25 Arodus, 4718 (cont)

We were all ready to attack whatever was making its way out of the room at the end of the hall, but found ourselves standing down when a young man dressed in noble’s clothing holding a candelabra in one hand and a sword in the other exited the room. He seemed quite surprised to see us, and was attempting to avoid looking at the Senator’s body at all costs.

After some quick back and forth, we discovered that he too was a survivor of the gala. He, and two others, had attended the gala as Senator Mansham’s guests. After being struck by a crossbow bolt, the group had been teleported into a small room off of this hallway. I suppose it is just our luck that we were the ones that ended up in a puzzle. I wished we had been transported to a small, unlocked room. We would be well on our way to finding Martella and Princess Eutropia if we hadn’t spent an hour playing House Voratas’ games.

The man introduced himself as Lord Wilfen Botoles, Senator Mansham’s nephew. With him were Sir Guy Vastion,the senator’s squire and Lady Gael Urbaen. When they were teleported, the Senator had told them that it was a contingency spell placed on the badges. They had exited the room to try and find their way out and only made it a few paces before the wall confined attacked the Senator. He had tried to fight it, but was gravely injured and told the others to return to safety. They had remained there, and heard our fight with the creature. While Wilfen seemed upset, Guy seemed truly distraught, and I could see tears streaming down his cheeks as he looked down at Senator Mansham’s body. He couldn’t have been but a few years older than Cynefrith, and my heart ached to look at him. 

It was decided that Guy, Wilfen and Gael would accompany us as we attempted to find the way out. As Guy leaned down to cover the Senator’s body with his cloak, I knelt down and pulled the documents from his pocket and handed them to Guy. He looked confused, and I told him that he would want them. If another noble found them, they may use the knowledge to their advantage. I don’t trust many of the nobles to quit playing “the game” even in the middle of slaughter. 

Guy opened the documents, and fresh tears began to fall. It seemed that he and his companions did not know that Viscount Mansham had adopted him. Gael squeezed his arm, telling him that they all knew how much the old man loved him.  The senator probably meant it as a surprise to end the evening, most likely planning on telling Guy during the fireworks at the end of the Gala. If Ragathiel has any mercy, that crossbow bolt killed Stavien, and I hope he suffered in his final moments, even if it pales to all the suffering he has caused this evening.

My friends and our new companions rallied ourselves, and again Verity made to open the double doors. She let out a long, deep sigh, as a door down the hall slowly opened, and we heard a man’s voice call out. We all turned to see a large man looking down the hallway at us. Verity was rather short with him. While I don’t really blame her considering the night’s events, I stepped in and introduced our group. His name was Yourian Zubari. He is a priest of Abadar. He called himself the Chief Banker, and for a moment I was relieved that we had a powerful priest with us, but he rather quickly dashed that, telling us he was from a small church, and while he does have spells granted from the divine, he is not a truly powerful priest. With him was Dame Trant. She was no longer the haughty woman we had encountered in the gala. Her eyes were red and her make up ruined from tears. She did give me, Verity and Oliver a second glance when she saw us, but she said nothing. It seems that her father was stabbed by one of the assassins and that triggered the contingency on their badges. The room was grievous, and Senator Pace was dead before the teleportation finished. I have no love of bullies, and nobility that use their titles to throw their proverbial weight around, but I felt a pang of sympathy for Dame Trant, being locked in a small room with her dead father and a man that is little more than a stranger for over an hour. 

Verity was still rather exasperated, and we decided to check the small “panic rooms” around the central room with the double doors before entering it. In another room we found a halfling man who introduced himself as Imistos Gulbend. It seems that he was stabbed and found himself here. The Senator he served did not get teleported as well, so I wonder if the contingency of some of the badges had already been used. Gulbend carries potions for his master, and when he arrived in the dark room bleeding he drank them all. I was a bit chagrined. I’m sure he downed more than he needed, and at this point in the evening I am sure every little thing we can find will help.

Now with our group six more members strong, we opened the door to the center room. It contained a large table, topped with exquisite crystal glasses and wine that would have been very expensive had it not been left to sit for centuries. On the table we found documents concerning the province of Andoran, reaffirming the fact that no one had been in these rooms for a very long time. A scroll box on the table contained some healing scrolls, including one that could be used to bring someone back from the brink of death. For some reason that seemed chilling rather than reassuring. We decided to take another look at the enchanted spoon and the wand we had found in the bar. The wand was capable of the spell create food and water. The spoon is a sustaining spoon. It can conjure a tasteless gruel that is enough to feed four people for a day. The members of House Voratas once again being prepared to remain in those rooms for quite some time.

The only exit from the hallway was a pair of double ironbound doors. They were locked. I think Verity was about to lose her temper, when I reminded her of the key she had found in the Senator’s room. She tried it and it unlocked the door.

I’m not quite sure what any of us were expecting, but I don’t think a museum gallery was it. The large chamber we found ourselves in contained several display cases holding armor and weapons. This was odd in itself, but the real strangeness of the room was the vast amount of circles covering the floor and walls done in chalk or paint. Circles were scratched into the glass of the cases, and chewed or cut out of the banners hanging on the walls and from the ceiling. 

As we began to look around the room, Felyx noticed that some of the circles had been erased and redrawn and that all those present were perfect circles, further adding to the strangeness of it all. Zubari talked of prisoners in his homeland that were driven insane by isolation. If someone was trapped down here, it was possible that they had lost their mind. It wasn’t a pleasant thought, the idea of being trapped in the archives under the senate building with no way out, slowly going mad. To distract myself from those dark thoughts, I asked him where he was from. He said he was from Vidrian, but we may know it as Sargava. He is quite far from home indeed.

I decided to see if there was anything magical in the room and my eyes were drawn to a crossbow in one of the cases. As I moved closer to the case, I realized it was the lost Dignity’s Barb, who’s replica I had seen in the Arcade of Triumphs. I excitedly called out to Oliver, telling him what I had found. Felyx became quite interested when I mentioned a magical crossbow, and as she came over I began to tell her everything that Vou had told me about the history of the weapon. I almost faltered when I mentioned Vou’s name. I hope she and the others who weren’t in the Gallery or on the Senate Floor were able to get to safety when the carnage started. 

Verity joined us at the case with the crossbow, and reached down to open it. Suddenly two of the glass cases containing full suits of old rusted platemail armor shattered, as the armor animated and moved to attack.

Taken by surprise, I was barely able to avoid being stuck as one of the suit’s swung its sword at me. Oliver quickly moved forward, standing back to back with me to prevent us from being outflanked. Felyx took up Dignity’s Barb shouting that the armor was being animated by the spirits of warriors who were betrayed and slain. She called them Phantom Armor.  Cornelius began spellcasting. I noticed that Guy stepped forward, moving to protect the other survivors. Now knowing they were undead, Zubari channeled the positive energy of Abadar into the room. 

Verity stepped up next to Oliver and struck true with her katana. The armor collapsed into a pile on the floor, the spirit controlling it banished.

The other phantom attacked Oliver, slicing into him with his blade. I stuck with my rapier, but didn’t seem to harm the creature as the tip of the blade slid through the chainmail exposed near its shoulder. Cornelius brought this one low with a magic missile.

Once the threat was over with, Zubari used his healing magic to seal Oliver’s wound. We took stock of the weapons and armor in the room. Felyx kept Dignity’s Barb, though unfortunately none of us were able to tell what enchantments are on the weapon. There was a bastard sword in one of the cases, and I took it along with a suit of chainmail. My suit of leather lamellar offers better protection than parade armor, so Oliver took it. A hand ax in one of the cases had an enchantment on it to enhance the blade. Oakheart is carved into the shaft of the weapon in Dwarvish, which Oliver can speak. He decided to take the ax. We also found a serviceable suit of banded mail, and a shield with an enchantment to further protect the wielder. We gave both to Guy. He had more than proved his bravery when he stepped up to protect the others. 

On one side of the room was a display case concerning the achievements of an alchemist named Dumos Fatomax. Inside was a serviceable alchemists station, though it doesn’t seem like any of us are knowledgeable about the subject. Along with it were several useful potions and a few vials of acid. 

On the wall opposite this display was another about the wizard Senith Ornelas. Yet another sign of a bygone age. The Ornelas family are no longer Taldane nobility. They sided with Cheliax during the revolution, and the family eventually moved to the city of Korvosa in Varisia. From what I understand that city is no longer a part of Cheliax, though the Ornelas family remains there, overseeing the Acadamae, the city’s premiere magical school. In this case we found several more magical scrolls, as well as a magical ring. Zubari told us it is called a ring of arcane signets, and can be used to leave a permanent mark similar to the arcane mark spell. I decided to take it, and unsurprisingly the design on the ring turned to the crest of House Kastner. I may keep it. I can imagine it could come in handy for more things than correspondence.

There were two doors leaving this small museum. We took the door on the left. When Verity opened the door we all had quite a start. It was filled with nobles wearing clothing centuries out of style, frozen in positions as if they were having a party. It took us a second to realize they were highly realistic wax mannequins, and much like everything else we’d seen so far covered in dust. Each room we enter gets odder and odder, though I must say the wax figures are by far the most disturbing. The room was made even more so by a single mannequin that had been thrown to the ground in the center of the room. Its shirt was torn open, and in the center of its chest was carved a perfect circle.