A Sturdy Door (Part 2)

Session Report (July 17)

A couple of minutes after Shae walks through the wall into the unseen chamber beyond, the magelocked doors suddenly fly open. In the opening there is the wavering, translucent figure of a warrior in mail.

“Enter…” They hear the voice in their heads. They see the burial chamber and Shae waiting for them inside. As they file in, two spectral huskarls leave down the passage on the right hand side of the room.

“They opened the doors when I said we were looking for the lost Hall of Tyr,” Shae says.

“Do they know where it is?” asks Enok. “What did they say?”

A new ghostly voice replies: “All in time, runecaster.”

The band of adventurers turn towards the voice. The two ghosts that left the room a moment before have reappeared from the passageway escorting another ghost — this one a tall, regal woman wearing the accoutrements of a priestess of Tyr.

The ghostly Priestess speaks again. “First we must consult the Warden.” The figure glides through the chamber into the opposite passage. They follow her into another burial chamber, this one dominated by a stone bier upon which rests the imposing figure of a man dressed as for battle. His arms and armor are even more ornate and expensive than that of the huskarls in the outer chamber.

The Priestess speaks: “Arise, my husband! For these brave thegns would speak with thee.” The spectral form of the Warden arises from the corpse upon the bier to stand with the priestess.

“Why have you come?” he asks.

Findley tells them about their quest to find the lost Hall of Tyr: how they were attacked by demons in the sewers of Isfjall, their meeting with Geirolf Tyrthegn and the mission to rediscover the Lost Hall, the journey to the ruins of Logiheimli and their battles with countless undead, and finally the destruction of the obelisks to remove the curse from the ruins.

As Findley finishes, the Warden says “At last! The curse has been lifted. It is perhaps the end of our watch.”

“Indeed,” says the Priestess. “If these brave Questors will swear an oath to Tyr to find the lost Hall, then perhaps we can enter Valhalla at last.” She looks at the party. When she speaks, her voice is changed. The timbre and cadence seem to indicate that these are formal, ceremonial words. 

“Do you so swear, upon the right hand of Tyr, whose word is both bond and law, to search for, and if found, reveal the location of the Hall of Judgment, the lost Hall of Tyr, to the Braeðralag of Tyr?” She asks each of the adventurers in turn to swear the oath. They agree.

The Warden then tells them the story of the fall of Logiheimli:

Centuries ago, Logiheimli was the starting point for Brothers of Tyr and others who wished to pilgrimage to the Hall of Judgment. The priests supplied questors with tiwstakn — Tyr’s tokens — which led them to the Hall, somewhere in the Frostharrow. The way was difficult and dangerous, the Hall hidden. The tiwstakn could be used, along with specially enchanted maps, to find the Hall.

But the Braeðralag of Tyr was not the only group who desired the location of the Hall. Rumors told of demons, along with their cultists, who desired the location for evil purposes. It was also believed that the Fae also wanted to possess the Hall — for what purpose, who could tell? The motives of the Fae have always been enigmatic.

Upon returning from a journey to the cities in the south, the Warden, High Priestess, and their huskarls found the village and fortress a smoking ruin and the curse heavy upon the land around it. At this time, the curse was even stronger; the undead more numerous and deadly. After they failed to remove the curse, they retreated to the barrow, and magically sealed the door against entry. They prayed to Tyr, who intervened with Halja, the Goddess of Death: the spirits of the group would be allowed to linger until the ruins were cleansed. 

Once the Warden finishes his story, the Priestess speaks: “The demons and their human* cultists have been plotting for centuries to overthrow the Hall. It is perhaps part of some grander plan of which we have no kenning. If they possess the Hall, the challenge you face will be dire. If the Fae are behind the disappearance of the Hall, remember: Deal not with the Fae in this or any other matter, for their deals are subtle with deceit.”

(“Human” in Norðic refers to all the intelligent, humanoid races: catfolk, halflings, dwarves, elves, etc. The specific race of Homo sapiens is generally referred to as “Man” or “Men”.)

Grend asks, “You don’ know who ish behin’ thish?”

“The Hall is not just lost,” says the Priestess. “It is closed to farsight. Not even I can detect the Hall itself or understand what has befallen it. Something is wrong at the Hall that may threaten the Gods themselves.”

The Warden offers them aid: he gives them the meisteratakn (master token), which they used to find tiwstakn that were lost when misfortune befell questors. He also grants permission for each party member to take a single item from the barrow of the huskarls as long as it will be put to use in their quest. (The ghosts of the huskarls seem disturbed by this, but do not protest.)

The party turns to leave. As they do, Grend looks down upon the sword lying next to the body of the Warden. His eyes widen. “Ish tha’ the Law Gibber?”

The Warden smiles and looks down upon the sword lying next to his body. “Yes. Lögfræðingur. The Law Giver. Only a Holy Warrior of Tyr may possess and wield this blade.”

“Can we take it back to Geirolf?” Grend asks. 

“No. It is too valuable to give to any except Tyr’s holy warriors or a member of the Braeðralag.” He refuses any further discussion of the sword.

The group leaves the Warden’s tomb. Returning to the huskarls’ chamber, they each take an item as respectfully as they can while the huskarls’ ghosts look on. Then they leave.

A Sturdy Door

Session Report (July 17)

Part One

A set of runes is carved into the lintel of the doors. “Law over All,” Enok reads.

Drex examines the door and finds no traps or hidden mechanisms. Trying the door finds it unyielding, but there is no obvious keyhole.

Shae takes Drex’s crowbar and attempts to force the doors. They don’t budge even when she applies her full strength.

Enok casts his Earth Vision spell in an attempt to see into the room beyond the doors, but his spell cannot penetrate the walls. 

Grend prays to the Mother for guidance. At the end of his supplication, one of his hands begins to glow in a warm yellow light. He approaches the doors and places his glowing hand upon it.

The warm yellow light flashes brightly, flows from his hand and envelops the two iron-bound doors. The glow reveals a set of runes inscribed upon the doors. Enok exclaims, “Magelock!” The others look at him quizzically.

“Magelock is a spell which magically secures a door. Those doors will not open unless someone can negate the spell, or destroy the doors.” He looks sheepish. “I don’t have a Counterspell. But there’s more.” He studies the runes a bit more. “It looks like there is a Ward against the undead written here as well.”

“That’s promising,” Shae says.

“Does Magelock prevent us from bypassing the doors in some other way?” Findley asks.

“No. In fact, I have a spell that may work,” Enok says. “I think I can improvise a spell to enable one of us to pass through the earth and stone of the walls directly into the room beyond”.

“Gweat,” Grend says. “Wha’ if dere are monsta’s in dere? Da one who goes in will be alone.”

“And we don’t even know if they will be able to open the doors from the other side,” Shae says. “How long does that spell last, Enok?”

“Three minutes. That should be plenty to get in, try the door, and if you can’t open it, get out again. Assuming there aren’t any enemies in there.”

Shae rolls her eyes. “Yeah. What are the odds there’s a monster in there? There’s been bad things in every room we’ve entered, it feels like.” She looks at the others. “Well, any other ideas?” No one speaks. “I guess that’s our only plan, then.” She looks at Enok. “How much can I carry with this spell?”

“Just the essentials,” Enok replies. “It should be good enough for your weapons and armor.”

“I’ll take care of your loot — I mean, gear,” Drex says. 

Shae drops her backpack, bow, and quiver at Grend’s feet. She reaches down to pull out the arrow that still glows with the light of Enok’s Light spell. “Keep our little burglar away from my stuff,” she says. (Drex looks hurt.) She takes a deep breath and hefts her battleaxe in her right hand while holding the glowing arrow in her left. “Enok, I’m ready.” 

Enoks casts the spell. Shae walks up to the wall. She hesitates briefly and extends one arm into the wall. It passes through without resistance to the stone. She steps through.

* * *

Shae steps into a large dark chamber lit only by the arcane glow of the arrow in her left hand. Unlike most of the barrow, this room is built of granite slabs for the walls, floor and ceiling. There are passages exiting the room on both the left and right walls.

On the wall opposite are six stone biers, each holding the skeletal remains of a warrior. The bones are clothed in ornate heavy chain mail hauberk, a Norðlond  battle shield place resting upon their chests. Each is armed with ornate, fine weapons: a knife, a spear, and either a one-handed sword or axe.

As Shae takes in the room and its deceased inhabitants, transparent figures of the dead huskarls rise up out of the skeletons. The six ghosts silently converge upon the catfolk barbarian. They stand staring at her, ghostly weapons at the ready. Shae’s fur is standing on end. A thin, airy voice fills the room, although Shae cannot see any of the figures’s mouths moving. “Why… are you… here? Why have you… disturbed… our rest…?”

“I am here on a selfless mission,” she says. “My companions and I do not wish to harm or steal anything from your burial chamber.” She waits a few moments but the figures do not move. “My companions await me outside this chamber. We mean you no harm.”

The figures slowly move forward towards Shae. She continues. “We… There are signs of a great evil being loosed upon the land,” she says. “We believe that finding the Lost Hall is key to defeating it and that there are clues to its location here.”

The ghostly figures step back, their weapons, once at the ready, now dangle nervelessly at their sides. “The… Lost Hall…?”

“…Of Tyr,” Shae finishes for them. A ghost in the center of the fright (TIL that the collective noun for ghosts is ‘fright’) glides slowly towards Shae, growing closer. She freezes in place, squeezing the grip of the battleaxe in her right hand, uncertain if it would even do anything to the disincorporated figure. It glides right up to her, and without pause, through her. It reaches the barrow doors and throws them open.