Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Chapter Nine: The Vault Of Viktor Volkov (aka The Hunt For Margesh Blackblood, part three)

A Glimpse Of Hell? Inside the metal coffin was a blackness blacker than this...
Continuing their exploration of the Vault Of Viktor Volkov, the party debated whether to open the door with the hellish engravings on or head through the plain door across the way from the secret corridor where they found the silver ingots.

They opted to bypass the engraved door for now, taking the clear symbolism as a major warning of a possible Hellgate!

Through the other door, and over another pit trap that Harry spotted, they came upon a room with an altar to Volkov's ancestors. While examining this room they could hear heavy crashing sounds from back in the main corridor - the living statues were trying to climb out of the pit they had been pushed into.

An examination of the pillars in the room revealed crowns that acted as switches and opened a panel in the top of the altar, revealing three copper tubes, sealed with iron plugs and wax. Kirchin pocked these, but left a small (two inch long) drinking horn they discovered hanging on the side of the altar.

Heading back to the main corridor, Imogen scouted ahead and narrowly avoided being grabbed by the animated statues that had made their way out of the pit trap and were blocking the doorway back into the main passage.

Imogen: She may look sweet - but she's a demon
with her paired daggers
A fight erupted in the narrow passage with Kirchin wielding Volkov's sword and Davian swinging his mace. Marigold was behind them, using her magical healing when one got hit by a stone golem. Once Kirchin reduced the first statue to dust, Imogen slipped round the side and started with her trademark double-dagger stabby-stabby routine.

Harry has tried to sing a rousing ditty to boost group morale, but had instead choked on the dust in the air and lost his voice for the duration of the battle.

With three attackers on it, the second statue soon crumbled as well.

Buoyed up by their triumph, they decided to check behind the "Hellgate door" and found a large pillared room with a metallic coffin at its centre, locked by half-dozen padlocks. Through a small side door they found a room with a magically locked chest that they were unable to open or move.

After much discussion, Imogen picked the six locks and the coffin was cautiously opened. When Kirchin looked in he saw only a pool of impossible blackness and before anything else could happen, the party slammed the coffin back shut and relocked the padlocks.They were (rightly?) terrified of whatever the coffin contained and had no desire to hang around and find out what it was...

Taking a silver ingot each from their earlier treasure find, and four to load on Charlie the mule, who was patiently waiting for them outside the dungeon, chewing on his bag of carrots, the adventurers headed back to Horst.

At the village they were greeted by Jerron, lieutenant of the infamous bandit-prince Margesh Blackblood. Kirchin handed over the map of the vault he had made, along with the four silver ingots and a "detailed" description of what they had found - including a dire warning of an "otherworldly portal to Hell".

Jerron: The party
don't trust him...
Jerron was pleased with the information and gave Kirchin directions to a ruined tower on the banks of The Bright River where he should be able to meet up with Margesh Blackblood. He gave Kirchin some words of introduction and a password: Magpie.

Our heroes immediately set off - feeling quite paranoid about staying in Horst - and made camp on the way to the Bright River. They were convinced that Jerron was setting them up and they were heading into some kind of ambush.

However, after a lengthy discussion at their camp site they agreed they were pursuing Margesh out of civil duty - rather than for any financial reward (as they had already found treasure far exceeding the bounty being offered by Sir Browyrd, The Sheriff Of Dranning).

The next day they party continued on and as they approached the ruined tower saw the corpse of a mauled horse and heard the sounds of battle emerging from the stairwell leading beneath the tower.

Cautiously surveying the brutal signs of a bloody battle they came upon a pair of ogres - thankfully one at a time - and felled them reasonably swiftly.

There were a lot of dead bandits here and signs that one of the ogres had been pounding on a wall for some reason.

To be continued...

  • Kirchin (Pete)
  • Davian (Kevin)
  • Harry (Pete - in Simon's absence)
  • Imogen (Meredith)
  • Marigold (Clare)
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