The Singing Mercenaries

The Source of Suffering

Priest of Orcus

Branca 12th, 331

Bursting through the door in an effort to escape the maze of mirrors, the Singers were stopped short by a horrifying sight in front of them. No stranger to undeath now, after what felt like a lifetime of campaigning, the adventurers were nonetheless disturbed by the hulking figures of two zombies, apparently stitched together from several corpses. Seated on a throne between the two stood a hooded cultists, who had been looking over a large tome prior to the interruption.

“Announcement: Intruders!” a strange voice said, and the Singers were suprised to see a statue move, a statue very similar in construction to Mark 9. This warforged guardian reacted quicker than the zombies did, and marked Elrias with a beam of magic.

“Fascinating!” Mark 9 responded, his attention drawn to the subject of whatever experiment was going on in this room: a gaunt man strapped to a table, “I wonder what kind of ritual they were performing!”

“Stow it, rustbucket,” growled Winward, who was growing more and more frustrated with the lack of urgency present in their new warforged companion. “Go into combat mode, or whatever it is you do, and stop hitting me with your spells!”

Mark 9 seemed like he was about to reply, but before he could say anything Tattered let out a horrible yell and charged into the fray, almost knocking Elrias over. His fullblade whirled and took chunk after chunk out of the fleshy abominations, and he seemed unconcerned as their meaty fists missed him by inches.

“Stop them! Stop them!” shrilled the cultist, shooting off a pair of spells that fell short of their mark. Winward responded in kind to the assault, and using his songblade to enhance the properties of his voice he let out an inspiring call to arms, invigorating Elrias and Tattered to press their advantage. Meanwhile, Mark 9 lanced out with both flame and ice to pin down the guardian and another zombie.

The stranger strapped to the table took advantage of the confusion to vanish, reappearing a few moments later free of his bonds. Drawing power from the Shadowfell, he assisted the Singers with blade and magic and soon the battle was over.

Introductions were made, and Nyktas the Shadowalker introduced himself. “I am a revenant, recently come back to this coil. None of you would happen to have a stiff drink on you, eh?”

Winward offered his assistance in leading Nyktas to safety, and an agreement was soon reached. The Singers plus one continued up the tower, navigating a strange watery trap with the aid of a pair of cantrips and a well placed climbing rope.

The Singers soon found themselves in an even stranger place. Upon walking through one door, they found themselves outside! Sky, trees, grass, and even the movements and sounds of animals greeted them, as though they were standing in the middle of Elrias’s woods.

Stunned by the change in scenery, the adventurers were caught off guard by the presence of a strange woman dressed in green. The woman demanded their names, and when she noticed Mark 9 instantly recognized them. “The Observer! I see. So you are trying to reach the top of the tower then?”

“We are, fair one,” Winward replied. “We are seeking a great power that will help us restore the forest.” He did not add that he was also hoping it would aid him in his revenge.

“There is no great power here,” the strange woman explained, “The Jinrai, our ancient masters, built this tower as a place of learning. Called the Esoteric Order by some, they crafted defenders of stone and wood and delved into research of the planes. Unfortunately, they perished soon after his creation,” at this she gestured to Mark 9, “and the seals they placed have grown weak.”

“Is there any way we can continue on? We must reach the top of the tower,” Jett asked, his injury much improved.

“There is, I will send guides with you. This wood contains a portal to the top of the tower, although the journey will take you two days. I wish you good luck, adventurers,” and with that she stepped into the woods and vanished.

The Singers traveled quickly through the woods, guided by green flames during the day and watching peculiar stars in the unfamiliar sky at night.

Branca 15th, 331

Soon they found another stone door, overgrown with plants. After spending an hour clearing it, the door opened into a study. Nyktas scouted forward, and reported that the room at the far end held within it a single figure busy in a ritual of some kind.

Winward issued orders, and soon the party broke into this new chamber. They were drawn up short by what was inside: a cloaked cultist who was smiling patiently at them, while shivering spirits hovered around the edge of the room.

“It took you long enough to find this place,” the cultist intoned slowly, “You have bested some minor minions of ours, but soon the Tower of the ”/campaign/the-singing-mercenaries/wikis/jinrai" class=“wiki-page-link”> Jinrai will be ours! With the secrets of this place, we shall pave the road for our masters return!"

A pair of portals snapped open behind him at this, one leading to a hellish place and one to a silvery glade. Out of the Feywild stepped a vampire, familiar to some of them, who sneared in contempt, “I told you! You cannot kill me!”

From the other stepped a werewolf, wild with rage and fury. Yet something was different about this beast, for his arms were transformed into a kind of blue crystal that pulsed with energy.

The cultist laughed as he readied spells at his fingertips, “And now, intruders…DIE!”


Edit was just putting the wiki links in.

The Source of Suffering

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