Session 36 Epilogue: Old Owl Well Preview

As the group crested a low ridge, they spied the crumbling ruins of an old watchtower standing amid the rugged hills.

The place was so old that the walls were only mounds of rubble enclosing a courtyard of sorts, adjacent to the broken stump of an old tower. A colorful tent had been set up in the middle of the courtyard, but no one was in sight.

As soon as they entered the crumbling walls they were accosted by a dozen orc zombies.

Turenim immediately held up Lightbringer, and called out, "In the name of Lathander, trouble this earth no more!"

Eight of the undead immediately crumbled into dust and blew away on the breeze, leaving only the four in the rear. Albrecht shot the closest with two Eldritch blasts, destroying it. The three remaining zombies lunged at Albrecht, but one was way off, Albrecht sidestepped another, and shrugged off the last. Lee drew Talon and dropped one. Moula dropped another with a flurry of kicks and staff strikes. Julious drew his scimitar, but swung wide, and the last zombie was digging its claws into him until Pippin dropped it with ease.

Hamun Kost
Turenim smashed the four zombie corpses with Lightbringer, and as he did so, a human figure appeared from the tent. Atilius immediately recognized his as a Red Wizard, and a necromancer.

"Well, that was fast!" declared the Red Wizard.

"You're from Thay!" Atilius announced, both astonished at the man's appearance so far west, and proud to have identified him.

"I am." The Red Wizard acknowledged. "Good work."

"Please tell me more." Atilius probed. "I know if we're dealing with a Red Wizard, we're not dealing with a weak force here. What's your name?"

"My name is Hamun Kost," the Red Wizard introduced.

"Hamun Kost, nice to meet you." Atilius greeted, and shook Hamun's hand.

"What brings you here?" Hamun asked.

"We came here to kill the undead." Turenim admitted.

"And you've done an admirable job." Hamun praised. "I commend you."

"What brings you here?" Lee returned.

"I hope you don't hold it against me, Dawnbringer, using these bodies this way. No harm intended," Hamun reassured. "They have served as my guards in this dangerous area, and I have to admit that if I'm going to have an audience with someone, it will be someone who can dispatch them as quickly as you have."

"So these are your guards?" Turenim asked, aggravated at the thought.

"Well, they were." Hamun explained.

"Are those the only ones you have?" Moula asked.

"The land had an abundance of them after a whole bunch of orcs came marauding through here and there were patches of dead bodies." Hamun answered. "I don't know what left them there."

"We've been hearing reports of an increasing amount of undead in the area. Obviously you seem to be a powerful Red Wizard using necromancy to reanimate them. What's your intent?" Atilius asked.

"As I've already said, I've been using them as my guards." Hamun revealed. "And also as a bit of a test, which you have all passed."

"And why have you done this?" Turenim asked.

"I've been trying to get into the well," Hamun explained. "But I have been unsuccessful."

"Is something blocking you?" Atilius asked.

"Yes, there appears to be a door that I cannot get past."

"We've heard reports of a large amount of undead..." Turenim began.

"Those are the only undead," Hamun interjected, "and I can assure you that my undead have not been bothering anyone who has not threatened me."

"When you arrived here," Lee asked, "was it empty?"

"Yes." Hamun answered. "And I've been here for quite some time."

"You have not heard of any more undead?" Turenim pressed.

"I'm sure if there were any undead in the area," Hamun explained, "they were mine. But they are no more. I only had twelve left and you dispatched them all."

"Would you be willing to testify that you've only created 12 undead?" Turenim asked.

"Oh, I've created more than 12." Hamun admitted. "But those are the only ones that are animated at this time. I've been here for a long time, and many others have come and fought with my undead. In fact my original undead were killed by orcs."

"Do you promise to never create any more undead?" Turenim pressed.

"Absolutely not!" Hamun avowed. "I'm a necromancer. This is how I protect myself."

"By stealing the bodies of the dead." Turenim accused.

"Nobody's using them." Hamun defended. "Dawnbringer, I understand that we might fundamentally disagree on this, but I am not harming anyone."

"What do you seek protection from?" Turenim inquired.

"Raiders? Anyone who might do me harm." Hamun explained. "I'm not the only one who's heard of the treasures beneath the Old Owl Well.

"Couldn't you just dig out the floor?" Moula inquired.

"I have not been able to get past the door. There's an impenetrable metal barrier at the bottom of the well. It's pretty deep, but you are welcome to inspect it yourself. You have proven yourselves worthy. In the meantime, sit and relax. I'm not going anywhere."

"What brought you here all the way from Thay?" Atilius asked.

"This!" Hamun exclaimed. "Old Owl Well."

At Lee's inquiry, Atilius began to divulge what he knew of Red Wizards.

At Atilius' mention of liches, Hamun interrupted, "We are ruled by the evil lich, Szass Tam."

"Are you evil?" Turenim interrogated.

"No." Hamun declared.

"Do you despise Szass Tam?" Lee asked.

"Yes." Hamun revealed.

"So are you a refugee?" Turenim asked.

"I'm not a refugee, but I'm certainly not in liege with Szass Tam." Hamun explained. "And he is pure evil."

"We will help you with Old Owl Well, if you promise never to create any more undead." Turenim offered.

"How about this," Hamun countered, "if you help me with Old Owl Well, I will promise never to create undead in this region?"

After numerous questions about the door in the well, and how they could get past it, they determined that it was magic, but lacking any visible runes, and could not be circumvented.

"Have you ever tried using magical means to open the barrier?" Albrecht asked.

"I've tried all the magic means at my disposal." Hamun explained. "I suspect the well does not consider me worthy."

While Lee, Pippin, and Albrecht climbed down into the well, Atilius continued to engage Hamun with questions, while Turenim prepared to cast divination.

"Is there anything you think we should know?" Atilius began. "Do you have any questions for us?"

"Do you think you're worthy of entering Old Owl Well?" Haman asked. "Do you think you can penetrate the barrier?"

"Well, we are explorers." Atilius described. "We relish in learning new things and exploring new places. We would be happy to assist someone who wants to learn. I'm a man of knowledge, and I can tell you are as well. I enjoy learning new things, and if I can learn a closely guarded secret, such as The Well, then I would love to explore it."

"Surely learning the secrets of Old Owl Well would be enticing." Hamun suggested.

At the bottom of the vertical stone shaft they found a solid sheet of metal.

Lee tried to stab the barrier with Talon, but it was like hitting a giant anvil. It did not budge. It did not even make an echo.

As Turenim burned his incense and made his sacrifice, he asked: "Should I make a deal with Hamun Kost to help him with Old Owl Well if he agrees not to create any more undead in the region?"

After a moment Turenim nodded that he was prepared to work with Hamun Kost.

Albrecht drew his rapier and, raising it to the sky, shouted, "Hear me Old Owl Well, for before you stand the heroes of Phandalin. Of our many feats we have improved this world and made heroic efforts to stop all forces of evil and improve the lives of the good. We ask of you now to share with us all that you withhold inside your majesty. Please!"

Nothing happened.

"If you intend to venture into the well," Hamun asserted, "I suggest you all make the attempt together."

"Are you going as well?" Turenim inquired.

"I have not been able to get through the barrier." Hamun explained.

Moula was reluctant to go down into the well without Hamun Kost.

Hamun Kost agreed to go down, followed last by Turenim. As Hamun was climbing down the rope, he slipped, and cast misty step, appearing again at the top of the well. Turenim continued to the bottom.

As soon as the entire group was at the bottom, the stone rings surrounding the metal barrier began to glow and rose up around them. In a flash of light they all disappeared.


No comments:

Post a Comment