With the defeat of Lucan Stellos, the Adventurers were left in the Chamber of Ascension, armed with Joharra’s knowledge that they had only an hour to track down the vampire before he regenerated to plague them again, they set out to find a way to the vampire’s hidden coffin. Beginning in the Chamber, they opened up the six sarcophagi present to ensure that the vampire had not somehow snuck into one of them under their watch. Finding them empty, Grolsh Ramstein remained behind to ensure that the chamber and the stairs down into the temple had no hidden passageways. The remaining four moved deeper into the basement to seek out a crypt or other lair in which the vampire could hide.
The first room found appeared to be a statue garden containing various goblins and hobgoblins as if in conversation. An initial survey by Castar Sil’s identified a section at the back of the room had collapsed creating a small tunnel. Despite no obvious danger, Teppic felt nervous about entering this room when there were still areas of the temple left to explore, and there were no obvious coffins where the vampire might be hiding. Castar went off to check the lower level while Joharra’s psicrystal scouted out the gap in the wall, reporting back that though a tight fit, people could fit in there.
The bottom level contained an entry chamber with a mysterious, beating drum that was identified as symbolizing guardianship over presumably the next room. Although Castar Sil did not find any traps leading into the room, it seems the key lay with the beat itself, which the party did not do, causing water to come rushing into the chamber. While Teppic attempted to force the door at the other end, Grolsh and Castar collectively disabled the “drum”, causing the water to start to drain and resealed the gap through which the water was flowing, effectively saving the party from drowning.
The door itself proved stuck fast through centuries of neglect as the temple slowly sank into its lake. Bemoaning the lack of foresight shown by goblin craftsmen, Grolsh and Castar both assisted Sir Ossul Tarravan to force the door open, a nigh-herculean feat by the Paladin which revealed a burial chamber containing 25 coffins, any one of which could hold the vampire. Grolsh and Ossul both attempted to ferret the creature by detecting magic and evil respectively. After clearing most of the room, they were alerted by the Psicrystal that company was coming down the temple after them.
Setting up a defensive perimter, the rest of the checking was left to Grolsh, while the remainder prepared to defend the entrance. Entering the drumming chamber was a man holding a female cleric of the Silver Flame hostage. Claiming to have been sent by Cardinal Hebert in response to their Sending, she had been captured and was apparently held hostage. However their body language was not consistent with a “hostage” dynamic, and Teppic fired a warning arrow to try and keep them out. Ultimately, just as Grolsh managed to find the coffin where Lucan had secreted himself, the opposing force entered and the battle was joined.
Two Karnath skeletons accompanied by two men presumably in the employ of the Emerald Claw entered, along with their hostage and the unknown woman who the party had previously met in the Mournland. Two skeletons and one of the goons quickly took up positions by Teppic to incapacitate him, while the others moved towards Ossul. The woman fired magic missiles at Joharra, who responded by shutting down the woman’s mind for the entirety of the combat. It was at this point that the “hostage” revealed herself to be the insidious cleric Garrow who dramatically announced the Party’s doom, cursing Ossul and laughing maniacally. His reveal was undercut by mocking, ridicule, and a sword in the face from Ossul.
Grolsh meanwhile quickly and resolutely drove a stake into Lucan’s chest and moved in to assist with his dragon-blessed powers of fire. Teppic held on defensively until support could arrive, and Castar and Ossul quickly managed to incapcitate the attackers on the other side of the room. Denied the spellcasting support of the unknown mage, the two Emerald Claw soldiers quickly fell to the party, and Garrow ordered a retreat, summoning up some mist and then fleeing himself. One skeleton accompanied him in his flight, while the other remained to block the door. After destroying the skeleton, Ossul, Castar and Teppic all raced after the evil cleric as well as the wizard who had presumably been moved a Joharra suddenly lost her contact with the woman’s mind.
Pursuing them outside, sadly the party did not arrive in time before Garrow managed to curse their name and swear revenge the next time they met. His swearing was interrupted by a volley of arrows that, although just falling short of slaying him, certainly swung the pithy “last word” back to the party and he quickly – and more importantly SILENTLY- fled into the pre-dawn light. Grolsh and Joharra remained behind to ensure that Lucan was contained, and Joharra tapped into her Psionic powers to assure Grolsh that his handling of the situation was completely correct, and Lucan would be incapacitated until the stake was removed. Grolsh managed to resist compulsions from the sword they were sent to claim, and has secured it from Lucan’s body as well.
Though the Emerald Claw continues to plague them, the party has recovered both the body of the vampire and the sword they were sent to retrieve, they now face the challenge of returning the vampire’s body to Sharn, as well as resting and healing injuries inside this temple.