Aku, could you put the ritual requirements in a document above for us to look at if we need to? Ta
Well, I think our revived priest is about to die for his god. Won't he be pleased. Mysty says with a giggle.
Hound will get the ritual area prepped regardless, let the women fuss over poles and frippy, they have a mission to accomplish.
Nahia, finally finished with her studies of the room, takes a deep breath, wipes the sweat from her brow, and responds to her companions.
"Rose, the amulet halves will need to be rejoined to reform the contract. Then you should have some sway over them."
With a flick of her hair, she turns to Hound with a smile and a giggle, and adds "Yes. He should be generously rewarded for being so helpful to us. A celebration will be in order. But we need to make sure we are ready and everything is in place first. Who knows if this ritual will weaken the spiritual barrier in this place and what kinds of thing it could unleash."
"So I rejoin the halves, make a new contract, then break off these peices again?"
Mysty helps with the preparation of the ritual, and writes up a list of requirements for the golem to be acquired in town. When she has time she will obtain them.
I gather you are sacrificing halthus, right? If not, I’ll just swap the name later.
Rose set’s the ‘eyes’ in the statue as mentioned in the ritual preparation and convince Halthus to have the ‘honors’ to begin the ritual.
He finishes the prayer, but his exultation and pride is replaced by sudden confusion as Rose's left arm snakes around his neck. Halthus struggled and kicked out. He was a strong man but the dark knight of Asmodeus was stronger. Rose's voice whispered in his ear as the dagger slid into his back. You failed the Eater of Eyes once Halthus. It was the blood of your brethren that failed him before - it’s only fitting that it’s your blood now that calls him back.
With a might trust, Rose cut open the man’s torax and removes the still beating heart and places it in the first bowl.
As soon as the disease follower dies on the altar and his heart is placed in the first bowl, the Horn begins to burn. An alien voice of pure malice speaks in abyssal: “Kazara Vo” – “I hear.” Like a great unholy beacon, ghostly green flame flares upward into the sky. All the greenery and overgrowth blending the stone spire into the Caer Bryr burns away in a single flash of dire radiance. The Horn is revealed in all its daemonic glory. Abyssal runes carved in the stonework glow furiously. Wraith spawn dance outside the Horn cackling in glee. The earth shakes and tremble.
The dead's man heart, continues beating inside the bowl.
After a while, the pyrotechnics are over. The Horn still smolders with a residual green fire but it is no longer visible from a distance. Not that this matters. Every soul in Farholde saw the eruption. Everyone can point the way to the Horn. And by the morning every tongue wags: “Evil stirs in the Caer Bryr.”
The residual green fire is a natural magic barrier. None can teleport through or send a magical message. Teleportation and summoning works fine within the Horn, you just cannot enter while the ritual is ongoing.
The Eye of Vigilance (the First Eye of Vetra-Kali)
Aura strong divination (evil); CL 15 th
Slot none; Weight –
This jewel at first appears to be nothing more than an exquisite emerald worth at least 20,000 gp. Only if the jewel is steeped in the blood of a sentient creature does it reveal its true nature. The Eye of Vigilance was the magical focus used to create the Horn of Abaddon in the first place and so it is connected to every square inch of the structure. The bearer of this jewel may scry the Horn of Abaddon just as if he possessed a crystal ball. The Eye is also a critical component of the ritual to destroy the Silver Seal and return Vetra-Kali to the prime material plane.
If all three of the Eyes of Vetra-Kali are united in the statue of Vetra-Kali in the Sanctum, then the Eye of Vigilance functions as a crystal ball with true seeing again limited to the confines of the Horn itself.
The Eye of Hatred (the Second Eye of Vetra-Kali)
Aura strong divination (evil); CL 15 th
Slot none; Weight –
This jewel at first appears to be nothing more than an exquisite emerald worth at least 20,000 gp. Only if the jewel is steeped in the blood of a sentient creature does it reveal its true nature. The Eye of Hatred was the magical focus used to dedicate the Horn of Abaddon to the Four Horsemen. It is thus sensitive to any outside interference. The Eye of Hatred pulses whenever any divine magic of Mitran origin is used within the Horn of Abaddon. The Eye is also a critical component of the ritual to destroy the Silver Seal and return Vetra-Kali to the prime material plane.
If all three of the Eyes of Vetra-Kali are united in the statue of Vetra-Kali in the Sanctum, then the Eye of Hatred not only pulses when such magic is used but immediately directs the Eye of Vigilance to show that magic being used.
The Withering Eye (the Third Eye of Vetra-Kali)
Aura strong evocation (evil); CL 15 th
Slot none; Weight –
This jewel at first appears to be nothing more than an exquisite emerald worth at least 20,000 gp. Only if the jewel is steeped in the blood of a sentient creature does it reveal its true nature. The Withering Eye was the magical focus used to first summon Vetra-Kali from the lower planes to the prime material. It is thus attuned to Vetra-Kali and a powerful channel for daemonic energy. The Withering Eye when placed in the statue of Vetra-Kali descrecates (as the spell except it affects both undead and daemons) the entire Horn of Abaddon. The DC to resist negative channeled energy within this area gains a +6 profane bonus. Every undead or daemonic creature gains a +2 profane bonus on all attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws. An undead or daemonic creature created within or summoned into such an area gains +2 hit points per HD.
Furthermore, anyone who casts animate dead within this area may create as many as double the normal amount of undead. The Eye is also a critical component of the ritual to destroy the Silver Seal and return Vetra-Kali to the prime material plane.
If all three of the Eyes of Vetra-Kali are united in the statue of Vetra-Kali in the Sanctum, then the Withering Eye not only desecrates the Horn but also grants all daemons within fast healing 1.
As the green flames burst forth, and the horn shakes, mysty lets out a loud series of giggling laughter. She is literally dancing with delight, as she says Take that Mitra! In the eye! Look at it Rose. Fire in the sky!
As the shaking faded, she recovers her composure.
Well, that was a sign. A sign saying here we are. At last we reveal ourselves to the Mitrans! At last we will have our revenge!
sorry, couldn't resist the star wars paraphrase.
Rose grinned and put her shoulder on her 'little sister's' shoulder. "That's certainly going to get thier attention. I'm going to go through the place and re-check all our defenses. We should expect company."
"What's up with the gems? They're glowing now, and I feel... great."
I knew something like that was going to happen. We just painted a big old target on ourselves.
Mysty's grin seemed to nearly split her face. Well, we give them a warm welcome.
The smile left her face as she started thinking.
Still, some deception is in order. The Mitrans will think, at least at first, that this is a reincarnation of the old daemonic cult. We should encourage this if we can. Let them come in wrong footed.
"Good idea. The trappings of the Sons are already in place. Let's keep them up. No reason to advertise who we really are."
Hound feels the rumbling of the reawakened Horn and the beasts within him answers as a growl erupts from his throat and claws sprout from his hands. He manages to get control of himself after a moment and looks at the awakened altar.
I'll be sure to tell our minions to stay alert and sober, plus I can do patrols around the horn and make sure there are no signs of any meddlers.
well, it will take a few days for trouble to be organized, I think.
Indeed, the group in town should be notified. One of us should regularly use the eyes to scan the place as well.
"Can we carry the scrying eye with us, or does it only work from here?"
Also, where exactly is "here?" The Sanctum? Ezra's church?
The Eye of Vigilance and Hatred can be used removed from the statue but are more powerful when place in a socket
"Lets keep 'em there then. Pyre can stay here and act as our Sentry."
"We need to set up some communication magics to let whoever's here keeping an eye on things alert the rest of us."
Very well. Now we'll concentrate on finishing our defenses and keeping the ritual going.
Hound will busy himself directing the Boggards and guards to their new tasks and watches, keeping keen watch himself. He does oocasionally go hunting outside the horn with some boggards, but never strays very far from the Horn.
Take 10 on the Knowledge (Arcana) check for 21
Nahia can feel the air change around her. There is a sense of... heaviness. Like a thick blanket had been dropped on her. And then there was the rumble as the Horn was made bare. She, like the others, ran to see what had happened, and stared at the gastly green light that filled the sky.
The energy that radiated from the place was intense, and Nahia started to glance around, a bit of sweat starting to form on her brow.
I like being the center of attention... but not like this... This is going to be bad.
And when Mysty speaks of it taking time for the towns to organize, Nahia shakes her head. "The humans might not... But we've already encountered one overly zealous defender. Every being with even a drop of heavenly blood is going to be coming this direction. And I'm sure some will be coming sooner than others. We can't afford to be lazy now."
Without another word she heads back inside and turns her attentions to the eyes and to that odd heaviness in the air. She studies the walls of the horn for a moment before muttering "A ward... To keep outsiders out... and insiders in..." She speaks up before shouting back to the others "This place is fortified against instant travel. No such magics can pass into or out of this place..." She glares for a moment before adding "Magical communication either... It's all been walled off..."
"Well that's good."
"So, do we want to leave the other Knot in town to try to misdirect people, or maybe figure out some non-magic ways they can send us signals when Mitrans show up looking for trouble, or do we want to invite them here for the fun stuff?"
We have an organisation. Let messengers carry messages. And if we need to use magic, we just have to step outside. We should deploy scouts anyway to watch for enemies approach. Someone expendable. Like many in our organisation. she finishes with a giggle.
Nahia continues to look over things given the new state of fresh magic in the horn. But with a frown she does take a moment to respond to Rose. "I'm not sure. On the one hand, if the church is going to move against us, they will start by gathering in the town. And having eyes there will be invaluable for that. But I would not mind at all having extra help for anything more special... like a Jurak the really Elder..."
Four days after the beginning of the ritual, a horsed carrier arrives at the meeting point decided with the Seventh, and after some precarious moments you finally get the note he is carrying:
The note reads as follows:
A group of adventurers is headed your way. Local heroes. Poor equipment. Little experience. Plan to arrive in three days. The dwarf has been to the Horn before and said something about entering the caves. Prepare them a proper welcome, will you?—Z.
Hallack Amon – male human, retired watch sergeant, warrior with military experience, the leader
Sister Marta Dian – female human, priestess of Mitra, successfully destroyed a dozen zombies
Yorgun the Smith – male dwarf blacksmith, experience unknown, big hammer
James O’Toole – male human, large brawler, famed for taking on all comers at local faire
Bianca DeVallya – female half-elven, a local bard and singer, knows a little magic, very fond of Hallack
Hmm.. I say we keep them out of the horn until we get more defenses set up. We can trick them with our undead tree and then pincer them between it. I could ambush with some boggards.
If they have horses, we need to kill those so they can't flee with any speed.
"I agree. Containment is the biggest concern. I'm thinking it might be best to observe on this one. This group seems like the right sorts to test our new defenses on. We can wait somewhere nearby in case things go wrong, and use the Eye of Vigilance to watch the action. Afterwards, we can alter our defenses based on the test. Might lose a few Boggrds, but that's no big deal."
Nahia nods at Rose, adding "Agreed, but we should be at the ready for both surprises, and to stop them before they get too far. Testing our defenses is one thing... but losing some of... them before their time is another."
She looks down for a moment, in thought, and asks "Do you think there is any way yourself and Mysty could get down to the caverns from the first floor entryway? If the rest of us form a party to meet them in the caverns, then the two of you could catch them by surprise from behind, cutting off their escape."
I'll be with the boggards, if we can say panic them by using the boggard croaks and drive them into the pits or mudmen then they will have no where to run. Hmm..If any drop into the waterpits, then have boggards wait underneth to drown them.
"We can do that. We'll go out the first floor entrance and around to the cave when the Eye shows us that they've entered the caverns."
She turned to hound. "That's a good strategy. Using the Boggard cloaks to drive them deeper in is a good idea. How are you going to be with the Boggards if they're going to be underwater though?
Hound shrugs. I'll be with a few that hits them if they follow the boggards or flee from the croaks.
So kinda like one lures them in with harassing with javelins and then Hound comes up with croaking boggards.
Perhaps Pyre can keep watch with the Eye?
Hound does head down and informs all the guards and boggards that there will be intruders in about three days.
No more than one cup of ale during those three days. Get your sleep when you go off shift, I want everyone alert. Boggards! Keep watch on the entrances, we are planning on luring them in and surrounding them.
Nahia shakes her head at Rose. "The eyes can only see into the horn itself. The caverns are beyond it. Still, we have other means of watching, and plenty of minions. Minions who would love the chance to both show themselves the strongest and earn an extra weak of human meat for his fire... But I'm laying claim on the heart of the priestess... And maybe the throat of the bard..."
"Oh well nothing all that important in the caverns anyway." Rose said with a shrug.
I'm ready to repel invaders.
we need a second sacrifice at some point. The priestess would do. Let's take her alive. mysty adds. She twirls a small flame around her hand.
so, as i understand it, we let them enter the xaverns, slowed by trap and toadman, then the party hits them there, with Rose and myself striking from behind? I like it.
INTERLUDE: DRINKING BUDDIES
This is the history of an ogre, left behind with the army of monsters...
While the army prepares and wait for the signal... In a common night...
Before the burnt of Balentyne, before a wicked ritual to bring back an otherworldly abomination...
|NPC - Grumblejack|
|NPC - Grumblejack|
|NPC - Grumblejack|
Grumblejack has the advantage in pure stamina. He’s large and has a sturdier body as opposed to Fire-Axe’s strong but small build. But the Fire-Axe is smarter and more cunning and knows how to pace himself better. So, it’s a close fight.
Not that it matters. By about half way through the contest, both of them are roaring drunk and teaching the other drinking songs in the tongues of giants and goblins.
1d6 ⇒ 1
|NPC - Sakkarot Fire-Axe|
Hours must have passed, casks of empty wines lies around and in the floor, dead sleep, dead drunk is the ogre Grumblejack.
Sakkarot looks at the sleeping ogre and finally says in a slurred voice, “See, I’m not in charge just because I’m handsome...” the bugbear stops and then immediately runs for the outdoors where pukes up his guts. He returns, smelling terrible and still stumbling drunk. Sit down in his chair and order more wine.
INTERLUDE: LOVE BETWEEN MONSTERS
The Fire-Axe’s horde includes a few ogres and one of them is a gigantic bone-through-the-nose almost shockingly ugly female ogre named Karlotta Bonegrinder. It is love at first sight.
Karlotta expresses her interest in Grumblejack by hissing like a cornered tigress and throwing a spear at him. Grumblejack continues the courtship by pulling the spear out of his minor flesh wound, licking the blood off the stone spear-head and breaking it over his knee. They then attack one another, wrestling fiercely until finally Grumblejack (who is fairly beaten up by this point) gets the upper hand and Karlotta flees.
|NPC - Grumblejack|
Hallack Amon was born in Farholde and has dreamed of escaping this backwater since he could stand. He worked for more than a decade as a soldier of the watch tower, rising to the rank of sergeant. Finally he scraped together enough coin to leave this town forever and to at last see the great cities of the south. And then fate intervened. Amon’s father died and Hallack inherited the family debt. Hallack could have simply fled. But Hallack was too honorable. The entirety of his savings paid the debt but only barely.
When the Horn blew, Hallack sat in a local tavern contemplating what to do next. There is a war on and he could certainly reenlist. But that would mean years more of his life gone and who knows if he’ll even survive the war? So far few who have faced the Fire-Axe have lived to tell the tale. From the window he saw the great spire of light and knew almost instinctively that destiny was calling him. He gathered a small group of local heroes and immediately planned a strike on the revealed Horn of Abaddon to find the legendary lost treasure. Surely, this will be a great heroic endeavor.
Elise’s report is deadly accurate. Three days from the notes arrival, in the morning, Hallack’s Crew enters the Maw (C1).