Trouble in the Ghetto of the Dead


The next couple of days are spent in relaxation. The Drow have brought home quite an impressive loot and each sibling is amply rewarded. Four days later, being healed, bathed, rested and fed, they are once more called towards the hall of House Xaniqos. The eldest daughter Quarra is also present, though she doesn’t look too happy. Matron Mother Thandysha and her consort Taldinyon make an exotic pair. To their surprise, Thangarth and a group of Duergar are there too, the Draegloth at their side. His big scythe is still covered in blood. It seems like the company didn’t have an easy journey traveling to the Xaniqos mansion.

Artwork: SLefor

Lady Thandysha welcomes all and tells her children that the Duergar emissaries have been invited to establish a trade between the two parties. And since the four had a part in bringing about the contact, they are welcome to participate in the negotiations. The Duergar will stay in the city for one week. An agreement is reached about buying mithril for creating weapons and other items. When Phaedra replies in Duergar, the Draegloth seems pleasantly surprised. They talk a bit and he tells her she can find him in The Black Chalice if she ever needs him.

We won’t be staying there, we will find a place of our own!

Thangarth says. He doesn’t seem too eager to lodge in a place owned by a vampire, where undead frequent and narcotics are abound. The Xaniqos Scout advises him to try out the Knuckle Bones Inn – many guards and owned by a dwarf – or Teeson’s Roaming House. This facility seems to shift around a lot, which makes it an interesting place, but more dangerous. The latter seems to appeal to the Duergar’s sense of excitement and there might even be a bunch of kobolds to lighten up the place.

The Matron Mother looks at Phaedra, a disgusted expression on her face.

You speak that vile language?

Well, it’s useful for the trading relation, right?

Phaedra retorts.

The days, during which Lilith orders her Wizard brother to make more anti-toxins, go by quietly. After a full tenday K’yorl asks them to follow him into his study. They head up towards the large tower room, which is packed with alchemy sets, books and vials. They are filled with eye balls, powders, feathers and all kinds of other stuff. A neat personal collection, according to Jharrath.

Please, take a seat. House Xaniqos needs your assistance in a new task. It’s only a week before the Council meets again. And though we have dealt a good blow against House Shi’quos, they are on the move again. They seem to be in alliance with the Dod King and try to expand by taking over the Ghetto of the Dead. Rumors are that here is a group under the city, ruled by three principles. The entrance to this Undercity is guarded by at least one ogre, maybe more. House Eilservs is weak. The undead are not under control anymore, ghouls attack at random and other forces are moving up.

Will House Eilservs be punished for letting the Ghetto go out of control?

Be assured that the House indeed will be ‘entertained’ elsewhere, Jharrath.

The siblings agree to meet at The Black Chalice.

Ghetto of the Dead


Ghouls. The Ghetto of the Dead is full of them. And once a year, these undead humanoids roam the streets of Erelhei-Cinlu in a ritual that is called the Great Hunt. On that day the ravenous horde is allowed out of their district to feed. What do they eat? Flesh. Dead, preferably living! Let us hope today is not the Great Hunt.

The Fighter leads his brother and sisters into the Ghetto of the Dead. And it is not a happy place. The whole district is sealed up by a fence, the Black Chalice Tavern near the entrance: an inn that is ruled by a female vampire. The drow clientele not only visits for the high quality food & drinks or decadent games (where one of the participants probably dies), but also in search of knowledge of the Arcana.

They walk into a gloomy area, and it is like walking into a big graveyard, no lights, no torches, nothing. There is a faint purplish gleam though. A big gate gives access to the huge Necropolis Square. Eight obelisks are placed evenly around the square – one for each of the Ruling Houses – sixty feet apart. A group of about twenty drow is gathered around the central altar, lost in the last ceremony to offer body and soul of the deceased to the Spider Queen Lolth. Fragments of the spoken rituals carry back towards the gate, speaking of ‘his body’. Phaedra notices the sigil of a brown staff on the robes of the gathered. It is the sigil of the House of Eilservs, the owners of the Ghetto of the Dead. Seems like the entire noble family is present, with only the Matron Mother Eclavdra missing. A very high male within the family must have died…

As soon as the ceremony is over, the drow depart and the ghouls stream in to feed. The Xaniqos hurry across the square, moving in a wide circle to keep clear of the altar. The ghouls’ attention is solely focused on feeding on the corpse and the drow make it safely past the square. In that area the normal graves are situated. Well ‘graves’, a lot of rubble and stones on murky and damp grounds are all that is left of what were once gravestones and tombs. No use searching for the name Nuchar.

As they roam over the graveyard, they finally chance upon an entrance to a mausoleum. Around the opening are ashes and the remains of a house. Could this be the place? Before they can investigate, a group of ghouls draws near, lured closer by the smell of fresh flesh. They seem to have followed them from the square. Lilith, drawing upon her Cleric powers, utters a spell and rebukes the undead until they cower and shuffle away.

Large stairs lead down into a silent darkness. Carefully Phaedra moves ahead, until the stairs end in a pool of dark green water. A horrible stench fills the space and the Scout signals the others to stay clear of the water. She loads her crossbow and then nimbly climbs the wall until she reaches the edge of the corridor. Around the corner she sees a door, with an iron seal mechanism covering it from ceiling down to the water. When she examines it, she notices the seal is magically enhanced. The iron is rusty with age.

Back with the others, she reports her findings. When the Cleric can not detect any poison in the water, Jharrath wades through to check the magical seal himself. The Wizard points his wand at the door and a faint aura lights up. The seal has to come off before the door can be opened. Lilith orders her brother to summon some monsters to open the friggin’ door. Three goblins appear on his command, and Jharrath sends the tallest one down into the water to try and open the door. The goblin, his hear barely above water level, jumps up to the handle and pulls, dangling from its arms. Nothing happens.

Phaedra goes down too to search for traps, and after a while succeeds in unlocking the door but warns her siblings that a trap is on the door. By this time, the three conjured goblins have returned to their own planes and the Wizard has to summon new creatures. When one of them opens the door, the whole corridor is lit in light and flame, obliterating the poor goblinoid. But the seal has been broken! Jharrath sends the two remaining shadowgoblins around the corner into the second room.