Domain of the Damned

The group waited in a large cavern used as a common area where ragged survivors eked out a minimal existence while the large bald man sought out their leader, who he named Thorin, at his forge. Thorin emerged shortly, a large gray-bearded dwarf, heavily muscled with pitted and scarred hands. He was shirtless except for a thick soot-covered leather apron, and had all the mannerisms of a Weaponsmith. Thorin explained the situation among his people. They’d been fighting a guerilla war for a few generations now, against the constructs and Horror-possessed peoples in this realm. Even the spirits of the dead and fallen could not leave, and haunted the caverns where they’d died. It was a miserable existence, and folks were mostly hopeless. The very existence of outsiders renewed the spirits of the people. Suulin further stirred them with a retelling of the Dirge of Derin that she’d learned in the Hall of Kuyu. Thorin was the grandson of Derin Kuyu, and was amazed at the perfect retelling of his grandfather’s heroic exploits.

Thorin left the group to settle in, providing his protection and hospitality (such as it was). He said training might be available, for even Ghost Masters were readily available here. With that, he bid them welcome and disappeared to his forge.

Dremnin, Luck, Suulin, and Vridich found masters under which to train for advancement. These tales are told elsewhere.

Later, Dremnin and Skram tracked down Thorin to a small natural cavern pool that served as a shrine to the Passions. There they asked many questions about the weapons and armor retrieved from the Hall of Kuyu. Thorin was able to shed some small light on them as he led them to his smithy, but more pressing became their request to melt down a few weapons taken from the kaer to make a tail mace for Skram. Thorin agreed and set to work.

While he worked, they discussed strategy. Thorin believed their cause was lost, but that if they could destroy Selenys, the realm would crumble and their misery would end. He did not believe escape was possible, and that their existence would simply end – even thaat of their restless ancestors. Dremnin and Skram, as devout followers of Floranuus, argued for hope, and Thorin was slightly swayed. His plan of attack was unchanged, however.

He planned to lead his people, one and all, and all they owned to a network of caverns heavily traveled by the corrupted, and engage them in defensible chokepoints, falling back when needed. It was a last and desparate diversion to allow the group to attack Selenys’ lair, gain entry and destroy her utterly.

The two carried this back to the group, and they agreed there seemed to be no better way. On the appointed day, Thorin was asked if his dead father might know more. They visited a cave he often haunted and he spoke to Skram. The group found that he’d failed in a mission years ago to breach Selenys’ lair.

As they returned to the main chamber, the tribe was mobilising. Hours were spent working through caverns and passages. Finally they broke off and worked their way up a steep incline through a series of passages and emerged at the foot of a rope bridge spanning perhaps 100 yards. In the tortured sky overhead were large winged serpentine forms.

Vridich and Urgral Ovgrin crossed first, a length of rope between them. Halfway across, a rotted board gave out and Urgral plunged into the chasm, the rope snapping tight. While Urgral climbed back up, a monstrous krillra swept downward and latched onto Vridich with its prehensile tentacles, nearly squeezing the life from him. But Vridich used a magically-fueled talent to send his spirit into the winged monster, firmly taking control of the beast.

He held its mind for a full hour, aiding the group members across the half-mile of open ground to the entrance to the lair, flanked on either side by huge obelisks.

Once all were assembled outside the open gateway, they entered directly into a fight against Selenys’ corrupted acolytes and a two-headed brutish construct. Luck fell to a skilled Warrior, but was pulled to safety before he could be finished. The crazed attackers asked for no quarter, and the group gave them none. Dremnin searched and found a lever in the temple proper that drained a long channel of blood to reveal a set of steps leading into a deeper part of the caverns of Selenys’ stronghold. Once through, Hannah became violently ill at the edge of a precipice overlooking a deep pit with seemingly reddish liquid far below. As she retched, a bulbous form far larger than Hannah herself emerged. The group, horrified, attacked en masse but the abomination fled over the edge and splashed into the pool below.

Dremnin led them down into deeper tunnels skirting the enormous pool of steaming blood that was being fed by torrents of blood pouring from the mouths of skulls set in the pit’s sides. They found a wider cavern that held old provisions likely taken from the survivors over the years, but continued down and around the pit.

They neared the bottom to find the tunnel floor widened into the base of the pit, disappearing into the blood at its base. Peering across the pool, they could see what looked like a hall lined with pillars, crumbling where it met the open wound of the blood pit…

Domain of the Damned

Heroes Unchained Asaraludu