The Divine Scepter

Chapter 2: The Vampire's Den

Beornwulf wandered into the cave, stopping after seeing some unobservant skeletons down two opposite paths. Before giving themselves away, they tried to deceive the undead to make them fight each other. Niem tossed a rock towards one and sneaked into the backline. The curious skeleton came to investigate and noticed the party patient waiting. Their cover foiled, the barbarians charged in down different paths as Harper and Niem helped to clear both rooms from the middle.

Afterward, the party looked around the clearly humanoid dwelling, eventually finding a secret wall behind a huge boulder. Beornwulf kicked the boulder aside and Niem unlocked the passage, finding a small room filled with a potion and some treasure.

Eanmund picked up the scent of death coming from both paths, and eventually lead everyone down the east ladder. They saw a hallway leading to closed double doors, and another open room glowing an ethereal blue. Niem and Beornwulf scouted to discover a large pile of bones, some more decomposed than others, below a hanging light fixture that had blue glowing candles. As the others came to join, the flames fell into the pit and went out, causing the room to go dark.

When Harper lit up a sunrod, several fleshy skeletons and one elite skeleton had emerged from the pit and were now surrounding the party. Beornwulf advised everyone to fall back so that they could funnel the powerful skeletons into a single hallway. Despite taking some heavy blows himself, the plan appeared to be successful as they hacked the flesh off of each skeleton one by one.

Harper investigated the room after the battle. Seeing the state of the corpses, he assumed that they might be in a vampire den of some sort. Meanwhile, Niem unlocked a door in the room. Inside, there was a fair looking young woman in a wedding dress, shackled to the wall. She seemed frightened and speechless.

Eanmund immediately recognized that she was undead, despite being seemingly in the flesh. He intimidated her for answers, but startled and confused, she collapsed on the bed and began yelling “Lorence! Lorence come save me!” Believing this to be a call to her master, the barbarians stormed in and killed her without hesitation.

Niem dissented with their rashness, but went on to steal the woman’s dress anyways. Similarly, Beornwulf suggested they set fire to the room, which they did before heading down the hallway to the doubledoors.

Not paying any mind to stealth, Eanmund opened the door to find a vampire standing near a ritual shrine, with more bones scattered throughout the room. He seemed shocked at the intrusion and prepped himself for defense.

Despite getting in a few early shots, the vampire retaliated with strong necrotic blasts and maneuverability, while simultaneously summoning goblin skeletons throughout the room. Just after, however, Eanmund dealt heavy damage to the vampire, forcing it to transform into an insubstantial form and attempt to flee. Eanmund chased after the flying undead, leaving Harper and Niem to take care of the remaining skeletons and aid his dying brother.

After chasing the vampire out of the cave and into the dark night, it was clear to him that he could not catch the vampire. He returned to the chamber to find his brother conscious again and the skeletons returned corpses. Harper determined that a ritual had been done in that chamber some time ago, that seemed to be much more complicated and use quite a few components. Meanwhile, Eanmund and Niem checked out the vampire’s cache, where they found some gemstones, gold, and a black, magic dagger wrapped in a velvet cloth with “S.T.” embroidered on it.

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