The following excerpt is a heavily biased retelling of the fateful events that took place at the Signal Tower that night, from the halfling Tafwick Bramwood. You have been warned. (With some bits from the GM adding in missing parts)
…. So we all moved to the stairs, as quickly as possible. I had an arrow cocked, Durgin was planted at the front and Eckhardt was doing his best to direct us but the rest of us were panicking – this was a Necrach. Some kind of damned Vampire Lord. I had no idea what that meant, nor any inclination what a Necrach was. But our last encounter proved to me it looked like bad news. Serious bad news.
I was on my way to get the one thing we had which could ensure it wouldn’t be seeing the surface again, a barrel of finest dwarven gunpowder. Whilst I was retrieving the barrel, the creature used some of it’s dark magicks to torment Durgin with a ghostly apparition of his previous rememberer, a human named Theodore I believe. Theodore had pleaded with Durgin to free its soul from the beast, which would happen to mean also freeing it from the chamber below. After further hasty diplomacy with the foreman of the signal tower, Grott Isembeard, we managed to enlist his assistance in the placing and detonating of the barrel.
The time spent setting up the barrel in an attempt to close the beast off was spent discussing various strategies to try and counter it’s dark ability. In the end we just waited for it to come up the stairs and get right down to it. In the end it did not come up the stairs and get right down to it. So we had to form up, gather our wits and nerves and go right down to it.
However the careful placement of the barrel and coordinating with Grott Isembeard ended up being a rather simple affair; lets just roll the barrel down the stairs, and light the fuse, hope for the best. The crypt was at least 40 feet down so the above tower would be relatively safe, in theory. Unfortunately I had rather hoped the explosion would cause a cave-in or some structural collapse, enough to bury this thing in rock. Alas, we did not succeed in this and our hasty decision of setting the barrel as a result of what I can only guess was our fear of reprisal from the Necrach, resulted in a somewhat less than spectacular explosion. If anything, we had made it easier for it to escape, as we discovered that the Necrach’s chamber was further in, situated behind a layer of two walls. Alas we did not explore that part earlier on, as much running away was had. In Durgin’s case it was more of a tactical re-positioning.
Well, it turns out those objects that were hanging around the necks of those undead… things, were actually keys, as the ghost of Theodore had pointed out and seemed rather keen for us to use. Fearing that due to the fact it’s dark magick could reach out to our minds, one of us may gather all the keys under duress – I cunningly hid one key in my boot and took another. Claiming I only had the one. Thus with six keys we would be safe from any treachery.
Well, either the battle with the ghouls and zombies or the lack of proper sleep or any number of the ridiculous, unforeseen, unbelievable extenuating circumstances that came with my employment prior to being sworn as Durgin’s rememberer my memory of what occurred next is nonexistent. Durgin states that there was debate on whether we should deal with the creature now, or whether we should leave and return with Priests of Morr or other specialized warriors. In the end we decided to leave. Durgin was not happy with this, I could tell, but he knew he could not risk freeing such a horror upon the world without assurance that he could defeat it, and it would be another shaming if this thing was released and was not soundly defeated.
As we were making our way out of the signal tower to plot a course to the nearest temple of Morr, I came across an unlikely sight. There, stood a man in shining armour. The others seemed to know him, but alas I did not.
He gave his name as Godfrey de Montfort, knight of some lady from somewhere called Bretonnia, if I recall. Yet my companions reception of him was… cold. Kall Horst raised a pistol to him, and the rest were concerned regarding his arrival. Odd I thought, since the knight was saying he had tracked us through some vision he had with this lady, and he was here to make amends for his earlier deeds and to aid us in slaying this vampire.
The knight had filled renewed courage in these companions of mine, including Durgin who while did not need to be renewed with courage as the dwarf was swimming in it already, clearly made him all the more keen for slaying this beast once and for all. Except Kall Horst, who continued to point a pistol at Godfrey.
Thus we set our fates back on course for an encounter with the undead fiend, and proceeded to insert the keys within the main chamber. It was a strange chamber at that, one that was very cold and filled me with dread. A circle with runes lay in the middle of this circular room, and within this circle lay a trapdoor. Some elaborate 7 pointed star, or at least, some kind of shape, was present around this trapdoor. At each point was a slot for a key. However, I still had one key tucked away in my boot and had hoped that perhaps I can force us to leave this place without ever freeing it, as I did not fancy our chances even with this new arrival. Alas it seems the keys merely weakened the magical containment of which the now dead wizard spoke about. 6 keys was enough to free the damn thing.
A violent melee unfolded, such was its ferocity that I could scarcely follow it. Durgin stood firm in front of the Necharch trading blows with it in a dance of death I could scarcely follow from my position. He took three blows that looked and by all rights should have been mortal from it, but grit his teeth and fought on in his desire for vengeance and honor. Eckhardt cut swathes of flesh with his halberd, despite hiding from a table earlier on. Godfrey harried it with blows from his strange Bretonnian blade that seemed to glow eerily. Even the noble doctor Ulrico, put his blade to bloody work. Whilst my flaming arrows and Kall Horst’s bolts slammed home time and again. Although at one stage the screams of Kall Horst could be heard after a fearsome piercing wail screeched out from this monster, and I last saw Kall Horst running towards the stairs as we fought on.
Detailing every move of the battle would take more pages than I can afford so I must be brief. Seeing several of my comrades struggling I cunningly deployed a smokebomb, seeing as such devices confounded the creature in our last engagement if memory serves me right. Then as it got one last swipe off at Durgin, my arrow struck it’s head, in my opinion taking it clean off. In the confusion of the smoke Eckhardt and Durgin also had their blows find some purchase but none of us truly knows the beast’s true killer. Eckhardt resigned the feat to me, although only he and I believe it. Durgin was quiet in the aftermath, in my opinion wishing for a cleaner kill to remove the uncertainty. I do not know how slayer culture works, but as his rememberer if there is some way the kill can be attributed to him, I would dub him Durgin Vampire-Bane. Alas this is merely a chronicle and not a letter so I shall continue on…
From The Chronicles of Durgin Gomrundsson, remembered by Tafwick Bramwood-Redd of The Moot.