-Loaded with supplies for their escape from the Keep, the party returned to their apartment to collect the rest of the party. Oso, the priestess of Astarael, told them she would stay behind, since she thinks her god sent her to the Keep because followers of Kyuss were amongst the invading army outside. The party was not happy that in the short time they were gone Oso had set her weird crystals out all over the apartment.
-The party headed into the dungeon below the chapel, where they met Milon, the iron golem constructed a thousand years ago to guard the Tears of Vummor. Once they spoke the words to make him stand down, he greeted them in his sullen manner. Realizing he was magically bound to guard the Tears, they asked him if it would be possible for him to leave the dungeon and join them. He was uncertain, as his orders specifically cited both protecting the Tears from evil and staying in the dungeon. Roderick, who belongs to a secret order within the church of Heironeous dedicated to guarding the Tears of Vummor, remembered a way to do so after some thought. He spoke the words and Milon seemed relieved. The party promised Milon that on their journey they would find a way to replace the arm and hand he lost in the battle against the minotaur; he remained skeptical, but mentioned that it would be nice leaving the dungeon after a thousand years.
-After collecting the Tears and needing a few minutes to recollect after the profound grief awakened by contact with the artifact, the party decided to leave behind something just in case the Bloodface did breach the Keep. After locating the corpses of their previous battle with the kobold zombies, they returned with a severed hand and placed it on the pedestal, middle finger extended.
-Before summoning the gate, Ymanie gave a quick safety primer on the Somberlain: don't leave the road, try to stay in sight of one another as best as possible through the heavy fog, and if darkness falls everyone should form up and be prepared for an attack from the night creepers. Despite the danger of transporting a powerful artifact through a potentially risky otherworld, she seemed pretty excited. A marching order was determined, and it was decided that since visibility was between 10 and 15 feet, a length of rope, looped about everyone's waist, should extend from the front of the party all the way to the back. Since Milon was the least likely to feel the depressive effects of the Tears, he would walk by himself at the center of the order, keeping his distance from those in front of and behind him.
-Ymanie opened the gate and the party ventured through, consisting of seven people, one bugbear, one donkey lady, one animated rag doll, a dog, a warrior cat, an iron golem, and a goat:
-Ingrid-Nimy (with her mastiff, Oardale)-Shepard (with her goat, Shelly)-Dorcas-Grolt-Ymanie-Sheila-Zarn-Roderick-Milon-Razzi-Calai
-Once everyone else was on the Somberlain, Ymanie came through and picked up the first stone in order to close the portal. However, the spiky-haired halfling with the bandaged forearms--Nimy's stalker--came barreling through, knocking Ymanie over before she could reach the second stone. Knowing there was a good chance the stone could disappear with the portal, she yelled for those closest to grab the stone instead of giving chase to the halfling, who was already hidden in the fog of the Somberlain.
-Zarn offered to follow the halfling, but the party decided it was best to just stay in formation and begin their journey; the halfling was likely the least of their dangers here.
-The party headed off down the path, hemmed in by all sides on the dense fog, irregularly-spaced black tombs and the occasional massively warped dead tree. Their footfalls were deadened by the oppressive silence that reigned on the Somberlain. After several hours of marching the party decided to stop; partially to rest, but also for a respite from the eeriness. Zarn seemed particularly affected by their travel, so they encouraged him to tell them about New Ulthar, his order, and his thoughts on cats having nine lives. He opened up and relaxed, talking about the sunny streets of his home. He told them that if it wasn't for his abduction at the hands of the witch, Dunna, he would now be assigned the prestigious duty of regular patrols on the moon (as the warrior cats had a means to travel there and visit its cities.) He told Shepard about his cousin Raknir, who was hairless, and he also explained that cats do in a way have nine lives; they do not keep track, but the warrior cats in particular intentionally put themselves at risk because on their ninth life they are called to serve Bast on a very heroic quest.
-Rested, the party set off again. Not an hour later they encountered six open tombs and darkness fell around them. Ymanie shouted for everyone to form up and prepare for an attack! First they heard wet sucking sounds of no discernible source in the fog around them, but then a night creeper appeared atop one of the open tombs--humanoid in shape, with leathery arms and legs, a dark, hazy body, and a head wrapped in
bloody bandages. More appeared, and they began their assault. Sheila was paralyzed in the battle, and the creepers concentrated their efforts on distracting the party while one attempted to carry her off into one of the tombs. They were thwarted, however, and the final creeper was killed, it's body curling up like a dead spider as it began leaking a vile black liquid. The sky returned to its twilit gloom once again, and the party had to stop Ymanie from going into one of the still-open tombs "just to have a little look-see".
|Logjammin' on the Somberlain.|
-The party quickly resumed their travel, eager to put some distance between themselves and the open tombs. They stopped ahead, however, after encountering something strange lying in the road ahead of them. Shepard and Ymanie went forward to investigate; they found the skin of the strange halfling lying alongside its discarded clothing. Its stomach bore an 'H' shaped incision, once stitched together but now burst. The interior of the skin was pocked with thousands of tiny holes.