Session 4: The Sacrifice
The party decided that before descending the stairs to confront the chanting, they wanted to investigate the family crypts and the bedchamber, in case any clues could be found.
Returning to the stairs where they had first entered the basement, they explored the adjoining alcoves, finding the sealed crypts of Rachel Tergesen Durst, Jennifer Thayer Durst, Kseniya Beryazina Durst, and William Frederick Durst. They also discovered the prepared, but empty and unsealed, crypts for Gustav Dallas Durst and Elizabeth Petrovna Durst. Since they could not bring the bones of Mr. Durst to the crypt, they decided to bring the crypt to his bones, carrying the carved stone slab to the chamber where they had fought the ghouls, and laying it across the well. Aya intoned a short prayer, and the spirit of Mr. Durst rose up through the stone slab, the look of relief on his face turning to agony when the spirit was sucked into the twinned spines Deesqo held in his hand. The party stared in horror as Deesqo finished his silent incantation, but received no explanation from him, and decided to move on.
Exploring the last unexplored corridor, the party heard a low, pained moaning emanating from up ahead. As they advanced cautiously toward the open doorway from which the sounds came, a hideous figure stepped into view; when it turned to face them, the party noticed an uncanny resemblance to the portrait of Mrs. Durst. The ghoul welcomed them to her home, asked if they had come to perform a sacrifice, and invited them to step forward and meet her current guest. As she spoke, she poured a healing potion into a funnel at about head-height that led to an alcove in the wall.
The party was unable to get any useful information out of the creature, and when Aya showed her the crystal they had taken from the statue, she stormed forward, demanding they return the orb to her. She knocked Corwyn aside as she prepared to rip the item from Aya's hands, but her singular focus proved her undoing, as Marbas threw a table at her, knocking her to the ground, and the party made short work of hacking her to pieces.
Stepping forward into the room, the party discovered a chest containing a folded cloak, 4 potions of healing, a chain shirt, a mess kit, a flask of alchemist's fire, a set of thieves' tools, and a wizard's spellbook.
They also discovered the source of the low moan; a decrepit figure chained up within the alcove, funnels running into holes drilled in it's skull, the healing potions keeping it alive well past it's natural lifetime. The figure made no sign of recognizing their presence or acknowledging their voices; when they unchained it, it went limp, unable to stand on it's own; Thinking of the ghoul’s repeated mention of a sacrifice, Deesqo hoisted the figure over his shoulder and carried it along as the party descended the stairs.
The stairs led down into a long hall with alcoves carved along each wall; 13 in total, each holding a different relic. Marbas picked up a crude iron engraving of a devil, and Aya took an eight-inch eyeball coated in lacquer, each giving a tingling sensation as they were held. Aya decided to take all the relics, but on reaching for another, the tingling sensation was replaced by a sharp pain, and both she and Marbas decided to return the relics and leave well enough alone.
Two passages led out of the reliquary. One led to a prison chamber, empty manacles lining the walls. The other ended at a closed portcullis, beyond which they could see a large room, the floor submerged in water, a stone altar rising out of the center. Marbas lifted the portcullis, and the party slipped into the room as he held it above the head, Aya finding the mechanism within to keep the portcullis open.
Now inside the chamber, the chanting ceased. Aya and Deesqo ascended the altar. Along the periphery of the chamber, shadowy figures appeared, and a new chant began: “One must die... One must die...”
Deesqo and Aya secured the ancient figure to the manacles hanging above the altar, and Aya stepped back as Deesqo drew forth his entwined spines and a dagger. Intoning his own chant, Deesqo made the sacrifice, and as the blood dripped onto the altar, the chant echoing through the chamber changed again: “It is done... Sykhane is summoned... It is done... Sykhane will feed...”
As the shadows faded away, a massive mound of flesh and teeth arose from the water at the far end of the room and began slowly moving towards the altar. The party slowly backed out of the room, watching as the insane mound ascended the altar and engulfed the figure hanging there, then collapsed and melted down the sides of the altar and back into the water.
Aya, Corwyn, and Marbas all turned to Deesqo, looking for an explanation; Deesqo simply stated “It is done. The mists will now let us leave this place.”
The party returned to the attic, undisturbed, gathered the bones of Rose and Thorn into a bindle made from a dust-cover, and departed the house, finding the mist had cleared to reveal a shadowy village huddled against a cliff side, atop which loomed a dark castle.