05 April 2009

The Fortress of Conclusion (or Fragging the Apotheosis)

The abhorrent phantom flyer deposited the mad adventurers at the doorstep of the Fortress of Conclusion, the yawning maw of the Devourer anchored in the sepulcher darkness of an infinite cliff face. A great rusted iron door was dimly illuminated by the sickly green glow of a nearby lantern. Lextra examined the door and the Warbreed wrestled it open, only to gaze into an accursed room adorned with a menagerie of wyrms devouring humanoids. Warrick was able to discern that all parts of this room were cursed and the party carefully slipped into the yawning maw of one of the worms, the only other exit to this room.
In the corridor beyond they found a desiccated man, still alive, his orifices sealed by sutures of foul black cords and his limbs stitched together at impossible angles. In Boris' mind Desato spoke, spilling his tale of woe and begging for the release of death. As Dorun hefted Deathkeeper and smote Desato's head from his shoulders, the vile thread stitched his limbs, eyes, and mouth, then bound him to the great iron hook that had previously supported the pitiful mage. His brother cut him down and engaged in the bloody work of slitting the devilish sutures freeing him from the cursed strands.
The party was next confronted by an impenetrable darkness which was dispersed by the holy might of the Wand of Days to reveal a dark taloned humanoid that charged the party. Warrick wreathed the creature in his eldritch flames and the Brothers Warbreed closed with it to dispatch it as it came through the flames. They sank their axes deep into its extraplanar flesh as Warrick used his mystical might to shatter the creature. The remainder of the darkness evaporated and revealed a dead end. The party backtracked and located two sequential secret doors, one revealing a haze filled room from which a chilling wail issued, the second was a dead end to a lever with a metal plate above it upon which PUSH TO ENTER was written. Judging that the first route would lead to encounters most unpleasant the Brothers fumbled with the lever, testing the limits of their fortitude versus the smashing floor of the trap. After seeing this, Lextra simply pushed the metal plate revealing a long chasm stretching away from this second door. The chasm was filled with the bones of a thousand foes, splintered and evil looking. A narrow series of hanging bridges stretched away to a distant doorway. Boris would have no errors so deep into Acerack's territory and used his powers to transfer the party as if a wind blew them thither. Here they found a chamber floor tiled with black stone upon each a single letter. In the distance a second door had written: Name me true or name me false, your decision leads to loss. Boris commanded Absalom to walk the tiles spelling out Acerack's name, but this nearly destroyed him. In conference the party realized that this was an inverse trap by spelling either Acerack or Devourer they would activate the trap. They avoided these letters and passed beyond the door.
The next corridor ended in another facade of the Devourer its mouth the blackest patch of midnight. Boris prodded the patch with a stout wooden pole, drawing back only the part that was still visible. As he did the sphere began a stolid advancement toward the party, who wisely retreated. They lured the sentient onyx sphere to them then used Warrick's magic to teleport past it, entering the corridor its advance had revealed. This room had two more exits, fortunately as the ebon globe once again blocked the entrance the party had taken. One passage lead back toward the room of mists and moans earlier bypassed the party, the second was a familiar portal with orange haze obscuring its center and three large gem stones decorating its frame. Boris activated the stones and through the party went.
As they stepped into a vast new chamber a horrid stench overwhelmed them. Lextra fell retching as Dorun was blighted by further spellcraft. Warrick, Boris, Absalom, and Goldune turned to face a large, heavily muscled toad demon. As Boris and Warrick bespelled the creature, Boris' vampire thrall and the two living engines of war engaged the fell extraplanar denizen. The Warbreed shrugged off spell after spell as their enchanted blades drank deep from the demonic veins and sent it back to its hellish masters. Adjacent to this chamber was a vile store room, dried human remains stacked like cord wood, rotting remains that still moved in a abominable unlife, clutching at the shocked party. Warrick incinerated the twitching undead. The next corridor held servants quarters and in the final one they were attacked by a corpse golem that was brought low by both magic and might.
Beyond a portal opened into a great cavern in which a single winged colossus stood trapped in a mighty crystal cylinder. Before this prison lay a blade like living lightning, the creature turned to the party and offered allegiance to slay Acerack if they would only free it. It granted one time use of its lighting sword to shatter its confines, the party weighed the offer and then wisely decide not to pursue it.
The next chamber proved to be Acerack's workshop, wherein he had kept his Forge of the Negative Plane meant to aid his apotheosis into the consciousness of this unholy half of the multiverse. The party briefly investigated and then bypassed it into the chamber holding Azerack's phylactery a huge ruby globe suspended on a tripod over the impossible inky ichor of the negative plane. As they entered the chamber Acerack animated as a demilich, a bejewelled skull floating high above their heads. With the furious agility of a dire feline, Lextra climbed the tripod to examine the crystal prison of souls. Meanwhile the Warbreed were teleported by Warrick immediately above the floating skull, who tackled the animated cranium and dragged it earthward. Due to Boris' enchantment Goldune was able to shrug off the soul stealing power of the demilich. Lextra heard the clamoring of many astral voices until a single clear voice instructed her to turn the power of the Wand of Days at the phylactery. Calling to Boris, she directed him to unleash the wands powers against the great ruby. With the wand's powers engaged a beam of light erupted from the top of the great stone and the souls sang as they were freed, tearing Azerack's essence asunder for eons to come. The ravened Warbreed then shattered the skull of Azerack.
The party then investigated Azerack's inner sanctum finding many items of great power including an evil blade of soul stealing, a broach of access, a mysterious mask, and much mundane wealth. Also in the collection was a whistle with which they could summon and control the Phantom Flyer to once more bring them home. Azerack essence dispersed for millenia to come, the party departed home.

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