Beware for Hope is Kindled
Finally rested and healed Orek used an invisibility spell to scout down the north hall. He could see that there were two side passages up ahead and a double door at the end of the hall. Arriving at the four way intersection Orek could hear the shouts and screams beyond the double doors grow louder, only this time they were mixed with blood curdling screams and cries of mercy. Looking left you could see the horrific scene of hundreds of arms sticking out of the walls. The arms were swinging wildly in a vain attempt to break free. Looking right Orek saw that the passage opened up into a small cavern through which a river could be seen flowing. A wooden bridge connected the opening to a large pair of doors on the other side.
Not wishing to open the doors at the end of the hall and totally mortified by the arms the party decided to cross the thirty foot bridge to the large doors. Mirari crept up to the doors with Joselyn and picked the lock. Finding no traps Joselyn slowly opened the door and carefully entered with Mirari close behind. The rest of the party now began to cross the bridge but kept their distance. Initially the room was dark but after taking a few steps into the room braziers located at the base of several pillars erupted with flames ominously casting long shadows about the room. Suddenly, a hulking figure, which had been clinging to the ceiling, snatched Mirari. Appearing to be the cross between an ape and demon the massive figure tried to teleport away with the party’s rogue but Mirari successfully resisted the spell.
Entering the chamber the party found that the entire southern portion of the room was raised ten feet off the ground with a 15 foot wide stair leading to the top of the platform. There was another set of doors in the east wall directly across from where you had entered. In the north wall massive thirty foot tall double doors stood covered in motif’s celebrating Orcus’ return to the Abyss. In the rear of the raised area was an altar to Orcus. A nearly twenty foot tall statue of the Prince of Undead dominated the altar with a sacrificial altar at its base. Upon the altar laid the mutilated remains of a human. Laying in a pile next to the altar were a set of ornate robes that Orek recognized as those worn by the arch mages at Tenraishima’s school of magic. The demons had apparently sacrificed a powerful mage to the Prince of undead.
While the party was busy searching this massive chamber a pair of Vroks teleported into the room near the altar. At this point the party was scattered around the chamber making a coordinated attack difficult. Orek was uncomfortably close to one of the demons and was raked by the Vrok’s claws. Raudrogdos, quickly intervened and Orek was able to withdraw. Meanwhile, Sveta, Joselyn, Edge, and Grishma quickly brought down the other Vrok. Just as the party was about to converge on the second Vrok the giant doors in the north swung open and six Tanaruks stormed the chamber. Raudrogdos continued to struggle with the last Vrok while the rest of the party formed a line to meet the Tanaruks. Grishma, Joselyn, Sveta, and Edge stood shoulder to shoulder ready to meet the attackers while Mirari flanked the plane touched orcs. After a swift flash of steel and Sveta’s expert neck snapping the tanaruks and vrok were laid low. Re-securing the north doors the party regrouped and healed.
Sveta seemed fascinated by Orcus’ altar. Following the battle she stood at the altar for a length of time studying it carefully. Finally, Joselyn came to her and suggested they not linger any longer in this place. As Sveta slowly turned away from the altar everyone noticed a massive change in her. The half fiend twins that she was carrying had developed rapidly making Sveta appear as though she was about 4 months along (out of a 5 month gestation for half-orcs).
Opening the east doors a sudden rush of freezing air hit the party. Inside there was a passage immediately to your left and an enormous chamber with four stout wooden tables in the center of the room. On each table lay what appeared to be a flesh golem in various stages of completion. There were also four other “freezer” doors behind which more golem components were kept. The golems were all abnormally large and pieced together using parts from many different creatures. Not wishing to disturb anything in this room the party diverted down the left passage.
Suddenly Sveta darted back into the altar chamber in a panic. Jia and Joselyn followed Sveta finding her at the base of the altar in labor. Eventually the entire party gathered while Jia delivered the twins. The first infant delivered appeared to be a perfect female human child with no characteristics of orc or fiend. Joselyn detected evil from this child. The second infant was also a girl but born with clearly fiendish features which included dark skin, small horns, and cloven hooves. However, no evil was detected from this child. What happened next tested the resolve of the party. Sveta insisted that the first child be killed. “it’s an evil baby” She argued. Sveta said that the child was somehow able to speak to her and taunted her with the life of her sister. When Jia inspected of the second twin she found bruises on her body. Again, Sveta demanded that the first twin be killed. After a lengthy debate Jia took the child and refused to give it up. Sveta named her daughter (the half-fiend infant) Rosie while Jia, believing that all creatures can be redeemed, named the other twin Hope. Jia was apprehensive to heal Sveta fearing she may try to take Hope but did so anyway. Slings were fashioned for the children and the party moved back into the side passage.
The next chamber had a set of five stocks in the center of the room that were covered in dried blood. The stocks faced an alcove in the east wall. This alcove was soot covered but wiping away the stains Orek found many runes and glyphs. Orek determined that if one made a sacrifice this chamber could be used to teleport individuals great distances. A dilemma now faced the party. You now had twin infants to care for and you were questing through the most dangerous place imaginable. A single misstep and the children would be done for. Orek took Rosie of from Sveta telling her that he would do his best to keep her safe while Jia continued to carry Hope.
A quick flash of light followed by a billowing cloud of black smoke suddenly filled the room. Once the smoke cleared enough to see the party found a harvester devil standing in the alcove. He was dressed extraordinarily well and wore a great deal of jewelry. Holding a handkerchief to his nose while the smoke cleared he approached the party and asked if he could have a word. Joselyn asked for his name but he would only say that he was here on behalf of his master Bune.
Orek knew that Bune was a rival of Furcas, the devil you believed held Hans Drubal’s soul, and that Bune often worked to undermine Furcas. However, Furcas was undoubtedly a more powerful devil and often turned Bune’s plans back upon him. The harvester devil before you was sent on behalf of Bune as he had an interest in seeing the party successfully humiliate or destroy Furcas. The devil said he could not remain here long as it was unsafe for a devil to dwell in the Abyss for too long. However, if the party accepted his aid the devil would use the teleportation device to send them directly to the first layer of Hell.
Raudrogdos was immediately defensive thinking that the party would accept this aid and not destroy the Glabrezu as promised. However, the party agreed that before going anywhere they must keep their word to their giant friend. The devil did not seem too concerned since, as he put it, “the demon approaches now.” The glabrezu had returned to the altar room and discovered the carnage. A thundering roar erupted as the demon burst into the chamber sending the doors flying off their hinges. Joselyn arranged the party in a defensive line but Raudrogdos charged forward and threw a shoulder into the demon slamming him into the back wall. With little other choice the rest of the part charged forward. Mirari tumbled into a flank while the rest of the party swarmed the humongous demon. Now enraged, the demon furiously clawed and bit at Raudrogdos inflicting several wounds that would kill any other mortal several times over. Jia moved to heal Raudrogdos but Hope began to flail and cry in an attempt to interrupt her healing. The giant stood toe to toe with the glabrezu swinging his massive club with all his might. Several of Raudrogdos’ blows struck the glabrezu with incredible force. With the demon reeling from the giants pummeling both Joselyn and Sveta leaped forward and struck critical hits. Unbelievably, nearly as fast as the combat started the glabrezu lay dead.