A Nights Rest Edit
The escaped group of prisoners knocks on the manor door dragging Jameskar inside are greeted by Tiadora.
They are offered rooms for the night to rest and recuperate. Treated just short of royalty. Each is waited on by a servant of their own. Jameskar has a decanter of a very thick viscous red liquid poured down his throat, bringing him around. They rest for the night and in the morning are given nice finery to replace their mud covered clothes. Each picking his own color and shade of fabrics. Toribio chooses green, Jameskar dons purple, Tristam wears grey, and Loraan decides on black with silver embellishments.After slipping into their new finery they are brought before Cardinal Andrastrus Thorn. There he greets them and offers them an opportunity to get even with their Talingarde captors and join his organization devoted to Asmodeas. They are each given a contract to sign in blood. After doing so they are equipped according to their wishes and gifted a iron circlet and silver pendant each.
The Nine LessonsEdit
Cardinal Thorn then tasks them with venturing to the basement of the estate to prove themselves by accomplishing a set of trials he refers to as the nine lessons. They have one day to complete the task of retrieving a silver and sapphire amulet.
Venturing down they come to the first room that they eventually enter, cautiously hiding behind Tristam. The room is empty except for a oil lantern hanging from the ceiling. Searching the room the find a false floor in front of the door on the opposite side, a hidden doorway with a small gem on a pedestal and a hidden doorway leading to a hallway.
Down the hall, in the next room there are three doors one of which has a strange mold growing on it. Jameskar closes in to investigate it and has the heat leeched from his body by the mold, which then grows in size. Tristam then throws a oil lamp at the mold again causing it to grow. Jameskar then presenting his unholy symbol before him again walks toward the strange mold. Again he is leeched of heat from his body. Tristam tries opening one of the doors across the room and is greeted by a javelin in his side.
Loraan, studying the effects of the mold on Jameskar and its behaviour to heat, states that this is a mold that thrives on heat and is weak to cold. Toribio then asks Tristam for the gem of Alchemist's Ice that he had found, hurls it at the mold, causing it to shrivel and flake away to nothing.
Proceeding through the door they follow another hallway. The next room is clouded in darkness. Jameskar cast a light spell on an arrow that Toribio fires into the room, allowing them to see a pedestal with a dark glass orb on it. As the light passes all becomes dark again. Tristam steps into the room and lights a torch which does nothing against the darkness. Jameskar then steps in touching Tristam's armor causing it to shine.
A black mist then rises from the floor enveloping Tristam and leeching life force from him before darting back into the grated floor. Jameskar lets out a blast of negative energy while Toribio and Loraan fire arrows at the orb in the center of the room. Toribios's arrow hits the orb causing it to spin on the pedestal before being knocked to the ground by Loraan's arrow. Tristam chugs a potion before running across the room. The mist darts up from the floor again attacking Jameskar, and then darts back through the grating. Toribio and Loraan spot the mist under the grates and fire at it. Tristam runs to one of the doors out of the room and hurls the beam away that had locked it into place, and wretched the door open. Jameskar runs to the edge of the room finding a tapestry sparks it aflame, before tearing it from the wall. The mist surfaces again attacking Loraan. But before it is able to dart away again, it is assaulted by Jameskar and Toribio. Tristam then charges in greatsword held high, slashing through the mist that then seems to evaporate.Going through the open door they find a chamber with a torture rack in the middle of it. Examining the rack but lackinganyone to put on it they leave the chamber to follow the other path in the previous chamber. Following the hall they come to a room with two mithril cobras. Launching an assault against the snake constructs Tristam and Toribio cleave through them as they sink their teeth into Jameskar.
Proceeding through the next door they come to a room with a pedestal in the center with a silver pendant atop it and an archway with a set of stairs. While Tristam pockets the pendant, Loraan finds another secret door. Through the door and down the hall they find another dark room with a large mushroom growing in a patch in the center.
Again Jameskar cast light upon an arrow that Toribio fires into the room, causing a horrible shreaking to erupt from the mushroom. While Jameskar scrambles to dismiss the light spell Tristam hurls a javelin at the mushroom, silencing it. While Loraan and Jameskar inspect the room find another secret door, Tristam and Toribio stand on either side of the door on the opposite side of the room. Peeking through the door Toribio spies something moving quickly down the hall towards the door he is behind.
Toribio rolls away from the door as the sound of chains fills the room. The door bursts open and Tristam swings high missing the creature that stumbles through the doorway. The first through the door swings its giant axe at Toribio missing, while the second through the door slams the ground in front of him as he trips. Two more creatures file in from the door. Jameskar crosses the room to attack, followed by Loraan who lets out a jet of fire from his hands engulfing the creatures, bringing a low hiss and a lot of steam. Tristam lands a swing of his greatsword into the back of one of the creatures, causing it to wheel around on him with its axe slashing viciously down.Toribio lashes out with his axe and gets struck in return bringing the contents of his stomach to his mouth. A great axe blow falls on Jameskar, striking with a sickening wet crack, knocking his body limply to the ground. Loraan jumped upon his comrades body infusing his leaking body with demon blood, bring him back around.
Tristam spitting obscenities cleaves one of the creatures in half. Spurred on by the show of gore he turns to the next, an evermore complex and unintelligible series of what seems like are intended as obscenities spill forth. Despite the language barrier and almost complete lack of sentience the creature rounds on Tristam apparently accepting his tirade of insults as a challenge, slashing him from top to bottom, bringing a jet of crimson. Despite this Tristam remains standing, though standing in a small pond of his own blood.
Meanwhile Toribio continues to slash away at the two creatures in front of him as he backs toward the door. Loraan fleeing the scene of Jameskar's near demise flits past Toribio into the hallway. Toribio is felled in the doorway by a fierce strike and Loraan scrambles over to his body searching through his gear for a potion he then crams down Toribio's throat. One of the creature stepped over Toribio's body as he regained his head, swinging at the witch sending him reeling.
In a show of more-or-less elven grace Toribio rolls from under the creature snagging the chains between its legs with the beard of his axe, pulling it off balance. Jameskar now on his feet rushes over to help, slamming the creature with his mace as it tries to stand, while Toribio again pulls on the chain attached to its feet. Something gives way bringing the chain with feet attached, but nothing else.
A series of ducks, slashes and parries latter Tristam cleaves through the creature he was fighting. He then staggers over to where the rest of the group are fighting, like one of the very creatures they are fighting. A series of swings end with the last creature raining down in a puddle on the floor. Everyone again standing, and still breathing, they bar the door and proceed up the stairs they uncovered to rest for the night.
The next morning more or less feeling better, they head back into the basement. Upon inpecting the room the creatures came bursting from they find eight wooden caskets. Four of which have the tops flung off. Quietly motioning four each of them to go to a remaining undisturbed casket, Tristam then plunged his sword in the casket with a small squish from inside. Turning to see the others peeking in the caskets or just standing idly by him, he walks around the room piercing each corpse for good measure.Finding their way through the passages again they head back to the room with the torture rack to investigate it further. Eventually finding a small hidden door in the corner of the room, they open it to find a young squire hiding. Jameskar gleeful takes to talking to the young squire, Timeon, trying to coax information out of him and strapping him to the rack. After some subtle persuasion, they get some information about the squire's master, the Balentine watchtower and tidbits of information about the dungeon they were in that they already knew. Afterward Jameskar took great pleasure in breaking the squire's resolve and faith in Mitra.
Heading to the last door past the room with the caskets, they found it was reinforced with iron bands. Toribio set to work on the lock trying to open it. Tristam glancing over the door noticed a small key hanging from a peg on the door. Using the key the door swung open to reveal a knight standing in the middle of the room. Upon seeing the door open and the symbols of Asmodeaus hanging around they neck of three of the men standing before him, he charged.Dodging his sweeping blow, Toribio ducked down and rolled past Balin into the room. Tristam then barked a challenge that Balin very willingly accepted and swung his sword wide. Loraan glared and put a hex upon Balin, putting him into a slumber. Toribio using the iron circlet changed his appearance to mimic that of the squire Timeon, while Tristam slashed across Balin waking him from his slumber. Balin swung back cutting Tristam.
Toribio in the guise of Timeon ran up to Balin's side, offering to help his mentor. Jameskar made a feint against Balin, while Toribio bumbling "Your side mi lord!" created an opening in his defenses, which Tristam capitalized on. Tristam's sword struck deep into Balin's side immediately causing the knight to slump against the doorframe.
After a quick look around the room which only contained the remnants of the knight last meal, his body was searched. There they found the silver and sapphire symbol of Mitra that they had been sent for. Stripping him of his armor, weapons and anything that appeared useful or valuable, the group headed back up to the manor.
Tiadora greeted them as they arose the stairs and brought them again before the Cardinal, who appeared in the exact same position as they had last seen him. He greeted them, congratulated them on completed the lessons, and laughed at their method of near back to front completion of the tasks. And dubbed them the Nessian Knot. Calling forth a slave he set a devil upon it then slew it, anointing each of the new initiates with the mixture of bloods.
He then informed them that their training had just started and went to work over the next three months of training them as servants of Asmodeaus.