The first group, comprising Rolan, Fern, Oizo and Zola, were asked by Coyote to retrieve a valuable artifact called the Demon King’s Claw. It was said to have the power to control demons.
They set off to find it, having been told it was rumoured to have been stolen by the Slavers in the city of Vor Rukoth.
The second group, comprising Albi, Seven and Trolol had just escaped from the Slavers and made their way back to Coyote’s Refuge. They found out that their friends had gone ahead of them, and Coyote asked them to follow. He provided them with magical steeds to catch up. They found that they had been overheard by Ulben, a strange man who worked at the Dancing Lizard tavern. He had scrawled a message in his own blood after cutting off one of his fingers, and it spoke of the demons.
“The day of demons had begun
The world was cleft in twain
No strength to stop this wicked plan
If any should remain
The kings and queens of times now lost
Took up arms in desperation
A clash of blades, blood paid the cost
For the hopeless situation
World at end, the last warriors fought
They toiled tooth and nail
They pushed back the demon lords
But ’twas to no avail
Resounding cheers, people did rattle
They could not know before
The Atleans had won the battle
But they had not won the war
Plan, even now, the demons doth
The fallen city of Vor Rukoth
They who would wander this ruined land
Stir a temple of evil beneath the sand.”
Ulben told them that “the cult” possessed the object they seek, not the Slavers. The group decided to bring him along as a guide to show them where to find the cult.
After riding for a few hours, they soon found their companions outside the entrance to the city.
Having heard what happened, the party decided to investigate the cult that Ulben spoke of.
Albi, having noticed Nine’s absence, told everyone that he would ask around the city to see if he could find any rumours or anything to let them know where Nine is.
Ulben led the group to a place called “The Blood Grounds,” and entering a ruined building previously used as a bank, showed them the way to the cult’s headquarters. Upon reaching a vault without handles or any other obvious mechanism to open it, he spoke the words “Acohs, Veli, Nadsems, Coref, Tredtusonic!” The vault slid aside and revealed a spiralling stairway down.
At the bottom of the stairwell, the group found themselves in a small hallway. In one direction there was the rubble of a statue, and in the other, a door.
The group headed to the door and opened it. They found that it was behind a red curtain. Peeking through, they discovered a strange creature that was eating the remains of a sword. The room beyond was some kind of throne room, with broken pillars lying strewn across the floor.
The group approached the creature cautiously and headed to a chest they noticed on the other side of the room. It allowed them to pass until it finished eating, but then made towards the paladin, Zola, greedily looking at his metal armour. Inside the chest, the group found a map, which seemed to show the rest of this floor. The small rust monster attempted to rust Zola’s armour, but was quickly dispatched by the party before it could do any permanent damage.
The group moved down the stairs to a dark region of the room, finding two pools, a bridge between them, a set of doors and statues either side behind the pools. They discovered that the area on the bridge was covered in pressure plates, and all of them needed to be pushed down to open the door. The group had slightly less weight than they needed to push all of them down, and decided to use one of the statues. In the process, they were attacked by 3 snakes that sprang up from the pools. The whole battle was over in less than a minute, as the party expertly defended themselves.
Once the door was open, the party pushed through to the next room, finding that magical fire was being used as a protective measure to halt intruders. Trolol used his magical abilities to hold back the fire long enough to let others pass through and knock the next door open. He then attempted to run through the passage himself, becoming badly burned in the process.
The group then decided to turn and explore the kitchen area of the headquarters. Upon entering the kitchen, they noticed it was very long, but soon discovered the length was due to an illusion. After you reached the edge of the kitchen there was a deep drop to a monster.
The group left the kitchen and continued moving through the halls. Fern went ahead and found herself stuck in a strange transparent ooze. As it began to burn, she freed herself of the danger and took note of its position in the hallway.
The party entered another room that had both two furnaces and two large goblets of water in it, along with some crates and boxes. With a little experimentation, the group discovered that in one of the goblets was a water elemental, a being that flowed as it moved. Fern used her spirit companion to distract the creature and drew it away from them. The creature followed it, and led the water elemental into the gelatinous cube from the hallway. It became stuck and sizzled as the acid of the cube and the water clashed.
The group then decided to split up. One group went to the suites on one of side of the headquarters, searching for anything of use. Rolan sent his avian companion down a well to see what was there, and it came across a quiver that appeared empty. When Rolan reached into the quiver, however, an arrow magically appeared in his hand, and he discovered that he could create as many as he desired.
Trolol and Fern discovered a mechanism where they could not move closer to the door to the suites, as stepping on the floor forced the door closed. Trolol used his ability to levitate to cross the floor and enter the room. He used magic to hold the door open while Fern entered the room. On some lounges they found a bag, and upon inspection, it appeared to be magical. Trolol remembered that he had learnt about bags that could hold far more than appeared possible, and decided this was one of those bags. Fern inspected the next room to find a container that had within it a lotion. When it was applied to the skin, it made the user surge with power and gave them further reserves of strength to tap into.
In the last room, the dining area, they found a small magical die and a canteen(flask) that contained seemingly endless amounts of water. The magical die had some strange powers that activated when it was rolled.
On the other side of the headquarters, Zola, Seven and Oizo explored numerous bookshelves. They decided that it was worth seeing if there were any secret passages, and knocked them over. Upon searching the ruins, they found a small figurine that looked like a mechanical creature. Seven activated it and it grew to full size. The creature stood about three and a half feet off the ground and had four metal legs.
They all regrouped and entered the furthest door along the hallway, to find themselves in a room with spider webs strewn along the floor, a few braziers that lit up the room, the bones of some ancient creature, a small lever and two statues. Entering the room, they activated the lever, which open the doors on the other side of the room. Something stirred, however, and they found themselves facing large spiders. Two of the spiders pulled Zola and Seven into a pit using their webs, but they both escaped and soon the party had destroyed the spiders.
In the next room they found a platform several metres tall suspended on the far corner of the room. Leading to the top, there were stairs, and sitting at a desk on the plateau was a person dressed in purple robes. He greeted them, and summoned a large scaled creature from one of the circles found on the floor. The beast had four heads, and the group recognised it as a Hydra. They were cautious, as cutting off one of its heads caused it to grow two more. The group stopped this a few times by using fire to cauterise the wound before additional heads could grow. The purple-robed cultist was easily taken down, but the hydra continued to rage. At the conclusion of the fight, Oizo hit the creature with a deadly punch that ended its life. Exploring the area further, the group found various strange scrolls and books on the tables, most written about nonsense, like : “Rocks make a fine stew finer.”
The group found a journal written by someone who was a part of the cult, and it read:
“Najala, my master, was once the beautiful queen of the Turathi Empire. She was to be married to her love, Albrecht. He was taken ill and soon passed away, however. In her grief, Najala turned to dark forces to discover that there was a way to bring Albrecht back! She made herself into a lich by pledging herself to evil. It is unknown how, but she gathers power even now to try to bring back her love. She once told me ‘If I have to rip him from the arms of the Raven Queen herself I will.’
I fear for her sanity as she has become completely obsessed with this idea. I fear though, for my own mind as well. Some of the things she has shown me are so disturbing and unsettling that I cannot recount them here. I cannot write much more on this, but I will continue to serve my lady, as it is my duty.
The note was dated to Twentyfifthday, Harvest, 1479, a few weeks ago.
The group searched the cultist in purple robes and found the clawed hand they search for. The Demon King’s Claw was a red claw on the end of a chain that could be worn as a necklace.
The group headed back to Coyote’s Refuge, but as they neared the Dancing Lizard tavern, they heard strange sounds coming from inside. The sounds were like nothing they’d heard before.