Monday, June 24, 2013

Akwamu's way, pt. 2

After the paralysis inflicted by the ghouls wore off, I was able to take stock of our surroundings. The room was dominated by a 30’-tall statue of a vile horned demon in a sitting position, a great brazier held in its lap. The statue’s surface was so polished as to defy my best efforts to climb it, but a rope cast over its out-thrust arm allowed Synast and myself to ascend. Its eyes were great red gems, and Synast quickly set to work prying them out. Meanwhile the others discovered an alcove in which a solitary candle was lit. The candle’s flame was clearly magical; it gave off no warmth, nor could it be extinguished by any means we could discover.
Iconic looting

      We continued to explore the rest of this underground complex with Synast carefully searching for trapped doors, of which we found not a few. One such trap involved blasts of flame; another, spikes on springs. The cultists were clearly determined to prevent anyone from uncovering their diabolical schemes. In one room we found annotated maps showing the locations where they planned to acquire the ingredients needed for the ritual. In another, we found a great book, laid out on an altar surrounded by candles, that outlined the history of the cult and identified someone named Oeridien as its leader.   It revealed that the highest followers of Nerull can turn into an abomination called an animus, a lich-like creature whose mind is linked to Nerull and Oeridien. We are fortunate that Synast can read the Abyssal tongue, which the cultists seem to use for all their communications.
      We also found references to a mysterious name: Tsenix. In one room it was written in blood on a wall, apparently the dying act of a man opening a trapped chest. In another, it appeared on the base of a statue of an undead creature bearing an expression of grief. We will have to find out more about this Tsenix and his or her importance to the vile followers of Nerull.
Priest of Nerull
Credit: YngvarAsplund
      The foul practices of the cultists were much in evidence in a series of chambers designed for torture and confinement. In one we were attacked by a sinister cloud of shadow with glowing red eyes; its very presence seemed to suck the air out of our lungs. Our mundane weapons passed right through it, but magical ones and spells allowed us to destroy it. Other rooms contained sarcophagi, faded tapestries depicting all manner of disturbing magical activities, and a massive painting of a screaming face—apparently another reference to Tsenix. Davos’ ability to detect magic proved most valuable, as he discovered a number of items emitting dweomers of one kind or another.
      Finally we stumbled into a great room from whose centre, a stone throne atop a round dais, a prematurely aged young man in rich attire challenged us. Unsure of his powers, we slammed the door and prepared ourselves for combat. Upon re-entering, we found that he had summoned a great hound from Hell as well as a weapon of Nerull to destroy us. He exerted his evil will against us—each time we made to strike at him, a dark presence in our minds sought to dissuade us. He himself wielded a great spiked chain, whose wicked edges cut me deeply. Gritting my teeth and resisting the effects of his will, I used my sai to disarm him while the others dispatched the hound. With his summoned weapon of Nerull also fading away, the creature saw the tables turning and tried to hide in the midst of a magical obscuring mist, but Bakari, magically enlarged and strengthened, charged into
 the cloud and grappled the evil thing. I do not know if this enemy feels pain, but the embrace of an angry man in dragonscale armour cannot be very gentle. Thus restrained, the foul priest—for such I deem he is—was an easy target for my fists. I did not seek to kill, however, but rather to subdue. Now our prisoner, he shall, we hope, provide more answers to the mysteries of this place and of the cult itself.

magic candle
2 red gems (from demon statue)
2 small pearls
3 smoky gems
3 daggers
Book of Oeridien
wand of cure light wounds (5/50 charges)
divine scroll of ?
wand of (evocation magic)
potion of mage armour
vial of ?