The party had four or five days to wait until the new month and the dark of the moon. Thus, they busied themselves about Dulwich, gathering information about what might lie beneath the Lawgiver’s Hall and the catacombs, helping out at the cathedral or going about their mundane business.
Much was learned.
Dimble unearthed fragments of an old document that seemed to tell the terrible tale of a group of adventurers who delved below the town’s catacombs into whatever lay below. The account was maddeningly vague, but did relate that almost all the adventurers died during their foray.
At the same time, Theoden chatted with the mysterious dwarf whom the party had observed at Nalthra’s Jewellery. The dwarf, it transpired, was called Dordin Ovlag, and he had come to Dulwich to breathe the fresh air free of Gloamhold’s foul taint. He was an adventurer and Theoden judged him a successful and wealthy one at that!
Polumya spent his days poking about the Lawgiver’s Hall while helping out during services and, crucially, interments. He learnt that the catacombs were buried deep under the cathedral–perhaps 45 feet underground–and spotted several bricked-up archways and heavy portcullis-like gates that likely warded access to these forbidden areas. Beyond the gates–in two places–he thought he saw pits or shafts plunging deeper underground, but the heavy gates made further investigation impossible.
The Dark of the Moon
In short order, the dark of the moon arrived on the first day of Lauganor. The heroes were ready. Gathering themselves, they made their way to the graveyard to meet with Jaakkima Aikio, the graveyard’s head caretaker. The elderly man had previously been keen to have their help in getting to the bottom of the undead infestation and gave his permission for them to lurk in the graveyard after dark.
Thus began a long, boring vigil. The group split into three sub-groups and took up positions on three nearby mausoleums. Hour upon boring hour passed until a scream–quickly choked off–split the night. The heroes leapt into action–some more successfully than others–as Lion and Polumya both managed to loudly fall off their roof instead of nimbly climbing down as they had originally planned.
Thus, in staggered groups, the heroes came across a trio of skeletal figures and a zombified old woman outside the family Kalervo’s mausoleum. The door of the mausoleum was open, and a crumpled figure lay on the floor. The zombified woman was pummelling it into a red, gore-splattered paste. A vicious fight broke out, but the undead were no match for the heroes. However, while the melee raged, Dimble made a surprising discovery. While he zipped about the battlefield under the influence of powerful magics, he bumped into a cowled figure not once but twice! Both times, the figure lurked in the deep shadows between mausoleums, and Dimble realised it was Pekka Kurikka–the merchant they had previously spotted in the graveyard. Lion grabbed the man, but he seemed to have some powerful magic at his disposal. Twice, he disappeared as eldritch mists swirled about him.
The heroes were now convinced he was a necromancer and responsible for the undead they had recently put down. However, he had escaped for now, and the undead were slain.
The adventurers briefly explored the Kalervo family’s mausoleum. Within, they found four open sarcophagi and a small earthen tunnel low down on a wall. Only Dimble could fit into the tunnel with relative ease, and even the brave gnome was squeezing as he did so. Dimble followed the passageway for a short while as it sloped downwards, but the tunnel seemed treacherous and in no way stable. The brave gnome retreated to rejoin his friends, having observed that the marks on the crumbling earth walls suggested it had been dug upwards from below.
A brief conversation ensued while several of the heroes had their minor wounds tended. They quickly reached the consensus that Pekka had likely returned to the Three Bells Inn and that speed was of the essence. They decided to hunt him down…
This post is a session summary from my weekly 5e D&D Edgelands of Darkness campaign set in the Duchy of Ashlar.