Session 23 was short on action but high on information gathering, which is only reasonable, as the PCs were very much in the dark about many things. Although they had promised Cyrus that they would take him (and his coffin) to Dwimmermoun in exchange for his having helped them escape the catacombs beneath the cabin, Dordagdonar suggested they not follow through with it. This is another area where my implementation of Death Frost Doom differed from the adventure as published: there was no magical component to the oath they swore to do as Cyrus asked. I felt it preferable that the PCs not be bound to keep the promise they'd made if they did not wish to do so, although I was prepared to visit (non-magical) misfortune upon them as a consequence for any duplicity on this score. A magical oath seemed, in context, too heavy-handed a tool and so I abandoned it.
As I said, Dordagdonar saw no need to keeping their promise and indeed saw Cyrus as a threat to be disposed of. During daylight hours, he was immobile and at their mercy. They could easily have destroyed him. This didn't sit well with Brother Candor, who, in addition to be unhappy at the prospect of breaking a promise, felt that even so evil a being as Cyrus had a role yet to play in the world. He was certain that Tyche, as mistress of fate, was teaching him something through this dilemma and so he argued against destroying Cyrus. A compromise was reached, whereby a stake was put through the vampire's heart to immobilize -- but not destroy -- him. The party then set out for Adamas to consult with Saidon, archivist of the temple of Typhon, hoping he'd have some information to aid them.
Saidon was, as ever, happy to see them, particularly since they brought him Thulian spoons -- and a ladle -- they pilfered from the catacombs. The PCs requested access to his library of Thulian history books, hoping to find information about Cyrus. Of course, they didn't wish Saidon to know precisely what they were looking for, so they requested lots of books on a variety of historical subjects, hoping to muddle the issue, in case the old man got a bit too nosy.
Looking through the books, they discovered that Cyrus Haldeion had once been a general of the Thulian empire. He was extremely successful, putting down many rebellions against Thulian rule, and popular. He was also a vocal critic of the cult of Turms Termax, which he believed had bent the empire to serve its purposes rather than the common good. So great was his dislike of the cult that, when faced with a harangue by Hierophant Oriseus, a local Termaxian leader, he slew him in a rage. His actions made him a traitor to the empire and he was executed. Of course, the PCs knew his "execution" did not in fact happen and he was instead cursed with undeath as a vampire and placed within the catacombs for reasons unknown -- perhaps to lead the zombie horde that lay slumbering within them.
Armed with this information, the PCs then chartered a riverboat and took Cyrus' coffin on board. They removed the stake to interrogate him. Needless to say, Cyrus was unimpressed with them, sneering at their betrayal and noting that "honor obviously has lost all meaning since the fall of the empire." Brother Candor asked him to reveal just what he intended to do in Dwimmermount, but Cyrus refused to answer. He said he'd held up his end of the bargain and was at the PCs' mercy. They should either do as they had already promised to do and take him to Dwimmermount or they should destroy him now. He would answer no further questions nor be in any way helpful to them until they demonstrated their good faith.
Cyrus' words clearly pained Brother Candor, who started to feel that perhaps they had done the wrong thing by coming to Adamas. He went to consult Morna, high priestess of Tyche, and ask her advice on the matter. He explained the presence of the zombie horde, its likely movement toward Adamas, and the mystery of Cyrus. Morna had very little advice to offer, suggesting only that Brother Candor do what he felt was most in accord with the Lady's will. The cleric had come to believe that Cyrus would not have been allowed to exist for so many centuries after his natural lifetime if he did not have a role yet to play. He noted his antipathy toward the cult of Turms Termax, a common enemy with the PCs, and soon decided that Cyrus should be returned to Dwimmermount as promised.
Before he could do that, Morna recommended they speak to select members of the Senate of the city to inform them of the situation and ask their assistance. As a member of the Senate, she could get them an audience. The Senate was naturally shocked and horrified to learn of the imminent zombie invasion. Worse still, they disliked the possibility that there might be more such zombie crypts hidden about the countryside, perhaps close to Adamas. Dordagdonar offered to lead a small scouting party to attempt to locate any signs of the horde and to see if they could uncover evidence of yet more crypts. Brother Candor meanwhile wanted to return to Dwimmermount to release Cyrus, as promised. The Senate was none too keen on this notion but agreed as Brother Candor argued emphatically that the vampire could yet be of use if he felt the PCs were trustworthy.
By means of a teleport spell, he knocked three days off his travel to the megadungeon. Once there, he removed the stake and set Cyrus free. The Thulian general thanked Brother Candor for showing him that there was still some glimmer of honor left in this benighted age. The cleric asked him if he knew more about these zombie crypts. Cyrus admitted he did. They were put in place by the cult of Turms Termax to ensure that any who brought down their empire would pay the ultimate price for their arrogance. Once active, a horde would slay all living things in its path and move toward the nearest crypt it could find and active it, so as to add to its strength and numbers. Cyrus opposed this plan and had been attempting to stop its implementation when he slew Hierophant Oriseus. He told Brother Candor the location of all the crypts he knew about -- including two beneath Adamas. With that, Cyrus disappeared into Dwimmermount, saying that he felt he and Brother Candor would meet again some day.
Brother Candor road back to the city-state to pass along what he now knew to the Senate, which had already authorized a large military force to face the incoming zombie horde. Dordagdonar having found no signs of crypts outside the city, he and Brother Candor resolved to lead a team into the sewers and catacombs of Adamas to find the two crypts there and deal with them -- somehow -- before the incoming horde's presence activated them and through the city-state into chaos.