We are accept to rendez-vous with the priestess overseeing one of the gates leading to the necropolis, and to report back on her status. On the way, we encounter a few looters taking advantage of the situation. A few Sleep spells and a stern talking to and the wannabe criminals turn into – almost – model citizens.
Arriving at the gate, we learn that they are holding, despite being assaulted by scores of zombies. However, the priestess recommends we retrieve spell components for her to add an additional ward, just in case. While she is transcribing her orders, which we will take back to the main temple, an intangible figure phases through the massive door and heads towards the unsuspecting priestess. I interpose my body, a poor decision. The thing thrives on physical strength, of which I have very little. Lesson learned, I wrongly tell myself, and step away to let my cadre of compadres ample room to close in on the phantom menace.
The spectre proves itself to be both manoeuvrable and resilient. It moves around the ineffective Hasdrubal, and lays a mighty blow on the priestess. Magical arrows loosed from Nasah’s bow and a Disrupt Undead spell from the fearless Samira (he has yet to turn back to his less caricatural masculine form) free the ghostly presence from this mortal coil. A quick return trip to the main temple and back, and we proceed with the ritual which will make the gate imperceptible to undead eyes.
The next morning, after a quick breakfast, we set out again. The city seems less threatening with the sunlight above, and a full head of spells at my disposal. Our path will soon bring us to the Veins, a map to what we assume will be the Silver Chain’s headquarters was tattooed on the wagon masters’s arm. But first, we report to the priests coordinating the city’s fight against the undead scourge.
At the temple, we learn that the fellow I had tagged with my Compact of Seeing is a leading expert on the secret life of the undead, and our best bet in getting a handle on the problem currently plaguing the city. His presence in the Veins is also confirmed by the second-hand report of his invisible Nosoi friend, Quasim.
On the way to the Veins, we come across yet another pack of zombies, quickly dispatched by Fireball and a summoned celestial dog, my first summoned creature to survive a full combat, if memory serves. The event is celebrated with a thorough head scratching, until the magnificent beast pops out of this plane of existence.
At the Kiln, we make it pass the guards through guile. I can’t believe it worked. My best guess: once the effects of our Charm Person and Sleep spells had subsided, the hapless guards must have thought that whoever comes out on top, their bosses or ourselves, it would now be a wise move to skip town.
We enter a dark corridor. Hasdrubal falls in a hole. We pull him out. We then look for, and find, a hidden switch, locking the pit’s door in place. Leaving Doxepine, my scorpion familiar, to stand guard behind us, we proceed to dark storage area. We split up to search more effectively. Suddenly, Nasah cries out. He is being attacked by an amorphous collection of internal organs that have decided to unionize, stand up to the man, and externalize.
I made two mistakes in this fight. The first was to be overly conservative with my resources, using lesser spells even though the foe was fierce. I call upon a pack of celestial dogs, only one appears. He is quickly eaten. I call upon yet another dog. He suffers the same fate. I took too long before summoning the mighty celestial wolverine, who literally took a gigantic bite out of our foe. The wolverine last a bit longer, but eventually also falls to the abomination’s relentless attacks. I should have called upon yet another. Instead, I forgot about my earlier promise to myself and headed to the front lines in order to assist Hasdrubal, whom I mistakenly thought was in dire peril. My efforts were for naught and the beast took me down in seconds. Orfée once again saves the day, by preventing the deaths of both Nasah, and myself. I will also take note here of Samir’s ingenious way of using his necromantic ring to become invisible to the creature’s lifesense.
Our exploration leads us to an underground waterway, an odourous alchemist’s lab, and – after reuniting with Doxepine – to a barracks area where we find our priestly friend held at the bottom of a well. I burn through a scoll of Levitate to get him out. We return to him clothing and holy symbol, and prepare to storm the evil cleric’s room. Sorry Orfée, diplomacy is off the table at the moment. It is celestial wolverine time.
No sooner have we entered the room, that I cast Create Pit around the leader’s desk. He jumps to safety, but is tackled back in by Hasdrubal, followed by the wolverine. Tight quarters, and two raging maniacs make short order of our foe.
Meanwhile, a second battle takes place above, and Samira is in the middle of it. A pair of henchpeople burst through a secret door and proceed to give Samira an unscheduled acupuncture treatment. We almost lose him. Nasah, and a summoned lantern archon make quick work of one foe, but the other escapes in the maze of secret tunnels, pursued by the archon.
Taking the bodies with us, we escort our rescued friend back to the temple. It is time for the living to strike back!
Coming back to my senses, I join my companions in exploring the rest of this complex.