Game Time: Monday, dawn
So Stamat had the watch and recommended that the party head out to meet Ilian in the Artisans' Catacombs. Zoran volunteered (which he may come to regret!) to lead the party down the stairwell and through the sewers. The rats were gone, but something is clearly stirring in the catacombs of Baerstun. Zoran had a bad feeling, but the party wouldn't (alright, couldn't) listen – reactions ranged from "I don't hear any suspicious rattling of undead bones, Zoran… what say we go check it out?" to "YOU'RE A KITTY!". Upon reaching the bottom of the ramp Zoran was grabbed by the crusty bones of the undead which had been soaking in sewer overflow on and off for years (decades? centuries?). The restless bones grabbed him and two sodden corpses lurched out of the cesspool, scrabbling at his smooth leather armor for purchase. Thea was having None Of It, and ran down the ramp to his aid to try to shoulder him free, but the bones yanked him down and she flew over him. Lenora decided to have an extra helping of None Of It (or would that be Even Less Of It?) and got a good shoulder in on Zoran, knocking him clear of their grasp. The three of them consolidated forces with their backs to a dark doorway, and Bree let loose a fireball that reminded Zoran of why he decided to hang around with us in the first place.
…and the two sodden corpses popped like overripe pumpkins, exploding from the steam pressure inside. The big pile of bones in the corner unwrapped itself, stood up in the form of a jagged pillar, and began to spin slowly. It whirled through the party knocking people prone left and right, then exploded in a screaming tornado of teeth and toe-bones before reforming. More corpses trudged up out of the water, fixated on Zoran who was understandably having a bad trip. One managed to grab Zoran and begin dragging him out towards the sewers while the bone golem sliced and diced the rest of the party. Thea and Lenora stayed in tenacious pursuit, slowed and knocked prone repeatedly by the grasping dead on the floor. Zoran proved yet again to be a very hard guy to shove out of the way (maybe he's half dwarf?) and in the mayhem, Thea bumped a length of rusty chain that turned out to be the only thing keeping the floodgate from dropping.
With Thea and Lenora pinned under the floodgate, and the zombies dragging poor Zoran off into the dark, things looked bleak. Lenora writhed and flailed at the zombie next to the floodgate providing an opening for Thea to wriggle loose, and spotted the rusty controls on the back wall, but she was still stuck. Terciel was first to the controls, and after a tentative poke or two, found a handle that looked useful. It was jammed, but on the first solid yank the drum spun free and the counterweighted door shot back up into its recess. Terciel turned and hurled a seriously blood-curdling Elvish phrase at the zombie who was going after Lenora, and followed through with an arrow that hit him so hard it took off everything above the jawline.
The tide was turning now – Thea and Lenora were back on their feet, and Darg, Bree, and Rache dodged up and down the ramps trying to spread out and minimize the damage that the whirling bones could do to them while giving back as good as they got. Thea beheaded the last of the drowned corpses (KACHUNK), and she and Lenora rejoined the fight inside. The mess of animated bones lashed out angrily now, trying to stab Lenora through the chest and trying to slice open wounds anywhere it could, but just as it surged together to attempt another blast of bones and wind, Darg called in a holy favor and revoked the bone golem's license to wander the mortal plane.
(domini domini domini BOOM)
Zoran, in a cold panicked sweat, urged the party to head to the map room – to his mind the safest place nearby – where the party uncovered some interesting things:
(1) A mosaic in which the Tieflings are shown wearing armor like Lenora's; the Elves and Eladrin are rallying behind someone who looks emarkably like Terciel as he plucks a thundercloud out of the sky.
(2) A map-table of Baerstun with the following inscription in a very (very) old Elvish script running around the outside edges:
Barrow-stone city, royal heir of ports
five armies took three roads to found a city of four quarts
ONE will not be fun; TWO will bring pain to you
THREE you'd best flee; FIVE you'll not stay alive.
Only FOUR will open the door;
Exactly FOUR will open the door.
(3) A model of Baerstun, set in the center of the table, that appears to ride up and down on a system of springs and levers in a not-entirely-intuitive way… but wherever it stops, it triggers something. Bree can definitely see the pushrods and sprockets leading off into the inner workings, but it's hard to say exactly what they trigger.
Next week, the party has to puzzle out whether to stay in the Map Room and mess with the map table, or to press on and meet Ilian while the sun is still up.