2000-08-04: Into The Crypt

Catskills Edition

Into The Crypt

Author: Talbot Quillfeather Published: August 4, 2000

In the early hours of the morning, as I was awoken from a restful slumber within the esteemed Empath Abbey by a cacophony of raucous laughter and the unmistakable sounds of revelry, my first impulse was to throw a boot at the nearest offender. Fortunately for me, however, my boots had vanished in the night along with a few other personal articles. Undaunted by my lack of a suitable missile I strode towards the din, into an impromptu early-morning wine tasting ceremony in the famed Yew Winery.

Confused at first that I had overslept - or perhaps was witness to a break in of desperate alcoholics - I stared about me at the collection of revelers who were helping themselves to the best vintages at the urging of a young woman dressed in a dented and bloody suit of plate mail…who, from her drunken toasts, had led the charge in the assault against the winery’s barrels.

As I sat in the midst of this celebration, the woman began to speak, toasting each of the virtues, Yew, and the assemblage around her - quite often rapidly emptying the bottle in her hand. Curious, I pulled a still somewhat sober gentleman aside and asked him what had spurned the joyous occasion.

“Twas amazing milord, that young woman there led us into the very pit of the abyss, and out again by the virtues…you should have seen it! Undead everywhere, skeletal warriors, mummies, and, by the hand of Blackthorn, fiends that could only be described as Lords of all Liches sprang forth from their tombs. It is lucky sire that we held our own…and I dare say, an amazement that I still have my arms and legs attached!”

“How very odd", I thought to myself, "Surely I must seek this woman out and hear more of this tale.” Unfortunately for me, the young lass passed out soon afterwards and was helped by several able bodied (and quite drunk themselves) compatriots to her bed, and it was not until the morning that I happened upon her again carefully sipping from a hangover remedy and anxiously rubbing a large gash in her hand.

“Madam, whatever happened? I’ll admit that I’ve heard a little, but if you would…perhaps from your own lips you’ll be gracious enough to impart the tale," I said. "Shhh, not so loud," she muttered, rubbing her forehead, "and none of this madam nonsense, call me Glennys. Just call me it softly if’n ya don’t mind sire.”

This time, with a much-lowered tone I asked her to relate to me the events of the previous night. After a long swig on her tonic, she began.

"It all began with a summons by my captain at the southern outpost in Britain, ‘Glennys’, he said, ‘Tis time for thee to show us what manner of warrior thou art. A menace brews in Yew that of late has brought reports of many a slain townsman. This is unacceptable, and I charge thee to search out whatever is causing this strife. Go you now to Yew, Glennys, and gather together what manner of brave souls as will assist thee, and seek out and destroy this menace before it grows stronger.’

Most likely it is nothing, I thought…simply another rampant band of brigands or perhaps even trolls. Little did I know, however, that there was much greater evil afoot in Yew, and so it was that I traveled northward and came at last to the Abbey where I made several inquiries as to the nature of the disturbance. All accounts of the local folk pointed towards the crypts far to the east of the town, and, as many a trembling soul told me…the dead walked there once again.

As my captain commanded, I spoke with the town crier and requested that they spread the news across Yew that I was recruiting a party to, by force if necessary, expel the evil from the crypts and return the dead once again to their slumber. It was my fortune, however as it turns up, that a rather large assemblage gathered at my summons, and together we journeyed to the crumbing crypts - now stronghold of the awakened dead."

Pausing for a moment to ask a passing monk for more of her remedy, she continued, relating to me a horrific tale of a raging undead host, bent on adding her companions to their numbers. In her own words, “the place was filled with the lost souls…. and all of them wanted our blood”. It is a wonder to this reporter how the group survived in the running melee against the undead host.

“It seemed as if, as soon as we would gain one corridor, another squad of skeletal warriors would come clanking down another. We quickly found ourselves outnumbered, and surrounded…it is a miracle that we did not loose more than we did, and thank the virtues those that we did loose were able to, by the grace of powerful magics, be reunited with their bodies. Everywhere I turned, the horde of undead teemed at our strong points, threatening to overwhelm us at any given moment…and just, when it could not possibly get any worse, the liches and mummies appeared…we stopped fighting for a heroic goal at that moment, and instead began an earnest battle for our very lives. Inch by blood soaked inch we moved forward into the crypts until we encountered the very heart of the undead legions that threatened us at all sides. By the virtues, we were damn lucky…and it is a testament to the bravery and courage of the men and women who fought beside me that we were at last victorious over the most hated of necromantic magic and those who sought to summon it to their own ends.”

“I am astounded madam…naye, I am flabbergasted and in awe that you sit here with me today. You’re a very lucky maiden…and I assure thee, that your story will reach all of Britainnia," I said, pouring her another dosage of elixir. It was then that she noticed the newsman insignia on my tunic. "A reporter eh? Well, report this then friend, it was not I who was victorious, but rather everyone who stood beside me in defense of Britainnia and the virtues. If you would do me honor young man, then see to it that their names are remembered before my own." Carefully she removed two small brown books from her satchel and handed them to me, "within are the names of my companions…write your words well scribe, and kindly mention them so that they may have their place in legend.”

Nodding carefully, I tucked the books into my tunic and stood up, giving her a bow and a tip of my hat. “I have work to do my good Glennys. May your journeys bring you to safety.”

“Virtues’ blessings, scribe…now, leave me if you would to my hangover. Safe travels, friend, and I await your account of my tale of honor in the defense of all Britainnia!” With that remark, she arose and stumbled her way back into her rooms and closed the door with a soft, hangover-friendly thud.

Below you will find the names of those who accompanied Glennys into the crypts of Yew. By no means can I verify it to be a complete list (sadly one of the books was damaged by a spilled tankard) and any of those whose names have been left out of the reckoning…you have my sincere apologies. To all of you who ventured into the crypts with her, Britainnia has your thanks. Virtues’ blessings and farewell friends, until our paths cross again!