|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
The Ritual of The Blessing of the Ancestors
The ritual itself takes about two hours to prepare—to the outside observer, it looks like little more than a rhythmic droning chant by the
acting Sun Shaman. Those who wish to partake in the blessing seat themselves in a circle around the Sun Shaman and his focus fire
(a small campfire) so that they are each touching another, forming an unbroken ring of flesh and bone. The ritual must begin two hours before sunrise, so that it comes to its conclusion as dawn breaks. The Sun Shaman chooses the upper tier of Bolt Rock to perform the ritual, and unless the PCs request otherwise, the entire Flameford tribe accompanies them to watch, silently and respectfully, as the ritual progresses.
The shaman begins by recounting the legends of the tribe and the heroics and wisdom of the ancestors in a sing-song voice, shifting after 10 minutes into wordless droning and rhythmic chanting. This continues for two hours, after which the Sun Shaman slumps and the spirit to be contacted rises from the smoke of his focus fire to address the participants.
As Zellara rises from the smoke, her form coalesces and she recognizes the PCs with a smile. She greets them each by name, and then says that she has a message for them about their goal. Throwing her head back, she sings:
"Fate of steel—Serithtial
Her cage for years sustained
Four enthralled in lost Scarwall;
Undead to keep her chained.
A spirit first, red war his thirst
Still stands at post of old;
A second foe, infernal soul
Waits high in tower cold.
In kennel’s grime third bides his time
Then vents his killing breath.
And on a stone ’mid ash and bone,
The final dreams of death.
The spirits worn and battletorn
And locked in their damnation,
The chained one’s hold at last grows old
And ushers in salvation.
Yet hope remains amid the chains
When blade’s stone cage has crumbled,
Friends to dread and the death of the dead,
Keys to Kazavon humbled."
As she finishes her song, Zellara smiles again, although this time her smile seems somewhat sad or bittersweet. Each PC feels a sudden upsurge in their souls as the spirits of the dead infuse them with energy to aid them—even hundreds of miles away, the cruelty and evil of the undead within Scarwall are a blot in the spirit world, and the spirits seek victory as much as the PCs. The Shoanti stand amazed as the ritual ends and Zellara fades into darkness. Finally Chief Ready Klar breaks the awestruck silence. “Truly these Friends of the Sun are blessed by the ancestors. They walk with the spirits and bear their mark. They honor us with their presence and friendship. As they go forth to battle the evil that has plagued these lands of ash for many-score generations, they go with the power of the Sklar-Quah. They shall go forth with the power of Father Sun in their hands.”
The sudden influx of spiritual energy gives each PC two additional benefits to aid them in their trials within Scarwall, as detailed below.
Infused Weapon and Armor: The spirit world infuses one weapon, suit of armor, or shield owned by each of the PCs (even if the item in question is not present at the blessing). If the PC chooses a weapon, it gains the undead bane weapon quality. If the PC chooses armor or shield, the chosen protection gains the ghost touch armor quality.
Infused Soul: The next time the PC fails a saving throw against a death effect, that effect is negated but the PC is stunned for one round as the spiritual energies in his soul are burnt away. This protection can save each PC only once from a death effect.