I think this is going to be a long entry. A lot has happened since we last rested and I had a chance to jot down what we've been up to, and I'll try to cover it as best as I can remember.
We reached a longish pitch black corridor at the bottom of the spiral staircase. Lucian said he could see, but I didn't believe him, so I took a torch out of my pack and lit it up. The new source of light showed that this basement of sorts had been carved straight into the stone directly, and was barely finished. It had just a basic wooden structure, rough-hewn walls and a very rough dirt floor.
We could hear a constant chanting sound. It seemed to come from all directions and no direction at the same time, and we couldn't make out any actual words in the chanting. Not creepy at all.
We explored around the corridors, down some further staircases deeper into this simultaneously loud and quiet space, where we found some additional rooms. Having a poke through them, we found some straw beds and one room with a well dug into the center, complete with a block-and-tackle pulley system with a bucket on the end. I dropped the bucket down into the well until I heard it splash into the water, then dragged it back up full. Just clear water, nothing special. Not sure what I was expecting, but nothing seems to be what is expected in this place.
The chanting continued.
Moradin had a look around with his wizard eyes but didn't see anything that he considered to be magical or of value. The room with the well also had a handful of other rooms branching off it, so while this all happened, Lucian explored. He found some beds and chests. Lucian was giddy to loot the chests, finding some precious stones, an eyepatch, a hairbrush and a nice shortsword, which I took. He also found some gold and silver in a leather sack that, well, looked like it was human skin.
These looked kind of like guest quarters, but I don't know what kind of guest I would entertain in this dank hell. Perhaps they were confinement rooms, but they didn't have locks and who would leave behind items in the chests? And a sack made from human skin is just weird, anywhere you go.
The chanting continued. It was beginning to unnerve me. Leaving the well room, we walked down a corridor with a room at the end and another corridor off to the right. As I was leading, I had a quick head down the other corridor and immediately a few steps into it, the chanting became louder and clearly from the direction of this corridor.
Now, when I say I was beginning to feel unnerved before - well this flat out spooked me. I wouldn't dare tell the others that, however, so I just said it looked bare down there, backed out and headed into the room. I am a coward.
That room on the end contained, at first, nothing but random humanoid bones scattered around. The bones all had teeth marks, as if some one... some thing had been gnawing on them. I gathered up the bones into individual piles and was able to identify at least four or five individual but partial sets. Did you notice how I wrote "at first" there before? Yeah.While I was making my piles a creature hiding in the larder dropped down and attacked, but was quickly dispatched. Guybrush called it a Grick, though I had never seen anything like it before.
The chanting continued, ever directionless. But I knew the direction.
Continuing on, we found - surprise surprise - a room containing crypts. The crypts appeared to be labelled: Gustav, Elisabeth, Rosa, Thornboldt, Walter. I immediately knew that I could not continue farther into this pit of despair without retreating upstairs, collecting the childrens remains and laying them to rest in their rightful place. The rest of the party agreed, and we set about doing just this. Surprisingly, as pushy as they had been thus far, Guybrush and Lucian - still posessed with the spirits of Rosa and Thornboldt - were equally onboard with this plan. I guess the children wanted their spirits at rest also.
The chanting seemed like it was calling my name now. I don't think it actually was. I chose to ignore it.
After backtracking a bit, heading up the tight spiral staircase and into the dollhouse room, we gathered up the childrens remains as respectfully as possible, using blankets from their beds, and carried them back down the stairs and into the crypts. Saying a few generic burial rites, we laid them to rest, and almost immediately the spirits that had been holding onto my partners released. If we do nothing else in this place, I'm glad we were able to do this.
The crypt marked Gustav was empty, however Elisabeth's was filled with insects which swarmed as soon as released. We swatted them without much issue and pressed on. The one marked Walter was also empty, and after some discussion, we believed this to be marked for the small child shown in some of the paintings in the upper floors of the house, and for whom the nursery was equipped. The mystery behind where their bodies now reside will have to await another day.
The chanting continued, ever present. I continued to steer the party away from the source. At this point I started trying to piece together again the reason we were here. The children outside, who were obviously now not the actual children but some kind of figment created to lure us in here, claimed there to be monsters in this very basement. Was the monster a red herring, and just a lure, or was there something actually worth clearing out in here. After seeing everything we'd seen so far, I wasn't quite sure I wanted to find out. After all, we'd already laid the actual children to rest and released their spirit from the burdens of this house. Why should we continue on?
While ruminating this and continuing to explore, we were attacked by some shambling creatures. I was getting pretty worn down by this point, and expressed my need for a break to the party. We pressed on. I guess they have no concern for my physical needs.
Finding an actual dungeon down here did not surprise me. Inside it, there was a stone carved statue of a man holding a smoky grey orb of crystal. As Lucian bounded across the room to hoist the orb without a whim, the shadow cast by the statue moved and split into five smaller shadowy humanoid figures. Shockingly, they attacked also.
After dispatching them, Taroc found a secret door which opened into a staircase and ladder, which further led up into the armoury from the first floor of the house. Looking around, however, all of the windows and doors that were previously in this room - including the door we used to gain entry to it previously - were completely missing. It was at this point that Guybrush decided to let us know that as the girl's spirit left his body, it had told him that the house itself wouldn't let us leave until we dispatch the monster.
I guess that settled that then. The house was chanting, it was chanting my name and it wouldn't let me leave until it was satisfied. I don't know what kind of monster would force an entire house to trap us like this. At this point, I didn't really want to know. Thankfully the chanting was inaudible out of the basement, and we were able to rest.
We barricaded that very room, and it is where I currently sit writing this entry. I'm not sure what's going to happen next, and I'm not quite sure I want to think about it. Let's just get it over with.
As long as the last entry was long, this one will be short. Damn it Lucian.
After leaving the surprisingly comfortable yet claustrophobic armoury, we headed back down the trap door and ladder and into the room with the statue, and continued on. The very first door that we came up to, the first door we had even tried to exercise the smallest iota of caution against since being in this forsaken house, attacked us.
Lucian leant his ear against the door to try to listen at it, but upon hearing nothing, he attempted to move away as you would, but couldn't remove his head - it was stuck. The "door" then came to life and tried to eat him whole! Even now barely two hours later, I'm not quite sure how we got through that fight without losing a party member, and I have no idea what in the hell that... thing was. It looked like any other door we'd come across in this place. What is this house doing to us? Is this some kind of game to it? If it wants us to kill this monster so badly, why are there so many obstacles in the way?
The chanting, ever ominous, continued.
Thankfully, the room it was protecting was bountiful and made the hassle somewhat worthwhile. It appeared to be a fairly well decorated yet simultanously decrepit and rotten bedroom. Bouncing back remarkably quickly from his attack, Lucian set about making himself feel better by looting everything that wasn't bolted down or carved out of the stone itself. I feel like this always-looting-always-rogueish behaviour of his is just a facade. I don't know why, it just seems a bit put-on.
As he was leafing through a yellowish leather bound book, a collection of ghoulish figures burst forth from the walls themselves and set about making our lives miserable - and they somewhat succeeded. I leapt into action, but then the next thing I remember was Taroc standing over my body administering aid. Quickly bouncing back into the fray, we were able to dispatch the ghouls, but I am still yet to properly thank Taroc for reviving me. Going to have to remember to do that. He's now brought me back a number of times, actually, so I'll have to do something very special for him.
Moradin had a separate look through the book once the ghouls were dealt with and recognised it as a wizard's spell book, which he held on to. I've never really been one to understand wizard stuff. All that memorisation and transcription. I was ingrained with some spells as part of my training, but they were just to assist in my job of subterfuge, and that was enough for me. Every wizard I've ever met seemed to make it a full time job to just keep reading and writing. I don't understand this humanoid desire to continually change themselves. I have a purpose, and I excel at that purpose, which satisfies me well enough. Maybe if we ever get out of this house and into a town, I could find some literature on the topic and investigate.
Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked. Still in the bedroom, we also found a Cloak of Protection, which I asked to hold on to - I seem to be taking the brunt of our battles, so some extra protection wouldn't go astray! There were also four small vials of a red liquid, which were recognised easily as healing potions. Both myself and Lucian took two, and quaffed one each.
We then decided to take another break for a bit in this room. Those last two fights really took it out of us, and as long as we don't fiddle with anything else, this room seems to be as safe as we can get for now.
That's all for now. I'm pretty sure we've exhausted all options for travel in this basement, except for the source of the chanting. I'm not quite sure what the others will say once we head down there and they notice the same thing that I noticed yet avoided earlier. I'm not quite sure I even want to think about it right now. I'm just trying not to focus on the chanting right now.