Recap March 26, 2021

They lowered Calmers over the pit and he poured one flask of holy water into the pit. Where the holy water hit the purple mist faded giving a clear view of the bottom of the pit. He did not see any movement. Tharja went to find Tyara to see if she had any information. They told her about the pulse connection to the corrupted companion. She said all we can do is pour holy water on all corpses. Even those that had just been killed including fiends and undead. She headed to the front of the chapel to pour holy water on the minotaur skeletons while the group went back inside the chapel to pour holy water on the minotaurs that the had killed there. They also did not want Tyara to be in danger from the fight between the devils and demons in the Vestment chamber.

They went back into the main chapel and they could still hear fighting between the demons and devils. As they were putting holy water on the minotaur skeletons they heard a familiar human voice within the Vestment chamber yelling curses at the demons he was fighting. The group decided to surround the Vestment chamber with 2-3 each going to each curtain and then throwing the curtains back at the same time and then enter the fight.

Throwing back the curtains they saw the two giant scorpions, 3 dretches fighting the two mezzoloths alongside Gideon Lightward, a ranking member of the Hellriders and the one that had sent them on their initial quest to the old druid grove in search of Dragon Cultists. When Gideon saw they he gave a loud whoop! and said get in here and help defeat these foul demons!

Lulu started to speak in a low voice only Calmers and Nym could hear her. She said “This place was once holy. I…we…prayed here.” Her eyes go wide. “It was Zariel who sent me back here. I don’t know why. Maybe-just maybe- there’s a tiny little spark of goodness deep down inside her still.”

They came in slow but hard. Lulach cast Thorn whip and pulled a dretch towards him and Jockrates. Jockrates attacked with his great axe against that dretch and then moved to the giant scorpion closest to him. Tharja cast Chill Touch and Ray of Frost concentrating on the giant scorpions. Nym attacked with his bow switching to shortsword when he got closer. Jazulon bounced all over the battlefield attacking dretch and scorpion alike. Calmers attacked with his rapier and healing as needed.

Soon the dretch and giant scorpions were defeated. Gideon greeted them saying it was was good that they too had survived Elturel’s fall. Calmers explained to him that they had in fact been away and then had made their way to Baldur’s Gate and then to Candlekeep before finally being able to find a way to Avernus. Gideon was impressed. He said as you can see I survived as well. And now I do all I can to stop any demonic invasions into Elturel. Tharja asked about the mezzoloths that he had fought beside. Gideon said that when the defeat of all demons is one goal, sometime your allies look odd to others. Gideon then said have you come to the grand cemetery to fight demons then? Calmers said “We are looking for Ravengard. We heard he had come this way. Gideon said yes, he and several more armed humans entered the ossuary level earlier. They were not demons so I allowed them to pass. But as you can see, demons have started coming out of the level below. Those humans are probably in league with the demons. If that is so, I will destroy them also. If the ossuary is your destination, go, and destroy any demons you come across. I must go back to my rounds.

He leaves and the two mezzoloths return to their guard posts where they had been when the group had first encountered them.

They poured holy water on the new corpses and then went to check out the maintenance building they had seen below the undead pit. They went out the back doors and down the path checking to make sure no new undead were in the pit.

Nym approached the door with Jockrates beside him. The other spread out so as not to be too close in case of an explosion or other trap. Nym did not find any traps and finding the door unlocked, he opened in slowly.

This simple building contains a bed, a desk, a dresser, a table, and chairs. Much of the furniture has been destroyed, with decorations and other items strewn haphazardly around the room, including holy symbols of Lathander, Torm, Helm, and Tyr. A large tome appears to have survived the destruction. It sits open at the center of the partially collapsed desk.

Jazulon went to the book (see Gideon’s Testament handout in roll20). Tharja followed and they both began to read.

The book is a testament written by Gideon in the months leading up to Elturel’s fall. It pontificates about the evil of demons, instructing the reader to be ever vigilant against their incursions, and expounding that the demonic threat must be defeated at all costs. It praises the devils that stoically stand against the unending demonic tide, while chastising Helm, Torm, Tyr, Lathander, and their angelic servitors for not doing the same. Gideon has nothing but praise for Zariel’s efforts to end the demonic threat.

Tharja and Jazulon continued reading and it became obvious that the person who wrote this was a madman.

Gideon. Their once leader. He was praising Zariel. Tharja said we need to deal with him. Calmers said that between the two, devils were better as demons are chaotic and devils are lawful. Yes both evil but if you make a deal with a devil you will not be stabbed in the back. Tharja said Zariel was responsible for bringing Elturel to Avernus. They decided that she may not be directly involved but Thavius Krieg had made the pact and he was the one that had the people of Elturel sign the pact without them knowing that they were forfeiting their lives.

Nym had come over to look at the book as well. Nym and Jazulon suddenly became very angry at all demons. They had developed a particularly intense hatred of demons. They would have to attack any demon they saw within 60ft of them or take psychic damage.

They left the maintenance building and started to walk back towards the chapel. They were arguing over what to do next, find and take care of Gideon or search out Ravengard in the ossuary and assist him. As they were walking past the undead pit, a zombie, a ghast and a ghoul came out of the pit and moved to attack them.

These undead did not last long. Once they were defeated the poured holy water on their corpses and then headed back to the chapel to head down into the ossuary.

They went down the stairs which ended in a single close door. Nym checked the door for traps. Finding none he noticed that the door was unlocked. Opening it they saw:

This workshop appears to be where priests and acolytes prepared dead bodies for final interment. The place has been ransacked, with knives, saws, piping, and tubes littering the floor. Acid and embalming fluid pool everywhere, amid a field of shattered flasks and jars.

They did not see anything of interest so they headed to the double doors to the north. Nym spotted tracks of multiple demons in the detritus spread across the floor. Amid those tracks, signs can be seen of a single group of booted humans moving down the stairs. These bootprints, trailing embalming fluid, towards the double doors. Nym opened the double doors and saw that the corridor went to the east and to the west. He found the human prints and saw that they had gone to the east but then had come back and then gone west.

The group went west and then they followed the path to the south and round a large ossuary. They found an opening to the north:

The walls of this chamber are lined with funerary shelves, each set with dusty humanoid bones. Relics and holy symbols of Lathander, Torm, Helm, and Tyr have been set prominently on a number of shelves.

Tharja, Nym and Jockrates looked at the shelves. Jockrates did not find anything but Nym found a really nice holy symbol for Torm. He reached for it and Calmers seeing what he was doing tried to stop him but he did not reach him in time so he said “Nooooo….” But it was too late. A pulse of necrotic damage slammed into Nym as he picked up the symbol. Calmers realized that someone or something had corrupted not only the once holy symbol but this entire area. Then it hit him. They needed to move out of this area of the ossuary. He told them to move north into the larger area above them.

This huge chamber is lined by funerary shelves along the stone walls above six bare daises, creating a display of dusty humanoid bones rising from floor to ceiling.

They searched for the tracks but Nym had lost them. But Lulach had been following them. They went east into a short passage and down some stairs into another smaller room:

This area is set with cushions and low stools of brown oak. Above an empty dais, the wall is covered with a mosaic shaped from colored chips of bone, artfully arranged to depict scenes of funerals, the migration of souls, and the celestial realms. Lettering along the bottom of the mosaic reads: “Contemplate life. Death comes soon enough.”

Reya and Calmers knew that this area as one in which priests dedicated to dealing with the dead would meditate to help them endure the dark nature of their work.

Lulach saw that the tracks then led down more stairs and down a corridor. They did a quick search of the meditation room and then followed the tracks to the north.

Nym spotted a secret door in the north wall as the passage turned to the east and ended at a door. They decided to open the secret door first.

They went in with Jockrates and Jazulon racing each other to see who would get to the dead end of the secret passage. They did a quick search of the rubble but did not find anything. The area had not used in years. It was covered in dust and old spider webs.

They went back to the door. They knocked but did not receive an answer. Finding the door was not trapped and unlocked, Nym opened the door.

A shallow meditation pool fills this room, set off from a broad landing edged by a low wrought-iron railing. Wondrous frescoes along the walls depict souls gaining the blessings of Lathander, Torm, Helm, and Tyr. The frescoes on one wall have been twisted into abyssal forms surrounding a shimmering portal.

The pool is littered with the mutilated bodies of humans wearing the uniforms of Baidur’s Gate and Elturel. The swirling water of the pool roils with shadow, and is shot through with patches of black ichor where demons have fallen here. An armored man with a shield slung over his back crouches among the bodies, writhing in pain. His eyes are closed, and his hands clutch at a gold helm on his head as if trying in vain to claw it off. Unintelligible words spill from his lips, some sounding saintly and solemn, while others resonate with a cruel hissing.

It was Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard.

Jockrates and Tharja recognized that the saintly and solemn words were spoken in Celestial. They did not know what the other language was but Tharja thought it was Abyssal. Tharja determined that there must be a psychic struggle taking place within Ravengard’s mind is between some divine higher power and a terrible, demonic entity. Tharja told the other these things and Calmers that the helm must be tied to that portal on the east wall. The east wall of this area was a roiling field of abyssal energy that spilled over into the pool. Calmers determined that no simple spell could break this hold but that a more involved ritual might free Ravengard and shut down the portal. Tharja said perhaps Pherria back at High Hall can help us. She was a sage who specialized in exorcism and possession. And they would need to shut it down as 5 minotaurs surfaced from pool and moved to attack. Four were regular minotaurs. The fifth minotaur was at least part fiend. The minotaurs in the front including the half-fiend one charged into the group and started swinging their great axes. The half-fiend minotaur was also dealing necrotic smite damage. The minotaurs hit hard with many in the group dropping into single digits of health. But they had hit back harder and had been able to defeat the minotaurs in no time.

They needed to get Ravengard out of the chapel and back to High Hall to see if Pherria, but they also needed to get out of the chapel. Would they risk a much needed long rest? Lulach spotted a wet scroll case between the bodies of the fallen soldiers from Elturel and Baldur’s Gate.