Red Mills

Red Mills (Session 9) – The Price of Victory

Dramatis Personae
Noah playing Igorok the wizard.
Tess playing Tinus the sorcerer.
Issac playing Issac (B’Fai) the barbarian, then Bobby the paladin.
Elliott playing Varis the druid.
Robin playing Rashi the rogue.

Yartalla, Igorok and Sendalf were unconscious, Bobo went quiet and only Tinus, B’Fai, Varis, Rashi and little Ida were left in the fight.

Varis advanced back into the church trying to heal his comrades as he went but he was soon engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with one of the undead actors. Tinus let more magic force arrows fly, this attracted the attentions of Murter on the altar who in turn fired similar arrows at Tinus, knocking him out. Igorok, who had been healed by Varis got up and ran up the aisle towards the altar, but Murter knocked him down yet again. B’Fai likewise fell due to injuries and as his attacker stood over him about to deal the killing blow Ida ran forward and distracted him with her dancing lights. Rashi ran after the girl and grabbed her with one hand, pushed her behind her and let an arrow loose, slaying the wight.
“Stay behind me!” she told the child, “It’s not safe for you!”
“Okay, but …”
“No, buts! Do as I tell you! Stay safe.”

Murter seeing that his troops were all gone but one, descended from the altar and strode up the aisle growling. Varis with the help of another arrow from Rashi finished the last wight off but then Murter was on him, slashing with his sword. The druid was in trouble.

Ida squirmed from behind Rashi and ran into the church. She tried to distract Murter with her lights but he was unaffected so she stooped and picked a dropped dagger from the floor. Rashi fired again and missed. Varis could tell that Tinus was dying so instead of fighting back against Murter, he cured the sorcerer from afar. Murter sliced into Varis but Ida ran behind him and stuck her dagger in his leg. Varis taking advantage from the distraction Ida had caused hit the wight but he responded with a savage blow and Varis sank to the floor. Ida stabbed him again and then tried to run to get to Igorok who was nearly dead but the wight backhanded her as she went and the child fell to the floor. Tinus was up and blasted Murter with flaming magic arrows and then Rashi took careful aim and loosed an arrow at the wight, piercing his head. He fell to the floor.

B’Fai shook himself awake and together he, Tinus and Rashi examined the others. Varis and Ida were unconscious but it looked like they would live. Somehow Igorok opened his eyes and struggled to his feet.

They had won. Quickly they ran to the altar. Coop was unconscious but breathing on altar. They took her down and noticed a strange an amulet around her neck with evil runes. They debated what to do for a little while and then took it off and Coop, the strange looking woman with copper skin transformed into a sleeping copper dragon. That explained her unusual behaviour. But she was obviously wounded and not fit for action.

B’Fai looked around and noticed two doors, one on the left and one on the right. He opened the one on the left and strode confidently into a chamber which acted as a reception room for the back door to the outside. However there was a sixth actor turned wight here who was obviously guarding that back door and who now sprang upon the wounded half-orc. He struck B’Fai, knocking him down and stepping over the body he blocked the doorway. Tinus, Igorok and Rashi fought this undead thespian as hard and as quickly as they could but they were weak from the earlier fight and it took longer than they expected and by the time they reached B’Fai he had bled out. Their friend was dead.

Igorok noticed another internal door in the room, it was locked and he attempted to force it open. Weak though he was at the best of times and despite being badly wounded he must have struck it just so and it opened onto a stairwell down. There was a further door opposite the one he had broken which leds to the room on the right but Igorok couldn’t replicate his feat. Instead he went around to the entrance from the main chapel and strode heedless into the room. Inside he found a half-orc paladin tied up. His name was Bobby and in return for his rescue he agreed to aid the group.

They took B’Fai’s body and laid it out on the altar saying their farewells as they bound their wounds, drank some water and ate some tasteless food. The world seemed greyer without their friend.

Bobby, true to his word went around sharing his healing between everyone. Varis and Ida were restored to consciousness and they decided to head down the stairs.
“Ida, stay here” said Rashi.
She looked between them with sad eyes.
“No” said Igorok, “stay here, it’s not safe.”
“Oh, okay” said the child sadly. Afraid to be without her new friends and protectors.

Leaving her hiding in the pews they went to the stairs and descended into the dark. They found a large crypt with four rows of eighteen stone coffins.  At the far end of the room stalked the dreadful figure of a skeleton with a small dragon skeleton pulsating with a red glow in his chest. Talbor! Near the fiend at the top of the room was the actors’ dressing table and mirror.

Tinus ran in carrying the wooden crown, followed by Varis, who had turned into a rat and who hid between the stone coffins. Igorok charged up the right and Bobby joined Tinus in the centre. Rashi stayed at the bottom of the stairs, within range of Talbor. As they advanced against him, Talbor waved his hand toward some coffins and the lids slide open and skeletons emerged. Igorok charged into them and was cut down. Tinus advanced as far as he could then rolled the wooden crown between two coffins. With another wave of Talbors hand more skeletons emerged and then a bright red moonbeam illuminated the room and Tinus and Bobby were both burned by it. They were outnumbered and blocked. Varis was in rat form and scurried between the coffins to the crown. He struggled to carry it in his mouth and hid between the coffins all the time avoiding the gaze of Talbor.

The skeletons didn’t appear to notice Varis who paused to look at Igorok who was bleeding badly and whose breath was failing. He would have had to turn back into human form to help him and then he too would have died and the crown would have been discovered. Bobby got hit by skeletons and by the moonbeam and went down quickly followed by Tinus. Rashi was cut off from the others and was totally outnumbered, so she retreated up the stairs. She went to check if Ida was okay and if there were more undead coming into the church by the door. She went through the right hand room where Bobby had been imprisoned. But Ida had heard the screams of her friends dying and she went the other way, through the room where B’Fai died. She reached the top of the stairs just as the skeletons chasing Rashi clambered up. They stabbed her viciously and she fell in a heap. Rashi dashed in and grabbed her and ran out to the main chapel where she hid in the pews. The skeletons thought she had left by the main door and returned down the stairs. Rashi held Ida as her breathing got fainter and fainter and finally stopped.  She rocked back and forth holding the dead child and slowly her disbelief and grief turned to anger and with renewed courage she ran back down the stairs heedless of her own safety.

Varis is stuck. If he moves Talbor will see him. Around him the skeletons are returning to their coffins. The situation seems hopeless. Bobby had woken up, but is playing dead while surrounded by so many enemies. Then Rashi emerges from the stairwell screaming in the agony of vengeance. Talbor’s attention turns to her and he moves towards her, his moonbeam immediately finding her. She is easy prey, she won’t last long, but Rashi doesn’t care. Rashi wants revenge on this monster.

Varis seizes his chance and dashes for the mirror then turns from a rat back to a person. Talbor finally sees him and moonbeams him, but Varis survives the burning and extends the wooden crown towards the mirror. In the reflection he sees himself extending a beautiful bejeweled crown and then, as if by magic, the real thing is in his hand. Varis misty steps away from the moonbeam has activates his flame blade pointing it at the ruby on top of the crown. Talbor creates a huge fireball, it grows and grows in front of his hand.
“Put that down carefully or I will kill you!” a coarse voice emanated from the skeletal figure.
“Leave now and you will live. Make any move against that ruby and I will destroy you utterly.”

The fireball glowed in front of Talbor’s arm. Varis looked at the ruby, it was pulsing in time with the red pulsing in Talbor’s chest. De-dum, de-dum. Talbor’s heart beat in his chest and in the ruby. De-dum, de-dum. Varis looked around the room. His friends lay dead or dying and he knew that this fiend would not stop until everyone in the land followed suit. De-dum, de-dum. He looked Talbor in the eye, took what he knew would be his last breath and stabbed the ruby.

As his sword moved, Talbor’s fireball flew and exploded on Varis. He was blown lifeless across the room but Talbor’s screams of agony echoed louder even than the explosion. Varis’s sword had pieced the ruby and Talbor’s cold heart has stopped. De-dum, de-

Talbor froze where he stood and slowly his bones turned to stone. Then he aged hundreds of years in the space a heartbeat that would never come for him again and slowly he crumbled to dust.

The silence in the room was cut off by the rattle of bones as all the skeletons immediately fell lifeless to the floor. All across the land the other undead crumpled too.

Bobby got slowly and painfully to his feet and went to Varis’ charred remains. Somehow he had not been killed outright, there was a faint rasping breath. Quickly the paladin poured lifeforce into the brave druid and his eyes flickered open with a smile. Bobby found Tinus and revived him too. Rashi was sitting in tears on the stairs. Together they found Igorok under a pile of bones, but they knew that he was beyond saving.

Tinus took the wooden ruby necklace to the mirror and exchanged it for the real thing. It was clearly worth a fortune. Then they went back up to the main chapel and found Coop awake and in human form. She told them that all the undead had stopped. They had defeated Talbor and his army of the undead. They had saved the people of Red Mills.

They put Igorok in a coffin and in accordance with his clan’s customs, they cut off his head. Then they put the Crown of Azertina in with him. In the next coffin they laid out little Ida and beyond her brave B’Fai. Then they mounted the stairs and walked out as the sun set in the west across the lake.

They took the boat back across the river and climbed the hill with a heavy heart to the stone circle. Using the rune Taldar had given them, Varis activated the stones and they disappeared, leaving the moon to rise clear and yellow over the abandoned town of Pelville.


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