A Brief Account of the Activities of the Party in the Year 640LB, during the Fourth Week of the 10th Moon, between the Day of the Rabbit and the Day of the Weasel.
In our last session those that call themselves The Eight not surprisingly found themselves struggling to find their way through the Frowning Forest. Seeking to return to the Jinstown compound to regroup and rethink their pursuit of the retreating goblin armies, in the end it was a long abandoned Eime memorial that they found instead of the isolated refuge home of Pog Jin. And, true to form for many in the group, the decision to explore and pick through the old bones of a dead civilization took precedence to rescuing the kidnapped Steevin Jin. At the end of our evening of adventuring the party had fully explored this "Memorial to the Ones First Lost" - including using considerable cunning to gain access through its magically sealed door and to its secret crypt area.
After having fled the devil in the dark, our adventurers debated and decided their best bet given the late hour and lack of visibility was to follow the purr of the Brass feline statue first discovered in the tomb of Sybil the Lachrymose. The Eight walked on through the dark trees well into the evening "following" the sound, and, as it turned out, walked well longer than sense suggested proper if they had indeed been heading in the direction of Jinstown.
Our heros then attempted to reconsider what to do once it had become undeniable that they were lost. Besides an obvious 360 degree turn and return in the believed direction of the amphitheater and hideous Bone Devil, the party's female monk Lilyak sought out moss on the surrounding trees that might suggest a north/south direction. Upon discovering that a thick black moss covered a wide swath of trees in their entirety - thus being no help in distinguishing north from south - the two magic users of the group were struck by an unknown magical power that deprived them of their entire memory of the last 24 hours; including, most importantly, their knowledge of the spells and proper incantations they had prepared that very morning.
As a result of this sudden unexpected and unexplained weakening of the party in an already precarious position, The Eight prepared to make camp and wait for better luck to prevail in the morning sunlight, however defused it might be through the veil of the high forest canopy. It was at this point that Drin the fighter, on reconnaissance of the area immediately surrounding the camp, abruptly stumbled upon an impressive sight: a near 18 foot tall wall of heavy Eime brass that jutted out from the tree line and blocked their path. The perimeter of this giant wall - covered in layer upon layer of thick and jagged intimidating-looking thorns - was traced by the party and by their best guess determined to be a complete ring or circle extending some 90 feet in diameter. Having a well-justified concern for their safety should they expose themselves with a camp in the open, the group made a deliberate and patient scaling of the the wall of this imposing ring and hoped to use its inside perimeter for protection from the general horrors of the Frowning Forest.
On the inside of the ring The Eight found a serene and beautiful garden of luxurious grasses with a gentle and satisfying aroma. At the center of the deep and thick and unblemished grass garden lay a collapsed stone structure with only a single tall metal candle stick positioned directly at its center, itself topped with a large candle that appeared to have never been lit. After setting up a guard schedule, the party retired to an evening under a nearly opaque sky while reclining on the most comfortable of plots of land they had found on the Island.
The morning of the Day of the Weasel brought the discovery by fighting man Ayak Akai of a simple 3ft by 3ft flat and plain panel or plaque of brass inlaid in floor of the stone monument. Akai's gaze seemed to trigger the emergence of an Eime sentinel face that greeted his countenance and the faces of those around him with the exclamation: "We are glad you have come back to us. The sisters forgive everything...If you but ask and show us your true faces." This statement was addressed to the names "Cassia the Wistful" and "Luir the Intemperate". With a flash of insight, Akai recalled the casual gift of two white masks The Eight had received from the Lord Mayor of Colony Company Town 2. These masks were made of a strange light painted wood in the shape of faces exaggerated in their elongated features. Nearly one month earlier Newbold Philo had referred to these masks as "Elven" in origin, so the fighter Akai and the magic user Gwyd donned the two masks in the possession of the party and starred back at the face in the floor.
The crackling of crust built up on a mechanism after eons of disuse followed, and the stone plate dropped away revealing a few stone stairs down into an unknown darkness. Understandably curious, the adventurers followed the opening down into a tomb structure that, to the extent a glance may reveal, seemed considerably older than the resting place of Sybil the Lachrymose they had found within the Boundless Buckle mine. As they moved down the stairs en masse and began to take note of all significant details, none other than the fighter Akai whose quick thinking had gained them access in the first place found himself triggering a pit trap to open beneath him and which dropped him some 20 feet deep into a thick pool of an awful liquid. After a brief encounter with some water-born rats, and the discovery of a rusting but not ancient suit of plate mail armor, Ayak Akai was pulled back to safety and the party continued to explore the strange antechamber before them.
Beyond the pit they found a slightly large room with a door along one wall, a statue of the Goddess Eime along another, and an roughly carved but unadorned stone wall to the left of the statue of the goddess in the pose for which she is most often represented: drowning Pelor's children in a garden well. The large door appeared to be composed of iron and although no obvious hinges could be located, three large metals dials could be discerned along with four identical groups of symbols set around each dial. The statue had written along its base in the Eime script the inscription "I've Returned for I am Sorry" and a noticeable leftward orientation to its left hand and its overall gaze.
The monk Lilyak - again proving herself brave and useful to her comrades at arms - stepped forward, Spear in hand, and repeated the words on the inscription into the open ear of the statue, introducing herself as the barrier of one of the weapons first used by elf to murder elf. At this declaration, the statue shifted subtly and pronounced a puzzle to the group:
"Once to the Left, and One Small Step Down.
Twice to the Right and Your Salvation is Found.
Embrace Any Other Path, My Sister
And to Oblivion Your Soul is Bound."
For several minutes the party pondered this strange polysemousness. Taking a chance that its left/right reference was to the strange iron door and its dials, the party pressed upon the magic user Cleg's adjutant Smutty Booth to test their interpretive readings by setting the dials to their direction while the party removed itself back up the stairs for safety's sake. After promising the reluctant young man Booth a share in the total haul from the contents of this particular delving, he stepped forward and seized the chance to show his fellows and his master his true mettle. And as he set the last of the three dials into position in accordance with his master's instructions, The Eight collectively gasped as Smutty Booth of County Cash simply ceased to exist before them.
It took the party just over four minutes of great suspense to find their way to Smutty's prison. In this time the party successfully solved the puzzle spoken by the goddess made possible by the invaluable suggestion of the Drin the fighter that the party disregard the iron door altogether and search instead for trace of a secret door on the one bare wall that was to the left of the brass statue of the beautiful and young filicidal goddess. This search, in turn, lead the group into a secret passage and, even further, to a secret door within the passage itself. Leading the way at several turns - vocally if not physically - was the normally reserved Finneaus Cleg who stopped at several times to call out for his missing comrade in the hopes that his reply might guide their pursuit.
Once they had decoded the initial riddle of the statue, the party lost little time in moving through the rest of the small complex of rooms and soon after they entered the largest room they'd yet encountered; a vaulted room filled with 10 stone sarcophagi. Ominously named "Ten to Replace the Ones First Lost", this room was scavenged and our heroes found more than minor reason for rejoicing in the discovery of the weakened and seriously dazed but still very much alive Smutty Booth sealed in one of the tombs pinned along with several other human skeletons.
The elation at the rescue of young man Booth was palpable among many of The Eight when even his master had come to fear for the worst. But this elation was short-lived as the group found itself immediately set upon by pack of jackal-like creatures that attempted to storm into the room as The Eight braced to defensively open the large doors that blocked the end of their path. These creatures, resembling jackals with black fur, burnt with a black/red fire that shed no light and looked black when viewed in the fire light of the adventurers. Acting and seeming as other undead act and seem in most ways, these fierce creatures were unlike most other undead in at least two notable ways in that they seemed only minimally corrupted and rotted, and, what was worst of all, that the black fire that surrounded these beasts could stream forth and envelope other creatures, doing minimal damage, but damage none the less to several party members.
Of all members, Ayak Akai took the brunt of this damage. This is because the group agreed to position the fighter in the narrow neck of the passage to act as a human breakwater against the encroaching jackal-beasts, beating them back with foot and sword both. Akai lasted a great many rounds in this highly vulnerable position, and to his credit destroyed several of these savage undead beasts before he eventually succumbed to cumulative damage and was forced to retreat to the back ranks of the party. As the few remaining "Hydu" (a small scroll later discovered would reveal their name to be) pressed into the room the party was able to dispatch them handily given the work of the fighter Akai.
In the final room of the memorial complex The Eight found a large pedestal, a chest made assembled bones, and ten humanoid skeletons posed in position of guard about the chest, frozen yet each baring a sword that marked them potentially dangerous. Agro the Axe suggested the warriors of the party take up position around these creatures and when the step from Drin onto the pedestal triggered their attack, the adventurers were well positioned to easily dispatch these weak undead foes before any serious damage could accrue to any party members.
In the final stages of the exploration of the memorial, while other members busied themselves attempted to break open the unfamiliar lock on the chest of bone, the fighter Drin stepped away from the party to explore the area immediately behind the central pedestal and in the processes stepped on a pressure plate that set to opening a large drawer anchored itself with a long femur that seemed to serve as a decorative handle. Out of this space emerged the awful Gibbering Mouther that save a tremendous stroke of good fortune would have surely taken her life. Our evening came to an end with the party coming to the quick rescue of the unconscious Drin and removing its newly acquired loot back towards the opening of the complex.
Total XP per PC (not including individual XP bonuses): 411