Episode Twenty Seven - Temples of Morvugol
Episode Twenty Seven – Temples of Morvugol (Level 12)
*The group is floating weightlessly in the devouring darkness of Volgothyde’s dreaming mind. The warlock pact-stone Darius stole, called the unspeakable eye, speaks to him, offering to sweep he and his friends away into a sanctuary, and offering him great power, his enemies, and his true father’s identity and location. Darius takes the power offered, but betrays the unspeakable, using it instead to reach out to their bodies and draw them towards them. Tobias and Vash, meanwhile, both tap into Carmenith’s power at once, pulling more power from her together than either has ever done before. She cries out in pain, her mind going dark. Together, the heroes draw their friends together, although they lose Ichtaca in the chaos. They funnel power to Idrys, strengthening the psionic shield that protects t them, and they launching a stinging attack on the god’s dreaming mind, sending him screaming away into the dreamworlds. The aberrant magic Darius draws on also sends them careening back into their bodies. Idrys and Inaya are too occupied defending them from Volgothyde to help, and unfortunately, the heroes find themselves in the wrong bodies. Ichtaca doesn’t return at all, still lost in the dreamworld, and Carmenith is comatose, although her spirit seems to have been the only party member to have been restored to her correct body. Lyda is in Tobias’s body, Vash in Lyda’s, Darius in Vash’s, and Tobias in Darius’. They awake confused, disoriented, and clumsy from the adjustment to an unfamiliar body.
*Catzin is slumped on the floor near Tobias, unmoving and not breathing. If she were not a vampire, this would be death, but Darius moves to her and opens his (Vash’s) wrist, reviving her with blood. He seems touched by what she did for him, and thanks her, although it’s confusing with the body switches.
*Meanwhile, Lyda is incapacitated by the constant pain of Tobias’ body, and Tobias moves to help her, showing her how to structure her mind to partition off the agony of his daily life. Tobias tries to shape-shift into his normal form, but finds that the procedure is painful and difficult for a novice, and ends up stuck in Darius’ true form, much to Darius’ disgust. Vash is on his best behavior in Lyda’s body, but flashes Tobias a mischievous grin on several occasions. Tobias will be able to restore them each to their own bodies, but the process is delicate, and time-consuming.
*They are in a temple-shrine, in Morvugol, on a hill overlooking a wide valley overrun by an army of vampires. The temple priestesses have been slain, and vampires press in all around, mocking Catzin and calling to her to send out ‘the cattle’ for their enjoyment. They cannot cross the entries to the temple, as this place is sacred to Lord Rhuyem. Only one with his seal on their shadow may cross over, or have his elements ripped asunder and die. Several plague-vampires have either tried it or been forced to try, judging by the corpses piled up by each open archway. Catzin quietly explains to the others that now that their spirits have returned to their bodies, their shadow-element will have also returned. They cannot pass through the temple’s exits either, not without the shadow-god’s seal.
*Among the vampires is a noble vampire lord, who informs her that “her father”, Lord Namuth Taimor, has been sent for, and will arrive to collect her soon. He demands her surrender. She translates for the others, still too weak to stand, but refusing the lord his demands. Tiring of the Lord’s sneering threats to Catzin and his friends, Tobias reaches out with his mind and snatches the Lord from his feet, trawling him through the air and into the archway. Caught entirely off guard, the Lord flies into the shadow barrier, and shrieks as he passes through it. His shadow is ripped from his body, the glue that holds his elements together gone, his soul, spirit and body are rent apart he dies, writhing in agony on the floor, just inside the temple arch.
*The group moves farther back into the temple proper, finding a simple set of rooms, living arrangements for the priestesses. They find the women’s severed heads among the possessions of the vampire lord, each wrapped up along with demoralizing letters threatening military leader at nearby Shadar-kai fortifications.
*Darius is drawn to his stolen pact-stone, the unspeakable eye. It is furious with him for accepting the power it offered him, but using it instead to escape the dreamworls. Nevertheless, it offers him a pact again, promising him his enemies and his true father’s identity, and warning him that only those in its service will survive the devouring of the known worlds. With some effort, Darius refuses, though grappling with the voice leaves exhausted, bleeding at the ears and eyes. He hides the stone, shrouding it again in a protective cloth. He can feel it watching him now, though, even through the box it is stashed away in.
*Catzin tells them there is a tunnel connecting this temple to another two days south of here, in a shadar-kai city. If they can find a way to pass through the wards of the temple, they can use this tunnel to escape the vampire armies. The party decides not to risk an overland return to the shadow-gate behind them, which may have Gallister waiting for them on the other side. Suddenly inspired, Vash calls on his shadow powers again, placing a seal on each of their shadows. It is the seal of Ulmhasa, the shadow-goddess before Lord Rhuyem, but it is also the seal of her servant, Revikoth Kavan / Vash. The seal of the dead shadow-goddess works, allowing them to past hrough the temple wards, but setting sacred runes aglow with darkfire as they pass under them.
*They travel through a long tunnel connecting to volcanic glass caverns full of shadow-life, attacked often by shadow-snakes along the way. In their camps at night, Tobias restores them to their proper bodies, one by one. They cannot eat shadow-origin food, so the journey is a hungry one, supplies running low. After three days and two nights, they arrive in another temple-shrine, at the crown of a hill, overlooking a great city. It is the shadar-kai city of Iumesh, now overrun entirely by a great host of plague vampires. As they pass through the wards of this temple, their seals activate sacred runes again, and a shadowy figure appears to them. It is Olumarsilein, exarch of the Shadow God, Lord Rhuyem.
*Olumarsilein confronts them, demanding to know by what sacrilege they have violated the sacred wards of these two temples. He warns them that to use the seal of Ulmasa is offensive to him, and by extension, to his god. He asks Vash if he is challenging Lord Rhuyem with this heresy, but Vash remains calm, explaining that he is still learning about these powers, and means no disrespect to Rhuyem, or any god. Although Olumarsilein seems on edge and still confrontational, he agrees to help the group escape the city and find a shadow-gate. There is one nearby, he explains, that will lead them into Arrochule. They ask him instead to take them to Captain Sadhai Thibault, the traveler, who could take them anywhere in Vinramar. He agrees, but refuses to do so until the unspeakable eye has been destroyed. He points at Darius, calling him out on having it. Seeming under a compulsion to protect his Lord’s best interests in a war against darkplane aberrations, Olumarsilein cannot bring the eye stone to the Bone Dragon. The unspeakable, he explains reluctantly, is one of the enemy factions pressing down on Morvugol from the darkplane. If its eye were brought with them, it could spy for the enemy, wreak havoc, and compromise the defense of the planet. Darius enlists Tobias and Lyda’s help to destroy the artifact, and Olumarsilein sweeps them up in his shadow, transporting them to the deck of the Bone Dragon.