The Rising Darkness
The session began as the last had left off: Aniks, feeling something incredibly strange beginning to take shape in the void, and the egotistical Riven competing with him for it. Out of character, this came down to a roll-off: Aniks scored fairly low, but even Riven's abilities couldn't save him from the fate of a Natural 1. As Aniks felt something solidify in his grasp, he watched Riven's expression morph into that of sheer rage... and Aniks decided to peer inside the void, sticking his head inside for a moment to see the shadows begin to form, and to hear something all-too-familiar rise up in his mind. Cyne, still heavily wounded from Riven's strike, took the initiative to back away from the void portal. Instead, he ran to his sister, checking her unconscious form for wounds and finding none. Seeing that, Pin utilised her teleportation abilities to dart over to him... not realising the consequence of briefly dipping into the Astral Plane near a portal to the Dark Tapestry. The void's touch upon her mind inflicted her with a mild case of confusion, but she was able to push the mild case of madness to the side in order to attempt a rescue on Alysia. Finding that she couldn't cross into the circle Alysia was slumped inside of due to a lack of celestial blood, she instead took Cyne's arm and teleported the trio to Undria's castle. Unfortunately, this led to nothing good. By ripping herself through the Astral Plane again, she again exposed her mind to the Dark Tapestry's tender touch. This time, her lack of strong will condemned her to insanity. In addition, despite Cyne's grasp on Alysia, it seemed that the enchantments upon the ritual had prevented her from being teleported alongside them. Now missing their wizard and Prince, the party had no easy way of escape - the duo had provided their teleport and plane shift capability. Thus, they were somewhat stuck for the moment. Kraia, still atop the enlarged Artemis, charged out of the throne room to place herself (and Artemis) between the tiefling and Alysia, dealing Riven a solid chunk of damage as she passed... that he seemed to barely stagger from. Cid, from the other room, sent a few bullets flying Riven's way, and Ashlyn... began to summon a trio of Cloud Giants. As she did so, she let Kazric - who'd briefly shaken off the insanity Cyne had dealt him - know that his sword was inside the void portal. This was technically true. Months prior, in Ilendras, Kazric had shown up with a greatsword that seemed to eat the souls of any he killed with it. When he'd managed to strike the killing blow on the plantlike monstrosity in the Ilendran Underdark that had also been eating souls, the two artifacts had interacted badly and thrown the entire party into the Boneyard - an Outer Plane presided over by Pharasma, Goddess of Fate and Death. There, they had met with the Goddess herself, and been allowed to return to the Material Plane in exchange for their promise to complete a task - the destruction of six particular items akin to Kazric's sword and the enormous gemstone it had shattered. Kazric, being the unthinking warrior that he is, was not one to pass up the chance to get his sword back. Not considering the ramifications of re-obtaining it, he immediately charged away from Ashlyn and thrust his own arm into the portal alongside Aniks and Riven. And then it was Riven's turn to act. Enraged by Aniks's slight success, the wounds he'd been dealt and the rebellion of one of his subordinates, he turned to the two drow and spoke in a voice filled with pure hatred. "You absolute fools. You, who stand to gain the most from my triumph, you of the oppressed and corrupted shadow-elves, you would dare challenge me for this blade?" Aniks dared to respond, and was summarily brushed off. "...I think not. As a champion of the darkest, most vile magics and of those twisted mortals suffering under the unrelenting oppression of Truth... I, Son of the Abyss, accept thy invitation." And with those ominous words ringing in the chamber, he stepped into the portal, the void reaching out to him and pulling him in as the jagged black cracks upon his face seemed to spread further. Aniks and Kazric, both still partly inside, saw the tendrils reach out to them. Both tried to resist. Both failed. Kraia, possessing sharper reflexes than most, spurred Artemis to act and landed atop Aniks, preventing him from being pulled inside. Kazric was less lucky, and the newly-reborn drow was dragged into the portal after his alleged master. Before anyone could react, the portal slammed shut with a pulse of energy that was felt throughout the entirety of the Everfall Mountains... a pulse of energy that triggered the ritual's second purpose. As Pin's insanity forced her to strike at Cyne whilst the two stood before the Moonlit Palace of Undria (thankfully not hitting the already-injured prince), the rest of the party was facing yet more threats. The four elemental-kin, slain at the ritual's start, rose up, infused with foul energy from the Dark Tapestry itself. Their eyes no longer held colour, instead appearing jet-black and empty - pale reflections of the void's dark energy made manifest. Even distracted by this, though, the party couldn't miss the violent tremors that began to shake through the room - an earthquake, likely triggered by the ritual's powerful magic, ripped through the room. Whilst most of the party stayed standing, Yiranna Adair was less lucky, becoming trapped by some falling rocks. As Cid lined up a shot on the closest voidal puppet, his concentration was broken by the horrifying scuttling that signified something below was taking full advantage of the new cracks and holes in the ground. Not dissuaded, his bullets found their mark in the reanimated sylph. Thankfully not interrupted by the earthquake, Ashlyn's cloud giants appeared and assisted in swiftly disposing of the sylph. Ashlyn herself moved closer, intent on assisting. Kraia, Artemis and Aniks made short work of the oread, still slightly shocked by what had just occurred. Pin, breaking out of her insanity for a moment, managed to transport herself and Cyne back to the ritual chamber in time for Cyne to grab his sister and jump onto Artemis's enlarged back with her. Genji moved away from Celuriel's still-mysteriously-unconscious form and assisted Aniks in flanking their next enemy, the undine. Before the undine and ifrit could be slain by the group, the source of the scuttling noises became obvious as a beastly Irlgaunt climbed out of a particularly large crack in the ground. Thankfully, Ashlyn's cloud giants were more than enough to destroy the lone aberration - pounding it into the ground before it could do much to them. Cid and Ashlyn themselves began working on their former ally, the reanimated ifrit sorcerer - Esran. The party had met Esran months earlier at the Starswept Masquerade Ball in Undria (with Kraia developing a closer relationship to him after they'd both been kicked out of the main ballroom for troublemaking), and had assisted in the rescue of one of his party members (the snow elf, Taenion) as they'd taken Fort Kildaine for themselves. He and one of his party members - Sonja, a human mesmerist - had gone missing in the fray, and a touch of spellcasting had revealed their location to be far underground; the Underdark had seemingly claimed them both. The other party had immediately mounted a rescue attempt on their lost friends. The Lost Ones, upon arriving in the Underdark, had witnessed the agonising drawn-out torture of Taenion - spurring Ashlyn to request that Cyne put her in another dimension lest she be forced to break cover and rescue him - and this, coupled with Esran's fate, left little hope that any of the other party had escaped doom. None of the main party seemed to be too upset about this, more focused on staying alive. However, the efforts of Cid and Ashlyn were not enough to defeat the ifrit so easily, nor were the joint attacks of Aniks, Genji, Kraia and Pin enough to defeat the undine. Ashlyn's blade and Cid's bullets failed to destroy the ifrit quickly, and the undine swiftly took defensive measures. He activated the blue circle he stood upon to summon a shimmering barrier of force that even Artemis's full might couldn't bring down, giving him free reign to cast. Esran, meanwhile, channelled his opposite element to call down a sleet storm that would be his saving grace - as Ashlyn and Cid struggled in the sudden ice, the Cloud Giants also stymied from progression, the undine let loose a vicious fire attack that served to knock out Genji and Aniks in one fell swoop, nearly also taking out Pin in the process. Panicking slightly, Kraia yelled for Cyne to pull them back into his private demiplane before the undine could finish them. He responded by calling out to the entire room that they needed to go now - warning them that any who weren't there within the next 6 seconds would be left behind in the collapsing room of enemies. Cid and Ashlyn, careful to avoid falling in the dark, icy terrain, used the sound of his voice to pinpoint a direction to run, making it to Artemis just in time for the beaver to use his enlarged reach to gather up the unconscious Aniks and Genji. However, none had rescued Yiranna from the rocks she'd been trapped beneath, and Celuriel was still in the other room with her (thankfully now conscious, but seemingly in a mood to be attempting to finish off the good-aligned cleric again). Ashlyn, aware of the still-living enemies and their near-death friends, bid the giants to run to the remaining duo and rescue them. Thankfully, one giant was able to stumble out of the ice, lift up the rocks and fling the hapless cleric towards Artemis, allowing her to throw out a much-needed cure spell. Celuriel was less lucky. Only her own vampiric powers allowed her to reach the beaver in time. As the undine began to reanimate the oread as something different, Celu's eyes glowed a bright red and she charged onto the beaver, allowing Cyne to pull them all out of the collapsing ritual chamber and back into his pocket dimension to the waiting Lirien. Yiranna immediately focused on curing Pin's persisting insanity as the rest of the party began to discuss what had just happened - the disappearance of Kazric, the Shards, Aniks's need to return to his family home, the rescue ... there was a lot to talk about. Exhausted, they mostly decided to rest for the night and cover it all in the morning instead, particularly since Cyne had run out of Plane Shift charges that day and couldn't return them home yet. Ashlyn, however, decided that the Shadow Plane was far too worrying for her to risk sleeping on - sparking an argument between her and Cyne about the necessity of sleep, and resulting in Artemis sitting on them both after Kraia became too annoyed at their bickering, much to the now-awakened Alysia's amusement. Aniks, meanwhile, was finally able to get out of his feminine disguise, borrowing clothes from Cyne to have something to change into. Now more comfortable, he was ready to sleep - until he heard a strange meowing sound upstairs, resulting in Kraia and Aniks discovering Celuriel trying to get her kitten down from a ceiling fan by walking on the walls and in Celu receiving a lesson on how to determine the gender of cats from Kraia. With levity restored to the party and most of their wounds healed, they each found somewhere to rest (or, in Ashlyn's case, to meditate whilst staying alert). Tomorrow, they would have to return to the Material Plane. Tomorrow would be full of hard conversations, questions, and farewells. Tomorrow would be a new day, bearing new adventures for them all.
- Rescued 1 x Princess
- Unlocked knowledge on the Shards of the Void
- Survived House Umbra and the Ritual Chamber
Character(s) interacted with
Antagonists/ Riven Drast
Esran (voidal puppet)
Undine Cleric (voidal puppet)
Sylph Rogue (voidal puppet) - deceased.
Oread Fighter (voidal puppet) - deceased, then reanimated as undead.
Irlgaunt - deceased.