Starvale Adventures: A Prelude to Darkness – Chapter 13

“Let’s keep moving shall we?”  Rowan asks, looking nervously at the skeletons and their strange restraints.

The group continues down spiraling stair, finding that it opens again into a chamber set up as a small laboratory.  Tables around the room are covered with beakers, vials, tomes, cauldrons, and pots full of alchemical agents. In the middle of the central table is a note next to a blue clay pot.

The note, written in Common, says, ‘Raaxil, I have figured out how to complete the process. When you are ready, simply pour the contents of this blue pot into the cauldron and stir. The effects should be instantaneous, but DO NOT DRINK THE RESULTING POTION.’

“Be careful in here!”  Rowan says, her small nose wrinkling in disgust.  “These are agents of foul magics indeed.  Necromancy and the arts of Evil Dragons, faugh I can taste it in the air!”

Hajima searches around the room, looking for a cauldron that matches the one described in the note. He can see multiple cauldrons, but he wonders if the contents of one of them in particular was used to combine with the contents of the blue pot.  

Lanaver also appears interested, “Poisons have lots of perfectly beneficial uses,” the elf muses. “Can we make a batch and save it for later? Is it possible?”

“I fear that mixing this potion would like as not animate the dead in the previous chamber.”  Rowan says with a shudder, “They are the guardians and I expect would obey this Raaxil person although we would not be so lucky.”

“Is there any way to interrupt the detection magic tied to the guardians do you suppose?”  Hajima asks, his brow wrinkling.

“All magics can be undone, however this is far beyond our abilities.”  Sebastian says after trading a look of confirmation with Rowan.

Hajima doesn’t understand any of this talk of complex magic. His eyes glaze over during the discussion and then he shrugs. “This looks like a dead lead then. We certainly don’t want to wake the dead unintentionally or intentionally.”

Sebastian looks over to Rowan. “Nice job putting together what all this means and is used for. I need to hit the books more.”

Rowan says “We cannot leave this blue pot of liquid here. We must not awaken the dead, but we also must not allow someone else to do it. I am concerned mostly with the idea that this might awaken the dead dragon, and that would be far too dangerous to let happen.”

“Can’t we turn the bones in the other room into dust completely destroying them before combining the mixture so nothing can come back?”  Lanaver asks.

“I know little of this type of magic, but since many bones are missing, I’m thinking that perhaps her bones are already a part of this potion. I don’t know how it would be used. I don’t know if pulverizing the bones would prevent the rise, or trigger the skeletons to awake or something else entirely.”  Sebastian sighs and runs a hand through his hair.  “This is beyond my ken, and I think we need to be particularly wary.”

Rowan lowers her voice. “Green dragons are very evil. We must do everything possible to ensure that we don’t loose an undead green dragon on the world.”

Sebastian nods in agreement.  “Anyone else have any ideas?”

Rowan has a thought. “Sometimes, when I wanted my brother Raun to do something, I’d tell him NOT to do it. He wasn’t terribly smart, you see, and would think he was getting away with something. What if this note was a means to goad this being into making and drinking the potion, and if the dragon bones are in the potion, perhaps she would then come back to life in his body? It’s a strange thought, but a frightening one. I’m torn between having this potion analyzed to find out what it does, and pouring it out someplace safe so that it can’t ever be mixed into the cauldron. For now, of course, releasing anything into this chamber might be dangerous. But, just a thought.”

“They’re just skeletons…” Lanaver shrugs, “what’s the worst that could happen?”

Rowan looks aghast at Lanaver and shivers. In a whisper she says “I’ve heard terrible tales of walking dead. Terrible.” And she shivers again, looking back to make sure there are no skeletons stalking us.

“We can destroy it all on our way out, however, we have not seen footprints leaving so it’s safe to assume our evil-doers are still down here” Tuskor paces “If we discover their dastardly plot first we can destroy the foundations of this secret tunnel and ensure no more necromancy takes place”

Hajima shudders and looks over his shoulder at all the talk of walking dead and rampaging lich dragons. “I must be a bit more superstitious than some of you. The idea of desecrating a grave does not sit easily with me – especially that of a green dragon! But that was solid thinking by the both of you. We might as well take the note and loot any alchemy supplies that can be of use to Sebastian.

“As for the potion… I’m fairly sure we won’t like the results of it either way. Raising the dead or being possessed by the vengeful spirit of an ancient dragon are both things that I have no wish to see. Let’s follow Rowan’s idea and make sure nobody can ever complete this spell before we move on from here.” With that said, he helps Sebastian gather up any tools and vials that the mage thinks might be useful. When the room has been sufficiently stripped, he looks to Rowan expectantly to see what she wants to do with the potion components.

Hajima thinks for a moment and adds, “Tuskor is also right. We should ensure this tomb is properly sealed from further intrusion when our mission is complete and it’s time to leave this place.”

Sebastian nods his agreement and gets to work collecting supplies.  Lanaver helps, and in a few minutes they have gathered some vials that look like they would be interesting, valuable or useful.  The other members of the party take half an hour grinding bones before Rowan deconstructs the ritual, safely disposing of the contents to the best of her knowledge. The note is destroyed along with the potion, removing any evidence that it existed.

Rowan sighs in relief. “Oh, my dear friends, I am so relieved to see this done.” She smiles brightly at all of them. “Now, shall we deal with those who set up this foul place?” She prepares to continue forward, waiting for at least one of her stronger brethren to precede her. Her bright smile and brilliant red hair are a beacon of hope in a dreary place.

“Perhaps one of you who can see in the dark might lead us, so that we can surprise our foes?” She smiles brightly again around at her friends. “Someone needs to be taken down a notch or three.” The sight of her slight form, prepared to battle evil, probably brings a smile to the grizzled veterans in the party.

“I’ll scout ahead and keep an eye out for traps, just keep yer lights at a distance. Don’t want my own shadow to give me away,” Says Lanaver with a wink at Rowan.

Sebastian feels like he has truly accomplished something good today one less evil in the world. He will prepare himself to move forward with his companions. He takes heart from his cheery friend Rowan, and readies his mind body and soul for the confrontation ahead.

Hajima nods approvingly. “Good work, my friends. Let’s follow Lanaver and deal out some justice to these tomb defilers that seek to wake an undead dragon.” Making sure to keep some distance between the party and Lanaver scouting ahead in the darkness, Hajima readies his bow and takes point within the dancing lights, eyes alert and peering ahead into the shadows to make sure his elf friend is not in need of any emergency aid. With that, he advances down the spiral stairs once more.

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