Padriag lowered himself into the strange tube that plunged through the flooded floor of the old cambion prison. Outside the winds and the savage tides of the hurricane battered the old stonework, but below was silent. An intense heat dried his clothes instantly even as thick steam fogged his vision. He heard a tick as some strand of twine broke and an object like a canteen fell to the floor, 30 feet below. He reached for it too late and the object struck the floor with a resounding BANG. The mists parted a bit to reveal a wide tunnel of slick black rock and a stream of pulsating liquid stone running through it.
The party gathered themselves warily in this new, eerily quiet place. It was certainly fiery enough. Suddenly the high seas and weather seemed far away. A harsh but familiar voice floated through the haze, its distance and direction distorted by the fog:
“You devils have been worse than useless. Why Leska and the Wulf deals with your kind at all is beyond my ken. We should recruit that stone skinned barbarian to ours. He already looks the part. This Dagon seems worthy. In a day or so this city will be leveled and we can pick apart the survivors. The elves arrival was a stroke of luck, eh?
And another, different but also familiar voice: “Yes, warduke, these ones are strong I can attest that destiny guides their steps, but do not discount my Lord in his cave of ice, for he will escape once again and he seeks merely to dominate the world, not destroy it. You will find that Dagon, once awakened does not share in my lord’s cares.”
“Bah, you stay here and sell your immortal soul dearly. My archers will cover. I go to continue my sport…”
The party snuck into the room, but their foes were aware. They were ambushed by Ragasian artillery and once again dueled the corpulent and bearded devil called Kazyk, the Perfidious One. The Ragasians broke and fled, but one was captured. He knew little of the tomb, only the quarters where he was billeted. The heroes played upon his soldier’s disgust for his assignment to get him to agree to aid their cause, promising death as an alternative. He warily agreed.
Passing through a makeshift soldier’s camp, and ignoring a yawning maw that offered ingress into the very heart of the Pyromancer’s Tomb, the heroes came upon a large laboratory, filled with stinking vats of brine, a spring of magma, and a shelf which featured a book both divine and terrible, the storied “Dagonomicon” upon whose cursed pages it is said that one look causes madness and worse. Other bric a brac littered the workstation as well.
Pressing further, the Brotherhood entered a second magma cavern, this featuring a large oozing portal that blazed with the fury of the Elemental Chaos. There was also a strange white stone monolith and a few doors. Then a heart wrenching scream echoed from behind stone door number one.
Within was a dour dungeon, blood spattered, a vision of every prisoner’s worst nightmare. Corpse hung from hooks on walls, an Iron Maiden stood against the far wall, and in the center, a wrack, upon which was an elven maiden, her once fair features now shredded by the tender ministrations of the Inquisitor, who bent over her, still intent to inflict one last prick before he turned to battle.
“You again! The blood has spoken that I will fall before you here, but I will take you with me, for the ball has rolled beyond this crypt. Ha ha ha!”
Mere moments later Hours was slamming the door shut on the brute, crushing him within his own iron maiden. A last burst of strength saw the Inquisitor free, stepping forward, gore gushing from a dozen orifices, he stumbled and fell. The only sound was the whimper of the elven maiden, covered in leaking scars, blind, maimed, but alive and grateful.
Hesperiana, she was called, and she had come to Seaquen as a merchant spy, she admitted, to serve as a liaison when the Shahalesti made their appearance, but she had become suspicious of the strange professor and come upon the Temple of Dagon. There she was captured by Ragasian soldiers. She clung to Blackwulf with a fierce strength. “Protect me evermore, barbarian!”
Katrina now burst into the room. She had been dealing with the rag soldiers and investigating the monolith. She had found another set of prison cells and machinery, and a prisoner. This rescued refugee was a middle-aged main named Waif who was wild eyed with terror.
“The have started Dagon’s Call! I never meant for this to happen! I found the book in my master’s tower in Sindaire after the Rags burnt it. I brought it here thinking Sidoneth would keep it safe, but the lure of the depths of abyssal knowledge corrupted him and when the Ragasians found him, he did not mind their bargain, for they only aided his own newborn desire, to raise the Wrath of Dagon!”
And what of the white monolith? The Omphalus, Waif explained, was stone that attracted magic and channeled eldritch power. It was used to magnify the power of the Hurricane Orb, and to aid in the Inquisitor’s escape to this refuge. It could be used now to restore vitality to tired sword arms, but it required a sacrifice to energy. Items of magic could be cannibalized to give greater hope against the inevitable showdown with Sidoneth and his army of the deeps.