We rejoin our heroes in the snow flurries created by the departure of the Greenland dragon, and in a new bind. Their task now is to journey to the ruined old town of Good Hope, and invade the church there to kill a lich. They have been geased by the dragon, and so have no choice but to do this as quickly as possible.

So, Brian the Hunter set about making a pool of frozen mermaid blood on the ground, and used it to scry across the Island, seeking the church in which the Lich resided. His vision was drawn initially to a church far away from Good Hope, but then the vision flickered and changed to the main church in Good Hope. The church was damaged in the dragon’s assault all those years ago, but not so badly that it was not covered and protected against prying eyes; however, Brian could see Ghasts moving about the churchyard and the docks of Good Hope, and the characters realised they would need some tactic to enter the church undetected. Their goal was to get as close to the Church as possible before revealing their presence, because Liches are renowned spell-users, and were the lich given sufficient chance to cast protective and summoning magic, they would all be doomed.

To this end the characters realised they needed to scry inside the Church, to find a way in and to know where the Lich hid, and what its defences were. They returned to their ship, and then sailed back to the main port, where they again enjoyed a night of dubious hospitality in Erik’s Longhall. This time, however, they sought something specific – any relic from inside the church of Good Hope. They found an old bronze ewer inside a cabinet in the long hall, and with Erik’s permission Brian the Hunter pretended to check the value of the ewer. He filled it with water and a drop of his blood and then sought, through the water, to view the inside of the church. Though Erik stopped him quickly, he was able to at least identify two doors, a stairwell, and a confessional box in which sat the Lich.

Thus apprised of the Lich’s location, the characters set off for Good Hope. Arriving at the docks, they were attacked by 5 Ghasts, but Brian cast a spell of entanglement which called forth great tendrils of goose barnacles from below the quay to envelop the Ghasts, and while they staggered, trapped, on the docks, Merton, Russell and Brian shot them down. From there they docked, and Dave Black and Merton crept up the hillside through the ruined old town of Good Hope to the churchyard to look for a way in. They slipped past the Ghasts in the churchyard and identified a side door, unlocked, which they could move through, though the door would obviously creak. However, none of the other characters – except perhaps Brian – would be able to slip by the Ghasts, and so they would need a distraction.

Brian provided the distraction in the form of Matilda, his wolf companion. She loped on ahead and, once she had drawn the attention of the Ghasts, led them away from the church while the characters took up position around the doors. Anna Labrousse summoned her Monster, which appeared as a beast made of shattered tombstones and ice; Russell summoned a demon with great webbed limbs to enter the building first, as cover against any powerful spells that would be directed at the door. These beasts smashed through the main doors while Merton and Dave Black slipped through the side door. The Lich, surprised, emerged from its confessional box but was quickly overwhelmed. Anna Labrousse ripped off its left arm with her spell, sending it clattering to the floor in a hail of bones; and then Brian and Merton shot it down before it could muster any powerful magic. Under the protective cover of demon and monster, Russell Ganymede destroyed the Ghasts.

Having destroyed the lich they investigated its treasure. First they had to defuse the altar, which had protective magic cast on it. This magic hurled Brian back from the altar and almost killed him, but David Cantrus healed him and dispelled the trap on the altar. They then examined the books and items on the altar and its nearby lecterns. The book with the dragon’s name in was written in Dragonspeech, which Anna could read; resisting the lure of the geas, she read the name and flicked back through the previous pages of the book, which gave something of the history of the destruction of the Church. It would appear that, having discovered the presence of the Dragon on the Island (through its demand for sacrifice) the priest of the Church summoned a powerful Knowledge Demon and sold his soul in exchange for the Dragon’s name. The dragon, discovering that someone knew its name, raided the town with the intention of slaying him before he could learn to use it. Unfortunately, in the first attack the Dragon killed the Priest’s whole family. The Priest, incensed, turned his family’s ashes into a phylactery and prepared to become a lich. In the second battle he confronted the Dragon, driving it away with its name, but was mortally wounded and died. Before he could return as a lich the Dragon ravaged the whole island looking for him, so that when he came back he was bound to the church and surrounded only by the dead of his old village. So the Dragon and the lich were stalemated, until the characters came to kill it.

Having learnt this, the characters are now ready to travel on to Ireland, to find the killer of the Dragon whose bone they carried; and whose bone Anna Labrousse turned into a corset when they stopped at Iceland en route to Ireland…

Advertisements