First Forays

Finding the Eye of Death

From the portal chamber, we proceeded boldishly (“boldly, but not too boldly”) up the stairs and down a rough-hewn tunnel which opened onto a broad underground river. On the far shore was a dock, with a single lantern. None of us touched the water, although Junior did, carefully, fill a bottle. Jebediah contemplated the possible effects of the Holy Water ritual if cast on Styx water. Junior called across to the far bank. A boat appeared out of the mist, and the Ferryman approached us.
“The toll is two coins. For the dead,” he added. “But you’re living. More living heroes, coming to cross the Styx. This is happening far too often. The dead are never a problem, but the living, well, that’s just work work work. All right, for you, one of you has to lose his soul. Or you have to succeed at a challenge.” Audrie remembered a tale wherein the hero played a lyre as his fee for crossing the River; so she played a hymn on her sitar while Junior and Jebediah sang, and the Ferryman accepted that. Manishtu and Aginor couldn’t sing and the Ferryman wasn’t interested in mime, so it looked like they were stuck. Audrie had the idea to carve a portal before taking the ferry, and then she carved another one on the far side, and linked the two so Manishtu and Aginor could cross.
The Ferryman was pleased that he would have fewer mortals to deal with, and told us the properties of the water of the Styx: it binds deities; an oath sworn on the water is binding until death; and being immersed in the water risks causing the immersee to lose his soul, but if not, it bestows invulnerability. We said “The Fey don’t have souls. The pixie is fey, and he’s hibernating in a bottle. Let’s pour some of the water over the pixie.” So we poured some water over the pixie, sloshed it around, and poured it back into Junior’s bottle. The pixie did not stir from his hibernation.
Another tunnel led away from the underworld river, and we followed that to a cross passage. Opposite us was a dormant portal, with a large scarab statue before it. Audrie tried to open it but could not. At the ends of the halls left and right were more dormant
portals, with side chambers before them. Both of the side chambers had a guardan spirit in a statue of an ancient king or queen. When questioned, the guardians gave us clues as to how to retrieve the jewels to complete the scarab and open the portal to the treasure chamber. So we went through each of the side portals: into the Changing of Time where we received one gem from the jackal-headed guardian of the Temple of the Moon; and into the Stillness of Time, where Junior and Manishtu declared their willingness to die for their faith, and received the gem from the spirit of the sandstorm. We returned to the halls, placed the gems in the eyes of the scarab, and opened the center portal to the treasure chamber.
Inside was a vault in the manner of the pharaohs, with golden artifacts, arcane scrolls, weapons and armor, and many precious things. To the left and right were sarcophagi, with a great coffin on a dias at the far end. As we advanced. an undead sorceror king appeared on the dias—the lich Setekh-Ra. He called skeleton archers and spearmen from the sarcophagi, and three greater tomb guards as well. But before the undead could attack, Junior charged and hewed at the lich with his radiant sword. The rest of the party also concentrated on the undead king, and quickly inflicted severe wounds on him. He disappeared, and the party had to deal with the servitors. Jebediah hung back and dispatched the lesser warriors; the rest fought in the thick of the battle, destroying many of the enemy but shedding much of their own blood as the price. When the last of the elite tomb guards fell, the lich king reappeared in the midst of us, dealing heavy blows all around. Audrie and Junior were both gravely injured; but when the lich turned from the paladin to finish off the bard, the wrath of Pelor fell upon him and the undead burned in the blaze of holy light.
We bound our wounds, and considered the Eye of Thanatos and the other treasures that lay around us.


MrG33kboy Runehorn

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