The Silence Of The Gods

Chapter 1-8 On The Shoulders of Giants (Or how our heroes ATTACKED THE DARKNESS)

Setting out from the Titan’s Teeth, after rescuing the unicorn, our heroes march forth towards the final Giant’s ruin that Pagaern had visited. With Tordik leading the way with his cartography skills, the group made good time and arrived in 5 days, 9 days after the first survey party sent ahead of the adventurers by Paolo Omaren. Cresting a hill, they were greeted with the sight of the Giant’s Ruin surrounded by a mile-thick cloud of green mist. Unable to discern what the mist was, they ventured into the mist towards the survey camp. Arriving, they find Urmazingquaaw in combat with 5 zombies, which the heroes quickly dispatch.

Urma informs the heroes of the dire straits that the survey party experienced. Upon arriving at the ruins, the first surveyors disappeared into the ruins for days, then returned as twisted, deformed versions of themselves. Of the original party of 30, only Urma and the survey leader, Horvath, remained. Horvath, being a very capable sorcerer, decided to venture into the ruins alone to try and stem the evil from within. He had not returned. Now resting an hour within the mist, the heroes find that Urma, as well as Tordick now, have contracted some foul illness that leaves them with a racking cough. Seeing no choice, the heroes venture into the ruins.

Entering from the south into a grand columned chamber, the heroes find themselves mere specks amid the giant’s grand ruin. Doors reach a startling 60 ft into the air, and the handles to open the doors seem much higher than any of them could hope to reach. Luckily, some doors contain smaller doors through which the Giant’s elven slaves were able to navigate the building, so they used those. The first room they entered contained cages, long since emptied, and a grand lever sunk into the floor. Arlo (crit perception) discerns that the mechanism, in its open area and obvious position, could not possibly trigger a trap and the chains run due north under the floor. Venturing north, they find themselves in a U-shaped hallway with iron windows and a door looking into the central chamber.

In that chamber, they find the site of what seems to be a ritual chamber. A long room ends at a raised dais, and on the dais is a grandiose, ornate door, slightly ajar. It is flanked on both sides by what is later discerned to be 50-ft iron chimes and, further towards the wall of the room, 2 cages suspended by chains with doors open onto an upper looking gallery. On the dais in front of the door is a long abandoned campsite for one, with a single bedroll and long-dead campfire among the clutter. The door into this chamber is a portcullis made of iron weaving too thin to pass through, and a column collapsed against the door prevents it from sliding upwards. All the heroes besides Arlo load themselves into a cage and, when Arlo pulls the corresponding lever, the heroes descend from the gallery into the chamber. Arlo then expertly slides down the chain into the chamber after them.

Investigating the campsite, they discover that it is the original campsite of Pagaern when he visited the site, but he abandoned it for some reason. Under the pillow, Tordik finds a parchment scrawled with loose, scribbled notes, and one bolded, underlined phrase stands out: “That which gives light, the way, and power, also doth take away”. Red finds another scrawling inside of a forgotten book, which is a poem on the door translated into common. It reads:
The Chimes
One chime and forward marches The Thrall
Two chimes and backwards he shall crawl
Three chimes and the world and it’s sins shall fall.

With nothing left to find in the room, the heroes venture into the door. The mist is thicker here, and Tordick finds himself with an intense, debilitating migraine which impedes his thinking ability. The others are no worse off than before. On the inside of the door, the heroes find themselves in a black, twisting cave with no light. Torches are lit, and the heroes blindly decide to try the left-most passage to explore. The heroes come into a chamber with smooth white quartz obelisks, and a waterfall leading into a pool of brackish, dark green liquid. All in all, there are 5 roughly person-sized obelisks in this room, and the 3 that are in the water glow with with a faint white light. When Urma tries to lift one of the unlit obelisks, he discovers that they are as light as air, easily moved around. Urma then foolishly dips a scaly toe into the pool, and his foot starts to burn with a fury that slowly begins to spread up his leg. Finding nothing else in the room, they venture further into the cavern. The next chamber they discover has another unlit obelisk, and a brackish pool with an odd bowl-like depression in it that refuses to fill with water. When Urma lifts the obelisk into the depression, it sinks in as if magnetized and illuminates. The torch that Urma was carrying instantly extinguishes and it’s light is sucked into the obelisk. Arlo is convinced that the obelisks spell the doom of the party. As the party continues to explore, they pass more lit obelisks and brackish pools, and the other path leads back to the doors. With only one unexplored path remaining, the heroes take it.

This path leads to a massive stone bridge over a great lake of the green liquid. Only the first third of the lake is visible, and it is as if a great black curtain of darkness is hanging on the lake. The mist is dense in this area, and Tordick finds himself now covered head to toe with hives. They see another obelisk on its side with a depression nearby, and Arlo takes this obelisk and tosses it off the edge into the lake, not wanting it activated. Afraid of the great evil in this ruins, the heroes decide that an escape is their only option to survive, and they make haste for the doors out of the caverns. However, the doors are blocked by 4 zombies and Horvath. Horvath stares at the party with deep green, glowing eyes, and he is surrounded as if by a cloud of dark green mist. He says’ “Good, more of you…” before vanishing into blackness and sending the zombies at them.

The heroes begin slaying the zombies blocking their escape and Red, when she turns around, sees that she is nose to nose with Horvath. He grabs her around the throat and he teleports away with her. As they fight, appearing in and around the chambers in the cave, Red notices at one jump that they were on a floating platform over the lake with 4 lit quartz obelisks and an identical obsidian obelisk to the chamber where they rescued the unicorn. This obsidian obelisk, however, was extremely active, with crackling bolts of green lightning firing off, geysers of energy shooting from the top, and motes of green light drifting like fireflies around it. When Red finally manages to knock Horvath off of her, she is in an explored part of the caves, and quickly makes her way back to the adventurers. She tells them of the platform, and tells them that she knows that the only way to get to the platform is to insert the quartz obelisks into their spots. The heroes do so, using an additional obelisk found in the first chamber to replace the one that Arlo threw into the lake, and, completing so, notice that the caves light up brightly. The lake, however, is now a cloud of absolute blackness that no light can penetrate. The voice of Horvath can be heard saying “Now the Thrall can finally be realized!”, and a bridge of light shines from the plaform, over the lake, and through the blackness.

The heroes venture through the blackness across the bridge, and find themselves on the platform. The obsidian obelisk is protected by a grand forcefield, and, when Red jumps at it to insert the Giant’s artifact like the last one, she bounces straight off of the barrier. Remembering the note they found about that which gives light, the way, and power also doth take away, Urma and Arlo begin pulling quartz obelisks out of their holders and tossing them into the lake. They are significantly harder to pull out once inserted, and only once does Arlo manage to pull out an obelisk without the aid of Urma. In the meantime, Red and Tordick keep Horvath at bay with arrows and waraxe swings. Every hit, however, dislodges orbs of blackness from Horvath, which chase the heroes, attempting to lick them to death with black tongues. These orbs of blackness prove to be easy to dispatch, but their numbers build quickly. When there is only 1 quartz obelisk left, Horvath attempts to prevent the heroes from dislodging it by standing on it, but the might of the heroes proves to be too great. Before they can toss it into the water, however, Horvath manages to grab onto it and lifts it, and the sturdy of grip Urma, into the air, trying to shake Urma off of it. The forcefield falls, however, and Red seizes the chance to dive through the battle and stab the obsidian obelisk with the artifact. A blast knocks the heroes back, the obelisk is drained of it’s energy in a violent fury, and Horvath’s eyes fade as he falls from the sky to the ground. Urma tries to breakfall, and (4 rolled) lands hard, suffering a mild concussion.

Horvath awakens, eyes normal and confused, and only a bleary Urma manages to convince Arlo not to toss Horvath into the lake. Horvath, under great stress and interrogation by the party, tells them of how the obsidian obelisks are built on a manifest zone to the plane of Mabar, the realm of eternal night and infinite blackness, where the vilest of demons and the undead hail from. When he tried to end the evil, he was possessed by The Thrall, a malevolent spirit from Mabar that crossed over to raise the world as undead thralls with the choking green mist. Draining the obelisk severed the power and direct connection to Mabar, though this area will always be partially connected and have influence from the blackness. With the bridge dissipated after the obelisks were removed and the platform sinking towards the lake, Horvath uses a sigil on the ground to teleport the group back to the ritual chamber, outside of the caves. Remembering the poem of The Chimes, the heroes strike the chimes twice, and, with an ear-splitting reverberation, the door to the caverns slam shut and are barred. The dais then raises, and they discover a machine resting under the dais, which none of them have ever seen the likes of. They snatch this device and make a hasty exit from the ruins, heading back towards Stormreach at top speeds. With the obelisk deactivated, the mists subside, Urma’s foot heals within 4 hours, and Tordick is back to top health by the time he reaches Stormreach.

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