Fully recovered from an evening of resting, binding wounds, and sharpening blades, the party woke up the following morning and made their way out of the forest back to the Lance Rock cave entrance. Quintus bravely led the way using his light spell and everyone else snuck along at the periphery of the light. At the point at which the party was ambushed by zombies last time where they dropped the rocks from on high, Puck used his minor illusion to create an image of Quintus walking through the area. Sure enough rocks tumbled down on top of the illusion and 2 zombies jumped down to attack.
With the trap sprung, everyone surged forward and quickly dispatched the 2 zombies. Following the previous path to the large open cave, the party found some bodies of previously slain zombies on the tables in the process of being sewn back together and repaired. A dark voice called out from the far side of the room, ‘So you have returned eh? Kill them!’ A cloaked figure on the far side of the room unfurled his cloak revealing himself as the Lord of Lance Rock and pointed towards the exposed Quintus. Four skeleton archers moved forward and fired at Quintus. But between the disadvantage of long range and Quintus’ plate armor, none of the arrows found their mark. Templeton responded instantly by taking a very long shot with disadvantage and cover against The Lord of Lance Rock himself. The keen eyed crossbow expert found his mark. The Lord of Lance Rock cursed and grabbed at the bolt piercing his thigh, as Templeton hid behind the cover of the stone tables.
The Lord of Lance Rock drew forth a wand and pointed it at Quintus. He spoke a spidery word of magic and released a volley of magic missiles that pounded into Quintus. The skeletons advanced within better range and everyone took cover behind the stone tables. The skeletons had their bows readied to fire upon anyone that moved, so Puck used his minor illusion of Templeton to peak up out from behind cover. The skeletons were fooled and fired their bows at the illusion. But The Lord of Lance Rock himself was not as easily tricked. He again blasted Quintus with magic missiles and the huge cleric collapsed in a pool of blood.
Templeton managed to get to his side and use his healer’s kit to stop the bleeding and stabilize Quintus. Kareep was pleased that Quintus had been taken care of. He took the opportunity to make a bold move, flying out into the room and getting close enough to the Lord to cast a spell upon him. The Hunter’s Mark spell allowed Kareep to deal extra damage and created a mystical connection to his quarry that gave him a bonus to track the evil necromancer. Kareep then flew back to a spot that gave him cover against the arrows of the skeletons and the magic missiles of the Lord.
Templeton and Puck worked as an effective team with Puck tricking the skeletons into firing at phantom illusions and Templeton using his sneak attack from hiding to destroy the skeletons. Kareep managed to fly over and cast a healing spell on Quintus. Back in the fight, Quintus called upon the power of Tempus and cast a Guided Bolt spell which smashed into the Lord of Lance Rock forcing him to flee.
Kareep led a careful recon of the next several caverns. The ranger used his still active hunter’s mark spell to track The Lord of Lance Rock through the tunnels following signs that only bare rock could tell. The recon eventually revealed a final cave with a huge purple tapestry in which the evil necromancer had gone to ground. Two skeletons and 2 zombies guarded him here. Templeton hid artfully in the shadows and launched devastating crossbow fire at the skeletons and zombies. While busy fighting through the zombies, the necromancer cast a crown of madness spell on Quintus. Luckily, the brave cleric shook off the mind controlling effects and charged forward to engage The Lord of Lance Rock. But the necromancer was ready for him, hitting him with a vampiric touch spell. The life was drained out of Quintus and into the necromancer.
Quintus fell to the floor his mighty sword clattering to the ground as the Lord of Lance Rock cackled with glee. Panicking, Kareep flew up and used the party’s last potion of healing on Quintus to get him back in the fight. The cleric did not disappoint. The huge man grabbed his greatsword, stood up, and brought it down hard on the shoulder of the The Lord of Lance Rock. The mighty blow nearly split the necromancer in twain.
The evil necromancer fell to his knees and looked to the center of the room where a glowing crystal sphere with a slit that made it look like an eye hung in the air above a pedestal made of severed human limbs. As blood pooled around him, The Lord of Lance Rock looked at the hovering crystal and eerily said, ‘No… The Eye!… Oh Yes… The Eye…’ and with that his body slumped forward, withered away, and disappeared in a puff of black flame. The evil necromancer’s wand clattered to the stone floor.
Templeton cautiously approached the glowing crystal sphere trying to discern its nature but at his approach the crystal faded away leaving only the pedestal of severed arms. ‘Damn!’ exclaimed Templeton. I really wanted some answers as to what the hell is going on here. To have The Lord of Lance Rock and that crystal thing vanish before our eyes in that fashion is greatly disturbing indeed.’ Templeton looked closer at the remaining pedestal of severed arms. ‘Hmm… There is something in here. Puck take a look at this. Its a bit too messy to put my hands in there.’
Puck approached carefully and used his mage hand spell to telekinetically extricate a leather bound book from the pedestal. The strange tome had what looked like an eye sewn into the leather of the book.
Templeton searched behind the purple tapestries and found a sack of 165 silver coins and another sack of 78 gold coins. He also found a pouch containing 4 highly polished jet black gems worth 50 gp each and a small glass globe. Puck used his detect magic ritual to determine that the book, glass globe, and wand were all magical. Puck then cast his identify spell to determine that the wand was a wand of magic missiles, the glass globe was a driftglobe, and the leather bound book was the Lord of Lance Rock’s spellbook.
The Spellbook contained the following spells:
Mage Armor, Magic Missile, False Life, Ray of Scorching
Crown of Madness, Misty Step
Animate Dead, Vampiric Touch
Templeton frowned and asked aloud, ’What’s next gentleman?’
Quintus spoke up, ‘Actually the err whatchmacallem plan is ta head back to town, have a good stiff drink in honor of our um fallen foes and the battle they fought then go talk to whatshername… Kaylessa.’
Puck looked up from his new rather engrossing reading material and said, “I think we should have a quick look at the area we didn’t explore. Perhaps we might find some more answers about who the necromancer was and what that orb was.”
Kareep chimed in, ‘I agree with Puck about the other part of the cave. Perhaps Templeton could give these tapestries and cabinets a good look over as there might be a clue as to their manufacture. See if you can we judge by wear and mildew if the curtains and cabinets have been here a long time or are they new to the cave.’
Templeton looks up at Quintus and pats him on the hip (he can’t reach his back). “A stiff drink? What an excellent notion Quintus! But why wait until we get back to town? Its always a good time for a drink.” From out of nowhere Templeton produces 4 silver goblets and a bottle of wine. He deftly fills each vessel and hands it to each character. “Drink up lads. Here’s a toast to our first major victory. This Lord of Lance Rock was clearly a major villain with plans to do something evil with all of his undead minions. Often these lone necromancers stew in their own insanity and read too many books about the dark magics. It consumes them. However, this one was different. This crystal orb that vanished is troubling indeed. It could mean some greater involvement beyond his own diabolical machinations. I wish we knew more about it. I am a man who likes answers. And they seem to be sorely lacking here. I agree with Puck. Let’s explore the rest of the complex and then head back to Red Larch and speak with Kaylessa. Perhaps she might be able to answer some of our questions.”
When the wine is produced, Puck says with raised eyebrows,“here?! Why don’t we wait until we’ve completed our tasks here.” Puck looks at his goblet filled at wine. “Well, maybe just a sip….”
Kareep stops Templeton before he pours and a cup for him and says, “No thanks. I am not in the mood while we remain in this foul place.”
Templeton takes a long stiff draught, wipes the back of his hand across his lips. He smiles and looks around, “Trust me Kareep. This place looks a lot less foul now. Its amazing how a little wine can really brighten your day. Be damned all the necromancers and evil! You shall not keep me from my wine!” Templeton looks around at each of you and then frowns and says, “You gentleman are extraordinary comrades in arms. However, what I need now is some attention from the young ladies of the Dripping Candlestick. All of this evil slaying has left me hungry for hot cockles and some serious Mollicking if you catch my meaning! The warm beds of Red Larch await. We mustn’t tarry too long…" Templeton suddenly turns his head and looks at the tapestries, “Hang on a minute lads, look at this…”
Templeton investigates the tapestries, attempting to gain some clue as to their worth. At first, upon closer inspection, Templeton realizes they are actually in fairly poor condition. Patches are threadbare, loose threads hang about and splashes of dried blood are scattered about. Perhaps someday in the past, they had some monetary value. But, by Templeton’s estimation, they are essentially worthless now – probably only good for keeping somebody warm if they were to awkwardly roll themselves up in one.
Templeton is about to walk away shaking his head at the shame of the waste when something catches his eye. Some hint of a pattern. He steps back, tilts his head, moves up close again, taking a closer look. He has a hunch.
He quickly walks over to one of the zombies and finds an arm that has seemingly been stitched onto the corpse by the necromancer. Perhaps the corpse had originally been missing an arm? In any case, with a cloth over his mouth, Templeton pulls at the stitching, releasing a long thread… with a strangely purple hue.
Once loose, Templeton walks back to the tapestry and compares the thread to the tapestry material and nods his head. “Yes, the necromancer has been removing threads from the tapestries for his macabre creations. And there is something else…”
What had initially seemed like random pulls of thread becomes clear to Templeton that they have been pulled to create a negative pattern on the tapestries. In fact, Templeton can now clearly see that the same sigil floating above the orb is clumsily, but effectively etched into the tapestry. Templeton then moves about the room looking for other patterns and identifies four other rough patterns repeated throughout.
Templeton smiles, “Ah ha… See what a little wine can do Kareep? It clears your senses and let’s you take a closer look. Most excellent.”
Templeton takes out his quill, pen, and inks and will sketch the patterns to document them for later. He also likes the idea of having Puck study them so that he can recreate them in illusionary form later suggesting it to the little gnome. The symbols do not seem to represent any religious or arcane meaning that any of the party had seen before. But perhaps someone else back in Red Larch might be able to help.