Campaign of the Month: August 2018

The Praise of Old Men

Chapter Four: Demons Of The Burning Night: Part Five

Unknown

Tarek Nev – The Palace Of V'rama Vair (II)

Exploring the rest of the circular upper floor reveals little of interest at first. Those oddly boarded up sections that the party hide surprisingly mundane chambers and items. Drawn inexorably to the central circular chamber the party find an outer waiting room, complete with war trophies, that leads into the heart of the tower. They also, after a little perseverance, uncover a hidden door on the other side of the middle chamber. This door has no obvious opening mechanism but by trial and error, they manage to open the way.

The central room is dominated by a large four poster bed, V'rama's perhaps? There are also three odd pillars topped with glowing gem stones, these begin to gently pulse as light from Ugnan's lantern falls into the dark windowless chamber. Sylke steps into the room and promptly vanishes. Unbeknown to her companions, the inquisitive mage has been teleported to the floor below and she finds herself in the eerie temple to the terrifyingly brutish god bearing the sickle. Drawn again to the Stone of Fiala, Sylke attempts to attune to the artifact but fails. While V'rama lives, she learns, no-one can take control of the powerful item. By the time she rushes up stairs however, others have leapt into the room after her. One-by-one Ugnan, Cran, Cherry, Numal and Victor are drawn below and forced to make their way back up stairs.

Aware of the "annoying" trap, the companions step over the section of floor that is acting as a portal and soon gather again in the bedchamber. Sylke tells the party that because she attempted to gain control of the Stone, she knows that somehow V'rama is alive. She obviously escaped the city's destruction and possibly using the Portal Rods, has fled and become trapped in time. 

The three gem stones, it turns out, hold the corporeal remains of three of V'rama's lovers: General Mortilas, Embrosar and Prince Jeremas. The General, when summoned, is a tragic figure who can remember little about his "death". However, cursed (it seems) to live and die in an endless series of wars and battles, he merely seeks a final release. Now that his soul is sundered from his corporeal form, the party could end the aeons he has suffered. He tells Cran that he "knows" his body prowls an underground battle arena somewhere in the city. Defeat him (and none ever have) and crush the gem.

Embrosar is a towering, arrogant man who merely wishes to take his revenge on V'rama who, like Mortilas, tired of him and killed him with her sorcery. Howwever, though he pledges his aid, he does not know where his mortal remains are and is shocked to learn that he is dead. Shaken by Ugnan's revelation he promises to aid the party but requires proof that V'rama is alive; find her war helmet, the Helm of Kadaena.

The last shade summoned belongs to that of Prince Jeremas, cruel and demanding, he too wishes to destroy V'rama but is provoked by the party and uses his sorcery to take control of Cran's mind, forcing the warrior to turn on the party. Ugnan quickly calms the angry spirit but Cran, unnerved and shaken by the attack, instantly swings Shieldbreaker at the spirit in a mighty cleaving stroke. Jeremas' "essence" is destroyed in a fearsome strike and begins to pour back into the gemstone.

Searching the chamber again, the party discover a trapdoor in the ceiling which leads to an upper "summoning chamber" of some form.

Blue metal runes have somehow been crafted such that they hover a few inches above the floor, forming a protective circle. In the centre, a book written in Black Nureti details a complicated ritual, "Destiny's Denial". All Sylke can discover is that this complex and densely written esoteric tome is a treatise on immortality. A locked copper colored cupboard contains a wealth of valuable herbs that Ugnan, after Cran's perusal (for Rewk), begins to carefully stow in his pack. Atop an amber cube is a half-filled flask of sweet-smelling green fluid (slightly oily in appearance) … 

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Ancellus Ancellus

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