Shattered Spine

Session 17

Summoning a God

When they awoke the next morning, the adventurers could see the glowing orb above the crab caves had enlarged to become a large glowing pillar of light reaching down to the earth. The clouds were much darker, and the villagers were all on edge.

When Morlice entered Father Vasay‘s chapel, he could tell the old man was distracted and agitated. He would allow neither Adelbert or Braxx out of his site, and kept repeating that the world was ending. With few reliable options for bodyguards, Unikanga took aside three of Ni’Moy’s followers and attempted to charm them. But her charm went awry and they saw that the kernun was attempting witchcraft on them. Afraid and angry, they rushed to the hut of the chief, Ranga Tira. The chief and the villagers confronted Father Vasay, who convinced them to not attack the visitors. Four villagers who had drawn arms stormed away back down the hill, clearly angry about the situation. Father Vasay warned the visitors that if they practice witchcraft or sorcery in the village again, he could not protect them again. He urged them to waste no time getting to the nearby caves and to do everything they could to prevent the portal from opening.

The adventurers traveled to the caves of the crabmen, and entered the caverns with little incident. The tunnels were eerily empty and silent, and they arrived at the gate of flowing sand without encountering any crabmen. Passing through the gate, they encountered a giant hulking creature in the darkness — a guardian of the gate. Morilus deceived the creature, saying they had arrived to join the ritual to open the gate, and the adventurers continued down a hallway that slowly transformed from stone to flesh as they journeyed deeper into the cavern. The rhythmic chanting grew louder as they drew nigh to the final chamber.

The tunnel opened into a massive cavern like a giant maw. The walls were dark, but lined with blood-red lines and runes that writhed like worms. Nearly twenty men and women in dark filthy robes hunched over, chanting in unison in an alien tongue. A few men in bloody fleshlike robes walked among them, and on a dias beyond stood a man in a robe made of flesh and eyes, attending by skinless, tentacled abominations and women with arms like crabs. But the thing that immediately drew the explorers’ attention was the giant sphere of silver and flesh writhing in the center of the room. It was set on a ring of silver, which seemed to lick at the sphere and course through the thing. Suddenly a man in robes stood up from the congregation of chanters, and walked in a trance towards the sphere. Stripping his robe, he climbed up the giant writhing sphere and pressed his body into the thing. Silver light flashed and arced up from the ring. The giant ball of flesh was made from dozens of human bodies.

Seeing that this was the thing they had come to end, the adventurers carefully slipped into the room. Terikus Funk sneaked up behind a guard and slit his throat with a sword, while Morlice attempted to do the same. As the blood sprayed and the body fell, the room erupted into pandemonium. Pistols erupted in black smoke, and beams of light shot out at the cultists as the adventurers rushed in to attack. The cultists were stunned for an instant, and then responded with fury. The battle may have only lasted a minute or two, but it seemed to play in slow motion. Kernun battling men in robes of flesh, the priest of Light striking the high priest of eyes over and over with divine radiance. All the while, cultists chanted, and one by one continued to walk to the sphere of bodies and join the writhing mass of flesh. First terikus fell, then Morlice and Larro, a tentacled creature wrapping him in its tentacles. Terikus couldn’t be saved, and only the healing prayers of Bagoyd drew Morilus and Larro back from death. When the last abomination fell, the adventurers walked through the chamber, slitting the throats of the few remaining cultists. The chamber grew silent, and the giant sphere fell apart into a pile of bodies. The silver light faded.

As the adventurers exited the chamber, they found themselves in another long hallway that led them out to the tunnels below the lighthouse. Somehow, impossibly, this place connected both the cult tunnels and the caverns of the crabmen. For the first time in over a week, the sun shone. The clouds were gone, and with them the eerie silver light. It was a long journey back, but the wounded and weary adventurers finally arrived back in Taha Pari.

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