Far – Rhaan 27th, 998 YK
Friday – September 27th, 998 YK
This dimly lit chamber is carved in a strange semitransparent veined black stone that swirls with an ethereal phosphorescent glow. Feint iridescent orbs slowly bubble from the glowing veins, and slide from the stone like beads of water off a leaf. You watch the orb silently drift through the air providing more dim light throughout and can make out images within, as if it conveys some scene, like a memory viewed through a crystal ball. As the orb touches another part of the chamber, it evaporates into mist and is drawn back into the veins of the dreamlike stone.
A raised dais of glowing blue tiles rests on the far wall and is the only feature of the chamber. Upon the dais is an ornately carved marble sarcophagus covered with strange runes and images of humans and hideous creatures locked in deadly battle.
You each walk into the room, as you each individually approach an orb, you see a memory within, playing out.
Morthos wearily skulks across the room, viewing the various orbs with acuity, he closes with one intersecting his path, an image plays out as he touches it:
Jheamast taking the dragonshard circlet from the center wall niche in Temple of Kha’shazul.
”Interesting,” the Teifling remarks to himself. He nears another and taps it with his finger.
Jheamast near a woman growing sick. She bears the likeness of the statue near the ravine. Her eyes are fiendish.
Kohl reaches out to one of the orbs, his finger reluctantly testing the surface of the orb.
Jheamast’s arrival to a strange beach marked with 3 giant statues of dragon heads.
Caiphys takes a turn grabbing at one before it enters the wall.
Jheamast creating statue, tomb and secret floor underneath the glowing blue dais to hold valuables and mementos.
Caiphys does not relate this to the party, keeping it to himself.
Morthos looks to the others, “Everyone, seek out an orb, they are filled with Jheamast’s memories.”
As one, you each move to view the memories of Jheamast, sharing in your visions.
Jheamast reaching for a brilliant multi-hued metal orb, his illness vanishes.
Scrolls depicting a fiend wearing the amulet, a dragon with the scepter and a cuotl with the crown.
Jheamast is attacked by draconic guardians. He flees without the orb.
Jheamast’s arrival to a giant volcanic crater and a giant ruined tower of iron spires.
Scrolls depict images of fiendish overlords constructing an altar and the three artifacts from Kha’shazul temple.
Jheamast lies to rest, a strange creature is trapped within his mind.
Jheamast and wife traveling at sea.
Upon learning where Jhaemast traveled to seek out the orb, Kohl sends a communication to Sur’kil, via sending stone.
“Where is the island with three massive dragon heads.”
Kohl waits only a few seconds for the response.
“What?” comes the surprised response.
Then, moments later, “Where are you Kohl?”
”Jhaemast’s Tomb.” Kohl answers, putting the used sending stone away.
The memories you witness vary but you are able to put together a rough timeline from the memories you have observed.
As you approach the stairs leading to the dias, you decide it would be beneficial for Miklos to translate the runes on the sarcophagus; he begins to cast the ritual to comprehend the ancient etchings before him. Once completed, Miklos heads up the steps.
”Careful little one. The dias is trapped.” Morthos warns as he studies the dias.
Caiphys wanders over to Morthos, and whispers something in his ear. A smile edges across the infernal’s face. With practiced ease, Morthos manipulates the trap mechanisms, bending the device to his will. Click. Satisfied, he looks to Miklos who is anxiously awaiting news.
“You’re safe to touch the sarcophagus Miklos, begin your work.” Morthos says confidently and then turns his attention to the back of the room per his companion’s whispered suggestion.
Miklos translates the runes; they are old common, the language of Sarlona and speak of a warrior named Jheamast and his war against creatures called Quori. You decide it is safe to open the sarcophagus. Sejik and Kohl both step forward to lend assistance.
Morthos attends to another task working his lock picks with trained precision. Mechanism after mechanism is defeated, besting what he believes to be the some of the finest locks that ancient Sarlona had to offer. A small door opens at the base of dais to reveal sparkling coin and other treasures within; opening his haversack, he begins shoveling the treasure. Moments later, the sound of growling draws his attention. Skarn stares at him angrily.
”Psssst. Shew! Go away dog!” he hisses. Dark shadows form around him and the compartment.
With a roll of her eyes, she calls to her companion. “Ignore Morthos, Skarn. Come!” Skarn faithfully obliges.
Within the sarcophagus lies a desiccated corpse, its funeral wrappings long decayed to dust. On the corpse’s forehead is a circlet of mithral inset with a dragonshard, within the shard is a swirling mist reminiscent of the Mark of Shadow. The dried skin of the corpse’s shoulder shows a faint discoloration, its shape suggesting an aberrant dragonmark.
Sejik reaches into the sarcophagus and takes circlet.
A sudden chill threads the chamber, and with a hideous shriek, a creature born of nightmare manifests in the doorway behind you. It resembles the creatures drawn upon the sarcophagus. Unblinking eyes and stunted limbs cover its chitin-plated torso, and its powerful claws and stinger-tipped tail thrash as it coalesces to life. Ghostly images suddenly begin to circle the room around you. Six humanoid forms begin to take shape. To your horror you realize the creatures are you, though transformed by your worst fears.
“Focus on the Quori!” Caiphys yells to his companions while sending an arcane sphere of magical energy hurtling towards the beast. The impact of the sorcerer’s spell causes the Quori to take a step back, its flesh seriously burned.
Surveying the scene before him, Miklos decides to buy his companions time to prepare for the battle ahead. He summons a large wall of fire. The flames bisect the room cutting off many of the simulacrums and engulfing the creature of nightmares.
No longer having a clean shot on the Quori, Taveah’s keen eye lands on her duplicate. Taveah’s nighmare meets her gaze with a smirk which soon melts away as an arrow strikes her leg. She looses a second arrow striking her target in the shoulder. The creature shrugs off the attack and raises its twisted bow. A fury of psychic energy engulfs Taveah shrouding her in a strange reality altering warp.
The Kael raises his axe over his head, ”Torval, I do battle with your enemies, bless my blade so that I may exact divine retribution down upon them!” The axe glows and Kohl charges.
The paladin picks up speed, midstride he utters a second prayer to Torval. At the prayer’s completion, Kohl blurs as his speed is now divinely enhanced. Using his new momentum, he draws his waraxe back and with a mighty swing. The blade digs deep into the beast’s chest. The nightmarish fiend staggers and vanishes into the flames.
Searching the flames for the Quori, Caiphys begins casting a powerful spell to assault the creature of nightmares. The sorcerer hurls a chromatic orb of energy through the fire, hoping it strikes the Quori. Suddenly you hear several loud pops as air fills the vacuum where Caiphys, Sejik and Cornnath once stood.
You all reel in agony as your mind is once again assaulted by the Quori. Tearing your mind apart, you feel as if a small burrowing animal has begun to tunnel its way through your skull and into the deep recesses of your brain. The attack leaves you stunned, unable to clearly think.
The sorcerer reappears amongst of fire near the Quori, confused and dazed, Caiphys looks around to see Morthos’ nightmare running past. The Quori is a mere arms length away. His robes begin to smoke as Miklos’ arcane wall of fire burns close. Caiphys quickly moves from the fire and gathers his senses.
Sejik and Cornnath appear next to Caiphys’ and Taveah’s nightmares. Caiphys’ nightmare image shifts and changes bearing a resemblance to your former companion Kirin. As the two struggle to get their bearings, Sejik is dominated. He turns to Cornnath, striking him with his staff.
“YOU are failing as a student of the Traveler! YOU SHALL BE PUNISHED!” Sejik’s staff comes down hard on Cornnath. However strong the blow was, it slides off the warriors shoulder armor. Cornnath, seeing the dazed look in the eyes of his Priest, punches him in the face; then grabs the dazed holy-man by the collar and drags him unceremoniously away from Caiphys’ nightmare. It lunges with its blade, and finds purchase. Sejik’s robes stain crimson with his blood.
“Traveler, heal my wounds so that I may better serve your will!” The priest’s hands glow as the bloody wound heals.
Bursting through the flames, the Quori charges Kohl. As it descends upon the paladin, it lashes out with two razor sharp claws. Kohl brings his shield up to deflect the first attack, but finds himself knocked back as the second claw rips through the side of his armor. You hear the sickening sound of bones snapping and flesh rending as the Quori’s claw yields a gory reward from Kohl.
“Jungle rat! You will never be greater than your brother! Your name should be Miklos the Lesser!” Miklos’ nightmare, shifts to resemble Thraxis and fires a searing magical bolt towards Miklos. The wizard deftly side steps the bolt.
“Hahaha! So true, so true! Now if only your aim was better than your taunts. Do not worry though, I got this!” Sejik’s nightmare, a blurry shade with no face, holds out both hands as beams of light fire towards the gnome. Miklos, spinning out of the way like a tavern wench avoiding the unwanted touch from a lustful patron, raises his crossbow and returns fire, the bolt scores a hit on the Sejik’s nightmare. Bubbling acid burns its flesh.
Miklos, sensing the incoming mental assault, enters a battle of wills between himself and his nightmare. The two spend several heartbeats locked in mental combat, but the nightmare is defeated, blood runs from its eyes and nose.
“Call me a jungle rat will you!” Miklos having prevailed, looks over to see the Quori about to land a killing blow on Kohl. The mage calls forth a powerful spectral ram. The ram guided by Miklos’ arcane control smashes into the Quori, launching the nightmare beast across the room, through the fire and knocking it prone in a corner.
Kohl steadies himself, ignoring the pain from his mortal wound. He sets himself to charge across the room towards the Quori, continuing his assault on the creature of nightmares. The paladin’s reels in pain as if liquid iron has been poured into his skull. Dazed and dizzy, Kohl fights to regain his senses. Several humanoid shapes surround him. They are clothed in the vestments of the Traveler, but their faces are blurred and unformed.
One of the nightmares in front of Kohl smiles wickedly, “You had your chance to worship our god. Now it is time to suffer his wrath!” The nightmare strikes Kohl with his staff in the throat, the Kael gasps for air, choking with each attempt.
“Chaos has been under your nose, walking by your side through out your travels!” Another nightmare cackles evilly with a punishing strike across Kohl’s back.
“Submit to the one true god Kohl and we will let you live! Submit to the Traveler’s will! Submit to me!” The nightmare’s staff cracks across the paladin’s knees, knocking him down.
“Hahahahaha! I am a worshipper of Law! Torval smite thy enemies before me!” A sharp pain flares across the back of Kohl’s head. The echoes of Torval’s bells ring faintly ring then fade as consciousness slips from the downed paladin.
“For the love of what ever gods you pray to, focus on the Quori!” Caiphys yells as he unleashes a chaotic orb of prismatic luminescence, it explodes around the nightmarish creature. The sorcerer, not pleased with the results, expertly follows up with another spell; the creature bathed in light, bright as the sun, its skin begins to char. It reels in pain and stumbles.
“That’s what needs to be done!”
“I got this!” Sejik replies off in the distance.
“You will not succeed ranger! We have killed your cousin, you are next!” Morthos’ nightmare sneers, its large claws rip an angry wound across her chest.
Fire erupts where Kohl fell, the nightmares standing around the fallen paladin are consumed, not even ash marks where they once stood.
With the last of the treasure safe in his bag, Morthos surveys the scene before him. He stands and calls upon his infernal powers, allowing them to transform him into a large brutish demon, the same seen when the party fought the undead on the docks of Regalport. Morthos’ demon form steps toward the Quori. Blades lash out, carving deep into the nightmarish creature, with each swipe, a nightmare vanishes.
Caiphys notes what is happening, with every blow the Quori is suffers, a nightmare disappears.
”Quickly, the nightmares fade with each attack on the Quori!”
Kohl opens his eyes. Above him, the Quori attacks Morthos. From the floor, he slashes at the legs of the creature, scoring a bloody wound. The Quori falters in its attack and turns on the prone paladin. Nearby, Caiphys’ nightmare is no more.
Kohl dodges the Quori’s attack and stands to face the beast. His divine powers seal his remaining wounds. With renewed drive, he buries his axe deep into the Quori’s chest. Miklos’ nightmare winks out of existence, just before its hands reach Miklos to throttle the life out of him. Miklos sighs in relief.
“Everyone on the Quori, it dies now!” Caiphys urges the party on, following his call with a sizzling sphere of arcane fire; it strikes the Quori, the monster howling in pain.
Arcane might, arrow, dagger and axe all find their mark, yet the Quori stands defiant, unleashing another brutal assault on Kohl, the Kael bleeding from fresh wounds, offers the Quori little reward from it’s efforts, other than another deep gash from the paladin’s axe. Kohl’s wounds are grave, but Kohl, like the rest of the party, tastes victory in the air and pushes on.
“Traveler! You have healed my allies! You have protected us in our journey as we have traveled in your divine footsteps across the lands of Eberron. I beseech you now to strike down this denizen of nightmares and madness! Destroy it so we may see this journey at an end, so that we may start a new chapter! Cleanse it with your holy fire!” Sejik screams, his outstretched arms pointing towards the Quori.
From the ceiling, fire reigns down as if molten lava was poured from a hole, striking the Quori. Screams of rage and pain echo in the great tomb, but as the fires subside, so to do the screams, the Quori lay dead at Sejik’s feet.
Tired and bleeding, you survey the carnage. The room is silent. You each share a look of disbelief and satisfaction with each other and quietly find a place to rest.