Beginning of the End
The PCs returned from their journey to the Tanglewood forest and were ready to move on to more important matters. They had a very short time to wait in Silverspire, but any time used for waiting was time wasted. The group decided they would try to use this time to find out more information on the Sword they had been carrying the entire trip across the continent. So the group slept on it, hoping tomorrow would bring them closer to understanding the true nature of their quest.
During the night, the two holy men of the group were sent visions from their gods, or at least they think. Both of them had dreams about Graveyard. It puzzled them, so they decided to tell the group to see what they could make of it. The group had some ideas, but nothing they were willing to accept as concrete enough to change their mind about their mission. They decided to get a third party perspective on their dream, so they headed over to thew cleric of the town named Harkin.
Harkin was in the middle of a sermon, and the PCs were polite enough to stand aside and wait for him to finish. After his group had disbanded, the PCs approached him, hoping he would have some wisdom to shine on the dreams or the sword in general. Sagemon and Shemuel explained the dreams to him in very fine detail, but the cleric was only able to tell them theories he himself was creating at the time. There was no new information gained from their dreams except puzzling aggravation.
The party then asked Harken if he would be able to tell them anything about the sword in general. He told them that he would have to either hold the sword or touch it in order to feel what the sword feels. The group was more than willing to let him touch the sword, after frightening him with all the stories of what happened to people who touched it in the past of course. He gathered his courage up and used his divine sense on the sword. He found something that the others could not. He told them that the sword felt confused, as if it were in a state of chaos. He could tell them nothing else that they didn’t already know, so the group moved on.
On their way out of the temple, they were hailed by Tasith. She greeted them and introduced them to her friend. Everyone in the group was taken back by the beauty of her friend, Jin Glowstaff, wizard of radiance. She explained to them about her mission in Ft, Brehenine dealing with the study of radiance on the skin of undead. Marduk somehow managed to make her smile, so she handed him a note so he could find her if he ever went to Ft. Brehenine. The wizards then went on their way and the PCs went on theirs.
Before going any further, Faust decided he needed to give a speech. He floated up about 15 feet into the air and hovered over to the middle of the town so that all 25 people that were attracted tot he attention could hear him. He made a fascinating speech about how the gods were doing nothing for anyone else, but all the gods had agendas and everything they did was to accomplish another goal of theirs. If they were so merciful and kind, then they would give powers and healing for free and not force people to do things for them. Long story short, Faust made it known that he did not trust the gods and no one else should either.
After that speech, the group decided to call it a day and rest up for the journey to come. Sarin decided to go and help Ignis the Red finish the Scabbard so the group could get out of the city as fast as possible. The next day, the group woke to find Nixero in his room caressing the sword and calling it his baby honeyboo. They managed to shake him out of it, but they were still just a little freaked out about that imagery. The group donned their armor and headed out to see Ignis. To their surprise he was already standing outside the castle waiting for them. In his hands, he was holding the scabbard in all its glory, and a small chest.
Before handing over the scabbard, Ignis decided to warn them of a couple of side effects the scabbard might have on them. As he was running through them, Nixero heard something about the scabbard attracting all magic missile spells, so he instantly cast the ice missile spell he had learned. All three missiles flew and hit Ignis in the face. Ignis’ hair ignited with flame and he hate he had for Nixero grew ten fold. The very soul of Ignis wished for the complete and utter destruction of this creature that stood before him, but he held his tongue and his hand, for he was one of the carriers of the sword. He dropped the scabbard on the ground, and told them they might need some potions of mundane magic in order to help the scabbard operate correctly. He sold them some bottles and tossed them on the ground at their feet. Nixero grabbed them and crept away into the background with Sarin.
The group then decided on how they were going to go up the mountain and who was going to hold the sword. Someone suggested they pass the sword around and take turns. Ignis added in “Yeah sure, might as well pass Sarin around too while you’re at it.” Sarin immediately tried casting many fireball spells at him, however he used counter spell every time. The group decided the time was now if they were going to leave, so they asked Ignis to make the portal. He waved his arm in the air an made a rift in the air, leading to the base of Mt. Nex. The group entered the portal and started on the end of their mission.
After reaching the base of the mountain, Nixero decided to inspect the scabbard before making the climb to the peak. Through study and help from his arcane friends, he realized that the scabbard is acting as a filter rather than something to contain Graveyard, and through this filter, he might be able to speak with the entity that is Graveyard. The group was very skeptical about the idea, but what’s the worst that could happen? Nixero summoned his courage and sat on the ground cross legged, resting the sword on his lap. He went into a trance, leaving his body far behind in the material plane.
He found himself in a very strange place. He believed he was indeed inside the sword…but who could really tell? He found himself standing in a small grassy patch. All around him were bodies piled on bodies of human soldiers. The sky was dark and red, although the position of the sun would suggest it would be noon. In front of him was a very large bat like creature. Nixero introduced and asked the creature if he was the keeper of the sword or if he was Graveyard himself. The creature was very confused, and could not even tell Nixero his name.
Nixero continued to gather information from the sword the best he could, but with the sword in its current form, there was almost nothing he could discern from the insane blabbering other than the sword did not know what its purpose was. The bat continued to repeat “I cannot die, my mission is not complete” and “I was created to destroy…something”. Later in the conversation, Nixero managed to learn that the sword needs souls in order to restore itself to full power once more. By counting the bodies, he determined that he had already consumed 4,984 souls. On that note, Nixero left the trance and told his party all that he had learned.
The party was split on whether or not they should actually give this necrotic sword any souls, but in the end, Marduk gave him a couple of wolf souls. Nixero went into trance with the sword again to see if anything had changed or to see if the sword remembered anything. When he got there, he noticed immediately that the appearance of the bat had changed. At the end of his wings he was beginning to form hands of a human. He spoke to Graveyard and asked him what he knew now. Graveyard told him that he was created to destroy one thing – Vecna. Once it had completed its mission, it claimed that it would not care about continuing on. Nixero promised the sword that he would help the sword achieve its goal, even if the party would not.
Nixero came out of the trance and explained to everyone about what he had discussed with Graveyard. They agreed to start their climb and see if getting closer to the Dungeon would jog the memory of the sword anymore. They gathered their gear and strapped themselves in, forming a chain of climbers. It would be at least a four day journey up the mountain.
The climb was a long and tedious one. The rocks and ledges were sharp, the wind was cold and unforgiving, and the mountain itself seemed out to get them by raining rocks on their heads often. They fought a few beasts on the way up; Manticores, skeletons, and gargoyles were encountered. No creature was as deadly as the climb itself it seemed. Marduk took the most damage, breaking his nose over 15 times during the climb, and by the end of it he had to be carried by Nulaf. It was not fun, but they did manage to get to the top.
During the climb up, Nixero realized that the sword was not trying to control him. He thought this was very strange, seeing as it was always trying to control people before. He took note of that and would address it later.
Once they reached the top, they sighed with relief, but they were also chilled to the bone by the sight of a double iron door set into the mountain. On them were two scenes; One scene depicted thousands of souls being absorbed into a humanoid shape with a gaping mouth, while the other was an army of undead standing before a humanoid figure with his arms raised as if he were commanding them. The group tried to open the door but it seemed stuck. An arcana check revealed that there was a security spell on the door. After fumbling around a bit, someone said all hail vecna, and they heard the most disturbing thing they could imagine. A booming voice came to their minds, followed by thousands of screaming souls in agony as the doors slowly opened. (Make sure sound is up, then press play to hear the entrance to Mt. Nex)