The party, having deciphered the means of opening Tarnruth’s tomb, descended into a large room, decorated with carved stone trees, and several stone tree pillars. Upon inspection, however, several of these pillars detached from the ceiling and the floor, becoming animate stone trees intent on repelling intruders!
The large, lumbering oak tree was swiftly dispatched, but the flighty elms and two arrow-firing archer traps proved more difficult. Still, they were nothing some decent smashing wouldn’t solve. Claw got nakers and did a triple backflip in the pool at the center of the room, coming up with a handful of gold coins and a bloodstone orb, which everyone proceeded to squabble over. Once the loot was finally split up, they explored a hallway depicting scenes from an Elven sword-mage’s life. The final scene showed her triumphant over a large group of Orcs, but the artist had included a sinister shadow in the background, which suggested that the elf did not come to a good end.
The hallway terminated in a shrine to Corellon Larethian. A statue of him was standing over Gruumish, god of Orcs, and the party poked and prodded for secrets, but failed to discover any. Garvenmov II began to lose patience, and tried to smash the statue, but Eradon interceded, forbidding him from desecrate the shrine of his god. “Kelemvor is the only true god,” grumbled Garvenmov II after a protracted shouting match, with Never trying to keep the wizard and paladin from each other’s throats.
Back in the tree room, took a western door down a short hallway lined with lesser Elven deities to a sarcophagus. The lid proved too heavy for the whole party though, and it was only thanks to Claw’s keen senses and the combined brain of Never and Eradon that the party found a treasure cache under the sarcophagus and latch for the hidden staircase, concealed in the candlesticks. Meanwhile Garvenmov II was attempting to smash his was into the sarcophagus, with some success, but eventually lost interest.
The staircase led down to a room with a mural of the High Forest on the floor and the Nether mountains created in 3-D relief along the north wall of the room. Two pools of silver liquid sat in the center of the room. The moment everyone entered, the door slammed shut and the liquid began to boil, spilling over the rim of the pool and flowing toward them. Silver tendrils shot from the liquid, attacking their legs, and to make matters worse, three humanoid figures rose from the pools, armed with silvery spears. The battle proved tough, and even with a few lucky shots both Eradon and Shamash were knocked unconscious at the end.
A short rest later, the party discovered a second sarcophagus and a ghostly figure of an elven woman. Garvenmov II busted out his best pick up lines, as the ghost labored to explain that she was a famous sword-mage of the old elven kingdom Earlann, and that she desired someone to inherit her will, battling Orcs and other shadowy evils. She asked of recent history, and was shocked to hear that the shadow princes of Netheril had returned from the Shadowfell, wreaking havoc across Faerun. Still the conflicting messages of Garvenmov trying to seduce the ghost, Claw attempting to convince her that he was a creature of darkness, but totally a good guy, Shamash standing around and not looking very interested, and the magic users being overly earnest and angry at their companions in contrast failed to convince Tarnruth. She disappeared. After a cursory poke through her tomb the party headed back to the surface.
There they met Joyin and Terinn, who had been on the lookout for Orcs. The came up to the surface just as the sun was setting across the clearing, and we surprised to find Yatagan, the wizard from Lhuvenhead, emerging into the clearing. He told them that he was worried about their safety and had followed after them, and asked how they had fared in Tarnruth’s trials. He also asked whether the PCs had retrieved anything of value, but when they told him that they had failed, despite Tarnruth’s desire to find a heir in the fight against Netheril, his face darkened.
I see. So you too have failed Tarnuth’s test. That makes this easier, as I’m afraid I can’t have you knowing about this tomb.
As you watch Yatagan’s body straightens, his bent spine reshapes. He passes a hand before his face and the wild whiskers, unkempt eyebrows and huge moles disappear, leaving a clean, but pallid and hairless face, that of a man aged but timeless. His now relaxed stance reminds you of a coiled viper, yet all about him is the aura of empty time, the quiet of worn stone in a lost desert. “I’ve waited long for this,” he says, and as he does, a hush falls over the clearing. It feels as though you’ve lost your sense of hearing, that all living things are holding their breath. The sun dips behind a tree over his shoulder, and in the last gleam of light, you see his body dissolving into tendrils of darkness. And then, he’s gone.
A black thing suddenly coalesces in the midst of your group: it looks like animate ink, swirling tendrils of darkness. At the top is the round outline of a skull, burning blueblack, it’s eyepits huge, it’s jaws open in a silent cackle. Terrible cold washes over you: your limbs tremble, your bones creak, and your lungs are raw as you suck at each breath. Before you can react darkness explodes all around you, and the visage of that cackling skull streaks toward you, passing through your face. The moment it touches you, a terrible howling laughter rings in your ears.
The PCs struggle against the black thing that Yatagan became, Claw searing it with radiant energy. As the last blow is struck, the black thing screamed, then began to shrink, its blackness folding in on itself. The skull then started to chuckle, to laugh, to howl maniacally. “I’ll remember this,” it said, before winking out of existence. The black pool shot away into the growing darkness and was gone. Garvenmov II tried to loot the spot where it was and found nothing.
Five days later the PCs return to Lhuvenhead, the bodies of the Fellowship of the Shining Spear and Joyin, the surviving member, with them. Halaskar pays them their due through tears of rejoicing, and the PCs pick through the remains of Yatagan’s collapsed tower, finding a few potions and some odd nails.
The session finds them back in Lhuvenhead on Mirtuk 11.