Tendrils of Darkness

Into the City of the Dead

The party reunites in the town of Queen’s Hilt in the Shadowfell, reprovision themselves, and prepare to talk to the town’s premiere, the mysterious sorcerer Aragrym. The town’s guard captain Ronok told them he would summon them when Aragrym was ready.

In the depths of dark night, while the town guard dealt with the nightly mobs of zombies battering at the city’s walls, Ronok bangs on the door of the heroes and beckons them to Aragrym’s sanctuary. In the darkened tower’s library, stooped over an aged wooden desk, Aragryms’ face is wrapped in shadows under his wide-brimmed hat. He asks the party of their intentions in the Shadowfell, and what their business with Faldred is.

Once he hears of Faldred’s disapperance (along with with his entire tower, taken intact from the Natural World), he tells them of an ancient prophecy, and leads them to his pool of scrying. Opening a vista into the Astral Sea, he points to a dark black spot among the veil of stars.

“This is the sign that a dark time is ahead, and that darkness will soon envelope all worlds.”

He, along with Faldred, were part of an order of mages and warriors that had the specific task of tracking down and keeping safe the five artifacts of Vecna. They knew of the prophecy and knew that if the God of Secrets could rejoin all five pieces together that he could bring his army of the Unead into the Natural World and launch an invasion there.

The stewards of the artifacts in time lost them, either through death, corruption, or theft, and now the remaining ones keep constant watch. Only Faldred knew the fate of all the artifacts, and this is the reason why he was taken into Moil.

Aragrym knew the price of entering into such a task, and he reveals his true visage to the players as a revenant. Formerly an eladrin, his duty forced him to pay the ultimate price, and now he is cursed with undeath. But with his heart and soul intact, he still strives to prevent the undead God from reigning supreme in the cosmos.

Aragrym tells the heroes of the history of Moil. A city steeped in corruption and evil worship, they too late realized the error of their ways and destroyed their temples to the dark Gods, Vecna primary among them. When the Keeper of Secrets turned his one remaining eye back onto Moil, he saw temples erected to Kord, Bahamut, and Pelor instead of his own. Enraged with jealousy and incensed that the people would attempt to rid themselves of his influence, he sent hordes of undead and dark angels down into Moil, slaughtering the civilization there and sending the entire city into the Shadowfell.

Now in ruins, Moil is the City that Waits. It is here that the evil demilich Acererak dwells within his Tomb of Horrors, and unknown throngs of powerful vampire lords, liches, and other undead also make their lairs. It is here where the black sundial directs the party, and Arargrym was able to pinpoint the location directly on a map, and show it to the players. He also scribbles over Skull Mountain, the primary feature and center of the city “Stay Out!”

He tells the party that they might need some help getting into the crypt where Faldred is being kept, and directs them to the ruined tower of Raven’s Watch to talk to Colonel Yveren. “His help comes at a price”.

Aragrym also gave the party a stone rune, and directed them to give it to Faldred when they found him. It is a key to a teleportation circle Aragrym has in his tower, and Faldred has a similar one in his tower as well. Using the rune to activate the teleportation circle will create a permanent portal between the two places, and would allow the party to quickly travel back, should they need to.

As they depart, Aragrym gives Panterra, a fellow eladrin with arcane talent, the powerful Staff of the Silver Star. Possessing the power of the Feywild, it allows the user to emit radiant power as part of their arcane spells.

Leaving in the morning, the heroes come to Raven’s Watch and find the ghostly visage of Colonel Yveren. Speaking through their minds, Colonel Yveren agrees to assist, but he can only leave the tower inside the body of a willing host. The goliath warden Daelarok volunteers his toughness and stamina, and the ghost possesses his body.

Approaching the gates of Moil, the party interrupts a cult of Vecna worshippers sacrificing innocents, the blood soaking the ground around the skull-shaped altar. The party launches into combat, and the followers show themselves to be vampires. The firey braziers on either side of the gates prove to be homes to floating flaming skulls, that launch balls of fire at the heroes. The cultist leader directs their attacks, and as the party engages him in battle, they realize he is more than he at first appeared. Ripping his skin from his flesh, the cultist leader transofms into a horrific visage of a powerful undead creature; Vecna’s Whisper.

The heroes prevail in battle against the undead cult, and sneak through the streets of Moil using their physical skill and mental prowess to avoid the traps and hordes of undead prowling the city. They follow the directions of the sundial, and assisted with the ghost’s instructions, they arrive at a large mausoleum guarded by skeletons, floating discorporated suits of armor, and two zombies engulfed in flames. Flanking in the shadows and drawing their weapons, the heroes prepare to assault the tomb.

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