Myths & Gears
Evening – Burial Chamber in Widowers Woods
The last few days have been a harrowing ordeal and it is only through the grace of Markus that I am alive to tell the tale of what has transpired since I last wrote in this journal.
The morning after my last journal entry my companions and I ate our morning meal before heading down to the barracks to meet with Cpt. Julian Hestrom. Our meeting with him was quick as he simply wanted to tell us that he had heard about our investigation and that he and his men would support us in any way there legally could. Meaning – don’t break the law and they will allow us to act and move freely about the city. When questioned about their lack of investigation he reiterated what Sgt. Arn had told us, which is that they were told to focus on the preparations for the celebration not the grave robberies. Cpt. Hestrom agreed with me that it was odd to be focused on the celebration given that the threat of necromancy is of such greater importance. Certainly he could spare two men to investigate but he was told that none of his men were to take up the investigation. It seems clear to me that someone above the Captain, or even the captain himself, does not want people poking around and finding out what Alexia is up to. Before we bid the Captain farewell, we asked if horses could be provided for our journey up to the coven’s final resting place in Widowers Woods and he said he would see to it that they be made available for our journey. We thanked the Captain and set off to continue our investigation before leaving for the Woods in the morning.
With my planned dinner for the guards tonight being the only thing keeping us from heading to the Woods today, we decided to see if we could learn anything more about Alexia by visiting the University where she spends much of her time reading the works of Professor Pendrake.
For the most part, the University was a dead end. The only records they keep is on students who check out books from the library, not on citizens who simply read books while at the library. Since Alexia is not a student, there is no record at all of her activities here. We did learn that Lexaria and the rest of the Coven were students but nothing could be ascertained by the books they checked out. After hours of reading records, we left the University.
While Duren and I went to the Black Stagg to prepare for tonight’s festivities, Kah and Stinger staked out the Cathedral to see if they could follow Alexia and learn more about what she is up to. Late in the evening, they were able to watch her as she crossed the Cathedral grounds, paused on the southern bridge into the city, then returned to the Cathedral. Suspicious of this, they moved to the area on the bridge where she paused and with Stringers keen eyes, were able to spot a flagstone that slightly out of place. Lifting it, they found a heavy wooden door. Thinking it best to investigate with the entire group present, Stinger continued to stake out the area while Kah hurried to the Black Stagg to tell us what they had found.
After wrapping up my evening with the guardsmen, Duren, Kah and myself gathered our gear and met Stringer at the trap door. With some effort, we were able to force it open despite the door being held closed with a Hold Portal spell and we descended down into what we quickly learned was a sewer.
With torches lit, we found and followed some recently created tracks through the sewer to a large wooden door set in the wall of a large sewer passage containing a swiftly moving subterranean river. Not wanting to lose our point person to a misstep on the slippery ledge we traversed, we tied a rope around Stringer and anchored it on Duren. Stringer cleared the door of traps and carefully pushed to door open to find a very large skeleton wielding a battle axe waiting for him on the other side! Before Stringer could react, the axe arced downward and tore deeply into Stringers shoulder. Badly wounded and blocking the doorway, he dove headlong into the room on the other side and out of the reach of the skeleton – for now. I quickly called fourth to Marcus and asked for his guidance in the coming battle , then prepared to face the skeleton. Unfortunately, I was blocking the narrow walkway leading to the door and neither Kah or Duren could advance without fear of falling into the rushing subterranean river that cut through the sewer. Fearing another blow from the skeletons axe would cut him in twain, Stringer reversed course and dove headlong back out of the doorway and into the river – hoping that Duren could hold fast and prevent him from being swept away. Before the Skeleton could exit the doorway I stepped into its path and brought my Battleblade to bear. With one devastating strike, I disposed of the skeleton. The room beyond was a small landing at the top of a staircase that descended downward into darkness. From that darkness, I could hear the unmistakable shuffling of skeletal feet approaching so I moved forward, into the alcove, to protect my companions while they worked to pull Stringer from the water. It was a good thing that I did, as I was immediately set upon by another large skeleton, this one wielding a great sword. As quickly as it appeared it struck and landed a deep cut on my arm. I let out a call for alarm and swung at the fiend but missed. Kah soon joined me and after a pitched battle, we eventually won defeated the monster just Stringer drug himself out of the water.
At the bottom of the stairs we found the area where Alexia has been perfecting her necromantic arts. The room contained several scrolls and pieces or parchment outlining her plans to restore her mother to life by finding the sword that killed her as it contains her essence. We also found an incomplete note where it looks as if she intended to confess to her uncle but then changed her mind. With this evidence in hand, we explored the entirety of the complex and found several of her earlier attempts at raising the dead. These beasts were slower and weaker and were clearly not under her control as they were all locked away. Based on the difference between the skeletons we found guarding her chambers and the ones we found locked away, one can only surmise that she is a very fast learner and has become quite powerful. With our investigation complete, we returned to the Cathedral for some much needed rest as we had a long journey ahead of us in the morning.
The next morning, we packed our horses for the long journey and head out to Widowers Woods in search of what we hoped would be the final resting place of the Coven. What we had found was a low hill that was once sealed with a heavy wooden door, however, that door was now blasted to pieces and the crypt stood open. We cautiously investigated the crypt and learned that it had apparently once been a base of some sort for the [insert old invaders] long ago and was now being used as a base of operations for tribe of Gobbers. At the time, the Gobbers appeared to be off hunting, except for one little guy who was terrified by our arrival. Stringer was able to communicate with the little guy and ascertain that very recently a young, human woman had recently entered the crypts and had left with “monsters”. We convinced him to show us the way, and sure enough, the crypts that had once held the coven were emptied. Well, emptied of the coven, that is. In their place where several very angry undead creatures that attacked us as soon as we entered the area. Calling upon the divine might of Markus, the enemy was dispatched fairly easily. We searched the rest of the catacombs and did not find anything of particular interest. Seeing as it was already dark, we decided it best to sleep here for the night before making our way through the swamp back to Corvis.
It is in these very crypts that I now sit, writing to in this journal, contemplating the events that have transpired over the last few days. What could Alexia be up to? What is her end goal? Is it simply a ploy to avenge the death of her mother or is she being guided by another force and this ploy of hers is simple a ruse? In my gut, I feel that this is too lofty of a goal for a young lady to conceive on her own. Someone much more experienced and powerful is manipulating her into doing these tasks. How else could she have gained the power and knowledge that she has without outside intervention.
May Markus protect me,
PS – In the excitement of the day, I forgot to mention today how Kah found himself in the difficult situation of questioning his faith. I put a blessing on the entire group as we found ourselves battling undead and while under the protection of Markus Kah struggled mightily. He invoked the name of Menoth and asked for guidance but this only seemed to make things worse. His strikes were wildly off target and despite his best efforts, he could not strike the enemy. I hope that he is able to retain his faith as it is a powerful guiding influence in his life. If he is unable to get back into the good grace of Menoth, I will be happy to provide any guidance he requires. Markus is always willing to protect a fellow warrior.