Once the bone devil was defeated they look for a way to cleanse the altar. Calmer said that several vials of holy water would do the trick. Reya said we could pray to Torm. That cannot hurt and may be able to do something. Calmers and Reya knelt at the altar and began to pray. About a minute later Torm’s power began to wash over the altar and wiped clean the blood and other desecrating elements.
Calmers said that as soon as we have the time I am going to make as much holy water as I can.
They decided to check out the two areas behind curtain they had not been in so far, one to the north and one to the south. Nym was afraid of what they might find as these were the areas that led to the back side of High Hall that was hit by the meteor.
They went south first. The room had some destruction. In the middle of the room was a set of circular stairs similar to the ones they had seen near the entrance that led to the choir/organ area.
These circular stairs once led to residences and offices. They are now choked with rubble, as the sections that housed those spaces were destroyed.
They went to the north room and found similar destruction.
They then headed back to the Central Altar to take the secret staircase down to the Catacombs.
Small set of stairs led to a small platform with more stairs that led down to a larger platform and then down more stairs to the Catacombs.
To the east was the Tom b of the Unknown Hero. Nym told her story for those who were not familiar:
Years before the Companion appeared in the sky, a young red dragon made life miserable for the residents of Elturel. It ate livestock, burned crops, and demanded tribute. Then one day, a scruffy-looking, unarmored woman wielding a greatsword marched up to the dragon and hacked at the beast with mighty swings. Before the stunned creature could fly away, she slew it. A startled and overwhelmed populace rushed toward the woman to thank and reward her for her bravery. As they approached, however, she fell dead. The unknown woman was laid to rest in this special place in the cathedral, and her body has never decomposed. Her greatsword was placed at her side. Rumors suggest that she was an incarnation of Torm, or that Torm’s essence filled the woman and inspired her to defeat the threat.
They could see scratch and claw marks on the walls and floor leading into her tomb area. They decided not to go to her tomb for the time being. Instead they went north towards the meeting rooms.
As they approached the main passage they saw movement to the northeast in the room called The Chamber of Torm’s Council. They could see part of the large oval table but it was the giant crab heading towards them that concerned them. As it moved forward 5 more giant crabs joined the first one followed by a barbed devil armed with a hellfire longsword. They knew if they were killed by it they would find themselves in the River Styx below come back as a lesser devil, probably a lemure. No one one wanted that to happen but they waded into the fight hoping to take the devil down before it could use the sword against them. The crab hit hard and the barbed devil hit harder with its hellfire sword and its Hurl Flame ability. It still was defeated. They picked up the hellfire longsword and entered the room.
A large oval table made of fine red oak fills the center of this room, and is surrounded by forty comfortable chairs. This chamber was used for meetings with individuals chosen to provide counsel to the high priests.
The table had scratches all over it as if someone or something was looking for secret compartments or drawers. The chair had had all of their cushions ripped apart as if someone was looking for loose change.
They exited the room and we about to head west to the next meeting room but Tharja saw movement out of the corner of her eye. It looked to be a humanoid hold a weapon out towards something or someone. She could barely hear but she knew that a conversation was going on or was it negotiations. She called to the others to come back and see what was going on.
They stealthed into the area. They saw:
This large crypt area is presently home to over a hundred frightened people. They cower behind sarcophagi and in alcoves, their eyes red and their cheeks stained with tears. Standing before a large font is a haggard woman, her gray hair matted with sweat. With one arm, she clutches a leather-bound tome to her breast. In the other hand, she wields a ceremonial mace that would probably shatter if it struck anything harder than a pillow. She was in a conversation with a black dragon-headed devil holding a stack of papers that looked very much like a contract. Nym said that that looks like an abishai, devils in service or were they jailers to the Queen of Chromatic Dragons, Tiamat. Tiamat was a prisoner somewhere on Avernus.
Calmers stepped forward and asked two of the humans what was going on. Calmers recognized markings of the holy symbol for Zariel either tattooed or on their clothing. Cultists. Why did it have to be cultists. The cultists did not let them into the room. The abishai called out in a hiss to let them come forward. Calmers asked the woman who he and the others recognized as Pherria Jynks a very low level servant of Torm. She had maybe been in service for two weeks before the fall of Elturel. She was an expert on possession and exorcism. She explained that she was handing over her soul in exchange for the refugees to be unharmed. Calmers asked to see the contract as he knew that the devil was in the details. The abishai handed it over as soon as Calmers asked though the cultists were not happy about it. Calmers knew that the devil’s lawful alignment made sure that all the rules were followed. Calmers looked the contract over and saw that the contract stipulates only that the devil offering the contract won’t harm them, not that any other devil or creature won’t. Pherria Jynks had not noticed this. Calmers then telepathically messaged to the Shield of the Hidden Lord to let the other knows to attack on Calmers’ word. They agreed and then Calmers said “This contract does not protect the others. You are trying to trick her into a contract that will not protect anyone. Now!
And they attack with Jazulon and Jockrates focusing on the cultists and Calmers, Tharja and Nym focusing on the abishai.
The cultists fell quick. The abishai did not. It attacked with a wicked looking scimitar and a bite attack that included acid damage. But once everyone joined into the fight, it too fell.
They did a quick search of the bodies and then talked to Pherria about what had been going on. She thought that the bulk of the survivors were here in the catacombs. She felt a little better now that Hellriders had come but she was not sure if the Catacombs were completely safe. She continued:
Grand Duke Ravengard took a group of guards to the city’s Grand Cemetery to investigate the proliferation of undead in the area. As well, Ravengard was hoping that a holy relic in the cemetery chapel called the Helm of Torm’s Sight might provide some awareness into Elturel’s dire circumstances and possible salvation and solution.
As she was talking, Calmers recognized the book she was holding. It was the Tome of the Creed Resolute. When he asked about it she said that she grabbed it when the devils attacked to safeguard it. Calmers then said that those names in that book connected all of us to Elturel in somewhat of a contract. The contract promised everyone in Elturel and the city itself would be pulled to Avernus by the Companion when the terms of the contract were fulfilled. Pherria looked at the book in disgust but she did not release her hold on it.
The fonts held holy water. Calmers was glad to see that there was at least enough to fill 50 flasks. They each filled at least one flask and then filled other containers as they could. As they were filling the flasks, Calmers noticed a similar panel that they had found in the palm of the fist of Torm on the Central Altar upstairs. He could not figure out how to open it. He asked Nym and Tharja if they could open it. Finally, Jazulon saw how to open it and they saw a metal rung ladder leading down 30ft ending at a passageway running to the north. Thara asked Slobberchiops to check it out. Slobberchops flew down the opening and then down the passageway. He came back shortly and did not have anything to report because even though he could understand Common, he could not speak it.
They decided to take a long rest and then explore the rest of the Catacombs. Then, they would check out the secret passageway before heading to the Grand Cemetery in hopes of finding Grand Duke Ravengard.