Black Heart

Death is Just the Beginning

. . . of a whole new adventure

After defeating the Lady Alyssa Zelkan in the mausoleum, the party caught their breath and examined the other caskets in the crypt. In one of the caskets, the party found the body of a woman that bore a striking resemblance to Lord Cadmus Zelkan only older, leading the party to believe that she was his mother. Around her neck was a pendant with a softly glowing black crystal. A quick examination by Adiah and Elexara told them that the crystal was actually the void crystal which they had come to Mistmarsh in search of. The party gathered the crystal up and headed back to the temple of Ioun to rest for the remainder of the night.

In the morning the party discussed their options and decided to head back to the keep and confront Lord Zelkan about the discrepancies in his diary versus the version of events he told the party. When the party entered into the keep they observed some of the same individuals they had previously fought — and killed — but these people did not seem to remember the incident. Nor, for that matter, did they in any way appear hostile. After a brief discussion, the party was taken to see Lord Zelkan. Upon meeting Zelkan, it became apparent that part of his curse is that he always remembers everything that happens, even when his cambion side comes out. Perhaps fortunately; however, the rest of his servants do not recall what happens when night falls.

Zelkan was confused when first told that his wife and son had never left the town. He swore that he could recall them leaving but when it was explained to him that they had encountered his wife in the family mausoleum, he began to come around. He was still confused as to why he couldn’t recall the death of his wife, or why the memory of her leaving was so vivid but Adiah and Goeban were able to explain to him how the curse could be affecting his memories as well or that it was even possible that the gypsy had taken the guise of his wife so as to further confuse him. When the nature of the curse was explained to Zelkan his rage began to boil over and he swore to the party that if they could put his family to rest that anything he could give them would be theirs. With that the party set out to locate the eyes that Elana had fired off into the mists, believing that if they returned the eyes to Alyssa’s corpse, she could finally be put to rest.

The search began with Adiah casting his trusty Hand of Fate ritual to point them in the general direction. Between following the directions of the Hand and picking out landmarks, the party was able to locate the arrow that Elana had fired. Unfortunately for them, the eyes were no longer attached to the arrow and several sets of foot prints lead away from the arrow in various directions. Elexara’s keen senses quickly picked out a faint aura of enchantment that followed along one of the sets of footprints. Following the footprints took the party through some heavily wooded areas and eventually lead to a clearing where several decaying humans awaited. Although their bodies were clearly decaying, the humans were not in fact, undead, merely rotting. Elana climbed into a tree on the edge of the clearing and began picking off the humans. Elexara charged in and confronted two of the humans only to discover that they both had auras around them that caused creatures to start rotting as well. Worse, one of the humans was able to make Elexara more vulnerable to necrotic energy. Most of the humans were melee combatants, but one was able to lob spells at the party. The party soon focused its attention on the spellcaster and it was killed almost instantly. Between the good positioning attained by the party and the focused fire, the fight was swiftly one, with only one of the enemies holding out for any length of time.

When it was over, the party interrogated the two enemies that they had let live to see why they were there and where the eyes were. They learned that the eyes had been taken by Caly, a person whom they insisted was an old woman. They did; however, warn the party that Caly was powerful and that she may well be more than she seemed, but that they had only ever seen her as an old woman. The party was then told that Caly was located near a swamp where she was performing a ritual to siphon power from the Raven Queen to Orcus.

Elana quickly set out to track down Caly, following the general directions given by Caly’s ally. Elana soon found what appeared to be a clearing near the edge of the swamp, but saw that the clearing was surrounded by a dense bank of fog that broke line of sight. As Elana was trying to quietly approach the clearing, Caly called out to her in an aging female voice, specifically calling Elana by name. Elana and Caly bantered briefly, with Caly taunting Elana and asking her to come into the clearing. Elana; however, was not moved by the taunts and instead waited for the rest of the party to catch up.

As the party approached the clearing they saw that it was ringed with a thick bank of fog, but also had six altars arrayed along the outside. On five of those altars were servants of the Raven Queen who appeared to be magically bound to the slabs. Dark energy could be seen flowing around the altars. When the party did not take her offer to stand down, Caly morphed into her true form, a three headed dragon and attacked. Caly opened the fight by breathing a cloud of acid over the party. Goeban then went to try to free one of the servants of the Raven Queen and Elana fired several arrows into Caly as she ran around behind the dragon. Unfortunately for Elana, it turned out that Caly could act much quicker than the party, with each head able to take control every couple of seconds. Caly focused her ire on Elana, biting her a couple of times and throwing her body into a cloud of necrotic energy, knocking Elana unconscious. Elana was killed an instant later when the altars erupted in a burst of necrotic energy. Elexara and Adiah sprung into action then and began to disrupt the ritual by cleansing the altars where the servants of the Raven Queen were bound. This greatly reduced the power of the necrotic bursts from the altars, but Caly still proved extremely dangerous.

Elana was surprised when she suddenly awoke in a relatively comfortable room with a shadar-kai looking over her. She asked the shadar-kai, who proved to be a cleric of the Raven Queen, where she was and why she was there, and the cleric replied that since Elana had been acting on behalf of the Raven Queen, the goddess had intervened and saved her from the dragon. Elana feared for her allies though and begged to be allowed to return to her companions. The cleric rushed out to consult with others and returned a few moments later to tell Elana that she could return, but it would only be for a brief period.

Elana returned to the battlefield, taunting Caly with a message from the Raven Queen. However, although Elana’s return helped, it would prove to be too little as she was only able to remain on the field of battle for a very brief time. Unfortunately for the remaining members of the party, Caly would prove to be too tough, with each of her heads emitting a different breath weapon, Goeban and Elexara were soon knocked unconscious. Adiah tried to fight on, throwing out a damaging zone around Caly, and was momentarily cheered by the sounds of a great roar and tearing noise. When Caly emerged from the clearing to chase after Adiah; however, Adiah saw that the dragon now had four heads, the newest of which ripped into Adiah, killing him. Adiah would soon awaken next to Elana and would be joined by Elexara and Goeban as they soon lost their unconscious fight.

As the party awakened, they were informed by the Raven Queen’s cleric that they were in Letherna, home of the Raven Queen and that the Raven Queen had been impressed by their fight against Caly and that she had decided to intervene. The party was told that they could be returned to their home plane, or any other destination, if they were willing to enter into service of the Raven Queen. There was some initial concern by Goeban and Adiah as to what that meant, but they were assured that the Raven Queen was not requiring them to abandon their goddesses, but rather that they would be directed to hunt down and destroy Caly once and for all. The party was again assured that it would not be necessary to do so immediately, but that they would be expected to hunt the dragon down.

With that, the party decided to take some time to discuss their options.

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