The paladin catches her breath as she looks to the rest of the group. The monastery monks did a fair amount of damage to the Keepers, and Traelle feels their punches still. Trying to clear her head, Traelle takes a deep breath and feels the bruising flesh press against her armor. Wincing in pain, the paladin stands and surveys the room. Dead monks litter the training mats, and a skittering blood bath leads her sight to the head of one of the monks. Traelle steps past the decapitated corpse and rejoins the group.
Rinn speaks up and says that she would like to venture forward, to scout for enemies and make for the doorway to the north of the hallway. As the rogue opens the door to a laboratory, an ancient figure immediately senses her presence.
"I've already told you, no! Depart!" With a quick, studying glance, Rinn heeds the warning and slips back to the hallway. She returns to the Keepers and shares what she has seen. While describing what she has seen, Traelle speaks up to say, "What you've seen is a Lich. A lich is the remains of great wizards who embrace their own death as a means of preserving themselves."
Alatar speaks of how the lich may have been in the monastery for some time and that the cultist might be the most recent residents. Drak'Thal cautions the group to avoid the lich, hoping to avoid angering something that would pursue the Keepers in their quest. Alatar speaks again, "Traelle, you seem to know more of liches than anyone else, perhaps you can speak with it."
Drak'Thal proposes the Keepers offer to eradicate the monastery monks in an attempt to please him. The group walks forward, and Traelle thinks again and again, I must choose my words wisely.
As the paladin walks into the laboratory, and says "Excuse me, my name is Traelle. I'm from a far away land. What is your purpose here?"
The lich sighs and says, “I am not your enemy, leave me be."
“We did not come to bring you harm. We have our own tasks and will leave you to yours. But any information you might give us will be greatly appreciated."
Rinn whispers to Traelle, "Ask him if the monks are getting in his way."
Traelle speaks up again, "I don't know how long you've been here, but sure you've come into contact with people that have recently come here."
Without glancing from his work, the creature speaks, “They leave me be for the most part."
Traelle attempts to gain the attention of the lich again, and says. “Our path has already brought us here. If we succeed in what we do, perhaps you might be able to share some information with us. And these monks will no longer bother you at all.”
The lich turns his gaze to the paladin, studies her, and asks, "What is that on your shield?"
“This is my holy symbol,” the young human replies. “It was given to me as a reminder of my oath as a Tyrran paladin."
The eyes of the lich narrow as he remarks, "My brother once wore that symbol…"
The stare is unnoticed by Traelle. "Aye? I followed The Blind for my whole life."
The lich continues to narrow his gaze and says, "How long have you followed?"
The paladin thinks back on the oath given to her by the Bladeseeker and responds,"It has been just a few tendays now, however, I have thought and prayed both on my symbol and my oath. To my god, in the shrine of Tyr in the city of Wyrmwood. I know the path that I have started."
Finally, the gaze of the lich drops, and he says, "Do you know who gave rise to that symbol?"
"I have known a few who have followed it, but…" Traelle thinks for a moment and recalls that Samular had a brother, Renwick, who had stored his phylactery beneath Summit Hill. She continues, “The ones I have met before that followed this crest, called their home Summit Hall, founded by Samular Cardoon…”
“Yes, my brother,” the lich interjects. “We both fought bravely in the Second Troll War.”
“That was quite some time ago…you have survived until now?” The paladin can hardly contain her shock.
Nodding, the lich says, “my phylactery is in a safe place, beneath Summit Hall.”
“If summit hall was there to act as a means of guarding your phylactery, it may not be a secure as you thought.” Hesitantly, the paladin continues. “The Summit Hall is no more. It was destroyed and there only remains a handful of the order.”
A look of sorrow runs across the lich’s face, and he stares into Traelle’s eyes and says, ‘something prevents me from knowing your alignment…”
Traelle grasps the Ring of Mind Shielding and tugs at the smooth metal. The ring slips from her finger, and Renwick nods. The lich says, “what of the catacombs? Beneath Summit Hall?”
“I do not know of the catacombs…I was there for such a short while. I was there long enough to pray under the shrine of Tyr. I do not know if you are aware of the people that lived there, but I was able to speak with their leader Ushein Stormbanner and i was able to stay with these paladins for just a short time, i was able to see the statue to Samular.
“Who razed Summit Hall?”
Alatar speaks up, “It was likely these same cultists that resided here.” The Shadar-kai also speaks, “It is why we’ve come.” Renwick nods for a moment, waves his hand, and leads the Keepers into the southeastern doorway.
The aged bedchambers have a layer of dust, but the fine canopy bed is evidence that someone of importance once called the room home. Renwick speaks again, “what can i do to assist you?”
“We come seeking a magical item, an orb, that these monks may have with them.” Traelle responds. Rinn speaks from behind the paladin, “Some sort of elemental power.” Joining the women, Alatar interjects, “The monks have kidnapped several important figures and perhaps taken the bones of a Knight of Samular.”
Renwick thinks for a moment, before addressing the Keepers of the Realm. “I thought for a moment that it was my brothers body that they brought to this crypt beneath the monastery. I thought to abscond with my brother, one day… I suppose this is the body of another, then…” Renwick looks back up to the group and continues. “You may use these chambers to rest, during your time here. However, the more blood you spill, they may become more suspicious. Finish your task quickly.”
Renwick looks at the paladin and produces an amulet. He places the jewelry into the hand of Traelle, “take care.” I may have things to assist you, but I cannot join you. For if i fall in battle, i will be sent back to Summit Hall. If you cleanse the monastery, i will protect it.” The lich gives Traelle a number of potions to assist the Keepers on their task and allows the group to discuss their plan of attack for the monastery.
The group moves from the laboratory and reenters the hallway. Rinn moves forward, scouting the multiple doors that await the group. As the group continues its search, they happen upon two guards within a brandy distillery. In a show of ferocity, Rinn and Þhoruunmake quick work of both, dispatching the pair quickly. With a few bottles of unaged brandy in their possession, the Keepers continue their search of the monastery. In their search, the rogue and the monk find a cache of gemstones and gold in one of the unprotected rooms.
As the Keepers continue, a pair of double doors reveals a long foyer. The doors of the foyer are crimson and the room is watched by seemingly lifelike stone gargoyles. A pair of doors have a familiar symbol inlaid upon them: a small triangle with a vertical pillar rising in the center. With a sense of foreboding, the group returns to the previous hallway.
As the group enters another undiscovered room, a group of monks are taken by complete surprise as their ranks are decimated. With the monks destroyed, Rinn and Þhoruun discover scrolls and books and learn of Marlos and the Temple of Black Earth.
The Keepers continue to explore the monastery, encountering additional monk guards. Beyond the main entrance and into a barracks of the monastery, Rinn’s stealthiness backfires. As guards attempt to strike out at Traelle, they collide with the near invisible rogue. Startled, the monks within the barracks strike out at the Keepers. The room erupts in a melee. Rinn, Þhoruun, and Traelle deal and take damage with the monastery monks, with Alatar reaching each enemy with his arrows. During the melee, Rinn forgets herself as well as her companions. Lucky for the Keepers, she does not strike out at her forgotten friends. As the forces of the monastery dwindle, Alatar feints the remaining monk and ends the monk with a slice to the throat. With Rinn mentally incapacitated, the Keepers return to Renwick’s bedchambers.
The Keepers retrace their steps, and they find themselves in the main entrance…and a crushing blow strikes out a Þhoruun and Traelle. Two minotaurs stand before the Keepers, rage brewing in their eyes. As a pillar of light shines down within the room, the Keepers trade blows with the minotaurs. The elven archer seems to respond to each strike from the minotaur with a resounding strike of fury. They wear each other down, and the remaining Keepers aid their companion. Knocking the minotaur to its back, Þhoruun pummels a minotaur before Traelle strikes with her blade and ends the fury of the minotaur. As if sensing the end, the remaining minotaur reaches out to Þhoruun and knocks her to unconsciousness. With a healing spell to Þhoruun, Drak’Thal strikes at the minotaur, bringing the beast to the brink. A focused gaze appears on the paladin's face, and with a focused stare, the pillar of light engulfs the remaining minotaur, and flames lick at its flesh as it is consumed to ashes.