The party re-entered Vordakai’s tomb and no difficulties in the ground floor of the tomb. They came up the stairs to the second floor, where they entered the chapel room dedicated to the Four Horsemen. One route would lead them back to the prison cells, so they took the other route.
This led them to a natural cavern with a bubbling, sulfurous tar pit. Regina was the first to be overcome by the nauseating stench, but she would not be the only one (even Kundal and Kesten retched at one point). Caladrel was able to fly himself over, then cast fly on Kundal, having him and Faeran go over to the far side to investigate. Finding nothing but an empty hallway, Kundal was able to carry people across and Corson used his wand of dimension door for the rest.
They followed the hallway to a dead end with doors on either side. Hearing something that might have been a moan to the left, the party went that way, finding a line of empty crypts. But on the floor was the decaying body of an Ulfen man, which the party was able to identify from descriptions they’d read as Willas Gunderson. As they examined the body, a specter of Willas flew from the walls to attack, moaning and screaming and crying that it was all his fault, that he brought him to Varnhold. Faeran and Caladrel both suffered at the specter’s withering touch, feeling their life energy draining away (i.e. negative levels). Once the fight was over, Jhod explained that he’d brought the proper components to help restore their life but he didn’t have the spell prepared at this point, but he should be able to cure them before the life drain became permanent.
Turning to the other room, then came into a large feast hall with a massive stone table. Bodies were propped up in chairs all around the table, most of them decaying with parts of their heads cut off and their brains missing. Behind the table was a large set of stairs that led to a balcony overlooking the feast hall. When the party approached the table, three of the bodies specifically rose and turned to the face them. Jhod recognized one as Caspar Morgarion, a fellow priest of Erastil and one the leaders of the Varnhold. The other two were identifiable as Maegar Varn himself and his wizard companion Cephal Lorentus.
Thinking that there was some special attachment the lich had to the jade “bracelet,” now understood to be a ring sized for a giant (one of the mad ramblings of the specter of Willas Gunderson), Regina raced up to the table and smashed the ring with her greataxe. The other bodies at the table rose and began fighting against the rest of the company. Caladrel (or Corson?) sent a fireball at the three dread zombies, but then Cephal flew into the air and responded in kind. Maegar rushed towards Regina while the priest attempted to use hold person on Kundal, who had rushed him, but the superstitious barbarian was able to throw off the spell’s effects.
Cephal was challenged by Regina and then targeted with a flurry of arrows that dropped him from the sky. Despite Regina taking a nasty swing from Maegar’s sword, he and Caspar fell soon after, unable to resist the party’s strength and numbers.
After taking a short break to heal and gather the magical items of their fallen foes, the party made their way up the stairs to the final areas of the tomb. Caladrel explored the balcony area and discovered a secret door in one wall, while Regina looked down the hallway to a room off by itself. However, she shrugged and followed the rest of the party to the secret door. Caladrel opened the door up and it revealed a small room with a pool of sulfurous water.
Tessara was the first into the room and as soon as she did so the pool exploded and revealed a huge elder water elemental that had been corrupted by the dark energies of the tomb. The party had a difficult time determining whether they were actually hurting the creature or not, especially when the elemental slammed Kundal against the wall, and hammered away at Caladrel and Tessara. However, eventually the elemental was destroyed by a scorching ray from Corson and it exploded in a spray of water soaking everyone.
While everyone rested and began preparing for the next fight, Caladrel and Regina explored the room down the hallway, which was an octagonal room with a giant crystal eye looking down into a circle in the middle of the room. Caladrel was almost overwhelmed by the magical power within this room; a nearly direct conduit of power from the Four Horsemen. Regina began scratching out a few symbols and bits of artwork on the walls, only to suspect that these symbols covered older ones. As she dug down to the older layer she was suddenly filled by a sense of wrongness and revulsion and stopped. When Tessara entered the room, she was able to take a look around and was shocked. She explained that while the tomb around them was more than 10,000 years old, this specific chamber was ancient even at that time. Regina deduced that the entire tomb was probably created around this specific chamber.
Regina asked Tess how they could bring this place down and destroy it all, but Tessara explained this was a tower of stone; it would take months of mining operations and excavation to collapse the tower. She couldn’t just point out a weak spot and have the whole thing crumble. Disappointed but understanding, Regina decided to leave the room alone for now and come back to the issue later.
Everyone readied themselves to enter the next room, which they knew was the final battle against the lich. Regina gave everyone a chance to back out, but Duncan was the one who said there wasn’t a chance (he put it slightly more colorfully, though). They opened the massive bronze doors to see Vordakai at the far end of the room, behind a pool of water that matched this one. He laughed and said he would destroy them and take their knowledge for his own.
The fight was hard, as they party didn’t know about much of his spells or abilities. Caladrel tried using ball lightning, only to realize afterwards that the lich was immune to lightning. Vordakai tried to blind Regina with magic, but she was able to overcome the magic. Kundal and Tessara charged in while Regina and Faeran fired with their bows. Corson tried a magic missile, only discover that Vordakai had a shield up, and Caladrel tried putting a spiked pit under Vordakai, though the giant proved surprisingly nimble and was able to sidestep the spell. After a round or two, Vordakai then cast dominate person on Kundal, and had the barbarian attack Tessara, and the two of them began to fight each other.
Regina, however, was not about to let that happen, and rush Kundal, kissing him and saying “Mine!” This enabled Kundal to throw off the effects of the spell, and back into his rage, he leapt across the pit, slamming Vordakai into the wall and knocking him down. Vordakai tried to use his paralyzing touch on Regina but she was able to resist his power. By this point, Jhod was able to figure out that the party needed to use magical bludgeoning weapons against the lich in order to overcome his resistance to damage.
In the end, Vordakai ended up prone, surrounded by Regina, Kundal and Tessara, the ladies both using magical blunt weapons (a morningstar and warhammer, respectively). Unable to resist the damage or effectively make use of his spells, the lich succumbed to the hammering blows and was destroyed. The three warriors kept striking even after Vordakai was destroyed, all enraged by what had happened.
Regina was the last to stop, gently pulled away from the dusty, crumbling body by Kundal. Jhod and Jenna had noticed Regina’s change in behavior since meeting in Varnhold, and knew that they were going to have to help her. Jenna came up to Regina and embraced her, only to be forcefully pushed away. Though Regina apologized a minute later, Jenna assured her friend that they would be talking when they got back to Ravneika.
They began to loot Vordakai’s treasure hoard, and in the next room came across his collection of remaining soul jars. Telepathically able to communicate with the trapped souls, the party assured the people that they would free them once they’d returned to Varnhold. The party left the tomb and traveled back to Varnhold. Once there, they freed the people from the soul jars, and explained what had happened. The people expressed a willingness to join Argonath once the party expanded their nation’s borders.
They decided to leave the garrison of troops to protect the town, although the party explained that the Nomen centaurs were now allies and there would be no more conflict between them. The garrison commander, Lt. Jaymes Tanyon was part of the heavy infantry, and the party gifted him with a longsword +1 and a suit of half-plate +2, taken from enemies within Vordakai’s tomb.
Regina selected a man named Antony at random from the survivors and appointed him Lord Mayor of Varnhold, and he would be responsible for seeing the people through the winter. Caladrel gave him the magical silver raven they’d acquired in case he needed to get in touch with Ravneika quickly.
Additionally, the party also found Maestro Ervil Pendrod, whom they’d been requested to find by a member of Oppara’s Kitharodian Academy. Although he said he was more than ready to quit fieldwork and return to Oppara, Regina and Caladrel felt they’d acquired enough items to build a museum and offered Maestro Pendrod the position of curator of the museum. He immediately took to the idea and assured the party that he would be offering his resignation to the Kitharodian Academy immediately.
The party then traveled back to Ravneika to rest and heal and run their kingdom. Regina also had her wedding to start working on, planning it for the winter solstice.