DARKNESS GATHERING: ENDGAME (PART TWO)

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This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

– The Hollow Men, T.S. Elliot

“It all started with a simple delivery. Allustan from the College of Magic in Threshold wanted a small wooden box delivered to the Yellow Warehouse in Falstaff. And this mission led you to intervene in the strange happenings at the Tower Enoch which revealed the plot of the demon Shuluth who is apparently a servant of the Dark Queen, Lolth. Now, you’ve gone underground, seeking out your friend only to find him nearly dead within the halls of a long forgotten temple that rests below Falstaff’s foundations. And finally, curiosity led you to place the Black Spheres within the gaping mouths of the Three Demon Faces, opening a rift to an alternate world much like your own which has been conquered by Lolth. You’ve endured three adventures so far, and now you’ve been asked by Aleena and the Other Rippin, to begin another: save the world from The Darkening.”

The playing characters had already dealt with the Tanar’ri named Shuluth. Now they were heading into the Temple to destroy the Monoliths of Lacc that have been sapping the light from their world and empowering Lolth’s creation of the Demonweave.

The heroes slowly walked down the black basalt stairs that descended into the dark halls of the Temple. They accidentally triggered a trap as they walked downward, causing the doorway at the end of the steps to lock. They arrived at the doorway to see that it was crafted of the same black basalt as the stairway. It had several strange runes carved into it speaking of the Mad God, Tharizdun. They could see pulsing purple light behind the doorway, spilling in through the thin cracks.

CHAK went right to work, checking the door and picking the lock. He found and disabled a needle trap that surely would have killed him. He withdrew to press himslef against the wall, sliding out with short sword and dagger. RIPPIN THE RED moved forward flanked by WALDEMAR. XE stood near the back, watching and preparing to cast spells if needed. XE did, however, send his Owl through the door to have a look around.

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In the corridor beyond, they found two Grimlocks standing guard. They were quickly put down by RIPPIN, WALDEMAR, and CHAK.

They moved through the temple pathways, smashing the pillar monoliths as they discovered them. Each time one of the heroes would attempt to hit the pillars, a blast of Negative Energy would lash out at them. Luckily, they managed to avoid the backlash most times.

Each time one of them would smash the monoliths, they would grab up some of the shattered obsidian, knowing that it was worth its weight literally in gold.

In the end, they reached the main temple site where they could hear a musical serenade of woodwinds mixed with chanting and the screams of a woman. Investigating, they were able to see that several Drow were kneeling down, playing panpipes while a few others were standing with their heads bowed, chanting in low voices.

There on the raised dais, atop an altar decorated with ancient Elven runes, was a woman. She was screaming, giving birth at that very moment. Her cried ceased, and she was silent. Death often came with childbirth in these rituals.

But the dark skinned male and the light skinned female seemed to pay no attention to the mother of the child. Their attention was completely on the babe. This was the child who would unite the Drow races: The Chosen One. The child had been conceived by a priest of Tharizdun (who was then sacrificed to Lolth) and brought to term by a Drow Priestess of Lolth. The baby would be blessed of both deities, and lead the Drow to destroy the Surface World and fully transform it into the Overdark.

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The male held the baby up in the air for all to see. The music and chanting  stopped. The dark skinned male shouted out, “Behold, the Chosen One. This child will unite us against our common foe. The religious might of Tharizdun will flow through the child, and Lolth shall grant the child magic from the Demonweave. This child will lead us to victory over the surface world!”

And at that moment, XE unleashed the full potential of the Ring of Shooting Stars on the dias. He had been watching from above, thanks to his Fly spell. Ten balls of lightning and fire rained down on the the male, female, and baby. The explosions were immense, shattering the dias and incinerating all that stood there. Some of the Drow guards standing near the Dias and Altar were instantly turned to ash, as well. In a way this was fitting, because the ring had belonged to Enoch before Shuluth had dominated him.

With XE’s shock and awe attack complete, the rest of the heroes rushed into the temple and started their wetwork. It did not take long for them to overcome the dazed Drow. With the remaining Drow killed, and the Ritual Birth stopped, the heroes took their time looking around, and looking for anything of value that might be taken from the temple.

Our heroes hoped that their actions finally stopped the spread of The Darkness.

Only time would tell.

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