Aeon Zen

The Cult of Orcus

After saving Gregor Dolat’s werewolf affliction, the party takes some time off to address personal issues.

Clairvoyance

Clairvoyance

Aishe Malinova uses a ritual to track the Romaine clan traveling east towards The Sharid, but stopping by the Riha clan outside Basilisk Mouth on the way there, and this is where Aishe meets them. There is much rejoice when Aishe follow your vision and finally arrives. The clan mothers, Thelesa Romaine and Madeleine Riha are in deep conversation when they see Aishe arrive. They talk about the werewolf and the unusual collaboration between gyspies and priests, but warn how their Shadowfell kin should be able to do the same with priests of the dark gods.

Aishe requests to track the necromantic meteorite, but the mothers warn that she needs an anchor to keep her in the present, something that is personal, non-changing and non-moving. Thelesa Romaine speaks about her anchor:

Long ago, a gentleman by the name Amadeus captivated my traveling heart, enough to make me want to stay put atop his cliffside hut overlooking the valley. Seasons passed and seasons went, but Amadeus was always there, playing his flute in a melody so peaceful that it rivaled eternity. But my heart had another lover, and to the road I gave my life once again, not without shedding enough tears to drown my sorrow.

Madeleina Riha also comments how the grave of her father Antoine provided an anchor for her. His influence affected her past, present and future. His tombstone marked a common point for her memories, unmoving and immune to the passing of time.

Aishe decides that maybe the rituals are too dangerous for her since she is very detached and free-spirited.

Mask of Death

That night, though, she gets a vision, from her goddess The Raven Queen. She sees a city at night, and a homeless person begging for coppers in a filthy street. A man, wearing a skull mask, stops to watch the beggar. He raises his hand and without even touching, the beggar starts to suffocate. He said to the dying man:

This is not only to prevent your worthless souls from staining my vision. It is also a shortcut to your inevitable death

And with that, the man in Aishe’s vision collapses. The vision blurs as she hears the raven queen’s warning: " Deathmask has fallen from my graces."

Mazith’s bridge

Mazith bridge

In the mean time, Mazith convinces Rad Longhammer to help him rebuild the bridge in Cloverfield. The villagers are glad to see Mazith back, and the old village patriarch helps organize them to rebuild the bridge. Labor is volunteered for free, but the materials and experts come at a price out of Mazith’s pockets. However, he plans on making a bridge like has never been seen before, wide and sturdy to support heavy trade with Timbermoor, and an elegant design to inspire people to move to Cloverfield. He sends Dorito to contract a master metalsmith from Timbermoor, and recruited Ravenstone the goliath to help with construction. Mazith’s knowledge of locks and mechanisms helped expedite the construction, and within two weeks the bridge was ready, and the villagers go to Timbermoor to invite tourists and recruit the carnival.

The Hit Squad reunites

Hit squad

Tobin goes to Timbermoor to meet Lady Oscar. She finds the rendezvous location, a nondescript door in a dark alley, but it is heaviliy guarded. While nosing around she gets discovered, and a former comrade recognizes her, but does not grant her permission to enter. She waits for two days nearby until Lady Oscar shows up. They go inside the building, where about a dozen people reside. Lady Oscar calms Tobin’s concerns about the hit squad, telling her that she had never received orders to outright kill good people. Tobin mentions that maybe she wants to be part of this family again, but Lady Oscar answers that she needs to regain trust. She mentions an Orcus temple beneath in the sewers of Timbermoor has been acting suspisciously by bringing elf prisoners in but never letting them out. However, the authorities and powers that be have not acted on this information. Bureaucracy, religion and politics are cited as excuses for the delay. After some scouting of their own, she recommends that the Freak Squad check it out, since she has not been given the order and will not get paid.

Cult of Orcus

Tobin convinces the group to check out this temple of Orcus. Upon arrival, the freak squad uses stealth to creep in, but after failed attempts Rad Longhammer decides to just knock on the door, given the possibility that there is no evil doing going on. The temple priests reject them entrance and eventually the group decides to infiltrate by climbing along the stone walls in the gate entrance of the temple. The intrusion escalates into combat and all priests are defeated, but not before alerting Nihilia, one of the high priestess of Orcus, beyond the courtyard area.

Nihilia is ready for the party’s arrival and summons several ghosts that force the group members to move around involuntarily. This results in a hidden trap being activated, a platform that shifts angle upon a center pivot according to weight distribution. Mazith uses this angle as a ramp to jump into one of the inner gate towers, while Aishe tries to balance out the weight in the platform. Rad Longhammer is possessed by ghosts to interfere with Aishe’s efforts, making the platform more tilted, and Tobin gets thrown underneath the platform into the spike traps below. After regrouping, Tobin locks the pit door and attacks from within, Rad follows Tobin’s example, Aishe propels herself to the towers to join Mazith, and eventually Nihilia is defeated. Upon interrogation, a surviving priest confesses that Nihilia was the one to summon the necromantic meteor, a feat that sapped her powers, and was using elven sacrifices to recover her strength. With the party gathered around her body, Nihilia opens her eyes and starts growing boils all over herself, her body subsequently erupting in a massive explosion that destroys part of the temple.

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