Lamashan 29, 4715
The Heroes of the Everflame rested at the Grand Lodge in Absalom and gathered their strength for the coming trip to Varisia. One morning, they were called into the office of venture-captain Drandle Dreng, a retired Taldorian Pathfinder. Drandle explained the tragedy of the Tri-Towers from a decade earlier, where large sections of Beldrin’s Bluff collapsed into the rushing sea around Absalom, leaving hundreds dead. The Tri-Towers school was one of the buildings destroyed in the collapse, and it fell into an ancient necropolis located in the tunnels below. The area had been long locked off from the rest of the city with a protective gate and fence built around it by the grieving families of those lost in the disaster.
Venture-captain Dreng had chosen the Heroes of the Everflame to represent the Pathfinder Society by being the first explorers to enter the disaster site since the day of the tragedy. Field Captain Eletho accepted the key to the gate to the Drowned Yards and the team departed. The next day, the group received a missive from the Lady Dacilane, matriarch of a powerful Chelish family in the Wise District of Absalom. She requested the presence of the Heroes of the Everflame at the feast to honor the memory of her daughter, lost these past ten years since the horror that befell the Tri-Towers.
The Heroes accepted Lady Dacilane’s invitation by attending her feast. The team was treated to a full nine course meal in honor of the nine levels of Hell. After a fulfilling if not somber celebration, the Heroes received Lady Dacilan’s blessing to search the Tri-Towers and the necropolis beneath it in the hopes that they would find some news of her daughter Junia’s remains. As the heroes took their leave, Loki the rogue, fulfilled a side mission from the Cheliax faction who had reason to believe that Lady Dacilane was a traitor to her country. With a quick distraction and a flick of the wrist, the kitsune relieved the heiress of her locket with none the wiser.
Lamashan 31st, 4715
The next morning, the party of Pathfinders set out from the Grand Lodge in the Foreign District to make their way across the whole of Absalom to what remained of Beldrin’s Bluff at the far East of the city’s perimeter. The heroes arrived to find the disaster site overcast with by a dark cloud with the air hanging thick and still. As they worked the key in the gate to the Drowned Yards, they were approached by a man who at first appeared to be a caretaker, Deris Marlinchen. Marlinchen was in fact the father of one of the children that attended the Tri-Towers school on that fateful day over a decade ago.
After the Pathfinders explained themselves and their mandate to enter the disaster area, Marlinchen offered to show them the “survivors” of the disaster in the school below. He claimed to be a sorcerer who saved several of the children from death in the collapsing building that day ten years earlier. The party decided to follow the man’s lead and watched as he led them along a barely visible path into the drowned schoolyard and rubble-strewn buildings.
Marlinchen led the heroes inside the school building to a classroom filled with phantom children listening to a ghostly teaching that gestured to them from the front of the room. The children sat still and lifeless staring ahead at the blackboard, a ghostly light filling the space behind their eyes. The adventurers searched the room to find a set of diaries written by the teacher that detailed a path to something hidden in the black pond outside.
The Heroes of the Everflame followed the directions in the diary to the black pond nearby and discovered the bubbling viscous center. Matthis the druid set out into the black water to examine the bubbling at the center of the pool. As he stepped closer, he got a clearer sight of the bubbling water which converged over a severed arm clutching a metal handle at the bottom of the pool. Attached to the arm and handle were a series of large eggs – apparently amphibian in nature – like that of a giant frog.
Without warning, the water around Matthis exploded, revealing two dark scaled Aquamonstrosities that bore down on the druid. The creatures from the black waters clawed the druid and tore his flesh – leaving him bloodied and wounded. The heroes dove into the pool to help their comrade, only to have one of the aquamonstrosities grab the small halfling, Janira, and drag her beneath the waters.
The heroes were able to catch up to the amphibious beasts and put them down beneath their swords. Matthis managed to cultivate a set of the aquamonstrosity eggs from the black water. Ele and Matthis examined the severed arm to find that it was very fresh – appearing to have been cut off in the past day. Working together, the heroes discovered that the metal handle opened a drain in the center of the pool which contained a hatch below therein.
The Pathfinders made their way down the hatch into the necropolis below – but Matthis’ tiger, Maya, refused to enter the evil waters. The heroes reached the bottom of the ladder to find a black necropolis waiting for them cold and silent. They examined the next few rooms to find a series of sarcophagi and in one room, the perfectly preserved body of a young nobleman. While they examined the young boy to see what preserved his form but not his life, they were attacked by an intellect devourer that sprung from the shadows to tear a hole into Eletho’s back. The creature turned invisible and hid from the warriors before they could retaliate. As they continued moving through the room, they were attacked again, this time, it was Matthis who was the victim of the four legged brain eater.
Working together, they surrounded the brain beast and smashed it into goo along the necropolis floors. Loki scouted forward by sneaking through the shadows to discover a series of interconnected antechambers. As he glided through the shadows, the kitsune heard a voice in his head, calling to him. Loki cast dancing lights to get a view of what was in the room to discover that a nosferatu vampire stood in front of him, waiting to strike. The beast tore into the rogue and left him wounded and weakened.
In response to the commotion down the hall, the rest of the party ran in to help Loki. A wave of ghouls attacked from the room to the north. Ug and Ele battled back the ghouls as the others were able catch up to the Nosferatu. Matthis hit the vampire with a burst of radiance and turned it to ashes.
They continued deeper into the necropolis to find a hexagonal room with several crypts lined up in alcoves. Eletho detected magic coming from one of the sarcophagi as well as an overall background level of necromantic energy all throughout the necropolis. Matthis edged into the room to see what was hiding in the shadows when he was hit with an overwhelming burst of psionic energy and left speechless and staring at the walls. A mythic intellect devourer called Omnor ran up from the ground and began climbing inside the druid’s gaping mouth. Loki the kitsune reacted quickly and snatched the four legged abomination by the hind legs and pulled it free of the druid’s mouth.
The heroes took turns grappling with the devourer and trying to get a grip on it as it blasted them with stunning energy and tried to crawl inside their mouths and eat their brains. In a madcap mishap the heroes piled on each other one by one in an attempt to get in a blow on their powerful diminutive foe. Finally, after Ug and Ele had been crushed by a pile of earth elementals, they were able to get in a blow that severely weakened the alien creature.
The creature shrunk down in size and dropped free of the kitsune’s grasp and landed on the chest of the prone half-orc, Ug the Invincible. Ug could do little by scream in horror as the four legged brain eater skittered up his chest toward his mouth. At the last second, one of Matthis’ earth elementals reached down and smashed the brain monster into a pile of pink goo on the barbarian’s chest.
The party continued searching the necropolis and discovered the remains of Junia, who had hidden inside the sarcophagus during a game of hide and seek when the earthquake hit the Tri-Towers those long ten years ago. Junia had discovered the ruby ring of the salamander and found her life sustained by it. The intellect devourers had been drawn to her mental suffering.
The Heroes of the Everflame returned from the necropolis with the still living body of Junia while Loki convinced Marlinchen not to stay in the necropolis with the ghosts of the children. Loki bluffed the disturbed man by convincing him that he should share his story with the Pathfinder Society back at the Grand Lodge.
The Heroes were rewarded handsomely by Lady Dacilane and were congratulated on a job well done by their venture-captain Dreng. The Heroes would be given one last task by the Pathfinder Society before they were to set off to Varisia. But first, they would rest.