On the other side of the dying bonfire, amongst the torn limbs and broken bodies of the riot that occurred after the death of Cleaver stood an unknown female Tiefling, with a sword aimed directly at a body lying at her feet. Krosh, quick to end a fight before it began, fired an arrow that sailed wide and clinked against the stone wall beside her, with a stern warning to not follow through. Unflinching, the Tiefling smiled an evilly toothy grin, stabbing downward in a quick thrust
Turning to bolt through the passage on the side, the Tiefling paused to drop something at the body’s side. Muad’Dib was quick to cast Faerie Fire, surrounding the fleeing assassin in a purple glow, as she made to escape.
Krosh Jenkins, approaching the body, recognized Cedric, the cleric they had met back at the tavern and who had become separated from the group when Krosh inadvertently tripped a trap that caused a cave in.
Cedric was almost unrecognizable in his current condition; having been beaten and bloodied a good deal.
Looking to pursue, Maud’dib dashed to try and keep up with the fleeing Tiefling. As Krosh passed by the deceased Cedric, the object dropped at his side drew his attention. Blood drained from his face, and terror gripped him momentarily. He recalled quickly the rumors and songs of a deadly band of assassins who were so aptly name the Night Parade.
Known for their prowess in assassinating their marks expertly, the group confined themselves to the shadows, making themselves known and seen only to toy with their prey before delivering a fatal blow; the only sign of their passing being the signature marks they left in their wake, elegantly crafted masquerade masks. Seemingly mundane, the masks served no purpose other than to instigate and taunt the local authorities. Rumors suggested that only those of the Parade would recognize their own work, and to carry one almost certainly invited their wrath.
Recovering, quickly, Krosh proceeded to follow the Tiefling, nearly setting off a deftly hidden trap. Able to quickly back away, Krosh was able to move back without setting off the tripwire; all the while the Tiefling rounding the corner and making good her escape.
A quick discussion between Blythe, Maud’dib and Krosh proved prudent as they grabbed one of the heavier remaining logs from the bonfire and set the trap off. Taking time to allow for the tanglefoot goo to dry, they returned to the deceased Cedric. Maud’din called upon his healing powers, but to no avail, Cedric was truly gone, and short of a wish spell, or true resurrection spell, there would be no bringing him back.
Pathion took an immediate interest in the mask, and aptly put it on, enjoying the emerald green jeweled studs that decorated the elegant craftsmanship. Searching through Cedric’s belongings, the group acquired: 2 gold pieces, 1 silver, and 4 copper. Also in his purse were 3 gems (presumably, those pilfered from Gems and Baubles, prior to the building blowing up). On his person were also 2 potions of cure light wounds; as well as a Medallion of Cayden Cailean about his neck.
Losing the trail of the Tiefling, and Hazel and Nekel, the group decides to continue on through the tunnels. On the other side of the Sanctuary Chamber is a large room with four sealed sarcophagi equally mirroring each other, one in each corner. Along the wall are crypt shelves, each one five feet wide, and 4 feet tall, lining upwards in columns of ten.
Within the room are bodies, and remains of many dwarves, some seemingly deceased of natural causes, others looking to have been ripped apart. First glance looks as if this scene hadn’t been disturbed in decades, as the bodies were remarkably well preserved, almost mummified in the areas that were not skeletal remains. It’s also worthy to note that the remains in this chamber are seemingly those of civilians, possibly women and children; all dwarvish in stature.
The door to the north is sealed shut, while the door to south broken inward in a shards of splintered wood; and the one in the west missing completely. Another deeper inspection of the room, revealed some of the bodies had been removed, or were entirely missing. Almost as if the longer you stared at it, the more the scene revealed its secrets. What remained of the door that was broken in, was a thick piece of wood, indicating that whatever entered was large, and powerfully strong.
Looking through the doors to the west and south, revealed mirror images of the design, and Krosh’s knowledge of dungeoneering confirmed what had already been suspected. They had entered into the dwarven crypts, which meant that the main city was not too far off. Blythe begins to detect a type of magic coming from the sarcophagi, but after telling the group of its weakening properties, opts to leave them alone.
Something through the western door spooks Maud’dib and his bat, Glider, enough to where the gnome casts dancing lights in the room. However, it doesn’t have a huge effect, as the rooms are very well lit, having lit torches placed in sconces towards the “ceiling” of the crypts, seemingly everburning.
Entering into the west chamber, a quick scout of the three open doors reveals another set of mirror images, and Krosh begins mapping out their progress of what he sees, so that if they need to backtrack they can. There are also bodies in this room, but not as many, and these are very clearly warriors, defenders possibly; the equipment is so sold that its not worth inspecting. Moving quietly, the group overhears faint whispering coming from the chamber to the north. A quick listen in and the group is able to determine the presence of a single goblin and kobold.
Following the conversation, with some quick translating, the group is able to ascertain that there are three bosses, presumably leaders of the respective tribes, and that they answer to the “Mistress” who keeps a pet, which terrifies the goblin beyond any sane means, but holds a sort of awe with the kobold, who refers to it as a “baby.”
The group infers that the Mistress refers to the Mysterious Femaie Vampire from their dreamscape episode, but are lost as to what this “pet” might be. A well placed shot by Pathion catches the Kobold by surprised, and kills him immediately. Using his brute size to intimidate the remaining creature, the goblin becomes compliant, answering whatever questions the group asks.
The goblin is seemingly terrified by this “pet” and though he wants to tell the group what it is, he can’t seem to overcome his fear to get the words out. He then tells the group that the Mistress is uniting the bosses in an effort to carve out a home where they don’t have to live in squalor, as they’ve done in the past; but he doesn’t trust her. he also indicated that there are more like her in the main city, that she is not the only of her kind.
Historic knowledge of these Halls have shown that in the past when the Dwarves were enslaved, there was a vampiric menace behind it. Its possible that the previous adventuring party that had set the dwarves free had not finished off the vampire, and perhaps she had returned to finish the job.
The group decided that it was best to not instigate a battle with the vampires in the city and their “pet.” Krosh quickly killed the goblin, much to the chagrin of a clapping creature from the unmonitored door to the west. In their interrogation of the goblin, the creature had managed to watch most, if not all, of the scene unfold. Clearly, at one point Dwarf, the creature now in display was mutated, changed, and no longer reminiscent of any natural race of Golarion.
The creature asked the group to come quietly indicating that the mistress just wanted to talk to them. The group rebuked, and opted to run, leading headfirst into an ambush of goblins, kobolds, and a single orc. The dwarven vampire attacked head on, accepting each hit with a snarl and a laugh, flashing fang whenever possible. Using claws to attack, it rushed Krosh. Maud’dib summoned an earth elemental to help, but it proved to be ineffective; while Blythe and Pathion dealt with the humanoids from the rear.
A few failed attempts at biting Krosh caused the creature to attempt to parley again, in which it offered to allow the group to keep their weapons, but would have their hands bound. Choosing to fight until the end, the creature attacked full force. Noticing the group was hurting, and not wanting to kill them, the creature beckoned the group,
“Come, children, the Mistress is waiting… and if you decide to run, you’ll find your path blocked.”
and the remaining kobold backed off and disappeared into the south chambers.