Desnus 24th, 4711
Beneath the Abbey
Having recovered from the harrowing events of yesterday, Torquemada, Haza, and Ramirez awoke to a cloudy dawn. Hastily, they dined on sausages and bread and made preparations to return to the Abbey of St. Lymirin.
They paid a quick visit to Barragaro Road for some vampire hunting supplies, and the trio set off north to the abbey, approaching the seemingly deserted structure from the riverside, intending to make use of the cave entrance they had noticed in their late night flight from the vampire Radvir Giovanni. Once they had arrived, however, the group decided to further investigate the spider-haunted shaft they had discovered hidden in the winery, and stealthily made their way up the cliffside to enter that outbuilding.
Preparing themselves to fight the spider swarm, Ramirez threw open the hidden trapdoor to reveal… an empty shaft. Of the spiders there was no sign, and the group quickly descended, expecting an ambush.
Pleasantly, there was no ambush.
The room beneath the winery was somewhat dusty, but there were no tracks in the room. A circular tunnel led north and branched to the west – both spurs ending in solid walls. A quick search by Torque found the secret doors in each wall, and the party decided to take the western spur first, emerging into a large ossuary.
Carved stone columns resembling angels with outstretched wings supported the ceiling of this wide, long chamber. Decayed bones and half-rotten burial shrouds spill out of ten five-foot wide alcoves in the chamber’s walls.
As they fanned out into the room, a voice ran out from the western end, calling out in greeting. A figure emerged from the shadows. Clad in breastplate and heavy shield, and wielding a finely crafted longsword, the man stepped forward. His armor bore the symbol of Iomedae which belied the vampire fangs that gleamed in the party’s light spells.
The man introduced himself as Halloran Idress, Holy Warrior of Iomedae (paladin), and explained that he regretfully could not allow the party to leave this room. Wary, but willing to talk, Torquemada spoke at length with Halloran, who would not budge on allow the party to move further into the abbey basement, but did seem willing to share information about his presence, and of the creatures who now infested the abbey.
Halloran explained that he once was a paladin of Iomedae, but was waylaid in Restoration Park while investigating the murders in Caliphas by the vampire Radvir. He believed that he had died, but awoke in the abbey having been turned into a cursed undead.
Radvir had apparently entered into a pact with two witches – Hetna and Aisa Dublesse, who were using the abbey as a headquarters while looking for the missing parts of the third member of their coven – a dead annis hag called Oothi, who had been dismembered and whose body the witches were reassembling to return to life. Halloran further explained that Radvir’s plan was to blame the vampire murders on the aristocracy of Caliphas, setting off a human/vampire war and allowing him the opportunity to destroy the elder vampires of the Underground.
When pressed further, Halloran informed the party that he was compelled to protect this entrance, and would have to attack if they left this room through the basement door. However, he had no orders as to the other tunnel entrance and exits. He warned that the witches were powerful, but also had the services of a blood knight – one Konas Esprillian – and that the witch Aisa had recently become a vampire herself.
When asked if they could do anything for him, the ex-paladin replied that he would like the chance to be redeemed from this undead curse, but explained that he would have to be freed from the witches’ compulsion and seek redemption at the Dawngate Memorial of Iomedae in Caliphas, after which he would seek the cleansing rays of the sun to end his life honorably.
The party agreed to return for him, and set off down the other tunnel, clumsily settings off a Symbol of Fear trap as they exited into a mortuary!
The mortuary lay empty and disused, covered in a fine layer of dust. A mural of a winged human woman with an eagle’s head covered the east wall – a statue of Saint Lymirin herself.
There was little to see in the room, so the party headed to the only other exit to the south, where a roiling fog was starting to drift into the room.
The Final Battle
Suddenly, a figure loomed out of the shadows to the south.
Wielding dual bastard swords and streaming blood from every part of his full plate armor, the blood knight Konas Esprillian charged to the attack! The knight spewed out an enormous gout of raw blood, nauseating Ramirez as it slashed at the fighter with it’s twin blades. Haza called upon the holy power of Sarenrae to blast the creature, when a wave of fatigue rolled over the party. As the blood knight pressed it’s attack, the air seemed to exit the room, and everyone began to suffocate. Clearly, something else was at work other than the knight, but of the spellcaster there was yet no sign.
The battle continued, and black tentacles appeared from the ground as Haza and Torquemada tried to exit the room. As they struggled to free themselves, the witch Aisa Dublesse finally appeared in the fog.
The vampiric witch blasted the party with a powerful cone of cold while the blood knight continued his attacks. The party was hard pressed until the combined efforts of Haza and Ramirez struck down the undead knight, and the group was able to focus on the witch.
The party was on their last legs at this point, but would not surrender to the evil witch. Weary, bloodied, and their powers and spirits exhausted, the trio fought on, determined to end this evil.
Suddenly the vampire monk Radvir was there, tripping Ramirez as he foolishly attempted to attack him as the monk raced by. As Ramirez’ body flew into the air, a powerful elbow caught him in his ribs, smashing him into the ground. As he struggled to rise, the monk’s foot lashed out and caught him in his ribs before he continued racing forward to pummel the cleric Haza.
The battle raged on, with Haza using all the power of Sarenrae to wear down the vampires.
Ramirez succumbed to his wounds, but the witch and monk were forced into mist form and blending into the mist. But the party was prepared, and recalled a sarcophagus hidden in the tunnels earlier. Haza recalled Ramirez from the brink of death, and they quickly returned there, to find the vampire witch fast asleep and healing.
It was to be her last rest, as the party quickly dispatched her, staking her and dragging her body outside into the sunlight to be forever destroyed.
All that remained was the capture of the vampire monk Radvir. Their search downstairs was fruitless, so they ascended up into the abbey proper to continue their search. They quickly checked the ground floor and then continued upward into unfamiliar territory, arriving in a large laboratory room.
With a manic cackling, the witch Hena swooped through the air on her broom and throwing lightning bolts at the party.
Another pitched battle ensued, with Ramirez and Torquemada being taken out of the battle, leaving Haza alone to fight the evil witch. But the power of Sarenrae was strong, and Haza slew the vile woman, rescuing his friends from her clutches.
Radvir’s body was discovered lying in one of the upstairs bedrooms, and the group wasted no time in staking him and preparing his body to be returned to the vampire lord Luvick in Caliphas.
A search of the abbey turned up the journals of the sisters, revealing their ongoing search for their sister’s body parts, most of which had been reassembled in an upper bedroom. The party fell upon the evil hag’s bone with abandon, making sure they would never be used to resurrect the annis.
The party also found research notes on creating a bloodbrew elixir, which allows vampire spawn to resist the control of their masters, and clearly one of the means that Radvir meant to use to overthrow the vampire lords of Caliphas. Notes written by the nosferatu Ramoska were also discovered, and referred to another vein of research dealing with the extension of life through magical and alchemical means, but the research was never completed.
Finally, the group returned downstairs to confront Halloran and explain that the way was now open for him to seek redemption in Caliphas. The ex-paladin agreed to seek such, and accompanied the party as they traveled back to Caliphas.
Desnus 25th, 4711
Justice at Dawn
It was nightfall by the time they arrived, leaving Halloran at the Dawngrace Memorial as they took the body of Radvir to the Vampire Underground, where Luvick waited in his grand hall.
“I am very pleased, mortals. And I thank you for your efforts. They shall not go unrewarded or unrecognized by my people.”
With that, the body of Radvir was taken away.
“If you wish to see the justice of the vampires, seek out the highest tower of Castle Stryithe at dawn.
You are dismissed."
With that, the party was led back above ground, where they met up with Halloran in the early hours and were met and escorted by vampire guards to the top of Castle Stryithe, where a struggling Radvir was tied with enchanted chains to a post.
As the dawn rose later that morning, one soul burned angrily with vengeful green flames in the emergent sunlight, while another peacefully was engulfed in pearlescent white fire.
As the party returned to their rooms at the Silent Hound, they found a heavy sack filled with platinum coin, with a note initialed L. S.
Later that day, another letter was delivered, this one written by Ramoska Arkminos.
It is my understanding that you are responsible for my release from Siervage’s custody, and for that you have my undying thanks. I now make haste to return to my home, but there is one final piece of business I must attend to. As promised, I will tell you what I know of the Whispering Way and their plans. I leave it up to you to decide your next step.
Upon further study of the sample of the elixir the Whispering Way gave me, it appears my theory that Prince Ordranti is the cult’s target was ill-founded. Instead, I’ve determined that the concoction is meant for someone else—Count Lucinean Galdana of Amaans. Judging by the components used in the elixir’s creation, the cult doesn’t just plan on transforming Galdana into a lich, however. Rather, it seems they intend to remake him into the most powerful lich this world has ever known—some sort of vessel for the Whispering Tyrant himself. I desire no part in such ill-conceived goals, and urge you to find Count Galdana before they do.
At this point, I am convinced that the Whispering Way has fled to their greatest stronghold, the fortress-monastery of Renchurch, in the haunted highlands of Virlych’s Hungry Mountains, ready to enact the final phase of their plans. Should you decide to venture there in search of them, I wish you good fortune.
Even more troubling, when the party attempted to contact their friend, Count Lucinena, at the Majesty Hotel where he was staying, all they discovered was a broken door and signs of a struggle in his sitting room. There was some blood, but a pouch full of coin was untouched, as were other items of value in the room.
It appeared that the Whispering Way had kidnapped the Count and were likely already on their way to the monastery of Renchurch.
They must be stopped.