Michael puts a hand on Shendra's shoulder in order to stop her from getting closer to the sound. He then approaches with sword in hand and peers around the sofa, "Whoever you are, I'd ask that you announce yourself and your intentions. My friends and I are a bit on edge."
The oracle halts in her tracks, not even moving to brush the old warrior's hand away. She eyes the sofa with a piercing gaze; if this was the spirit of Roderick, she might be forced to use her magic to disrupt him. But she was also wary of the sound being a lure - she knew a spell that could produce the same effect.
You see a man sitting on the sofa who appears to be reading from a book. There is a child sitting on his knee and two others sitting on the floor around the man. A woman nearby in a chair. She appears to be doing needlepoint. As you watch the scene changes from pleasant to horror. The five people suddenly shift, their skin begins to slough away in wisps of shadows to reveal skeletal faces. The man turns to you, points accusingly, and demands you leave, saying, "Get out!" in a long, gasping shout. Everyone needs to make Will saves.
OOC: BTW, north is to the left, so the front stairs are west and the back stairs are east.
Shendra, Teea and Michael are effected by a fear effect for three rounds. Teodor and Mei are shaken for 1 round. So after Shendra, Teea and Michael flee for three rounds, dropping anything they had in their hands, they presumably return and pick things up. We will begin there. Teea speaks up, "That looked like Roderic and his family. I remember seeing a painting that looked similar to them in the image." Teodor and Mei recount that when the others fled, the image slowly faded.
"If you wanted someone to save your precious Cove you certainly are not making it easier for us to help you," says Shendra loudly and plaintively. But there is a shake in her voice too... The faces of those children as their skin gave way to bone - that was horrifying in a way that went beyond her compulsion to run. Suddenly the seer wanted to scream as an image of her own daughter making that transformation came unbidden to her mind, and she squeezes her eyes shut as her hands come up to her head.
After a moment she kneels down to recover her spear, still glowing with soft magical light. Glancing over towards the ruined chesterfield Shendra has a flashback to those times she had had to search for her daughter's modest toys, and then lowers her head down to the floor and slides the end of her spear underneath to see if anything has been left behind.
Shendra slowly steps towards the partially open door, keeping an eye open spirits or anything else of concern. Spear at the ready she gently pushes it open the rest of the way so that the group can see what lays beyond.
I wonder why the stairs do not line up with the first floor. In any case, I suppose metagame wise I should consider casing this whole place with detect magic, but it would be less interesting game wise to always lead with that.
Teodor finally pulls himself together after the ghostly scene. "Me Too." he adss to Teea's words. He is pleasantly surprised at how confident he sounds. He holds a dagger ready to throw should trouble start.
Something jumps from the rotting wicker cradle as Michael approaches. It wears the tattered remains of a rabbit costume, its canine skull protruding from the hood-like head of the destroyed outfit. A necklace of lettered, wooden blocks hangs around its neck, and the unsettling creature drags a wheeled wooden duck by a soiled and knotted string. As it approaches the fighter everyone hears the sound of unnerving childlike whimpers, songs, and sobs. Michael and Teea seem to be effected by the sound. The thing attacks Michael with a bite doing 1 point of damage. I need a will save for Michael and initiative from everyone. That was the surprise round. No one could have spotted it with its high stealth.
Shendra sinks to the ground, her knees failing her. The cool haughtiness the others have come to expect from her had softened noticeably once they had gotten caught up in the rough in tumble of exploring the lower level. But this, this was all wrong. The feelings of helplessness and loss she had for having deserted her daughter was a scabrous wound that was being most violently ripped open in her first outing (in this body). The oracle weakly raises her arm and traces a symbol in the air. "S-Shelyn..." she stammers, the rest of her prayer for guidance going unsaid.