Gabriel saw movement. A feminine shape moving stealthily through the encampment of the Orcus cult deep inside of the Moriven Necropolis. The woman seemed to be heading toward the large pyramid shaped object they had come here looking for. From the look on Lusitania’s face she had also seen the movement. He began to signal to the rest of the party what he had seen when the Ranger hurried forward to confront the figure presumably before she could abscond with it.
Fortunately a brief conversation, as well as the return of Cale (who had been scouting another section of the encampment), prevented any conflict. In fact the woman turned out to be one Dhalia another Shadar-Kai, who Cale had been searching for the past months. We decided after a brief discussion to remove ourselves far from the cultists, share some information and decide our next step.
Gabriel thought back briefly to what had brought them to this point. Heading south by crossing through the Moriven Necropolis had brought them to a bridge. One which when they had tried to cross exploded from beneath them sending them into the hard cold and very fast running waters. It seems a Necromancer working for the Orcus Cult was out looking for raw material to create zombie laborers for the cult. Gabriel and Lusitania had been caught in a sort of net and struggled most of the battle just to reach shore. The rest of the party quickly dealt with the Necromancer taking him alive for information. It was thus they had learned about the magical artifact in the shape of a pyramid and the cults searching for a way to use it among the nearby ruins.
Dhalia then informed us of how she had come to be here at the very same moment. It appears she had left the Shadow realm that she and Cale both came from some months ahead of him. She survived for a time performing odd jobs of larceny for various employers. One such contract brought her into conflict with an order of monks and a certain jewel she was supposed to relieve them of its burden. From the description of the gem it seems almost a twin of that inside the Illuven Monastery, this gem will require some investigation and most definitely will be mentioned in my next report. Dhalia had made the attempt but failed. Her punishment was to serve the monks in their monastery. She discovered these monks were descendants of Shadar-Kai themselves having come to our world many lifetimes ago searching for power when calamity befell them leaving them trapped in this plane. She had also learned during her captivity with them that our plane of existence is currently under incredible scrutiny and interest by many powers throughout the alternate planes of existence. This is most worrisome indeed. After she had spent some time with them she began performing missions for them. Her last such mission landed her into conflict with some group by the name Cult of the Yellow Sign. When she narrowly escaped them and returned to the monastery she found them all dead and their mysterious gem destroyed by “Shadow Walkers”. This destruction seemed close in time to the very attack the party had foiled at the Illuven Monastery. The last bit of information she had brought her here looking for the pyramid device.
As to why she originally came to our plane of existence…that question has yet to be asked.
Gabriel decided to attempt a ritual of magical detection upon the Pyramid to determine its powers and purpose much like he had recently performed upon the standing stones that seemed to be rising up throughout the land in response to the many new dangers facing it. He has learned from the rituals last casting that the stones had been carved by a Long Tooth Shifter in a very large warehouse like structure where many other stones stood, as if they were being mass produced. He had also learned that 5 linked Changelings (those of his very own race), stood in a circle about it chanting words of power over it and infusing it with power and then seemingly to link it to another stone somewhere far distant. The stones do not appear to be something one can actively tap into and use but they do seem to aid against creatures of the nether realm trying to enter ours at the very least. Its magical energies had helped the party in its fight with the creatures spilling into our realm from that of the realm of Chaos. The age of the stones seems to be great; as the stars in the sky did not seem located properly…perhaps an astronomer would better be able to determine this?
This time the ritual led to a much different result. Voices exploded into Gabriel’s mind, discussing him and his fellow party members as if useful pieces on a chessboard they could use. He was able to force them from his mind but not before all of them (except for Dhalia) were sucked into the very pyramid itself and into a deep pit of bones and frantic battle with an Ettin, his two pet Carrion Crawlers, and some zombies laying amidst the bones. After a brief but fierce battle the Ettin and his minions were no more.
Crawling out of the pit they all heard the voice of a woman down a corridor inside the seemingly vast pyramid (a mini-dimension?, a tesseract?). Hanging on a peg on the wall they found the animated head of one Vyrellis, a Shadar-Kai with serious memory problems. She informed us that she thought she could help us escape from within the pyramid if she could regain her memories, which happened to be stored in various “Thought Crystals” throughout the pyramid, of course in the hands of various “unfriendly’s” seeded throughout the pyramid. She also revealed that the voice Gabriel had heard likely belonged to one Kravakos, who was the one responsible for her present state of affairs. He too was somehow trapped within the pyramid and had likely brought us here in order to somehow help him escape it as well, how or why we would help him remains unknown at this time.
So off the party marched carrying the head of Vyrellis looking for her lost memories. The solid defeat of the Ettin proved useful in another way. Gabriel was able to impress a large group of Lizardmen they encountered enough with their defeat of the large creature that no battle was required to bypass their swampy area and find the first on the memory crystals they were looking for.
Their next encounter with a large group of humans within proved a bit more difficult…