Here begins the third entry of Maximilian D’Ambrosio, Guild Master (GM) of Dragon Wing.
Today’s mission was an odd one. Osanna joined one of our newest clerics, an elf named Vendethiel (just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) on a quest to explore an old temple to Magrim, the Dwarven god of the dead. The request actually came from within Dragon Wing, from a human fighter named Gilgamesh.
Speaking of odd ones…
Gilgamesh is obsessed with finding Caliburn, a mythical holy sword that’s said to be able to destroy any undead creature in a single strike. If such a sword even exists, I think it’s likely that its powers have been greatly exaggerated, but I must admit that Gilgamesh’s searches have led to some interesting artifacts. Today was no exception.
Gilgamesh had dug up information about a certain temple. It was long abandoned and had fallen into disrepair, but supposedly the undead would not venture onto its grounds. Gilgamesh believed that Caliburn might be what was keeping them away, so he hired a couple of our newer guildmates to join him in exploring it.
The temple was quite a distance away, near the southern border of Tecaria. Traveling from Amaranth in northeastern Azalea to the temple took a solid two weeks by carriage. Along the way they saw, at a distance, the enchanted forest of Everglow to the north and the mobile fortress-city Tapur Khegh to the south.
The group told me of an attack by a band of four goblins whilst en route. There were apparently six in total, but two of them held back for reasons unknown. I was somewhat concerned to hear this, but the three of them dispatched the goblins with ease. They could probably have taken all six without a problem. As their GM, I must learn not to underestimate them. Since taking over Dragon Wing I’ve been worried about sending my guild members into situations that they can’t handle, but perhaps I’ve been somewhat too cautious.
|Highly detailed artist’s rendering of the known world.|
Regardless, as I was saying, they defeated the party of goblins with ease and continued on without further incident. They reached the temple safely and managed not to kill each other on the way - no mean feat for three near-strangers stuck in a small carriage for two straight weeks. Gilgamesh tied their horse to a nearby tree and they proceeded to explore the temple.
There was little of interest on the outside: crumbling stone and grass mostly. However, Vendethiel noticed that the area around the temple was consecrated, which explains why the undead would not approach it. A temple’s grounds being blessed by holy magic is hardly unusual, but it was strange that the enchantment was still active so long after the temple had been abandoned. Gilgamesh was sure that Caliburn was responsible. The others were less certain but resolved to explore the temple regardless.
At first it seemed like their trip might have been a waste of time. The main sanctuary was as decrepit as the exterior, with little left in it except broken pews and tattered tapestries. Anything of value had been carried off long ago. As they were readying to leave, Osanna noticed that the stone altar at the back of the temple was positioned strangely, slightly off-center. She went to investigate and found that the altar was on a hidden track. With Gilgamesh’s help, she moved it aside to reveal a staircase leading downward.
The party found themselves in a series of underground rooms and hallways. Despite the hidden entrance, what they found down there was surprisingly mundane - rotted food, bolts of old cloth, and various other supplies. Gilgamesh thought that he heard a noise, but the others didn’t hear anything, so they onwards they continued.
Shortly after, they found the broken bodies of a few orcs who had run afoul of some trap or guardian set to protect the temple.
After passing through a few more rooms they finally found something interesting: a pedestal with a large golden bead set in it. There were lines of energy coming from the pedestal, going up the walls and into the ground above. They figured, quite rightly, that they’d found the source of the enchantment. Deciding that an item that repels undead could be very useful, they took the bead and continued exploring.
It was at this time that Vendethiel heard a sound as well, something like enormous feet in heavy boots. Osanna had an inkling that she knew what was down there, and her suspicions proved correct as she scouted ahead to find a golem patrolling the halls. Normally a golem would be far beyond this group’s abilities, but this one was badly damaged by time and wear-and-tear to the point that it was barely functional.
The golem swung to face them - drawn by their presence or by the bead they’d taken we’ll never know - and began stomping forwards. Gilgamesh planted himself just on the other side of a doorway, with Osanna and Vendethiel taking up positions behind him. What followed was a truly epic series of missed attacks as the party and the golem swung wildly at each other. At one point the golem punched so hard that its arm fell off. The only one hitting reliably was Osanna, whose musket balls could punch clean through the golem’s armor at such a close range. It ended up being a pretty one-sided battle, although Gilgamesh did come fairly close to being knocked unconscious. I think that if Vendethiel hadn’t been using her magic to keep him in the fight, things would have played out very differently. After some time the golem finally collapsed into a mess of dust and broken stone, its long watch over the temple ended at last.
With the golem defeated, the party was free to continue exploring. They found two more of those golden beads as well as two rubies worth about 250 gold apiece. Osanna and Vendethiel each took one of the rubies and one of the beads. They gave the third bead to Gilgamesh, even though the terms of his mission allowed them to keep any treasure they found other than Caliburn. So, that was quite generous of them.
With the temple thoroughly explored, they returned to the carriage and began the long trip back to Amaranth. Vendethiel discovered that the beads were enchanted such that, if they were broken or smashed on the ground, they would release a burst of holy magic that would damage and repel nearby undead. These items are of both excellent quality and use. I will have to see if Gilgamesh is willing to part with his; I would like to see if someone in Amaranth can replicate the enchantment.
All in all, I’d call this a successful mission for everyone except Gilgamesh. If and when the Lich of Greensfeld awakens, I think we’ll all be grateful for these beads, though I'd still have prefer if he'd found that blade instead.
- Maximilian D’Ambrosio
Guild Master, Dragon Wing
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