February 26th, 2013
The characters awoke in strange compromising positions to the sound of Baptist eating. After a few moments everyone collected themselves. Tsanth & Glint were sent back into the city to find some hirelings. Shortly afterwards Marquanus & Yancy Knowles appear, both eager to earn some quick cash.
The party opted to finish the job that Iomagoth started and set themselves to toppling the idol. Upon closer inspection of the idol, it was noticed that the idol oozed with a foul smelling ichor that radiated a soft green light and was shot through with flecks of gold. The ichor corroded most of the wooden objects it was prodded with. The woven pallets that were lying about the vault were then piled around the idol and then set ablaze, to no effect. Using more direct means, Marquanus the hireling felled the idol with one blow using the headsman’s sword. The party continued to prod at the idol once it was prone and discovered a trove of relics hidden in the idol’s ribcage. These relics were:
1. A gold chalice set with semi-precious stones (25 gp)
2. Seven death’s head rings (5 gp ea.)
3. A silver figure of a three-headed raven (45 gp)
4. A silver coffer (worth 100 gp) spilling over with 555 gp
5. A platinum chased headman’s axe (-1 to hit, 2d6 dmg)
The party then decided to explore what was down the steps the steps to the west. The stairs led down to a strange unworldly grotto filled with stalactites and dripping water. A bizarre statue of jade dominated the natural chamber. The statue resembled a monstrous worm and stood nearly 5’ in height. In the worm’s beak and claws were dazzling rubies the color of pooled blood — The Jewels of the Carnifex. Dozens of lit candles, each fashioned with what appeared to be flecks of gold (like the gold flecks that were in Azazel’s ichor), made a line across the room in front of the statue as an apparent thaumaturgic ward to keep the worm and whatever else was further down in the darkness from crossing it. The party was apprehensive about extinguishing the candles, filching the jewels, or crossing the line without first exploring what was behind the doors that they had left unopened in the antechamber with the drum & stairs.
In the antechamber, the party first explored the door on the east side of the southern wall. The short hallway behind the door was choked with roots & moss and opened into a small room. Inside the room was a toppled altar. Flagstones had been pried up from the floor and, underneath the flagstones, was a small vault that had apparently already been looted. The room gave everyone a sense of dread. The hireling, Yancy Knowles, uncovered a pit trap in the hallway as he entered the room. He had been the first to bravely enter the hallway and, subsequently, plummeted to his death.
After a careful search of the room, Patrice discovered a segment of the back wall mural where the clay did not exactly match the rest of the wall. After digging it out he discovered a pull ring that caused the mural to rotate open, revealing a nook which housed the true reliquary.
A large golden box-reliquary with delicate carvings of Carnifex and her court worked in gold was inspected by the thieves and then opened. Inside the box were:
1. A stoppered vial stamped with a sigil depicting a pair of crossed swords.
2. Three silver flasks sealed with corks and stamped with the likeness of a three-headed raven.
3. A tome protected by an ornamented case fashioned from sheets of hammered gold and silver tracery. Three rubies set in a circle around the image of a three-headed raven.
These were pilfered.
The party then proceeded to the chained door to the west they had previously left unexplored. The lock was opened to reveal another hallway choked with vegetation and a madman arduously scribbling runes in blood with the bloody nubs that were once his fingers. He beckoned for the party to come and was refused. The party insisted that he come out, that he was free. The madman refused. After a few brief exchanges, the party then felled him swiftly with ranged attacks and spells. Baptist investigated the chamber and discovered that the madman was trying to lure them into an elaborate spear trap he’d crafted. Baptist discharged the trap to disarm it and then searched the room to find a string of prayer beads crafted from pearl.
Feeling that they had sufficiently explored everything, the party then proceeded back to the grotto with the worm statue. Marquanus the hireling safely crossed the candle line with Patrice shortly behind him. It was deemed wise to leave the jewels in the worm’s claws and beak where they were for the moment, and then the party proceeded down a set of stairs on the south wall of the chamber.
The worn steps led down to another natural grotto and the party found their way blocked by a massive boulder marked with a single large rune and several smaller runes below the larger. There was a pool of water before the rune marked boulder containing three chain mailed skeletons. The runes were deciphered. They read:
BOUND TO THE PIT BY THE SACRIFICE
OF FOUR NOBLE LIVES: LIAF, BAUHERM, MAGIN, & AZAZEL
It was inferred from this that the binding ritual to seal the Carnifex was never completed as there were only three skeletons in the pool, and Azazel, the fourth man, had been defeated in the vault above.
The stone was inspected and found to be sealed with 5 distinct segments of wax. One of the party after inspecting the wax thought that the seals had to be removed in the reverse order that they were laid down and after a short and tense series of rolls to earn clues, the seal was broken and the stone was removed.
A long serpentine tail swished through the gloom and a moment later the Carnifex emerged from her prison in the form of a beautiful young woman with flawless, pale skin wearing a hooded cloak. The worm statue then animated and changed to the form of a large raven and alighted on the Carnifex’s shoulder. The Carnifex thanked the PCs for freeing her, gave them each an icy kiss, and raised the PCs Luck by +1, and gave a permanent +1 bonus to a second stat. And then she vanished with the sound of ravens’ wings.
The grotto she’d emerged from also vanished, replaced by a blank stone wall.