Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part XI - Vampire Season - Chapter 3
Bring Out Your Undead
Aksel, Lloyd, Elvisda and Glorfindel climbed out of the basement. Seth, the Baroness and Andrella all gathered around them. “What happened?” Andrella cried as she saw Lloyd staggering from his weakened condition. She grabbed the big warblade and helped him ease himself to a sitting position on the ground. She looked up, obvious concern on her face.
“Vampire,” Elvisda reported. “But it’s dead now. Nothing left but a pile of ash.”
“Lloyd tried to protect me,” Aksel added, also sitting on the ground with Elvisda and Seth kneeling beside him. “But he and I both had some of our life force drained from us. I need to rest so that I can fix it. If it is not done in the next 24 hours, the damage could be permanent” the little cleric said ominously.
Glorfindel turned to the Baroness and asked “Do any of the clerics in the temple have the ability to counteract what has happened to our friends?”
“I think so,” Fairwind replied. She called over one of the guards and sent him off to the temple to ask the clerics to return with help.
“Is it clear down there now?” Seth asked his gnome friend.
“Yes, it should be,” Aksel replied.
“We still haven’t found that man in black armor though,” Elvisda added.
“You two stay up here,” Seth said to Aksel and Lloyd. “Elvisda and Glo can follow me back down to the second vault.”
“Here,” Aksel said holding up the golem ring to Elvisda, “you might still need this.” The bard took the ring and nodded. Then Seth, Elvisda and Glo descended the stairs back into the basement.
Seth slowly walked across the basement to the vault. He noted the pile of ash on the floor that must have been the master vampire. He walked past the golem which stood unmoving just behind the ashes. The little ninja saw no sign of any movement as he made his way through the open vault door. Qualtan’s body still lay on the floor where they had left it in the little room. Everything was still.
The halfling made his way over to the second vault door and checked it over. The traps were still disabled and the door was unlocked. He listened at the metal door, but could hear nothing through it. He went out to the main basement room and motioned the others to follow.
Elvisda and Glorfindel came across the room and joined him in the vault room. Seth went to stand beside the second door and mouthed the words “Here goes.” He turned the vault door handle and pushed the door opened.
Inside the second vault area, it was very dark. The three adventures peered into the darkness. There, inside the vault was another green gas ball floating in mid air. As the door finished swinging open, the ball started moving towards them.
“Another vampire!” Seth yelled. He turned and motioned them all to run. The three heroes hurried back into the main basement area. Glorfindel and Elvisda then turned and stood their ground in the light streaming down the stairwell while Seth ran up the stairs and clambered up outside.
The glowing green ball of gas floated into the middle of the main basement room and then transformed into a pale, bald creature dressed in black. It opened its mouth and bared its fangs.
“Attack!” Elvisda commanded The Boulder. The big golem lumbered towards the undead creature.
As the monster turned to face the golem, Glorfindel lifted his arm and sent a scorching hot red ray of light careening from his fingertips once more. The beam caught the creature in the side and it exploded in flames. In seconds it was a second pile of ash right next to the previous one.
“Whew,” Elvisda exclaimed. “That was easy.”
“Yeah,” Glo replied. “But let’s not do it again.”
“I have a better idea!” Elvisda suddenly exclaimed. He turned to the golem and said “Go inside the vault. Find a box. Bring it outside.” The Boulder turned around and slowly shambles towards the inner vault. Elvisda turned to Glorfindel and motioned to him to follow. Then he walked up the stairs and outside.
When they got back outside Aksel said “What happened? Seth told us there was another vampire.”
“No problem,” Elvisda replied glibly, “Glo here torched ‘em!” Then the bard started to laugh out loud breaking the tension. When the group stopped laughing, Fairwind asked, “So now what?”
“Wait and see,” Elvisda replied and he turned to face the basement stairs. They all followed his gaze. Less than a minute later, The Boulder’s head appeared as it climbed up the steps. As it continued to make its way up they could see that it was carrying a large box in its hand. It was a coffin. The golem walked over to Elvisda and stopped.
“Put it down,” the bard commanded. The Boulder dropped the box in front of them. The KOTC members gathered around with some castle guards behind them. Elvisda grabbed the coffin lid and yanked it open. It was empty!
“Must have belonged to one of the vampires we already destroyed,” Aksel explained. “We should destroy it so it can never reform.”
They took out some flasks of holy water they had been carrying and poured them on the coffin. The wood began to sizzle and the box disintegrated in front of them.
Then Elvisda turned to the golem and commanded “Go get another box and bring it out here.” The Boulder turned and lumbered away back down the steps and into the basement. A few minutes passed by and it returned again with another coffin.
Elvisda had the golem set the coffin down. “Everyone stand back,” he said and had them clear a wide space around the casket. Then he turned to The Boulder and ordered it to “smash the box”. The golem lifted its two massive arms into the air and brought them crashing down with immense force onto the casket. The wood splintered and broke away exposing yet another vampire. This creature, however, was dressed in black armor with a green tree emblem on its chest. The sunlight hit the undead monster full on and reduced it to ashes before it could extract itself from the casket. In seconds there was nothing left but the suit of black armor, a shield and a long sword.
“That was easy,” Glo remarked.
Elvisda beamed broadly. Then he turned to the golem and commanded “Go get another box and bring it out here.” The Boulder turned and shambled back down the steps and into the basement once again. A few more minutes passed by and it returned again with another box. This time, however, it was a chest.
“I’ll handle this one,” Seth said and knelt down to examine the box. The little ninja deftly unlocked and opened the strongbox. It was filled to the brim with gold pieces.
Meanwhile, Johnny had sent the golem down into the basement to search for boxes once more. This time, however, the golem did not return. After a few more minutes of waiting, Elvisda and Seth went down into the basement and to the vaults. When the peered into the inner vault, they saw The Boulder walking around the empty room looking for more boxes. Elvisda ordered the golem to stop and follow them back outside.
Once they made it back outside, Elvisda announced “All clear!” A cheer went up from the entire group who had gathered around the band of adventurers. The guardsmen moved in and began to pat them on the backs and call them heroes. “How can we ever thank you for all that you have done here?” the Baroness Fairwind asked the weary but triumphant KOTC members.
“That shop would make a nice base of operations” Aksel commented.
“I could rearm the vault traps fairly easily” Seth added.
Elvisda turned to the Lady Fairwind and said “My lady, no reward is necessary. We only ask if we may have Haltan’s shop and anything we have found in it.”
“Done,” the Baroness said. “The deed is yours.” She smiled brightly at them all.
The clerics arrived from the temple and one of them, Almon, was experienced in healing drained life force. He and Aksel conferred for a short while then both clerics went over to Lloyd. Andrella was holding onto the big warblade and refused to let him go.
“We will have to do this in stages,” Aksel told Lloyd. I have lost too much life force and cannot currently cast the spell that restores it. Almon here can cast that spell but has not prayed for it as of yet today. So both of us need to rest till late afternoon and then Almon can heal me. Then, with most of my energy restored, I can pray for the restoration spell and cast it on you. That will leave us mostly healed. Then Almon and I will rest again till around midnight. At that point we can pray once again and then finish restoring the both of us.”
“Till then Lloyd,” Andrella said, “you are coming with me. We will get you a room in the castle keep and I will look after you.” The big Warblade looked down at the little lady, smiled, and nodded his head. “Whatever you say Andrella.”
One of the clerics turned and looked at The Boulder. He saw that the golem was holding a body and exclaimed “Is that Qualtan?” Everyone looked over. Elvisda replied “Oh yes, I almost forgot. He tried to kill Lloyd and we had no choice but to dispatch him. My apologies,” he finished. Then he ordered the golem to deposit the body on the ground.
The gathered around the body and began to examine it, but something wasn’t right. The body looked like Qualtan, but it wasn’t him. The man bore a close resemblance to the wayward cleric, but he was not bald. His head was shaved.
“If this isn’t Qualtan, then where is he?” Aksel asked.
Glorfindel contacted Martan who was still on the roof of Peltar’s house. The fighter reported that he had not seen anyone leave the building. However, he did notice someone that looked a lot like Phulbit across the river and that the man had turned and ran as soon as the last coffin had been destroyed. Seth, who was listening in said “I’ll go check. Martan meet me over there!” and ran off across town.
A little while later, Seth and Martan returned. They reported that people had seen Phulbit on that side of town, but that he had then disappeared. But some folks did see two men on horses gallop out of town on the road headed south. The Baroness flagged down the Sky Knights and asked them to pursue the two riders. The knights took off immediately and winged their way southward.
Then the group gathered together and made their way back to the castle. Andrella continued to support Lloyd, even though the big Warblade could easily walk on his own. And Seth assisted Aksel even though the little cleric mildly protested. Elvisda had the golem travel along with them carrying their plunder from the day’s work. And the guardsmen dragged the body of the fake Qualtan along with them.
“Hope those Sky Knights catch Phulbit,” Seth said as they walked along. “I would’ve liked to have gone with them.”
“You all have done enough already,” Fairwind said as the approached the castle. “Now is the time to rest and heal. We can regroup later when everyone is fully refreshed.”
No one decided to argue with the Baroness.