Father Geoffrey heeded the letter’s warning, and put the group on guard duty in the Minster crypt together with three Templars. The crypt wall was lined with stone panels, carved with relief images of the illustrious dead and inscriptions memorialising their deeds in latin script. The vaulted ceiling was supported by a dozen arched pillars, and a number of stone tombs stood, waist high, around the chamber.
As with any guard duty, the companions spoke among themselves and with the Templars, whiling away the boredom of the hours. Suddenly, one of solid stone panels of the crypt wall crashed inwards, and a huge ghoul brute surged into the chamber!
While the Templars scrambled to draw their longswords, Storm struck the creature with a lightning orb and Sophia loosed an arrow. The huge ghoul lunged forward, rending one of the Templars with its claws, as smaller ghouls spilled into the crypt behind it.
An epic battle ensued, with Tector and the Templars hacking and slicing at the ghouls with their blades while Sophia and Storm stayed back, taking cover behind the pillars of the crypt and darting out every few seconds to loose an arrow or a lightning orb. The ghouls inflicted a terrible toll, with Tector badly wounded and one of the Templars falling. However, the group finally managed to destroy all the ghouls. Together with the two surviving Templars, Tector lifted the stone panel that had crashed inwards, and used it to block the dark, gaping hole in the crypt wall.
As they caught their breath and healed their wounds, the group heard faint sounds of battle coming from upstairs, in the Minster itself! Leaving the two surviving Templars to stand guard in the crypt, the companions rushed up the steps and into the Minster, running straight into a group of four skeletons armed with swords and bows.
They attacked immediately, suffering minor wounds from sword blows and arrows but ultimately destroying the undead. Sophia noticed one of the fallen skeletons had six finely crafted arrows with silver tips in its quiver, and took a moment to grab it before following her friends up the nave.
As they moved up the nave and into the central area of the Minster, the group was confronted by a larger group of skeletons. Hesitating in the face of overwhelming numbers, the friends were relieved to see Father Benedict emerge from the other side of the nave, bleeding from a cut to the side of his head. Hurrying toward them, he noticed the group of skeletons and cast his arm in an arc toward them, a prayer on his lips. Golden light cascaded from his arm like a wave, washing over the undead, and to the shock of the group they disintegrated into dust in a matter of seconds!
As they gaped in awe at Father Benedict’s intervention, the senior priest turned to them. “The Sacristy! They are trying to break in and steal the holy artefacts. You must stop them!”
Looking back the way they had come, they saw more skeletons advancing. “Leave them to me,” commanded Benedict. “You defend the Sacristy. Go!”
The companions rushed across the centre of the Minster, toward the sound of further fighting. Rounding the corner, they saw a huge, squat metal construct facing two Templars. One of the warriors darted forward, his longsword connecting with the metal carapace of the construct but barely leaving a scratch. Before he could dodge out of reach, one of the construct’s huge arms swept across, impacting on his shield and sending him reeling backward under the force of the blow.
Tector charged, slamming his greataxe into the back of the construct and smashing a hole in its metallic skin. Sophia tried to use her enchantments on their foe, but found that they had no effect, while Storm struck it with lightning. As they fought, they noticed that the door to the Sacristy, close to where the construct stood, had been smashed down, presumably by the massive force of one of the construct’s squat limbs.
It quickly became clear to the companions that the construct was powerful, but lumbering and slow. Tector managed to dodge several blows, while leaving a couple of deep rents in its armoured skin with his axe. However, when he was caught by one of the construct’s flailing limbs, his breastplate buckled inward from the force of the blow, winding him badly.
Storm struck with several lighting orbs, which seemed to slow the metallic monster, but Sophia’s arrows seemed to have little effect. Tector gradually smashed away at the construct, damaging joints and slowing it down. He noticed that the glow of the gem in its chest was gradually reducing as the damage inflicted on the construct increased, and tried to strike it with his greataxe.
As they fought on, one of the Templars was caught by another a massive blow, this time to the side of his helm. He was knocked from his feet and lay unmoving on the flagstone floor. Storm targeted the glowing gem, eventually striking it with a well-placed lightning orb which shattered the jewel, and the construct ground to a shuddering halt.
Suddenly a tall, athletic figure darted from the gaping doorway of the sacristy. He wore a long black hooded cloak over blackened body armour, tightly wrapped leggings and black leather boots. Black adamantine gauntlets encased his hands, and his features were obscured behind a dark red facemask and the fitted hood of his cloak.
The newcomer glanced about, taking in the still construct and the companions advancing toward him. He tensed, and Tector noticed that he was clutching a golden crucifix in one of his gauntlets, and the companions realised that this must be the Bloodmask who sent the letter to Deathwhisperer!
Looking to escape with his prize, Bloodmask dodged past the companions with athletic grace and raced down the nave toward the main doors of the Minster. Tector reacted quickest, his strength and power giving him great straight-line speed over a short distance. He tackled Bloodmask just as he reached the Minster doors, and the two crashed to the flagstone floor.
Bloodmask tried to scramble away, but Tector grappled with him, trying to get hold of the golden crucifix. The big warrior was surprised by the incredible strength of his less muscular foe, and found it hard to pin him down. Shifting focus, Tector managed to get two hands on the crucifix and refused to let go, despite the inhuman power of his enemy.
As Tector and Bloodmask wrestled for the holy relic, Storm and Sophia approached. The villain noticed them and, clearly not wishing to face them as well, released his grasp on his prize, rolled away from Tector, and sprang to his feet. Before the companions could react, he sprang through the open doors of the Minster and sprinted away. Tector sat up, grimacing, as he held up the crucifix for his friends to see. They clapped him on the back, congratulating him on thwarting the raid, and helped him to his feet.