The Mask of Orcus

The End is Nigh

As the party gathers in the torture chamber they notice that not all the cells are open. They approach the last cell and find Xam, a psionic monk. In front of Xam there is a dark stone which appears to be fueled by the rituals being performed in the lower regions of the Keep. At first Xam doesn’t talk or offer any help or advice but after the stone is removed from the cell they find out that Xam had been trapped and waiting for rescue. He reveals that he was unable to move because of the evil energy in the dark stone and was meditating to keep himself safe from it’s influence. Also, in his time of meditation and study of the dark arcane object he finds that it is linked to the ritual to open the rift.

Sonnilion claims that the object must be taken back to Winterhaven and shown to the mage there. As they discuss their options the door is thrown open and a large human carrying a Holy Symbol and a Mace. He proclaims himself as Mikal Silverhand, a cleric of the Silver Flame. A group of Holy clerics of several different gods was sent to stop Kalarel from opening the rift. They completely cleared the lower areas of the keep and killed almost all of Kalarel hobgoblin guards, but were ambushed outside The Cathedral of Shadows. He was the only one able to get away. He pleads with the party to come with him immediately to interrupt the ritual.

Sonnilion and Redgar decide to split from the party and leave to ensure that the dark stone is taken from the keep. They say their goodbyes and depart for Winterhaven. The new party now consists of a human cleric, a dragonborn fighter, a human monk, a gnome artificer, and a half-orc ranger.

As the others leave the keep the remaining party members rush to interfere with the ritual, as it comes to its conclusion in the depths of the keep. Mikal rushes through the lower levels of the keep with the others on his tail. As they arrive at the spot where his group of clerics was attacked they noticed trails of blood leading into the next room. The door is slightly cracked and Nobi, slight and small, slips through the door unnoticed to take a peak.

He finds a large room with vaulted ceilings and various side chambers. He also finds a few humans, clothed in bulky robes, chanting in some evil tongue. There is also a human on the dias garbed in priestly robes with tatoos all over his face and hands. There are several pools of liquid, which appears to be blood, flowing into a hole in the center of the chamber. He reports his finding to the rest of the team and the party sneaks in to the Catherdral of Shadows. As they sneak into the chamber Nobi decides to use Ghost Sound to get the drop on them.

Nobi casts the spell to confuse the enemy and creates the sounds of battle right next to one of the humans. The rest of the party charges in and while they think they’ve got the advantage they hear piercing screams come from one of the side chambers. Crazed vampiric spawn rush out of the chamber like baby spiders from an egg sac. Mikal moves to block them off from the rest of the party and after taking a few hits, dispatches 4 of 5 with a well placed “turn undead” attack.

The humans shed their robs and rush the rest of the party and it is clear that they are enraged with bloodlust. The fight is brutal and after the Underpriest enters the fray up close it looks like the pary might of had it. Mikal is knocked unconcious but with some help from Nobi and his life tapping darts he is revived and casts his daily which pretty much makes it possible or the rest of the party to take down the Underpriest. Matrim plays a key role, landing the killing blow and shearing the priest’s head from his body.

The party regroups and decides to check out the hole in the center of the floor. As they lower Nobi down a dreadful scene is revealed. Kalarel stands, ready to complete the ritual to open the rift. Behind the rift there is a being of unimaginable evil waiting to be unleashed on the world…

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