Way of the Wicked

The Test...

Time for the Ninth Knot to prove they have what it takes be part of the conspiracy to bring down Talingarde!

The Test…

Players: Cerberus, Woodchuck, Fulimar, Nobi, Malakai,
Absent: Mishnarai
NPC: Grumblejack

The party heads down to the basement to begin their test and comes upon the first door. Above the arch of the door, they read the following: “Deception is a tool. Self-deception is death. Deceive always thy enemy but never thyself.” Nobi checks for traps on the door, finds none and opens it. Once inside the 3×3 room, they notice a door to the east and nothing else. Nobi, suspicious from the words on the entrance, instantly checks the area around the exit door. His suspicions prove correct as he finds a pit trap in front of the door. He disables the trap door and unlocks the door; he finds a bare wall with the words “Thou wert deceived. Pain is thy reward.” The party beings to look for hidden doors and Nobi finds a small alcove on the north wall containing a small piece of quartz that is cold to the touch. Words are written on the alcolve that read “Thou hast seen through deception to uncover a useful tool.” He quickly palms it and Woodchuck notices it, but doesn’t say anything about the theft. The party continues searching and finds another door on the south. After checking it for traps, they open it and head down a small hallway to a second door.

Upon reaching the second door, they read “Following the herd is for fools. Fear not their icy derision. Instead, fear only thy Infernal Lord.” They open the door to find another 3×3 room, with three doors leading off in all directions. Nobi head to east door and checks it for traps; finding none he opens it and finds a dead end with the words “Thou hast followed the herd” written on the wall. He suddenly finds a javelin impaled in his gut from the trap that he missed. Pulling the javelin loose, the party begins to search the room in causion. Malakai notices the room is rather cold on the west side of the room and identifies the source from a well-known mold that he has encountered before. Cerberus uses one of his fire bolts on the mold and it doubles in size and spreads across the room. They then decide to use ice on the door and it kills away the mold. Finally dead, the party heads through the west door and they find the words “Thou hast made thy own path” written on the other side. They continue along down a long hallway that seems to wrap around their previous room before coming before another door.

Upon this third door, they read the words “Know your enemy. Shatter all that blinds you and then burn thy adversary to ashes.” printed above the door. Nobi checks the door for traps and opens it up. The room is completely dark and none of their torches appears to work. Cerberus casts light, and the pale light seems to puncture a bit of the room’s darkness. The party notices a large orb of obsidian upon a podium in the middle of the room as well as doors that lead off to the north and east. However before they have a chance to investigate the room further, something attacks Malakai, draining some of his blood. Woodchuck spots the thing as a cloud of red mist and notices that it came up from tiny holes in the floor. Cerberus grabs the orb and throws it to Nobi who places it in his bag and half the party heads through the north door, and the other half heads through the east door, trying to get away from the mist monster. However the vampire mist, intent on guarding its treasure, begins to attack Nobi. The party attacks the vampire mist, and Nobi tosses the orb to Malakai, who promptly defeats the mist before it can escape. Taking a quick breather, the party heads through the north door.

Upon reaching the fourth door, the words above the door read as ”Cruelty is a tool not a pastime. Be ruthless to thy enemy but reward those who serve thee well.” In this similar room, the party finds a well-oiled and maintained torture rack. They search the room for a few minutes, but are unable to find anything. At one point, Malakai swears that he hears sobbing, but is unable to pinpoint the location. The party decides to head through the darkness room to the other side to another fifth door that they have found.

At the fifth door, the inscription above the door reads “The chosen are revealed by their might. The weak deserve no sympathy.” Taking no chances, the party arms themselves as Nobi checks the door for traps. They throw the door open to find a similar room to the rest of the basement, but with two small piles of glittering metal on the floor. Approaching the piles, they instantly spring up into the shapes of cobras and attack the party. The party quickly learns that the cobras are incredibly tough to hit as their bodies are made from pure mithral. After several minutes, of evading the cobras, becoming poisoned by their bites and trying in vain to destroy them, Malakai and Fulimar finally smash them enough for them to stop working. Fulimar decides to pocket the mithral to sell or use later.

At the sixth door, the party reads the inscription which reads: “Suffer not the fool. Stupidity is our faith’s cardinal sin.” Nobi checks the door for any traps and opens it as he finds none. Upon entering this small room, the party finds a pendant of silver and sapphires upon a podium as well as a staircase that leads up. Nobi heads up the staircase and looks up just as a spiked ball comes crashing down, hitting both him, Cerberus and Malakai before hitting the podium and rolling to the far corner of the room. Slightly hurt, the trio decides to heal up a bit before leaving the basement. Malakai however remembers that Cardinal Thorne said there were nine tests, and so far they had only done six, meaning there should be three more. Fulimar checks the pendant and notices that the sapphires are fake, so the party splits up to find a secret door. Nobi finds one to the west and they head through, following the “L” shaped hallway to another door.

On the seventh door, the party reads the inscription above the door which reads: “Secrecy is our greatest ally. Exposure brings death.” Being extremely careful, Nobi informs everyone to be quiet with a note. He opens the door to find another dark room, but not magically dark. He spots a mushroom growing from a pile of dirt in the middle of the room. He heads over to the east side of the room, noticing another door. He makes sure to operate in full darkness and not making any sound as he carefully opens the door on the other side. He sneaks back to the group and informs them of what he saw. Malakai recognizes the mushroom from its description as a “Shrieker”, and any noise or light will cause it to utter an absolutely piercing sound. The party puts out their torches and lights and begin to sneak to the other side, with the exception of Cerberus and Malakai, who stay on the other side.

Once the other half of the party makes it across, Woodchuck examines the eighth door, the inscription reads as “Beware the fallen for they may rise once more to threaten you.” However his inspection is interrupted as Cerberus decides to attack the Shrieker as he doesn’t think Malakai or himself will be able to sneak by it in their noisy armor. As Cerberus attacks the mushroom, it begins to scream so loudly, that his ears begin to hurt. He quickly kills it, and the screaming still persists as the mushroom dies. Woodchuck turns around back to the door and notices that it has been opened by what appears to be four undead dressed as pirates. He quickly retreats back into the room with the mushroom, leaving Nobi in the hallway. Nobi attacks the undead pirates, but is quickly overwhelmed and passes out from their attacks. Cerberus, Nobi’s employer, rushes into the hallway to pull him out as Fulimar charges into the hallway. The undead pirates appear to be too much of a match for Fulimar and he is killed by their attacks. Cerberus and Woodchuck attempt to pull his body out of the hallway, and Cerberus attempts to keep the pirates busy, however his luck is even worse as he is literally hacked to pieces by their attacks. Grabbing what is left of Cerberus, Woodchuck slams the door shut in the shrieker room. He piles the bodies against the door as a makeshift blockade as Malakai jams his dagger into the door jam.

Their “lock” holds as they administer healing to Nobi and check over the bodies of the other two. Finding them dead, Woodchuck robs them of their equipment, gold and items. Before they continue, the party decides to regroup upstairs and bring down their friend the Grumblejack the Ogre and their sorcerer friend Mishnarai. They also ask the servants for as much holy water as they can purchase, and come head back downstairs after a few hours of rest, armed with a dozen vials of holy water.

When they get back to their makeshift locked door, they notice that it has stayed closed. They ready their holy water and pry open the door to find the undead pirates still waiting for them. Using their holy water and Mishnarai spells, they are able to push back and defeat the undead.

Coming upon the ninth and final door, the party reads the words “Serve thy master well and be rewarded.” They notice that this door is the first door they have encountered that is heavily fortified and locked. Nobi notices the key on the side of the door, but is hesitant to use it. He first tries to unlock the door with his thieves’ tools, but finds that he is unable to do so. He then takes the key and unlocks the door carefully. On the other side the party is quite shocked to find a knight of Mitra waiting there for them. Most of the party recognizes him as one of the members that arrested them and sent them to Branderscar. The knight instantly attacks them as he notices that Malakai is wearing an unholy symbol of Asmodeus around his neck. The party also notice that the night is wearing a pendant around his neck, a pendant of silver and sapphires.

Nobi pulls out the orb of obsidian, plunging the room in darkness. Woodchuck and Nobi begins to sneak around the knight to get behind him and they both attempt to steal the necklace. Nobi finally succeeds on his second attempt. Malakai, filled with rage at meeting the man who captured him, begins to attack him with Fury. The knight proves that he is quite protected with both his faith and his armor and proves to be a tough opponent. After a few minutes however, Nobi knocks him out cold and Malakai begins dragging him off to the fourth room to put him upon the rack. As they torture him, a secret door opens at the front of the room, revealing the knight’s squire, who pleads with the party to let his master go. Nobi knocks out the squire who they torture after the knight dies.

After taking they revenge and pain out on the knight and his squire, the party returns to Cardinal Thorne with the pendant. The Cardinal congratulates the remaining members of the Knot, but also says that no success is without sacrifice, referring to the deaths of Cerberus and Fulimar. The Cardinal already has two people to fill their spots, a trained cleric of Asmodeus and a personal acolyte of the Cardinal is assigned to the group, as well as well-trained ratfolk magus that is currently in indentured service to the Cardinal. Thorne tells them he will begin training them for their mission ahead…

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