Beneath the Hope District, the companions continue to explore the catacombs. The ancestral crypt of the Gauntwood family, at least that which is accessible to the public, includes a large central crypt with two passages that split off to either side. Unable to ascertain how to enter the ornate crypt, the companions decide to explore the western passage first, which leads to a separate room that contains many mundane urns, perhaps for loyal household retainers. A plinth sits in the middle of the room; it is no longer in operation as the cradle segment of the mechanism has been removed, hope stone and all. A sign above indicates that this plinth is associated with the Temple of Imodae – it is assumed that this is where Father Lodmar sourced his hope stone from.
The eastern passage leads to a similarly constructed room, including many urns and a central plinth. Interestingly, this mechanism is also out of commission, the cradle portion of the plinth removed. A sign above indicates that this node corresponds to the Temple of Gorum. As the mechanism is investigated, Romica notes an inconsistency on one of the stone walls, leading to the discovery of a secret door. The wall opens to reveal a gate, which Quinn advises the guards referred to Castellan Gate. A short passage opens into a large room; both lavish and mundane urns are placed in alcoves that are built into the walls in an orderly fashion around the room. Plaques above the shelves indicate the names of the many castellans that governed the city, who are buried along with the loyal lieges.
The opposite side of the room features a closed portcullis. A quick inspection confirms no ability to open the door from this side, two keyholes can be seen on the opposite side of the door. An anxious Quinn notes that the elite guards – inquisitor types that roam in pairs – would often come through this gate. As such, he has not spent much time in this area of the catacombs for fear of alerting them. Unable to open the portcullis, the companions retrace their tracks.
Returning to the Better Business Bureau, Ken is excited to tell Lando and Maydrane about his progress. As he combs through the archive’s vast stores of knowledge, recording as much as he can for prosperity, he found mention of the Pathfinder Society, and in particular, a husband and wife duo. Lando is elated as this is the first confirmation that his parents did indeed visit the city. The record in question, written by a wealthy merchant, seems to indicate that several strange events preceded Gauntwood taking the throne, and therefore, prior to his marriage with Palomina. Perhaps the Pathfinder Society wished to know more about these events, the entry is unclear. The second piece of the relic is dropped off for Ken to study and assemble.
Getting on into late afternoon, Lando and Maydrane decide to pay a visit to the Barracks as the gnome’s original visit was cut short. The Warden, Darius Pritchard, is present this time, although less than enthused to speak with Lando. A tour of the building is quickly denied and further attempts to stoke civil conversation do not go well. In fact, Lando and Maydrane are asked rather unceremoniously to leave. Surrounded by a dozen or so rangers, they tuck tail and exit the premises. The conversation leaves Lando with a bad feeling, so the gnome cloaks he and Maydrane in invisibility to stake out the barracks. The Warden sets off soon thereafter at pace to the Iron Tower. Lando becomes concerned that an enemy has been made.
Nearing the dinner bell, the two travel back to the home of Brother Tef and Wall Lieutenant Briggs for supper. The food is delicious and only outdone by the company. The wide ranging conversation covers:
- Although they have different views, both have the best for Everstand in mind; Tef’s focus is to help facilitate faith, Briggs to keep order.
- Briggs was appointed by officials from Lastwall. Has been waiting for a missive from High Command regarding next steps. Lando advises that he witnessed Darius Pritchard and his rangers bring in someone in Lastwall garb. Briggs is concerned.
- Lando comes clean regarding the vision and his purpose in Everstand. He appeals to the two of them to assist in evacuating the citizens of Everstand when the time comes, as well as helping the companions topple the Gauntwood regime.
- A decision is made and both are on board. Briggs has the ability to command the Barracks and could use it to help lead people from the Discipline District out of the city. Brother Tef will send word back to Father Lodmar that the companions can be trusted. The residents of Squiretown will be taken care of. Further, Brother Tef will do what he can to coordinate residents of the Hope District.
- Briggs relates that Pritchard is a bad guy and close ally of Gauntwood. He warns Lando and Maydrane not to get caught, they do not want to be taken to the prisons.
- The hope daggers provide a magical damage resistance to those with them in their possession within the walls of the city.
- Regarding the door to the area beneath the Charity District, the missing gears can be found in the Temple of Gorum, although they are unsure where the key is located.
A plan in order, Lando and Maydrane thank the two for the hospitality and company as they set out for the Temple of Gorum to locate the missing gears.
Wishing to investigate Gauntwood’s crypt further, the companions decide it best to dismantle one of the corrupted plinths under the Discipline District in hopes of gaining the attention of one of the patrols. The hope stone is removed from the node corresponding to the Barracks; two inquisitors immediately phase into existence beside the plinth. Their pale features are exactly as Quinn described; the two guards appear to be twins of slightly different size, their ashen faces featureless and without emotion. Ethereal crowns bearing a purple flame float slightly above their heads. They wear light amour covered in an exoskeleton, their movement cat-like and with surprising agility. No weapons are evident save hope daggers sheathed at their belts.
The two guards point at the hope stone and speak in unison, “Give back the stone and achieve a quick death. Else you be tortured for eternity.” The companions engage the creatures in melee. The group focuses on the slightly smaller one, eventually pummeling the guard into submission. A purple blast emanates from the crown of the fallen guard, the magical pulse dropping Magus Mike to his knees. The second guard proves more difficult than the first, effectively evading most attacks. However, the overwhelmingly numbers eventually lead to its downfall. Another magical pulse severely damages Romica, with only the barbarian’s legendary stubbornness allowing him to stay on his feet. Two keys and two hope daggers are found on their bodies.
With no ability to heal, the companions scoop up their unconscious companion and, hoping their orc colleagues will have extra potions, head for exit. The fleeing group manages to race past a the zombie population on the way out, noting a growing orc contingent among them. Making the trek in record time, the surprised and discouraged orcs confide that they do not have the ability to assist them, their healing spells and potions have been expended saving their kin that battled their undead neighbors. A distress call is send topside.
Lando and Maydrane race back to the Better Business Bureau as Ken is putting the finishes touches on the relic. A hope stone is loaded and aimed in the general direction of their colleagues. Expending its power, a translucent pulse is sent through the air. In sight of the orcs, the companions wounds are healed and they are transformed to full health. A quick stretch and they prepare to re-enter the tunnel.