October 20th, 2012
9:30PM – 2:00 AM
Godsday, 25th Goodmonth – 3201 e.c.
The Hands of the Abyss
Before vanishing into the portal, Maristis raises his arms to the sky and utters the following:
“Master Izmaledt, Lord of Many Forms, for as long as I occupy this plane may your great obscenity touch these creatures.”
Some in the party resist the curse better than others. Most of them feel weak and fatigued along with a vague sense that they are no longer aligned with the cosmic forces of fate and destiny. For others the effects are much more apparent. Sores begin to open on Blindorf’s face while the flesh on Eddy’s chest melts and swirls about in a sickening, itchy movement. Habrick’s ear mutates and folds down (perhaps not that bad) while Arnith and Buck collapse to the ground in a heap.
A swirling evil rune illuminates the spot where Maristis disappeared. It quickly forms black, smoky tendrils that swirl and spiral out of the pulsing rune. The smoke resolves into the shapes of demonic claws and lash out and attack blindingly fast. Carmine swings at the black tendrils with his mythril sword, the sword cuts a swath through the tendril temporarily dispersing the smoke but it quickly re-forms. The three tendrils reach out with cruel hands and grasp Habrick, Blindorf and Carmine by their necks. They feel a cold strangling as the hands constrict around their necks.
Eddie attempts to cast a spell of enlarge but fails to invoke the magic correctly thus losing it for the day. Sinclair, The Southern Merchant makes a critical strike on the hand that is strangling Blindorf. The smoky hand dissipates into the air as Blindorf gasps for air.
Carmine and Habrick continue to struggle against the crushing grip of the remaining ghostly hands. Drev nocks an arrow and shoots at the base the tendril attacking Habrick. The arrow passes through the tendril pulling a trail of the black smoke with it as the hand dissolves into the air releasing Habrick.
As the group recovers from the fight they are surrounded by several monstrous forms. Creatures with blackened skin, fused limbs and bulging eyes shamble towards them. Some stare at their twisted limbs in terror releasing muffled grunts and groans.
With growing dread the party realizes these creatures are their fellow villagers that have succumbed to the curse. Halden is seen exiting the feast hall, his mouth is partially fused shut, hands raised in the air in desperation as he makes a plea to Denithae for help.
Denithea deliver us from this curse! Izmaledt, Maristis said his master was Izmaledt! It was thought he has been imprisoned in the abyss for millinae, but now he has found a willing agent in Maristis with plans to resurrect Cadixtat the Sundered Titan. Gods spare us! Put an end to this! Remove Maristis from this plane and the curse is lifted. There is one sure way, put a sword through is heart. Kill him and the curse will be lifted. He must be headed to the Godless Pit, take the road to Wildsgate two days march north and head NW 12 miles, it’s a blight you cannot miss.
Halden begins to shepherd the surviving villagers including Orlan the blacksmith to the chapel while the group walks back into the ruined feast hall. Inside they find mayor Thulen unconscious with Vella tending to him, his breath comes in shallow wet sounding ragged breaths. His skin is blackened and rubbery covered in bumps.
Pint Bingleton is nowhere to be seen.
The group assists the survivors and appoints those less severely injured to serve guard over the fellow villages as they hole up in the chapel. A search for horses turns up nothing useful. The only surviving horses are too mutated to use as they bite and kick in fear.
Destiny Under the Stars
On the 25th of Goodmonth around 9:30PM the group gathers what supplies they can and heads North on the road to Wildsgate. The bluish glow of the empty star shines in the night sky as it gets closer to it’s apex.
The map Eddy found in Morlan’s Keep tells of a portal to an ancient tomb opening when the Empty Star rises to it’s highest point once every 100 years. The next opening is in 3 days on the 1st of Harvest, 3201ec. There will be a roadside grave marking the detour East they must take to reach the standing stones where the portal is said to appear.
Out of the hills and fields of Dimsdale the landscape gradually becomes more densely wooded. They travel during the night with the road to themselves, not once do they encounter a fellow traveller or merchant. In the pre-dawn hours, camp is setup off the road in the adjacent woods and guard watches are set. They get a few hours of sleep before the early autumn sun rises and once again they set off.
Within minutes they find the roadside grave up ahead. It is a modest simple stone grave bearing the name “Cyrus”. They head East for a few miles until the dead tree is spotted. It’s withered, blackened husk stands out from the thriving trees around it. From there they head south east and at last come upon a clearing with a single hill.
The hill rises quickly about 40 feet and looks to be several hundred yards across. Atop the hill are several standing stones arranged in a sacred circle.
The group makes a campsite in the woods outside of the clearing and prepares for a possible ambush. They are two days away from the supposed celestial event. They spent their time hunting and preparing while keeping a vigilant watch for other tomb robbers or nefarious beings. All is quiet as the days go by.
Around 10:00PM on the 28th of Goodmonth the Empty Star is nearly at it’s apex. As the light from the star catches the stones, a shimmering is seen in the central arch. A long flagstone lined corridor gradually appears through the archway only when viewed straight on.
The group readies their torches and weapons, exchanges a knowing look at one another and steps into the corridor.