Rachel spends a few weeks with the elderly couple healing from her near fatal
wounds. As the days pass in a blur of anger and frustration at her failure, she
still manages to somehow help the couple with a few chores, and fixing things
around the house. As a parting gift, Rachel makes them a new set of pottery
dishes to replace the pieces they have all chipped and broken. The couple is
very pleased and welcomes her back at anytime. When she approaches the horse
that brought her to this place, she feels an overwhelming sense of calm, and
rightness. She knows somehow that this horse is for her, and always will be. She
contemplates a name for the horse, but is as yet undecided. She mounts and heads
in the direction of the road (as per the couple) and after several hours reaches
a well traveled road running nw and se. You actually recognize this stretch of
the road and realize that to the se is home to Landry. Not willing to return
home at this point, you feel the need to visit the temple of your Goddess.
Thinking back to the list you got of known temples to Callus, you realize that
not only is one close by in Heron, but it's the main center of worship for
Callus followers on this part of the continent. You turn you horse in that
direction without any more indecision. A few days ride puts you within sight of
the walls of a rather small town.
Rocky terrain dotted by a few bare trees stretches to the horizon. In the
distance, perched on a rocky cliff, is a crumbling stone structure surrounded by
a high gray wall. Only the spires of a church rise above the wall.
You continue down the road toward the temple. Two immense oak doors stand wide
open, allowing you to enter. High above you looms an iron portcullis, covered
with layers of rust. Upon entering the temple grounds, you see several buildings
to your left, an orchard to your right, and a statue of a beautiful woman in
you. The largest buildings are before you. To your right, is a large church, its
spires straining as if to touch the overcast sky. Surrounding the church is a
empty graveyard. Gazing upon the statue, you realize it is a statue of Callus.
You enter the temple, and are eventually brought before the head priest Anselm.
You introduce yourself and are invited to stay indefinately. Resting for the
evening you hear the various gossip and learn that a group recently headed out
led by the famous priest "Wulfgar of Callus" and that while they were around,
they solved a murder and discovered a water well with healinng properties. Thus
far, you discover, no illness has been too tough to be healed by the miraculous
Eventually after a few days you learn that this Wulfgar is the priest who
helped build this temple, and that he purchased and donated the staute of Callus
herself in the courtyard. Apparently, this group headed out about a week ago,
with alot of anger at the priests
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Brother Anselm mentions at one point, his concern for the group, as they are
carrying an evil tome, that they had wanted destroyed, but because of the
problems in the temple, Anselm didnt feel it would be safe. Last they knew, this
group was headed se
You think on this, and wonder if if might not be your duty to aid a brother of
Callus with this sort of problem, and as you fall asleep for the eve, you ponder
everything you've learned in the past several days.
Rachel continues pondering the moment she gets up. What is the duty Callus
wants her to perform? Finish her quest. But she couldn't pull it off with
the help of Elrik (Callus hold his soul), so she will need help and lots of
it if it's possible. Plus to get back on his trail she needs to go se
anyway, she might as well help her brother in the faith and try to get them
to help her on her quest. That would nicely combine! What keeps her here?
Sure it's a temple to her goddess but she didn't become a follower of Callus
to just sit around in some temple. She must complete her quest and do good
as often as she can! She decides to make sure and goes to the statue of
Callus. She kneels before it and prays to her god for over half an hour
asking her to either bless the course of action she has in mind or give her
some clue on what else there is she can do.
You get no response, but this is not surprising. You've heard since your visit
in the temple that Callus has shown herself only in dreams of late. Prayer has
not been very comforting lately since magic has been failing. Seems that healing
spells still work, but all combat and most defensive spells and prayers tend to
backfire with sometimes fatal results.
Since she didn't get any dreams last night, while she was quite certain
what she wanted to do, she supposes Callus has no problem with it. So she
packs her stuff and goes to see Anselm to tell him that she will no longer
take him up on the offer of hospitality and thank him for the food and
shelter she did get. With that she walks outside and whisles for her horse.
When he arrives she jumps on and goes in the direction the party left to see
if she can catch up.
5 days of uneventful riding finds you at the outskirts of Landry. A smallish
frontier type town. You stable your horse with the usual care and tipping of the
stableboy, and remove yourselves to the inn. Here, you find tantalizing scents
and smells. it suddenly seems like forever since you've had a decent meal and
your mouth starts to salivate like crazy. The inn is like any other inn, except
for a large aquarium set against one entire wall. It contains but one colorful
tropical fish, and the sign above the tank reads "Esmarelda".
There were more than a dozen horses in the stable, yet there seems to be only
one patron, a human male at the bar, with his head laid upon his arm, and
snoring. The barkeep is kneeling over a young teenaged girl, who is crying. He
seems to be comforting her. When you walk in, he says a bit gruffly, "be with
you in a minute"
She asks the barman if she can help in any way. If he says it's ok she'll go
over to the fish and take a good look at it and if he wants her help she
walks over to him and sees what she can do.
"We've just had some problems today is all." the barkeep replies getting up
andleading the girl to the bar to sit down. "Is there something I can get for
"Well.. if you don't need help you can help me to a decent meal", she says,
"what were the troubles? Had anything to do with a group of adventures with
a evil tome?". With that she goes to sit on a table and waits for a meal.
The man mumbles something about "dont know 'bout no evil stuff. Dey's venturers
alright tho." as he goes into the kitchen and brings you back a huge steaming
bowl of meaty stew and a big mug of ale.
She finishes the meal and then walks over to the bar. She toshes a gold
piece on the bar and says: "So what was that about those adventurers? Which
way did they go? And what's with the fish?"
"The fish?" he looks at you in confusion "Oh, Esmarelda. She was a gift from a
long ago patron who kept a room here. The adventurers are gone. Uh..." he looks
pretty uncomfortable, before his eyes alight on the symbol of Callus on your
chest. "You know, one of them had a necklace dat looked like dat pitcher der.
They's somewhere else. Went into the pitcher upstairs they did. The pitcher of
the old sailor"
What? They went in the picture? You mean they just stepped into the
picture? How did that work?
"I dunno" the barkeep replies, adding your gold coin to a box, relocking it
and placing it back out of sight. "The little kid said they went into the
pitcher and gave me gold to not rent the room."
"What little kid?" She then realizes the barkeep wants something to
refresh his memory and gets another goldcoin out of her pouch and holds it
clearly visible up: "Look, I wanna know everything you know about this whole
disappearing act and I'd like to see the room, this is very important to
Taking the gold piece, he drops it in the same locked box as before and tucks it
back out of sight. "They came in, went upstairs to look for another patron who
had vanished. The little kid with them came back downstairs alittle while later
and said they had all stepped into the picture of the sailor and he was going to
follow them. He gave me money so I wouldn't rent the room out and he went back
up. When I checked, the room was empty."
"Ok now if you tell me where the room is I'll go check it out. Don't
worry, I don't want to rent it or something. I just want to see it." She
looks at him expectenly.
Shown the room, you see The room is well furnished with solid furniture that
has been bolted to the wooden floor. A large bed dominates the room with it's
massive headboard and ornately carved posts. It's thick blankets have been
turned back to reveal green silken sheets, Beside the bed, a small table
holds an unlit taper in a small
At the foot of the bed sits a massive trunk of teakwood bound in iron, with
iron lock worked in the likeness of a screaming face hangs open, nothing
within. A wardrobe of dark, almost black wood stands against the north wall.
Beside the door and against the west wall, a ceramic washbowl filled with
water sits on a small table. Against the south wall, a large desk with with
cabinets and drawers all open, all seemingly empty. On the floor, leaning
against the desk is a painting of a man with a thick black beard and piercing
green eyes. He stands at the bow of a ship in the midst of a storm,
brandishing a strange wavy bladed dagger. Lurking in the foam of the storm
stossed sea, a gigantic creature rises up, it's tentacles
curled to strike.
In the southeast corner of the room, a large copper tub filled with steaming
water invites a relaxing bath. An assortment of fragrant soaps and oils is
displayed on a low table beside the tub. A shaving mirror hangs on the south
wall, and beside it a straight razor with an ivory handle dangles by it's
from a nail.
There is a large duffel bag upon the bed, and a wizards robe on the floor by
Rachel looks around suspiciously. Then she slowly and carefully walks
over to the bathtub and holds her hand in the water to feel how hot the
water is. Then she picks up one of the bottles near the tub opens one and
smells what fragrance it has. She picks up the robe and sees if it got any
pockets and searches trough them. If that all doesn't give some interesting
facts to what might have happened she walks over to the wardrobe and slowly
opens it and takes a peek inside. If she still can't find any clues, she
kneels before the painting, grabs hold of her medallion and slowly starts
chanting to Callus to please reveal her if the painting has been made by
evil hands and if it should be feared. She continues to do this for half an
hour. If then still nothing is revealed she slowly and carefully reaches out
with her left hand to the painting, while doing this she keeps her right
hand around the medaillon, and then slightly touching the painting.
The water is still warm to the touch though not hot leading her to believe this
bath was probably drawn close to an hour before. The bottles each contain a
different floral fragrance, while the robe has pockets containing many herb like
substances, as well as various other nasty things like bat wings and toad eyes.
The wardrobe is empty, and her prayer to Callus reveals the painting to be of
magical origin, although for some reason she is unable to ascertain if it was
created by one with a good or evil intent. The minute she lays her hand upon the
painting, she sees a strong flash of blueish colored light and her surroundings
The light in the room is extinguished, and as your eyes adjust to
the dim light, you realize you're standing before a large pool in the middle of
large, low ceiling chamber. The waters are dark and murky; it appears
something is alive in there by the swirls that occasionally appear on the waters
That something--whatever it is--must be very dangerous. Dangling above the
pool from a chain, an iron cage holds a humanoid skeleton whose flesh has
been stripped to the bone. Ragged bits of skin and hair still cling to the
remains of the unfortunate victim. Your eyes follow the chain until it is lost
in shadows above, but you spot it again as it descends to a large crank
attatched to the east wall.
This wall, like the others-you now notice-is painted with fantastic murals of
frolicking nymphs dancing with flute in hand around ugly leering centuars. The
depictions are brazenly lifelike and painstakingly detailed.
On the far side of the pool, low steps lead down into the water. Once
bathers might have relaxed here, but now you wonder to what doom those steps
lead. You walk a few steps towards the paintings, carefully skirting the edge of
the pool, and you discover the body of a large purple worm with gaping jaws is
extended from the pool, it's head nowhere to be seen. Nearby there is a large
pool of blood, belonging to another you think as it does not trail to the worm.
Looking further, you see signs of a recent battle as the walls have scorched
marks from some great inferno, and the Gazing at the mangled bodies, you note
these were definately not 'clean' kills. Severed limbs lay strung across the
floor, fingers still twitching, and 2 of the 7 bodies have been decapitated,
eyes glazed over, seeming to stare up at you accusingly.
I slowly look around for an exit of this room, while simultaneously
trying to keep an eye on the pool AND the dead people. I then carefully walk
over to the dead people. I think I need to do something in the form of a
burial, but what to do with magled bodies like this? I don't have time nor
lust to search them all out. I decide there is not much I can do for the
poor souls. I just take a few moments to pray for their souls.
As Rachel examines the bodies and prepares to pray for the dead, an overwhelming
sense of evil overcomes her and she decides to delay her prayers until she
figures out what is going on.
The far wall of the pool chamber is lined with eleven ornate wooden doors,
but the beauty of the wood has been marred by the inept installation of heavy
iron locks that look sturdy enough to withstand any blow. You find them all to
contain cells, empty except for chains and manacles and ragged bits of cloth
here and there save for one door. Opening the middle door, You find a short
hallway to another door. You open the second door, and in front of you, a long,
wide hallway narrows toward
the far end. 2 tall hideous statues of alien looking humanoids stand along each
side wall, staring with dull, fishlike eyes.
The hall is dimly lit by a bank of black candles atop a low altar positioned 5'
in front of the north wall.
I slowly walk over to the candles (they are closer then the statues
right? Otherwise I walk to the statues first) and carefully examine them to
see if they are ordinary candles. Then she blows one out to see what
Blowing out the candles produces nothing but darkness, and the statues offer no
surprises either as Rachel cautiously examines them. The altar is bare, although
there is a small pool of blood at the base of it, not warm, but not dried either
leading you to believe it is less than an hour old. Because of all the bodies
and blood she continues to find, Rachel moves even more cautiously behind the
altar towards the ominous door she discovers and listens for a moment hearing
nothing. Carefully turning the knob, she peeks in through the crack and sees a
group of people, discussing 'how to find the evil priest'. One large woman in
ill fitting black clothing carries a body of a fully armored 6'+ tall man over
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