Library of Howling

17.Lesson 1: Don't Touch Anything

As the party has retired to the “couch room” for the night, those on watch think they hear what is singing going on all night. Only when they are very quiet can they hear it, but no one can distinguish what is being said in the song. Bill and Thin Boots decide between them that it is a chorus of people singing, not just one, but again nothing can be understood of what is being sung.

The next morning the party continues to investigate the first floor of the palace. They discover a hidden room behind a tapestry in one of the rooms that leads to a pool room. Although the pool is filled with nasty water, they do find a pair of women’s sized fine leather boots, a fancy dagger, a dirk, and a crown. Ox, who has been designated as the loot carrier, puts each item into the loot bag but is quick to block an attack from the dirk which has a pommel that morphs into a snake when you touch it. Thirsty takes the dagger. The search continues.

A series of guest rooms are found in another area of the first floor, as well as a kitchen area with what appears to be a cook book. The cook book is added to the loot bag.

Deciding to go investigate the foggy area to the south of the palace, the group clusters up near the entrance to the first room which Bill had quickly ushered them through due to some creature being in the room. Bill enters alone to investigate a shield lying on the floor and upon touching the shield realizes he made a mistake. Bursting to life in front of him are sixteen of the corpses near the original door. Grabbing the shield, Bill back-pedals to the doorway opposite the zombified creatures.

Red quickly steps up and casts a rooting spell on the creatures, and it is decided they will try to take the zombies down at range. Soon though, it becomes apparent that, even though the zombies aren’t getting to them, the missile fire just is not doing enough damage to the zombies. The party begins moving into the room and spreading out just as the first of the zombies manages to shrug off the rooting spells binding them to the ground.

In true barbarian fashion, Moon charges the right side of the zombie group near the ones which are breaking loose. Marble has spent the entire altercation thus far trying to dominate one of the zombies and finally manages to gain control of one of them causing him to turn on his comrades in death.

Moon manages to wound a few of the zombies while missile fire from the group continues to pelt the zombies around him. About this time, all of the zombies burst into an unnatural flame which seems to do no damage to them, but causes the party to have to maintain distance from them or risk being burned. Moon quickly finds himself surrounded as more of the zombies shrug off the rooting spell.

Seeing Moon putting his back to the wall as he is surrounded, Bill charges in and begins a brutal assault on the zombie numbers driving his magical, metal-eating spear straight into the faces of one zombie after another. As the pile of still-burning zombie bodies piles up around him, the rest of the party joins in the melee and soon the zombies’ numbers are decimated with only a few minor wounds to the party.

After quick rest, the party ventures outside and to the closed door of the foggy area to the south of the palace. Marble volunteers to go in, but it is decided that a rope will be tied to him so that he can be pulled out if something goes wrong. After entering the walled area, the party waits a few minutes for Marble to return before becoming worried and pulling him out.

Emerging half-walking, half-dragged from the area, Marble’s face shows nothing but sheer terror. He recounts a story of seeing seven beings and seven slabs with names of six dead people he knew. Upon the seventh was his own name. Upon turning to leave, he is attacked by the beings and was drug out of the area in the nick of time.

As Marble attempts to recover while being noticeably shaken up, the party continues south. Coming upon a large ring of glass angel corpses, they decide to see what’s in the center which could have caused such a thing, and Bill, Moon, and Red climb over the angel corpses to the center. What they find is a large crown-wearing glass angel corpse standing over another non-angel corpse. The non-angel corpse on the ground has had his chest piece removed and a wicked wound to the chest is obviously the death blow. The more interesting thing is that the armor worn by the non-angel is an exact match to the chest piece that Bill is currently wearing.

Bill calls the rest of the party in to the center and as they are climbing in leans down to remove one of the gauntlets from the body. This action causes the glass corpse of the angel wearing the crown to begin to spring to life. An epic battle ensues, and the party is barely able to damage the angel with each strike, but the overall effect seems to be adding up. Red manages to land a huge blow with a thrown boulder which makes the glass statue crack before the angel attacks with AOE-fatiguing attacks which leave many members of the party crawling from the fight and going into shock.

Sensing that these mortals may be able to harm him more, the angel drops a globe of darkness over the area surrounding him and continues to visit mayhem upon the party. Only Red remains inside the globe of darkness, having trained to fight in the dark. He manages to land a few blows on the angel, but the angel clearly has the upper-hand, and things look bleak for the party.

Bill, having exited the globe of darkness, begins summoning a slew of fire lizards to harass the angel, hoping to buy time or at least distract the being. The rest of the party can only crawl away or wait outside the globe of darkness for an opening and are again blasted with the fatiguing beams and cones.

Concentrating on his sensing powers, Bill is able to track the being (which looks nothing like the angel before them) in the darkness. He wades into the globe preparing to again try to strike the angel with his spear, but changes his mind before he makes it to the angel and pulls out the rod that the party found in the Chapel of the palace. Stepping up to the angel, Bill swings the rod at him and suddenly the globe of darkness disappears. The being seems to have been contained in the rod, which is now glowing. The formerly-animated corpse is frozen once again.

Moving back over to the armored corpse, Bill again tries to remove a gauntlet and once again the angel’s frozen form springs to life. The party goes through the process once again of capturing the being in the rod. This time, they ground the lifeless body of the angel into dust before trying to touch the armored corpse.

Upon touching it for the third time, the rod goes dark and the being begins to coalesce at a much slower rate, and into a different form. Thin Boots runs over and begins stripping pieces of armor off of the corpse on the ground and is soon joined by others while Bill, Moon, and Red surround the forming being.

Once finally formed, the being resembles some sort of robed octopus. He is repeatedly captured into the rod before the party finally manages to strip all of the armor off of the corpse. The party takes a rest as Bill straps the black armor onto his body, and puts the glowing rod containing the beast back into his backpack.