Session Five "Escaping Falcons Hollow"
The following day finds Falcon’s Hollow quiet and shrouded beneath a heavy rain. The smoke still hangs heavy in the air around what remains of the old manor. The city itself is silent minus the grunting of Bloodbourne as he descends the rope from the tower. Hidden by shadows inside, Erich steadies the rope for his friend. As he does so he spots two figures trudging through the snow at the cities north gate. He only needs to watch a moment before he realizes that the figures are not Tainted.
Mortull and Edwin have arrived in Falcon’s Hollow seeking rest and a good meal.They have traveled together a great distance and the journey has left them sore and chilled. It doesn’t help that the snow layered upon the ground slows the pace and burdens the stride… especially for the gnome Edwin. As the pair enter the city gates they spot Bloodbourne as he scales out of the tower. They also see something moving in the towers crude window (Erich) but can make out no details.
Soon Bloodbourne also spots the travelers. He had taken up a guard position at the top of the hill, looking down upon the city. Sitting Astride Oscar, his Drayback mount, his eyes scan the city for signs of movement. Dariet and Angel are still out there somewhere… as are the Tainted. When he sees the unusual travelers he catches their attention by urging Oscar into a roar.
Moments pass as both sides speak and gain the measure of the other. Before long however the general discomfort of remaining outside in this weather encourages the three to seek shelter back in the tower. As they move up the hill they do not see Erich watching from the cover of nearby shadows. He had slipped across the courtyard and taken a vantage with a clear line of sight….. His bow was held at the ready, arrow ready to make itself painfully known should either of the strangers become a threat..
Meanwhile, across town in a small house Dariet and Angel again wake in each others arms. The cottage seemed a secure enough location and, between Dariets protective wards and the great cat Sondraes, both slept the night peacefully. Somewhere along the way a bond was formed between the two and the morning crept by unnoticed as they brought their romance out of their dream and cemented it firmly in reality.
Back at the tower the new arrivals have gone inside to seek warmth and partake in supplies left by Kraftulkin the day before. Bloodbourne extended the hospitality of the party before he himself turned and went back outside. As Mortull and Edwin look to build a controlled fire inside the tower they are unaware of Bloodbourne creating a blaze of his own outside.
Deciding that leaving buildings undisturbed so near the tower was folly, Bloodbourne commences to set flame to buildings near the tower. If the Tainted are within… he hopes they burn well. Of course only a few moments pass before Erich reappears from hiding. It seems the man has no desire to become a unintended burnt sacrifice. He makes no pause in arguing Bloodbournes wisdom or carelessness. As they argue the rain begins to die away.
Soon a low moaning can be coming from the city below as if many mournful voices had only just begun to sing. Suspecting the nature of the moans Erich and Bloodbourne rush back to the tower and the defenses it affords.
Down below Dariet and Angel are preparing to return to the tower when they realize the street outside is full of Tainted. The mob moves slowly but intentionally along the road towards the tower. Escape from the house seems impossible until, through unknown magics Dariet disguises Himself with invisibility. Taking Angels elbow the spell spreads to hide her as well and the two are able to cautiously make their way out of the house. It is clear the tainted do not see them. Sondraes follows behind but the undead seem to ignore him completely. Slowly the three keep pace with the undead so as not to disrupt the fragile spell. Soon the mob joins others until thousands of Tainted move up the hill toward the tower… their moans and whales filling the morning air.
Inside the tower, Erich and Bloodbourn are trying to prepare for what they anticipate will be a big fight. Meanwhile Edwin notes a trapdoor in the floor between Kraftulkins two tunnel entrances. Curiosity overwhelms the gnome and soon he is descending into the darkness below.
Bloodbourne soon joins him and then Mortull. Realizing he is alone Erich also rushes to join his companions below ground.
By the time Dariet and Angel reach the tower the undead have already begun to filter in through the front doors. The main floor is crowded with the rotting undead. The sounds of moaning and shuffling feet also seems to indicate that the Tunnels Kraftulkin dug are also being used by the Tainted to gain entrance.
Spotting the trapdoor and hearing the voices of the others below Dariet urges Angel to descend to safety. When she realizes Sondraes and Oscar cannot fit down the trap-chute she balks and refuses to go. Desperate not to see harm befall the woman he loves Dariet forces her below and shuts the trapdoor over her.
Angels anger is loud as she beats on the trapdoor from below. She screams at Dariet in her mind but he will not let her out.
The chute opened into an old catacomb beneath the city and the others had begun to explore the inky depths when they hear Angels yelling and cursing. Rushing back to her they find her standing at the top of the chute ladder trying in vain to open the trapdoor. Before anyone can calm or assist the woman a huge explosion rocks the chamber from above.
After shaking the cobwebs from her ringing head Angel finds the trapdoor is no longer blocked. Lifting it she finds the tower in ruins, the explosion having destroyed its inner structure completely. She immediately begins to search for Dariet or Sondraes. Soon everyone is involved but no amount of sifting reveals any sign of the mage or the animals.
Angel climbs to the window to see, perhaps, if Dariet had somehow escaped outside. What she saw shrank her heart and nearly caused her to cave in right then and there. Outside, the city crawled. Thousands upon thousands of Tainted approached the tower. Those already at its base had begun digging and tearing at the stonework trying to get within.
Even as she watches Bloodbourne has become frantic to locate his companion mount Oscar. Realizing he is not in the tower Bloodbourne begins to tear rubble away from the doors to get outside.
It does not take long however for the group to realize the danger they are in and they once again retreat into the depths below seeking an escape route. As they reenter the depths they hear a shrill screech of metal being torn from stone. The sound is clear but echoes making its direction of origin uncertain.
Soon the party locates the source of the noise. A large Troll rests chained to the floor in a nearby chamber. He has exerted his energy removing the shackles he could. After struggling to communicate with the creature fluidly the group finally comes to know the Troll as Ooyuki Rottshill.
Ooyuki was abducted by a cult that practiced necromantic rituals beneath the city. Brought to this place he was chained and experimented on. When the party finds him he is near starved but otherwise alert and able to reveal many things of interest.
Here it seems dark rituals have been enacted related to the plague. This information suggests that the plague is nowhere near as natural as they thought. Ooyuki watched as the cult leader, a woman called Laurel, drove her followers on in their quest to create some kind of serum or potion related to the disease. The cult used its prisoners to test these concoctions.
All Ooyuki could gather on the potion is that it is designed to assist a man named Jasper who is also working on something related to the plague. He needs the concoction to finish his experiment.
Ultimately it seems, in the end, the cultists got what they desired. The concoction was completed after the last three components where delivered to Laurel by a mercenary group that traveled into the Darkmoon Woods.
What the cult did not anticipate however was the swiftness of the plague. Soon even the cultists where dying off like fly’s.
Mistress Laurel escaped with a handful of loyal cultists and with her she carried the potion. She mentioned something about meeting Jasper somewhere to the south.
As he reveals what he has seen and heard the others listen closely, asking the occasional question. Soon it is clear that Laurel is not as she appears and she plans something dark that could make the already devastating plague far worse.
The only other thing the Troll mentions of interest is the death of a blue man also held captive in the catacombs. His description sounds allot like the Danzi Tojo but there is no way to confirm the mans identity.
As the party discusses matters they are startled by the roar of some great beast nearby. The Troll seems to fear the sound and immediately rushes to regain his gear from a nearby locked-box.
Soon the party faces off against a huge grizzly bear trailing broken chains behind it. The creature is obviously tainted but dispatched quickly regardless, decapitated by the great Ooyuki. The Troll struck the bear with such force that the ichor within gushed outward coating him and the ground around him in blackness.
As the ichor again begins to draw itself into a central mass Bloodbourne charges forward and attacks it with holly water… the water singes and hurts the ichor but it still retreats into itself.
Seemingly unaffected by the black ooze the Troll wipes the ichor from his katana as Angel rushes up from behind. Kneeling she reaches to draw some of the ichor into a water skin but is surprised when the ichor lashes out at her and wraps around her wrist. It then disappears into the ground, leaving only a small hole in the ground.
Angel managed to capture a sample before the main mass escaped. After securing the water skin she quickly locates and then drinks from the cure she has been carrying in her bag. She is no longer certain what the “cure” actually is but she has seen it fend off the onset of the disease in others so she trusts it will at least buy her some time.
At this point the party decides it best to escape these catacombs and the city. Eventually the party steps into open ground several miles from the city just as the sky opens above allowing sun to reach the earth below for the first time in days. The secret catacomb entrance afforded the escape they so desperately needed.
The sun beats down on the group momentarily blinding them. Behind them the city of Falcons Hollow burns.