The Valley of the Cursed Gods
The Valley of the Cursed Gods is full of exotic plants and animals, an isolated valley of wonder. Whether the adventurers travel through the valley by chance, or if they have been lured by the weird, serpentine smoke formation that clings to the mountainside, one thing soon becomes apparent: Something slumbers in the Valley of the Cursed Gods. Something immensely powerful that stirs in its slumber, trying to awaken, yet cannot. Will the adventurers be the force that tips the scales of that balance?
Several smaller streams trickle down the valley, and a bit before the abandoned village there is a marsh the width of the valley. The marsh is a couple of kilometers long. The adventurers will be able to wade with marsh water up to their thighs by following a line of cairns that show the path through the marsh. As the adventurers close in on the forest on the other side, they may see movement in between the trees (spot check). Cloaked archers fire several volleys of black fletched arrows, before disappearing into the trees.
There are glowing runes etched into the black bark of the scattered trees within the valley forest. Upon closer inspection the PCs feel that the trees are... malicious? In pain? There is a distinct smell of sulphur near the runes.
A faint moaning can be heard from them.
Almost like pleading.
If the PCs are able to communicate with one of the runed trees, it will awaken. It will moan the communicating adventurers name and the earth will tremble slightly as roots stretch towards that adventurer's feet, wanting to pull him down.
These trees are cursed and lonely, and once awakened the curse will spread rapidly to the rest of the dark trees of the forest. These trees border the marsh, and prefer that type of soil, but can not be found more than 500 meters from the marsh.
One of the trees of the fortest, a large oak (botany check will reveal it is a Fade Oak, a rare plant with magical properties) with a broad trunk has a tear in the bark. Crystalline, weird, long winged insects are massing around the tear, which is producing a thick, red resin that crystallizes a short time after it is exposed to air. Magical sensitives will realize the crystallized resin has magic potential and it can be pulverized and be eaten to restore lost magical strength.
(Could also have potential uses in the design and construction of magical jewelry)
There is a deserted village in the valley, with food still standing on the table, proof that the villagers have escaped into the night as the legionaries advance through the valley.
A woman dressed in rags, on closer look, a shambling undead, points a finger at the legionaries, opens her mouth to speak, but just maggots pour forth. She collapses.
A victim of the ritual, no doubt.
As the PCs close in on the village, seeing it across the clearing, no more than 100 meters away, a loud thudding sound, like a giant beating on a loose fitted goatskin drum once, startles the ravens in the trees. All at once hundreds of the glittering black birds take flight, disappearing up the mountainside
In the middle of the town square, almost out of the visible range of eyesight, a naked, dancing lady. Her voluptous, firm breasts bounce enticingly as she dances sensually, her henna tattooed hands like spider limbs tracing arcane patterns in the air. As the PCs close in, an eerie giggle, and she is gone.
There is a pulse of light, almost prismatic, and then the PCs turn to see the path behind obstructed by glowing glyphs, traced in the patterns the naked woman was twirling through the air
Item of interest
Charcoal brazier. It burns with a smoldering fire, releasing a nauseating, dark smoke. It is at the center of the Pueblo, and the smoke has discolored the nearby buildings and mountainside.
The smoke can be seen from a distance, hugging one side of the valley like a thick serpent
The Shaman in the Ram-Skull Mask
Hidden within a large barn-like structure the adventurer will spot a two meter tall grey-cloaked man wearing a ram-skull mask. Milling around him are more of the zombies with maggots pouring from their mouth. They sit on their knees at first, their heads tilted backwards as he goes from zombie to zombie, dripping droplets of black blood in their mouth. If he hears a sound, he will look alert and lift his left and right hand. His fingers will stretch outwards, like a puppeteer, and the zombies will react instinctively, shuffling to their feet. It will seem as if he controls the zombies with invisible strands tied to his hands.
The Pueblo is built near the hidden mausoleum of an Eternal. The Eternals are an ancient race of highly magical beings, and actually precede the divine creation of the Gods, and even the Gods themselves. They are creatures of "First Creation".The brazier is magical in nature and is fueled by the caretaker to dampen the chaos effects of the Eternal Mausoleum.
Temple of Black Essence
By the Pueblo square, bordering the mountain wall and stretching from the ground and all the way up to the overhanging mountain is a chimney shaped building with myriad window slits facing in all directions. In each window a small tallow candle (soul candles; Ever-burning. These candles are holding the captured souls of sacrificed Belemarian soldiers) can be seen, and sometimes the adventurers seem to catch a glimpse of the dancing witch they saw earlier.
As the adventurers close in, they hear chanting and screaming coming from inside. Are those... Are those Belemarian screams? The chanting is in a deep, dark tongue, creating a vibrating sound, sending vibrations through walls, floor and the solar plexuses of the players, the reverb lingering for seconds after the chant stops. Then another desperate, Belemarian scream and the chanting begins anew.
Inside the temple is a vast, central chamber. A spiraling staircase ascends the walls. Gargoyles are carved from the polished granite floor. Some of the statues rise a full three meters up in the air, while some seem to be just tearing free of floor their faces and front claws barely visible.
The temple is a nexus point of energy siphoned from the mausoleum of the eternal. The Toad Princess is a Priestess of Angharak, the Goddess of Vile Mutations. The Angharak Cultists are the real inhabitants of the village in the Valley of the Cursed Gods. While only the Toad Princess, T'heredel and D'Infedhel are in the temple, the 4 members of the Shadow Guard are getting another set of prisoners from the cells below.
Yet another 20 Shadow Guardsmen are lurking within the pueblo, and in the larger valley.
The Toad Princess
Squatting on a blood-soaked granite throne; a hideous monstrosity. She is a toad-like mass of quivering human(?) fat, one layer upon another, her eyes like piss holes in the snow, a pointed, soft glowing yellow. She watches the adventurers with malice and contempt while she fondles the nipples of her thin, stretched out mammaries.
A violet staff rests against the back of her throne and from the top of that staff the adventurers spy... a pair of dangling male ballsacks.
She attacks using her wicked tongue, as it shoots out of her mouth like that of an Amazonian frog catching flies. The tongue is poisonous and cancels out all magical or special abilities of its prey. (POT 8 vs CON).
In her bloodied lap; the head of Denarius, loyal friend and trusted lieutenant of the second scout squad. As dark despair and hatred rise within you, a figure emerges from behind the throne.
T'heredel - Voice of the Princess
"You have been accused of heresy!", a shrill voice screams as a figure emerges from behind the throne.
The new arrival is thin. Too thin, his parchment skin stretched out. Standing at least two and a half meters tall, the seneschal is clad in a robe of glittering gold.
His long, taloned right index finger points accusingly at the adventurers in the doorway, while his left hand clutches a blood-soaked sickle-shaped sword.
The seneschal advances a few meters, yet sticks within the protective range of his mistress, defensively circling around the throne as he licks his bloodied lips, his mouth snapping open, then shut, as if he wants to say something yet decides upon waiting for the approval of the Toad Princess.
D'Infidhel - Stalker Assassin
Unbeknownst to the adventurers, a figure wrapped in a deep blue cloak lurks in the shadows. This is D'Infidhel, the hand of the Toad Princess, and the captain of her Shadow Guard. "Murderers... Heretics... Criminals and trespassers!", he mutters under his breath as he lurks in shadow (Listen check: -5 category modifier to realize he is there).
D'Infidhel is armed with a couple of runed, silverine poison daggers and he knows two magical spells: Shattering Scream and Invisibility.
His daggers are silver daggers +1 with sleeping poison.
His chainmail is magically weightless and comfortable. You can sleep in this chainmail. You can cast spells in this chainmail.
His cloaks increases sneak and hide by +1 category, and gives +2 armor.
Tapestry of Accusations
On the wall to the left of the adventurers as they enter the building a huge tapestry can be seen. On it the adventurers have been immortalized as they fight a Shadow Guard patrol, on the path up the mountainside (earlier event).
The Voice of the Princess will point to it as he begins reciting their list of crimes against the Toad Princess, and by extension against the Goddess Angharak.
(GM Note: Each time the seneschal recites a crime, it is actually a magical attack (Willpower vs. Potency 8 mana drain)).
Potion: Milk of the Toad Princess
The yellow-tinged white milk of the Toad Princess has been lovingly sampled by the seneschal and placed in tiny flasks on small shelves at the back of her throne. Her infested milk has magical properties, and if the dialogue is drawn out, for whatever reason, the PCs will experience its effects by watching a 2nd squad tracker being forced to drink it.
The seneschal will smile wickedly, while the Toad Princess convulses as if having an orgasm, thick droplets of milky sweat dripping down her naked frame. Soon after drinking the potion, the tracker screams inhumanly and collapses to the floor. His body starts convulsing, its motion mimicking that of the Toad Princess, arching his spine impossibly until a loud CRACK can be heard as the spine breaks.
The tracker rises once again, misshapen and malformed, crawling on all four towards the feet of the Toad Princess. His nose has been elongated, to at least three times its original length, and his eyes are sunken. Spikes have eruped from his spine and his teeth have somehow turned jagged. As the former tracker looks at the PCs, they realize his eyes are now dark pits of seething hatred. A low grumbling snarl can be heard from the things throat.
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