Before returning to the dungeon, the party decides to rest for the evening. They make camp, and Rita uses her magic to allow her and Basil to handle watch duty. They don’t notice any problems during the night, but Rita catches a hint of curious disgust coming from Bob. Rita decides to check up on Bob and finds Pavo’s mule covered in feces. Concerned that something had obviously infiltrated the camp, Basil and Rita look for tracks while Pavo cleans his mule. They find a number of small tracks in the dirt. These tracks belong to pugwampi—a kind of gremlin known for its mischief. They try to follow the tracks, but none of them are actually any good at tracking, so they quickly lose the trail. Basil and Rita return to their watch while Pavo goes back to sleep.
When the party wakes the next day, they decide to bring Pavo’s mule inside the dungeon just to be safe. They’ve decided to explore the passage beyond the grate, so they leave it tied up in the entry area while Pavo goes up on the balcony to repair the rusted lever that they believe opens the grate. After he does, he flips it, and the grate drops into the floor revealing a room with a bench and numerous cubbies. Inside some of the cubbies are very old and very fragile cloth, the remains of clothing. Basil checks out some of them, causing them to crumble when he touches them. Before they are completely destroyed, he notices a couple of things: they bear insignia of crystals and Azlanti glyphs; and the shadows are in the wrong places. The rest of the group notices the latter as well.
The shadows move swiftly to attack the party. The first goes for Basil, passing its hand through his armor and weakening him slightly. Pavo tries to protect himself by drinking a shield extract, but one takes a piece out of him too. Basil calls for everyone to flee, but Rita notices that these are only lesser shadows, which are not as dangerous as regular ones. Pavo adds that you still need magic weapons or force-based spells like magic missile to hurt them. Accordingly, Rita blasts one of them and destroys it instantly. While still freaked out a bit; Basil agrees not to flee, turns his attention to the other one, and clobbers it.
As a matter of course, Pavo leaves some of his daily extracts unprepared. Today is another day where that will come in handy. Pavo prepares lesser restoration. While he does, Basil finishes documenting his findings, Rita goes over to the stairs opposite the entrance that lead down and takes a look, and Bob pokes and destroys the old clothes for his amusement.
The party eventually makes their way back to Zarkus’s chamber to finish examining it in detail. They know that there’s some miscellaneous treasures along with several unopened chests. Basil also wants to use object reading on the crystal shards they found earlier. When he does, he finds that they’re part of a set of eight crystals, but he is not sure exactly what they do. Pavo goes around to each chest, examining them for traps and opening them. The first one has coins. The second one is sticky, causing his tools to get stuck on it when he examines it. Taking Pavo buy surprise, a pseudopod shoots out from the chest and grabs him. The chest bashes him into the floor and tries to strangle him. Basil stops what he’s doing, activates sudden speed, and rushes over to assist Basil against the creature, a mimic. As Rita casts scorching ray and burns the evil chest, she notices a longing coming from Bob—Bob wants to get inside the box (even if it would totally try to eat him). Rita yells at Bob, “Not yet!” and Bob meows back at her annoyed.
Although stuck to the chest, Pavo has one hand free and starts drawing daggers and stabbing it with them. Meanwhile, the mimic tries to demoralize him by vomiting coins all over him. Unfortunately for the creature, it looks silly more than intimidating, and it fails utterly in its attempt. Basil summons a wolf help fight the creature, which bites it and promptly gets stuck to it face-first. The wolf is very unhappy about this. Basil backs away momentarily from the chest as Rita blasts it with magic missiles and Pavo continues drawing daggers and stabbing it. The mimic tries to demoralize Basil, but all it successfully does is blow a raspberry at him while he works on creating a node of blasting from a coin that he attempts to drop on the it (but misses). The chest returns its attention to Pavo and knocks him unconscious. The wolf continues to flail about uselessly. After the mimic goes for Basil, he grabs his sword and finishes it the old fashioned way by chopping it to pieces.
Rita gives Pavo a potion of cure light wounds before he can bleed out. She tells Bob that he can use the chest as a scratching post. Bob tries, but he gets stuck to the dead mimic, and Rita laughs. In the detritus, Basil finds a marble idol of a gothic, busty woman. He uses object reading to determine that it’s an idol of Zura that could fetch a nice price if sold to the right buyer. The rest of the party makes crude innuendo as he does so. Once they’re all done, he gets out the party’s wand of cure light wounds finished healing Pavo’s wounds. Not wanting to make the same mistake again, Pavo grabs a halberd from the miscellaneous weapons lying about the alcoves and strikes the remaining chests with it before examining and opening them. Of them, one contains more coins and the other a metallic shirt and a twisted length of wood—a wand. Basil examines the wand, again drawing more crude innuendo, and determines that it’s another wand of cure light wounds with about half of its charges spent. The shirt is a mithral shirt.
While the rest of the party gathers their treasure and starts preparing for the return home, Pavo turns his attention to the coffin in which the vampire was interred and finds nothing of interest. Basil starts moving the chests by the door, trying to consolidate the coins into just one of them. Pavo drinks a comprehend languages extract, but all he can ascertain from Basil’s notes is that the insignia he recorded is a set of Azlanti glyphs that, along with the crystals, are suggestive of crystal guardians. Unlike regular Azlanti runes, glyphs are symbolic and not meant to be taken literally. Finally, Rita and Pavo work together to search the rest of the room for secret doors but find nothing. Rita grabs a rock, casts light on it, and tosses it into the pit by the bridge. If it screamed when it hit bottom, she never heard it. Her guess is that the pit probably leads to the Darklands—or pretty close if it does not.
As they return to civilization, Pavo raises a concern about what to with the cat lady’s corpse. He also raises a concern about the vampire spawn that got away, but Basil’s not worried about it. As they leave, they bury the corpse and hold a small ceremony for it. None of them are followers of Shelyn, but they all say a few poems after burying her. Basil recites a couplet about dead cats. Pavo says a haiku about the dead traveler. Rita recalls and sings a song she once read from Melodies of Inner Beauty, the primary holy book used by followers of Shelyn.
When they leave for Freehold, it’s 11 Erastus 4716. The journey back will take them just a little bit over a week and a half to make. About four or five days into the journey, Rita notices a shadow following them in the sky. It’s a griffon. A few days later while they’re making camp for the night, she sees it again much lower in the sky. Rita yells out, asking if it’s looking for Delcy, the dead cleric. The griffon swoops in and tries to grab the chest, but its claws aren’t really made for grabbing things and taking them away the way a roc’s is. It drops the chest and lands to regain its composure. Basil tries to talk to it about Delcy and the chests, but it’s not particularly interested in that. It tries to nudge past Basil, but he interposes himself between the griffon and the rest of their gear. Rita readies to attack the griffon if it makes a threatening move again, and Pavo starts downing extracts to buff himself up. Basil casts create water on the griffon and yells at it to back off, which it does. The griffon backs up, hops once, and then takes off into the night at a steep angle. Not really sure what happened (or almost happened), the party moves the packs back by Pavo and his mule and returns to watch and sleep. The griffon follows for a few more days, but it’s not seen again after that.
The party arrives in Freehold. It’s now 21 Erastus 4716
Session Questions Answered
- Did we learn something new and important about the world? Yes, they learned more about Azlant, a set of crystals, and crystal guardians.
- Did we overcome a notable monster or enemy? Yes, the party fought a mimic and several shadows.
- Did we loot a memorable treasure? Yes, they found an awesome statue.