Session 46 – Kalarel Reborn

The party passes through the Gate of Shadow. Each member of the group finds themselves alone in darkness, and faces two mysterious challenges.

First, the darkness around them fades to gray. Ahead, they see a robed figure sitting atop a small pile of skulls. It holds a wand of bone in its left hand and a book in its right hand. The figure beckons them closer, and speaks to them – “All that lives dies. All that die come before Orcus, king of the dead. You are not dead. Yet. But you seek to enter his domain. I believe that you are lost, confused as to your true destination. Perhaps I must send you back from whence you came. Unless, of course, I am mistaken and you are indeed dead. You must demonstrate to me that life no longer courses through your veins.” Some of the heroes try to bluff the creature, others threaten, and others present reasoned arguments. Most succeed in passing this test, but two fail, and the creature writes their names in its book.

Suddenly, the party members stand before a monstrous being sitting upon a throne of bones. This creature has a pig-like face, red skin, and massive wings. It can only be Orcus, demon prince of the undead. The creature carries a jeweled rod in one hand. It points it at them as a voice echoes in their minds. He says, “You and your allies are pathetic. You cling to the light of good out of weakness, only because the path of chaos holds fear and uncertainty. You, above the others here, are strong and resolute. Slay Kalarel in my name and I shall grant you the power of an exarch.”

None of the heroes agree to this temptation, and Orcus shrieks with wrath, and the adventurers appear in a huge chamber within the peak of the black ziggurat. Atop a stepped platform, a horde of the mindless creatures knows as Eaters surrounds Lord Dust, a powerful lich who is performing a summoning ritual. The portal seethes with energy in time with his chanting. Several demons appear from side chambers, and the battle is joined.

The heroes succeed in slaying many of the demons and Eaters, but are unable to stop Lord Dust from completing his ritual, and a hideously twisted form of Kalarel is brought through the portal – an undead beholder, Kalarel’s face stretched and twisted across a floating orb of rotting flesh. The tide turns against the heroes, with the reborn Kalarel lashing them with beams of evil energy and returning slain Eaters to life.

The party manages to win through at the end, slaying Kalarel, then Lord Dust, and finally the few remaining Eaters. Exhausted, the group loots the chamber, and retreats outside of the ziggurat to rest.