Chronicles of Khaldun: Isle of Anhak

Session 3
A Single, Small Cut

Godsday, Reaping 4, 552 CY (50 AN)

After the previous evening’s debacle at the Bloodworth Estate, Aerik Sellsword, Burdwulf the Greatly Challenged, and Hilda Giblets rejoin with Falrest Chisoud, introducing him to Jarq’wei Loindeen, Tuggin’ “Tuggs” Nemo, Utne Jarlson, Gaenbert, Helmund, Aenbehrt, and Jaenbald. They proceed to sort through their underworld contacts, fencing as much of the loot as they can. Once the shares are divided, Gaenbert, Helmund, Aenbehrt, and Jaenbald take their leave. Aerik, Burdwulf, Falrest, and Hilda inform Jarq’wei, Tuggs, and Utne about Mithras Vicelord’s offer regarding The Emerald Tome of the Devourer, worth 1,000,000 silvers if they can retrieve it. The only information they have is that it may have traveled through the hands of the lost kingdom of the Duvan’Ku.

Inquiries are made, and certain underworld contacts suggest that a wizard by the name of Eutaric traveled through here, asking about the same artifact. He was also after something called the Red Bell; evidently he found the information he sought, because he took a small company of fixers and ne’er-do-wells down the road. The last thing anyone heard is that he was headed to the town of Burnthorpe, roughly a week’s travel away. He left about a week ago, so he’s probably there by now.

Inquiries suggest he did not find the information he sought among the cities academics — they consider Eutaric an asshole, and won’t deal with him — but no criminal contacts will take credit for the information, either.

Armed with this information, the group invests its ill-gotten gains into supplies for the trip. They purchase a cart, horse, plenty of food and equipment, and horses for all of them. After contacting the Black Hawk Mercenary Company and requesting a small unit of twenty-two mercenaries — ten standard infantry, five pikemen, five archers, and two sergeants — for three months, they also hire a handful of laborers and linkboys and a couple of physicians for the same period. Hilda Giblets has the idea of purchasing an entire fleet of carts and pack animals so that they can deploy the mercenaries like marines, and so he personally invests in transport for the entire party.

Preparations take a couple of days, and they finally leave Vor Taluum on the morning of Earthday, Reaping 6. While the group is traveling normally, Tuggs will ride ahead, taking the opportunity to investigate Burnthorpe and possibly determine Eutaric’s plans before the others arrive.

It takes Tuggs about three days to reach Burnthorpe, arriving around midday on Sunday, Reaping 9. He passes a church — a temple of Erathis, goddess of civilization, by the look of things — before riding into the town proper. Finding the local inn, the Crimson Kite, he investigates, but finds that no one else is currently staying at the inn. He orders a room for a couple of days and buys a beer. Unfortunately, his goal to remain unnoticed is strained when he realizes he only has gold pieces on him; she is surprised to see such a wealthy halfling, and immediately goes to work serving him.

After enjoying his ale, he strolls around town. Finding nothing untoward, he returns to the Crimson Kite around nightfall, hoping to catch conversation about any strange travelers through town. His listening pays dividends — a couple of people in the alehouse are discussing the travelers who recently came through, speculating about what they wanted. Tuggs buys them beer, and inquires further — they apparently left earlier in the week, but they seemed very interested about the church. Since Tuggs previously heard some idle chatter connecting the visitors to the church, he decides to go investigate.

Noting that candles are lit, he quietly creeps to the church and sneaks up to the window. Inside he sees a tonsured priest, who merely appears to be standing around in the nave, almost as if waiting for something. The man occasionally looks at the door, and then back to the altar. Tuggs is about to turn away when he sees two armed men, their faces ashen and their bodies covered in small, circular wounds, come running out of a hole in the floor in front of the altar. They pay no mind to the priest, who appears to be trying to talk to them, instead making a beeline for the door and bursting through it, fleeing into the surrounding woods.

The priest pulls a dagger and goes toward the hole from which the men emerged. When he reaches the edge, he apparently sees something that sends him running for the door. As Tuggs watches, a massive beast emerges, at least eight feet tall. It appears to be made of angry, red tissue — a loathsome amalgamation of stomachs, muscles, organs, tendrils made of intestines ending in biting teeth, and topped with a grotesque, whistling anus. As it lurches out of the basement, four men armed with crossbows flee from an unseen lefthand side of the room, and run out of the building. The creature reaches the door, and finding nothing living, retreats to the basement of the church.

As everyone ran in different directions, but the priest seemed to run toward the town, Tuggs heads in that direction. He finds the priest standing in the shadow of a building, trying to cut the rest of his hair with his dagger — rather like he’s trying to cover a crime. Tuggs sneaks up behind him and garrotes him; the priest manages to shank him once in the arm, but quickly goes limp. Tuggs manages to drag him over to the inn without anybody noticing, and then hoists him up into his inn room using a rope.

Tuggs binds and gags the man, shoves him under his bed, and uses the excuse of him being a halfling to explain away the fact that he purchases more food than usual. He otherwise does not leave his room, waiting for his fellow party members to arrive.

The others arrive during the day on Earthday, Reaping 13. They immediately attract the attention of the townsfolk, as over thirty people on carts and horses arrive and start setting up tents. Upon hearing the commotion, Tuggs comes to find Burdwulf, Falrest, Hilda, and Utne, leaving out Aerik because he is helping oversee the mercenaries and Jarq’wei because he is far too dandy. He brings them to his room and shows them the bound priest under his bed, explaining that he only wanted to interrogate the man after having some backup.

Interrogation yields the man’s name to be Clement. He is not actually a priest; he was hired by the magician Eutaric, along with several other rogues from Vor Taluum, to help him retrieve the Red Bell and The Emerald Tome of the Devourer. When questioned, he indicates The Emerald Tome of the Devourer is located in the town of Trastow, apparently in some complex on the peak of Mount Deathfrost. The Red Bell was buried in the crypt of the temple of Erathis in town. He also indicates that Eutaric and his crew arrived in Burnthorpe earlier in the week, scouted the place, and camped outside the town. They returned on the evening of Reaping 9 to break into the church. Clement disguised himself as the priest in case anyone came into the church in the middle of their robbery.

During the questioning, Jarq’wei comes to find the group, and seems intrigued by the prospect that Tuggs has a bound priest in his room. They quickly explain that Clement is not actually a priest.

Utne indicates that Clement’s answers please him, and so he might very well survive meeting the group. After gagging him and shoving him back under the bed, they split into groups to investigate. Burdwulf, Hilda, and Jarq’wei take a contingent of mercenaries to investigate the bandits’ camp, while Falrest, Tuggs, and Utne ask around town for any information they might be able to find.

Burdwulf, Hilda, and Jarq’wei find only the remnants of a camp about ten minutes outside of town. Whomever camped there is long gone.

Asking around, Falrest, Tuggs, and Utne learn that the standard priest of the town has gone missing — although nobody wanted to investigate the church too heavily once it became obvious he was gone — and that apparently nobody in town is aware that there is a lower level or crypt to the church. Falrest and Utne say they will investigate the priest’s disappearance, and will aid the people as necessary.

Upon reconvening, the group shares information. Returning to Clement, they ask if his group would have any sort of rendezvous point; he explains that the camp was the rendezvous, and if they weren’t there, they likely headed back to Vor Taluum. When Falrest and Utne ask what he did with the priest, he indicates he might have killed the man.

Deciding the time has come to investigate the temple, they shove him back under the bed and leave.

The travelers arrive at the church, leaving the laborers, physicians, and five mercenaries outside with Aerik standing guard. Burdwulf, Falrest, Hilda, Jarq’wei , Tuggs, Utne, fifteen mercenaries, and two sergeants enter the church to investigate. There is a faint smell of rot, of feces and offal, permeating the church. They see the open crypt before the altar, but search the church for clues first. While searching, they become aware of a giant, lumbering creature — the organ-created monster Tuggs saw a few days ago. They let fly with arrows, musket shot, and thrown weapons, while the infantry and pikemen move forward to engage, perforating the creature with swords and pikes.

The monstrous thing is slain within seconds, collapsing and turning into a greasy mist which quickly dissipates.

Once confident that it is gone, Falrest gives a linkboy his everburning torch, and the group moves downstairs, into the crypt.

The stairs lead to a hallway littered with mouldering corpses. They all appear to have been eviscerated, and none match Eutaric’s description. The group gets the laborers to pull the corpses outside the temple so they can be burned on a pyre. They then proceed.

The hallways are made of stone, and there are crypts recessed into the walls, each covered in plain, unmarked concrete shutters. Coming to a four-way intersection, they go left and shortly come to another intersection; to the left is a door, and the path to the right continues into the darkness. They decide to investigate the door to the left; Hilda gets to work trying to pick the lock, and after having no luck for about ten minutes, pries the door open with a prybar. Inside is a small room with a simple stone sarcophagus, etched with the symbol of Erathis. It is sealed and otherwise unadorned and unlabeled. The group turns around and heads down the dark passageway. After about fifty feet, the hallway terminates in another door. Hilda gets to work, and after about ten minutes working with the lockpicks, just decides to pry the door open with his prybar. This room looks much like the first, containing a simple sarcophagus.

Returning to the four-way intersection, they head forward. After about fifty feet, they come to an open door; the padlock appears to have been sawed through. Corpses lie inside the room, covered in circular wounds, and the sarcophagus lid sits ajar. One of the corpses is a man fitting Eutaric’s description. Hilda peers inside the sarcophagus and sees a desiccated corpse in rusted armor bearing a rusty sword and shield. The shield features a red bird atop a watchtower. Sitting on its side near the man’s legs is a large bell cut out of a single red gemstone and bearing minute writing around the outer edge of the bell — the Red Bell. The group fetches a laborer to retrieve the bell, but when he does, he accidentally rings it. The three corpses in the room writhe, as their insides are swiftly pulled out, forming another flesh golem, smaller this time. As it moves to attack, they make short work of it, and it is slain when Jarq’wei shoots it with his musket — temporarily blinding and deafening everyone else as he fires in an enclosed space. The laborer, Hopkin, drops the bell back into the sarcophagus in the confusion.

Once everyone recovers, the group discusses what to do with the Red Bell. Some consider leaving it, but others think the ability to generate “ass-monsters,” as they call them, from fresh corpses might occasionally be useful. Additionally, they wonder if Mithras Vicelord might be willing to pay for the Red Bell in addition to The Emerald Tome of the Devourer. Once it is decided, Hilda takes two of the sacks in his pack, carefully lifting and wrapping the bell so it cannot chime. They consider packing it in a box, but Hilda decides to just keep it in his pack.

Searching Eutaric, they find some coins, a blank scroll, and a scribbled note indicating, “Emerald Tome — Trastow? Red Bell — Burnthorpe?” A bloody sack contains some scattered coins and candlesticks, and they take them.

Before they leave, Utne wants to check one more thing. First, they go down the righthand path, finding the same hallways and locked doors leading to sarcophagi. Additionally, they return to the first room they found and pry open the sarcophagus. They find another desiccated corpse clad in arms and armor, although this one bears no additional items. Satisfied, the group gets the laborers to clean out the bodies and they leave.

Returning to the Crimson Kite, they interrogate Clement further, more or less satisfied that he has told them the truth. Since no spellbook was found, Jarq’wei inquires about it; Clement says Eutaric left it at camp, so his fellows likely took it with them. Where might they sell such a thing? Clement indicates they would probably go to the fence, Osric. Jarq’wei says he would be willing to purchase the spellbook and any other magical accoutrements Clement could retrieve if Clement can get there first. Clement agrees, and they let him go. Jarq’wei gives him a gold piece to tide him over until he returns to Vor Taluum, and Clement confirms that they are next headed to Trastow. He then takes his leave.

The group spends the night celebrating a job well done, preparing to leave in the morning. For coming face-to-face with the Red Bell and an ass-monster, they make certain Hopkin is treated well, and try to set him up with one of the local farmers’ daughters.

Session 2
Death Love Doom

Earthday, Wealsun 21, 552 CY

Upon their return to the surface, the group meets with Professor Jorgensen to find that he is accompanied by a tiefling in black armor. In addition to the ornate sword at his side, the tiefling wears a peacock feather in his lapel. This tiefling has a couple of thugs with him, and Professor Jorgensen looks rather uncomfortable in his presence.

The tiefling introduces himself as Mithras Vicelord, and he explains that he is prepared to make the group a counter-offer to Jorgensen’s dungeon-delving gambit. He explains that a book, The Emerald Tome of the Devourer, lies somewhere on the Isle of Anhak. He requests that the group, being natives of Anhak, go to retrieve it. He is prepared to offer 20,000 gold pieces for its return — 1,000,000 silver pieces in the native currency of Anhak, and enough for the finders to be wealthy men.

He says the deal will be brokered with Rickas Gellantara, one of Vicelord’s clerk contacts in the Vor Taluum Chamber of Commerce.

Passage is booked, and the assembled party is en route to Vor Taluum and the Isle of Anhak.

When they arrive on Moonday, Reaping 3, the group hears tale of an abandoned mansion. Aerik Sellsword, Burdwulf the Greatly Challenged, and Hilda Giblets decide to investigate.

They find a group of four thieves — Gaenbert, Helmund, Aenbehrt, and Jaenbald — assembled to do the deed. Three others also arrive showing an interest — Jarq’wei Loindeen the elf, Tuggin’ “Tuggs” Nemo the halfling, and Utne Jarlson the cleric.

The gang apparently plans to hit the mansion around midnight. A half hour’s walk outside the city — in secluded, rural environs — the Bloodworth Estate is owned by the wealthy Erasmus Foxlowe. The lanterns have been dark for a few days, and all indications suggest that the Foxlowes are out of time, their fortunes unguarded.

The group agrees to the plan. Ten equal shares.

At midnight, they make their way to the Bloodworth Estate. Surveying the site, they decide to sneak in through the cesspit. After finding the hedges and fenceline too difficult to traverse, “Tuggs” Nemo cuts some of the hedges to form an impromptu ladder. The assembled thieves enter the grounds of the Bloodworth Estate.

“Tuggs” Nemo scouts ahead and finds that the house indeed looks abandoned. There is also a lake and boathouse before the inner fence leading to the manor house proper. He returns to report and the group decides to investigate the lake. Tuggs, having noted a boat in the middle of the lake that appears to contain something, informs the others. They come to the boathouse, and finding one rowboat, ask the two of the thieves to row out to the center of the lake and retrieve any valuables. They row out to the boat and row back to the boathouse much faster — somewhat frightened, they indicate they found a young woman, partially melted and covered in tar or some other manner of black goo. She was nude, and so there was nothing to loot.

Despite the odd corpse, the group decides to press onward. Entering through the back — the back door is unlocked — the group bypasses the ground floor and takes the stairs to the first floor. Quickly, they start ransacking rooms. They find the master bedroom and start stuffing all the valuables they can find into sacks. Two muskets and some shot are found and divided amongst the group, as are the contents of a strongbox under the bed. Utne takes an idol of St. McIver found on the mantleplace.

The next room is sparsely furnished, likely a guest room. It contains nothing terribly valuable, other than maybe one of the paintings on the walls, which likewise goes into the sack. Several members of the group go to investigate the ladies’ dressing room, stuffing jewelry into Hilda Giblets’ sacks (while Jarq’wei Loindeen actually goes to the trouble of gathering the dresses as they appear to be worth something).

Meanwhile, “Tuggs” Nemo has wandered off to investigate the last room on the floor. It appears to be a boy’s room, but what dominates his vision is the mutilated boy in the corner. The boy appears dead. His arms and legs have been removed and transfixed. His stomach has been cut open and his entrails have been scattered on the floor. His tongue, genitals, and part of his intestines have been placed in a circle evidently created with the boy’s own feces. The circle has three curious marks on one edge, moving tangental to the circle; it looks very deliberately placed.

“Tuggs” captures the attention of the others.

After some discussion, the group decides that the cleric and the elf — both being magically-inclined — should investigate. Jarq’wei Loindeen and Utne Jarlson enter the room and the others close the door behind them. They begin poking around the room. Utne picks up the boy’s tongue and places it in his mouth. When he does this, Jarq’wei notices that the boy’s genitals, still in the circle, begin moving, inching their way toward the cleric. He shouts and alarm, and Utne — upon seeing the blasphemous thing — impales it with his spade in hand.

After this display, the group reconvenes and “Tuggs” considers getting a jar from the kitchen to gather a sample of whatever moving body parts could be found. He dashes downstairs, first entering an office — he marks the safe as valuable so that they’ll know to hit it later — and then entering the dining room.

Blood and offal litter this room, presumably from the shattered human wreckage hanging from the ceiling. A young girl has had her ribcage opened and her limbs twisted outward to form a chandelier. Lit candles are set upon her, burning her flesh. Her entrails dangle just above the dining room table. She begins screaming for his aid, and “Tuggs” again goes to get the others.

Explaining what he found, the group leaves their valuables at the top of the stair and goes downstairs to investigate. They lower the poor girl to the table and ask what happened; she explained that her father gave a necklace to her mother, but monsters came from the necklace. The big monster told its two attendants to get the lovers, which jumped on her father and one of the maids. An argument started, and in the chaos, the big monster attacked grandmother, and then grandmother came for the girl, and now she is here.

The group quickly discusses what to do, and decides to cover the girl with a sheet and kill her so as to end her misery.

The group then returns to the office. Hilda Giblets cracks the safe, and the group starts stuffing the coin and jewelry into sacks. Utne takes Foxlowe’s ledgers, as well. Having heard about a weird necklace, they check any necklaces that fit the description. They find nothing out of the ordinary.

Content with their loot, and not wanting to run into any more weird things, the group starts dragging their ill-gotten gains out to the front of the house as quickly as possible, breaking oil lamps as they go. As they escape the house and the grounds, they set the house ablaze, hoping to destroy whatever evil lurks in the house.

Session 1
Return to the Tomb of Theronna Onyxarm

Earthday 20, 552 CY (50 AN)

Aerik Sellsword, Burdwulf the Greatly Challenged, Conrad the Black, Falrest Chisoud, and Hilda Giblets are far from home.

For different reasons, each booked passage on a ship to the port town of Sorgforge. Upon arrival, they realize they will soon be in need of work. Outside a watering hole, they find a bulletin board with a few jobs posted, among them a professor who needs a bodyguard. Inquiries are directed within.

The group goes into the tavern and asks the innkeeper. He directs them to an old, robed man, and the group goes to inquire about his job.

He introduces himself as Professor Phineas Q. Jorgensen with Morgrave University, and he explains that he needs bodyguards because he seeks to do business in a rough part of town. He’ll pay 500 gold pieces for their services, plus any hazard pay if such happens. After some discussion, the group agrees. They agree to accompany him that evening, after midnight. Until that time, they decide to get rooms and sleep.

They awaken around midnight, and prepare themselves to accompany Professor Jorgensen. As per his instructions, they are to keep him safe as he makes a foray into the Goblin Slums of Sorgforge.

They accompany him without incident. As they arrive at a crumbling tenement block, they enter and snoop around to find a room with hobgoblins. A single goblin, riding a bipedal drake-like creature, stands in the front. Professor Jorgensen and this goblin, apparently known as Big Sendak, discuss terms before making the trade — the professor gives the goblin a pouch of coin while the goblin gives Professor Jorgensen a map. Conrad peeks at the map to find it appears to be a map of the slums, and the “X” on the map marks something labeled “Ashurta’s Tomb.”

Before the goblins and hobgoblins leave, Big Sendak asks if they felt the earthquake earlier. He then explains that, as adventurers, they ought to check out the basement.

The group of goblinoids leave.

Reluctantly, the adventurers check out the basement to find that the floor has collapsed into some sort of cavern. They are interested, but decide to check it out tomorrow, after they have rested and received their payment.

Admittedly, the fact that Professor Jorgensen offers to pay them for any archaeological finds sweetens the deal.

The next day, they awaken and talk terms. Professor Jorgensen will give them another 500 gold pieces for surveying the site — likely a ruin, he expects — and returning with a reasonably accurate map. He’ll grant bonuses if the map is particularly complete, and he’ll also give bonuses for any artifacts that are recovered.

The group goes to the market to outfit themselves, largely to buy some more rope, some paper, and a couple of healing potions. They also decide to hire a linkboy and two laborers to carry anything they find. Properly outfitted, they return to the goblin slums with Professor Jorgensen and return to the building.

After using a torch to determine that the room descends roughly fifty feet into water, they manage to secure a line to the stairs and cast it to dry rock. They descend into the dark passages.

They find themselves in a large room. A single torch flickers beside a hallway leading into darkness — Burdwulf determines it to be an Everburning Torch, and grabs it. An empty fixture for another torch stands on the other side of the hall. The other side of the room is dominated by a huge statue, a dwarf carved from the rock itself. It plunges a sword into the bubbling water. Once everyone is assembled, they decide to travel down the hallway.

After a short distance, the hallway opens into another room. Bas-reliefs line the walls, and tunnels radiate outward in four directions. The center of the room is dominated by a statue of a dwarf woman holding a hammer. The hammer is constructed of a different material than the statue. Two corpses with smashed heads lie at the statue’s feet, and the hammer is bloody. The corpses appear relatively fresh, likely less than a day old.

Burdwulf indicates that the bas-reliefs describe Theronna Onyxarm, evidently some sort of folk hero who vanquished the giants. The group decides to ignore the statue, particularly since they cannot determine the mechanism that causes it to attack people, and they move to the right.

Another enormous chamber leads to a room with two everburning torches (both are grabbed). It dead-ends at a large statue carved from the rock; this depicts a dwarf laboring over a forge. Real lava appears to bubble in the forge, although the heat is not so intense as one might think. The arcane runes around the edge of the forge’s mouth may have something to do with that. Finding nothing of interest, the group returns to the previous room and goes to the right, being the chamber directly across from where they entered.

This room has an opening on the other side, and a statue carved from the stone of the chamber sits in the middle of the room. It depicts a dwarf laboring over an anvil. The group proceeds through the opening, traveling up the stairs.

At the top of the hallway, they find several corpses, which apparently attacked each other. Examination indicates that these were not adventurers but laymen in the tomb; they bear only a little silver and a few random items. The group notes an ornate door ahead of them and a plain door to the right. The ornate door depicts Theronna Onyxarm with her hammer held aloft. They decide to go right. As they open the door, they see a long room stretching past the light of their torches. The flickering light illuminates a few more corpses, apparently battered and bashed by an unknown force. As the group enters the room, they note several suits of armor depicting dwarves with hammers. The hammers are bloody.

The group begins to walk through the room, and make it part of the way through before the suits of armor move to attack. In the melee, Conrad falls, although he is revived by his comrades, and one of the laborers is killed by the animated armors. The three suits of armor are destroyed, reduced to scrap. A fourth pile of scrap sits near the rusted, broken portcullis that marks the exit of the room.

As the combat ends, the linkboy bolts, but Falrest manages to talk him down and keep him with the group (even after Hilda threw a knife at him, although he didn’t quite notice it).

The group exits into a short hallway. It stretches ten feet to the left before ending. It stretches ten feet to the right before splitting into two passages — one which doubles back, and the other which dead ends. The group moves to the left and begins searching the wall for secret passages. They find nothing, but as they are content that there is nothing hidden within the wall, footsteps mark the approach of several shambling, rotting corpses that clamber into the hallway.

The group prepares for the assault, and they fight well. Falrest manages to force four of the creatures to flee with his holy symbol and an invocation to the god Ragnock, while the other six are swiftly killed.

The group decides to return to the surface with what they have, taking a few of the armor pieces for Professor Jorgensen. Without incident, the group returns to the surface.


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