Curse of the Deathless

Deathless #9 (Part 1)

The six Deathless were silent for a short time, the enormity of the task ahead of them beginning to gnaw at their collective consciousness.

At first it appeared that Rosalee might speak, but as she took a step forward and opened her frost-white lips to speak she was overshadowed by the Vampire, Vlad. Normally calm and calculated, Vlad seemed agitated by Aroden’s speech, and not entirely convinced:

“How do we know you are who you say you are?” Vlad began in a clearly venomous tone, barely bothering to conceal his distaste.
“You claim yourself a God, but what proof do you give us? Magical tricks? A Wizard or Sorcerer could show us such things, illusions of far off places does not make you a God Aroden….or whoever you are. If you are a God, prove it!”

Victor flung Vlad an angry glare then, his knuckles whitening as his left hand clenched into a fist and his right moved toward the stock of Graveheart. Vlad was oblivious to this however, his blood red eyes fixated on the man they had just rescued.

“A God does not need to prove their existence,” Aroden replied. “A God exists on Faith, not proof.”
Growing increasingly annoyed, Vlad spat disrespectfully upon the floor.
“You have to prove yourself to ME if you expect me to become involved in this…..quest of yours…”

To this, The Last Azlanti sighed.

“Very well,” Aroden replied, half-saddened and half annoyed. “What would it take for you to believe, I wonder? A show of power perhaps?”

Aroden raised his right hand then, and clicked his fingers together. Instantly Vlad exploded into a shower of crimson gore, as his organs and bones propelled in all directions. Outstretching his palm, Aroden stopped the parts of what were once Vlad hanging suspended in mid-air, droplets of blood and flesh floating timelessly mere feat from the other Deathless.

“Or would you prefer the actions of a vengeful God?” Aroden said, his eyes narrowing in a show of anger. Suspended at the very point of his destruction Vlad was unable to begin his Deathless cycle of rebirth, forever stuck at the agonising moment of his demise.

“No,” Aroden concluded as he brought his other palm in-line with his first and moved them gently about as if conducting an unseen orchestra. “What you need is a forgiving God, a compassionate God, one who asks for your help as much as he expects the same respect shown to him as he does unto others.”

Rapidly the suspended parts of Vlad flew back together, knitting bones and sinew as the blood rushed back under the skin and the organs found their rightful place. Almost instantaneously he was whole again and dropped to the ground from a suspended position a couple of feet of the ground, landing with the usual grace and perfect balance he was known for. The Vampiric Deathless was returned to his exact state before Aroden had acted.

“There is your proof, Vlad. No mortal spell-slinger could accomplish such feats to one such as powerful as you. Know that I do not wish to do that again, and took no pleasure in it.”

Vlad winced at the pain but maintained a steady, embittered stare in the Gods direction.
“Now,” Aroden continued. “Are there more questions?”

The Deathless looked at one another, hesitant to anger the God but also much in need of information. Of them, it was the towering barbarian Ursk who stepped forward:

“The Elf – Celetaellyn – how did he manage to stop the Eternecrüx on Castrovel?” The Graveknight Deathless enquired. “If what you tell us was true, he was a mortal when he somehow managed to stop it. We would need to know as well.”

To this, Aroden nodded.
“A fair question, and one I wish I had solid information on. At the time of Earthfall I was mortal, as Celetaellyn was and yet I was able to raise the Starstone. These things can be done, the task lies in finding out how. By the time I encountered Celetaellyn he was already fully the NightWalker, but in his captivity of me he would speak with me and try and glean information from me. In this manner I too was able to listen and observe him, and what tiny spark of his Elven nature still remained seemed obsessed with his family, his bloodline…..or more specifically his blood. I heard him talk with the Vampire Tiriac on several occasions about the preserving of blood samples for ritualistic purposes. I cannot guarantee this is involved in how he stopped the Castrovellian Eternecrüx, but it would be an avenue of investigation I would recommend you look into.”

The God paused then briefly, looking in Gregor’s direction.

“I would still suggest your best move at this juncture would be to visit the Romavitch ascestral home; Tiriac is bound to still be there and he may have answers you seek. Tiriac is your best chance at locating The Nightwalker. For my part I will use my resources within Axis to locate the Golarion Eternecrüx.”

When it became obvious that the six were either unwilling or lacking any further questions, Aroden bowed to them as he prepared to leave.

“Again let me express my thanks at the release from my bondage. I wish the destiny set before you was a more pleasant one, but I shall aid you in any way that I can. Question Tiriac, find The Nightwalker. I shall locate the source of the signal and contact you as soon as I do so. Remember that you will need all nine Deathless to thwart the Eternecrüx; finding the remaining three Deathless should be your next priority. Farewell.”

With that, Aroden was encircled in a column of golden light which bored into the ceiling of the cave and retreated through the ceiling, taking the God with it.

The group found their exit from the cave no longer barred as they traversed the tunnel in silence until they eventually arrived back out in the cavern underneath the Tree of Sorrow.
Patiently awaiting their return Zakalov, Alexandria, Faeona, Herod, and Stoalis turned in their direction as they passed the invisible barrier. The others were helping Stoalis back to his feet as it appeared he had suffered some sort of collapse.

“I-its t-true, isn’t it?” the man stammered as he straightened up with Faeona’s help. “He’s back, isn’t he? Aroden’s back.”


“There was nothing in that cave, you craven fool,” Rastomir scoffed with a mix of amusement and spite. “Your ‘God’ is dead, so you may as well just accept your entire life has been a lie and put an end to it now so that we don’t have to listen to your incessant prattle a moment longer.”

The look on Stoalis’ face as the blood drained from it was all the response the Warpriest needed, turning away from the man and laughing as he did so.

Victor stepped up and placed a calming hand upon the man’s shoulder.

“Don’t listen to Rastomir, he is merely…unhappy about the situation we find ourselves in. The Lord of the First Vault is indeed alive and well, as I am sure you can even now feel his light upon you. He gave us advice, put us upon the path. You must return to Absalom. Tell the others, spread the word. Abodar has reclaimed his throne in Axis and balance is restored.”

To this, Stoalis nodded and held back some tears of joy.

“Y-yes, of course. You are right. Thank-you Victor. Thank-you all. I shall return to the Order and update them.”

“I will accompany you,” Rosalee suddenly piped up.

The rest of the group looked at her then, and shared a glance among themselves.
It was Gregor who spoke first, stepping forward and taking Rosalee’s hand in his own.

“Are you sure?” he began, speaking softly and keeping her eyes upon him. After being separated by the veil of death and assuming he would never have seen his wife again, Gregor found the thought of her leaving hard to accept. “You know where we must go, WHO we might run into..”

Rosalee nodded gently and un-cupped her hand from his, instead raising it to his face and trailing her slender fingers down his cheek.

“I am quite sure, Husband. Your colleagues are more than capable of assisting you in questioning Tiriac and while the idea of running into your father again brings a chill to my already frozen heart, that alone would not stop me from accompanying you.”
A reassuring smile from her then.

“Though we need to speak with the Vampire, we also need to find the three remaining Deathless. With time being a factor I recommend we split up. The city of Absalom is as good a place as any to start, somebody there may have heard something.”

With the slightest sigh, Gregor nodded in acceptance and stepped back from her, granting her leave to go.
Silent up until this point, Ursk rubbed his chin in thought then spoke in his usual deep baritone:

“Take Faeona with you as well.” The half-elf maiden looked initially shocked by the suggestion, but then nodded to the Graveknight Deathless and went to stand next to Rosalee.
“She is a smart woman, and two minds work quicker than one.”

“Then it is decided,” Victor continued. “Rosalee and Faeona will accompany Stoalis to Absalom, the rest of us will travel to Varno to speak with this Tiriac.”

“You do realise how far that is I take it?” Gregor said as Rosalee began to collect her belongings ready for the journey. “Varno is hundreds of miles to the east. It took us a considerable time to escape from that place years ago, I cannot imagine the roads will be any safer or easier to traverse now.”

“I can get us there, though I am not sure how much strength I will have left when we arrive,” said Zakalov who had been quietly sitting with his daughter as the Deathless discussed their options.
“I could create a portal for us all.”

Alexandria patted her fathers hand gently.

“No father, you are exhausted. Such magics could be dangerous in your state.”

“By horseback we would be looking at a fair journey, I should warn you.” Gregor continued. “It took Rosalee and I a week and a half to make the trip from Redleaf to Dharnic, and considering how far north we are, you should look to round that up to a fortnight. We could potentially save time travelling by boat.. we could take the river Vistear as far as where it branches off into the Senir, travel along the southern border of Ardeal and follow it up the Kingfisher river; disembark at Carrion Hill. We’d only have to cover fifty or so miles across land that way. With good fortune and a capable captain we could reach our destination within a week.”

As she picked up the last of her belongings and was flanked on either side by Faeona and Stoalis, Rosalee nodded to the group and wished them well.

“We shall leave you to decide how best to proceed,” She continued. “I will contact Gregor within two nights to update on our progress. Gods-speed Gentleman!”

With that the three walked off into the Maidensnarl Wood, leaving Gregor, Vlad, Rastomir, Victor, Herod, Alexandria and Zakalov to decide how best to get to Varno…


“We need to hurry,” Victor said first, taking the initiative as the others left for Maidensnarl.
“I understand that some of you don’t trust Aroden, and I shall not argue that point but if what he says is true we need to get moving as soon as possible.”

“We can’t afford for this to be a bluff,” he continued, seeming agitated. “If we don’t believe Aroden and don’t follow this path then if we are wrong, its the end of Golarion. End of us. I suggest we take Zakalov up on his offer and teleport to Varno immediately.”

Vlad shook his head in disagreement. His face still obscured by the mask he wore, but his intent could be clearly heard in his voice.

“I disagree. For one, we don’t know if this ‘Aroden’ is telling the truth. For another, we don’t even know if this cr….” he looked at Zakalov and Alexandria, the latter of which through him a distasteful glance. “…If this man even has the strength to teleport us. We know for a fact he has not been of right mind for some time, he could teleport us anywhere! No, I suggest we follow Gregor’s suggestion and travel by river.”

To this, Rastomir merely nodded, remaining silent.

“I have a magical device that can store people inside of it, we could use that and Zakalov could therefore transport less of us?” Ursk said, breaking the silence.

“That wouldn’t work,” Victor replied. “You would be creating an extra-dimensional space within another extra-dimensional space. The resulting magical reaction could be….”

“….catastrophic.” Gregor finished for him. “Victor is correct, though it was a good idea, Ursk.”

The large Graveknight Deathless shrugged off the response in his usual carefree manner as the group decided how to proceed.

“I would ask,” Alexandria piped up when an appropriate moment presented itself “..that my father not use his magic if at all possible. I do worry for his health, but Vlad also makes a valid point. He is still recovering from whatever hold The Nightwalker had over him, and I would feel happier if he did not exert himself too much.”

After a stroke of his chin, Gregor nodded decisively, taking control of the situation.

“Then its decided: we get ourselves a boat and travel east along Vistear River, head southwest along the Senir River and finally follow the Kingfisher River east until we reach Carrion Hill.”

Pulling out a scroll case and unfurling a map of Ustalav that Rosalee and he had used on their journey away from Varno years ago, he couldn’t stop himself from letting out an audible sigh. Gregor had made a new life away from that place, away from his family… now fate had conspired to return him to his ancestral home.

Getting the others to gather around the map, he pointed to a location.

“This is Clover’s Crossing”, he said, pointing to an area to their east. “At one point it would have been our best bet to find a ship to sail along Vistear. Sadly now it is little more than a ghost town since it was over-run by Ghouls years ago. Our best chance lies here,” The Lich Deathless said as he trailed his finger southwest of their position, past Lake Lias.

“This is the community of Ravengro . We should travel to that town and look for transport there. It is not a large place, but chances are someone there makes their living off the river and might be able to assist us…” Nodding toward the Antipladin Herod as he did so, he concluded: “It may be the last sensible place to gather supplies for our mortal friends as well.”

Alexandria helped her father to his feet as the group readied their weapons. Out of all of the Deathless only Victor seemed hesitant to head to Varna by boat, be he also understood the importance of remaining together as a group, especially with the Nightwalker out there somewhere, waiting.

As they collected their belongings, a strange eerie diffusion of light seemed to shift around them, almost like the heat haze rising off a cobbled road in the hot midday sun. Yet it was not hot there in Ustalav on the edge of Maidensnarl Wood, nor was it bright. The ground beneath their feet seemed to shrink away from them as the grass upon which they stood wilted and died, leaving a dark circle almost like a burn mark surrounding them. Emanating outward random plants died in a zig-zag pattern for about ten feet, creating veins of blackened dead plants in their wake. The air had a strange sulfurous smell to it which caused the mortals among them to cough momentarily.

“What was that?” The Vampire Vlad inquired as he looked at the area around them.
“I’m not…sure,” Gregor replied as he reached down and plucked a piece of grass which disintegrated like ancient paper at his touch. “Something magical.”

“I know what is is,” This time it was Zakalov speaking, stronger now and with more confidence than he had moments earlier.

“It is a reality ripple.” The Wizard said with clarity.

“A…what?” Victor replied, looking noticeably concerned.

“A reality ripple,” Zakalov repeated. “It is the Prime Material Plane reacting to utterly alien forces within itself. Namely you.”

The old man cleared his throat, removing the last of the sulfurous taste from his lungs.

“Remember, you may look and sound like your living selves but you are not. You are alien entities who wear their minds, emotions and memories. Gregor, Rastomir, Victor, Vlad, Ursk. All those people are dead. You are their….dopplegangers if you will. You are not meant to exist in this reality and now our reality is pushing back against your presence. It will grow more severe and with greater regularity the stronger the signal becomes….the nearer the Starkiller Beast approaches.”

“Fantastic,” Ursk scoffed. “As if we didn’t have enough problems now even reality itself is giving us hassle!” The Graveknight Deathless laughed it off, but the thoughtful looks upon the faces of his companions almost gave him pause as they collected their belongings and headed southwest toward Ravengro…


The journey to Ravengro was a hurried but uneventful one, and despite the groups usually dangerous surroundings the most interesting thing to happen was than the heavens opened to wash the group with a constant, cold rain that hampered the three mortals among them but did little to slow the Deathless.

Making their way around the Lake Lias, the eight travellers entered the town from the north, across a sturdy stone bridge that spanned Ravengro Creek; a small and gentle-flowing river that ran through the centre of the small town of just over three hundred citizens. It was early evening by the time of their arrival, but the dark overcast Ustalavian skies made all but the brightest sunlight seem like inky midnight at the best of times.

Unremarkable in most ways and starkly drab in others, the township had four large buildings of note among its otherwise nondescript two and single-storey structures: In the centre of the town stood the town hall, neutral in appearance but nevertheless noticeable due to its three-storey height. The western side of the town housed both a fairly large and impressive Pharasman Temple as well as The Eigenhaus, an inviting tavern which bathed a lot of the town square in golden light from inside opened windows, through which wafted the smell of fresh meats and the combination of singing and laughter escaped into the night air.

By contrast, outside of the town on its southern side, nestled upon a hill like the carcass of some looming monster stood the burnt out remains of Harrowstone prison, destroyed and never rebuilt since a prisoner uprising in 4594 AR. The still-flowing rain added to the town’s overall drab nature with only The Eigenhaus seeming even remotely appealing.

“I shall order Herod, father and myself some food from the Tavern,” Alexandria said as they moved across the bridge and into the small town. People turned in their direction and whispered among themselves as they passed, unsure what to make of the new strangers in their town. Even though no longer in their Deathless forms, Gregor, Rastomir, Victor, Vlad and Ursk still gave off an unnerving presence that saw domesticated dogs walk gingerly away from them and cats fur stick up on end as they walked past.

As Alexandria and Zakalov broke off toward The Eigenhaus, Vlad looked around at the surroundings they found themselves in.

“I’m sure I can….persuade someone to take us up river,” he began and although his expression was obscured by his mask, his companions knew the Vampire Deathless well enough to know that he meant to mind-control someone in the town to do their bidding. “Assuming nobody has any qualms with that?”

The other Deathless remained quiet, either having no concerns with Vlad making a random citizen his unwitting slave or being too caught up in their own thoughts to respond. It was only Victor, who even attempted to persuade the Vampire otherwise.

“Would it make any difference if we said we had a problem with you doing so?” The Shadow Deathless said, almost rhetorically.

“Not really, no.” Was Vlad’s matter-of-fact response before he did a semi-theatrical bow and then retreated into the shadows, leaving Gregor, Rastomir, Victor and Ursk standing in the main square.

“I suspect it will take Alexandria a few moments to gather some provisions, and Vlad perhaps a few moments longer to get a …. volunteer,” Gregor eventually said to break the so-often uncomfortable silence between them.

“I am going to take this opportunity to prepare some spells; I assume that we may have need of them once we arrive in Varno. I shall meet you back here within the hour.”
With that Gregor nodded to Rastomir, Victor, Ursk and Herod then made his way down one of the side alley-ways to find a secluded place to concentrate.

The three Deathless remained in the town square before deciding how to spend their preparation time.

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Deathless#8.5
(Aroden's Release Speech)

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With the last of the Demodand defeated, the six gathered undead watched as the slightest fractures appeared across the luminous green crystal that hung suspended at the end of the cavernous chamber, deep beneath the Tree of Sorrow.

Fractures quickly spread along the crystalline surface becoming cracks and then without further warning, the megalith shattered into thousands of tiny fragments releasing an explosion of light that caused the onlookers to briefly avert their eyes. With the light came a sonic boom, an invisible wave of force that spread from horizon to horizon almost instantly.

Refocusing their vision as the light faded, the undead saw the form of a human man suspended where once the crystal had been, now shattered upon the floor like so many emerald tears. For the briefest of moments the human man hung there motionless before gently drifting to the ground with unearthly grace and turning to face them as he did so.

Dressed in a green and gold robe, elegant and regal; this human had fine almost hawk-like features, dark hair and eyes that radiated within them awe-inspiring and terrible power. Hung at his hip was a golden sword, impossibly perfect in its design, and before he even moved his lips to speak the identity of the man was known to all. Unmistakable and true:

The Last of the First Humans. The Last Azlanti. The Living God, Aroden.

Missing since 4606 AR, presumed dead when his followers no longer heard his word or felt his presence, the Lost God of Humanity addressed the Deathless gathered before him along with a respectful bow – almost as if he considered them equal among the Gods.

“Thank-you my friends,” His words were sincere and restrained yet full of barely contained deific radiance. “Though I knew you would come as you were ordained to do, I no less appreciate your timely intervention. I am sure you have many questions, and I shall do what I can to satisfy your curiosity…but first know that what you have done here today shall never be forgotten. Not by my Brothers and Sisters, and certainly not by myself.”

Aroden took a step forward, placed a hand upon Victor’s shoulder and gave him a knowing nod before stepping into the centre of an impromptu circle the undead had unintentionally formed.

“Though I was trapped within that prison unable to affect the world around me,” The God continued. “I saw. I listened. Even within that cell I saw your plight. The ending of your lives and those around you. Your unwilling rebirth into the bodies you now inhabit. I know that forces have begun to move in your wake; mortals such as the Wizard Zakalov. Lords of power such as The Whispering Tyrant, Tar-Baphon. Even my brothers and sisters are not beyond interfering it seems. Though his domain is His and His alone, through the movements of His Herald I know that my brother Iori took it upon himself to contact you.” The God smiled at the Deathless then, the slightest movement upon his face that expressed almost unquantifiable sympathy.

“I know you did not ask for any of this, and in a multitude of ways you will likely never fully understand, I am truly sorry you have become involved.”

As the Deathless looked upon the Living God with curiosity at the statement, some moved their hands toward their blades as if the apology were a precursor to aggressive action. Seeing their concern and confusion, Aroden raised and then lowered a hand to indicate the undead should keep their weapons sheathed.

“You have nothing to fear from me,” he continued, reassuringly. “Far from it in fact.”

Letting out an audible, almost theatrical sigh The Last Azlanti carried on with what he was saying.

“For you to fully understand the scope of what is to come and your part within it, you must first understand the past and the events that lead us to this place. Know that a weight rests upon your shoulders that nobody should ever have to carry.”

“If you know who I am,” he continued without pause “then most likely you will know of what I have done. Know then, that in the year recorded as minus five-two-ninety-three AR, I was there at the event history recorded as Earthfall. I lived through the waning years of The Age of Dragons and witnessed the destruction of Alzant that signalled the beginning of what scholars called The Age of Darkness. I saw those cursed meteoroids fall unto our world, witnessed countless deaths and the shifting of the very land and sea. At that point I was mortal, not the being you see before you today.”

Aroden paused then, permitting himself the slightest moment of nostalgic reflection before continuing.

“It is true that I used magic to raise the largest meteorite – the fabled Starstone – from the depths of the ocean, to sit upon the Isle of Kortos. Legends tell you that the Starstone was part of a larger celestial body, an asteroid called into collision with the world by the Aboleth. It is said that this was a punishment from the Aboleth for the hubris of the Azlanti people, and that too, is truth. The Goddess Acavna and the God Amaznen sacrificed themselves to stop the Starstone, but even in its weakened state it caused neigh-catastrophic damage to Golarion – indeed the entire Inner Sea region, the lands upon which we now stand, were formed by that very impact. The oldest of written records state that this Starstone was a fragment of a poisonous, unborn planet, an abomination of planetary proportions designed to destroy all life on Golarion. This too, is true – to an extent.”

The God studied the faces of the assembled dead then, waiting until he felt they were absorbing the information he was delivering, so vital was it that they understood this message, that it outweighed even the urgency of their situation.

“Upon divine ascension one’s perspective of the universe alters. I became aware of things that most mortal minds should not even attempt to comprehend: great wonders, universal truths…and the existence of horrors even worse than the Elder Gods that live in the darkness between the stars. What I tell you now may be hard for you to accept and believe, but believe it you must for the very existence of Golarion – of the all worlds within our spheres of influence – depend upon it.”

“The Starstone did indeed come from a larger celestial body, a giant asteroid that drifts through the void. This asteroid is a vehicle of sorts, a vast hollow mass that transports a creature so terrible that even the Gods and Titans balk at its very existence. It goes by many names: ‘Beast’, ‘Devourer of Worlds’, ‘Starkiller’. None know its true name, but upon ascension I learned that my new Brothers and Sisters – the Gods themselves, were aware of the Starkiller. Worse, it had visited our Solar System before thousands of years in the past. This thing, this Starkiller, devours all sentient life of any planet it visits: the very beings of that world, the flora and fauna, the magical and the mundane; all are food for the Beast. Alien and unknowable, the Gods never truly understood how the creature found the worlds within our Solar System….but I do.”

With the slightest gesture of his hand the entire scenery of the cave began to change: stone walls fell away to empty black and purple sky. As the Deathless watched the ground beneath their feet became as cracked, lifeless rock. As far as the eye could see in all directions was nothingness, only the occasional spike of a mountain or other rock formation in the far distance. All around them was a vast, deafening silence. Nothing stirred, no noises could be heard. Devoid of any inhabitants or plant-life, the seven figures stood upon the empty, desolate plain.

“This,” Aroden spoke as the scenery shifted slowly into focus “Is the world of Moralinth. Once as fertile and full of energy as Golarion, it now stands dead. A husk in space, nothing exists here. There is no life, nor unlife. Magic does not permeate here, the laws of man and beast hold no meaning. This is a world upon which The Starkiller Beast has fed. A world forgotten and stagnant in its wake.”

“While most are unaware of how The Beast locates these worlds among so many others in the cosmos, I can show you. I fear you may already know, at least in the subconscious of your mind.”

Waving his right hand in a steady, rhythmic motion as if conducting an orchestra, Aroden concentrated. A few feet from where the group stood the ground began to shake and then crack, the sounds almost overwhelming after the silence of the dead world. As the land split open the sight of a green-black crystal began to emerge, slowly rising from its resting place in the ground below at the behest of the God.
Eventually a megalith fully appeared, twenty feet in height and ten feet wide at the top, shrinking down to a smaller point just two feet across at the bottom. The strange crystal simply hung there, levitating fifteen feet in the air. Now utterly dormant, it resembled the crystalline device that Rastomir had seen in his vision, the one that the wizard Zakalov had used in his creation of the Deathless. Now black and seemingly inert, the green veins of energy could be seen faintly beneath its surface.

Aroden looked toward the crystal and then back to the Deathless.

“This is known as an Eternecrüx. It is an alien device which acts a signal emitter that The Starkiller is able to follow, to home in on. Following the signal the Eternecrüx broadcasts, The Starkiller finds its next source of food, using its will to steer the vast asteroid inside which it rests. Normally when the Beast floats through the cosmos it releases thousands of these transmitters into each solar system and then follows any signal its unfathomably alien mind accepts as ‘edible’. When the Aboleth called down their life-ending ‘rock from the stars’ what they actually did was dislodged a part of the Starkillers’ asteroid which was actually responding to an active Eternecrüx signal on another world in our system – Castrovel

The God paused again then, letting the large amount of information presented to the Deathless process before he waved his hand again and the illusion of the Dead World Moralinth vanished, returning them to the subterranean cave once again.

“I understand this may be a lot for you to believe – that others worlds beside our own exist – especially if you are not trained in planar or intergalactic lore. If I were able to give you more time to research what I say I would recommend it, but alas our time is short and I must continue.”

“By calling down the Starstone the Aboleth also brought along with it a number of dormant Eternecrüx. Most were badly damaged or destroyed in the fall but one, unfortunately, survived intact. Dormant for so many years, when the Wizard Zakalov became desperate at being unable to cure his daughter, he accepted help from a creature known as The NightWalker. In so doing the Wizard unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that will lead in the destruction of Golarion. The Eternecrüx you see, the device used to create yourselves, is active. Its invisible signal is broadcasting, and The Starkiller is homing in on our world.”

Realisation began to show on the faces of the Deathless, suddenly aware that they were linked with an alien monstrosity that could spell the destruction of all things. Not only had they met a grisly end and returned to unlife against their will, it seemed they had a part to play in saving a world that they were already dead to.

“It is the Eternecrüx that grants you unlife, it is that which restores your body when it is destroyed. When Zakalov tried to follow the ritual given to him by the NightWalker, his mind was so badly warped by his “advisor” that he made mistakes. You were designed to be agents of The Eternecrüx, guardians that would help usher in the end of the world. Luckily for the rest of us you retained your free will: the ritual was only partly successful.”

“To elaborate: The NightWalker, known to you as The First Deathless, is a servant of The Starkiller. He – for it is indeed a ‘he’ – wishes to see Golarion destroyed for his master.” The briefest of pauses then, as Aroden rested his hand upon the pommel of his golden blade.
“Yet, like so many things even this is not black and white. The NightWalker was not always this way, he was not always a servant of The Beast.”

Again, Aroden waved a hand and again the scenery around the group altered and shifted. This time they were surrounded by rolling green fields, flowers swaying gently in the breeze. Trees taller than castles reached up toward the sky, and not five feet from where they stood, seemingly oblivious to their presence, an Elfan man played with his young daughter while his wife looked on. Different somehow to the Elves of the Inner Sea, these Elves had gold-within-gold eyes and hair like burning sunrise, skin like cream that covered their lithe and limber bodies. As they watched a great shadow fell over the place and time slowed then froze as the family looked up toward the sky as a great mountain-like structure descended through the clouds blanketing everything in a chaotic dark shadow. Impossibly large black tendrils writhed all about it, lashing madly in all directions. The scene became motionless then, an event frozen in time.

The God turned to the six Deathless, unrestrained by the magic that stilled the world around them.

“This,” he said with the sweeping of his hands “Is the world of Castrovel, also known as ‘The Green’. Second world from the Sun and the neighbour to Golarion, it very nearly suffered the same fate as Moralinth.” Pointing a finger skyward toward the titanic thing that descended through the clouds. “That,” he continued. “Is The Starkiller.”

“It is the year of Earthfall, and while we suffered the sundering of the Starstone on Golarion, here on Castrovel, The Beast had come to consume all.”

The God stepped toward the father and daughter then, the girl embraced in her fathers’ arms, her face pressed against her chest to shield her from the impending doom. The man on the other hand, looked straight up at the world-destroyer, a resolute and determined look on his face.

“…and this is Gleneurdon Celetaellyn, the forgotten Hero of Castrovel. It is through his ingenuity and sacrifice that he was able to blind the Starkiller to the signal of the Eternecrüx upon that world by absorbing its energy into himself and ending his mortal life in the process. With the signal lost the Starkiller retreated, presumably ‘picking up the scent’ of another signal, but Celetaellyn was cursed with an unlife and was forced to flee his family. The First of the Deathless indeed.”

“In the years that followed, the Hero of Castrovel took up the moniker of his new undead form, that of The NightWalker, and spent his days searching for and destroying the other Eternecrüx found on his world and later, on others. By the time The Nightwalker had reached Golarion it had been many years and the alien taint inside of him – one never meant for mortals to endure – had begun to slowly change him, corrupt his mind and alter his body. It was not long until, ironically, Gleneurdon Celetaellyn was no more, his personality completely consumed by that which he fought so hard to stop. At some point during his travels on Golarion he ceased being the Elf Hero of Castrovel and instead became truly The NightWalker, a servant of The Starkiller.”

For the second time realisation began to creep into the faces of the Deathless as the God took a moment to pause in his explanation.

“It is The Nightwalker who sought the Eternecrüx of Golarion, not to destroy them but to activate them. It is the NightWalker that convinced the Wizard Zakalov to use the Eternecrüx to try and save his daughter. It is The NightWalker who used Zakalov to make more like himself. More agents of The Starkiller. More Deathless.”

“And therein lies your origin my friends, such as it is. You were designed as heralds of the apocalypse, an Armageddon no native of Golarion – not even the Gods it would seem – have the ability to stop. The Eternecrüx are indestructible to our attempts to assail them, and it seems that if the events at Castrovel have anything to teach us, it is that only those who possess the essence of the Eternecrüx can affect it, let alone stop it.”

With a wave of his hand the group were suddenly back in the cave once more.
The God stifled a slight laugh then, so oddly placed among the devastating news he had given those listening to his tale. Oddly-placed until he continued his explanation and it became apparent even Gods could falter.

“Which leads me to where I have been this many years.” the smile replaced with a sigh and a slight shake of his head in disbelief.

“As soon as I learned of this, I moved against the Eternecrüx. It was hard to find, the dormant one at least, and The NightWalker was waiting for me. I was so desperate to stop that signal at any cost, so angered by my Brothers and Sisters inaction that I acted alone, hastily. I regretfully accept that I fell into the NightWalkers’ trap. Knowing that I would find and assail the Eternecrüx, the NightWalker recruited the aid of the ancient enemies of the Gods; the Thanatotic titans. Somehow he had managed to release a trio of the abominable creatures from their prison within the Abyss and they awaited me along with an army of Demodands. I am ashamed to say I was caught unaware and over-run. Imprisoned here, beneath the Tree of Sorrow, within that crystalline prison you freed me from, I was severed from the world in the worst possible way; cut off from my followers, unable to steer prophecies or alter the world. My Brothers and Sisters could not find me, and all I could do was watch and listen as the world carried on, oblivious to the fate that awaited it. When I did not return as was prophesied, destruction followed as the natural balance was shifted, and you know the result – the three week-long storms that racked the Inner Sea and created the Eye of Abendego. I have been here ever since.”

“Some of my followers,” The God began with a polite nod toward Victor “Never truly believed I was dead despite all evidence to the contrary, and through them my last prophecy lived on in The Starfall Doctrine. It was in this passage that I was able to leave clues before I assaulted the Eternecrüx, safe in the knowledge that the innovation of Humanity would shine through.”

“Following my incarceration the Eternecrüx was moved, and while inside that crystal prison I was unable to discern where its destination was. Now that I am free I can begin that search anew, but I say with regret that the majority of our task ahead falls to you. Once again you have my apologies for the fate that has befallen you, it is most cruel indeed. You see, your time in this world is limited. If we are not able to stop the signal of the Eternecrüx then all upon Golarion are doomed anyway, but for you there is no happy ending. Even if you are able to stop the Eternecrüx signal, even if you are able to turn the gaze of The Starkiller away from our world, you are no longer the men and women you were in life. Even if you cannot consciously feel it now, you are waging a war to hold onto your true selves, that which the essence of the Eternecrüx is slowly enveloping. In truth each of you are part of the Eternecrüx and it is part of you. Like Gleneurdon Celetaellyn you will fade in time, until only The NightWalker remains. Until only your Deathless selves remain.”

“I am truly sorry.”

A moment of silence hung in the air. When even a God could look humble, the Deathless stared to one another: suddenly aware that they were not immortal after all, that the world was closing in on them in the most debilitating way, and that the only people that could help them – could understand their plight – were themselves. With three other Deathless unaccounted for and one purposefully against them, added to their finite time-scale, things looked decidedly bleak.

“With utmost haste we must find The NightWalker and stop the Eternecrüx signal. It has been active since your rebirth, which was exactly seven moons ago. I dare say the Starkiller is almost upon us. Luckily I may be able to afford you a lead to find The NightWalker at least.”

“Occasionally during my incarceration I would be visited by The NightWalker – sometimes to taunt me, sometimes to study me. Though I was unable to act, I could observe, as I have said before. On two occasions when The NightWalker visited me he had another with him; a Vampire. Exceedingly interested in my predicament, I still do not know why the creature did not use his knowledge of my state to his advantage, but his close association with The NightWalker was obvious.”

“The Vampire, hailing from Varno here in Ustalav, was one Conte Ristomaur Tiriac. Ruler of that land, Tiriac is a dangerous adversary and would be difficult to assail within his ancestral home. However, it is known that he often frequents the homes of his more noteworthy subjects, especially those noble families that are found in the Refleaf Estates. One in particular…”

The Gods’ eyes suddenly darted in Gregor direction, making him feel more than a little uneasy.

“Tiriac is said to currently visiting Lord Romavitch, a man of questionable morals and lofty ambition. I would recommend starting there.”

“I understand that many of you are still coming to terms with your new state of being and more than a few of the Deathless are striking up alliances with various factions. Between the nine of you not all are as closely connected as this group. While I appreciate your need to protect yourselves in this world, know that you cannot guard yourself against a world that does not exist. Stopping the signal of the Eternecrüx is paramount, above all other agendas. Unless it is stopped, there will be no agendas to pursue.”

Having said all he needed to, the God Aroden afforded the group a pause to let the magnitude of the situation sink in before continuing:

“I must return to Axis. My liberation would have no doubt reached many ears and I must prepare what I can do aid you. Know that when the time comes I will be there for you – each and every one of you – even if the other Gods turn their gaze from you. I owe you that much, and more.”

A smile then, some reassurance in a sea of uncertainty and dread responsibility.

“Now, I assume you have many questions…?”

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Deathless #8

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4th Neth, 4710. The City of Lepidstadt , North-West Ustalav:

As Rastomir, Vlad , Herod and Vlad’s Thralls surveyed the empty city, an eruption of magical energy ascended skyward in a pillar of light that slowly expanded into a 75ft tall by 35ft wide gateway. Investigating from a safe distance, the two Deathless watched as scores upon scores of people wandered through the portal, traversing dimensions from a dark and foreboding place that they left behind them. Scores become hundreds who become thousands, and it soon became apparent that the missing citizenry of Lepidstadt were returning from where they had been relocated.

Vlad descended upon the people in secret, controlling one and luring him away to discover they were indeed the people of Lepidstadt, who had been magiced to the city of Shadow Absalom in the Shadow Plane. He learned that they had found themselves taken there unwillingly and that the “Mad Wizard” had, with the help of a “Dark Stranger”, assaulted the centre of power in the city; a Shadow Citadel. Though just a commoner, the man knew little of the details, so Vlad moved on to a member of the ruling council of the city, and discovered that “The Mad Wizard” was in fact Ahrmin Zakolov, and that he had captured the ruler of Shadow Absalom – Argrinyxia – who was later freed by The Deathless.

At this point, at the end of the precession of returning dimensional refugees, Victor, Gregor “the Butcher” Romavitch, Ursk Rathar and Alexandria Zakolov came through the portal. With them was The Wizard Ahrmin Zakolov, Ursk’s companion Faeona Yllyaries and even Gregor’s presumed dead wife, Rosalee Romavitch. As the portal closed behind them, the group met up and Rastomir introduced Herod to his fellows while Rosalee recounted the fact she, too, was Deathless. While she did this and explained everything she knew about the other Deathless – Agnir, , and The Nightwalker. She pointed out that the tenth Deathless, one who possessed the Bodak-Aspect was unknown to her.
Between them, Gregor, Rosalee, Alexandria and Ursk explained what had happened; about how The Nightwalker had somehow influenced Zakalov and forced him to create both the Deathless and to try to slay the Umbral Dragon and leader of Shadow Absalom, Argrinyxia. While they explained that Zhakalov was beginning to return to normal the longer he remained away from The Nightwalker, Victor was lured away from the group by a mysterious Human man, who he would shortly learn was known as Stoalis Longthorne. Stoalis had some revelations to reveal to Victor, surrounding the fate of the lost God, Aroden and the possible connection with The Deathless.

Preferring his colleagues to be privy to the information, Victor and Stoalis returned to them and, while Alexandria took her father to recuperate at within the walls of Lepidstadt University, the others retired to Ursk’s magically-shielded abode (A Mage’s Magnificent Mansion built into a pendant) and Stolais, revealing a copy of The Starfall Doctrine, showed how he had used a cypher of his own design to unlock hidden code within the text. There were many, and not all of them relevant, but he shared with the group the ones he thought they might be interested to hear about. They read:

Know that Aroden is not truly dead, only not walking among the light.

Those who would see Our Lord brought low exist in light as well as shadow.

Where Aroden resides, no living soul may enter. Only the dead may seek his wise counsel.

Far north of where the Star fell, in the land of Shadows and Graves, Our Lords awaits where the wild trees grow, under the greatest leaf and the widest bough, near to where the moon lies reflected in still waters.

The Man of Shadow will meet him, learn from him, and through the impossible will repulse the Starkiller. and

The Last Azlanti and The Man of Shadow must meet, or all life – and unlife – will end.

Stoalis was keen to go, and explained to them he had been following them for over a week, but lost them when they entered the portal. He asked for their help as there was the potential that one of the greatest mysteries of the modern age – what happened to the God Aroden – could be answered and, openly being a worshipper of Aroden himself, Stoalis pointed out the obvious connection between Victor and “The Man of Shadow” mentioned in the text, as well as the fact “only the dead” would be able to reach the God.

The group debated. Victor wished to help Stoalis. Gregor was primarily concerned with the safety of Alexandria and Zakalov, but also pointed out the potential danger that whatever “The Starkiller” was could bring. Rastomir and Vlad wanted to travel to Gallowspire to collect armaments for the possible challenges ahead. Ursk, happy to do whatever was decided upon so long as the possibility of battle entered the situation somewhere, remained neutral.

Stoalis said he had discovered the area mentioned in the writings, but could not again acess to it – a large, seemingly dead tree in The Mainsnarl Wood, near Lake Lias, there in Ustalav. Saying he could show the group where it was, he was open about the fact he would need the group’s assistance to access it.

When the group discussed what to do in front of Alexandria and Zakalov, even the slightest mention of Gallowspire flew the old wizard into a rage, so Rastomir and Vlad decided to go there on their own and meet the rest of the group back in The Village of Dharnic which was not too far from Maidensnarl Wood.

While Vlad and Rastomir teleported to Gallowspire, the rest of the group travelled to Dharnic Village where they found that not only had the town been ransacked, but that a mysterious statue had appeared. Though nothing usual about the statue itself, Zakalov identified a cube held in its hand as “The Cube of De’Marchant”, a teleportation artefact that allowed instant, precise travel to whomever was attuned to it. Unclear of why it was there or how it had arrived, Zakalov cleared it of being non-dangerous in and of itself, and also said he would rather spend a week or two recuperating at his tower. Alexandria and the rest of the group were not too sure about that, armed with the knowledge that Tar-Baphon may once again be on the rise, so they managed to convince the wizard to travel with them and Stoalis to the place he referred to as The Tree of Sorrows in Maidensnarl Woods.

Gregor sent a magical message via raven to Rastomir and Vlad who, shortly after the Lich, Shadow and Graveknight left Dharnic, relayed to the Vampire and Wraith that the group had gone on ahead and would await them at The Tree.

Arriving a few moments before, Stoalis and his group found the tree and entered a chamber beneath it, and located an impassable wall – at least to those alive among them. Testing it, Victor found he could pass right through without any problems. Rather than travelling in unprepared, they waited for Vlad and Rastomir to join them before pressing forward.

Leaving Zakalov, Alexandria, Faeona, Herod, Rosalee and Stoalis behind, Gregor, Rastomir, Victor, Vlad and Ursk traversed the wall and into the stone chamber beyond. Following it a short distance, they found a large empty chamber which housed a suspected green crystal, approximately six feet in height, suspended a couple of feet magically above the floor. After seeing something in the crystal that the others did not, Victor sprung forward just as a Gristly Demonand materialised in front of him, and three Tarry Demonand behind him, separating him from the others.

After a heated battle the group were able to despatch two of the three Tarry Demodand, and the third vanished as the Gristly Demodand was finally slain. At the same time the green crystal shattered and, with an semi-invisible pulse of powerful magical energies, the God Aroden was released back into the world of Golarion…

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Deathless #7

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(This game was done with the group split into two parts, with each side not aware of what the other was doing. Once the group is reformed and everyone updated, this page will be updated. Until that point this is a placeholder to avoid potential spoilers).

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Deathless #6

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(This game was done with the group split into two parts, with each side not aware of what the other was doing. Once the group is reformed and everyone updated, this page will be updated. Until that point this is a placeholder to avoid potential spoilers).

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Deathless #5

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31st Lamashan, 4710. The Village of Weatherby and surrounding countryside, North-Western Amaans Ustalav:

In the battle with the Black Dragon, as Rastomir and Victor are about to retreat from what they feel is a doomed fight Ursk happens upon a lucky strike against the creature, which results in the breaking of a powerful transmutation spell. The Dragon – so fiercely fighting only seconds earlier – drops to the ground as an unconscious human man; an amulet of transmogrification cracked by the Graveknight’s powerful punch. Unable to control his rage, the Barbarian continues to assault the man who….does not awaken.

As Victor steals away with loot, Rastomir – unhappy as he realises the man is most likely the farmers’ brother – heads back to the farmstead to confront the man, with his brother in tow. Ursk remains behind to begin gathering up the loot.

Victor arrives at the farmstead ahead of Rastomir, and sneaking into the place he confronts the man and warns him to confess for his crimes. Claiming that he and his brother have been using the amulet to dupe adventurers and passers-by to their deaths, when he feigns ignorance, Victor knocks the man unconscious and heads back to Weatherby Village to ensure he pays for what he has done.

Rastomir arrives shortly after, but finding the farmer missing and the farmstead empty, he pockets the money the man was counting previously and decides to make an example of the brother should he return. Mutilating the corpse, Rastomir leaves it sitting at the table, appearing to eat his own intestines. Annoyed that he could not cause any more suffering, the Warpriest takes the Farmer’s cart from outside the property and heads back to the cave where he and Ursk load up all the valuables before heading back to Weatherby Village with their spoils.

Meanwhile at the village, while the Spectral Riders continue to slaughter and kill the villagers, behind a water-trough outside of the Tavern Gregor ducks down and assumes his Deathless Form: that of a Lich. He notices that the screaming subsides and looks back up to find that the riders have stopped and are looking in his direction. Surmising that they somehow detected his transformation, the mage takes a gamble and approaches the three riders he can see, and as he does so a fourth joins them from behind another building as he hears the hoofalls of the fifth coming up behind him.

When Gregor attempts to communicate with them, the riders simply point behind him, to the fifth rider who produces a human skull from under its cloak. Placing it in its mailed hand, the skull – covered in arcane runes – floats inches above the riders hand and an eerie red glow emanates from within the once-empty eye sockets. From the skull comes a voice: that of a pleasantly-spoken and well-mannered human, sporting an unusual but not obtrusive accent.

Claiming to be none other than Tar-Baphon (The Whispering Tyrant) , the Skull says he has a proposition for the group, but that he would like to speak to them in person. Requesting that Gregor (whom he seems to know) collect his companions together, he says he will speak to them again once they are all together within the village, and that his Riders will stand down just outside of the village limits until they are ready to talk.
Agreeing to at least this much, Gregor ends the conversation with the skull, and the Riders do as is intended: turn about face and retreat to the edge of the village, where they remain – motionless.

As Gregor and Vlad (now both back in their mortal forms) tend to the wounded in the Tavern, Victor returns with his formidable cat-companion Jynx, and the unconscious farmer whom he incarcerates with the aid of what remains of the village militia. Explaining the situation to him, Victor is immediately suspicious but agrees to wait for the remaining two members of the group to arrive. Alexandria, removing herself from the mirror-portal she had sheltered the villagers in remains blissfully unaware of the events but Gregor mentions that the Riders are holding off, and that the group will confront them when together.
Satisfied after a few moments that the Riders are remaining where they are, Alexandria keeps herself busy helping tend to the wounded.

When Ursk and Rastomir return to the village (complete with a wagon bristling with goods), Gregor, Vlad and Victor explain the situation out of earshot from Alexandria and, after resting a while, the group head out to speak to the Riders (or rather, The Whispering Tyrant) while Alexandria remains behind.

The conversation between the group and the Skull is as cordial as before, and Tar-Baphon says to the group that he too is searching for the Wizard Zakalov, and asks that they attend his estate in Gallowspire (a tower within the destroyed city of Adorak in Virlych) as his guests as they have much to discuss. He says he understands they may be reluctant, but that he has information that will help them – not only in understanding their new natures, but in helping them find the Wizard and even Gregor’s Wife, Rosalee. Tar-Baphon says he can help them survive their confrontation with who he calls “the mad wizard”, but asks that they bring the Wizard’s daughter (Alexandria). When confronted about why, he is open about the fact he needs her for a ritual, but that there is a possibility she might not survive it. He points out that with her wasting disease she will die anyway, and he might be able to lift the curse – the alternative being a quick and less painful death than the one she is due to suffer.
Victor remains quiet and reluctant to comment throughout, but the rest of the group go along with the ruse and agree to meet the Whispering Tyrant at Gallowspire by weeks’ end.

Once the conversation concludes the Spectral Riders simply turn and gallop away, leaving the group to discuss matters. Rastomir argues the advantages of following up on the Tyrant’s offer, whereas Gregor feels they should carry on to Lepidstadt. Ursk suggests that they speak to Alexandria about what she wants to do, which they do when they head back to the Tavern and the group retire to a private room upstairs.
After having the situation explained to her Alexandria is horrified to hear of the potential return of The Whispering Tyrant and adamantly refuses to go with them to Gallowspire, instead saying she will leave for Lepidstadt in the morning, with or without the rest of them. When she retires for the evening, the group discuss matters and – much to Rastomir’s chargin, the group decide to go with Alexandria.

1st Neth, 4710. The Village of Weatherby, North-Western Amaans Ustalav:

The group head out by Coach the following day, with little-to-no disruptions along their journey. The Carriage continues through the night and the group decide that they should carry on to the walled city of Tamrivena which would likely take another couple of days by coach. Overnight they cross into the province of Canterwall.

2nd Neth, 4710. Rural countryside of Canterwall, Ustalav:

Along the road the following day the carriage comes to an abrupt halt when the road is taken up by the cross-legged form of an old human man carrying a stick sitting in the road. When Ursk and Gregor leave the coach to question him, the man seems confused saying that he is where he is meant to be, but also that he not sure what year it is. Explaining to the characters that he is meant to take them to “The Serene Circle”, he explains they are meant to say no, but that he takes them anyway. Initially the group think he is hostile, then a little crazy, but realise he is talking in both future and past-tense. When they unanimously agree not to go with them, the man gleefully claps his hands and Gregor, Ursk, Rastomir, Vlad and Victor vanish.

Appearing an instant later in a vast and well-ordered city, the group realise immediately than not only do they seem to have teleported, but that their companions are not with them. A city of glistening gold and pristine streets, winged humanoids and horseless carriages fills the sky above them, and both Gregor and Rastomir come to the conclusion they are in one of the Heavens. The Old Man confirms they are on the Plane of Axis, before leaving them in the company of a gigantic white Celestial Tiger called Chem-Chem, and a dour Stone-giant Monk who goes by the name of Sixth Rebirth. The two stand outside of a Temple of Irori, a small and modest building compared to the others that surround and dwarf it.

Chem-Chem asks the group to follow him inside, which they do all except for Rastomir who hits some form of invisible barrier. Recognising a taint upon him, Sixth Rebirth removes it from the Warpriest at the cost of his own left hand, which crumbles to dust.

Entering the Church the group find that is part of an extra-planar space: though small and unassuming on the outside, inside it is a glorious golden cathedral that towers hundreds of feet high; along the ceiling glide all manner of angels and celestial flying creatures. Though magnificent in its grandeur, the group are immediately drawn to the almost impossibly-tall human-looking figure who sits upon a golden throne at the end of the cathedral. At one-hundred and fifty feet in height even while seated, the individual looks to be of Vudrani-Human descent and colouring with a shaved head bar a single long braid of hair. Dressed in robes and sandals, he sits in contemplative silence with his eyes closed.

The group are immediately aware they are in the presence of the God Irori.

When the group are introduced by Chem-Chem Irori opens his golden eyes and stands (towering over 200ft in height) and descends the steps of the throne toward them, shrinking his form as he does so until he stands at eight feet by the time he reaches the bottom step.

Courteous and respectful to the group, the God thanks them for coming and explains to them that they exist in the time between moments, and that nobody knows that they have left the Prime Material Plane. When the group ask why he wishes to speak to them, Irori leads them to another chamber within The Serene Circle and shows them an animated Orrery of the entire Multiverse; including Golarion and the other planets as well of the various planes of existence. He shows them a light to indicate all things in creation and slowly removes the types (Gods, Mortals, Outsiders, Abberations, Undead) one by one until the entire image is devoid of lights. He then asks the group to show him where they are. They cannot, and this is what disturbs the God so greatly. Irori explains that he can see all things that exist in the past, the present and the future, and that the group are not among them. Showing them the point where they died at Dharnic, he points out that they should remain there, but they do not. Somehow, all five of them are working outside of fate, or to put it another way – should not exist.

Irori explains that had one of his agents not seen them and reported their existence to the God he would not even know they were on Golarion, and that is something which is unprecedented. For that reason alone, he warns the group that powerful forces – the Gods included – will soon move to either coerce, dominate or destroy them as they present a uniquely unknown quantity, a power which all others will covet.

While he cannot directly intervene – due to the laws of divinity – Irori offers all of the group a simple token which they can use to ask for sanctuary within The Serene Circle, a token which all but Rastomir accepts. He also answers as many questions as he can, as well as some requests – he replaces magical items of the characters for others of equal value, which includes objects to obscure scrying for Alexandria, Jynx and Faeona. Before returning them to the Prime Material, Irori gives the group two pieces of information: the first is to “beware watchful eyes from the trees” and that Alexandria has a way to speed their journey to Lepidstadt, though she is not aware of it.

Wishing the group well, Irori gets Chem-Chem to return them to their Carriage on the Prime Material plane, asking lastly that they tell nobody – except for his Brothers and Sisters, and only directly – about The Serene Circle.

Moments later the group return to the coach with a flash, less than a second after they had initially left. Though the Carriage had stopped amid an open plain, the edge of a forest loomed ahead of them in their journey and the group remembered the words of the God. Unsure how to get Alexandria to unlock the knowledge she held inside of her, Rastomir prayed to Urgotha for guidance and suggested Alexandria prayed for enlightenment as well.

This proved to be a prudent course of action, as although Alexandria herself was unaware of it, her deep mediation tapped into her latent Oracle abilities and she slipped into a enlightened subconscious state. Leaving the carriage without a word, the group followed her as she walked right into the woods. Sure enough, the group were almost immediately set upon by bandits but Alexandria in her trance-like state simply wandered on while the group – warned in advance of an ambush – were able to make quick work of their attackers.

Eventually Alexandria led them to a bush like a hundred others she had passed, but it magically parted and she stepped through an invisible gateway. Rushing behind her the group travelled through the portal and found themselves on the outskirts of Lepidstadt City.

Gaining entry into the City was remarkably easy, and is was quickly evident why: Nothing living stirred within the city walls. No birds, rats, cats or dogs, and certainly none of the almost ten-thousand citizens.

There were no bodies, no signs of struggle. Just putrid, rotten food that had been left out to decompose….

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Deathless #4

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30th Lamashan, 4710. The Town of Vorsenir, Western Amaans Ustalav:

In the wake of the Blue Herald’s defeat, the group and Yuri Kublistky return to the town of Vorsenir with Lissa West (the Mayors’ daughter) and try to devise a way to find out the fate of Rastomir; the Warpriest of Urgotha and Wraith-Aspect Deathless after he plunged into the portal with the Blue Herald.

During the evening, while the group await Yuri’s return in the morning with information on Ahrmin Zakolov’s whereabouts, Rastomir washes up on the River Senir, having survived his encounter with the Dark Tapestry entity Tychilarius. Returning to the inn the group are shocked to see Rastomir “alive”, but he explains that the entity questioned him then threw him back to the Material Plane.

In the morning, true to his word Yuri meets the group and explains that he did see the wizard Zakolov a few days past and that he mentioned about heading to the City of Lepidstadt in northern Vieland, a place where he had once studied the magical arts. The Inquisitor also explains that the Wizard was out of sorts, and demanded back an Obsidian Pendant he had given to him for safe-keeping as a young boy. Kublitsky seems intrigued by the dark-heared woman travelling with them, and becomes even moreso when the group explain she is Zakalov’s daughter, Alexandria. It seems he had seen paintings of her but figured her long dead as the Wizard always spoke of her in the past tense. Yuri explains that one of the Mayor’s Carriages (along with a driver) remained outside the inn and would take them wherever they would go, courtesy of Mayor West for their help in the rescue of his daughter.

The group head out shortly after Yuri’s departure, heading North-west through Amaans toward the border of Canterwall and beyond.

On their largely uneventful journey across northern Amaars, the group come across a farmer asking for aid, but decide to travel on as while they do not need to sleep, Alexandria and Faeona required sleep after a full days travel by carriage, and the village of Weatherby was not too much further along the road.

Arriving in Weatherby the group find it to be a quaint and quiet village, consisting of little more than a Tavern, a small church dedicated to Pharasma and a selection of homes and farmsteads. While the women rest, Gregor and Vlad spend time in the Tavern. Ursk and Rastomir decide that they will go back and visit the farmer to see what the trouble was, and Victor chooses to follow them in secret.

A few miles back down the road Ursk and Rastomir arrive back at the farmstead and seek out the still quite distraught farmer. Speaking to him they discover that the man’s brother went missing a week ago and he claims it to be the work of a “beast” a little over a mile off the main road past his farm. He begs the characters to help and to find out the fate of his brother as he is too afraid to face the beast himself. After some convincing he leads the group to the mouth of the creature’s lair, but refuses to go any futher.

Ursk and Rastomir head confidently into the cave with Victor secretly with them, and find that the cave mouth leads deep into the earth, until eventually opening out into a wide cavern filled with all manner of treasures. Sitting atop the treasure is it’s guardian: a Black Dragon!
Ursk engages the creature in battle but it is rapidly apparent that even the mighty half-orc is no match for the venerable wyrm: even with Rastomir’s assistance (and unseen attacks from Victor) it is not long before the Dragon gets the upper hand and it looks as though Ursk’s fate may be sealed…

Back at Weatherby, the peace and quiet is broken by the panicked shrieks of villagers. Gregor and Vlad investigate to see an all-too familiar ill-omen: unnatural green mist rolls down from the surrounding hills, followed by the thunderous sound of hooves beating on earth and the luminous forms of the five Spectral Riders who massacres the group and the other residents of the village of Dharnic.

As the riders descend upon the village, killing hapless villagers with their barbed scythes, Gregor and Vlad manage to gather people in the Tavern and Gregor casts magical spells that allow Alexandria to get villagers to safety.

While Vlad shifts into his Vampiric Deathless form and morphs his body into mist, Gregor teleports himself outside of the Tavern just as one of the riders breaks through the doors on horseback, crushing a villager underfoot….

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Deathless #3

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29th Lamashan, 4710. The Town of Vorsenir, Western Amaans Ustalav:

Gregor, Rastomir, Ursk, Victor and Vlad descend into The Undercut – the literal ‘black market’ beneath the town of Vorsenir – with Alexandria Zakalov in tow. Following clues to the Inquisitor Yuri Kublitsky, they go in search of the BlackNeck Thieves’ Guild who Kublitsky had attempted to contact – according to the information of the Bard; Rowe.

Their investigations led the group first to an unlicensed gladiatorial arena where freelance fighters and slaves were battling to the death over the watchful eye of a tall, gaunt Human who was taking bets as to the survivors. While Rastomir and Ursk sated their blood lusts and Vlad fed from the unfortunate souls in the pit, Gregor remained impassively watchful while Victor investigated the gaunt man to discover he was a necromancer of sorts. When terror broke out with Vlad displaying his true Deathless nature, people panicked and fled the area – including two BlackNeck Thieves – one of which Victor decided to “question” with the aid of his Panther, Jynx.

After a brief discussion with the man it became apparent he had no recollection of who or where Yuri may be, but that his employer – “The Cutter King” – may have. Using his vampiric persuasion Vlad convinced the man to set up a meet between the group and the ‘King’, and while the others decided to use their time to relax, recuperate and procure some purchases, Victor followed the enthralled man in secret, whom Vlad had given a token of respect to The Cutter King to help smooth over their request.

Rastomir, Ursk and Vlad made many purchases at a local market (including slaves: two “blood banks” for Vlad, a soon-to-be-apprentice or Urgathoa for Rastomir and a domestic servant for Ursk) and fed their various appetites while they waited for their contact to return.
Victor followed the man in secret and stole his way into the ‘Throne Room’ of The Cutter King where he discovered that he kept company with the Necromancer from the pit. Getting a gauge for the room, Victor remained there until the Thief arrives, explained and left, then stayed in hiding until the rest of the party arrived to take audience with The Cutter King.

Despite initial suspicions, The Cutter King took kindly to their respect for his position, and told them than Yuri had had come looking for Lissa West, the daughter of Vorsenir’s Mayor. She was searching for information on someone called “The Blue Herald”, and he told Yuri what he had told her: though he was unfamiliar with the name, the only time any of his spies had heard it mentioned was in passing at Fallacro’s Glass Tavern in the northern portion of the town. Yuri left in search of Lissa and none of the BlackNecks stood in his way.
In exchange for this information, The Cutter King said he would call on the group for a favour one day, but let them go on their way with his blessing, and suggested they look for a man by the name of Adlar Zacco, a local historian who frequented Fallacro’s Glass.

The trip up from The Undercut and to the tavern was uneventful, and it was not difficult for the group to locate Zacco once he had been pointed out to them by the barkeep: a Human man in his early fifties, he was slumped over a table, dead drunk. When the group attempted to sober him up (throw water over him) he seemed somewhat disbondant. It wasn’t until Victor (in a quiet voice) and Ursk (in a not-so-quiet voice) mentioned the name ‘The Blue Herald’ that the situation rapidly escalated when the entire tavern suddenly drew weapons against the group. Though it was obvious how Lissa had been overpowered and – theoretically – how Yuri may have been bested against such a large group, the Tavernsfolk were little match for the group of Deathless who easily despatched them save for a single member kept for questioning. When the man bit off his own tongue rather than speak to them, the group instead turned their attentions to Zacco, who seemed more than happy to assist if they would provide him with more alcohol.

He explained that the Blue Herald was not a person per se, but a position. A name of rank among The Night Heralds – a group of cultists who worshipped a god older than the town, an elder god who had followers in that region even before the founding of Ustalav. Rastomir noted the absence of any churches or temples in the town, but Zacco said their was one – an ancient one that people called “The Riverchurch”, which he offered to show them the way to.
Following Zacco, he took them to the site of some old standing stones near the River Vors, which ran through the town. Victor investigated them and realised they were in fact markers, and Zacco confirmed that the Night Heralds would come up from the river and drag people underwater with “some sort of bag on their heads” (presumably a type of breathing apparatus).
Leaving Alexandria in charge of the slaves, Gregor, Rastomir, Ursk, Victor and Vlad descended below the waves (not needing to breathe) and found the river a lot deeper than originally surmised. Following several sets of markers they happened upon an underwater cave that had an artificial atmosphere sustained by magic.

Searching the cave the group found scrawled text such as “The Dark Tapestry is the True Way” in Draconic and “It Waits” in Dwarven. They also come across a collapsed wall atop the body of a dead Night Herald and a mural which Victor was able to translate, but at a portion of his sanity. He was plagued by the ever-repeating name of Tychilarius whispered in a voice only he could hear.

Making their way through the caves they fight Night Heralds and find treasures until they happen across the main chamber of the lair: a large cavernous room where a collection of fifteen Night Herald cultists watch in congregation as a blasphemous ritual plays out before them. At the far end of the room stands a Samsaran woman, clearly “The Blue Herald”, who stands between two large stone slabs. Chained to one is a young woman (presumably Lissa West) and on the other was who Victor recognised as the Inquisitor Yuri Kablistsky. Directly behind them floated the half-submerged bodies of a pair of Aboleth to whom the prisoners were to be sacrificed.
More troubling still was that the cave descended into deep water at the over side of the room and the otherworldly image of some great beast – all eyes and tentacles – could be seen in the water. Though not in the water, but as if looking through some watery portal. All could sense that this “thing” was not of Golarion.

Not waiting for the inevitable to happen, the group sprung into action: Gregor and Ursk held the attention of the Night Heralds while Victor and Vlad used subterfuge to make their way toward the hapless prisoners.
Rastomir, gaining the attention of the Blue Herald, rushed her with the intention of pushing her into the water, but she hit him with a barrage of magic missiles (one of the few things that could harm his Wraith form). Unfortunately for her, Rastomir was not to be stopped, and barrelled into her head-on, sending The Blue Herald into the portal and to the waiting beast beyond. In an ill-fated turn of events, The Blue Herald was able to latch onto Rastomir and drag him with her, and as the pair fell into the water the portal closed, revealing only the clear waters of the River Vors.

Without their leader the Night Heralds proved little match for the group, but the two Aboleth, furious that they had been denied their meals; turned on Ursk and Gregor while Victor and Vlad quietly unbound Lissa and Yuri. Though one of the Aboleth was overconfident and charged Ursk (who was by this point in his Graveknight Form) and was summarily cut down, the second beast proved more of a challenge and fought the group fiercely until Gregor finally dispatched it with a powerful Fireball spell.

Gathering their group and securing the rest of the cave, the group set about getting Lissa and Yuri to the surface while trying to figure out how to get Rastomir back….

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Deathless #2

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DEATHLESS Episode 2

28th Lamashan, 4710. The Village of Dharnic in eastern Virlych, Ustalav:

2am

After exploring the upper levels of Zakolov’s tower and precuring information about the town of Vorsenir and a name – “Kublitsky” – the group decided to search the remainder of the missing wizard’s abode.

In the basement surrounded by ice creatures, the group discover the slumbering body of Alexandria Zakolov, presumed to be the wizards wife. Upon waking her, they discover that Alexandria is in fact Zakolov’s daughter, and that she is suffering from a unique wasting disease. A disease which her father, lacking a way to cure it, had put her into a timeless sleep until he was able to discover a cure.
The group learn that Alexandria was enchanted over 900 years ago, in the year 3800. Shocked and concerned to find she was in Ustalav (as when the was put to sleep The Whispering Tyrant was still scourging those lands), Alexandria seems concerned that her father is missing and asks the group to assist her in finding him. This latest revelation also begs the question how Ahrmin Zakolov has managed to stay alive for neigh on 1,000 years..

3.30am

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The group head out east toward Vorsenir and about an hour after crossing into the Amaans they see thee lights of a travelling caravan. Though the Deathless among them have no need for rest, the group speak with what turns out to be a travelling Varisian caravan so that Errish and Alexandria might gather their strength.
Trading with them, the group also discover that the leader of this mysterious group is an Oracle who goes by the name of Belekar. Old, wise and an insufferable curmudgeon, Belekar seems to be an old friend of Zakolov and is aware of the group’s ‘condition’. Though he does not reveal this openly, he shares with Rastomir a vision:

The vision is of another world, outside of space and time. A series of islands among nothingness. Upon one such island is the Wizard Zakalov, leaning over the dead body of Rosalee Romavitch, cut down by the same spectral riders who had ended the village of Dharnic. Floating in the air above them is a massive crystal, dark as midnight buy specked with tiny green dots of light that shift across its surface like so many shooting stars. Eighty-feet tall and thirty feet across at its widest point, it hang motionless like a giant stalactite.
Suddenly black writing tentacles escape the crystal, not made of solid matter but menacing shadow, and they piece the wizard through his limbs, impaling him to the floor. He screams, but no sound can be heard as the shadowy tendril pulse with energy.
Retracting almost as quickly and violently as they erupted, the tendrils retreat into the crystal which seems dormant once more.
Zakolov slumps forward, barely breathing.
From beyond his form Rosalee can be seen to sit up, and look around her. All her wounds seem healed as if they never were.
Then, suddenly, she looks directly toward the viewer of the vision and the vision abruptly ends.

Rastomir shares this information with the group, who – especially spurred on my Gregor – seem even more determined to find Zakolov. Though their only lead is the name Kublitsky in the town of Vorsenir, the Oracle Belekar warns them (Once Errish has taken Alexandria out of earshot) that Zakalov may not be the way they remember him, and that they should exercise extreme caution.

The group say their goodbyes and head on to Vorsenir, being as it is some many miles before they arrive.

11am

The group arrive at the town of Vorsenir, a start contrast to their sleepy little village: cobblestone streets are kept clean and chimney-pots spew black smoke into the air dotting the skyline of the walled-in town.
The guards give the group directions to the nearest tavern – Mac’s Acrobat – but it is only Gregor, Vlad, Rastomir and Alexandria who head in that direction: Ursk decides to find somewhere less….. ordered to find food, Victor heads out to sell some plundered belongings and Errish gives his thanks and parts ways with the group, hoping to find employment within the town.

Mac’s Acrobat is a frequent haunt of a local famous Bard by the name of Taff Rowe, whom the group gain audience with. Speaking to him about the name Kublistky, Rowe informs them that their are two people in the town with that surname: Yuri Kublitsky, an investigator and Dimitri Kublitsky, a baker.
Presuming it to be the former, Rowe explains that Yuri was last seen heading into “The Undercut”, a set of ruins underneath the town that serves as the black market in the local area and the stomping grounds of the Thieves’ Guild known as the Blacknecks.

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Hiring a guide from Rowe, the group meet up again after conducting their business and head to an abandoned home found behind “The Incandescent Pig”, a tavern in the more expensive northern part of town. It is there that the guide shows them an entrance to The Undercut, one of many dotted around the town.

Venturing down a staircase into the gas-lit underbelly of the town, the group soon find a ramshackle pub before the start of the The Undercut proper, where a local ‘barman’ instructs them in some knowledge on how to survive the dangers that The Undercut represents. He recommends that Alexandria remain ‘topside’ but she declines, confident in the groups’ ability to keep her safe from harm…

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Deathless #1

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Almost a month ago the retired adventurer – the oft-celebrated Wizard Ahrmin Zakolov -vanished from his tower in the village of Dharnic without a word to anyone. Village life carried on as normal until six days ago, on 22nd Lamashan when ethereal monsters clad in dark armour descended from The Hungry Mountains. Green balefire emanated from the mouths and eyes of both they and their fearsome steeds as they ploughed through the village with murderous intent.
Many tried to stand against them, to slow their advance, but all were cut down by their wicked-looking ghostly scythes.

28th Lamashan, 4710. The Village of Dharnic in eastern Virlych, Ustalav:

Midnight.

In the village square, amid the light yet persistent rain lay the bodies of five villagers. Placed in a circle in an almost ritualistic fashion, they slowly returned to consciousness as they sat up, blurry vision gradually coming into focus as they looked to one another for clarification:

Gregor: Dharnic’s resident butcher who travelled to the village with his wife over ten years ago,
Rastomir: a Priest of Urgothoa who led his congregation for The Entropic Hall,
Victor: the eccentric alchemist’s assistant and often misunderstood Tiefling,
Vlad: a travelling Skald unfortunate enough to be staying in Dharnic during that fated night,
and Ursk: a Half-Orc Barbarian who, like Victor, was often shunned by the Villagers. Normally found in the Waylodge outside of Dharnic, he would occasionally venture into the village to trade with the Blacksmith.

Each remembers the attack from the ghostly scythe-wielding riders, as well as the fact that despite fighting bravely against superior odds, they did not survive. Of the five it is Rastomir that first notices that he does not draw breath in the cold midnight air. As the realisation of events sinks in, the group look about them to see the bodies of their friends and neighbours being defiled by carrion-eating Ghouls.

A combination of fear and anger rising within them, it is Gregor – fearful of the fate that befell his wife and children – that is first to act: heading straight for his family home without regard for his own safety, the others notice that the ghouls do not react to Gregor or indeed themselves, ignoring them utterly.

As Gregor rushes to his home with Ursk and Victor, Rastomir and Vlad head toward the only place in the village with an abundance of weaponry to protect themselves: The Blackened Hammer Blacksmith.

Gregor’s home was a mess; the door hung from its hinges and blood stained the walls and floors. It is not long before the fate of the butcher’s son is discovered as a ghoul is found feeding on his remains. Stricken with grief, Gregor cannot even find the will to strike down the foul creature, instead turning his attention to finding his wife and daughter. While Ursk suggests violence, Victor removes himself from the other’s presence when he discovers that Rosalee – Gregor’s wife – is not in her bedroom but her clothes are…

At the blacksmith Rastomir and Vlad find the blacksmith dead, slumped over her anvil as a ghoul picks away at her exposed spinal column. Shoving the vile creature aside they turn over the body to see that the wound inflicted was that of a scythe through disembowelment. Knowing their situation is dire, the pair set to looting the blacksmith of anything useful.

Back at the Romavitch household, Victor remains in Rosalee’s room, sating his cross-dressing interests seeing as nobody still “lives” in the village to judge him while Gregor and Ursk descend into the locked basement of the home when they discover ghouls scratching away at the doors. Happy for some bloodshed Ursk dispatches the creatures before forcefully breaking through the trap door that had appeared to be locked from the inside, but the group find only further death where they had hoped to find answers: Gregor’s daughter, having locked herself in, had committed suicide rather than face the horrors going on outside the home. Gregor, beside himself but acutely aware he had not yet found his wife’s body, returned back to her room to think. Ursk was slower to follow, revelling in the opportunity to kill more ghouls throughout the home.

Upon finding Victor to be wearing the clothes of his late wife, Gregor’s mental fortitude finally broke down and he threw into a murderous rage which, unbeknownst to him, triggered a change in him pulling forth the Undead Aspect of his new form. Morphing into a Lich, the butcher flung spells at the startled Victor who leapt out of the bedroom window in a desperate bid to escape the enraged butcher. Doing so triggered his change as well, and he morphed into a Shadow undead before vanishing from sight.

Rushing upstairs following the sound of the arcane – something which he was both equally distrustful and superstitious about – Ursk found a Lich in Gregor’s bedroom and assuming it was more undead coming to finish the job of wiping out the town, attacked. Reflexively and without fully understanding how, Gregor used his new Lich abilities to force Ursk from the house using his will alone and the Barbarian, enraged at not being in control of his actions, began to take it out on the ghouls around the village as he made his way toward the Blacksmith to search for Vlad and Rastomir.

At the sound of commotion from the Romavitch household, Rastomir decided not to get involved, instead letting Vlad know where he was going before heading toward the Temple of Urgoatha – The Entropic Hall – to see what had happened to his congregation. Of all the survivors it was he that had taken to the turn of events the easiest, feeling their predicament was a “gift” from his Goddess.

As the raging Barbarian made his way across the village killing everything in his path, Vlad attempted to calm the mind of his neighbour but insodoing, much like Gregor’s grief or Victor’s wish to vanish, Vlad’s need to manipulate people brought about a change into that of a unique Vampire and even though his power to control the minds of others was powerful, Ursk was so enraged that Vlad could not grasp his mind and the Barbarian landed a powerful blow upon the Skald-Vampire with a swing of his double-headed axe, felling him where he stood. However, before his body even hit the floor Vlad mysteriously vanished.

As Rastomir searched The Entropic Halls and found all of his congregation massacred, he piled up the bodies outside of the doors as an offering to Urgothoa and looted all the valuables he could carry. Gregor used the time he had to calm his emotions and return to his mortal form.
Victor, still running from the Lich, stumbled into Hersche’s Lodge Tavern and heard the faintest of noises from out the back, in the storehouse. Investigating he found the only surviving villager and son of the Tavern owner, a lad of seventeen winters known as Errish Hersh. Hysterical, the young man begins to whimper and recoil at the sight of Victor after he returns to his mortal form. Concerned that the sound may attract ghouls (not aware than Ursk had dispatched all the ones in the village), Victor comforts the young man who seems to go deeper into shock. Following the sounds Gregor and the now calm Ursk headed toward the storehouse as Rastomir began his return from the Halls of Entropy.

As the pair met in the town Ursk seemed relieved to see Gregor who decided – considering the volatile nature of the Barbarian – not to try and explain he and the Lich were one, but instead convinced him to hurry toward the storehouse. As the pair entered the building and found Victor with the young man sat upon his lap, none were aware that Vlad had reawoken in the village square, exactly as he had done at midnight.

It took time to calm the young man, in fact long enough that Rastomir and Vlad had joined them, but in the end – after a calming spell was cast upon him – the group found out what had happened from Errish Hersh…

By way of the young man’s description, he had been working on one of the top shelves of the storehouse when the riders entered the town, and lost his balance resulting in him falling among some crates and losing consciousness. When he awoke the damage had been done but he found ghouls stalking the village. He hid in the storehouse for five days, and late in the evening of the fifth night he decided to run but saw through the slit in the door a portal open in the village. From this portal walked four “silver men” of about twelve feet in height who collected seven dead bodies – Gregor, rastomir, Victor, Vlad and Ursk as well as foreman Agnir from the mines and the jeweller Varn Neuman – and then retreated through the portal swatting off ghouls as if they were nothing. Hiding once again he was awoken the next night by the sound of the portal re-opening and two of the silver men returning, carrying the corpses of the group that now surrounded him. Only this time, as the silver men laid the bodies out in a perfectly neat circle, the ghouls showed no interest in them. Unsure what to do but hoping the ghouls would eventually leave, Errish remained hidden once again.
When questioned about the silver men, Errish indicated they were “made of iron” and had emblazened upon their chests and backs a mark, which he drew for the group. Recognising it as the symbol of the Wizard Zakalov, the group (along with Errish) decided their next stop – and hopefully somewhere they might find answers – was the Wizards’ tower on the other side of town.

While the others deliberated how best to proceed Ursk went on ahead, adamant that the spell-caster had to give him answers for what had happened. Finding the tower seemingly empty, the Barbarian went inside and began searching around. Followed shortly by the others and Errish, it didn’t take too long for the group to search the ground floor and find that a couple of the Wizard’s automated servants remained. Though they could not give them too much information, they indicated that servants on other floors may be able to explain more, so the group scaled the tower, floor by floor.

Discovering many rooms which seemed to have not been used for some time as well as servants who all indicated the Wizard had left via the front door of the tower almost a month ago, the group came across an illusionary wall in the Wizard’s bedroom which revealed a journal half burned in a long-since extinguished fireplace. Gaining snippets of words from half charred pages they were able to discern the following:

" d Vorsenir "

" he Night H "

and

" ri Kublitsy a "

Of those words one – Vorsenir – was recognised as the name of a city to the east, across the border to Amaans. Their only lead, the group felt that the best chance to find Zakalov, hopefully Rosalee but more importantly the truth behind their fates, rested in that city. Before they set out, they decided a thorough check of the tower would be in order, knowing that a floor was still above them, and at least another led beneath the ground level at which they had entered.

Ascending the stairs the group came across a room empty of all but a large magical circle of Protection from Evil, some destroyed magical apparatus and the towers’ guardian – a Marble Sentinel which attacked them without warning as they ascended the stairs. Gregor, Victor and Vlad found they were able to reflexively assume their undead forms, as did Rastomir who became ethereal and floated above the ground as a Wraith. Luckily for them Ursk was more interested in destroying the Marble Sentinel than trying to figure out why his neighbours had become undead horrors, and more importantly was in facing the sentinel head on as Victor, Vlad and Gregor shifted forms behind him.

Though difficult to best in combat, the group did eventually disable the Sentinel, though while still caught within the red haze of the Barbarian, Ursk lashed out at Rastomir who had assumed the form of a Wraith and, when he found he could not harm him, was overwhelmed by a sense of such primal frustration that he too, changed form. Appearing as a towering Graveknight, the group became aware that their fates were linked in some supernatural manner and that they were no longer quite mortal – nor truly undead – but something in-between… something Deathless.

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