Michael, I was the most hideous, frightening thing ever and I’ll have nightmares for months.

Remember that mad hermit that we dealt with a month or so ago? Well, he had a map on him with the location of some crypt or something. We decided to go clear it out.

(Oh – he also had a wonderful belt, one of those belts of the dwarf. It’s the oddest thing in the world, wearing it: you start to think in dwarvish. But it grants darkvision – you can see in absolute dark. A handy thing, and perhaps a mixed blessing.)

Anyway. We went to this location, and there was an ancient barrow there (after the style of the eastern barbarians). Entering it, we passed all these bones and things, and Morgana I think commented that they would likely come alive to defend the tomb. I wish she wouldn’t jinx us like that. Anyway, we pressed in a bit further, and there were some undead, which we fought. We ought to have brought a cleric of Erastil with us, you know.

A bit further up there was this octagonal room with carvings in four of the walls signifying the four winds (I think). They had sent me ahead to scout it out on account of I’m the only one who knows anything about traps and whatnot. Well, I walked straight into it. The four winds blew this horrible undead stuff and I was absolutely crippled (-6 to Str and Dex. Ouch). I had a go at disabling the the trap, but more stuff came out and I gave it up. A bad move, it turned out – I should have persisted.

There was room to the left, with undead in it. Which we fought. There was a room to the right, with undead in it. Which we fought. The undead would break their way through our line and attempt to stand in the middle of the room with the trap and get bathed by this undeady stuff. And when they did, their eyes would glow and they’d become much tougher.

I should have worked out then, you know, that disabling the trap would be a good idea. But I didn’t.

So after this, we ventured down the main hallway and saw some sort of 7-foot tall chief undead, and he animated. And then the traps went off again and every single light in the place (I had dancing lights up, and Morgana had a light spell active) was snuffed out.

So everyone was blind except me. Which meant that I was the only one who saw the bones at the entrance (remember those?) animate. I sent my Dancing Lights down to the entrance so that everyone could see the danger, and then ducked into one of the side rooms, because it looked defensible. Everyone followed me and it might have been a mistake, because the undead would stand in that trap thing and power up.

What happened next was just indescribable. Every few moments the trap would go off and snuff all the light, and I would cast Dancing Lights again – I could barely draw my bow or aim it because of the effect of being caught in the trap, so it was the only useful thing I could do. Every few moments the place was being thrown into absolute pitch darkness and these undead things were grappling people and pulling them down, while the seven-foot-tall undead chief thing was attacking. (Actually – I think it was a very good thing that we retreated into a side room, or they would have been grapplig us and dragging us into the trap.) At one point, a couple of undead came though the actual ceiling and fell on me and started to grab. I had dwarven sight and wasn’t blind like everyone else when the lights were snuffed, but it’s not like ordinary sight, it’s … it’s not easy to describe. You know how the humans talk about dreams and nightmares? I think it might have been something like that. It was like visions.

The fight went for – it just felt like two or three hours although it was probably only a minute or two. Morgana had her familiar take over torch duties, but I was really feeling my absence of any damage-dealing spells. At one point I remember I did shoot something with the bow and scored a lucky, lucky, lucky shot (I won’t even pretend it was skill) and downed one of them.

Eventually it was just the big chief thing. But everyone was hurt – Rainor really badly – and this chief undead was standing in that undead wind vortex trap thing. So I just said to hell with it and concentrated on disabling the trap – trusting my allies to keep me alive, because that undead thing knew what I was doing and was going to attack me. So strange to rely on annuals like that, that cold and certain knowledge that if they fell then I would die too, and so I may as well risk all to do my part. Stranger still that this is no longer a new thing for us.The gods have given us to share a fate.

It was – ewww! – sort of organic, not like an ordinary trap at all. I located something like a heart, or at least it felt central, and it was moving, but it was all the way up under some kind of ribcage (it might actually have been a ribcage – I don’t want to know) and it took me precious seconds to get a firm grip on it, but I ripped it out. It was kind of rotten, there was this horrible fluid everywhere that smelled like rotting blood, it go in my hair, in my clothes. But that was enough to disable the device. The chief was still very powerful, and it was mainly down to the fighters in the end, but I hope I made some sort of difference right at the very last.

And at the end of it all, no loot. Well – one item. The main undead was fighting with a half-ghost halberd: the staff was ghost, but the blade was real enough. We checked, and the blade in addition to being very magical also extends into the etheral plane, so it affects ghosts normally. Jope is very keen to have it as his weapon, but you don’t just attach something like that to a broom handle – it will take a little work. So much for his heirloom blade – I suppose that goes into a trophy cabinet.

It took me a week to gt over the effect of the undead trap thing. We have made a trip up here to Restov (funny how Restov feels like the Big City these days) I’m really going to hit the books. Having to depend on magic to actually survive has really been focusing. I’ve worked out that Scorching Ray spell, and I’ll transcribe some more spells into my book. Fortunately, being a bit of a border town the mages here all know exactly the sort of spells that an adventuring party uses.

Might be best not to tell Mother about this last one.

Still alive, if shaken,
Your Sister-in-exile


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