Exile on Drochtrèdia

The Final Resting Place

The Tail of How We Didn't Die to the Queen of Death (Yet)

Send to:
Flate’s Flask’s and Flammables
Mariner’s Landing
Droctredia

TO: The People of Mariner’s Landing
FROM: Your friend, Tahli
-————————————————————
Hello Mr. Flate,

I didn’t know where to mail letters to Mariner’s Landing, so I hope this finds you well, and that you distribute this letter amongst the citizens of the town, and all my friends.

My hands are still shaking a bit. I can not return for this exact moment to Mariner’s Landing as I find myself with a companion who is not welcome there. I am staying with Windrinse Highpeak for now with the dwarves. I have yet to meet most of them. I need to tell you about what happened in our adventure north.

Arrival:

Gilvaldellin (Gil), Windrinse Highpeak, Gerald Poh, Valen Aldarin, and Myself all followed Gil as far north as I think anyone has been to investigate a vision Gil had of a necrotic cave plaguing the leyline. It was over a hundred miles away, but Gil had a fabulous wagon that floated and was pulled my an incredible horse made of water! It galloped so fast I thought we were flying. After 5 days of travel along the mountain ridge we found the canyon Gil recognized. It was darker than normal here. Everything felt still and grey, as if devoid of color and emotion. There was minimal life…and it was so still. We found a body that seemed to be young, but he just withered away, almost as if he died of old age.

The Cave:
At the end of the canyon we find the pit that Gil saw in his vision and descend the staircase to see what lies below. At the bottom is a small pool of rainwater that trickles down the hall, leading lower and lower. The walls had fantastic markings on them, depicting burial rights, souls being put to rest, and clergymen, with one black, hooded, dark bishop depicted as a powerful person.

Down the hall we find a room that has four shadowy cloaked figures holding a pedestal over a pit. There are also sick beds, an alter, and pews. We looked around for a bit and I heard spatterings of a voice coming from farther down the hall. We take a look into the next room and there is a corpse with this manic look on it’s face, and we are attacked by an Alip. It was this maddened ghost like creature that could walk through walls and howl so loud we were stunned. Despite this, we dispatch the creature, and look around some more. It seemed as though clergymen lived here, and they were healers of some sort.

Going Farther Down:

Eventually we decide to see what is in the pit the four statues are holding. We take an old gnoll body and put it on the pedestal, and after a bit it descends below, where something drags it under. The statues emit a paralyzing gas when it does this. We climb down and dispatch two skeleton gnolls, and continue on our way.

We were faced with a series of hallways blocked by one way doors with part of an inscription on each one that said the following:

“All are welcome, sick or healthy, all may come to take your rest
Admit there is no second chance, come and join in the final dance
Go not to heaven’s distant strain, nor hells that seal with curse and chain
You built this place with blood and bone, where should one rest but in Her home
We welcome you with open arms, so sleep here deeply safe from harm
Our children left will surely know we’re always watching from below”

The hallways were lined with hundreds of skeleton’s graves. They were decorated with pieces of their past, including robes, jewelry etc. We prop open the doors with bone, and Windrinse takes a few rings to pocket. After about the 5th room, Windrinse has the idea to look back to find the doors have been shut. We can’t open them, but I try laying a hand on one and it does open. It seemed to respond to my necrotic energy. Skeletons awaited us on the other side and told us it was a one way trip to meet the queen of death. Naturally, we continued downwards.

The Final Resting Place
Finally we find a large room with a throne perched atop a pile of skulls. The bishop sat on the throne, with two statues guarding the room as well. His voice was chilling but enthralling. He wished us here with open arms, and invited us to meet the queen of death. I wanted to meet her badly, but after a pause, he stood to hurry us to our inevitable graves. His hood fell back, revealing he was a Bodak, and that was all I remembered for a minute. I woke up to someone pouring a health potion down my throat, and for a few seconds, people just kept falling over dead. He face was horrifying, it’s jaw fell open nearly a foot down, and it was death to gaze at his eyes.

The fight was grueling and horrible. We were on the smallest of health at all times, and he seemed to be invincible or resistant to nearly everything we threw at it. He called two ghosts to aid him, and one did something to me. I….I aged 30 years. My face isn’t the young face I remembered the last time I looked in a mirror, and my hands have started to show lines. I am not old, but I have lost my youth…it saddens me to think about.

Outside the door, I activated a wall of fire stick, scorching a dozen skeletons. Windrinse and Gerald managed to continue hacking away at the Bodak, but they could never stay up. Most of mine and Valen’s efforts were spend healing the party. Gil surprised me once by turning me into an elephant!! I killed a ghost as this mangificant beast, but Gil was knocked unconscious shortly after, rendering me back to my original state.

The fighting continued and we all though hope was lost, but the Bishop continued to wither, and eventually it started to panic. At the end of the room there was a dark pit, calling strongly to us. Gil made an illusion to displace the pit in the Bodak’s mind, and it dove into the ground in confusion. It was haggard and panicked and frightened, and we were weak and tired and out of potions and spells. Valen bravely threw one last radiant beam towards the bodak, it flinched violently and dove headfirst into the pit. The remaining ghost shortly followed. The fight was over.

The Queen

The party wanted to take a long rest here. I thought it was a horrendous idea seeing as there was a literal pit to death calling at us to run into it in this room. Gil set up a hut for us to hide in, and we compromised at a short rest to lick our wounds. A ghost came to keep an eye on us, but returned to the pit after a while. Windrinse tried to intimidate it but was obviously whimpering like a small child the entire time. I don’t think it was very effective, but it gave us a few laughs which were a welcome comfort.

Then I heard her. This voice was in my head asking me why I came here, and I told her the truth. I was here to learn how my magic works, why I have it, and where it came from. Why do things I touch wither and die? Why do the corpses not bother me, why can I poison and rot whatever irritates me and why do I just know I can bring something back to life soon?

She said she could teach me…she said she was the end of Droctredia. She was the Queen of Death and she promised a silent and a deep slumber with no war, no fighting, no pain, no harm. It would all just end. It could be peaceful and numb. She said she used to be a half elf like me, and she was tired of the plagues on this land, so she rose to power. She is the reason why the dragons do not own this land. She wanted me to stay, to aide her as a living thing. I could know everything I ever wanted to know.

I wanted to go with her to be honest. It was the most tempting offer I have ever faced, but Gil kept me sane enough to deny her request. She said that if we returned the things we stole, she would let us leave, just this once, however, she wanted to see what her world has become in her absence. A skull dislodged itself from the pyramid and rolled to my feet. It would be her eyes, and one day I could return with it, full of memories of Droctredia. I will carry it with me from now on. This is why I can not return to Mariner’s Landing. The party was uncomfortable bringing it to a place so safe. We returned the items we stole, and she was true to her word. The skeletons let us pass, and returned to their slumber.

I hope I can return soon, I need to make my acquaintance with these dwarves and see what they have to say about this whole ordeal. But for now, my best wishes and kindest regards. I hope this letter bring you the information you need.

Your Friend,
Tahli

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