A Harrowing Saga

Prologue: A Trek into Madness

Three adventurers: Cole, Halaster and Row, all of different backgrounds had various reasons for their journeys.

Cole, a half-dwarf that was created through genetic experimentation for hunting elder races in Saren was expunged of his service to the military, lost without a purpose. Working as a mercenary, he took a contract to serve as a body guard for the Sacred Exorcists that were to work in Sarenite colonies within Yokuda.

Halaster, a young sorcerer, a neophyte of the Sacred Exorcists journied with his mentor – Sid, as they were to exorcise a long destroyed Sarenite colony of demons, only to find that there was a larger conspiracy at stake.

Row, a pirate and sell sword took a contract as a guide for Sarenite colonists, unknown to him that their work would join them together.

Reaching the Sarenite colony of Westmarch not only exposed the complexity of the melded cultures of Yokuda and Saren, but the Emperor of Yokuda’s wrath.

Finding the old leader of the regiment that destroyed the Sarenite colony, Riyaki, had turned into an oni, or Yokudan devil – led the adventurers to mountains, one of which was an ancient pyramid, disguised as one of the peaks. Within this pyramid hid an ancient vampire necromancer, Shikan – who had stopped Riyaki from destroying all the Sarenite colonies.

She made an alliance with the heroes, in hopes that they can thwart the Emperor from engaging in a war that may not be stopped with Saren.

Taking a clump of Shikan’s hair, the heroes were teleported out of her crypt, only to find a small badger man tribe that aided them had been destroyed by Yokudan samurai….

The Start of a Legacy

Conclusion / End of Chapter 1
Standing in front of these Children of Aren, who have pushed forth the religion of their dead father, you Wardens have stood fast, dealing with demons, and devils that have slowly been bringing the realm into the darkness of the Abyss.
As you stand by the podium, and hearing the grind of the executioner’s axe, there’s little pity any of you feel for Vilmos. A pompous psychopath, who killed his own father for the crown, you all notice a line of armored men, and women being pushed ahead by Golden Hands.
They all wear the long leather coats of the Wardens, their armor and clothing dirty, and bloodied. You can’t see their faces under the filthy black hoods they wear.
Golden Hand troops quickly erect make-shift crucifixes behind the execution podium.
You stare curiously at your fellow Wardens, unsure of their identities.
There’s no room for action, as the Children of Aren ask that you watch, and take part in the birth of the God. Your weapons are stripped from you, and you are pushed back into the crowd.
Standing at face with the Golden visored helmets looking back at you, each Golden Hand wielding spears and tower shields, forcing anyone back that gets close, you all notice Silas, your leader, along with Harzden, and your legates hoods pulled off. Ariakas stands among them. They’re all wounded, tired, and weak.
Their cloaks are ripped from them, along with their armor. There’s one person missing – Cirdan, the Sacred Exorcist. She’s nowhere to be seen.
You all hear a whisper, it’s quiet. Almost as if the wind is speaking.
“My wardens, I am Eldrin. My blood flows through each of you, the rites and oaths you took to become wardens, to protect this realm, will die with you. Sterile, none of you will die from old age, or with families that will remember you. No, those after you will remember your deeds. It may be ages, before we can come back to protect the realm. It will not be today. This is no failure, but simply the cycle taking place. I am speaking to all of you now. Watch Silas, Ariakas and Harzden, along with your comrades. Betrayed by Nash, as you had learned. But learned too late. You had to fulfill the promise to Sekolah, and rightly you did. As wardens, sometimes demons are but ourselves. But our legacy will die today, and come back to the realm, in another time. Perhaps not soon. But the realm will be darker, than what it has been..”
There is a loud boom, and the ground quakes beneath your feet, as you see a mummified corpse. It’s hard to discern at first, but you can see that this is what was once Aren. Beside the four-armed demon, is an older mummy, covered in a shroud, one you’ve never seen. It’s Salun. You need not think, or feel, you feel his essence glowing beneath the shroud.
“We are grateful to have caught Vilmos for his crimes,” says the Prophet of Aren, as she approaches the podium.
The death knights of Drak Al’Than, the Hellhound stand beside you, watching.
He whispers to you, his voice low, and a rasp “I wish we could have fought to the death. Was a shame, back in the fallen city that you got away.”
As you turn your attention back to the Prophet, she takes off her miter, and places it on the ground. Her hair is long and black, and her pale, ashen skin is free of wrinkles. Her violet eyes scan the crowd, but they stop and look at you.
“It’s been a long time, our father passed many decades ago. You’ve all been worshipping the dead idol of our dear father, and savior, Aren.”
The crowd moans, some men and women begin to weep. Demons and half-fiends among them weep alike.
“But we have done research, with our inquisition, to bring forth a new god. One that brings our father, and Salun together.”
HERESY! THIS IS BLASPHEMY!” A man shouts from the crowd, throwing a stone.
The rock falls short, clanking against the shield of a golden hand.
“Hush, listen. This god, Salaren, seen by few, but this new faith coming from none but a Warden, will come, and lead us, and guide us to become one nation. As we speak, Calenhad is being assaulted by the Yokudans. We had to seize the city by force. The Church of Aren, we want peace. We want justice, and a land not of city states, but a land that is one state.”
“We don’t want your false god!” A woman screams from behind you.
“We understand, as it has been centuries that our father has been dead. But he is here, and has been here, following his path, we guide you to a new one. Not as his children, but as your brothers and sisters. We’ve caught the Wardens, with the help of the Sparrows, who will be tried for treason across the realm. They’ve committed acts of grand treachery against all city states by hunting demons, and half-demons, who are citizens, like the elder races, and human men and women. These mutants will be tried along with Vilmos, and their blood will be the fuel for our true god to come forth. Let the ceremony begin.”
There’s an uneasy silence amongst the crowd, and a drone, as a long line of Arenite priests, wearing hooded robes, and waving sconces of incense, passing through the crowd, muttering a chant in Abyssal. People step aside, as the priests walk to the podium. One of them passes a folded up item to Zoretha, the Chancellor of the Inquisition, who unfolds it. A phylactery.
You hear Drak Al’Than, deathknight, grip at his neck, he curses under his breath.
“They… betrayed me. BLOODY HELLS UPON -
Drak is cut off, as Zoretha crushes his phylactery over the mummified corpse of Salun.
A black ooze splashes over the mummy.
Drak and his death knights claw at their eyes. They throw off their helmets, their rotten, skulls become enveloped in an azure flame. The crowd separates, confused, and in awe, seeing these powerful servants of Aren die before them.
They wreathe in flame, dancing madly, and screaming, before crumbling into dust.
The mummified body of Aren is placed ontop of Salun, and the black ooze begins to envelop both of them.
You can’t see past the podium, but Silas, Harzden, Ariakas, nor your comrades put up any fight against the Golden Hands.
The hammering can be heard, and howls as your fellow wardens are crucified. They dangle from their crucifixes, shirtless, and covered in wounds, with Vilmos shoved down onto a large stone. The muscled imposing executioner heaves a massive, sharp axe down onto his skull, not neck, splattering Vilmos’ brains and skull into the crowd.
Arenite priests carry the mummys onto the podium. You see a long jab made in between the second rib of each warden, their blood flowing into a bronze basin, and they each begin to wail and sob uncontrollably. These men, and women, with skills, and resolve that are unmatched, cry, openly before you.
Silas looks up, interrupting the commotion.
“You, I, we will not survive. But we will not die, our thread merely will go on anew. Brace yourselves…”
Silas, is cut short, as the haft of a halberd slews his head off his neck. This is done to each warden. Ariakas shakes on his crucifix violently. “GO ON DO IT.” It takes the Golden Hand several swings to lop off his head.
The basin, filled with the blood of the wardens, is brought up to the stand, and the Arenite priest, still muttering in Abyssal, pours the blood over both mummies.
“This was the last part needed, not the spear, for the birth of Salaren…. hear… see… feel his presence.”
The ground quakes again, violently. The sky trembles, and stark, blue bolts of lightning crackle in the sky. The clouds have turned into a light pink, and the air smells sweet.
The mummies both jolt. Covered in blood, and ooze from Drak’s phylactery, you can’t hear the prophet of aren, but she kneels down, and whispers something. The mummies have become one. A slick, single had shoots up from the shroud, and rips out her throat.
Pushing up from the ground, this single figure, covered in blood, and black ooze, begins to glow. The ground quakes again, and shakes violently. Many fall to their feet, staring at this being.
Tall, with blond hair, his cold ice-like eyes stare at those beneath him. He floats, his arms outstretched.
He doesn’t speak, instead, there’s a voice you all hear.
“I have risen, I am back, from death, the creator of both Void and Abyss, of this plane, and the next. I am Salaren, born of a God, and Demon, and I shall rule you all with the mercy that courses through all our souls. For we are all now one.”
Bilgrum, cowers, and breaks into a feverish state, weeping, and bellowing.
You feel the ground move, and hear ripping, and tearing as the city begins to ascend to the sky.
“Saint Cinnard no more, this will be a city of delight, of worship, of the highest beings, where mortals can live with a God. I shall have it, first, that this city, be bound to the realm by chain, that no man shall be a slave, not ever again. We shall have Yokuda rejoin us, and the elder races become one.”
People are screaming, and frantically charge at the podium, to try and reach this grand being.
The ground beneath you groans, and it’s not soon, that you feel yourselves cascading down, and beneath you, you can see a massive valley, with a hole having broken open from right where you stood.

Many years later.
There’s a woman, cloaked. A man sits beside her, smoking a pipe, his hair is salt and pepper, but a hood covers his face. A single candle flickers in a long hall, with statues of men, built of stone lining each side. Several young men sit before her, listening.
The voice of a woman.
“Orden, of the north, a druid. Frozen, for his actions, forgotten by his tribe, but blamed by his own self, that awoke with him. He was lost from Gavin, and Bilgrum.
Lost in a valley with no name, he headed north, discarding his long coat, wearing furs, and hunting down, this Id, Sif, his name was, that was chasing him like a ghost.
Though he slew this Sif, with years of chasing, he went back to his tribe, seeking repent. They shunned him, and he went back to the one place, the Aegis, the fortress of the Wardens, to see if he could find Gavin, and Bilgrum.
Gavin went on, through the valley, and sought out Stephen. An old friend, once a true knight, ruined, perhaps in fault by Gavin.
Stephen, was a ghost of who he was. Dark, and evil, twisted by a simple sword. It was said, that a group of men watched in the woods, as this mage, and dark knight battled for three days, before the mage left. None knew where. But Gavin went, north to Aedirn, to seek out what remained of the fortress. To see, if his friends, were alive.
Bilgrum, was maddened. His own gospel, and teachings spread like wild fire. He went to try and gain some respect, and threw away his long coat, to teach after what happened, but he was going mad. Delusions, hallucinations. He remembered, a time ago, when he traveled as a Warden. Remembering that he was told to meet at the Aegis, to seek out the traitors in the ranks.
Bilgrum rode for days, alone, finding a burned down, sacked fortress. There he saw Orden, and Gavin, both old, and weary. They shared stories, and told each other what they did alone, and how the Wardens, though once great, were dead.
What they did not know, was I waited for them. As an elf, I live much longer than other races. I told them not to fear, and that though the Wardens were dead, and forgotten by many, the Sacred Exorcists would exist, and put out the flame of which to Salaren had been born. Which is why, each of you is now here with myself… and Vlad.
We are not struggling, no, but we go under the guise of exorcists, an aid to society, we deal with what Salaren deems unworthy, but our goal is to dethrone a God that does not belong. And you now, seeing this hall, where Wardens are entombed, now can see the legacy that lived before you, and the legacy that you will finish.”
Each of the young men look at the statues. They are all wardens, with names engraved beneath them. Silas, Ariakas, Harzden, and last but not least, Gavin, Bilgrum, and Orden.
The woman, pulls off her hood. It’s Cirdan. She looks like she hasn’t aged
“I’ll be teaching you, and making you into what these men once were: heroes.”

Tides of War

The Wardens succeeded in stopping Sekolah, and came to meet the Queen of Quelos’nira, where she granted them safe passage back to the surface, along with their thanks. They came to the small port of Quelos’nira, finding Vlad the Jack of All Trades waiting for them.

In the distance, they saw ships none had never seen. Bilgrum and Gavin concluded the ships were Yokudan. They were greeted by Hido Nakamura, second admiral of the Yokudan Empire.

The admiral informed the Wardens that he had tried communicating with Emperor Vilmos, and told the Wardens that the emissary his Shogun had sent was sent back dead, and in Yokuda, this was a sign of war.

They made it clear to the wardens they would be assaulting, and bombarding Calenhad, which was under siege by the Golden Hands.

Heading to Calenhad with the Yokudan admiral, the Wardens boarded an assault ship with ninja from the Yokudan army, that would accompany the Wardens to shore.
Orden, suggested instead of attacking the city, they help any survivors instead of attacking the Golden Hands. Gavin and Bilgrum agreed with Orden’s plan, and instead of storming the city, they climbed through a broken down wall.

Screams of city folk being slaughtered were heard as they headed to the port. At the city square, they saw the Yokudan ships blasting the portside of the city, while seeing the main gates of the city being flooded by Golden Hands.

The attack of the Golden Hands was unknown to the Wardens, and as they reached the port, they saw that the city guard were getting as many survivors on ships as they could, and told them that the Children of Aren were commanding the Golden Hands to take over Cintra, and unify the city states as one, where this new god “Salaren” was somehow going to be brought to life.

They were informed that many lost souls were heading to Saint Cinnard, where the ritual was taking place.

The Wardens headed there, and found a young knight, blindfolded, and wounded roadside, a Cintran Knight who agreed to come with them. He explained he had surrendered, and agreed to work with the Golden Hands. He lead the Wardens to Saint Cinnard, where flocks of men and women from all of Cintra, and other City States were flooding the gates. With pushing through the crowds, the capital was under too much stress of so many travelers. Crowds of people filled the streets, all curious, and wary of what was taking place. This rumor of a new god being birthed spawned many to come from the realm to come.

Upon reaching the city square, they noticed the Children of Aren, and a large arm of Golden Hands holding off the crowds. A makeshift wood podium stood, with an executioner sharpening an axe on a grindstone.

They saw a gaunt, and gagged Vilmos, bound to a chair behind the podium. The young knight brought them to the Children of Aren, who informed the Wardens they no longer needed the spear that killed Salun to bring back Salaren, the rebirth of Salun, and their father together, as one true god.

Vilmos was to be tried for his injustice and murder of his father, as custom in most City States, and with the Church of Aren having a higher political power than a City State, the Children of Aren saw it fit that Vilmos was to die by execution prior to Salaren’s birth.

With deliberation, the Wardens realized they could neither stop the birth of this new god, or the death of Vilmos, and stood in the center of a change that would shake the realm whole.

Yokuda is now encroaching upon Saren, a new god, Salaren is to be birthed.
With Cintra to be now taken over by the Golden Hands, and Maribor, the Church of Aren is unifying the City States by force.

Usual Suspects
The Exorcism of Iaren Duran

The Wardens were given a letter of urgency, requesting their aid in an exorcism of the Countess Duran’s plea from Rinde, derailing their plans to seek voyage to the sea elven city of Quelos’nira.

The Countess’ daughter, had been stricken with possession from a devil known as Ehrain, unknowingly the fault of her butler, Galen Medici, a necromancer of Slaanar, an elder evil from the Abyss.

Seeking to gain control over Rinde, Galen had preemptively summoned Ehrain to take hold over the Countess’ daughter as a ploy for priests, and exorcists to attempt getting rid of the powerful devil, and in turn, killing them on their way out of the town, and stealing them of any coffers for his own use.

The Wardens, with the knowledge of Bilgrum, prepared for the exorcism, where Ehrain was banished back to the Abyss. He prepped his fellow companions on what to expect at the town library.

Coming in contact with an ancient Arenite summoning relic, they still know not what it summons, but kept the idol anyway, however, instead using a Salunite talisman that once belonged to the town alchemist’s late wife.

With the devil banished, and the necromancer Galen magically imprisoned, Bilgrum struck the man’s foot with his khopesh, and made sure he could not flee (though he was also blind).

Hearing the cries of the townsfolk, the Wardens and Nash went downstairs after saving the Countess from nearly being murdered, they found a mob lead by the town Alderman, who sought vengeance for the plague that they felt the Countess’ family was to blame.

Armed with weapons, farm tools, and torches, the town wants a lynching, but they know little of how long Galen’s magic has been at work.

The Deal

The Wardens have been established. Many consider them a mercenary company, or an independent military.

After assisting Loz with slaughtering the Sons of Aren, or beastmen as they are more commonly known, they found the fortress that was being used by the beastmen, formerly Loz’s fortress, assaulted, and set to flames.

Elector Count Leopold of Stormhold breached the fortress when he heard word that a band of mercenaries was fighting the beastmen, and took advantage of the timing and destroyed what was left of the beastman scourge.

Loz and the Warden heroes found the fortress was in ruin. Leopold took the remaining were-barbarian women who were left as captives, against Loz’s wishes.

The Wardens would travel with Leopold to St. Cinnard, where they were informed that the Emperor wanted to meet with them.

They would stay at the Crested Duck, where they met with Ariakas at the Hooked Scabbard, and find out the Cabal was going to attack them, as they were still being hunted.

Nash Meltzer of the Sparrows, a mercenary company requested that he set up a long term contract with the Wardens for the benefit of both organizations. He admitted he was formerly a Cabal member, but wanted the Cabal dead.

Meeting with Emperor Vilmos Cinnard, the Warden heroes and Nash negotiated they would assist Cintra in diplomatic relations with the sea elves, who were attacking Cintran trade ships.

Currently the heroes are waiting to hear from Ariakas about the coup to where Silas’ commanders are attempting to overthrow him.

The Aegis, and The New Age of Strife

A year and a half has passed, and the wardens and the heroes have vanquished the undead threat that plagued Aedirn for over a century.

Prince Tiberius was recognized as the true ruler of Aedirn, and regained his people’s faith when he announced that Aedirn would ally itself with the Wardens.

A small group of peace keepers, traveling through the city states in secret, the Wardens no longer had to hide, as they cleared out an old fortress at the base of the Wyvern’s Crown Mountains.

The Aegis Fortress has become formidable, but the Wardens now must regroup, and create a new identity that they must embrace. Known as the “Aegis” in the elder tongue, they are now protectors of the realm, however still unrecognized as more than just Salunite mercenaries, or militarized zealots.

The Primarch Silas has plans for the Wardens, who now with a fortress, must begin to break the city-states in the realm to form an allied nation against Yokuda, which has promised war against Saren.

After Helmgard being destroyed by Skysong, the great dragon haunts Reikland, Redania and Aedirn, while his cult grows.

Sekolah awaits the heroes to go to Quelos’nira, an ancient acquatic sea elf city, to begin worshipping her again.

King Vilmos Cinnard, has renamed Erusmea, his father’s old capital in his name to St. Cinnard, proclaiming his father of sainthood, after it is now known that he plotted a coup to overthrow his father’s rule – where now the tension between Reikland and Cintra have risen, as Vilmos sees much of Reikland territory open for taking.

Maribor is recovering from the death of their Emperor, now with the Empress Siggot in power, the country is in shambles, being run by Aren’s three children, who still seek the Taint, the spear that killed Salun.

Redania, having stayed neutral throughout the issues of other city states, is one of few that now is looking to have an alliance be made, though reaching it will be hard, as the elder races have segregated themselves from older cities, and Redania still lacks a true ruler.

The Sons of Aren, the unrecognized bastard children spawned from orgies that Aren had, still plague the countryside, and are a threat to all city states. Their location is still unknown, though reports have claimed they have a hidden fortress somewhere at the Belt of Aren.

King Vilmos is known to be working with the Children of Aren to have the ritual to summon Salaren occur, but when, it is unknown, only when the Taint can be claimed, will the ritual be able to take place, and allow Salaren to take physical shape.

The Blood Spilled for the Good of Many, over the Good of Few
Larissa and Alder: The Choice of a Lesser of Two Evils

The four heroes rode out through the Heartlands, and met with Larissa, the former professor of the University of Magi, rumored to be a witch. They learned that mercenaries sent here were slain, and she had created a small enclave, a camp – where she was training boys and girls the art of magic.

Labeled a witch by Unghausen, the heroes learned Lord Alder, had Thorn Unger’s mother, and he family slain, and after finding out the University was destroyed, and the order of magic in the realm thrown upside down, wanted to create a new University, that he would control and direct with the help of the Salamanders.

The heroes had a big choice to make. Larissa, in order to bring back Skysong, the Silver Dragon, had to realize eight souls of cultists would be destroyed so he could be released into the mortal realm, and unbound from the abyss and void.

Each hero had their futures read, mysteriously by Larissa, and decided it would be best to help Thorn throw a coup – with assassinating Alder, and installing Thorn as the new Lord of Unghausen. When Thorn would overtake holding of the fiefdom, he would set out to hold a tribunal, for the actions of his father, and ask for aid from Reikland to build a new University of Magi, which would undoubtedly, take years to build.

The heroes then set forth, with Thorn, and Hugo to sculpt a path that resurrect the university among the magi, wizards, and sorcerers left without any support, and bring a new sense of order to the realm.

The Web and the Journey to Install a True Ruler
Bringing revenge upon a Chancellor, and regaining a holdfast.

Heading to the Library of Time, and meeting with the Arch Meister Cuiffon, he explained to the Wardens the meaning of the Taint, and the cycle, and web of time. He explained to them the meaning of their endeavor, that regardless of the choice they would make that the taint would find itself in the hands of the children of Aren, no matter their choice.

They left the Library, and outside of the Library was a massive fist of Golden Hands, led by Vinard, who threatened the Wardens with arrest to bring the Taint to Cintra. They plane shifted to the Abyss, and found themselves in the Abyssal plane of the Peaks of Solus in Reikland. They found themselves in a cave, where a massive demonic drake, advised them he was the keeper of dead Drow souls, and they headed inward, to the domain, and city of Drow who worshipped Calinth, a succubus who had taken hold of their city.

Meeting with the captain of Calinth’s army, they met with the Succubus Queen of the Drow, who asked the Wardens to undertake something, to get revenge on her dead husband – to kill the Chancellor of Aedirn – a vampire who had him murdered to keep her from stopping Vampirism spread in the City-State. With hesitance, and driving Owain to rage, Orden was convinced by Bilgrum this would benefit them as Calinth would offer them her army of Drow to the Warden’s aid during a time of strife and war.

They learned an old Warden keep lay in waiting in Aedirn, most likely now occupied by undead, and went on a new journey to install Owain’s brother as the new leader of Aedirn, and destroy the undead plight that was ravaging the City-State.

The Pull of the Cycle
Leaving Shrike, and the Taint

The heroes awakened in Malcanther’s temple, where they met the succubus who explained to them they were the patrons of Shrike. Todd, an old friend guided them out of the city, where they saw demons and devils of all sorts cheering and shouting that they had gotten the taint.

Being advised they were granted leave by the Counsel of Shrike, Malcanther bestowed Bilgrum with a pendant of Shrike, which could teleport them all back to Shrike once in a time of need.

They exited Shrike, to a black cloud over Tho-Siggot, where they met a planetar angel who wanted them to give her the Taint.

She asked them to give her the Taint, and after arguing, she called upon the city an earthquake, where they fought her. Nearly killing Bilgrum, and taking control of Orden’s fire elementals, Taryn netherblasted her and made her explode into a cloud of golden blood.

The black cloud faded, and the taint on Tho-Siggot was cleansed. The heroes ventured south to Dagon’s Rock, where they found the Warden’s slaughtered horses. They saw the corpses of wardens and pit fiends lying in the snow of the fortress. Entering the chambers of the fortress, they found more dead wardens, and heard labored breathing down the hall.

There, slumped against the wall, with his intestines hanging out, Ariakas sat, clenching the Rituals of the Wardens – a tome that he fought to keep from being stolen.

He explained to them the true purpose of resurrecting Salaren, and bringing suffering to Saren, so that the Wardens may regroup, and destroy Salaren. By destroying the mortal god, they would put an end to having the abyss and void, and have a single plane of existence so that the cycle may continue as it had once begun.

Orden argued that Ariakas had lied to them – which he did, otherwise they would not join the Wardens. He asked if there was another way to destroy the Taint other than using it to bring suffering. Ariakas explained the place to start would be the Library of Time, though it was foretold that no matter where they go, the web, the cycle would go on, as they are but threads in the cycle that would keep weaving with – or without them.

The sacrifice and the underbelly of Shrike
Pacts, taint, and promises to devil gods.

The wardens met Sekolah, where they accepted her offer. Being branded as her champions, they agreed to find the ancient sea elf city beneath the crags by cutter’s neck in the south of the realm. They are tasked to convincing their queen to bring back their beliefs in Sekolah, to where she would assist them in a time of need. Bestowed as her champions, the devil goddess threw them from the sea to the shores of Tho-Siggot where they met Taryn and her companion Vlad, a pair of thieves who said they were there to escort the wardens to Tho-Siggot.

Upon reaching Tho-siggot, they noticed the city itself was mostly rubble. Many citizens were paralyzed in stone, their faces twisted in agonizing horror. They reached the great hall of the castle keep, and encountered the hell hound – Drak Al’Than, a liche, and traitor of Karn, who waited for them at the dusted throne, with his three death knights.

He explained to them he would let them get to the undercity, under the condition they fought one of his death knights as a group as a source of entertainment. Zed took it upon himself to fight the death knight one-on-one, where he was defeated mercilessly. Losing the bet with Drak, the wardens and their companions headed down a slide, that dumped them on a pile of rotted corpses.

Climbing down the pile, they reached a massive room, with a demonic butcher cutting up dead demons, and boiling them in a pair of pots. Meat hooks hung from the ceilings, with chunks of dried demon meat. He attacked the wardens, and Vlad the Vandal slew the creature in a pair of strikes.

After searching the butcher’s room, they came into a worker demon hauling a pushcart of corpses, who Zed followed into the room of corpses. As the others headed down a rope bridge, past a bubbling dead lake, to the squalor of the slums below. They heard a thunderous bang, and saw the demon worker heading back with Zed’s decapitated, nude corpse in the cart with his belongings. “He drew his sword,” the demon worker said, as he unloaded Zed’s corpse. “Dinner time!” Zed’s companions divided his gear amongst themselves and headed along to another rope bridge, where they waited in line to board a ferry to cross to the main part of Shrike.

An officious imp informed them they needed to sign waivers, and they entered a building for “Living” where three armored demons heckled them for their luck to survive Shrike. A demonic, hook nosed clerk behind a desk gave them waivers prior to boarding a freighter for mortals. Smiley Tom, the ferryman informed them they could find the spear Taint in the temple district.

After getting off the docks, and unloading their loot with a merchant who they almost drove to violence, they headed to the Horn, a tavern where they met a former golden hand, tainted, and turned into a devil priest. He led them to the temple of Vinard, where he explained that Malcanther, the Queen of Succubi, and keeper of the Taint would deal with them to get hold of the spear.

Bilgrum prayed to Salaren, who said to get the spear, they would need to make a sacrifice.

Malcanther asked if they would offer Vlad as a sacrifice, so he could be tortured and publicly executed. After examining Taryn, she said Taryn’s pact to her would suffice. Taryn abided, and became bound to the Succubi Queen.

She led the group down to the chambers below the temple, where she led them to the tomb of King Jarmun, the betrayer of Salun, where his mummified corpse gripped the taint, the spear giving off such a dark aura that faces of horror and pain swirled within his tomb. Orden approached, and gripped the spear, and Jarmun awoke for a brief moment, releasing a death rattle. They placed the spear in their bag of holding, and accepted Malcanther’s offering of them to rest within her temple before working on leaving the accursed city on the lower level of the abyss.


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