Saturday, 20 March 2010

Their Fated Travels...(Chapter Ten) The Shrine In The Forest Part 2

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Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Robert James Freemantle

Based on the 2nd edition WHFRP game chapter of the same name

This story contains spoilers for that book’s (Ashes of Middenheim) adventure

Chapter Ten

The Shrine in the Forest Part 2

The magical light from Maestro’s staff illuminated the walls and the others wished it hadn’t. Depictions of historic moments in the chaotic worship of battle, of Khorne adorned the walls in a crude brass writing against a dark red wall.

Maestro spoke, “A Khornite beastman of some importance is buried here”. The wizard screwed a small telescope into the enlarged socket of his spectacles. It looked every bit like an over sized jeweller’s magnification appraisal device. He called it a monocular, designed by his own hand from lenses he’d stolen from the telescopes of the Celestial College of Magic. He continued to study the dark runes along the walls as the others examined the passage left and right.

Dieter could not shake off a feeling of de-ja-vu. Perhaps it was something he’d seen in a dream he couldn’t completely remember, he thought. He made mention of warning for traps.

Tobias, still dressed in his black leathers, held himself low in a constant stoop, (which he only ever did at night) took a stone and threw it to the left. Nothing happened. He then threw one to the right and as it bounced along the ground from his skilful skimming action, some pressure point in the floor must have been activated as a previously concealed compartment in the wall opened, as an iron spear trap activated. It swung into the passage to a point that would have been level with a person’s chest.

The group looked at Dieter, partly with relief and partly with concern at the bigger question. He simply shrugged and pointed out that Morr’s influence was strong within his dreams.

Tobias managed to find a secret door and onwards they pushed until their already careful tread was brought to a halt from the sound of wet slushy slopping sounds around the corner. Having stopped, they avoided running directly into a terrible thing indeed. It was roughly humanoid in shape and covered in a red mist. Its features were a hideous snarl and upon closer inspection it seemed that it was in fact bones covered in a strangely semi solid jelly of blood underneath.

It rounded the corner as the sound of a second one could be heard, clearly approaching from behind it. The party stared in horrified unison. Dieter had removed the minotaur’s head while outside, he had chopped it off with his machete saying that he wanted to study it and even use its horns for potion making. Right now though, Maestro’s eyes were upon the head Dieter carried, as he looked back to the approaching bloodcursed creatures.

Maestro spoke, “Dieter, you need to give me that thing’s head.”

Dieter seemed defensive to that idea, “This is my trophy, I’m damned if you will take it.”

Maestro scoffed at him in insolence, “You’ll be damned if I don’t.”

Dieter scowled and snarled a little then reluctantly handed the head over to the wizard adding, “Whatever you do, it better work…” The intent of harm was somehow behind those words as Maestro took the minotaur’s head and quickly held it up before the creatures. They didn’t stop. Maestro spoke aloud in the language of chaos, dark tongue, <”Here me now servants of blood.”> This seemed to work, the bloodcursed paused as Maestro continued dramatically, <”Bound in honour as you are to the skull throne, you would seek to serve your master’s brutal designs. In standing in our way you only threaten to harm them! I am here on pilgrimage to he who lies in this place. I come to complete my training in the ways of Khorne! I bring this trophy”> Maestro pushed the severed head at them once for effect, <”in offering to the blood god, to the skull throne, a mighty minotaur that I did kill in battle, thus honouring him too. Now I being his head to let him be honoured upon the skull throne.”>

The front bloodcursed kept coming but Maestro held his confidence and character in place. The atrocity of formal human life reached out and took the head from Maestro, examining it in its hands, turning it this way and that before being satisfied and taking it away with him down the passage he came from. The others in the group looked shocked. It had worked…they hoped.

Next they came upon a large triangular shaped room with a fountain in it, but instead of water this one streamed blood in a great gout around it.

Maestro was taking no chances here either, making a dark prayer to the blood God himself in dark tongue, the others held their breaths at this, waiting for some terrible thing to happen as the wizard walked forwards first. Nothing did. Dieter’s danger senses were buzzing but somehow he knew that his proximity to the wizard at this moment in time was saving him. He still felt grieved for the loss of the minotaur head. No-matter he thought, he would have to find another one…

Soon they came upon a great antechamber. At the far end was a statue of Khorne sitting upon a brass throne. Skulls and bones were littered around it, as a ghastly dedication to the deity.

Suddenly, two skeletons appeared out of the heaps of bones in the room. They began to close in on the group.

Rissandrea shouted, “It seems this place is guarded, perhaps your trick did not work Maestro.”

Dieter answered for the wizard, “No, I feel this is them being nice to us! A test. Kitten herders could have gotten this far after all.”

Rissandrea laid a comforting hand upon the anointed priest’s shoulder saying, “it will be alright, we are close now” as she brought her staff aside to reveal the gun in her robes. The shot drove out and bore a way through the skeleton’s skull, melting it from an expanding hole. This jolted the others into action. Quickly they engaged the skeletons as new ones emerged. Soon they were fighting six in number. Father Odo put his hands over his head, as the ringing sounds of metal upon metal clanged and reverberated around the room peculiarly, coming back to him loudly.

Quickly, all of the skeletons were dispatched with skill and soft grating noises drew their attention to the rooms that had opened now on either side.

From the diary of Maestro:

Day 34

I have recovered a hammer, its head broken into 3 pieces. Rissandrea has assured me that the design and runes upon it are dwarfish. Curious that she might know such a thing…

Dieter stumbled upon a tattered banner that we recognised as belonging to the Knights of the White Wolf.

Rissandrea herself found a helm of the Knights Panther. We will do our utmost to return these items to their proper factions when we can.

Little else of interest was found in our search of that trophy room. It was the room on the other side though that was of more significance…

Extract from the diary of Tordrad:

Day 34

Saw sarcophagus in tomb room. Jumped river of blood that protected it and pulled lid away. There I saw long dead body of Beastman champion. I wait for him to rise, to attack. He do no such thing. I take horned brass skull away from around his neck. Wizard, he babble some more. Not care.

Rissandrea’s diary:

Day 34

Maestro has informed us that the writings on the tomb walls tell the story of the beastman champion in there. He was called Kazron Gorespite. We have gotten away with the skull, but it feels too easy…What is important at least is that it is not in the enemy’s hands now.

Maestro’s diary:

Day 35

Rissandrea seems worried that I incited the words of dark tongue in that evil tomb. I did not fear it though, as I explained. Much of the power of Gods is in what they have us believe, not what is actually true. Secondly, I knew that I was playing against the element of Khorne, of the God who gives praise to brutal slaughter and abhors magic. I am a wizard, therefore I am already safe for the ideas and notions cannot corrupt me into wielding a weapon like a warrior. I simply am not strong enough to do so. Were it Tzeentch, I would not have been so careless, but I did what was needed to get us through safely.

From the diary of Tobias:

Day 36

It is my academic opinion that the brass skull is imbued with a terrible presence of evil. I know this by the way the Kislevite’s horse becomes upset when near it.

Another thing that strikes me as odd is that it keeps managing to find its way out of the backpacks we put it in! When we wake in the morning, there it is, sitting on the ground watching us. It is eery! I will be glad to be back in the city and rid of it!