Waves crashed against the hull of Phoenix, the taste of salt heavy on the air. The sound of the sea was broken only by the occasional murmur of the crew’s voices – the fell task they were about weighed heavy on their actions.
Ford directed the nervous crew on loading barrels of the acquired alchemical fire on the shipboard catapults, ready to bombard the tower at their destination. Morwen, Verity, and Aran questioned the prisoner in the ship’s brig, a worn and defeated Hoskin, the traitorous halfling. He seemed overconfident in his abilities, and at the same time that the end of the world was at hand.
The landfall of their destination was spotted at last on the edge of the horizon. Our intrepid heroes weighed anchor and bedded down for the night. They rose early in the morning and broke bread together one final time in a curious silence; all that needed to had been said already.
Amalia shrouded Phoenix in the obscurity of a morning fog, shielding the ship’s arrival from the watchful eyes of the looming tower. The party disembarked with Hoskin in tow, leaving strict instructions with the crew to bombard the tower at a specified time. The walked towards the tower in silence, the difficulty of the task weighing on their minds. At last they crested a hill and a fortified tower came in to view. His robes flapping gently in the breeze, Ulrich’s solitary figure stood watch. Then the rain of fire came, alchemical fire set the tower ablaze, burning it to nearly the foundation – the untouched foundation.
Hoskin’s insight that the tower served as a conduit to another plane seemed confirmed. They explored the freshly ruined keep, and found a cave system leading an untold distance into the ground, and to another plane. Using their wits and their training, they found their way to a strange underground fortress Hoskin called the ‘Ninth Seal.’ Aran scouted ahead and saw three cultists consulting with a communication orb, and witnessed Ulrich burning the three to ash, then raising the ash as shadows to fight for him again.
The heroes surged forward into the fortifications, taking on the shadows, shambling dead and some archers scattered about the fortress. They gained the battlements, they stench of brimstone stronger at the height, but the stench didn’t compare to the horror of the vista laid out before them. Countless undead shambled about, most between two rivers of lava. Some fired arrows at the ramparts, but our heroes were unphased by the simple ranged assault.
They saw pillars created from the parts of dead humanoids, ominous, runed towers, and a raised dais. The elevated place saw Ulrich standing upon an alter, but their attention was drawn to an ominous, writhing portal. At times, the portal seemed to shudder from within, as if something was attempting to batter its way out of the magically sealed barrier.
Determined not to let the Ninth Seal be damaged in anyway, the heroes took a wind walk to end up just on the other side of the drawbridge, ready to engage in a fight. And fight they did: almost immediately Amalia and Ulrich started trading raging bolts of energy, the air sharp with a slight tinge of chlorine. Aran and Verity began bashing their way through the sea of the dead, arrows raining from all about. Morwen and Ford had less success putting the undead down, but the fight was too desperate to notice at first.
A loud thundercrack, and Ulrich’s burst of lightning branched out striking several of the heroes, burning grevious wounds through their clothes. Hoskin clutched his stomach, roared Ulrich’s name in anger, then futilely charged into the sea of undead.
In the gloom, a new but familiar figure strode purposefully into the battle. The mighty half-breed, Komek moved confidently about the field, getting ever-closer to the Scion, Verity. She sidestepped the mighty orc’s powerful swing and dashed forward, intent on the evil sorcerer.
Thanks ? for the write up!