As we left off, the party was assisting a pair of young, twin girls, Rose and Thorn Durst. Rose told an odd tale of their parents being stuck in their cellar with a monster they kept trapped there. Their nursemaid would not help them, and so they came outside seeking aid from other adults. Thorn would not speak, even when directly addressed.
The party explored their home, finding books dedicated to summoning devils and demons in a hidden office, and had located a secret door leading to stairs up to the attic, after an attack by an animated suit of armor, and creepy, supernatural experiences with an empty blanket in a crib which cried, and the brief vision of a spectral young woman dressed as a maidservant.
We pick up with the party arguing over how to proceed. Some want to explore the rest of the lower floors of the house while the others argue for exploring the attic. They can’t decide and so, once again, they split up. Within seconds of the split, Zib and Darien are engaged in mortal combat with an animated broom which nearly drops them both before they manage to cause enough damage that the magic sustaining it fails.
Upstairs in the attic, Zivago and Devlin make multiple attempts to bash down a locked door off the attic hall, not knowing that Zib has the key for it in his pouch. After each failed strike on the door, the temperature drops more and a ghostly, chill wind picks up out of nowhere. After the second attempt, a ghostly voice whispers “Leave the children alone”. When Zivago strikes the door a third time, a malevolent spirit appears, a cloud of ethereal matter, taking the form of a young woman’s torso, arms, and head. Ghostly intestines hang from a gaping wound in her stomach, swinging around, as she flies through a shut door on the western side of the attic’s north hallway. She strikes at Zivago, nearly knocking him out as the necromantic energy fueling the undead saps his life. His hearty constitution resists the life stealing effect, which would have reduced his max health to the tiny number his current health has suddenly become. He swings back as she disappears through the eastern wall.
The characters upstairs throw open every unlocked door and find a spare bedroom, sparsely furnished, and a room full of furniture covered in white sheets. Zivago runs to the room with the sheeted furniture to get away from the north wall while Cordelia spots the ghostly specter re-entering the main attic and attempts to engage it in conversation. The undead cannot be reasoned with, though Cordelia passionately states that they mean the children no harm.
The spectre turns on her, striking her deeply, dropping her to one health. She, too, has enough constitution to resist the life draining effect. A few blows from the party’s weapons are rather ineffective at damaging the specter, but combined with Hezekiah’s steady eldritch blasts, the undead dissipates back into the ether.
After the battle, Zivago uncovers some of the furniture in the attic to reveal a large steamer chest containing the skeletal remains of an adult human wrapped in a bloody blanket. Study of the body reveals it was stabbed and likely disemboweled. The party puts two and two together.
Zib opens the locked door with his key, and everyone gasps when the two little girls, Rose and Thorn, are asleep on a pair of beds, each covered in a layer of dust, but definitely alive and breathing. As Cordelia checks the children, looking for a way to wake them without having to touch them, Zivago starts looking at a dollhouse which appears to be a perfect recreation of the house in which they’re standing. In this same bedroom in the attic are two small dolls lying on small beds. One has blue eyes, the other gray.
Zivago picks up the blue eyed doll, and Rose sits up in bed, yawning. She is confused for a moment, but then looks at Hezekiah and the others and says “You were in our dream.” Thorn sits up a moment later as Zivago touches the other doll, saying nothing. Apparently she doesn’t talk in the flesh, either, though Rose says “she talks to me, I’m her sister” without explaining further. Scanning the rest of the doll house, Zivago finds a secret door in the storage room in the attic, which opens into a spiral stair leading down.
Looking in the actual storeroom, the full sized door is found. The girls are still confused and worried about their parents, though they’re not sure how long they’ve been asleep. They are scared of the monster in the basement, but want their parents back. None of the party mention the nursemaid, and the girls don’t seem to know she’s dead.
The party takes a rest to recuperate before heading down the tightly wound circular stairs.
Zivago leads the party down the stairs, and around the damp, earthen basement’s twisty tunnels. Darien brings up the rear keeping a close eye on the twin girls who have eaten a day’s rations and drank a waterskin each. A low chanting can be heard, but its point of origin is unknown, and it’s too soft to make out any words.
They find, but pass by the family crypts, entering the mess hall. Combat with a pair of skeletal rat swarms, minor damage dealt to Cordelia and Hezekiah. A swarm covers Zivago but fails to damage him through his chainmail. Again, the weapons of the party’s martial characters are not very effective, so the swarms are dispatched chiefly from magical damage from Cordelia’s Guiding Bolt and Hezekiah’s now agonizing Eldritch blasts.
They make a loop through what looks like a barracks for some secret group which lived beneath the house. Five locked chests are found, two of the rusty locks picked by Zib, while the others are forced open by Darien and Zivago. Minor valuables are found in each.
Zivago, in the lead, falls into a pit trap, sustaining heavy damage. Cordelia heals him, after he throws his rope up to be aided out. Turning around, the party makes a loop of the eastern basement, passing through another barracks-like room and by another pair of crypts in an alcove. Curiosity now catching up with them, they take the time to read and open all of the crypts, finding the names of the family, but nothing but empty biers, or biers with empty coffins. The mother’s coffin contained a carpet of centipedes, but the party resealed the crypt immediately.
Leading back through the dining hall, and then out the western exit, Zivago spots undead creatures as they crawl out of the ground on two sides of the narrow four-way intersection the party approaches. Calling for his companions to fall back, the group retreats and assumes a strong defensive position in the dining hall, readying attacks for the pursuing undead. Cordelia uses a scroll of bless she had found earlier, giving Hezekiah, Devlin, and Zivago a better chance to hit and make saving throws for up to a minute, or as long as her concentration holds.
The first ghoul falls to Zivago’s blade and Devlin’s arrow, while the second absorbs an eldritch blast from Hezekiah, and a blow from Zib’s shortsword before wounding Zivago with its claws. During the fight, Zivago, Hezekiah, and Cordelia sustain wounds, but all resist the paralyzing claws of the ghouls, and Cordelia’s concentration holds steady. The second and third ghouls fall quickly to the blades and arrows of Zivago, Darien, and Devlin, while the fourth attempts to circle around and trap the party. It fails to leap over the pit which Zivago had fallen in earlier, and limps into the room a round too late to provide any tactical advantage to its deceased pack mates. It is no match for Cordelia’s warhammer.
The session ends with the party victorious over the ghouls, and deciding which way to go from the four-way intersection.