Fallen

Castle Delving

Journeying down the adventurers found what could be an ordinary castle. A library stocked with books and tomes covering a vast array of subjects; a grand hall of tapestries and wealth; bedrooms and an old forge. The bedrooms were full of old adventurer clothes, the only reminder of the adventurers that had been lured and turned by Velspar. Sandrina found the only danger on this level, as she did not find a poison gas trap on a chest full of gold coins. 

Finding a descending stair case they continued down into the grand hall, greeted by Mersted and his Glabrezu associate, Almathog. Mersted presented a sumptuous feast for the adventurers, and asked them to join him in a civilised meal. He explained some history of Cheelast and Velspar, how he had been an adventurer from Waterdeep before he and his friends had been recruited by Brastan. On arrival in Cheelast they accepted an offer from Velspar, eternal life in return for their service. Mersted and his companions had accepted.

Frustrated at talking Sandrina opened fire on Mersted. She was quickly joined by the others, and Mersted fell before he could finish explaining his offer. Pressing the attack prevented Almathog from causing any real damage before he too was defeated. After finishing the feast the party found the kitchen and larder, a macabre mixture of normal food and the remains of intelligent humanoids. A small side chamber hid a suit of Demon Armor, that Saggy quickly donned and is now stuck in for some time.

The base of the first tower they entered revealed Velspar's study, full of scrolls, history, and Velspar's journal. Through a secret door they found a way into his crypt, and what should be the final encounter with Velspar. In no mood for conversation the adventurers attacked as soon as Velspar made himself visible. Although he held his own a single Vampire is no match for a group of seasoned adventurers, and he was forced into his mist form and fled the castle. All that was left was for the party to decide on their next course of action.

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Hope. Struggle. Resistance.
The Sinking City Rises

With no one to stop them, the adventurers turned their attention to looting Lance's store for everything of value. They first removed his head, Sandrina placing it quietly in Saggy's Handy Haversack, and attempted to destroy the body by swirling the flooded basement into 'running' water. Freshly laden down with goods, and satisfied that Lance was finally dead, they returned to Meeson's for a well earned ale.

Talk at the bar was still mostly around the death of Jack and the destruction of his store. Desperate for more information the party split and tried different methods of intelligence gathering. Argos simply observed and watched for vampiric signs, Sandrina worked the room using her natural charisma, Rynn quietly meditated seeking answers from the universe, and Saggy got drunk. As usual.

Frustrated Saggy and Argos attempted to question Meeson, using the time honoured method of beating around the bush and generally avoiding any form of direct question. Sensing their lack of progress Sandrina approached and simply asked about Lance and Velspar, and to everyone's surprise got a straight answer. With unexpected trust Meeson instructed them to meet her in the back room in ten minutes.

Here they met Zahar, a Shadar-kai Druid in the employ of Meeson, and discovered they had been followed and watched since their arrival in Cheelast. Meeson was quite forthcoming with details on Cheelast and the influence Velspar has had on the city. He had spent centuries ruling the city, firstly from his castle and later it seemed from the Tower. He maintained control and order through the Guard, who mostly seemed unaware of who their employer really was. To bring money he built the Factorium, and began imported people. Beings of all races and cultures were being shipped in from all over the Shadowfell, and nothing was being exported out. For all their investigation the resistance could not discover what was really going on in the Factorium.

Over the last few decades Meeson had been receiving adventurers from Faerun to assist with defeating Velspar. She only knew that they were sent from the south by another Shadar-kai named Nitru, how they came to the Shadowfell she did not now. All she could confirm is that no other group had made it out of West Port before. All they knew of the operation was that Velspar was not working alone, he had a business partner outside the city he had regular dealings with.

Jack was the main organiser of the resistance, ensuring the separate cells worked in unison but without hindering each other. With Jack dead it would make holding the resistance together almost impossible. But Meeson had one final plan. She had word that the resistance would be attacking the Factorium that night, and wanted the party to head to the castle to take on Velspar. 

With little hesitation the adventurers were joined by Zahar and made their way to the Sunken Castle. It was easy enough to enter, with the tops of two towers jutting above the water providing a way in. On the first level they found what could only be Velspar's master suite, and a large hall guarded by several lesser vampires and their zombie lackeys. Finding nothing of value in the chambers the party continued their descent, keen to find and slay Velspar.

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Lance's Inventory
Loot and Plunder

Lance, I have completed your inventory. Please try to keep your store more organised next time! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to organise and count the crap you have in here!

Adventuring Supplies

  • Backpack x 4 (2 normal, 2 small)
  • Bedroll x 6 (5 normal, 1 small)
  • Blanket x 8
  • Bottle, Glass x 26 (21 Green, 5 brown)
  • Scroll Cases, Assorted x 14
  • Chain, Steel x 30ft
  • Rope, Hempen x 350ft (in convenient 50ft lengths)
  • Hand Tools, Assorted x 17
  • Hunting Traps, Assorted x 3
  • Ink, Bottle, 1 ounce x 5
  • Ink Pen, x 4
  • Pot, Cooking x 3
  • Soap, Assorted x 39
  • Abacus x 1
  • Torches, x 8
  • Mess Kit, x 4
  • Pick, Miner’s x 1
  • Belts, Assorted x 6
  • Pouches, Assorted x 16
  • Sack x 2
  • Tinderbox x 3
  • Whistle, Signal x 1
  • Piton x 11
  • Mirrors, Assorted Small x3
  • Vial, Glass x 9
  • Waterskin x 5
  • Barrel, Empty x 3

Tools

  • Cartographer’s Tools, Assorted x 1 Set
  • Jeweler’s Tools, Assorted x 1 Set
  • Thieves Tools, Assorted x 1 Set (Incomplete)
  • Herbalism Kit x1 Set

Trade Goods

  • Dried Foods, assorted x 2 crates
  • Cotton, Spun, 4 bolts
  • Wool, 6 bolts
  • Spider Silk, 2 bolts
  • Spices, Unidentifiable, 3 small barrels

Arms & Armour

  • Leather Armour, Assorted Sizes x 3
  • Hand Weapons, Barrel, Assorted
  • Shields, Assorted x 4
  • Half-plate x 1

Where did you get this stuff? It certainly doesn’t look locally made…

 

In addition you find:

  • 2560gp from Fareun
  • 12000sp from Faerun
  • 1200pp from Cheelast
  • An accounting journal which shows Lance had a lot more cash until someone sold him a giant diamond…

 

A Letter found in Lance’s office. Freshly written but not yet in an envelope or sent…obviously

My Lord Velspar,

It is done! Our greatest thorn is gone! That fool Jack has been slain and we can now continue our plans unhindered. I witnessed it myself last night, it appears the fool was working late and had a small accident with his candles! He caused a fire himself that resulted in his timely death. The locals seem confused as the body they removed was not a dwarf, but I know it was him.

This does not mean the resistance threat is over, my spies have already seen several secret meetings around the city. It appears they are planning one final attack on either the Factorium or the Castle. I have sent word to the Guard to be on the lookout for any sign of violence. I have every confidence the Guard, along with our ‘helpers’ can put down any attack the resistance dares to make. As a precaution however it may pay to remain in the Tower, it is substantially more defensible than the Castle.

Hopefully by now you have dealt with the new adventurers I sent to the Tower. They did look a little more powerful than the last few groups, but I am confident they will end up the same. As usual I look forward to selling their possessions to the next group! I shall…

                The note trails off, as if he was interrupted while writing it.

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You Don't Know Jack

Woken by the sound of bells the adventurers groggily strolled into inaction. Sandrina confronted Meeson, disappointed she had not kept Bruce busy all night, while Saggy found a note left by Bruce:

"The jobs done. I've gone to collect payment. Meet me there and we will be home soon. B. xxx"

Looking outside Sandrina quickly discovered two barrels making very annoyed sounds, and opened them to find Argos and Rynn returned from their capture as promised by Velspar. Fearing the worst she rushed towards the sound of the bells, seeing flames rising from somewhere near the market square she was soon greeted by the sight of Jack's shop firmly ablaze. There was nothing anyone could do except help to extinguish the flames.

With the flames extinguished the town Guard was able to commence their investigation. They quickly found a body, surprisingly well preserved, in the ruins of the office. To everyones surprise it was not a dwarf as expected, but a Doppleganger in its natural form. Perplexed the Guard were more than  happy for the party to move in and begin their own investigation. In the office Sandrina found the remains of a candle burned into the desk, but was unable to determine if it was the cause of the fire. Spending several hours investigating turned up precious little, with almost everything destroyed in the fire.

Looking closer they spotted the entrance to the store's flooded basement and cautiously made their way below. Using all her rougeish skills Sandrina located a stone out of place, and was soon in possession of some notes addressed to Jack.

"Jack, there is another party of adventurers from Faerun coming to Cheelast. Make sure you offer them the usual help, we don't want them ending up like the others. – Nitru"

"Jack, keep up the outstanding work in Cheelast. Since you organised the local cells Velspar's influence in the city is on the wane. Make sure you continue harassing his cargo shipments, we must stop the flow of reinforcements. Our Lord is ecstatic with your work, every victory moves him closer to his final solution. – Nitru"

With their leads cold the adventurers started to question the locals, as well as shop for items they thought would come in handy. Sandrina visited Kalen the butcher, Saggy went to a blacksmith and then to Ja'Soe the fletcher, none of whom could give any further insight into the secrets Jack held. Running out of options they finally made their way to Lance's Money Exchange, Pay Day Loans, & Porn Shop. They would get their answers one way or another.

Lance was pleased at their return, but was quite forward in letting them know he could not yet afford to purchase another diamond. Sandrina was in no mood for his games. She was able to Suggest he cooperate and only tell the truth, and tell the truth he did. He happily revealed he was a Vampire, and proceeded to order his Shadow Demon minions to attack. The fight was vicious but brief, with the adventurers incapacitating Lance and taking possession of his store.

The question now is do they bother going to find Bruce? 

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Interlude the Third
The Resistance Lives

With a glance the surly Shadar-kai brought the gathering to order. 
"Since the death of Jack last night we need to re-group and decide the direction of this resistance."
The others nodded solemnly in agreeance, and all looked to the speaker for guidance.
"Jack has worked tirelsessly in an attempt to rid this city of its vile ruler, you know who I am talking about, and to shut down the industry that supports it."
Again they nodded their agreement, until a single voice dared to speak,
"But Jack was the voice of our Lord, he is…was…the only one who could hear his wishes and make them known to us. He was the only one who knew every cell, who knew when and where to strike. Without him our movement can not carry on…we are lost."

Fighting back his disdain the Shadar-kai continued,
"We are most certainly not lost. Jack shared with me some of his secrets with me, and with them I know our next move."
Pausing for effect, he waited just long enough before continuing,
"We all know Jack's store was a front, he used it as a legitimate cover to allow him to opperate openly in the city. Most of you know he received outside help and reinforcements from a Shadar-kai tribe far to the south, adventurers and others were recruited and sent to aid us. A few of you know he was able to commune directly with our Lord, receiving instructions and information directly from him. But I alone know of his greatest secret, what allowed him to orchestrate attacks on Velspar's operations, what enabled him to move silently and unseen amongst our enemies own people."

"With this information we can continue to strike at the heart of Velspar's operation, and it is a strike that must happen quickly. I have contact information for all of Cheelast's resistance cells, as well as the locations of our weapon stock piles. It is enough for one final attempt at victory.
Tonight we shall launch an attack on the Factorium, and put an end to the horrific industry that drives this city. "

 

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Lord of the Night
A Choice is Given

Pushing deeper into West Port the adventurers soon discover that not all is as it seems. Breaking into buildings they find themselves face to face with strange dimensions and non-euclidean architecture. Exiting a door on the ceiling they found themselves back on the street away from the spider square, twisted around and confused as to where they should go. After being unable to navigate the strangely arranged streets.

There was a stroke of genius, and the adventurers climbed above the streets onto the rooftops, discovering that the strange dimensional anomolies at street level had no effect above. Moving rapidly they quickly approached the looming tower that was their objective. A short distance along they began to hear a gibbering chant, one that induced madness and terror in whomever heard it. Rapidly investigating they found a Gibbering Mouther in a dormer window. Fighting as their sanity waned they finally defeated the other-worldly beast. 

Feeling run-down they sought, and quickly found, a safe place to rest. Towering above the other rooftops a luxurious appartment welcomed them with a soft bed and secure walls. Sendrina was the first to entire, turning to admire a freakish landscape painting on the wall. Sadly she had failed to check for traps, and the painting morphed around her head, incapacitating her. Waiting cautiously for what was longer than it should have been, the other adventurers finally moved in to make sure she was ok. Rapidly freeing her it seemed the only ill affect was Sendrina was now completely bald. Not even eye lashes. Finally safe they settled down for a well earned rest.

Now recovered they pushed on towards the tower once again, arriving at the great wall that surrounding the Port. To reach the tower they had to cross a dusty bridge, but first had to descend into a large square that formed a nexus of several roads and the bridge. Crossing the square they had to fend off several skeletons, which proved no match for their martial prowess. Freshly victorious they continued across the bridge.

The tower seemed to be carved from a single mountain peak, even the doors fit perfectly into the wall. Inside the tower was a single room, broken only by a well of perfectly clear water in the centre and a strange throne at the far side. Investigating the room they found strange spiral patterns carved into the floor, that hurt their eyes and seemed to twist in ways that should not be possible. After a few minutes of looking around they were greeted by the owner of the tower.

Velspar, a Vampire Sorcerer Lord, slowly descended from above introducing himself and laughing at how adventurers are always drawn to wells. He was more than happy to answer any questions they had, as he felt it was only fair after learning everything he needed to from Sendrina. He explained a little about Cheelast, that he ruled the city, and kept an eye on all events and new arrivals. He knew they had come to kill Vampires, that Nitru had sent them, and that some in the city had suggested they come to the tower. The most startling revelation was that he had no interest in killing them, he simply required a small boon.

Jack had to die. Velspar had decided Jack was a threat and needed to be eliminated. Complete this simple task and their friends would be released from their spider prison. The three friends consulted, and decided attacking Velspar would be a better course of action. Only Bruce came to his senses and convinced them not too, insisting that Velspar was of good character and had good reason to want Jack dead. This was not until Saggy had attacked and Velspar had been able to put them both to sleep. Velspar confided in Bruce that Jack was a shape changer intent on destroying the peaceful city he had spent so long building up, and Bruce felt he needed to convince the others of this.

Although full of doubt the adventurers begrudgingly agreed, and were told they were free to go. With Valspar's blessing they were able to leave West Port with no confusion or conflict. So released they made their way straight to Jack's. Moving quickly Sendrina warned Jack, practically ordering him to leave town, but he was unsure how to react. Sensing the urgency in her voice he promised to leave as soon as he could. Feeling they had done all they could they retreat to the tavern for a meal and a warm bed.

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The Sinking City
All Will Be Consumed

Finally the adventurers came to find the remains of a dwelling, and then another, and another. Until they were surrounded by a sinking shanty town slowly subsiding into the black sea, inhabited by shuffling shadowborn eking out an existence on the fringes of the great city of Cheelast. Across the dusty causeway lay several walled islands, dim lights pushing against the gloom beckoning the adventurers to enter. As they pondered if they should enter, Argos and Rynn finally caught up, directed to Cheelast by Nitru.

Crossing the causeway they entered what appeared to be a market quarter, seeking supplies and advice before taking on the vampire nest. The Market Quarter, like all the islands, was all right angles and low walls. The lowest part of the island was packed stone, with the buildings generally stone but more recent and higher constructions were timber. Every building was different, with almost every architectural style from Faerun having a presence here. And new, every building was new. Over the centuries Cheelast was slowly sinking into the Sea of Tears, rather than move the people simply allowing it and then building more stories onto their homes and businesses. 

The adventurers could see this due to each building being a different level, some higher and some lower, and some on strange angles. Below ground level long-forgotten stair cases descended into flooded realms long forgotten, but still accessable to the brave. Seeking information the adventurers entered Meeson's Tavern, and questioned the Shadar-kai owner as to the nature of the city. She was happy to direct them to the market square, and to take more than enough money for their drinks.

Moving through the Market Quarter the adventurers were recommended to find Jack's Alchemy Shack, purveyor of all things alchemical. One of the only Dwarfs in Cheelast, Jack was pleased to see Saggy, and was happy to supply potions and identification services. Just off the market square they found Lance's Money Exchange, Pay Day Loans, and Porn Shop. Here Lance, a paunch middle aged elf, took the time to explain more of Cheelast.

Cheelast uses it's own currency, a locally minted Platinum, instead of any other coin. It is almost a one-for-one exchange for Faerun gold, but most merchants will only take local coin or gems. The city is divided into six wards; the Sunken Ward, the shanty town on the sinking coast; the Market Quarter; the Docks, to the north of the Market; the Factorium, opposite the market and home to the city's entire industrial base; West Port, a rarely used port district that acts as a barrier to the Tower; and Castle Rock, a seemingly fully sunken castle at the city's northeern most point.

Seeking even more answers, and possibly some divine guidance, the adventurers struck out towards the Tower. Crossing the Dusty Causeway they encountered an almost endless stream of wagons carrying goods from the Docks to the Factorium and back. Whatever it was the city manufactured was in high demand somewhere. Entering West Port was easy enough, except for failing to notice the spear trap on the main gate.

Inside seemed abandoned. The noise from the causeway outside could not be heard and no sound emanated from within. Occasionally a glimpse of a robed figure was seen in the distance, and finally one was close enough that Sandrina sneaked down an alley to follow one. She followed it around a corner, and found herself back on the main road behind her companions. Memories of trees came flooding back. Deeper in they found an open square, and spread out to investigate. Looking back they saw the path they had come up was no longer there, looking forward they saw the webs left by something in the dark.

Throwing firebolts indiscriminately around attracted the giant spiders that lived in the square, and they closed in to attack. A combination of webs, swarms, and venom almost felled the party; but instead they only took down Argos and Rynn, cocooning them and taking them away. With their next meal secured the surviving spiders retreated. The remaining adventurers took stock and pondered their next move, to retreat or push on and attempt a rescue?

The silence returned.

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Shadows Revealed
Shadowfell Day 3...ish

As the party stood pondering the Dead Man on the Cross, a pair of recently deceased spirits calmly floated down from the north. Arriving at the Cross they paused, with one asking the Man for directions to Letherna. He promptly pointed a boney digit towards the South marking the path. Without any further sound the spirits continued on their way.

Still wondering what the spirits were doing almost stopped them noticing several javelins landing amongst the group. Out of the eternal twilight came a small Orc raiding party, determined to destroy the interlopers. Although missing two of their number the adventurers were able to overcome and defeat the Orcs; just in time to see another forty figures walking calmly towards them.

The newcomers were unlike anything the adventurers had seen. Almost human but grey skinned, covered in tattoos and a myriad of vicious looking piercings. The leader introduced himself as Madran, a Shadar-kai warrior leading the raiding party, who wanted to take them to meet his chief – the Death Lord Nitru. Although apprehensive about going with Madran they saw no other choice.

Not far to the East they finally came upon the foothills of the mountains they had seen over the last few days, inside caves that ran deep into the mountain they found the village of Nitru. Nitru was a gracious host, providing food and Fungale as well as offering to answer any questions the primes may have. He confirmed they were indeed in the Shadowfell, and his tribe of Shadar-kai was charged with guarding the Domain that contained the Tomb of Sarus. That was why he had sent his scouts to investigate and eliminate any intruders. Over the centuries many had come through the Tomb seeking nothing but destruction.

Nitru finally offered the adventurers a deal of sorts, in return for the information and hospitality he required a task be completed. As a Death Lord he could sense when any of his people were destined to die, and as none were marked for death he knew that outsiders were needed to complete his mission. He instructed them to destroy a Vampire den to the north, they had been intruding on his territory and made it difficult to maintain vigil over the Tomb.

Begrudgingly they accepted, but informed Nitru they needed supplies to survive in this new realm. He told them of Chelaast, a city a few days hike to the north, were they could re-supply and re-equip. Nitru had no concern about the delay, so long as the vampires were dealt with soon enough. 

Now with a purpose the adventurers marched north towards Chelaast, their new found knowledge of the Shadowfell filling them with enthusiasm and courage. On the second 'day' they encountered another swamp, the dusty road cutting a straight path through both above and below the water. It was not long until Saggy heard a scream for help, a young woman attacked by crocodiles, and he leapt into action to save her.

Deep in the swamp they saw her, a ravishing dwarven beauty with red hair, a flowing mustache, and minimal clothing. She was frantically trying to get to the safety of her cabin away from the crocodiles attacking her, when Saggy leapt into action and heroically killed the crocodiles and saved the damsel. To show her thanks she offered a kiss, before revealing her true form as a Hag and attacking her rescuers. Some would say she had lay a trap, but in reality she was dismayed at her rescuer refusing her advances… 

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Please Tyr, Wake Me.
What Argos Saw

When Argos and Rynn awakening they find themselves alone, so they decide to investigate the temple complex. This investigation will bring them up to next session…

The Altar Room
Not an altar, actually a sarcophagus. This is the tomb of Sarus, a mortal knight of Tyr that fought in the Procession Of Justice almost 1600 years ago to free the remains of Jhaamdath from demonic rule. The texts on the walls tell his story in 6 broad sections:

  1. Sarus’ early life, a native if Jhaamdath trying to survive in the wild ruins of the empire.
  2. His finding religion and joining the priesthood of Tyr, in an attempt to escape the tough life in the wilds.
  3. Revival of the Knights of Holy Judgement, a militaristic order that followed the dogma of Tyr.
  4. Sarus joining the Holy Judgement, and his subsequent rapid rise through the ranks.
  5. The largest section, detailing Sarus fighting in the Procession Of Justice. It follows the campaign from the initial landings at the mouth of the Vilhorn Reach through to the final destruction of Naarkolyth. The great city had survived the Elvish flood but the fury of Tyr caused it to succumb.
  6. The death of Sarus. He was laid to rest here, in a converted temple of Tyr, which was turned to a tomb in honour of one of Tyr’s greatest mortal warriors.

The Ante Chamber

The walls in here are covered in the detailed history of Tyr, or as much as his mortal followers would know. There is certainly much more here than is currently known by scholars of Faerun, especially around his early days as head of the Jhaamdathian pantheon. The section nearest the tomb door is the most interesting, it appears to be a prophecy:

“Arrtyr lost his greatest warriors in The Year of the Striking Lance. In his glory he reclaimed their souls and gave birth to a new generation of his greatest warriors. Long centuries will they proclaim his domain. Their campaigns will be long and victorious. The Year of Deaths Unmourned will see the fall of Arrtyr. Slain by the hand of treachery. Another shall take his mantle. His warriors will scatter and fall to ruin.

The Year of Awakened Sleepers will see Tyr retake his mantle. Justice and War will return to his blind judgement. The Year of Star Walkers Return shall see Arrtyr’s warriors return behind him. They shall bring his fury and righteousness back to the world. But one shall bring more. He shall bring a blind rage to avenge the slaying of his master. He shall bring an end to all evil.”

The Astronomical Room

The unknown constellation is called “Grunsiadtrios”. This roughly translates to ‘Triad Triumphant’. As to why it is the only constellation visible in the night sky there is no clue.

The Second Pyramid

The only chamber in this pyramid contains what is obviously a portal carved into the wall. Around the portal the following is carved in ancient, but readable, Thorassian.

"Open unto me the way across angled time and curved space let the passage be free unto the crawling chaos. Speak the words of power to find your passage."

 

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Darkness. Imprisoning me. All that I see. Absolute Horror.
Somewhen?

Bruce took in his surroundings. At first glance they were still in the Pyramid, but instead of  desecrated walls he can see them covered in writings. Carefully he woke Saggy and Sandrina, but was unable to wake the Elf and Halfling. Deeming them safe the trio decided to explore the pyramid again, but in reverse. The Antechamber to the temple was similarly now covered in writings, which on a cursory exam seemed to depict a history of the life of Tyr, his Avatars and his followers for the previous several thousand years.

The most disturbing aspect was the darkness. Darkvision was not as effective as it should have been, even 'Light' was dimmer than normal – if it worked at all. So hindered the trio descended into the main chamber not knowing what to find. Inspecting the side chambers they found all the puzzles reset, and the main door open with the six stones in place. As despair began to set in it was an attack by a wraith that returned them to reality. 

In the astronomical room they found an intact version of the planetarium and mirror, but instead of a full night sky above them there was only a single constellation of seven stars. Outside in the chill night they could see the real sky reflected the artificial one. The pitch black of the world was only broken by the seven lonely stars in the sky.

Leaving the temple the adventurers were surprised to find they were above ground, and a second temple was waiting in front of them. This second building was obviously a temple to Tyr, containing nothing but a giant statue of the god in a victorious pose. Behind the temple they found a second pyramid, its stone walls no match for the Claws of the Umberhulk. Inside was precious little, only what appeared to be an inactive portal. From the top of the pyramid they could see an endless forest, the swamp seemed to be gone, and mountains far to the south. Only what looked like two rivers, defined by breaks in the trees, were the only landmarks they could see.

Unable to solve the mystery at the temple complex they began to travel through the surrounding forest along the only path they could find. Almost as quickly they turned back, disturbed by the apparent movement of the trees. Building courage they entered the forest again. Finally it seemed as if the sun was rising, but there was only a dim twilight to light the way. Feeling lost Sandrina volunteered to climb a tree to attempt to get some bearings. All around they could only see forest, the pyramids were gone and mountains lay to the east. It was as if the terrain had changed around them. This time however they saw some light ahead of them, and they set off to find what it was.

Soon enough they found what the lights were, unknown humanoids riding NIghtmares charged into them without warning. The fight was desperate, but before the adventurers were victorious one of the assailants vanished completely, and the other teleported away before running into the forest. Hours later they came upon a river, with the remains of what could only be their attackers camp under a tree. Here they found strange coins, and a note instructing the unknown raiders to investigate, and eliminate, the disturbance at the 'complex'.

After crossing the river they climbed another tree to see where they were. Sandrina spied the edge of the forest to the east a good half a day hike away with the mountains still looming beyond. Descending the tree she found that here companions were not there, they were under another tree some 30 feet away. Suitably disturbed they almost ran to the edge of the forest, but still paused frequently to mark their passage in the ground. The edge should have been half a day away, but they reached it in under an hour.

Beyond the forest was a great rocky desert, broken only by a dusty road leading further east towards the mountains. The trio continued on, only pausing to mark the dusty path with a cross as they had done in the forest. This time however it was futile, as the path seemed to fill in the cross as soon as they could make one. Again suitably paranoid, they chose to continue walking to the side of the path.

Finally they arrived at a crossroads with five paths converging. At the center of the convergence was a crucified corpse, seemingly ancient and mummified beyond identification and completely immune to all damage. Confused and unsure which way to go Sandrina asked out loud where they needed to go. The corpse responded by uncurling a boney finger and pointing to the north. Further questions provided a similar service, with the corpse indicating a direction for each location queried. 

The day dragged on, but the sun still had not risen.

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