The Darkness Between

Chapter 10 : Puppets

Wherein; our heroes attend a marionette show, only to discover that they are the puppets...

Clever deductions by the party soon discovered where Carrigan had hidden his Rift Journal. The journal told a tale that was previously unknown to his sister, Azilis the Bard.

Her father and mother had apparently been agents of the Raven Queen sent to find and close all stable Shadowrifts connecting the Shadowfell with the Natural World or the Feywild. This mission would frustrate the plans of Orcus to supplant the Lady of Winter as the new God of Death.

After their mothers death, her father had began to train Carrigan to aid him in this life-long quest. Most-likely, her leaving at an early age to seek her own fortune had spared her the same destiny.

Her brother had carried on this mission after the murder of their father and had closed several rifts on his own over the years. His latest research had discovered rumors of a rift located somewhere off the coast on a island only referred to as "The Isle of Dread".

The party also received a mysterious message from the tiefling library janitor Random. He said he had seen Carrigan and they should meet him in the morning at the market square where he went to watch his weekly puppet show.

The groups attempts at learning the location of Varim the Mad had come to naught. Only the cleric, Berrock, had gained any leads during his questioning of a priest of Erathis. 

If you wanted to learn of something hidden, they should go to the Alley of Twisted Bones and seek out the House of the Eye.

For who would have more information and cryptic knowledge than the cultists of Vecna, the Dark God of Secrets!

Not wishing to deal with that Devil just yet, the companions went the next morning to meet with the simple-minded Random. What they found was a trap! 

The plaza was just waking up around them. An old woman swept her shop steps, a farmer readied his huge cart of manuare for sale, and the puppeteer prepared his little sock friends for the morning show, and a caff (coffee) shop was just opening for business.

That was when the three dark elves strode slowly into the plaza…black cloaks billowing and arrogant sneers upon their faces! The party tensed as the Drow moved in their direction…and then past them to order caff at the small cafe! 

"Sorry your simple little friend didn't make it" was all the warning Kordun had before the puppeteer slammed a double-bladed sword into the dwarf's armored back! 

At the same instant, the "farmer" dumped his cart of stinking offal across the plaza, making the footing treacherous while spilling out a half-dozen hidden zombies!

The sweeping old woman then revealed herself as a Swarm Shaman by sending forth a torrent of stinging insects at the Dragonborn Warlord, even as crossbowmen appeared on the rooftops and opened fire!

During the battle that followed, the ever-changing city of Gloomwrought joined in with a cruel trick of fate. 

A tower erupted from the center of the plaza, as building were wont to do in the twisted City of Midnight. The structure rose 30 feet into the air, carrying Berrock, Kordun, and the puppeteer assassin with it.

Despite slippery footing, swarms of blood-sucking insects, archers above, and half-naked dwarven clerics, the party soon prevailed. The battle finally ended when the fanatical assassin through himself from the tower to his death rather than be questioned.

Bloody, wounded, covered in filth and insect bites, the companions limped back to their inn to prepare for the inevitable but distasteful solution to finding Carrigan…they would have to deal with the House of the Eye!

To Be Continued… 

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