Hand of Light, Episode 25 – My Dear Missing Mother, Part 5

Session Date: November 24, 2017

In this episode, the Hand of Light finds an unexpected ally in Iniarv’s Tower, argues over the fate of three books, and runs into creatures far beyond their pay grade, forcing them to flee.

21 Flamerule, 1367 DR

“Clearly we must unstone Gabriel,” Dunkle says, holding his hand out for the stone to flesh salve.

Karn shakes his head. “We have but two of the salves. These two stoned lizardfolk will likely prove more useful to our cause than Gabriel ever was.”

And thus the Hand of Light enters and extended discussion about who gets unstoned and who doesn’t. In the end, they decide to unstone Gabriel and one of the lizardfolk.

Because the DM made them roll dice for it. How many games have we all been in where the players took hours discussing something like this? Geesh…

After escorted the liberated lizardfolk and the stoned one back to the ziggurat where the other lizardfolk warriors are, the heroes rest for the night.

During first watch the shadows in the altar room begin to elongate and move, coming alive to attack them. Lyr, already heavily wounded, goes down and nearly transforms into a shadow himself. However, his friends quickly defeat the creatures and go the bard’s aid, reviving him and sparing him a fate worse than death.

22 Flamerule, 1367 DR

The next morning, the Hand of Light sets off for Iniarv’s Tower. They exit the swamp several hours later, and — after arguing over where to hide the boat — approach the tower which they can see off in the distance.

The tower lies mostly in ruins with but two spires and two chambers intact. There is only one obvious entrance into the compound, and there are no windows anywhere.

Believing this to be either suspicious or convenient, the Hand of Light is hesitant to enter through the doorway. So, Dunkle climbs the tower to check things out. From the south spire, he can see the top of the north spire, the roof of which as crumbled inward, revealing another entrance.

Dunkle gets a running start and leaps into the air, trying to clear the thirty feet between the two spires. Obviously, he doesn’t make it, slams into the side of the tower, and falls forty some feet to the ground.

Dexter, meanwhile, uses his spiderclimbing boots to easily scale the tower and tie off a rope to the north spire. The heroes then scale the rope and enter the spire, bantering back and forth about looking for a new rogue when they get back to Waterdeep.

The north spire turns out to hold very little beyond refuse and some rotten sleeping rolls. They descend the spire into one of the compound’s remaining chambers on the ground floor. In an adjacent room they can see massive piles of refuse.

“You know what lives in piles of refuse, don’t you?” comments Dexter. The group ignores him.

Dunkle sends his new owl familiar into the room to check things out. Looking through his eyes, Dunkle can see movement from one of the piles of refuse and relays the information to the group.

Karn snorts and begins moving into the room, silencing Dexter when he starts going on about stuff living in refuse. “Torm will protect us!” the paladin insists.

And then, as the Hand of Light nears the center of the room, the three piles of refuse explode into movement, and eight barbed tentacles begin wrapping around them and pulling them in toward large hungry maws.

“Otyughs live in refuse!” Dexter screams as a tentacle wraps around him.

What follows is a pitched battle with four ravenous otyughs that the Hand of Light nearly loses in the first few moments. However, the tide turns, as it usually does, and the monsters are put down.

However, not without loses.

“Gabriel, no!” screams Dunkle as he stares at his apprentice’s two legs — legs that were separated from the rest of his body when an otyugh bite him in half. The rogue then crawls into the monster’s corpse and pulls out the rest of Gabriel. Unfortunately, the state of his body prevents him from being raised from he dead.

As Dunkle, tears streaming his face, buries Gabriel outside the tower, the rest of the group takes a short rest. When they are all ready, the go back into the compound and ascend the stairs of the south spire.

At the top, they find a wooden door in excellent repair — not rotten like the others in the tower — and beyond it is a well maintained room containing a desk, a fireplace, and a bookcase.

Dexter and Dunkle find several books of importance. Three have covers of bones, pages made from human skin, and give information about dozens of known lichens in the Realms. A few other books appear to be the journals of Iniarv himself.

The heroes hear a muffled sound coming from the desk and can see one of the desk drawers rattling. Upon inspection it appears the drawer was wedged shut.

When they remove the wedge, a tiny gray creature with wings an large bat-like ears flies out. It zips over to Karn and lands on the paladin’s shoulder. “Hi, I’m N1-24. What’s your name?” it asks in a high-pitched voice. “Are you my master?”

“No,” Karn says, narrowing his eyes. “What are you?”

“That appears to be a hommonculus,” Dexter says. “If he doesn’t know who his master is, I’d guess that the bonding ritual with the wizard that created it — Iniarv I presume — was never completed.”

At that, Karn snatches the small creature in his gauntleted fist and brings it down in front of him. “How did you get in the desk?” he asks the creature.

“I was locked in there,” N1-24 responds.

“Who locked you in there?”

“None of your business.”

“No games,” the paladin growls sternly, squeezing the creature slightly. “Who locked you in the drawer?”

“None of your business! None of your business!” N1-24 squirms around, trying to get free. “What’s your problem you big stupid metal head? Let me go! I just want to find my master.”

Dunkle then walks over. “N, calm down,” he says. “I am your master.”

“Master!” the hommonculus cries out in happiness. “I’ve been waiting for you! See how clean I’ve kept your room? Please tell ugly-faced metal head to let me go.”

Once Karn can be convinced to release the N1-24, the creature goes to Dunkle’s shoulder, embracing his neck and purring into his ear.

At Dunkle’s prodding, the creature reveals that he was created by Iniarv but the bonding ritual was never completed. He’s been waiting in this room for a long long time for his master to return. Recently, a women with black hair named None Of Your Business entered the room and locked him into the desk drawer because he “talked too much.”

N1-24 then notices the books that Dunkle and Dexter were looking over and points out that one of Iniarv’s journals is missing. The Hand of Light begins to suspect that this woman took the journal which likely contains information about achieving lichdom.

When they ask N1-24 where the woman might have gone or where they could find the journal, the creature says he doesn’t know but they might look in the crypts below the tower.

Just as they are about to leave the room, Karn demands that they destroy the books that give information about the liches. What ensues is a lengthy and heated discussion between the paladin and the wizard, the latter of which refuses to burn books that likely contain important information about the liches should they ever desire to track them down and destroy them.

In the end, the books disappear, much to Karn’s anger. The paladin suspects either Dunkle or Dexter did something with them, but he has no evidence.

This marks the third argument of the day with the Hand of Light. The stress of the adventuring life may be getting to them. Maybe it’s time to retire and hang out with flumphs.

With N1-24 happily riding Dunkle’s shoulder, the heroes arrive at the entrance to the crypts and find the door — a large circular stone — already rolled aside. Inside they find clear tracks made from creatures dragging their feet (zombies most likely) and follow them.

As they travel, they notice most of the funerary recesses are empty as though the remains were either stolen — or worse, animated.

The come into a massive chamber whose ceiling stretches more than sixty feet above them. Columns run down the center of the room, and lining the sides are dozens of stone slabs on top of which lie humanoid forms wrapped in linens. In the four corners of the room are small waterfalls that plummet from far above into basins. A basin of water with a fountain shaped like some angelic being stand in the center of the room.

“Those can’t all be mummies, can they?” Lyr asks, indicating the linen-wrapped figures.

Karn moves forward, hefting his halberd. “Only one way to find out.”

As the heroes move into the center of the room, several of the figure stand and attack.

Dunkle dashes forward and stabs one of them with Bleeder. The linen wrappings immediately fall away into a crumpled pile on the floor, but a swarm of furious beetles flow down his rapier and onto the rogue, crawling under his armor and bitting him all over. Dunkle screams like a girl, and swatting the insects off him, moves away from the beetle swarm.

All of the linen-wrapped figures turn out to more of the same, with swamp of beetles emerging to attack the heroes the moment they destroy the linen wrappings.

Just as the Hand of Light is starting to get the hang of the fight, using holy water from the fountain in the center of the room to destroy the undead creatures, floating bulbous creatures begin to emerge from behind the four waterfalls in the room.

“Holy hells!” shouts Dexter from his perch atop the fountain. “Undead beholders!”

The four beholders immediately begin pummeling the heroes with necrotic rays from their central eyes and a variety of other rays from their eye stalks. After only a few moments of taking shots from the rotting, undead beholders, the heroes know they are outmatched.

“Let’s get the hell out of here!” screams Dunkle. No one disagrees.

At that moment, Lyr is struck by a moment of genus — a rare occurrence. The bard first casts insect plague to hold back the linen figures, and then uses his magical staff to create a second harmless swarm of insects around the heroes that completely obscures them.

Unable to see any targets, the undead beholders fire randomly into the the area, but hit nothing. The Hand of Light then retreats from the room. The linen figures amble stupidly into the insect plague area and are quickly destroyed.

From the hallway, Lyr peers through the doorway into the chamber as he is the only one who can see while in his insect swarm. After a few moments, he sees the beholders float back where they came from behind the waterfalls.

The Hand of Light discusses their options and decide to sneak past the beholders. They simply don’t have the resources to deal with the creatures on such unfavorable terms, especially when they might need to fight a lich yet that day.

So, under the guise of the bard’s insect swarm, they sneak back through the chamber. The beholders do exit and take blind shots into the insect swarm, but the heroes make it safely across the chamber and into another hallway.

“By Torm, that was tough,” Karn comments.

None of the other members of the Hand of Light disagree.

The Hand of Light

Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.

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