In the White Shadows

Chapter IV: Session IV - Food Addiction

It's a real thing

So’Khra’s new-found relatives led the party right up the steps of the mansion. A feast spread before them, which was not mysterious at all. Each party member eyed the food warily, but sat down in order to appease the frantic flitting about of So’Khra’s mother. Around this time, a boy and a girl also joined the table. So’Khra assumed they were his siblings.

While Behrtogg and Symon eyed the food — it looked a little too perfect — So’Khra began peppering his mother and father with questions. Where did they go all those years ago? Why didn’t I get to go with you? As is common, everyone grew tired of So’Khra’s long-windedness, and his mother eventually started repeating her desire to eat dinner as a family. While hesitant at first, Behrtogg and So’Khra ate a few bites, and they become overwhelmed by its deliciousness. Soon, they were piling it in their faces with thoughts of little else. Symon, on the other hand, wanted to “see a dwarf about a foundry” and left the table for the door. Before he could leave, his hand was grabbed by the young girl, who had been making eyes at him since she arrived. As he turned back to the table, he noted with peculiarity that his comrades were besides themselves with food lust (even more than their usual disheveled mannerisms). Creepily, “ma & pa” were now standing beside them, one hand on each shoulder and grinning eerily.

As the young girl began pulling Symon back to the table, he balked. She quickly grew frustrated and complained to her mother that Symon didn’t want any food. Eery smiles transformed to furious snarls, and a fight was on!

Four armored swordsmen now floated before Symon, ready to pounce. So’Khra and Behrtogg paid little mind, they were still unnaturally focused on pounding that meal, which now clearly consisted of black ooze and rotting sinews. Quick to react, Symon began fighting the “family,” who swarmed around him in a cloud of black blades. Out of the corner of his eye, he noted a small white raven now perched on the bar behind him.

Eventually, Behrtogg noted, from somewhere deep in his subconscious, that his friends were in trouble. After great mental anguish, he finally tore himself from his food and smashed the table with his weapon. That definitely kept him from going back to eat. So’Khra overcame his desire in similar fashion and broke into battle as well.

The party attacked the cloud of swordsmen, some disappearing with their blades. It soon became apparent they were four aspects of the same specter — they needed to focus their energy on the one! They thought they had an answer, but each blow seemed to cause the raven to explode (only for it to reappear), rather than harm the specter. Behrtogg was particularly confused. Finally, hits were strung together, and the creature was banished. Before Behrtogg could capture the rare bird left behind, So’Khra blasted it to pieces in frustration.

They searched the mansion for clues about this place. Why did So’Khra feel so strongly he should stop here, if simply the home of a random undead sorcerer? Deftly recalling previous experiences, the party realized a lich’s soul may remain here. They would need to destroy its phylactery to excise it from this place. But do they care?

So’Khra stumbled across a book which seemed to hold the answer. It was in Slatine’s handwriting. Confusingly, however, it seemed to contain random parameters and locations of four tapestries. After piecing the information together for a few minutes, So’Khra decided to look around further. Sure enough, throughout the mansion, the four tapestries were displayed, telling familiar tales of Kievstal, Obsidian, Mezzo, and Eastport. Upon closer examination, So’Khra realized that the Obsidian tapestry was one inch shorter than in Slatine’s description. As he reached out to touch it, it faded away into a stairwell — a stairwell going down into darkness.

Gulping, the party journeyed downward, cautiously peering around a hallway. Soon they came across a crumpled heap — and a fifth tapestry. From a distance, this seemed to tell a tale they had not heard before, a tale about a king and his vizier conquering many lands justly. As they drew closer, a cold voice behind them called out, “Not so fast, the Master still needs your soooouls!”

Another fight broke out, as two boneclaw harpies and an undead priest assaulted them to glorify their lich leader! The battle raged on for some time, and the heroes were nearly turned to lich food. At one point, So’Khra blasted a spray of colors (tough guy) at the harpies, catching the crumpled heap in his wake. He thought he heard a stilted groan come from the pile, but it remained silent afterwards.

Up against the wall, at the most opportune time, So’Khra unleashed a wall of metal in the small chamber, which granted just enough respite from the harpies to dispatch the priest. That seemed to turn the tide of battle, and the heroes emerged victoriously fatigued.

Running over to the crumpled heap, So’Khra’s heart shattered. Beneath a tattered cloth lay Slatine, cold and silent. In his lifeless hands, he clutched a shiny yellow gem. Sure it was the phylactery, So’Khra picked it up and stood again, ready to destroy the lich that did this! To his surprise however, the tapestry behind him grew dark as he lifted the gem’s light to it. Soon, the tale upon it changed — the benevolent king and noble vizier were now replaced by a dark sorcerer wreaking fiery havoc among an unsuspecting kingdom. It was clear the lich that lived here wrought great evil in his day. With one sweep of his weapon of thundering light, Symon split the tapestry asunder, and the ground began to shake!

The lich was dying, but he was gonna bring this bitch down with him when he went. Quickly grabbing Slatine, the party hustled back upstairs and out the door. In an entirely original and creative way, the mansion collapsed down, just as they reached Mori’s boat. Nothing but rubble remained behind them, except that sinking feeling you get from eating rotten sorcerer food…

With that, Mori pushed the boat back out into the current…

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