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Tairn » The Book at Last! Malperder falls…

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December 2023
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The Book at Last! Malperder falls…

After much discussion, Varende says he will search the crypt and lion rooms for hidden passages. He spends quite a bit of time, and he eventually discovers a two foot circle of stone on the wall opposite the lion doors that he thinks is a portal. He searches it intently for several minutes before placing his hands hard against the wall and twisting it clockwise. The circle of stone pops out from the wall half an inch on the right side. Varende pulls it open and looks down a tube thirty feet long at a small room. He can see a pedestal similar to the one behind him. He lets others look including Keddick who sees no auras down the shaft. Varende wriggles through the passage pushing his torch ahead of him. After a minute or more, he falls into the room beyond. He stands and sees a thick tome on the pedestal. He searches for traps and finding none, lifts the book. He pushes it into the passage with his torch and wriggles out. Varende points out the title “The Book of the Ys” on the cover with the triangle seen around the monastery. Keddick examines the first part of the ten pound volume and sees writing similar to what he has seen before. He fails to understand the first page though.
As the group heads out once again from the hallway to the lion room, Malperder and Banic see an ape to their right in the center inner cloister. The ape hoots and screams a challenge moving across the room but not towards the dwarves. His hooting is very loud. Malperder advances but does not engage the ape. Varende glides into the room and shoots the ape a glancing blow on its side. Jack charges the ape, but he is soon in retreat from grievous wounds. More apes and two girallons appear. Kordis is nearly killed, but heroically steps in front of Keddick to shield him. Everyone moves with great alacrity from Keddick’s magic. Magic missiles fly, an axe cuts, a longsword slashes, a hammer falls, and so does Malperder, son of Marollo, of clan Malahostia. Keddick runs to Malperder’s side, shouts words of power while touching him, and disappears leaving the body where it fell. By the end, two girallons and five apes lie dead including the one with an extra pair of vestigial arms. Varende is the first at Malperder’s side, and his fingers search for a pulse in his lifeless stony throat. Jack is next to come to the dwarf’s body, and he shakes his head sadly with the realization of your death. Your cousin is soon at your side lamenting your passing. He assures everyone that you would desire to be brought back from death for the glory of Malahostia. Keddick explores the outer cloister but finds no more apes. Banic heals many. Varende climbs to the cloister roof, pounds in a piton, and ties a rope off. Everyone searches the roof for more apes, but more importantly the dragon statue. The statue is not found or anything else of import. Everyone agrees that the white smoke or steam is a product of the warm waters in the baths below. Banic lifts the lifeless body of his cousin and carries him to the training room. Varende stands vigil over his fallen comrade’s body as everyone else guards Keddick and then Banic as they search fruitlessly for missed auras. They do discover the goblin bodies are gone from the cellar. All return to the training room to rest. Keddick says he will shrink Malperder’s body the next day so he can be carried back to the Temple of Andreja in Lysoria. The night passes uneventfully.

Keddick incants a divination and searches for hidden doors throughout the temple finding none save the one known portal. He gulps down a wriggling spider and climbs the cliff wall to the apex. He looks out on the mountain range, the bridge across the chasm, and the bugbear village clearing far, far below. He climbs back down. He examines the book for some time with comprehend languages and learns it is a tome of monkish meditation and giant-fighting technique and training regimes. He shrinks Malperder’s body, and Banic takes care of his cousin. He brings a large mirror into being and then shrinks it again. Everyone heads for the stairs. No messages await. As the group starts to climb, Varnede notices an eagle high overhead. Kordis asks for permission to kill it. Talk of druids and animal companions ensue. Keddick and Jack push for a peaceful solution with the bugbears before resorting to violence. Everyone moves down the mountain. Eventually the eagle has not been spotted by anyone in a long time. The climb down is simple compared to the climb up. Jack and Malperder move onto the platform and are challenged by a lone bugbear in the meadow. He calls loudly for them to stop. Kordis waits nervously on the stairs waiting to move and let fly deadly magics. The bugbear demands the statue. No one produces it. Jack tosses a bag towards him with the hand of a girallon in it. He advances, grabs the bag and retreats to open it and hold it aloft. He intones loudly “This is not what we demanded!” Keddick approaches and the nervous bugbear draws a morningstar and stands defensively. Varende draws his bow and aims, but Keddick and Jack forestall his shot. Jack speaks to the bugbear relating the death of the apes and girallons. He attempts to say goblins stole the statue, and the bugbear says he is being absurd. Jack offers to accompany the bugbear to the top to prove his story of dead apes and girallons. The bugbear raises his hands to the heavens and intones “Guide me! What should I do?” Soon, a small bird flies towards the bugbear with what appears to be a message on its foot. The bugbear reads the message and then says he will follow the party to the top. He tells them to start up. Jack asks for food, and the bugbear intones to the sky again that he will bring food.

 With great force of will, you all push yourselves until you are ready to drop. Just on the brink of unconsciousness, Banic’s powers of healing return vigor to your bodies and you reach the top after four and a half hours of hard climbing. All of you feel fatigued at the top, and you all of some residual unhealed non-lethal damage from the climb. Jack and Kordis both dealt with the climb remarkably well, but Banic heals both of them and Keddick at the top. The sun is setting, and Keddick creates an extended rope trick to spend the night in above the final platform. There has been no sign of the trailing bugbear, but Jack and Keddick both argue that they should continue on regardless. Everyone gratefully climbs into the rope trick and rests to see what the morning will bring eating what food they have. Many hours after darkness has fallen, Banic notices a bugbear move on to the platform and look around. The bugbear drops a heavy looking pack, opens it and begins eating while sitting on the platform. He calls out “Humans!” but Banic sees no reason to answer. All but Varende are fast asleep. A voice from further on in the darkness calls “Kalnar. I am here.” The bugbear leaves the pack and moves out into the darkness. Varende hears distant voices, but he cannot make out any words. After a short while, the bugbear returns, lies down on the ground with his head on the pack and falls fast asleep. Before falling asleep, Keddick casts extended mage armor on himself and drifts into sleep. The bugbear snores below. Late in the evening, Banic touches each of his companions lightly further healing them. As he sits in the rope trick waiting for light, Banic drifts into sleep after Varende rouses from his trance.

All are sleeping save Varende. Banic wakes and begins taking his armor off. Varende questions him. Banic says “Do not worry. I go with Moradin. Pull up the rope.” Banic slips down the rope from the rope trick carrying only holy water flasks in a sack and the feather-light body of Malperder in his hands. The bugbear stirs not at all.

In another two hours, the sun is peaking over the horizon warming the face of the mountain as Keddick finishes memorizing spells within the rope trick. The bugbear below stirs and relieves himself to the side of the platform. Everyone gears up for the day and passes down Banic’s armor and war hammer. Varende says that Banic left in his undertunic a few hours ago with the body of Malperder. He seemed utterly calm.

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