After a short rest of 1 hour, the party worked their way to the front of the caves under Lance Rock and explored the last bit of the tunnels that they had yet to visit. Templeton led the way sneaking forward until he came to a grizzly site. Many fresh bodies and bones and terrible things lay strewn about in a cave. Nothing moved and all was quiet. Holding back his nauseau from the foul stench, Templeton Daltrey trained his crossbow on the corpse on the top. He did not want to be fooled again by a zombie lying in wait. He fired his crossbow and it thwacked into the body with a nasty squishing noise. The dead body did not move. However, a few moments later some bones beneath the pile began to move. Three skeletons arose from the pile of putrescence as if to attack. Templeton yelled a warning about the coming skeletons and made a hasty retreat back down the tunnel to a more defensible position and hid behind an outcropping of rock.
The other party members moved into position as well. Quintus Andronicus stood ready with sword drawn blocking the passageway waiting for the skeletons to come to him. Puck also moved into position readying a spell. Kareep of Goldenfields readied a javelin and flew back. The first skeleton to emerge from the darkness was met with a sneak attack from Templeton’s heavy crossbow. Scoring a critical hit, the bolt went clean through the skull, pinning it to the cave wall bringing up eerie memories of the skull and arrow found with the note from Valklondar.
Puck cast a spell but the remaining skeletons resisted. Kareep hurled a javelin and hit his target but it was not enough to bring the skeleton down. Both skeletons drew back their bows and fired at Quintus. The cleric’s plate mail armor proved too much for the bony archers and the arrows missed their mark. Templeton then jumped into the passageway drawing forth both hand crossbows and firing. The point blank bolts smashed the skeleton into pieces that fell away to the ground. The last skeleton was then dispatched by another javelin of Kareep and the freezing cold magic of Puck.
With the cave system now clear, Quintus and Kareep under the direction of Templeton and Puck carried all of the zombie and skeleton bodies and various body parts from all over the cave system into this final cave and heaped them upon the grotesque pile. Kareep flew outside and gathered up some dry wood and stacked it in the room. Quintus tore down the tapestries and hauled them to the room to add them to the pile. Templeton used a vial of oil to coat the huge pyre.
It was a lot of work taking many hours to complete, but everyone agreed it was the right thing to do. Lance Rock must be cleansed. Quintus said some prayers to Tempus to send the spirits of the dead on their way and Templeton tossed a torch onto the pile of bodies, wood, and oil to set it ablaze. It caught quickly and the tunnels filled with acrid smoke. Everyone left and marched a good distance away before night fell and camp was made.
The evening passed without incident and everyone got a good night’s sleep. In the morning, the group set off for Red Larch and returned as the sun was beginning to set. Kareep of Goldenfields found a nice roost outside of town and watched the roads going in and out of Red larch. Everyone else made their way to the The Swinging Sword Inn. There they found Kaylessa Irkell eager to hear news of their deeds. Templeton Daltrey told the story of The Lord of Lance Rock and what was found in his caves. As proof of the Lord’s demise, Puck showed his new spellbook and wand to Kaylessa. She shuddered at the grim items and thanked everyone for their work. As agreed she gave the party 50 GP and a huge feast to celebrate their victory.
Templeton showed Kaylessa the symbols they had found that were made by the Lord of Lance Rock but she could make no sense of them. Everyone ate well and turned in that night for some proper sleep in a nice bed. The next morning Templeton checked in on Kareep’s exploding javelin progress at the shop of Feng Ironhead. The weapons were not yet ready. But progress was being made. Templeton checked in with Endrith Vallivoe at his shop to see if there was anything new for sale (which there wasn’t) and asked him about the symbols found with The Lord of Lance Rock. Vallivoe knew nothing about them or where to find out anything more. Templeton, Puck, and Quintus collected Kareep from his roost and went to talk to Imdarr Relvaunder at the Allfaiths Temple. Templeton showed him the disturbing iconography of The Lord of Lance Rock. He was unable to identify anything about them but counseled further investigation. Templeton purchased 3 Potions of Healing from Imdarr and gave one to Kareep and one to Puck, keeping the third for himself. (The Master Party Treasure List was updated.)
On their way to speak with Constable Harbruck something very unexpected indeed happened. The ground shook and a huge sinkhole opened up in the middle of Red Larch. A number of young children fell into the hole as it opened up beneath them. A woman cried out and ran over to try and help. The edge of the sinkhole gave way and she disappeared down into the darkness below.
Templeton was the first to act. He ran up and tied his rope around a sturdy beam of a nearby porch and ran towards the hole. Puck and Quintus followed and Kareep flew down right into the hole to see what was going on. He found the hole went straight down some 30 feet and then opened up into a larger cave. He used his new driftglobe to shed bright light and push back the darkness. Kareep found the children in a mound of soft dirt. They were shaken up but not harmed by their fall. The woman, however, had not been so lucky. She had landed badly on a less forgiving surface. She was seriously hurt and had fallen unconscious from the bad fall.
Templeton ran to the hole and leaped down swinging in on the rope to break his fall. At the completion of his acrobatic move, he safely reached the ground and immediately assessed the situation. Templeton securely tied one of the children to the rope and yelled up to Quintus to haul the boy up. Kareep took the woman gently in his arms and flew up up and out to safety. Quintus then hauled up the young lad on Templeton’s rope. Puck went into a trance and began seeing through the eyes of his owl familiar. The owl flew down into the sinkhole and began to explore the large cave beyond Kareep’s light using his darkvision. Puck saw a door and a passageway leading out of the much larger than expected cave.
Between Templeton’s rope and Kareep’s wings, they managed to get everyone to safety. But then another very unexpected thing happened. Out from the crowd of townsfolk that had assembled to view the spectacle and lend their aid, three of the town elders seemed to be trying to take control of the situation. Albaeri Mellikho of Mellikho Stoneworks, Ulhro Luruth of Luruth’s Tannery, and Ilmeth Waelvur of Waelvur’s Wagonmakers were shooing people away from the sinkhole and directing Albaeir’s stoneworkers to start filling the hole with stone. When confronted by Templeton as to why they would do this, the town elders were all very evasive. The elders seemed like they knew something and were trying to cover something up literally and figuratively. Finally Constable Harbruck arrived and Templeton used his silver tongue to talk some sense into the constable. Due to the party’s successful previous ventures, Harbruck seemed to have faith in us. He ordered the the elders to stand down and stop filling in the sinkhole. He also allowed the party to investigate the Great Sinkhole of Red Larch to see what was down there. If there were no further threats posed by the caves beneath, the sinkhole would be filled in. Using the ropes already in place, the party quickly descended into the sinkhole to begin their investigation.
The main cave held something of interest right away. There were two cloaks hanging on pegs and lots of human tracks showing that the area was recently used. Folk had been down here not long ago. There was also a stone door set into the eastern wall and a passageway leading off to the north. The party followed the passageway first finding it gradually sloping up towards the surface. It ended with an area of wet sand with torches stuck into the sand below a trap door in the ceiling.
Deciding to deal with the trapdoor later, the party turned back and made their way back to the stone door in the main cave. It opened rather easily revealing a tunnel leading into the darkness. The tunnel came to a three way intersection with 2 stone dwarven statues at the intersection. No traps or secret compartments were found on them but the carvings were clearly quite ancient and had been here a long time. Following the passageway to the left at the intersection going north, the party followed a winding tunnel which went through an area with the remains of some humans that had been eaten down to sinew and bone by some giant rats. The rats looked up from their dinner but Quintus clanged his shield against his plate mail and scared them away.
The room beyond held a black stone hovering 3 feet off the ground. The Black Stone was 1 foot diameter and 1 foot tall. The party eyed the stone warily but decided to contiue on their way.
The tunnel continued down to a larger room in which was a larger dwarven statue stood in the center of the room. Two doors were also in this room one on the east wall and the other on the west wall.
The dwarven statue was broken and held together with some wooden braces. It also had a small wooden plaque that read:
Petrified Ironstar (?) dwarf, found 1459 DR in Red Larch West Quarry in broken condition.
The date was only 2 years ago. The statue was newer looking and clearly brought here from somewhere else. The statue was surrounded by a ring of gravel. Inside the ring of gravel were copper, silver, and gold coins, 8 gems, and a dagger.