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….