The Paramour Vault was easily the biggest crypt in the Dun Tonay graveyard. It was an impressive granite building that stood on hill overlooking the cemetery. The Paramours were not shy to show off their wealth and even in death this continued as a stone vault in an area where wood was the main material of construction was a luxury. It was roughly of square shape with the Paramour family crest prominent in many of the intricate carvings on the stonework. Four stone gargoyles stood guard over the massive oaken doors that were the entrance into the crypt. Their eyes were painted red and wicked looking fangs protruded from their lips. The doors themselves were embossed with two great intertwining serpents whose mouths met at the curved brass handles. The stormy weather only seemed to enhance the menacing look of the vault. Postulant Cadderely made the sign of the Father and beat a hasty retreat leaving the party alone.
“I don’t like the look of those gargoyles,” Lucious said.
“Fear not faith-brother, there is no aura surrounding them,” said Helm confidently.
Felix approached the doors and examined the lock expertly. To his great surprise he found it was open. He cocked an ear against the wood but its thickness and the howling wind made sure that the rogue heard nothing.
“This is not the time to skulk around boy,” bellowed Helm, “evil awaits to be cleansed and I will be the vehicle of that cleansing.” With that he fearlessly turned the handle and the great doors swung open. As the party passed their threshold, the doors slammed shut of their own accord with a boom that echoed across the vault they now stood in.
Six great pillars held up the vaulted roof that seemed more impressive from the inside. Each pillar held a slow burning torch held in a rusty, snaked shaped bracket. Their flames casting a sparse light that barely kept the encroaching darkness out. Several broken caskets and coffins lay about the floor and this immediately brought the party to a state of ready alert.
“We are not alone,” uttered Helm, “undead filth are near.”
As he said those words a low moan could be heard and the shuffling of feet could be heard from the furthest corners of the room. Gibel immediately took a position on the left flank of the party upholstering a longbow and cocking an arrow. Felix slowly crept forward using the shadows to mask his advance. Lucious and Helm, both steadfast in their faith, advanced with a prayer on their lips ready to meet their undead foe.
“Foes ahead,” suddenly yelled Gibel as he loosed an arrow from his bowstring. A zombie, awkwardly dressed in the finery of a Paramour noble walked into the range of the torchlight. The sounds of shuffling feet behind it betrayed the presence of more if its kind. The arrow sticking out of its rotting gut did not seem to hinder it in the slightest as it continued its steady approach, the scent of fresh meat pervading its unholy senses.
“For Bel,” yelled Helm as he charged his foe. His exuberance, however, was to be his undoing as his sword swished harmlessly over the zombies head. The creature returned with a powerful blow to the paladin’s armour, pushing him back a step or two. Helm grimaced at the power behind the blow as the zombie roared, its fellows joining in an unholy chorus.
“Stupid brawn head,” whispered Felix as he buried his short sword into the creatures flank. The easy with which he had concealed himself greatly impressed Helm despite the Paladin’s distaste of skulking.
Three more zombies appeared within the torchlight. These were also dressed in once fine garments and two of them had been women in life, their once graceful features twisted by the foul magic’s used in their creation.
At their appearance a warm nimbus of light filled the room. Its source was a small circular symbol that Lucious held aloft. Waves of positive energy filled the room. The undead creatures snarled a moment and as the wave pulsed over them wailed in fear and turned away seeking refuge in the darkness.
“Strike at them now,” ordered Lucious, the power of Bel will not last long. Helm buried his long sword into the back of the head of the zombie retreating in front of him. Rotting brains spilled out of the head as the creature slumped dead on the floor. He could see that Gibel had also drawn his sword and was engaging two zombies desperately clawing at the stone walls to escape the light of Bel. Felix had meanwhile drawn a further short sword and was carving chunks out of the remaining zombie. The rebuked undead did not provided much of a foe and soon only their stinking remains littered the floor.
“Are you alright Helm,” asked Gibel.
“Evil will have to hit harder than that to hurt me Ranger,” answered Helm.
“Well think before charging in next time,” chastised Felix. Helm’s response about skulking died on his lips as he remembered the aid the rogue had given him.
“Over here,” called Lucious. Before him stood the shattered remains of a stone altar. The altar had covered some stairs that spiralled down into the darkness.
“We are not the first to come in here,” said Gibel examining the dust strewn stairs. He pointed out the imprints of boots heading downwards. “Seems our way is clear.” He removed a torch from his belt, lit it and dropped it down the stairway. Its flames cast gruesome shadows along the rough cut walls of the stairwell. Though eerie, they were not as worrying as the moans that could be heard from the base of the stairs.