17th/18th of The Month of the Vanishing Wind
*This is the DM’s account of the events from this session, although much more happened during this session this reenactment focuses on the most important event. It is not to be overstated that this event will have profound consequences upon the adventures, the story, and the world of Naramos as a whole.
THE HAND OF GOD
The place smelled of death, the evil odor flowed through their nostrils with every breath they took. The band of adventures, six in number, traveled deep inside the ruins of Cilox trying to retrieve an object of great importance, an object of such importance that the Cult of Viel uses this place as their sanctuary. This place was once a great and mighty fortress that housed great history for the races of men and eventually became the place that was remembered as one of their greatest triumphs over evil. But that time is long forgotten and this place has a new history to write today, a history that will once again become forever known to the people of Naramos.
The weary adventurers stand atop a great platform that enters into a large sized room that is lightly lit by flickering firepots that are scattered throughout. Beyond the platform a grand set of stairs descends into the room which is towered overhead by a domed ceiling that massive marble pillars hold up. The glistening stone floor reflects what little light there is and makes it dance in a variety of shapes and sizes throughout the room.
On the left side of the room stands a massive stone table and lying upon it are the bones of a huge creature. On the opposite side of the room directly infont of the adventures is another set of stairs which flows upwards a few steps to an altar made of bones. This altar is draped by a crimson cloth that flows across it and onto the floor covering some of the stone stairways. On the right side of this room, adjacent to the wall is a large semicircle opening that stands the height of at least four men. Within the immense opening of this portal a vertical sea of blackness flows and ripples as the waves of sound flow over it.
The sound within the room is caused by three humming and chanting black robed creatures which stand around the gigantic portal. As their voices echo and bellow around the room the black opening of the arc reach out, causing massive black flames to emanate horizontally from within it. These horizontal flames flicker outwards causing the blackness of the portal to stretch until they finally break free and float towards the other side of the room where the table with the skeleton is positioned.
The chanting noise suddenly comes to a stop as the presence of trespassers is detected by the three dark humanoids praying by the portal. Although the room abruptly becomes hushed the archway of fire continues its process of growing and stretching all around the priests. One of the cultist turns towards the opening where the adventures stand and raises his bony hands in praise, almost in a mocking gesture. Within his grip is held a golden symbol of a creature with the head of a beast with large horns protruding upwards.
“Come to me and allow your new master to feel your soul, allow yourself to be devoured by him or join it his rebirth”, he bellows out up the stairs towards the adventures.
In the flickering light they could make out a shape of a man, human in form and appearance, but sickened by the disease of his evilness. Cold and pale shows on his skin and weak and delicate are his mannerisms. His voice bellows throughout the room causing the portal, which stands just a few feet away, to come to life again.
“I’m afraid we can’t join you in your unholy quest because we are here to put an end to whatever manner of evil you’re trying to conjure,” the elven ranger replies as he moves up to the top most stair that enters into the room. He draws his longbow, notching an arrow instinctively, while preparing for the upcoming battle he is sure will commence.
Standing there watching the cultist the adventures notice that part of the blackened portal shoots out a small stream of shadowy essence ever so often, the glob flies through the air landing upon the massive skeleton that lies upon the stone table. As it splatters across the figure it starts to meld into it, slowly being absorbed by the creature. When this happens the skeleton shakes and vibrates, slowing moving the bones before coming to rest again. From deep within the chest something stirs, a heart made of flesh beats from within.
“If you surrender now we will allow you to live, otherwise you will surrender by your own death”, the massive dragonborn adds as he moves adjacent to his comrade. Kriv, has he is known to his allies, holds a giant club in his hands and is covered by platemail armor which has the symbol of Thorax etched into it. The dragonborn paladin nods at his allies having them look within the room as he sees new enemies approaching.
Coming out of the shadows, from beyond where the adventures can see clearly, two new sets of enemies come forth. One set of creatures take the form of skeletons having great girth, their bodies show strength and power and each carries a gleaming longswords at the ready. The other set of creatures appear more manlike but still act like the undead. Dark and blackened by the evil stench of death they move without pain, stepping across the firepits within even noticing. They use their long and jagged fingernails as one would use a dagger and their bodies are scared by numerous injuries that don’t seam to affect them at all. Moving with great quickness they leap into flanking positions of the cultist preparing to attack the intruders if ordered.
“One last time I will allow you to denounce you life in favor of eternal salvation to your new master”, the cultist yells out.
“The time for talk is long past evil doer, prepare to die”, the ranger yells back as he lets loose an arrow aimed for the skull of the talking priest.
The bolt might have found its mark but from within the portal a blackened hand surrounded by shadows reaches out and grabs the arrow only moments before it would have slain the priest. In the same instant it crushes the shaft into little parts protecting the unholy man.
“Kill the intruders as I finish what we have started”, is the only reply given.
The battle is joined as the undead creatures amass towards the adventures who have already charged into battle formations, with the fighter and paladin up front and the mage and holy priestess behind. The stealthy rogue has already started to blend into the shadows hoping not to be seen as the elven archer strikes one of the enemies with an arrow.
As the battle rages all around him the tiefling psion named Maetheus, senses great magic coming from within the portal and perceives the waves of energy that fly across the room to be magical as well. He first thinks about targeting the leader of the cultist with some of his psionic bolts but realizes that his power might be better served by using his mastery over magic to divert the magical essences that are trying to reenergize the boney creature.
In his unusual dark accent the tiefling psion yells out, “Protect me while I see if I can prevent this process from continuing. I know a thing or two about demonic possessions.”
The human fighter named Davin comes to his aid and stands between the mage and the enemy, willing to accept any attacks on his behalf. He knows that his platemail armor will do its job much better that whatever little armor the tiefling possess. Before long one of the wights is standing before him and he blocks its attack and counters by lurches his sword deep inside it. The creature is wounded by the blow but will need a deadlier wound to ends it undead life.
Attack after attack between the two opposing forces are made and countered as the psion studies the magical essences and the portal they come from. He decides to try and dispel the magical energies as they float through the air, hoping that his mind magic can make them inert and useless before they land upon the skeleton. With great mind control he commands the process to stop, trying to draw the magical energy from it into himself. Time after time he concentrates on a floating flame without success, the process he is using just takes to long for the power he possesses. He curses his luck and takes aim at a different magical essence, but this time his concentration is ruined by one of the unholy priests which launched a bolt of demonic energy that surges throughout the psion’s body. Again the essence lands upon the skeleton causing the heart to beat and the bones to move for a moment.
“We need more of a divine power to stop this process..” the psion yells out. “My control of it isn’t effective.”
As the dragonborn paladin crushes one of the skeletons heads with his club he yells out to the priestess, “Make you way down the stairs and into a position where you can use your divine power to stop this.” He ducks under another attack and pushes the undead creature back giving room to his fellow warriors that surround him.
Lady Kariel, the holy priestess of Lysistern, quickly moves down the stairs and into the large room, she finds a position towards the bottom of the stairway where she can see the great beast lying upon the table and the black fiery essences that float towards it. She pulls out her holy symbol, that of the full moon Lysis, and holds it high in the air while praying to her goddess to give her strength. As the divine energy surges within her she channels this power towards one of the flickering flame of blackness, letting out a scream of agony as it strikes the unholy mass.
The strain of this maneuver makes her eyes go white for a split second and when she regains her vision she see the fiery mass land upon the bones of the massive skeleton but just like all of the others it makes it lurch for a second and the heart beat. But unlike the others that have previously landed on the creature this one makes the heart glow and continue to beat.
Suddenly the bones start to stir and the creatures gathers strength sitting up on the table showing its true mass. The bones creek against the stone as the creature positions his massive legs under it and moves its huge head around to surveying the room. Two massive horns spiral upwards from the skull and its jaws are lined with teeth the size of a man’s hand. Attached to the skeleton’s back the bones outline two massive wings that screech as they move. Finally the creature stands before the brave adventures showing its awesome size, towering over them like a tree.
Even though the group of warriors have already dispatches several of the evil creatures they are still engaged in a terrible fight for their lives. Two of the three cultists move forward and replaced some of the fallen undead and they brought their maces to bear against the adventures. A lone dark robed figure still stands by the portal watching in awe as the creature takes form across the room, immensely enjoying everything he was witnessing.
Striking from out of the shadows, Teleria, the half-elven lady stabs one of the evil cultists, blooding it from behind, as Davin stabs it from the front. It isn’t long before that cultist lay dead before their feet. Several of the undead creatures have arrows protruding from their bodies showing that the elven archer has hit his mark on several occasions. Although tired from their lengthy entwine with the enemy the adventures are eager to end this battle before it gets out of hand. But their hope is completely dashed as they witnesses what happens on the far side of the room.
With a bellowing roar that echoes throughout the area the skeleton creatures announces his arrival, the sound is loud enough to almost deafen the ears of those closest to it. The evil priest that remains by the portal raises his hands to the heavens in honor of the great beast and a great smile comes across his face as he watches it move. Slowly the bones move at first but they steadily increase until the skeleton completely awakens. The bold adventures have little time to study this scene as their concentration is engaged with several of the undead creatures that grab at them.
The adventures call out to one another wondering what their next plan of action might be against the newly risen creature but their questions are answered by what happens next. Suddenly out of the portal a massive arm flows into the room, its hand being the size of three men standing on top of one another. The black arm is covered in flowing shadows as it stretches across the room until it wraps its fingers around the skeleton beast in a loving way, almost like that of a child holding a baby bird. The skeleton beast shows no resistance and allows itself to be gathered in by the hand until it’s completely encircled.
while the hand starts pulling the creature across the room towards the archway a thunderous voice calls out into the room, “My son, come to me. Your job is not yet finished.” This is a voice of true evil, and evil that overwhelms everything else in this room. An evil that makes those hearing it sickly just from its mere presence.
As the massive hand withdrawals back into the blackened portal with its captured quarry the skeleton beast turns to watch the battle that still flows around the room. It sees that only two of the undead creatures still stand and both of the cultists lay face down on the stone slab with crimson stains flowing around their bodies. It roars its disapproval as it tries to pull itself free of the embracing hand without success. Its anger and rage clearly centers upon the trespassers that defile this room with their holy powers.
As the hand pulls ever closer to the portal the lone remaining cultist senses an opportunity and grabs a hold of the shadowy arm. Holding on with as much strength as he can muster the evil cultist clutches the blackness as he is whisked towards the portal. Within several seconds the arm disappears back into the shadowy vertical mist of the portal, taking with it the skeleton beast and the remaining cultist. The room suddenly becomes very quiet….
Just moments later the attacks by the ranger, fighter, and rouge vanquish the remaining undead creatures for good. The adventurers stand in the room breathing heavily from the long fight and they take a long moment to gather their wits about them. They gaze at each other looking to see if the others had witnessed the events that took place within this room and with reassuring nods the looks are confirmed.
After the long moment the psion speaks up, “I’m afraid you have failed in your quest”.
“More so then even you imagine tiefling,” the holy priestess replies as she strokes her holy symbol between her fingers. “That unholy beast that stood no more then a stones throw away was none other then Viel, the demon prince from the last great war. Whatever we have done, or not done, the world will become a much different place in the coming days. I pray for us all…..”