Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part XI - Vampire Season - Chapter 4
The More Undead, the Merrier
Back at the keep, Lloyd and Aksel went to rest. Aksel was staying at Peltar’s tower and Lloyd had been given a room in the keep as Andrella had planned. The others met with the Baroness briefly to discuss the current situation. Being that the master vampire was now destroyed, Fairwind had decided to postpone the town meeting. There was still some uncertainty though. The disappearance of Qualtan was disturbing. And the possibilities of more undead around the town could not be completely ruled out.
Elvisda and Glorfindel left the keep and went to the Golden Golem to recover in their rooms. Seth left the two and headed back to his room in the tower.
When Glorfindel got to his room, he settled in and decided to try a little scrying before resting. First he tried to locate Qualtan. He found the wayward cleric sitting in a dark place. He was not moving and seemed to be waiting for something. The wizard could not tell what.
Then Glo tried to locate Phulbit. He tried several times but failed at each attempt. Either that rogue was extremely lucky, or the gods were just against him at the moment Glo thought to himself. No matter, he would attempt again later on after he had rested.
When Seth left the rest of the party, he started heading towards Peltar’s tower. However, as soon as they were out of sight, he left the keep and headed back to Haltan’s shop. The little ninja made his way back down into the basement and started searching around the room. After a few minutes, he found a section along the southwest basement wall that sounded hollow. He examined the area closely until he found a hand sized area that pressed inward. He pushed on it and a section of the wall slid back.
Beyond he saw a passage about five feet wide leading away into the darkness. The halfling cloaked himself in invisibility and used his spells to allow himself to climb on walls. He then jumped up to the ceiling and slowly made his way down the passage.
Seth had gone maybe 100 feet when suddenly a portcullis dropped from the ceiling. His quick reflexes saved him as he jumped back out of harm’s way. The little ninja then walked back to the gate and searched around for a way to raise it. There was a winch, however, it was on the other side of the portcullis. He tried to lift the gate but it was way too heavy for him. Oh well, Seth thought to himself, guess I will need help.
The little ninja went back the way he came and left the passage. He realized he would need someone, or more than one someone to lift the gate. Lloyd would be perfect, he thought. But he was still weak. So Seth decided to wait till that afternoon when Lloyd had been fully healed.
The rest of the morning into early afternoon had been uneventful. Seth had decided to take a nap and refresh himself. When mid afternoon approached, he heard Aksel stirring upstairs. When the little cleric came down, Seth joined him and they went over to see Lloyd together.
They found the big warblade in the room that the Baroness had set up for him. Andrella was hovering over the big man and playing nurse maid. Lloyd did not seem to mind very much.
Almon showed up and cast the life force restoring spell on Aksel. Then Aksel went sat down in the corner and prayed for about twenty minutes. When he was done, he got up and cast the life force restoration spell on Lloyd twice. When he was done, Lloyd’s skin color had returned to normal.
“You may feel better, but you will still be weaker until we can cast the last two spells on you.” Aksel told Lloyd, “We will return around midnight.”
Then Aksel and Almon filed out of the room. Seth left with them but then told Aksel he was going into town for a bit. Once they were out of sight, the little ninja went invisible again and crept his way back to Lloyd’s chambers.
Andrella was arguing with the big warblade, trying to get him to lay back down and rest. “But, Andrella, I really do feel a lot better,” Lloyd said as he got up and stretched his muscles. What I really need is some exercise” he told her, eyeing his two huge swords propped up in the corner of the room.
“You will do no such thing,” the Lady Andrella replied reaching up and putting both her hands on the big man’s shoulders. She pushed on them, not really able to budge him, but he complied by sitting back down on the bed with a huge sigh. “Now I want you to lie down and rest until the clerics return,” she told him. “I will let you have some peace and quiet for now, but I will be back to check on you in a few hours.” She leaned over the bed and kissed the warblade soundly. Then she stood up, blushing, giggled, and left the room closing the door behind her.
Seth waited a few minutes and then tiptoed over to the bed. “Lloyd!” he whispered. The big man shot up out of the bed, looking for his weapons.
“Calm down. It’s just me,” Seth told him.
“Seth? Is that you?” Lloyd asked looking around the room for the source of the voice.
“Who else would it be?” the little ninja responded. Then he continued, “I need your help. I found a secret passage under Haltan’s shop. But there’s a gate blocking the way. I need your help to lift it.”
“Well,” Lloyd paused for a moment, “I guess I can come give you a hand. All I would be doing is stretching my legs a bit and doing a bit of lifting. It’s not like I would be doing anything really strenuous.”
“Don’t worry,” Seth responded. “I wouldn’t want to get you into any trouble with your girlfriend. We’ll have you back here in an hour at most.”
“Ok,” Lloyd said, and he got up and put on his gear. He strapped the two swords on his back and said, “But I’ll bring these anyway; Just in case.”
Being that Lloyd was still weak Seth decided to also commandeer Martan and a castle guard named Carlton. They all went back to Haltan’s shop. Seth posted Martan by the door in the basement to keep watch and then the other three headed back down the passage to the gate. Lloyd and Carton together lifted the gate and they were able to continue down the corridor.
They went for some distance and finally reached a door at the end of the passage. Measuring the distance in his mind, Seth reasoned that they had passed underneath the river and were all the way on the other side. Good thing I had memorized the town map Seth thought to himself. Calling up the mental image now he calculated that they were most likely under that guardhouse that had burnt down a few years back. Funny, he, Aksel and Martan were going to search that guardhouse the other day, but had decided not to when it had gotten too dark.
Seth motioned for the other’s to be quiet and listened at the door. He heard a shuffling noise on the other side. He mouthed the words, someone’s in there and the other two got out their swords and prepared themselves for battle. Andrella’s going to kill me for this Lloyd thought.
Seth pushed the door open. For a moment, nothing moved. Then suddenly two pale figures came shambling into the corridor. Zombies Seth realized. Carlton swung with his sword and connected with the creature on the left. Almost simultaneously, Seth stabbed it in the back with his dagger and the monster fell to the ground unmoving. Lloyd took two great swings with his blades and caught his attacker twice with heavy blows. The creature fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
“Whew,” Carlton breathed with a sigh of relief. “That was a close one.”
Seth turned and stealthily made his way into the room. It was not very large. It contained a knife rack with 8 rusted throwing knives. There was a table and a single chair. Four practice targets were on the east wall. Otherwise it was empty. There was a door at the other end of the room. Seth snuck up to it and listened. He heard nothing. Then he checked for traps. Finding none he unlocked the door and opened it.
This was a larger room with a hexagonal table in the center surrounded by six chairs. There was a deck of cards on the table. Suddenly, three ghouls appeared out of nowhere it seemed. Carlton saw them and pushed himself in front of Seth. One of the creatures grabbed the guard and bit him!
Another creature jumped up and tried to grab Seth. Then Lloyd was in front of the little ninja. But he could not set himself properly and was only able to get one good swing in at the creature. The monster groaned and stopped for a moment, but then started to move forward again.
Meanwhile, Carlton had extricated himself from the other monster’s grip, but was reeling in pain. Seth quickly assessed the situation. Had Lloyd been fully recovered, he would have sliced his way through them in no time. However, he was still weak, and Carlton looked to be severely injured.
“Retreat!” Seth yelled at the top of his lungs.
Lloyd grabbed Carlton and yanked him away back down the corridor. Seth then spun around and went running full tilt after the other two men. He turned to look over his shoulder once. The undead creatures were still following them. But by the time they had made it back to Haltan’s shop, however, the monsters could no longer be seen down the passage.
“What happened?” Martan cried as the three men reappeared in Haltan’s basement. Carlton was bleeding from his bite and looked like he was going to pass out.
“Ghouls,” Seth replied. “I think we are going to need reinforcements.”
“Lloyd, you help Cartlon get to the temple. He needs healing. Then go to the inn and tell Glorfindel and Elvisda what happened and ask them to meet us back here. Then you better get back to the castle before Andrella realizes you were gone,” Seth told the warblade.
“But…” Lloyd began to say.
“Don’t argue,” Seth cut him off, “we need you at full health. You’re no good to us in your weakened condition. Go recover for now.”
The big man grumbled something about pushy little people as he turned and climbed out of the basement.
“Martan, stay here and keep an eye out for anything coming through that door. If you see anything, get out of here. Do not stay and fight.”
“Don’t worry about that,” Martan replied.
Seth smirked. At least Martan had common sense he thought.
Then the ninja said, “I’m going to go back to the castle and let the Baroness know about this. I’ll return in a bit with some reinforcements.”
About a half an hour later, Glorfindel entered the basement.
“Where’s Elvisda?” Martan asked.
“I’m not sure,” the wizard told the fighter. “He wasn’t in his room.”
Just then Seth showed up with four castle guards including the familiar faces of Relkin and Francis. He had apprised the Baroness of the situation and she had sent him back with some men. They stood around for a few minutes comparing notes and planning.
“Well, with any luck we might find Qualtan in there,” Glo said. “But I really don’t like going into an undead area without Elvisda or Aksel.”
“You worry too much,” Seth replied. “How many undead could there possibly still be down there?”
“I hope your right,” Glo answered.
They geared up and reentered the passageway. Martan stayed behind once again to guard the door. When they got 100 feet down the corridor, they found the gate closed again. Relkin and Francis lifted it and they continued down the passage. They were just nearing the end of the passage when they spotted movement at the end of the corridor.
Glorfindel cast a light spell and they could clearly see a little girl standing behind two ghouls! The little girl opened he mouth and bared her fangs.
“Vampire,” one of the guards exclaimed in a hushed tone.
Glorfindel stepped to the front of the line and raised his arm. A ball of fire appeared at his finger tips and started careening down the hall. Almost simultaneously, the little girl vanished in a puff of smoke. Two seconds later the fireball hit the remaining monsters. The monsters erupted into flames and were reduced to a pile of ash.
They moved down to the end of the corridor Relkin leading the way. The door at the end of the passage had been closed again. They listened and heard a faint scraping sound. Relkin readied himself as Seth pulled the door open. But there was nothing inside the little room. They all entered and fanned out into a semicircle, weapons drawn and ready.
Glorfindel stood in the middle of the circle. He quickly cast a spell.
“What was that for?” Seth asked.
“Oh,” the wizard replied, “Just a spell to see invisible creatures.”
“Well, do you see anything?” Seth inquired.
Glorfindel looked around the room and then back down the corridor they had just come from.
“No,” he shook his head.
Meanwhile, Seth and one of the other guards, Ashfor, were at the next door. They heard the quiet movement of a bunch or creatures and a faint growling as if in anticipation.
“It looks like we’ve got more company. Get ready,” Seth whispered.
Ashfor pushed open the door and then quickly dodged to one side. A pack of ghouls appeared in the doorway, clamoring around each other to enter the room. Glorfindel had been ready though. He had his arm extended and as soon as Ashfor was out of the way, he let loose a bolt of lightning from his fingertips. The bolt went flying from his hand into the leading creatures. The four in front dropped to the ground and stopped moving. But four more ghouls came scrambling over the fallen ones. Glo let loose one more time with a lightning bolt and felled two more of the creatures. Then he stepped back to make room for the rest of the party.
One of the remaining ghouls latched himself onto Marcus, one of the castle guards up front, and bit him. Marcus screamed and pushed the creature off of him. Ashfor, meanwhile, had his sword out and swung at the other attacking creature. He hit it momentarily stopping its advance. Then two purple projectiles went flying by Marcus’s head slamming into the ghoul that had bit him, dropping it to the ground. Marcus turned and saw Glorfindel with his arm again raised and pointed in his direction. “Thanks,” he told the wizard. At the same time, Seth waded in next to Ashfor and took two swings with his daggers at the creature in front of the guard. He slashed the ghoul twice, and it dropped to the floor.
They all stepped back for a moment and assessed the situation. Eight ghoul bodies lay on the ground in the doorway. “Well that could have been worse,” Relkin said. He then turned to Marcus and examined the bite. “It doesn’t look infected. You were lucky lad. Be more careful from now on,” he admonished.
Seth walked up to the two and said, “I can fix that.” He laid his hands on the guard for a minute and his hands began to glow. When he lifted them away, the bite mark was gone, completely healed.
Marcus turned to the halfling and said, “Thank you.”
Relkin also thanked the halfling. “I didn’t know you could heal,” he told Seth.
“How would you,” the ninja replied. “With Aksel around, I don’t normally need to.”
Relkin smiled back at the little halfling. “Well it’s good to know that you’ve got our backs.”
They moved the pile of bodies out of the way, and entered the next room. Again the same large, hexagonal table stood in the center of the room surrounded by six chairs. A deck of cards lay in the middle of the table along with a pile of chips. But this time they also noticed a door to the east and an open passageway leading south.
“Can you see if there is anything magical in here?” Seth asked Glorfindel.
“Sure ,” the wizard replied. Glo cast a spell and the chips on the table started to glow.
Seth went to examine the chips. They had the numbers 40, 65, 23, 88, 99, and 31 on them. “Do these numbers mean anything to anyone,” the ninja asked the group. Relkin and Francis were avid card players it turned out. But neither knew of any significance to those numbers. “Oh well,” Seth replied. “Let’s take them with us anyway.” He handed the chips over to Francis for safekeeping.
Seth went over to the east door and listened, but did not hear anything. Then he opened the door and peered in. The room appeared to be a kitchen. It had a number of storage shelves with food containers on them. The food was all rotten. There was also a table and two chairs in this long, curved chamber plus a small hearth (long since closed to the outside). On one wall there was a weapon rack with 6 rotting spears, and a cabinet. Seth went in and opened the cabinet. It was full of pots and pans. There were also two more doors in this room, one on the north wall and one on the east wall.
“Well what do we do now?” Relkin asked.
The all turned to Glorfindel. The wizard pondered for a moment. Finally he said, “Let’s close the kitchen door and continue south for now.” So they grouped up back together and headed down the south corridor. They went a ways down the passage until it finally opened up into a rough cavern. They stopped and looked around. The carven looked to continue south.
Glorfindel spoke quietly to the group. “I am really not comfortable with this. We really should not go any further without a cleric. Let’s backtrack to the first room in this underground area. Meanwhile, I will contact my familiar and have it find Elvisda. I’ll have it tell him to go to the temple, commandeer a cleric or two, and meet us down here.”
The group agreed. So Glorfindel contacted Raven and then the group retraced their steps to the room where the passage to Haltan’s shop connected with the underground area.