Into the Vault
The party had run down into the vault below the city, where people had gone to collect the Eye of Koreph. If you recall, it was revealed at the end of the last game that Lyria Veyne, the tiefling from the mage university, was actually one of the prophets of Rakashir. Everyone was worried about her motives in getting the Eye of Koreph.
You head down there, led by Minaste Gardelaine, and accompanied by Wilfred and Heckle. Belias was already in there, having accompanied the original party that went down there.
As you journeyed in there, Minaste explains to you how the vaults work. There’s a key required to open the vault itself, but then within the vault are several smaller vaults that each require their own key. The key to the entire vault is for someone who is fully devoted to the defense of the city to sacrifice their own life. They key to the actual Eye of Koreph is not known by Minaste.
The vault is set within a large chamber. A platform extends into the middle of the chamber, with three staircases going down from it; one to the right, the left, and straight ahead. At the bottom of each staircase is a smaller structure, containing smaller vaults.
The party sees, on the platform before the stairs, the corpse of Rosalyn Vadalla, who paid the price to open the vault. Around her are several other corpses, of those who journeyed into the vault. Her own son, Lucien Vadalla (or Adrien… I lost track of which is which), is there, alive, but severely wounded.
“They’re not after the Eye,” he says. “It was all a lie – they were after something else,”
He explains that, after the price had been paid to unlock the vaults, Belias had hurried down the stairs straight ahead, entering the vault that had the Eye; it was after this that Lyria betrayed everyone, before heading down the stairs to the left, to go after something in a different structure. Lucien claims that she had brought with her an old man, tied up. into the vault.
“She said they needed to ‘rend the mortal flesh of a god’
As the party rushes into that structure, they see that Lyria has, in her hands, an object that she has just taken from the vault. At her feet lies the corpse of an old man, which the party recognizes as Valthren the Prescient, the old man that had been taken from Winterhaven. He must have been the key to opening this smaller vault.
Lyria uses magic to fey-step past the party, and runs up the stairs to the platform. At that moment, there’s a blood curdling scream heard from the structure that Belias is said to have gone into.
On the central platform, the party fights against Lyria. It’s a pretty cool fight… However, in the moments before the party can slay Lyria, something happens.
This is the big part – I even scripted it before the game, to make sure I did it right. As such, here’s what I wrote….
The air is suddenly filled with a sound akin to mournful howls carried on the wind. Each of you experience a brief moment of excruciating pain, and then darkness. Slowly, light returns, and you see that you’re exactly where you were, within the ruins. You realize, now, that you cannot move; your body is frozen in place. Lyria appears to be unphased, standing in the middle of the stone platform. She’s looking out beyond your field of vision, towards the stairs on the left.
“Well, my dear Brother, I must say… your timing is impeccable!” she says.
Into the ring steps a large figure, garbed in ornate robes that are drenched in the blood that still flows from the stump of his right arm. Clutched in his left hand is a strange sigil, carved of a jet black material. It’s Belias.
“Ral Fayn’s task is complete, dear sister; ready your portal.”
Lyria pouts, “Oh, and leave this lot here? They are at our mercy; it would be a shame to let such an opportunity go to waste.”
Just out of the corner of your eye, you can see Wilfred’s fingers twitching; he is somehow resisting the effects of the magic.
“I have what I came for; you have what you came for. Let us be done here!”
At that moment, Wilfred springs into motion, having cast of the magical shackles that hold the rest of you in place, beginning the incantations of a powerful spell.
“Razath Anar’y’shak!” shouts Belias, and a stream of flame erupts from the sigil in his outstretched arm. The flames engulf Wilfred, and with a scream he is knocked to the ground. As the red fire courses over the fallen wizard, Belias turns back to Lyria.
“Your portal! We are finished, here!”
Lyria frowns, “If you insist.” She begins her own ritual, handing the spike off to Belias, who tucks both artifacts into his robes.
[Singling out Nathan]
At your side, Nathan, you see an apparition of the being that has been haunting you. He looks at Wilfred, still writhing in flames, then turns his gaze towards the two tieflings. His visage carries a dangerous look. “Justice, my heir. These two deserve a just punishment. You bear my bow; my legacy. You are the judge, the jury, and the executioner. You are the Talon of Law.” You feel yourself loosed from the magical restraints. “Deliver swift justice.”
At that moment, Lyria has completed her ritual, and a portal begins to open up.
As you lunge towards them, black chains burst forth, reaching for Belias and Lyria. The two of them are ensnared, just as they step through the portal. Linked by these otherworldly chains, you are yanked into the portal after them. The grip of these chains is strong, however, and they refuse to allow the tieflings to reach their destination. The three of you are trapped, standing in a limbo between two points in the mortal plane.
“I’m sorry, sister,” Belias begins, though his face paints a picture of satisfied hatred. “I see no other way.”
With the utterance of an eldritch incantation, a rift tears in the demiplane upon which you all stand. A powerful force pulls Lyria into it, and drags you along with her. The chains holding Belias are snapped, and he disappears, whilst you and Lyria plunge into an unknown realm.
Nathan and Lyria find themselves in another realm, amidst great forest/jungles. Lyria seems to have broken her legs in the fall into this realm, and is crippled. She shouts curses at Nathan, blames him, etc. He just walks away. He’s finds a good vantage point, and for as far as he can see, he’s surrounded by wilderness. We left it at that, for him. He is lost in a realm wherein he is most comfortable. Perhaps in another two years he’ll have found his way out of there.
Back at the vault, everyone was sad, because Wilfred was dead, Belias had betrayed them, and so far as they knew, Nathan was gone, as well.
Suneun did a little eulogy for Wilfred.
Lucien Vadalla had begun crawling towards the chamber that held the Eye of Koreph, determined to take it, so that his mother’s death was not in vain. The party stopped him, because he was obviously in a very unstable condition.
Looting the Vaults.<. />
Despite everything that had happened, the party all wanted to check out what was in these vaults. In each of the three chambers, there were three vaults, each paired with a riddle, which would suggest the price that had to be paid. Given who makes up our party, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that every vault was looted.
Contents = Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals, Tome of Understanding.
Price = “The Flames Shall Fade”
Faydra was willing to risk this price. It manifested in the form of a high-level fireball spell to her face. Worth it.
Contents = The Hajaali Spike
A spike of blue-tinged metal, one of three to be used in a ritual to summon gods.
Price = “Rend the Mortal Flesh of a God”
This is what Lyria was after. Valthren, the man they stole from the Winterhaven, was actually an old god, walking in mortal flesh. He is murdered to unlock the gate.
Contents = 9th-Level spell scroll “Astral Projection” and Javelin of Lightning
Price = “The Storm Shall Pass”
Faydra also went for this one. Lightning bolt, to the face. Brought her below 0 hp, but didn’t kill her.
Contents = The Eye of Koreph.
Price = “Carry the Eternal Burden”
The party debated what to do, here. Ultimately, it was determined that the Eye of Koreph should be removed from this city. James was willing to take on that responsibility, and pay whatever price was in store.
As James committed to paying the price, he was greeted by the vision of an elderly woman, who looked completely exhausted. She was chained to a great host of other souls. She thanked James, then disappeared, and the chains linked on to James’ soul.
He now carried the weight of every soul that had been slain by the Eye of Koreph. Several thousand were from times the Eye had been used by the people of Vol-Thagoryx, in the past, while tens of thousands more had been slain by it in untold ages.
He passed out, immediately, and in a comatose state he was individually greeted by each soul that was chained to him, who recounted to him the moments of their deaths, and the life they would never have.
Contents = Amulet of the Planes, Scimitar of Speed
Price = “Forsake Thy House, Curse They Home”
Tongar took the risk of paying this price. A voice asked him “What do you call home?”. He tried to answer that he had no home, but the voice persisted. He finally answered that the Sea is his home. Immediately upon that thought, his love of the sea is replaced by loathing. Never again will he feel at home at sea, and never again shall he find a place to call home.
Contents = Sigil of Adarakk
This is a powerful artifact, said to be capable of slaying a god. It’s not a match for the Eye of Koreph in sheer destructive force, but it has its uses.
Price = “Trust Not Thine Right Arm”
As we saw, Belias had an entire arm destroyed in order to unlock this vault.
Contents = Armor of Nyzh (pronounced neezh)
A suit of armor that can, at will, be sent to a pocket dimension, or retrieved. When it reappears, it is automatically on the wearer.
Price = “Sunder the Armor of the Mind”
Suneun, with great hesitancy, decided to take on this price. There was no immediate effect, but it can be assumed, from the riddle, that she will see some consequences, soon.
Contents = Skalamandas
The spear that struck down the the dragon, Skael. It has the power to control the great blue dragon.
Price = “Behold as Does the Wyrm”
Amirah paid this price, and her eyes were burned out by black fire. She can now only see as through the vision of the blue dragon, Skael, who is imprisoned somewhere else below the city.
Contents = Qi Xion’s Cube
A five-inch cube of ornately carved wood. Any amount of money can be pulled from the cube, at will. However, there may be some adverse consequences paired with this effect.
Price = “Thy Greed Shall Mark Thee”
Tierriaryi wasted no time in paying this price. As a result, the rogue was stricken with a sudden mutation! Randomly determined from a Mutation table in another rpg, Tierriaryi now has two additional arms. Oops.
Arrival of the Iceshard
The party left the vault and went to sleep (they needed it). The next morning, it was learned that the enemy army had regrouped and been reinforced. They were preparing for another assault.
In addition, something is sighted out at sea, to the northwest of the city. A great iceberg, which appears to be some magical moving fortress, commanded by the remaining dekarii prophets! It assails the city with a bombardment of ice crystals. The Nekaris Shores, district, at the north end of the city, is completely destroyed.
Pinned between the giant iceberg fortress, known as the Iceshard, and the army that has regrouped for another attack, the party is in a dangerous predicament.