Episode 5 : The Ruins of Hurim
 

Day 24. The healed and rested party attempt the valley again. It is shrouded in a low fog that limits visibility to just a few hundred feet. A breeze blows; chillingly cold it does not disturb the fog or clothing. A watchtower stands in the middle of the entrance, perched upon a low mesa.

The party climbs to the base of the watchtower, as they do so they are briefly attacked by a swarm of bats. Luckily everyone is roped together and no serious injuries are sustained. On entering the tower the party is attacked by an incorporeal creature, it sucks strength from Shiloh before being forced to retreat by Moon's turning.

The floor of the tower is old and treacherous, injuring several party members as they stumble across it. A trapdoor is discovered in the ceiling and the party are able to move to the second floor. Similarly they are able to move to the third floor where they find themselves in a small room, the only door out is closed.

The party force open the door on the third floor of the tower. They are confronted by an ancient spirit of an Istarian warrior. The spirit refers to itself only as the "Guardian". After introductions are made the Guardian requests help, two of its men are trapped as spirits in the basement of the tower and have gone insane. In return for imposing rest on its men, the Guardian agrees to reward the party. The party spends the night in the room.

Day 25. The party wake and spend most of the day planning how to kill the two spirits. Finally they move to the basement door, cast spells and enter. During the battle both Pecan and Hildegard are struck and are weakened, however the spirits are eventually put to rest.

The Guardian is pleased and begins to fade away, he offers the party whatever they may find on his body, as well as items in a secret compartment behind it. In opening the compartment a trap is set off, the results are that Pecan and Moon are both much uglier than before. The secret compartment contains a number of items including notes about the Shattered temple and the Night of Betrayal.

Day 26. The party rest and recover. Members progress to fourth level.

Day 27. The party moves on, deeper into the shattered valley. Travelling North West the encounter a deep gorge and move around its edge. On the other side of the gorge they find an Orchard that has grown wild. Entering the Orchard they encounter a wild dryad who warns the party to leave immediately. As the party members debate the meaning of the word "immediately" she attacks. Despite making friends with both Pecan and Grog she is eventually driven off into the orchard.

The party leave the orchard and travel back to the gorge. Here they are attacked by 7 hyenas and one undead zombie (which appears suddenly, as if summoned…). The party returns to the top floor of the tower to rest.

Day 28. As the party leave the tower they are attacked again, this time by 3 very large Ogre skeletons, this leaves Pecan unconscious and Hildegard very wobbly. The party move back to the tower again to rest and heal.

That evening the top floor of the tower is assaulted by 4 wights, some are turned and others killed but they leave Hildegard and Shiloh with a negative level each. The party realise that the protecting influence of the Guardian is waning in the tower.

Day 29. The party leave the tower and skirt the orchard, something watches them warily from within. They eventually find the Shattered temple at the top of a long earthen ramp. The temple exterior has been desecrated by the raiding army.

Behind the temple lies a clear spring. From a distance the party can view creatures within the spring but does not approach. As the party turns to leave the creatures make rude gestures and jeering carries faintly on the wind.

The party enters the temple and are treated to a ghostly vision of the night of the attack. The first floor is a small and simple antechamber with stairs leading down to the second. On the second floor is a short hallway with six rooms leading off it. The party glance into five of the rooms but one is barred by a door. Before Grog can attack the door Shiloh begins to question it.

The door is adamant that none may pass, but does reveal that it is a recent addition and is in the employ of a master that it will not name.

The party decide to search the open rooms on level two of the Temple a little more thoroughly. In doing so they disturb a fungus - this leaves all in the party (except Hildegard) feeling a little less robust, luckily the effect is temporary.

The party progress to level three of the Temple. Here they find storerooms, a kitchen and some servant's quarters. A fresh body is found but it immediately explodes into a mass of centipedes that cover Shiloh and Moon. Moon runs to a cold store room in an attempt to freeze the centipedes. Shiloh is helpfully oiled-up by Hildegard and then proceeds to light himself.

Moon manages to repeatedly heal herself while the centipedes slowly freeze and drop off. Shiloh however can not be healed rapidly enough and collapses in a flaming heap. Hildegard attempts to help Shiloh but only attracts the remaining flaming centipedes onto himself, he also begins a process of self-immolation using some remaining oil.

After the centipedes are finally killed, the party heals itself as best it can. The injuries from the wights sustained the previous night flare again, Hildegard recovers but Shiloh is left with a permanent negative level. It must be admitted that he is really not feeling himself - his mind appears to be miles away.

On the remains of the body is found a number of items including a rough map of the first four levels of the Temple.

The party camps on the second level, they are attacked at night by a carrion crawler but manage to fend it off.

Day 30. The party penetrate further into the third level, witnessing disturbing visions of the Night of Betrayal as they go. They discover an Ochre Jelly and Grog promptly cuts it in two. As one section grapples with Pecan, Grog (learning from the previous day) helpfully covers the pair in oil and lights them - he feels very happy with this contribution.

The party heal as required and continue on. In another room they are met with an extremely cold brown mould. Pecan knows not to attack it with fire - so Grog is protected from the cold and goes in to mash it with the back of his axe.

The party explore the fourth level of the temple. Here in the darkness of the unlit floor they discover a large gelatinous cube. Hildegard and Shiloh are quickly engulfed inside the cube, Hildegard being paralysed by its attack. While Shiloh attacks from inside using his dagger, Pecan and Moon summon creatures from the safety of a narrow corridor. Eventually Grog turns up (he was occupied on the third level) and kills it. The party retreat to the second level to rest and heal.

Day 31. The party return to the fourth level and encounter the ghost of a tortured young priest. Unable to appease it they are forced to attack until it disappears.

The party move to the centre room of the floor and discover a library. In it they meet a fellow adventurer, a young woman of Khurish descent. She introduces herself as Anasana and explains that she is a follower of Chislev and so was drawn to explore this impure place when she heard the valley had opened.

Anasana feels that the Tears of Mishakal would be required to cleanse the temple of death, but they have been lost since the Age of Dreams. She came here with a rogue companion, however he was killed on the third level - so she was forced to summon a gelatinous cube for protection…. She maintains a door to a safe room on the second level and stores most of her supplies there.

She reveals that in the floors below are a Grand Hall and three shrines to honour the pantheons. In the Grand Hall there are living statues that have been ordered to defend the Shrine of Light from any who do not belong in the temple. As a result she cannot go below.

The party rest with Anasana in the Library.

Day 32. The party investigate a trapped door on the fourth level. Inside the room the party witness a vision of the Betrayer disguising himself as a priest of Mishakal. They find a locked petrified chest which is eventually opened in a burst of dust that evokes much sneezing and choking. Grog and Pecan find their constitution greatly weakened by the dust.

Restorations are cast on the afflicted party members, however they prove to be truly lesser. The chest is searched and some paltry items found including four rotted robes of Mishakal. The party return to Anasana who graciously allows them to rest in the library.

Day 33. Again restorations are cast, this time with greater success. The party decide to take a days unscheduled leave, but Anasana informs them that she cannot protect them as she is returning to the second level to rest in her room. The party sleep outside her door but are interrupted by a rust monster. After losing a variety swords and Hildegard's very fancy breast plate to its appetite, it is eventually subdued.

Day 34. The party return to the fourth level and prepare to encounter the guardians on the fifth. They put on the robes of Mishakal in attempt to pass themselves of as followers; however the fragile garments are destroyed by the first trap they encounter - Grog manages to leap nimbly to safety. The stairwell to the fifth level contains spiders and web, they are quickly burnt away.

In the Grand Hall of the fifth level they meet the sacred guardians of Mishakal and Paladine - living statues intent on defending the temple from any who do not belong. Much effort is expended by the party in attempts to convince the guardians that they are allowed to be here - good spells, scroll waving, figurine displays, pious behaviour are all ignored. Grog attempts to move past in his robes of Mishakal, but is summarily whacked and chased around the room - the guardians can move surprisingly fast….

Finally Moon attempts to turn them, but on seeing her holy amulet the guardians return to their resting places and allow the party to enter. They witness a vision of the battle in the chamber, including a powerful stream of wind that carries with it a swarm of skeletal insects. To the North lie three large rooms, to the South lie two large rooms - one in each corner with the staircase between them.

The doors to the North East and West reveal rooms filled with a sickening fog. The party eventually penetrate the North West room far enough to find a staircase leading down, but are driven out again. At the centre North door can be heard the sound of strong wind. The South East room reveals the Shrine of the Evening, inside the party feel peculiarly safe.

The South West room reveals the Shrine of the Night, a particularly evil room. They witness a vision where the Goddess Takhisis (the Queen of Darkness) identifies Hildegard as being the one who will bring vengeance to the Betrayer. The party return to the Shrine of the Evening to rest in safety, they discuss plans until the early morning.

Day 35. The party explore further, being driven out of the North West room.

Day 36. The party enter the centre North room - the Shrine of the Sun. A strong wind initially keeps them out until Grog pushes his way through and hauls the others in by rope.

A body is found in the Shrine of the Sun, it is that of the High priest Kennoth - Grog retrieves its possessions. To the West of the Shrine is found a devotional room, beyond which lies the secret private sanctum of the High Priest. In the private sanctum Moon prays at a simple altar - to her surprise her God answers. She is told that the Tears of Mishakal will be required to cleanse the temple of all evil - these may be found on the road ahead, but the child of light will first need to face and defeat the primary evil - the Betrayer.

Grog espouses deep philosophical thoughts on doors as the party camps in the Shrine of the Sun to sleep.

Day 37. The party explores a small side-room but finds little. The secret door in the centre of the Shrine of the Sun is opened with difficulty - eventually Moon realises that she is able to stop the fierce wind rushing through the shrine. Through the secret door the party find the Sacred Hall of the temple, here they witness a vision of the young acolyte receiving the Shard of Light from the god Paladine.

The party again enter the North West room, temporarily clearing the sickening fog and spider webs to penetrate down to the Hall of the Dead. The party move forward with difficulty, party members occasionally becoming confused and heading off in the wrong direction. They witness a vision of the Betrayer entering a secret door, the young acolyte follows. Two shadows attack the party, causing some damage before they are beaten off.

The secret door is hidden by an illusion, eventually all party members are coaxed or pushed through the door into the Sepulchre. Hear they encounter a crazed devilish creature who wants nothing more than to be freed, they allow it to escape. In the room lies a skeleton dressed in black robes, a glowing crystalline short sword pierces its back. Nearby is another skeleton in white robes and clutching a silver medallion.

Removing the short sword causes the skeleton to crumble to dust, leaving a black skull mask and amulet of Chemosh. After some debate the party finally take the skull mask, touching it however causes it to vanish.

The party gain a level, Grog presents Shiloh with an amulet of Mishakal that he took from the High Priest, Moon retrieves the amulet of Mishakal from the body of the acolyte.

The party return to the Shrine of the Evening to rest.

Day 38. Spells of Lesser Restoration are cast upon Moon, Pecan and Shiloh. The party consult Anasana in the Library, she is happy that they have achieved their goal and will continue her work here in the temple. Anasana has found out that the Tears of Mishakal is an artefact from the Age of Dreams. It is said that they were two teardrops that fell from Mishakal's eyes when the first murder was committed. She suspects that they take the form of tear-shaped diamonds suspended from a silver chain.

Legends say that they are used to ease the spirits of the dead and grant them peace, but they have not been seen since the Age of Dreams. It is said by some that the Tears have become separated and that one of them was corrupted by Chemosh….

The party exit the temple and encounter another vision of Uleena, she gazes at them with her strange blue eyes and says:

"You must hurry, for the sands of time are slipping away swiftly.......the Shard of Light is a key, a key that will allow you to find what you seek in the ruins of a city that once felt no fear, but now lies beneath a shadow of fire and death."

She turns and disappears into the depths of the temple leaving a faint scent of lilac, the valley containing the Ruins of Hurim is much the same as before. They leave the valley, retrieve the map and supplies left for them by the Mikku and proceed North. Eventually they camp for the night.

 

 
(c) 2007 Dragonlance Roleplaying Campaign Journal by Chris Burton  
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