The Darkness Between

Chapter 4 : The Dark Path

Wherein; our heroic adventurers return to the gaming table (one of them sporting a new set of lungs after a successful transplant!) and continue their ascent through the Temple of Orcus...

The Blood Key was not needed for the moment as the wizard Teraldar used one of his arcane rituals to unlock the doors leading out of the catacombs and onto a spiral staircase.

Upward the party climbed, finding the living quarters level of the Temple. Another ritual from the eladrin gained the party access to the chambers of a long-dead High Priest of Orcus. 

Here they found a macabre scene…dozens and dozens of severed hands formed three unholy pedestals at various points in the room.

The withered hands were preserved in wax and twisted about each other to create a 4 foot tall column, upon two of which rested rune-carved skulls.

One of the skulls wore a pair of simple wire spectacles, while a plain gold ring adorned the severed hand that held the second skull in place.

The third grisly pedestal held no skull, but a simple iron amulet rested in the palm of the topmost hand…

The three ghastly platforms seemed to be guarded by some sort of arcane electrical trap, so the party set about to disable the  protective field…

A secret door was discovered and behind the shifting wall they found a very sinister sarcophagus. Next to the forboding coffin was a metal lever set into the wall.

Kordun the dwarf stepped forward bravely and pulled this mysterious switch in hopes of deactivating the arcane electrical fields protecting the skulls and hands, giving access to their prospective treasures.

The lever did indeed shut down the magical barriers…freeing the now-animated hands and skulls from their stasis!

Dozens of skittering severed claws crawled and swarmed about the chamber as the skulls ignited with green mystical flames and rose into the air to attack the intruders and infidels! 

At the same moment, the evil-looking sarcophagus proved true to it's appearance by flying open with a howling scream. Whipping shadowy skeletal claws about Kordun, it dragged him inside, lid slamming shut with a resounding bang and leaving the dwarf trapped among the hungry dead…

The heroes battled the crawling Swarm of Claws and fireball-spewing Flaming Skulls while the rogue worked furiously to unlock the secrets of the sarcophagus and release the dwarf from it's deathgrasp…

Soon, the skulls lay shattered, their flames fading, twitching hands littered the room like dying insects, and the dwarf was freed from his entombment…

Moving onward and upward, the intrepid heroes cautiously entered the bone-littered antechamber of a strange bare room with a rune-covered domed ceiling.

Berrock the cleric took one cautious step into the domed chamber…and found himself sealed off from the rest of the party by an invisible wall of force!

The dwarven cleric of Erathis had to use all of his skills and knowledge of the Seven Gods of Evil to make his way across the Dark Path of Orcus. One misstep would bring pain and potentially death!

As Berrock faced his challenge alone, the rest of the party was suprised as the shattered skeletons in the antechamber swirled up into some sort of Unholy Union of Death and Bone, moving to take it's vengeance upon the living…

Once again, the dwarf Kordun defended his companions by barreling forward like a small tide of iron, pushing the nefarious apparition back and into the central shaft that ran through this malevolent temple of Orcus… 

The following page was taken from the now-infamous "Journal of Kordun"...

Kordun's Epic Battle 

By this time, Berrock had navigated the Dark Path with only a few new burns and scars upon his dwarven skin. The way was clear and the companions moved forward and upward, halting outside a plain wooden door marked, strangely-enough, with the symbol of the Raven Queen…

To Be Continued… 

 

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