Dawn of Darkness

Chapter 1: The Burning City

The burning city

In Maerimydra, the city’s archmage Duneth Wharreil used the confusion following the silence of Lolth to hatch a plan to remove the Lolthites and rise to power himself by forging an alliance with the half-fiend/half-fire giant Kurgoth Hellspawn to launch a coup and invade the city.

House Naerthal, the ruling house has been able to rally the cities defenses, and the two forces clash with some regularity in the cavern as from time to time, Kurgoth gathers his warriors and tries to storm castle Maerimydra with the aid of his demonic allies. So far, the magical defenses of House Naerthal and their undead minions have frustrated Kurgoth’s attempts to take the castle by assault.

Fields of War

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Dust and smoke hangs heavily in the air – for a brief moment the sluggishly roiling clouds part, permitting a glimps of what lies beyond the gate. In stark contrast to the ever-present darkness that shrouds most of the underdark, this enormous cavern is alight with fire. In front of them extensive fields of fungus and a paved road leading into the ruins of a once might city. Campfires are scattered through out the city. Far above the cavern ceiling is shrouded in roiling clounds of some.

All the city blocks are a mix of standing buildings, piles of rubble and burnt-out shells. Smoke and dusk hang in the air. Destruction is everywhere. Dozens or hundred of bodies, both drow and goblinoid lie unburied.
The stench is almost unbearable. Smoke and haze reduce visibility. The characters manage to sneak unnoticed through the ruins of the city to Castle Maerimydra.

Castle Maerimydra
A platuea nearly 100 feet in height rises at the eastern end of the city. A steep set of stairs leads up the gates, of a dark elegant castle. Its graceful curves and fluted battlements are weirdly beautiful. Encampments of ogres, giants and other creatures surround the castle. The monsters gather around cookfires squabbling, bickering and conversing in a dozen different tongues. A potent magical spell prevents Kurgoth’s forces from entering the castle.

Pondering a plan on how to get past the demonic forces and into the city, Drada spots as by wonder a drow patrol emerging from the castle shrouded by magic. When the drow patrol spots the marks they immediately take them to the castle shrouded by their magic.

A spider’s web
They are take to the throne room. The guards they encounter on the way are some kind of undead drow. The Throne room is 75 feet diameter, the walls are sheathed in magnificient fluted paneling of ebon and gold, the floors are made of black gold-veined marble and elegant furnishings are made of exotic hardwoods carved into beautiful if vaguely sinister designs.

Irea sits on her thrown, to her side stands a male drow necromancer (Laerekh). “Welcome I was expecting you” … she ask them to come foward, and inspect the rune on their hands …. for a moment she seems to drift away.

Matron“How rude of me you must be tired and hungry, lets eat.” Servants bring the best wines and food for the guests. She explain what has happened and tells them that indeed Lolth, Gruumsh and Deep Duerra have been slain, but somehow they managed to hide a fragment of their divine essence in three mortals… the characters.

She will assist the characters to find out how they can unlock the divine essence inside of them. At that moment they pass out due to poison or magical means.

When they wake up, they are in a lab on a stone altar marked with runes a gutter for disposing blood. A strange mixture of odors fills the air: the stench of death and rot, sweet spices and perfumes and few more chemical odors as well. A handful of tables are spread around the room, littered with metal tools and arcane components.

The room is crackling with magical energy. Brazers with incents are burning . Irea has a ritual dagger and while chanting she is cuts runes in the flesh of the characters.

The necromancer is assisting with the ritual and four undead guard are nearby.

As the ritual chanting continues they start to hear the voices again in their head. The voices start to repeat the same word over and over. The Duergar Psion manages to speak the unspeakable words and his face burst open in a bloody mess as a backlash. However not without effect, as the matron explodes, killing her instantly.

The enemy of my enemy …

During the combat that follows they hear screaming and cries of battle outside it looks like the death of Irea has removed the magical shield and the demonic army is assaulting the castle.

A Balor flies into the tower ready to kill them, when Icel, the tiefling emissary of Lolth intervenes again. She whispers to the Balor that they were infiltrators sent to kill the Matron mother. The Balor orders to take them to Kurgoth Hellspawn.

Kurgoth resides at the Coliseum. On the way to the coliseum Icel explains that the Matron Mother has betrayed her loyalty to Lolth by trying to steal the divine essence from them. The only option left is to consult The Eye of Ghaunadaur. It is not a preferable option, and it will require a sacrifice from them to gain the favor of Ghaunadaur.

As they near the arena, they hear sounds of combat, the clang of metal, the roars of angry warriors, the cheering of harsh voices echo from within the enormous building ahead. The building is oval, its outer walls are 60 feet high, six large double doors stand open along the long side of the building.

Fire giant king

Kurgath listens to their story and will announce them the champions of the demonic host and they get to feast with him. In addition they may choice any one item from his looted treasures. During the festivities the wine and blood flow non-stop, but the characters decide to sneak out and head to the library to learn more about where they can find The Eye of Ghaunadaur.

They learn that The Eye, is the high priest of Ghaunadaur, and he is known as the mad prophet. His temple is located deep within the lower dark, the area is known as Earth’s End.

It is said that the region has been touched by the realm of madness. The route to the temple is always changing, so it will be difficult to find it and possible even more difficult to get out.

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