Footsteps in the dust

The next morning, the Xaniqos are called to a meeting with Taldinyon. The weapon master introduces them to a familiar face, the draegloth Leargath, hired to help them search for Dark Fate. The half fiend also has a license to hunt down drow, so it can keep the other parties away from them if the need arises. Spies have informed house Xaniqos that house Tormtor en Shi’quos are also on their way, led by a priestess and a score of drow and many slaves.

After this briefing Taldinyon places a map of the Underdark on the table.

You’ll have to go to the burial grounds near Szith Morcane. Search for graves in the Underdark. And once you find the rod, do NOT use it. We do not know its abilities.

Phaedra takes the map, and together the Xaniqos leave the house, heading for the Bridge of the Nobles. Apart from slaves, the streets are quiet. The scout warns Lilith against follow-up parties, and the cleric decides they will take a detour to the west first, before heading towards their goal in the north.

After five days of travel through the corridors of the Underdark – avoiding goblins and other inhabitants – they draw close to their destination. It is a stony area, big and wide. Their path gradually slopes upwards and the air turns humid. The roads are old, but there are fresh animal tracks in the dust. Soon Phaedra sees the remnants of old buildings, pieces of marble pillars and other debris. They have arrived at the upper city of Szith Morcane.

While the drow search for a crypt, the wizard points towards two pillars up north, behind a hill. Slowly they make their way towards the landmark over the wide wasteland. Long ago, a huge battle took place here. Skeletons, armor, all crumbles to dust when they touch it. Most of the mausoleums in the area have succumbed to time, but about five are still standing. The doors of the first structure have been ripped open with great force; it has probably been looted. The door creaks when Phaedra peeks inside. There’s dust everywhere, but not much more.

An old campsite,

she tells the others when she returns to the entrance,

no one’s there and it has been picked clean. Let’s move on to the next.

But all have been ransacked.

They walk towards the pillars they saw earlier, the columns shaped like two big skeleton warriors. The piercing eyes of the skeletons give them all a creepy feeling. Jharrath uses his wand to detect magic, and he discovers two weak auras. This mausoleum has a family weapon, and Lilith can tell that it has been an old and noble drow family. They are probably on the right track. The doors are still sealed, though there is some damage. The scout searches the entrance for traps, while the others keep an eye on the surroundings. There seems to be no danger, but the doors are locked.

The wizard summons an earth elemental.

Go check the other side and open the door.

When the elemental obeys and arrives at the other side, he utters two simple words in his grating voice:

Chain, master.

Then break it!

They all hear a heavy jingling thump when the chain hits the ground.

What do you see?

Bodies, master.

We’re coming in, get out of the way.

Twenty feet further, the bodies of five drow lie on the ground -totally stripped- two women and three males. Crossbow bolts stick out of the backs of their heads and necks, while others have fractured skulls. The piwafwi emblem shows an electric javelin… drow of House Tormtor! Through a spell, the cleric calls the spirit of one of the females to her.

Who killed you?

Followers of the White Banshee.

What were you doing here?

Looking for the rod.

How many attackers were there?

I don’t know.

What is the White Banshee?

Kiaransalee

Lilith considers the words of the dead. Demi-god, Lady of the Dead, deity of vengeance and undead. Not a friend to any Lolth worshipper…

Meanwhile Phaedra checks out the door to the side, which is closed but not locked. It opens smoothly, but the layer of dust has not been disturbed. There are more empty rooms to the left and right, upon which the scout returns to the main corridor. There she finally sees footsteps in the dust, leading onward.

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