.
Covered in the foul remains of the demonic beast they had just slain, our shaken party took stock of their grim situation. Tirias and Suicidelegs lay unconscious on the floor of the church, brought back from the brink of death but still grievously wounded. Soothed by Fiddlesticks' song of rest, the party regained some vigor; the bard however was still shaken by the jabbering madness of the beast and went off to seek some oblivion at the bottom of a tankard of ale. Likewise, Suicidelegs needed more time to recover and refocus his ki after being brought so close to death. Guark was torn away by circumstances, as his mother-in-law was visiting and orcish mothers are more fearsome than horrible corpse demons.
As Tirias and Kerouac rested on the church steps, debating their next move, a peculiar fellow quietly approached Kerouac, introducing himself as Riverman, a friend of Miguel's, looking for the wizard to pay him a cut of the profits from Miguel's scheme. Asking about the gruesome scene, he was filled in about the church, the crypt, and the mysterious red bell. Riverman, with a cool and inscrutable nonchalance, said he would explore the crypt with them, but he insisted that he would not be party to any theft.
Descending into the crypt, the trio were immediately confronted with the smell of fresh slaughter. At the entry to a low, narrow stone corridor they saw the mutilated remains of several bodies, torn to pieces beyond recognition. Stepping gingerly past the gore, they continued down the hall flanked with niches housing mouldering bones. At the end of the hall, a large wooden door lay ajar, the huge lock that had barred it lay on the floor, its thick hasp sawn through. Peeking inside this smaller room, the three saw a sarcophagus with its stone lid askew, depicting a knight in repose, and on the floor three more bodies covered in small circular wounds.
Entering this tomb, they noticed the mummified remains of a knight, his rusted sword and a shield depicting a bird of prey in the sarcophagus with him, as well as a blank scroll. Tirias grabbed the Shield while Kerouac picked up a bloody bag off one of the bodies with some loot in it, when Riverman saw the bell. A large red garnet, meticulously cut, it lay on the floor near the bodies. Amidst a quick debate about what to do with the object, Riverman, with the same cool demeanor, decided to walk over and just pick the damn thing up.
As he casually lifted the bell the clapper struck the mouth, letting out a deafening, resonant clang. Although the party didn’t notice anything further, they decided this would be an excellent cue to exit. Leaving the tomb back to the corridor, they watched in horror as the dismembered bodies began to assemble into another horrible monstrosity, blocking the way out. Riverman, in possession of the bell, heard through it the cacophonous shriek of souls driven mad, as well as a faint, other angry presence. Kerouac fired his ray of frost to slow the approach of the putrid being, while Riverman and Tirias loosed arrows and crossbows at the creature. With the monster still bearing down on them, they let loose blasts of arcane fire and retreated into cover behind the stone sarcophagus. Though smaller than the previous incarnation, the newly formed beast struck more fiercely, and first Riverman then Kerouac fell while blasting it with more fire. Grievously wounded himself, Tirias made one last desperate attack against the beast, which withered and fell. A frantic few minutes passed as the ranger attempted to apply first aid to his dying colleagues. Riverman, on the cusp of oblivion, saw a cackling vision of the inhuman entity he had cheated for his powers, but before the fiend could seize him was revived by Tirias.
The three exited the crypt. A bath would be a good idea.
Loot Found: Some sliver coins and candlesticks, and the red bell, now safely swaddled in cloth.
Friends Made: Riverman!