After doing some things for my brothers back home, I headed to the sunken monastery to meet the rest of the party. I found them right after they almost lost Bellis to two ice trolls. I didn’t realize that it got that cold in Ustalav… I helped Stirling track the one that got away, which we found grappling with an ogre in deep water (a “merrow” Stirling called it). The woodsman took a few shots at the troll while I waited for it to charge at us. The merrow killed the troll before I got my hands dirty, so we quickly left the area.
One of the others had heard some chanting in the monastery, so we decided to explore it. We came to a large main chamber blocked by a bearskin curtain. When we opened it, we were attacked by three swamp folk, tribal humans who roam the area. Their leader was a shaman whose godly witchcraft struck Stirling and me blind and oblivious for what seemed like minutes. By the time I could see again, Mogrin had deflected several blows with his armor and shield, given a few back, and Bellis had used her magical rays and missiles to devastating effect.
We interrogated the surviving two swamp folk and found that their leader was from the inner swamp tribes, which they claimed were more feral and revere dragons like the one that used to be here at the monastery. They had been told to avenge the dragon, but had clearly failed. At my urging, the barbarians were released with a warning for the locals: “avoid the sunken monastery from now on or receive the same fate as your shaman.”
We headed down to the 2nd floor and found a small, but sturdy locked chamber. Mogrin was able to recognize that the lock required holy energy to open, so he summoned some of Pharasma’s healing power to do the job. We immediately ran into ghouls and a ghast like we found at the bottom of the Hidden Monastery of Pharasma. Unlike last time, Mogrin was the only one paralyzed, and we fought off the stench and disease of the creatures long enough to put them down. As usual, Stirling’s archery and Bellis’ blasts of arcane fire covered my advance into the melee (shielded by Bellis’ armoring spell).
Soon after we watched a shade relive the moment of its death. Bellis tampered with the body and it rose angrily. I quickly destroyed it, but a rot grub wriggled out and leapt into the meat of my arm. Stirling tried to remove it with a surgeon’s tools, but failed. Luckily, Mogrin’s holy power put the little bastard down for the count. I crushed the two others I saw on the corpse.
A little exploration revealed that the priests of Eradin had been trapped by the entry lock when the power of their god suddenly vanished. But one of them had secretly been a devotee of Urgathoa, Pharasma’s greatest foe. This dark priest had been able to conjure food to keep himself and a few others alive, some of whom he converted to the evil faith of the Pallid Princess. At some point, though, one of his apprentices poisoned him. Such is and always will be the nature of evil: it works against and eventually consumes itself.
Farther in, we found a few locked doors. We busted them down and found a deranged, senile, and very old halfling priest of Desna, the Great Dreamer in a small, moss-covered room. Bellis quickly took the halfling (whom we started calling Karl Moss as a joke) under her care. We found a secret passage in Karl’s room and followed it under the swamp to a side building or vestibule of the main monastery building. Inside we found more wights, which we downed fairly quickly. Inside the vestibule, we found tomes and histories of the church along with some minor relics.
With great reluctance, we decided to burn the monastery to its foundations. For a little over an hour, we watched it burn, this last reminder of humanity’s lost patron. The undead-infested and monster-attracting monastery had become a mockery of all that it had once represented and it brought us grim satisfaction to see it end once and for all. We then headed back to civilization.