Flames and Steel: The Chromatic War

The Crypt of the Eternal Flame

Crypt, Eternal, Flame, Kassadin

The Journey to the Crypt had done little to prepare the adventurers for what they were about to face as the Crypt of Eternal Flame would turn out to be quite the trial. After cautiously examining the entrance the party made their way into the first room. There they found a scene that was as gruesome as the one just outside. The bodies of several people who had obviously been in a battle were surrounded once more by bones just as the horses were outside. The bodies didn’t appear to be more than a few days dead and that put the adventuring group on edge.

This was good because almost as soon as they discovered this, several piles of bones pulled themselves together to form six skeletal adversaries that the adventures were quick to recognize as unfriendly, their weapons being a dead giveaway. A skirmish ensued and after a few disheartening blows and a few cuts taken, the group emerged victorious but also much more cautious. The mayor didn’t mention anything about the undead walking these halls and they were not very well prepared to face a drawn out stay in this crypt. Rather than reversing course back to the village, however, the group decided to cautiously advance in the hopes that the crypt was of a smaller variety.

While exploring and coming across numerous hallways and blocked doors, the adventurers began to take note of the murals that surrounded them on the wall and the story they depicted. This was the story of Kassadin, one in which many would claim the man to be a hero. While interesting, the adventurers were soon even more concerned for their continued safety as they begun hearing moaning that softly echoed through the dark halls.

They came across a room that was riddled with pitfall traps. Curiously enough, they discovered each of the pitfalls had a pile of pillows at its bottom. While confusing, they had no desire to take a fall down one of these pits as it would still hurt regardless of the pile of pillows. Continuing to explore the large room proved somewhat difficult for the less agile members of the group who indeed found out how painful such falls could be. After a bit of struggle and the help of a clue found at the bottom of one of the pitfalls, the group found three levers placed throughout the room and a portcullis that blocked further advancement. Putting two and two together, three of the members pulled the levers simultaneously while a fourth ran through a now open gateway that was quickly shutting. On the other side the fourth member found a very large lever as the group had suspected there would be. Pulling on it caused the portcullis to remain in the open position. Another room defeated, the group moved on.

It wasn’t long after that when they started hearing the moaning much louder now. Following the sound they found another door that they eventually began to force open in the hopes of discovering what was making this noise. They were dismayed when arrows started flying out the gap between the wall and door as they tried to open the door further. Some of these arrows managed to connect. It was at this point at this point that they realized their arrow shooting adversary was just a scared man who was at his wits end with grief. After a bit of a lengthy conversation the group managed to calm the man down enough to enter the room without more arrows flying their way. Much to the group’s relief, the room appeared to be the perfect place to rest. Even greater was the fact that the man had a few health potions stored within the room, potions that the group was in desperate need of by this point.

Talking with the man revealed a bit more as to what was happening in the crypt. He told the adventurers that the village had planned to make this test a bit more interesting by reactivating some of the traps in the crypt but making them far less lethal, hence the pillows they had come across. Several group members still claimed those pillows to be evil but listened to the rest of what the man had to say just the same. Continuing, the man explained that the villagers were in the process of doctoring the traps when the dead suddenly came to life. It was a scene of slaughter, the villagers not well prepared to be assaulted in a place they least expected it. As far as the man knew, he and one other may have survived the initial onslaught. The other was his sister and the source of his lament. She had been taken by the undead deeper into the Crypt. He didn’t even know if she was still alive. The adventurers promised to look for the girl as they continued their drive to the Eternal Flame. The man agreed to stay where he was while they did so.

After a night’s rest, the group continued on to more unexplored areas. Opening the next door they came across proved to make things even more interesting when they were confronted with the sight of a giant beetle and a pile of smelly filth. The beetle attacked, the filth continued to be smelly. Quick to act as usual, the group dispatched the enormous insect with only small incident, though the bug had the ability to shoot acid which found one party member and caused him to be a little upset. The more sneaky members dispatched the beetle with a well coordinated assault. Finding nothing more of interest the group decided to backtrack a bit to another hallway they had yet to visit.

This hallway was filling up with smoke. Not wanting to be suffocated out of their quest the group hurried to find out where the source of the smoke was. Finding the fire didn’t take long as it was a massive pile of bodies and things that were being burned before their eyes. Two things in particular caught the eyes of the adventurers, a key and a dagger. It was the third thing that they missed which attacked.

The shade was well concealed in the thick smoke of the room and singled out a member of the party by attempting to drain their strength. Surprised, the group struggled with this new enemy for some time before catching a bit of luck and watching the shade overreach on an attack and fall into the fire. The group finished it off, took the key and dagger, now cool, and moved on back to the entrance of the crypt to try a different route.

It was here that they discovered a door. This door wasn’t just any door however, it was a talking door who liked to ask questions before allowing entrance to what lay beyond.

“What is your quest?” It asked one member. When that member answered incorrectly one of the piles of bones was resurrected and the members were forced to dispatch yet another walking dead. Learning quickly from their mistake, they returned to the door and proceeded to answer its questions. It was on the third question that the door was caught in its own game.

“What is the air speed of a thrown skull?” The door had asked.

“Cracked or non cracked?” One of the adventurers answered and they were all quite amused to find that the door didn’t know. As soon as it had said as much the door flew open and allowed the members to tread forth once more. They found the next room to be a bit different from the rest.

There was a pool of water with a statue overlooking it, as well as two locked doors with keyholes in them.

A voice rang out, “Magic is the key…”

Recognizing it as a clue, the adventurers discovered that there was a faint magic aura coming from what was likely the bottom of the pool. After a few attempts of sifting through numerous identical looking keys at the bottom of the forty foot pool of water, they found the one emanating magic. This key proved to be quite valuable in opening one of the doors beyond which was a hall lined with eight giant sword wielding statues. Noting how half of the statue’s swords had leather wrapped around them and remembering what the villagers had been in the process of doing, the group recognized this for the trap that it was. Advancing slowly they discovered a pressure plate and disabled it with some effort.

Continuing into next room they found another great challenge. Two wooden guardians wielding dual shields and appearing quite menacing awaited, though they didn’t appear to be activated. They stood on a slightly raised platform and appeared to be guarding a door. Cautiously two members started taking the stairs down in an attempt to see what more they could discover. One of the more rash members of the party decided to take the quicker approach and jump down onto the platform. This proved to be a mistake as the platform sunk the few inches to ground level and activated both of the wooden sentinels. At the same time this happened the stairs came out from under the adventurer’s feet and turned into slides. Knowing that these foes would likely prove too great for the group to handle, the members fled back up the slides and off the platform, though one member took a beating before he could get away, passing out at the top of the slides.

Looking for a clue as to how to pass these guardians, the group noticed that each guardian, upon returning to rest, had turned and shown they had keyholes in their backs. With their last clue in mind and a pair of keys in hand, the group’s magic users telekinetically inserted the magic key into each sentinel and deactivated them, much to their relief. In the room beyond the sentinels, they found three items of somewhat considerable power, though they were unable and unwilling to determine what each one did exactly. Grabbing these items and a bag of gold pieces, they made their way back to the pool room, stopping only to resuscitate their unconscious member…somewhat unceremoniously.

Back in the pool room they used the regular key to open the other door. Continuing on the pathway down the hall beyond they found a door that was barred on their side. Cautiously they entered the room beyond to find a pillar surrounded by a ten foot pit, the door locking behind them. The pillar had numerous holes in it and suddenly began to spin. In doing so it let loose a hail storm of arrows. Each member taking hits by these blunted objects, they dived into the pit noting that one arrow had ricocheted off one of the adventurers belt buckles and jammed itself into the pillar causing it some mechanical difficulty. The more mechanically inclined members of the group saw and opportunity and proceeded to quickly disable the trap and the group continued on, armor and clothing felled with blunted arrow marks.

Not long after this, the group found a large room with a sarcophagus located at its back. Joy almost palpable in the air about them, they also saw the object they were here for, the Eternal Flame. Retrieving the flame proved quite difficult however when they suddenly heard a menacing laugh fill the room. A laugh that preceded a giant longsword wielding, armor bearing, skeleton.

The skeleton proved to be an extremely dangerous foe nearly knocking one adventurer unconscious in two blows and then picking off several shadow clones easily. All the while the team of adventurers were plinking away at him with all they had, magical means or otherwise for nearly a full minute. With one final slice of the sword of one adventurer, however, the skeleton crumbled to a giant pile of dust. Several members collapsed for a few seconds in exhaustion when a ghostly form revealed itself above the sarcophagus.

It was the ghost of Kassadin himself. He explained what had happened here in the Crypt and why the dead walked its halls.

A few months previously, a group of bandits had come to loot the Crypt. This caused the dead to wake and a battle to ensue between two groups. One group fought for Kassadin, the other against. Unlike in times in the distant past however, Kassadin’s group lost and the tomb was overrun with the menacing undead. These undead were laying in wait for the villagers when they had come to prepare the tomb for the adventurer’s arrival. The rest of the story the adventurers knew, and it was a sad tale indeed.

Kassadin thanked the adventurers and, opening a portal back to Kassadin the town, asked them to leave his tomb in the peace and quiet it should normally hold. The group decided to look around quickly for anything else, mindful of the fact they had yet to find the grieved man’s sister. They found her, unconscious but alive in a corner.

They retrieved the man, reunited him with his sister, grabbed the Eternal Flame and used the portal to return to the town. Upon returning to town, the now battered group proceeded to the town’s center to light the flame for all to see. People all around came out to congratulate the group on their coming of age, much to the embarrassment of some of the older members of the group. But embarrassment was one of the last thoughts the group had, knowing all that they did.

A good portion of the village lay dead in that crypt. It was a rough story to relate. And though the Mayor appeared deeply saddened by this tale the adventurers had to tell, he thanked them for likely saving the town of Kassadin from the undead.

Somewhat regretfully declining the Mayor’s request to accompany several men back to the Crypt so that they could retrieve the dead, the group asked to get some rest and to recover from their wounds.

A week later the group attended the funeral of the twenty or so individuals who had fallen to the hands of the undead in Kassadin’s Crypt knowing that, though they were heroes, nothing could bring these people back.

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The Crypt of the Eternal Flame
Azcatryo

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