After recuperating from their battle with Veluta, the party investigates the passage away behind the fake sarcophagus across from “Bentbroke Stakefoot,” the dead guardian. The danger is the entrance itself, an area caked with a charnel dust pressure trap, which Shadow finds and avoid. Beyond the door, a pair of locked trunks in an obscene mural room depicting a necromancer raising skeletons beneath a grisly, muddy sky. Long story short: Telvas ends up wolfing down some charnel dust (and passing some along via unwanted mouth-to-mouth with Tiskus). But the rearming trap is down, leaving shadow to take care of a dart trap, as well as am explosive, wax rune trap (which he “takes care of” by springing it, and blowing up the chest.
It all turns out to be semi-worth it, as the group finds a LOT of loot, including a Life Stealing Mace and a scroll of protection versus undead (fancy that!). After an entirely too long discussion about which coins to carry and which to leave behind (2 hours), the party finally sets out for the tomb proper.
Initially skittish when they find a set of strange symbols emblazoned on the magical doors (which, somehow, open with non-magical keys), the party eventually simply puts the keys in and unlocks the door (an act that is greeted by a tremendous MOAAAAAAAAANING from beyond the threshold). Beyond the heavy, steel doors, green light cascades from arcane braziers, casting light on a wide set of stairs. The stairs lead to the tomb of Yurith himself, who had arisen, and girded himself with a potion of damage resistance (though, of course, nobody knows that initially). After a brief trade of villainous “I-shall-destroy-you” versus heroic “no-you-won’t, vato” remarks, the battle royale is joined. It quickly turns DEADLY!
As Rafos swings the life stealing mace, augmented by Telvas’ sword, Shadow and Tiskus draw the attention of the semi-mummified Yurith. The mummy thing delivers a fear-causing keen that sends the mage running out of the tomb, leading Telvas, who has already dispatched a group of skeletons with a deft seep attack. to (eventually) square off against him, near solo.
Things get bad quickly. Rafos’ mace keeps stealing life from him instead of his enemies, pushing him close to dropping. Telvas, meanwhile, is subject to the slash and rot attacks of Yurith, who drains blood and life from him. Shadow gets raked by a band of skeletons and beats feet out of there. When Yurith reveals a formerly hidden surprise (a minotaur skeleton emerging through brick wall), the group takes it upon themselves to beat feet out —except for Tiskus.
The mage stands fast, covering his allies’ retreat, delivering a massive fireball that singes the minotaur and takes out the remaining skellies. The mage suffers a confusing maze effect from the minotaur that sends him INTO the room with Yurith, who does his best to take the mage out with a rotting claw. But Tiskus winks out of existence before his eyes, going invisible.
Meanwhile, the singed minotaur races after the retreating party members, running into Telvas, who has turned around to help the mage. With a cleaving, upward slice, he turns the bill-thing into a pile of charred bones, then flies into the room to come face-to-face with Yurith. The spinning swordmaster puts up a good fight, but the mummy lord’s powers prove to much for him. As his teammates watch in horror, he shrivels up before their eyes. Yurith hurls his dessicated body to the ground, then turns his attention on Shadow and Rafos.
Meanwhile Tiskus checks out Yurith’s sarcophogus. Is the battle still going on? Sure, it is. But, hey—maybe the bad guy left behind some sort of secret weapon that might kill him. Maybe he left it in plain sight. Maybe he’s really that dumb.
And so, the battle continues. Shadow takes up the fallen Foeblade, and faces down Yurith. The creature lifts the halfing by the throat, threatening to drain him of life…
But Shadow runs the creature through, piercing his heart with the Foeblade. With a groan and a strange smile of victory, Yurith falls.
The reason for the grin becomes clear. As Yurith was passing from this not so mortal coil, his essence, a combination of magic and sand, flowed out into a pile of bones in the minotaur chamber of bones. Clearly, his plan is to enter the bones there and reanimate—as a DRAGON!
The fateful transformation never occurs. Tiskus continuesto burn the bones with mage fire, while Rafos enters and swings the life stealer at the pile. Unfortunately, the mace draws the last of Rafos’ life, and he plops over, just as the last bit of fire destroys the bones.
VICTORY! Albeit at a cost. For, while Telvas pulls through from his injuries, Rafos does not, joining poor Corg in the afterlife.
In the end, the group finds in excess of 16,000 coins value of treasure, which they cart on an 8-day journey back to civilization (passing up investigation of a mysterious megalith). As they mend their broken bodies, they contemplate their next move, likely an excursion north, to find Csonka!
END: 26 MAY