Session 47 – Mayhem in the White City

In the morning, the PCs cross the wasteland and return to the Keeper. 

The party gives him the amulet they recovered from Kalarel, and with glee he smashes it to pieces. He offers them a drink from his flask and happily inquires where they need to go –  If they want to go back to Phaervorul, they can return to the Bridge of Webs and cross back the way they came, but if they wish to go elsewhere, the Keeper offers them directions. One of the points he mentions is an ancient, secret way last used by the gnolls, which would place them in the hills two days west of Exridge.

The party remembers that they still possess Sunwrath, the ancestral sword of the Turol family, who reside in Exridge. They decide to travel to Exridge, return the sword, and plot their next direction. They bid farewell to the Keeper and pass through the orb to the Bridge of Webs. Following the Keeper’s directions, they travel a crumbling portion of the bridge to another orb, and pass through.

They find themselves at the dark bottom of a freezing lake, and make a panicked swim for the surface. It seems that this exit is in a basin that fills and empties with the seasons. Getting their bearings, the PCs notice two things – the weather seems unreasonably warm, and the black comet in the sky now appears as large as the moon. A check of the stars reveals that it is late summer – it seems for each day they spent in Deadhold, a week of time has passed here!

The party makes camp to rest, but at sunset, Phaean receives a Sending from Andra:  “Lenia slain by assassins. Temple cannot Raise her, cannot Raise anyone, something is very wrong. Come to Exridge if you can. Please. Will try to reach you again at sunrise.”

Phaean uses a ritual to summon ghostly mounts for the group, and they speed off for Exridge. Upon arriving, they realize this is the shining city from their last dream of Jono. They proceed into the outer ring of the city and search for Andra. They eventually find her in an old city inn called The White Ice west of Pelor Grove. She blames herself, and is certain she was not careful enough and was followed from Alwhar to here.

Andra explains that several people infiltrated Lenina’s home two weeks ago. They attacked at night, bypassing several wards she had set up, and slew her. She must have killed or wounded at least one of them, but the killers left nothing of their own behind. 

Lenina was looking into the cause of the black comet, and was trying to reach the PCs herself – she believed it was a physical manifestation of the Sleeper in this world as it worked to complete its ritual in the Shadowfell – the ritual created by Kalarel that involves the sacrifice of an orphan child. She whispered one word to Andra as she died – Urishtar. At its utterance, an ill wind blows, candles are snuffed out, and the very light seems to depart the room.

Missa and Balgo arrived last week as well, and are helping Andra tend to matters. Andra has paid twice for an attempted Raise Dead ritual, but they are not working – for anyone. Between this and the comet, people are in a panic, and she asks for the party’s help trying again. The churches are fighting, and ritual costs have skyrocketed, and the wait is now longer than a month – and the ritual is only effective if performed within 30 days. Some say the Raven Queen is weak, some say she is making a play for control, some say she’s finally turned fully evil. The party promises to try to schedule a third attempt, and leave.

They try to make their way to the Turol estate within the inner ring of the city, but are stopped at the gate and instructed to declare their “Heritage and Intent”. Their intent is easy enough, but no one has any idea what is meant by Heritage. The clerk instructs them that they will need to make an appointment with the High Clerists Office to have the Rite of Passing ritual performed to determine their Heritage, and that the current wait time is two weeks. After some back and forth, the heroes determine that each citizen of the nation of Turrion is born into one of thirteen clans that loosely affect social status. The clans are represented by animals, and the group remembers that they each saw a different animal in their dream. They proceed to declare their Heritage animal, and are permitted into the inner city.

House Turol is the family of Queen Margery Exridge of the eastern nation of Turrion. Etheran, who was slain fighting the troll king Skalmad, was the Queen’s nephew – the Queen’s late sister’s only son. His father, Nedwin Turol, still lives in Exridge at the Turol estates in Old City on Nobles Hill. Nedwin is Queen Margery’s late sister’s husband, and a Wolf, and is afforded high prestige.

His manservant Apano meets with the heroes and hears their story. Apano presents them to Nedwin, who, though deeply saddened by the news, thanks them for the return of the familial sword Sunwrath. He serves them a mid-day feast, and asks to hear their story. Impressed with their accomplishments, he offers to make arrangements for them to meet with priest of Pelor and schedule another attempt to Raise Lenina.

The heroes return to Andra with the news, and do some research at the local library to see what they can find about “Urishtar”. They learn that Urishtar is the name of a creature who lives in the Shadowfell, atop a black spire described very much like the one the heroes have dreamed of since leaving Winterhaven. To reach the spire, one must first find the entrance to the Shadowfell deep within a cavern complex called the Gloomdeeps, and pass through a place called “Svades Maroul” – “The Tomb of Dreams”. They also get some shopping done, then rest for the night.

The next day, they group gathers for the ritual attempt. A crowd stands around an open mausoleum in the graveyard on this dark, rainy day. They see a young priest of Pelor who wears a worried expression as he calls out, “Pelor, I beseech thee! Return this worthy woman back to life!” Beside the priest, Andra, Missa, and Balgo can barely contain their sobs of grief. The rest of the crowd looks no happier, and many of them make protective signs as they mumble, “Pelor has abandoned us,” or, “The Raven Queen has turned against the living”.

The young priest completes the final steps of the ritual. Lenina’s body doesn’t move, but suddenly a malevolent wind rises within the stone crypt, and a dark mist swirls wildly. “This one is mine!” screams an  otherworldly voice as the dark mist erupts from the open mausoleum and knocks back the priest and scatters the crowd. For just a moment, the mist seems to take the shape of a dragon, and then it disappears as quickly as it arrived. For an instant, a deep hush falls over the graveyard, then several members of the crowd remove their dark cloaks and attack the heroes – they instantly recognize Ena Indistel and the surviving members of her Dead Crows gang and battle begins.

Ena and her allies are aided by several undead creatures that burst from the ground, but in her lust for revenge against the party, she has underestimated their strength. The party responds with a savage counterattack, slaying her allies and mortally wounding Ena. She fights on to the death, finally falling, and cursing the heroes with her last breath for killing her lover Paldemar. “You have not killed us, but merely brought us together once again,” she laughs, then slumps lifelessly to the ground.