The Silk Road
At the Masters' Shrine:
We knock on the brass knockers, front double doors open on their own. Looks exactly as was seen before. We find the Servant meditating upstairs at the same spot as before. Now in front of him is a wrought iron tripod, large glass or crystal sphere atop it. He's not meditating, but observing into the sphere.
Duncan "Hail servant of the Masters." He does not turn to look, but acknowledges us with greetngs.
Duncan "We come with questions, seeking answers."
"Ask, and hear the wisdom of the Masters."
Duncan details the ship, our knowledge of Ilithid and such, then is completely upfront about our concerns about him and the veiled masters.
He says the veiled masters don't seek worship, but obedience. He is not working with nor for nor worshipping them; knows the lingering effects of their former presence is permanent in this area. Sort of a poor choice of words, and ethereal veil separates where they masters are from here, they still speak to him through it; it is still possible with the right magiks. He does so often, still hear their voices. They impart their wisdom, guide him, etc.
D "So why did they leave? Was it voluntary?"
He does not get to ask questions, they simply tell him things. Its a one way communication. His story of it being his fault matches what we heard already. But, he has discovered how to make it right, how to mend the wounds he was the cause of and set things back to the natural order. All via the Masters. Its too beyond understanding to explain with words "but I can show you." We follow him downstairs to a secret rectory.
On the way down "What do you have locked up down there and why?"
"Its in the rectory, the great balancer, that thing the Masters explained to me on how to bring the world back to order."
D "Using it for what?" To reset the world, back to the way its supposed to be. Not sure how yet, talks haven't gotten that far.
D "How do you know you're talking to the Masters and not being tricked?" He's spoken to enough Masters in his life to know.
As we approach the basement, we can hear the thumping heard before, and the scratching.
D "What were you looking at in the orb? Is that how they speak to you?" Its the focus to strengthen the commune. "Always has and always will." He has had it since just before they vanished. Then it was just a regular crystal ball, later they started calling him through it, long glimpses of the future even centuries ahead. Can communicate to another crystal, or see what its being used for. Its the Master crystal ball of all balls.
We get downstairs to the door. All seems fine to Duncan, Bligh, TK and Grumpet.
Mulligan, Archileus and Toro feel an odd energy, almost more like a thought pervading the area, domating and powerful.
Arisaan feel it too, but knows its truly malevolent.
Mulligan "Do you feel that?"
Tore "More I sense it. like a cloud of thought all around."
Arisaan "Its more than that, its evil, I can feel its malevolence."
Grumpet then picks up on it, the most uncomfortable of all "It's not of nature."
Duncan "What in the hells do you have down here?"
"For all these years I've been tormented with the knowledge that there is no forgiveness nor redemption, but there is a way to make things as right as they can be."
Arisaan "Nothing this evil can make things right."
His eyes shut, hands cross into his sleeves. We hear movement in the dark of the hallway further.
Servant "Behind this door, behold, the great balancer, the one who will set things right."
An eery red emination begins at his sleaves, out of his hooded face. From down the hall comes a sliding or dragging sound. The doorway fades out of existence revealing a huge room full of books and the like in a rectory. A man sized humanoid form lurks, we see a silouette. 3 Yuan Ti, 2 half snake half man the other full big snake with arms, make their way down the hall for us.
Mulligan "You've laid a trap for us!"
W/o moving at all "I have laid no traps for anyone, you just happened to be here at teh right time."
Grumpet "The right time for what?"
The sound of this humanoid things voice wails as if in horrible torment and pain.
Archileus "Some friend, Pollux Malenko."
Arisaan lashes out with her new scimitar at the Servant. Mulligan and Arch move up and block the Yuan Ti as Grumpet warps the bows in hand of the 2 lessers, the creature in the room moves to the doorway, a man shaped ooze of crimson ichor. Like blood. Duncan leaps past it into the room and the 2 of them engage.
Th 2 lesser YT draw scimitars and stay put. TK moves and attacks the Servant. The big YT moves up to Mulligan and Archileus and engages.
Malenko is shocked at the Servants turn to apparent evil so casts upon the big YT, hurling a flaming arcane bolt.
Mulligan hears voices in his head calling for him to join the enemy but resists.
The Servant begins laughing maniacally, making up silly rhymes of death and the end of the world etc, hits Toro with an inflict wounds. He starts bleeding from all his orifices and pours.
Duncan sees that the blood from the Servant is trickling unnaturally to the ooze man, as is Toro's. Toro then slays the insane traitor and he crumples to the floor. In his eyes, Toro sees a moment of clarity in his eyes as he falls to his knees. There "It's all clear now, it wasn't my fault, and I have been forgiven" and falls dead.
He then spots in the room, on a shelf, is a small idol, more of a charm, of Master Bruce! Whom Toro's swords belonged to! And feels as though its beckoning him to retrieve it. His blades glow lightly through the Servants blood.
Arisaans's scimitar has the same glow. Bligh joins Duncan vs the blood man, striking it with the Wooden Blade.
The blood man attacks with a number of pseudopods, hitting both D and Bligh once. Arisaan starts sopping up the flowing blood with moss and fungis from the walls and floor.
Toro joins vs the blood man now as TK attacks with his glaive over Arch and Mull.
Mulligan drops the big YT. The other 2 move in.
The blood thing lashes out, crit on Toro and grapples him to draw him into itself. It's licking up the blood off of him.
The lesser 2 YT move in and Archileus immediately kills one.
Toro hacks the tendril off, freeing himself. Grumpet slays it with a dehydration spell!! Mulligan brings down the last YT.
Toro retrieves the Master Lee charm. He feels blessed by Master Lee. When using unarmed attacks, grappling, or cinematic stunts and such, gets plus 2 to any d20 rolls. Has lingering intell. from Master Lee's time, being in Toro's possession will begin enhancing his blades to what they are supposed to be, unlocking their secrets.
We search the place and loot what we can, too much for 1 shot. We pick out some choice stuff for Callimachus too.
The Servant's Journal: multi volume; spans centuries, in his perspective. His first meeting with the 1 god of the Masters to his moving to this place where it starts to peeter off. We can see the descent into madness from there. He was racked with guilt for a long time, traveled with a group of adv's for a while to a city in the kingdom of Esperania decades ago called , after Masters vanishing. There he was part of bringing down the inquisition, after which he began hearing the voices of Masters speaking to him, telling him how forsaken he was, dragging him down basically. He then sought seclusion ending up here. Came into contact with the YT who over time convinced/corrupted him into helping them destroy the world.
Eeh gads!! There is an active blood cult, and its not even humans but YT!!
We find info on the YT as well they hate everything not them, all else is food; if it can think its an enemy. Have taken naturally to blood cult, but rather than killing everything, just everything but YT. Where they came across the blood cult is not mentioned.
At one point, there is a vague reference to himself in the journal after the fall of the Masters: he was known as the crystal seer for a short while, a hermit.
We get the crystal ball of all crystal balls. Pollux says they are no toy as is, this one even more dangerous. Recommends none even touch it. Touching w/o UMD will likely have terrible effects; even with it he recommends not using it. With magic power is best. A user could be fine, but also might be bad. Can't leave it here either though.
Mst 3d4 glaive (plus 1 att)
2x mst scimitar (both lvl3, serpentine motifes, handles are coiled serpent, pommel is head, jade snake coiling up center of blade, extra money value)
We go outside. In otherwise blue sky are rolling blood red storm clouds! Drizzling but sunny, raining blood.
We leave for YT forest. Day 1 its drizzling the whole day. The clouds are circling the region not moving on. Day 2 its a full rain. Day 3 when we arrive its a blood storm.
There are actual rain clouds which have rolled in as well, mixing water with the blood.
Grumpet says the forest here, ruins inside most likely to
be specific, is the epicenter.
We camp as its late. The night is uneventful. The bloodstorm ceases.
Up early and into the forest of the YT, straight for the middle. Low lying cloud of mist greets us, very thick fog. Can't see clearly beyond 5', nothing past 30'. Further, its a bloodfog, nasty red hue to it. The animal life is completely quiet. The only sound is that of our walking on the bloodrain soaked ground.
Grumpet "This is unnatural, they've ruined the landscape.
By the time we reach the edge of the central deep forest, the fog has yet to lift. Many of the trees in the center are thriving like they love this blood rain, like they are feeding off of it. This makes Grumpet nervous and angry.
Grumpet "I will not be holding back from combat on this one."
Duncan "Wait until we most need it."
A good mile and a half or 2 in, nearing the center, some of us notice that some of the blood loving trees seem moving ever so slightly, branches beginning to lean into us. Vines on the ground slowly snaking toward us. 1 particularly vial tree further down the path looks like its moving, bluffing natural movement. Its big, real big, only reason we can see it.
Battle begins as we hear a massive rend from the earth, the giant tree has stood up.
The first to drop is via Mulligan and Pollux's fire spell. Then the rear 2 rakasta drop their's right after!
One of the front rakasta, Toro, TK, and Nnesk are rushing ahead for the big one, for Grumpet yelled he is likely controlling the other trees. He is then grappled, but transforms into a snake and slithers out.
Nnesk and the front rakasta see 4 humanoids come just into sight at the right of the blood Treant. They warn the other 2 as 4 arrows wisp by them.
Toro "Ignore them!"
The big tree is marching to us, but its slow. The wemic with Duncan kills that one, Pollux clears the front one, and those rakasta make for the new humanoid foes. More humanoids charge us from beyond the archers!
Maeth, Mulligan and his wemic make for the front as well now.
Grumpet slithers that direction too. The 2 rear rakasta join Bligh and his rakasta.
The chargers look human.
The final trees drop and we all head forward to battle.
The humanoids turn out to be YT purebloods. Mulligan deals the final blow to the evil blood Treant, which oozes a bloody sap. After that we start dropping pure bloods. The last archer flees into the fog and we take out the evil druid last, surrounded and hacked down like the rat he is.
The mist starts to break up and we move on. Approaching the ruined temple, the mist has lifted. Sky is still blood red swirling clouds, slight bloody drizzle now too.
The ruin is well and overgrown. Once 2 or 3 stories, now one. We come to what looks to have been the main entrance. To the rear an old dome structure and a spire adjacent, collapsed. Fronting the dome is a statue visible over the old 2nd floor wall remnants of half man/half snake arms outstretched. Remnants of a stairway within the spire.
We split up. Duncan leads Bligh, Pollux, Archileus, the wemics, Nnesk, and Tk in through the front door.
Climbing up and into the spire, Mulligan leads Grumpet, Maeth, Arisaan, Toro and the rakasta. Looking over the former dome, there is a huge ceremony in the largest room toward the front. About 40 some YT, priest we saw in the crystal included, of multiple sorts. All chanting in a religious ceremony. In the dome room, is a pool full of blood. Tween that and the ceremony is the statue room. The priest stands at a bound thri kreen, dagger in one hand and rod chained to the kreen on the altar in the other.
In the front, we can hear the sounds of the ritual inside. They go carefully into the front door to a closed foyer room, lower then the rest of the temple. Steps go up about 20' to the grand chamber. Its an open path to the ceremony.
Mulligan signals to Arisaan silently to come up and over to eliminate a guard. She climbs up, eyes it up, and skulks over. She kills him instantly. The rest come over the top.
This place ID'd as a major place for the Path, the First who started/helped start them is the statue at the center; first man to change himself into a YT! This was one of the most major cult centers to the CP, he was one of their prophets. The blood pool is an artifact, used to summon a blood angel. That prophet helped bind the angel they turned into the blood angel. Used in all sorts of terrible rituals. The statue is likely evil too. Whatever they are doing to the kreen is not good. The kreen is 2 or 3 times the size of the kreen as we heard of them. Kind of bloated. Grumpet says it must be a female with spawn.
Adv Note, Kimiristi:
Entered via Room 23; Vhue is in room 30; orcs in the 5 rooms marked 25
Books: when using book with a heal check = plus 2 to treat; healing herbs = 150 uses, each gives plus 2;