Because a couple of the party were unable to attend what would no doubt be a climatic ‘scene’ in the regular campaign, I decided to go ahead and do a short one-shot Dungeon Crawl, that ended up spanning 4/5 sessions. It’s finished now, and here’s the tale of woe concerning a party of six…
North (Frederick Robenheim) – Faceless / Played by Darren
Nero Aristides – Knight of the Blazing Sun / Played by Adriel
Ruben van Beek – Journeyman Wizard / Played by Kieran (Zenith Bane)
Dagmar Schonefeld – Explorer / Played by Ellspeth
Napoleon Zara – Warlock / Played by MrDead
Odilia – Champion / Played by Nina
Our tale of woe begins…
His eyes open… gazing around his immediate surroundings, the strange gaunt looking man dressed in rags stands up. He’s in a small cramped cell, alone, cold and hungry. Yet he’s not alone… his pet owl that has accompanied him on his travels rests nearby. Seeing its master awake, it flutters up and perches itself on his shoulder. Looking around, he can see no obvious means for escape, except for the sturdy but rusted metal door in front of him. He pushes it, and to his surprise, it swings open.
Napoleon Zara steps out. He eyes five other occupants within a room; each with a cell to their own.They are all unconscious it seems. Napoleon tries to remember the last few things that spring to mind… He recalls traveling to Middenheim, and he remembers passing through Delbertz. Then, faint footsteps from behind, and a fierce blow to the back of the head. Now he’s here, and unsure as to why.
He spots a door leading into another room, and on the ground nearby, 6 thin branches lay neatly on the ground. With nothing on him other than rags for modesty, he picks up a branch and proceeds to enter a room filled with light. Six sarcophagi lay within; at the foot of each is a brazier with some oil at its base. Napoleon senses something coming from one particular sarcophagus… he can feel the magic coming from his staff. He approaches it, but its shut tight, and can find no way to remove the lid.
Quickly realizing that this is meant to be some kind of test, he lights the branch from a nearby wall torch, and proceeds to light all braziers. One by one, the lids of the sarcophagus become loose. He lifts them all off, as he is curious what he might find.
Several equipment lay in each one; in one such sarcophagus there is a shield and shining plate armor bearing the symbol of a Blazing Sun, in another, a treasure cove of weapons. But he’s interested in none of these things as he goes for his own that contains his staff and other assortments. Also included in each sarcophagus is a bottle containing a bluish liquid. Sensing that it may be of benefit to him, he drinks it.
A flood of memories come rushing back, memories that he had forgotten. With his memory fully restored, Napoleon thinks on his situation…
Back in the cells, the other occupants begin waking up. One by one they slug forward out of their cells, their memories all but wiped, unlike Napoleon who had awoken with some fragments of his memories intact. These however, awoken not even knowing their own names.
They each exchanged puzzle looks. Picking up the remaining branches, they stepped forward, and into the lit room with the sarcophagi. There they spied Napoleon and eyed him with suspicion. Dagma was the first to speak up, asking who he was and why he brought them here. Napoleon stated that he was not responsible, and he had only awoken a short time before they did. He informed them concerning the bottles of liquid, telling them that they restore one’s memories.
With this information at hand, they each went to a different sarcophagus, scavenging what equipment they can find. Only when they had drunk the bottle of liquid, did their memories come back and their ability to pick out their own equipment became apparent.
North’s memories came flooding back to him… – “You start to recall recent events, yet some of it is still fuzzy. You remember being in Middenehim, where exactly, your not sure. Was it the capital? No, maybe Delbertz you reckon. Yet, what were you doing in Delbertz? … Yes! You remember you were in pursuit of someone. Yet the name escapes you, the details are missing. You know your name is Frederich Robenheim, or, your alias, North as you go by. You right wrongs where you go. You seek out unjustice. For that is what Faceless men do. Yet you can’t escape the feeling that your prey is so very close. Someone in this room perhaps? You recall sad memories of a family long ceased, a wrong done against you, a wrong that you’ve been trying to correct. Is that person responsible in this room now…”
As did the memories of Ruben van Beek – “You start to recall recent events. You remember journeying through Middenehim, stopping at a town called Delbertz. Something had hit you from behind, or was it someone greeting you? You can’t exactly recall… You know you were escaping pursuit from someone. You remember your name… Ruben van Beek. You remember that you dabbled in the dark arts of magic. You remember… wronging someone. What did you do exactly? The details do not come. But someone was in pursuit. A witch hunter perhaps? You try to think… no, not a witch hunter. Something more… discreet. You can’t help but get the eerie feeling that your pursuer is in this very room…”
Nero – “You vaguely recall being in Middenheim, in a town called Delbertz. What were you doing there? … Yes! You were on a mission. But what kind of mission? You were hunting someone… but who, and why, you can’t recall. You look towards some of the faces in the room. Only one seems familar to you. A woman of strong build, who looks like she can handle herself in a fight. But how do you know her… your not sure. At least you remember your name. Nero Aristides.”
Odilia – “You start to recall recent events, yet some of it is still fuzzy. You don’t remember much. You know you were in Middenheim. A town called Delbertz. You remember a sense of pain. And then… blacking out. You recall that you were not alone in Delbertz. You were with someone. A companion? A lover? Your not sure… You do remember your name though. Odilia. You look around the room for familiar faces. You notice one. A 6,1 man who looks foreign, of eastern descent. Yet your not sure how you know him…”
Dagmar – “You start to recall recent events, yet some of it is still fuzzy. You recall journeying to Middenheim, to a town called Delbertz. Why… Something about a commission? Or were you acting as a guide? A guide… yes, that seems to ring a bell. A guide for whom? You remember your name at least. Dagmar Schonefeld. You look around the room for familar faces, but none seem to strike out at you, except maybe for 2. A woman of strong build, who looks like she can handle herself in a fight, and the other, a man of a similar build, but with a far away eastern look to him.”
With their memories partly restored, they agree to search the rest of this place for a way out, and to find out why they were put here in the first place.
The first, and rather, unfortunate one to step out into a corridor is the mysterious wizard, Ruben van Beek, who has been speaking in Kislevian ever since he woke up, with the others being unable to understand him. He steps out into from the room, and suddenly hears a ‘click’ from his right. A serrated blade stirs into life and spins into action, speeding towards him from a small slit in the wall. He tries to dart out the way, but he’s too late as it catches him in the side. He stumbles back, blood seeping from his wound, and collapses onto the ground. Nero is closest, who quickly drags him back into the room, as the blade vanishes into the left side of the wall.
Ruben is gushing out blood badly, and it is unlikely he’s going to survive. Nero whispers a prayer to his Goddess, Myrmidia, and North gets ready with a prayer to Morr, as the life seems to seep away from the foreign wizard. Ruben however… mutters a prayer in a language that was certainly not Kislevian. The prayer is in fact a mercy plea to Tzeentch, although the others are unaware of this…
Then something odd happens. Ruben’s bleeding stops, some of his wounds seem to miraculously heal as the others look on in shock. Then, something even more peculiar happens.
A pair of horns protrude from the forehead of Ruben, penetrating his skin and growing at a upright-curved angle. The others are aghast and step back in horror. Nero however confronts Ruben, calling him an abomination that needs to be destroyed, and a tense stand-off ensures. Ruben drops his Kislevian accent a moment and speaks in Reikspiel so he can tell the knight to back off.
The standoff only stops when Nero realizes that now’s not a good time to be spilling blood when they are trying to escape this place. With tension still in the air, they step through the door, but only after North, who has an awareness for such traps, puts one of the lids from a sarcophagus against the slit in the wall where the blade went. Stepping into another room, they see a menacing statue resembling some sort of large winged beast. Large ruby eyes shine with a glint, and stare out from the statue.
At the foot of the statue, there is a scroll, nestled within the hands of the beast. Below that, some engraved writing upon a small monument. It says – “I bring excitement to dull lives; transforming what is old into new, yet not all crave me. What am I?”
It’s obviously a riddle, but before someone is able to answer it, North is already climbing the back of the statue, aiming for the top. They look on in surprise to see him sitting atop the head, and with his dagger, he is attempting to free one of the ruby’s. One of them pops out, and North throws it towards Odelia, who fails to catch it, but picks it up and admires the glint in the gem. Worth a fortune indeed. North removes the other ruby, and prepares to climb down.
The rest of the party are certainly not in agreement with North’s activities. Just then, North and Odelia hear a scratching sound… they remove the ruby’s from their pockets to take a closer look at it. They see a small crack, growing in size, upon the ruby. Suddenly without warning, both ruby’s crack open as energy fills the room. What comes out, are certainly not easy on the eye.
Two small 4 foot abominations sprout out of the ruby’s. One goes for North, the other lashes out at Odelia, eying her meaty legs for a feast to be had. It deals a nasty wound to her as it strikes out. North is facing similar trouble, but his is quickly dispatched when Napoleon casts a dark bolt towards it, killing it, although with some help from Dagma’s bow.
Odelia dispatches the pink horror that’s been attacking her, but she is gravely wounded from the ordeal. A few steely gazes make their way across the room towards North, who bears full responsibility for what just happened…
Ruben then speaks up regarding the riddle, believing he confidently knows the answer. He speaks; “Change,” as to the answer, and waits patiently…. Nothing happens.
He steps forward and takes the scroll from the statue’s hand, rather cautiously, and reveals it to himself only.
Obviously a map detailing their immediate surroundings. Ruben suggests going “east” for starters, as that looks reasonably a good place to start….
Napoleon also gets a look at the map when he inquires, but does not offer opposition to Ruben’s suggestion. But before they can make a final agreement, a voice shouts out, “Ah, humans. Guests for the master, yes? Please fo-” North lets an arrow fly into the face of a small creature…
It barely has a moment to speak as the arrow penetrates its eye, and it falls limb. A voice echo’s throughout the area, “You’ve killed my servant… there will be recompense for this slight…” it soon fades out.
With the party agreed, they proceed east through the eastern door. They find it unlocked, and find themselves in a large garden. It’s daylight, the sky is clear and blue, not a cloud in the sky as the sun beats down upon them. Yet… nothing about this place seems normal. A path leads away, but as they try to look beyond the bushes, all they see is a mist that their vision cannot penetrate.
They follow the path. Napoleon along with Dagmar head south, through an archway, while the rest head up towards a well.
There they see a sundial, yet the shadow does not move upon it, as if the sky is frozen and the sun is unmoving. Nor do the tree’s around them seem to be swaying in the wind. Ruben takes a look down the well, and see’s something shimmering in the darkness. He proceeds to wind up the bucket within the wall, and finds a small brass key. He keeps this to himself as the rest had left at this point.
Stepping through the archway, Napoleon and Dagmar feel a chill in the air as the sun suddenly dies out, replaced by the moonlight. Up ahead they hear some giggling… and see five women parading about in a pool, pleasuring themselves and others with no shame. Long hair flowing upon milky white shoulders, to which belong a slender and refined body of an attractive woman.
They see Dagmar and Napoleon, and begin to call out to them. A strange feeling hits Dagmar, as she is unable to resist their tempting call, and begins to slowly walk over all the while stripping down to nothing, dropping her equipment and getting into the lake. Napoleon however is able to resist, and sensing that something is certainly odd here, possibly wrong even, he makes his way back through the arch and informs them of whats going on.
The party then go through the archway, with North staying back to keep their rear safe. When they get back, they see that Dagmar is certainly having a ‘pleasurable’ and lustful experience in the pool as an orgy seems to be getting underway.
The women begin to call out again as they see the party enter. Yet some resist, although Ruben is unable to as he drop his staff as does Nero who drops his weapon. Odelia steps forward and tries to prevent the women from gaining anymore playthings. Her confronting attitude only incenses them as they hiss at her and frown at her attempts to block them, and things change when she draws her sword. The women transform in front of their eyes… and from beautiful to something more serenely dark…
Slaanesh Daemonette’s! Not that the party knew of this…
Their spell on the others is broken, and Dagmar races out of the pool to gather her belongings as the five daemons fight it out. The fight is hard, and unrelenting as the Daemon’s press their attack. Nero holds his ground, being a Knight of the Blazing Sun and decked out in full plate armor, he is able to withstand their attacks better, but even he is suffering now. Odelia is forced to retreat as her wounds take their toll. Napoleon is struggling casting any sufficient magic to combat them, and Dagmar is locked in a fierce fight with one who wants her blood. Only 1 Daemon has been killed at this point at the hands of Nero, while the others struggle.
Ruben, the mysterious wizard with dark undertones, uses powerful magic to teleport himself in the middle of the Daemon pack. He casts another spell once he recuperated, and slams his staff onto the ground as a violent tremor erupts, causing most of the Daemon’s to fall onto the ground. He repeats this a couple of times, giving ample opportunity to turn the tide of battle.
At this stage North steps into the fight, and lets loose with his bow at a few of them. One goes down by his hand, and Nero finishes his off. Napoleon finally manages to make himself useful and casts a spell, sending a bolt of raw energy towards one of them as it was charging at a badly injured Dagmar who was on her last legs, saving her just in time from the wrath of the Daemon.
Yet there is still another one left… it goes to slash at Ruben, cutting him across his belly and savaging him for his magical interference, killing him outright. North walks up behind it to finish it off, but a whip comes out of nowhere, grabs his weapon and flings it away from him.
He looks to where it came from, and looks up towards a tree in the corner of the meadow. There… he see’s this –
Wielding a whip in one hand, she lashes out again with the whip but North is able to get out of its way. Napoleon casts a spell towards the tree with the intent of burning it, but he only does a half-ass job of it as it slowly begins to catch fire. The other Daemon is dispatched by North, but now they’ve got a greater foe to contend with…
Seeing the fire now raging beneath the tree, the Slaanesh mistress plans to jump off it in dramatic style, but misjudges her step and ultimately falls into the fire. Her screams of pleasure and pain echo out, as if she’s enjoying this new sensation of pain. The others don’t care as Odelia and North prepare their bows and aim too shoot, both cascading her with arrows and bolts after another until she is screaming no more.
With the fight over, the party make their way to the motionless body of Ruben, with intention of giving him a proper burial. They also find a curious amulet off the body of the Slaanesh Mistress –
Before they can get underway, the remains of an arrowhead is flung towards North, hitting him in the back. He turns to see a familiar sight smiling back at him on top of the arch way.
It speaks, “Ah, Master can help yes? Help your friend? Your dead friend? Yes? Come come! Bring dead human, Master help! Be nice and Master be nice in return!”
North is about to shoot it but Dagmar shouts for him to stop. Possibly being their only lead so far, and the only thing that doesn’t seem to want to kill them… yet, they agree to follow it and bring Ruben with them.
They head through and out of the gardens, making their way west of the dungeon. They find themselve sin a laboratory of some sort, jars and experiments lay unused and in disarray. “Come, this way! Follow!” the small creature shouts at them as they follow further on ahead. At its instruction they leave the body of Ruben on a table nearby, but a couple of the party members waits with it.
The others make their way through a large room filled with cages. In each cage there is some kind of strange looking creature; yet at the foot of the cages, there is no doors. Runes mark the ground, and seems to stop the creatures from advancing any further.
“Don’t worry about Masters pets, hehehe…” the small goblin-like creature sprouts out.
They make their way cautiously through and into another room. There, sits a table, and a peculiar horned looking man, if you can call him a man, sits patiently as they walk through. What is most evident about the man is that he is chained into his chair, unable to move.
“Ah good, you’ve finally came… I had hoped you would. I will forgive the act of aggression against my servant, not that I can say I was surprised… Now, I believe we can discuss a mutual arrangement between one another, shall we? You have something I want. An amulet. I can sense it on you… in exchange, I will depart with some knowledge on how to escape this place. I am, like you, a prisoner here, held against my will by those who do not wish to be named. And as a gesture of good faith, I will restore part of your memory.”
Uttering a incantation, and a wave of his hand, echos of the past come flooding back…
North … “You start to remember more now. You remember a family… your family. Being slaughtered like a lamb. You were only 35 when it happened. You had visited upon them as you would often when you had the opportunity, yet it would be your last visit. You witnessed your family home as a smouldering ruin. The charred remains of your family laying outside. Your 3 brothers dead. Your mother and father dead. Then you saw him… a figure, standing there, laughing as if this scene of carnage of some kind of jest. You had wasted no time challenging him, but he proved to be far more sinister than you had imagined. A dark wizard… He had saw you come at him, and thrown you asunder with a word of power. When you awoke, your head was bleeding, and there was no sign of him… You try to remember his face… the details are missing still.”
Ruben… “Some of your memories are starting to return. You remember now. You remember that you were journeying to Delbertz to escape pursuit. Someone was after you. Some relentless pursuer who had been at your heels for years. What did you do to deserve such interest?… You remember aright. You remember slaughtering a family. You had learned a new spell from your studies, and it required testing. What better way to test it, than on an unsuspecting family? You burned them alive in chaos fire… A family of 5. The mother, father and 3 brothers. It was a delight to you… yet, there was a 4th brother… he was not in the house at the time. You recall him charging at you. You recall casting a word of power to send him back asunder, throwing him off at least 50 feet across the field. You looked for him to finish him off, but to no avail you couldn’t find him. A pity… cause he is out for revenge. You look to one of the faces around you… is one of them here? You can’t be sure, as the details are still missing.”
Nero… “You start to remember more details. You remember now that you journeyed to Delbertz with Odilia. Your lover, your companion. Yet you had a guide! Dagmar Sconefeld was your guide to Middenheim. But why? You try to remember… you were chasing someone! Yes… you were hired by a village, its name escapes you. You remember that they hired you to chase down a dark wizard of tremendous power who had cursed them and killed their livestock. You try to gather more details, but it fails to come to you. All you know is that the dark wizard is of great power, and that he needs to be stopped.”
Odelia… “Odilia You start to remember more details. You remember now that your journeyed to Delbertz with Nero. Your lover, your companion. You also remember that you had a guide to Middenheim. Dagmar Sconefeld was your guide. But why? You try to remember… you were chasing someone! Yes… you were hired by a village, its name escapes you. You remember that they hired you to chase down a dark wizard of tremendous power who had cursed them and killed their livestock, merely as a whim to test his power. You try to gather more details, but it fails to come to you.”
Dagmar.. “You start to remember more details. You remember journeying to Middenheim alright. You were indeed a guide, a travelling guide for Odilia and Nero Aristides. You remember their mission… They had paid you well for you to show them the lay of the land, and they had informed you that they were hunting a dark wizard of great power who had cursed a village in Reikland, and had been causing chaos wherever he went. You agreed to aid them in their cause, for a price of course. Yet there is something else… another detail, but… it escapes you.”
With their memory restored, Nero, who has the amulet on him, is being asked to hand it over. He hesitates, and tries to bargain for a better deal, but it only angers the horned sorcerer, and rather than tempt fate, he gives in, handing him the amulet.
“Good. You saw reason. Yet you are no closer to freedom. I can grant you the freedom you desire, and the memories that you are still missing. All I ask of you is to bring the other two amulets. I’ve got two, one of them is my own. Four in total I need. Bring them and you shall have what you seek…”
They hesitantly agree.
They head back to the labs only to see a strange fellow hovering over the naked body of Ruben, another servant of the ‘Master’ apparently. This man is gaunt, pale and seemingly doesn’t say anything at all. He is drawing runes all over the body of Ruben, and once he finishes, he makes a concoction. He pours it down the throat of Ruben, and utters a spell… the air goes still, and then… Ruben, opens his eyes, letting out a gasp of air as he springs up onto the table. The others are in shock at what their witnessing.
Few dare to question what just took place, and many look on with caution. Few even grow even more worried as they witness Ruben’s feet turn into ravens claws, and a spasm of electricity seems to emanate from him. Stranger and stranger…
The little goblin-like creature meets them as the party prepare to leave, handing them a bag of potions, stating that it will aid them.
They drink up, gaining much needed nourishment from the magical potions.
They decided to head north this time, through a doorway. It turns out to be locked, but Nero uses the brass key that he looted from Ruben’s body, at a time when he was still dead. It opens and leads upstairs. They head on up, and find themselves in a strange place…
Situated in a small circular room are four statues. Each with distinctive features, and each one holding out a hand, as if waiting for something. They deduce that the four statues represent the four amulets that are needed, and may unlock the way for them to get out. Looking through the solid metal bars that block their path, they see engravings upon the floor, with letters representing a single tile each. Interesting… but with no amulets and nothing else to do, they head back down.
They head north-west through a passage, being careful as North studies for traps.
They get to a large door and can hear faint echo’s of music, and what seems to be… laughter?
They open it up and step into a large dining hall; a feast is underway! Much merriment and jovial is to be had, but the party are having none of it, and are immediately put on guard. North clambers up through the curtains and stands at the end of the table, seeing if he can get anyone’s attention. He purposefully spills a mans food onto the floor, but the man doesn’t seem to care as he replaces his empty plate with more from the table.
At the head of the table up the way, sits a rather large disgusting man…
He is gouging on food, and Napoleon is the first to get his attention… “Ah, guests! Welcome to my feast! Welcome! Please, sit and enjoy my hospitality!”
Napoleon sits at the table as others look on with bemused expressions, and even more so as they witness him eating the food.
Nero is investigating some paintings that are on the wall on the side, and notices something odd… In the painting, there is an exact replica of the room that he’s in, including with people sat around the table eating. Yet, he notices that those who are sat around eating don’t look… human, in fact, they look rancid, horrid diseased creatures. Something is definitely not right here… He proceeds to burn the painting, obviously not no taste for art.
As he burns the painting, those sat around the end of the table, begin to roll around on the floor in pain, screaming as if they were on fire.
Knowing that there’s a connection, he makes sure he finishes the job on the painting. Dagmar at this point steps up, and shoots an arrow across the way at the host of the table, sensing that indeed there is nothing right about this place.
Napoleon is most certainly not happy with the fact that an arrow just went flying by his face into the belly of the host, and begins to excuse himself from the table. In good time too, since the host is now bellowing out his rage and appears to be… erupting.
Unfortunately, they didn’t thank their liberator. Instead, one of the skulls took his mind…
Nero could feel rage building up inside him as he turned to see Napoleon standing there, watching. “Skulls…. I must have your skull…” he said, as two feet went forward without his well, and he charged at poor shrunken head Napoleon. But Napoleon manages to avoid the blow coming for him, and he runs as fast as his feet will carry him, to a safe distance.
Dagmar at this point also went around to see what was happening, having heard the commotion. She see’s a skull coming right for her, she swings her sword, but it goes right through it, doing nothing to harm it. It tries to enter her mind, but she fights it every bit of the way, forcing it back out as she focuses her mind. The skull moves onto more willing targets.
Odelia finds herself in a standoff with a floating skull that is screaming its way towards her. She is unable to resist however as it enters her mind…
Meanwhile, Ruben has been watching this from afar. He has sensed that the magic controlling these is coming from the book on the altar. With a sense of purpose, he makes his way towards the altar. He looks at the book, and see’s a diagram of a skull, similar to the ones floating about. He picks up the book with intention of casting it into the lava, but quickly finds himself headless as an axe cuts through his neck, lobbing his head off!
Odelia picks up his head, and admires it… it suddenly grows a beak, and she drops it in disgust.
But before his sudden and unexpected death, a memory flashes across…
“Your full memory is restored. And now you remember everything. You remember now, the endless pursuit. You recall spotting his mask on one occasion. A peculia mask, as if ever weeping. And then you did some research. North he was called… not his real name for sure, but he had a vendetta against you. You pondered as to why this is, and of course it came to you… the man whose family you had slaughtered. Yet it matters not now, he is dead… But there is something else that comes flooding back. This place is not new to you. You’ve been here before. In fact, you used to aid in running this place, before you were cast out by the Purple Hand, the cult that had taken you in as one of their own. A cult dedicated to Tzeentch, to bring change upon the empire.
The manner of your exile is not a pleasant memory. But why are you here now? Are they giving you another chance at redemption? Are they trying to test you, to see if your worthy? What you know about this place is that it is all illusions… There is no influence of Khorne here, or Slaanesh or any of the other gods, save that of Tzeentch. Tarsus, the horned sorceror as he is known to you, is the creator behind these powerful and deadly illusions. He is certainly playing a game, but what game your not sure. It has been so long that the games have changed…”
Nero has managed to cast out the skull by regaining his resolve, and finds himself staring at a blood crazed Odelia. Casting his eyes down upon the body of Ruben, he see’s the headless wizard, still clutching the book in his hands. Interesting, he thinks… odd, that the wizard would be interested in the book.
Odelia at this point has managed to regain control of her mind. Disgusted at what she’s just done, she casts her axe aside. Nero tells her to get the book, and Odelia bends down to fetch the book from the dead clutches of Ruben, and hands it to Nero.
Nero glances upon it quickly before the skulls make another attempt… he notices the diagram in the book depicting a skull similar to what they are fighting, and that’s all the convincing he needs as he casts it into the lava, hoping that will be enough.
And surely it was, as the skulls vanish. Ruben’s death perhaps was not in vain…
The party hastily search for the amulet, not wanting to spend a moment sooner in this place… With Napoleon’s help, they soon discover that the amulet is coming from within the skull’s mouth. The lever’s on either side is the means to opening it, and they work out the puzzle, as the skull begins to open.
Napoleon bravely puts his hand inside the skull to fetch the amulet…
With the last of the amulet, they return to the horned sorcerer.
“Ah, friends… you’ve done as I’ve asked. I can sense the amulets are with you… Now, to complete our bargain, give them here, and I shall show you the way, and restore your memories in full.”
Fatigued, with their spirit failing, nobody in the party is willing to get into another fight right now, and willingly hand the amulet over. The horned sorcerer is most surprised, but pleased.
“Excellent excellent. You have done so much better than the other lot. Much better. I am most impressed. Although I can’t say I’m impressed with all of you…” he says, looking at Napoleon.
“Now, as I promised, I will show you the way out, and restore your memories…”
He proceeds to lay down four amulets…
As he does, he speaks in a dark tongue, and the amulets disappear with a wave of his hand.
“Don’t worry, you’ll find them again… in the belly of my pets.” He smiles, and continues, “One final game on my part. I’m sure you noticed the cages outside, correct? At the foot of each cage there is a rune, it keeps them at bay. But the rune is easily disrupted. All you need to do is step onto the rune, and it will deactivate. The question is… which of my six pets as the four amulets?”
He lets out a manic laugh, “I bid you farewell, and hope to see you at the end, at least one of you… I shall depart with a gift for you all. Yet I wonder… when you receive my gift, will you still work together to survive, or will you all destroy one another….”
Memories begin flooding back…. painful memories.
Nero – “You remember it all now. You remember why you journeyed to Middenehim. To track down the one called Napoleon Zara. Not his real name, you discovered. A name he took from a victim. But that didn’t concern you. What concerned you was the carnage he left behind. Tilea. Estalia. Reikland. Didn’t matter where he went, he would leave his dark calling card behind. Killing for pleasure, testing his power wherever he went. You were ordered by the Grandmaster of your Order to track him down. Apparently he had killed a Knight of the Blazing Sun… and that was enough to hunt him down till the ends of the old world.”
Odilia – “You remember it all now. You remember a name. Napoleon Zara. A warlock apparently. A dark wizard. You had no personal beef with the wizard to say the least, but Nero Aristides, your partner, certainly did. You took up his cause and followed in pursuit. You had heard how Zara had killed a Knight of the Blazing Sun, and that was enough to ask for his death. Your journey took you to Delbertz along with your guide, Dagmar, and there you had planned to ambush Zara, but obviously someone else had other intentions.”
Dagmar – “Dagmar Now you remember it all. Everything. You remember a name… Napeoleon Zara. A warlock, a dark wizard. You remember that Odilia and Nero hired you to guide them across the land in their pursuit of the dark wizard. You learned that he had killed a knight that belonged to Nero’s order. Yet.. there was something else that you now remember… You were planning to betray them! You knew all along about their intentions, and now you remember that your fateful meeting with Odilia and Nero was no accident. Now you remember that hate that you buried for so long. The Knights of the Blazing Sun… Even thinking it sends bile in your throat. You recall that they had slaughtered your beloved husband. Your husband did not take kindly to them abusing their knightly privilege and noble birth by trying to claim his entire best stock of horses.
Your husband was a stablemaster of the finest kind, and the order had abused their position, taking his best stock without paying for it! One day he had enough and challenged the head knight… who cut him down for protesting. Ever since then you swore vengeance on their order. When you found out that such a knight was after a warlock of great power, you had hoped to turn the tables. You were planning in secret to meet this warlock, known as Zara, to get the tables turned. But he had not known about you. However, before you could alert him, someone else had interfered… and knocked you out, and put you in this dungeon for whatever purpose. That is all you can remember. What will you do now?”
As their memories come flooding back, the horned sorcerer vanishes, and in his place, something fiendish, horrid and horrific, scarred with abuse and torment has been left in his wake; a creature so foul to look upon it is to wonder whether or not you pity such a thing, or fear it. Thankfully for the party, it was chained up in the same chains that the sorcerer had been in. Why it was here now, they could only guess. Yet the goblin-like creature that was called Griznak didn’t get away in time as it was gobbled up by the creature. The party backed away, and once they were in safety, they pondered about their new found memories.
Nero was the first to act, filling ith rage as he charged at Napoleon, sword raised for the killing blow. Odelia tried to reason with him that they may need him to escape, that now’s not the time to be fighting amongst themselves. Amidst this, the echos of the horned sorcerer laughing could be heard…
Nero was about to deliver his blow when an arrow comes flying out. Shocked, he turns to see Dagmar, her bow ready and aimed at him.
Nero was near speechless, and demanded to know why she shot him. Dagmar proceeded to bombard him with fury and a recounting of her tale, of how her husband was struck down by the head of his order, how justice was nowhere to be seen and that he, along with his order, are nothing but evil vile men in armor proclaiming to do righteous good with a forked tongue.
Odelia rushes past and grapples Dagmar, and a struggle takes place. Napoleon uses the distraction to cast a bolt of energy at Nero, but it fails to scar him.
Nero seeing that Dagmar was the greater threat, joins Odelia, and with a nasty blow, nearly severs Dagmar’s arm. Dagmar collapses onto the ground, blood oozing out of her open wound, as she lay dieing, all the while mocking the knight and his companion for their skewed view and perspective on things.
Nero turns around to see Napoleon standing behind him, and makes a proclamation, demanding that Napoleon bow down to justice, to which Dagmar scoff’s at the mention of justice.
Napoleon says, “Go to hell…” and that is all is needed as the killing blow comes in, swiping his tiny head from his shoulders. All the while, the laughter continues to echo around the room.
Dagmar soon collapses, and lies motionless, dead.
Barely catching their breath, and Dagmar’s words still racking their brains, Nero and Odelia proceed to kill the horned sorcerers pets one by one. They find up to 3 amulets, but then they hear a voice… that of the horned sorcerer. Words are spoken, in dark tongue… suddenly the runes on the cages collapse, and 3 of the remaining creatures come out to meet them all at once. Nero hears the chains snapping inside the room. Whatever that foul thing is, its loose. He makes haste running to the door and closing it just in time as it starts slashing at the door, wanting its freedom.
Forming a tight circle, back-to-back, Nero and Odelia face off against the abominations of the sorcerer. Odelia dispatches one, but is quickly set upon by another. It opens her leg, latching around it and starts sucking out the bone marrow, eating up her leg bone. Nero flies in a rage and charges at it, killing it with a single blow. But its too late… Odelia lays motionless, her last breath gone.
Nero, fighting back rage, and perhaps tears, kills the remaining ones and finds the last amulet.
Saying a quick hasty prayer to Myrmidia, he runs for the exit. The door behind him smashes apart, and the chained fiend gives chase. Nero runs; fatigued, wounded and emotionally unstable, he is on his last fumes as he makes his way out of the sorcerer’s lair, closing each door behind him. Finally getting to the stairs, he locks the door behind him and ascends to where the statues await…
He see’s four statues, each one very different.
One statue, resembles some kind of snarling horned beast with a long protruding tongue. It’s face is the embodiment of rage.
Another, resembles a humanoid figure, but has a birdlike head. It’s wielding a strange peculiar looking staff with feathers coming out of it.
The third one is a figure of a slender woman, with attractive features yet despite this, elements of her seem to have a mutation of some sort. One arm is a pincher and her other arm wields a long spiked whip.
The fourth one seems to feature a grotesque fat man with flabby skin and at his feet are smaller statues of men and women, seemingly in pain and suffering from something.
Nero ponders his dilemma; he can’t help but wonder that if Napoleon was still alive, perhaps, he may know the way.
After much deliberation, he sets about the task. Luckily for him, he gets it right.
Within the center of the room was a small stone chest, and with each amulet being placed in its correct position, a ‘click’ could be heard. Once all amulets were in their position, Nero removed the lid from the chest, and saw something staring back at him.
A moving eye… it gave him an uneasy feeling. Regardless, he picked it up. The gate that had blocked his way before was slowly opening, and he made his way through.
Stepping into a large room, he saw that each segment of the floor contained a letter, each one different. Near the doorway there was an engraving upon a small monument that read, “Go Forth bearing my gift. Know my name for safe passage.”
Nero was completely lost now… Perhaps Odelia was right, that sparing the wizard would have been prudent.
As he pondered, he saw something step out of a strange glow of light up ahead. He saw that there was some form of magical energy taking place, and out of it stepped a hooded man. He stood there, watching intently. Nero called out to him, but he did not answer. He knew that this must be the final puzzle.
But after spending minutes trying to work out what the name might be, he gave up. Although the poisonous gas that was filling the room behind him certainly made his decision easier, as he RAN across the floor, stepping on each tile as he went, darts flew out of the wall towards him. One managed to find a clink in the armor, nicking him badly. On his last legs, and knowing that he can’t go on further if he gets hit again with another dart, he looks at the amulet for guidance… and strangely enough, the eye darts towards a specific letter. Realizing that the amulet could guide his way, although a tad bit late at this stage, he follows its guidance as it leads the way. He nearly collapses… was the dart poisoned? But he continues on, just barely, and reaches the end.
The cloaked figure speaks finally, “Rather blunt and brutish, but, effective regardless. Please, step through…”
Without hesitation, and wracked with fatigue, he steps through the portal.
All around him, is a void of space. Black as night, yet… now and again, he could swear he could see images of something, something floating in the pit of darkness. Madness would be at his door knocking if he looked for any longer, so he turned his head away and closed his eyes.
When he opened them… he saw himself surrounded by cloaked figures, a dozen or more of them. He was naked and unarmed, and in front of him, a man wearing a purple cloak with a purple hand etched into the robe, stood with a spare set of robes in his hands.
“Welcome… Brother. You have passed our tests, and you have arrived to meet your fate. We.. are the Purple Hand. A organization devoted to the law of Tzeentch. To bring Change and Revolution to the wretched Empire of Sigmar, to tear it down and rejoice in its spoils.
You may be wondering why we chosen you, along with the others. There is no great mystery behind it… We need someone special… someone who could face and survive the challenges that we set forward. Who has no problem doing what must be done. Someone of your strength, and your tenacity for survival. It was nothing but a mere test of your abilities. The horrors that you faced, were nothing but powerful illusions. Your injuries may seem to say otherwise, but even illusions have a way of causing great pain.
You have two choices brother… Embrace our invitation to join our cause, to link your destiny with Tzeentch, the Lord of Change, the Great Schemer and our Beloved Webspinner, or… embrace your death, here and now. Choose wisely. Yet know this… to choose our way, is to forsake all that you knew. You will be one of us, and your god will not be welcome.”
Nero had an important decision to make… under normal circumstances, he would refuse, every time, and he would go for their throat and take out as many as he could before death comes for him. But… these were not normal circumstances. For the last few hours, his very faith and will has been tested. He recalls seeking guidance from his god, yet she did not answer him once. Odelia was taken from him, and was it true what Dagmar spoke about his order? Was his order stained with the innocent blood of her husband? Questions flogged his mind, and ultimately, he chose…
“I’ll join you… ”
With that, a man approached from the side, and branded his wrist with the symbol of Tzeentch, marking out the previous tattoo of his own, but now forsaken god, Myrmidia.
Once the branding was finished, he was handed his new robes, and led out into a large sanctuary. There, waiting for him…
“Ah, I see you have chosen wisely. Good… Good.”
He puts an arm around Nero, leading him away.
“Now, I’ve got a task for you my friend. But tell me first, how much do you know about the Emperor, Karl-Franz?”