Der’A Du has always been a self-sufficient town. It has its own farms, government, tailors, smiths, everything but really an army for there is no need. The mostly Tiefling community of this town has no quarrels with anyone, and learn to get along; so when they began seeing more religious people coming to the city they welcomed them with open arms. Not before long they began seeing the benefits of having so many religious followers within their city. Fruit would grow larger, livestock were healthier, rates of illness across the city were decreasing and the markets seemed to always be filled with coin.
When our three adventurers found themselves in Der’A Du Asha quickly took notice to the overwhelming numbers of religious followers, all wearing the same attire and upon further investigation at the temples found that Epha seemed to be the primary deity of concern, her halls filled with almost four times as many offerings. Uthar also received a vision from Natyr while praying for wisdom, telling him to take care for the presence of Epha was strong in this community. Both of them knowing the untested power of Epha knew, at any moment the cost of all these gifts to the people of Der’A Du could be taken away and replaced with devastation. Wahnsinn for his own research, attempted to smooth talk a man in the bar, wearing the commonly seen red robes, only to be mistaken as an attempt to pick up this poor man for a night of intense “Worshiping.” The man disgusted with Wahnsinn’s forward attitude, told him there must have been a mistake, and he is not the one to give him the note calling for more followers to Der’A Du.
Our three adventurers, Asha, Uthar and Wahnsinn shortly after found themselves looking to the sewers as a place these religious men kept going to. Determined to find the full extent of what is going on, they ventured below the city. Immediately they were overcome by the smell of rotting meat and sewage disgusted by even the bugs, how men could conduct business here or why they would even willingly come here was unknown. Deeper into the sewers they ventured finally coming across a large metal door, seemingly out of place. As they continued past the door they discovered a large citadel below the city as if the city was built on top of it centuries ago.
The entrance to the citadel itself, a large metal double door, had an engraving in a unique language on it. “Behold the Citadel of Non, the power at the center of Tel’Mor.” To each side of the door is a normal man sized statue. To the left a statue of The Caretaker of Shadows, to the right a statue of what is believed to be Oznon. The Statue of the caretaker is damaged in a way that looked like someone tried to remove it before, the entire left side of the statue is missing and the edges are jagged. In the right arm is a shield with 10 symbols in a circle. From the top clockwise they are a Triangle, an ellipse, a perfect circle, an X, a pentagon, a square, a lightning bolt, an S, a sideways S with two dots and a 5 pointed star. The statue of Oznon made of pure obsidian, shows Oznon with his blade sheathed with his arms to his sides, the stare from the statue is almost as if it is peering straight into your soul.
Uthar urged to push on and lead the group into the citadel, shortly after they found themselves in a grand hall with doors to every direction, obviously a central location to the citadel. With no idea where to go they picked a random path and followed it, carefully keeping an eye out for traps and hostiles. While walking down a hall, they could hear sounds coming from the other side of a door. Curious what it was Uthar tried to open the door, but found it was locked. Determined to see what was on the other side and convinced it was men he knocked on the door with his shield, not moments later the door opened to see four surprised, frightened and now combat ready men in red robes. They quickly pulled out scimitars and began swinging at Uthar as he blocked the door way, while Wahnsinn bombarded them with his crossbow. Making their way into the room once Asha was able to join the combat he made quick work of these men with his martial arts. Once they fray had calmed and all the men were defeated, they found in the center of the room a small stone with the symbol of a perfect circle on it. Asha quickly deduced that this symbol matches the symbol on the statue just outside, and that 6 of those symbols relate to that of the gods. With this in mind he urged the others to keep their eye open, for they may be 9 more stones similar to the one they just acquired.
While continuing down the halls of the citadel Uthar brought up his concerns of them attacking those men, “We had no proof those men were evil other then they attacked us when we frightened them.” Asha attempting to toy with Uthar’s emotions kept prodding at this topic knowing that killing innocent people was not the way of Uthar’s God. Uthar justifying his actions as the facts these men were worshiping Epha, an inherently evil god, demonstrates they were evil, and that is not his religion. Asha continuing to play with the mind of our dragon born paladin and quickly replied “Technically it is a pantheon, so they are all the same religion as your god….” Leaving Uthar speechless as they continued down the hall.
The next door they came across was locked as well. Uthar with his might smashed down the door revealing a room with only a table with yet another stone, one with the symbol of an ellipse. Concerned about the noise they created they quickly turn to the door across the hall, only to hear humming or chanting coming from the other side. Whoever they are, they are obviously too preoccupied to notice the sounds of a breaking door. When slowly opening that door, they take notice of several of the same cultists, around a dead tiefling child. Seeing this, Uthar is convinced these men are evil and rushes into the room to defeat them, Asha and Wahnsinn quickly followed attacking these men leaving the last one alive for questioning. Uthar tied up the man and took his dagger away only to hear Asha quickly make a sarcastic remark to toy with Uthar, “So it’s wrong to kill them, but stealing their weapons is ok?” Uthar giving a blank stare at Asha asked the tied up cultist what they are doing down here? For whatever reason, the man bit his own tongue off as a response! Asha readied to strike the man down for he was obviously not going to be helpful. Uthar attempting to protect the man, tried to step in front of the blow but Asha was too quick, with a swift strike to the head the man was killed. With no other option, the group continued to explore the halls of the citadel.
Soon the group found themselves in a hall with two doors side by side both, of course, locked once again. Uthar tired of these locked doors smashed the door in with his shield once more. Within this locked room was a pedestal with another stone on top. As well two large cages housing a large hound in each, their fur looked burnt and when their mouths opened an obvious burst of intense heat came out as if a fire dwelled inside them. Asha commented it was obviously a trap, once they grab the stone the cages are going to open. Uthar took the moment to bless the group with his magic and took hold of the stone. Sure enough the cages burst open and the hounds came running out charging the group. Uthar stood strong and cast another spell, glowing with intensity from his deity Natyr, one of the hounds turned and fled to the corner of the room in fear. The group cooperatively battled the remaining hound until it was killed and left other hound to itself in fear and took with them the prize of the stone with the symbol of an “S”. Continuing on they came across two interconnected room with 6 chests lying about. Uthar suggested they take caution opening these chests, for they could be trapped as Asha opened one and discovered yet another stone this one with the symbol of a lightning bolt on it. Wahnsinn tried his luck and attempted to open a chest as well, only to find the chest opening to a mouth! The large purple tongue from the chest grabbed hold on Wahnsinn and pulled him towards itself as it snapped with ferocity attempting to consume him. Just as it was about to be too late for Wahnsinn; Uthar and Asha were able to destroy this accursed box that attempted to eat their ally. All three came to the same consensus, not to open any more chests, they got lucky and found a stone, and hopefully they don’t need to mess with the rest.
Proceeding back down the halls of the citadel they came to a large wooden double door, without fear or care what was on the other side of the door Uthar kicked it in, ready for battle to find a large number of cultists sitting around what looked like a mess hall eating. Obviously grabbing their attention with his entrance, they all quickly got up and ran in for battle; a few of the men ran out of a back door to the room instead of facing our heroes head on. As Uthar and Asha fought in the front bringing down as many cultists as kept rushing at them, Wahnsinn took his usual place in the back firing his crossbow from afar. Four men came from behind Wahnsinn, but it was too late for him to react. They began attacking Wahnsinn four to one, Asha quickly changed his position and began to assist Wahnsinn as he said to the others in his group, “I am sorry guys, but I have not been completely honest with you who I really am.” Asha quickly and sarcastically responded as he continues to fight hand and foot with his enemy “What you? No way!?” Thinking of it as a joke. Wahnsinn then rolled his eyes to the back of his head and became engulfed with dark magic as he released tendrils of dark energy from his body to strike everyone around him, unfortunately including Asha, bringing the remaining cultists to the ground in defeat. With the feeling of success of winning this battle, no one said anything to Wahnsinn about what happened, but they all kept it in the back of their mind as they searched the cultists revealing yet another stone, one with the symbol of a square on it.
After taking a short rest in one of the previously cleared rooms, the adventurers continued searching out the citadel. Coming across another set of doors, just like the ones that had the hounds inside, they decided to try to take a more caution approach in case they had to close the doors back up. After attempting for quite a while, they were finally able to unlock the door without damaging it. Inside they found another pedestal with a stone on it, but no cages. Not until they stepped into the room did they see the large feline beasts on either side of the room, massive and with three tails, one of which leaped past the group out of the door and took off running as the other leaped towards Uthar reaching for the stone. Just as soon as Uthar grabbed the stone they left the room and slammed the door shut, sealing the beast back in its chamber. Uthar had then taken a closer look at the stone and noticed it had a sideways S with two dots on it. The group not wanting to deal with that ferocious beast, continued onward in another direction away from the room soon coming to a room resembling a barracks. The walls of this room lined with bunk beds, must have had somewhere around 40 to 50 beds, a few men were still in their beds resting. Asha without restraint went to one of them and struck the man with such force it would instantly kill him as well snapping the bed in half, causing the top bunk to come crashing down to the ground waking the remaining men. But having the advantage of surprise, these men stood no chance against the three of them. While looking around the room Asha and Wahnsinn both noticed, along one side of the room there was a hidden pathway covered by drapes, behind it they found a few treasures. Uthar feeling proud of himself noticed an even further hidden pathway inside of the secret room. As he began walking to it, Asha and Wahnsinn both laughed as they thought Uthar was going to walk straight into the wall, but he did not. Instead Uthar had found a secret weapon stash someone was obviously hiding from others. After taking a few moments to split up the spoils of their finds evenly, the three companions started heading the only way they had not been yet within the citadel. But just outside the room door, was the ferocious feline beast that had escaped the room, It had been stalking them. As they attempted to fight this creature they quickly noticed their swings would sometimes miss, as if the creature was moving a few inches to the sides as they thought their weapon landed, only revealing it was not where they saw it. This creature obviously meant to be stealthy and agile had some strange power about it, It clawed and would bite at the adventurers as it snapped its tails at another, able to fight all three of them effectively at the same time. Not without a challenge Asha landed a final blow on the creature, bringing it to the ground. With their recent injuries they had made their way back to the secret room and took yet another short rest to heal up and prepare themselves for what may yet still be ahead.
Making their way down the winding halls of the citadel back to the way they haven’t been yet, they came across a room with several cultists chanting; quickly they turn to fight the group. A few of them smash some sort of white potion on their bodies, making copies of themselves soon what was 7 men became close to 20, all piling up near the door rushing to get their attacks in on the adventurers. One cultist instead of multiplying like the others was crawling on the ground in pain, his potion was either faulty or something had gone seriously wrong for him. Moments later the man’s body explodes violently as a Hydra grows out of nowhere from his corpse, continuing to grow larger and larger until it is almost too large to fit in the room. The hydra swings its heads around eating and killing everyone in its path. The cultists turned from running at the door in rush of combat to running at the door in fear of their life from this vicious creature who is consuming everyone. Within moments the five heads of the hydra clear the room of cultists as it tries to get to the adventurers who stand outside the door and attack it from afar. Wahnsinn blasting it with beams of crackling energy from his hands, resorting back to his previously hidden magic abilities, Asha throwing darts with deadly precision, and Uthar hurling Javelins through the door way at the creature while keeping their distance. As this continues the creature finally is able to break through the wall with anger and rushes towards the adventurers as they back into a hall too narrow for the hydra to follow. Using the creature’s size against it they are finally able to bring the creature down. After a thorough search of the hydra and cultists, and Asha claims a tooth of the hydra they continue onward deeper into the citadel.
Soon coming across a room decorated with curtains and the finest cloths they find another stone, one marked with an X; this one was obviously being treated a bit differently than the others, perhaps because of the significance of it being marked with the symbol of Epha. Continuing down a long winding staircase the adventurers come across a room with two pedestals. The left pedestal is magically lit and it seems to be snowing, but only on the pedestal coming from nowhere; while the one on right pedestal seemed to be heated by an unknown source, not too hot, but to comfortable warmth. Removing the stones seemed to stop these magical effects from happening. Asha removed the five pointed star stone from where it was snowing and the pentagon stone from the heat and began playing with the stones already collected. Each stone had a different effect when on the pedestal. The Ellipse glows with a majestic light. The perfect circle has magical leaves falling and vanishing into air just before hitting the ground. The X had a dark green hued fog fall down from the pedestal. The square had a dark ominous glow. The lightning bolt had sparks of electricity popping up from the pedestal. The S Glowed with a deep red aura. The sideways S with two dots cooled the air and made the air feel thick and heavy. In the room just next to this one was a large stone slab with 10 clear and distinct dimples, the exact size of the stones. But the group noticed they only had 9 of the 10 stones.
Suddenly Asha had a flash of memory return to him of his early years within the labyrinth. He had remembered there used to be four more gods, and the symbol of these gods had matched the four other stones they had collected. Excited about his returning memory he was ecstatic to tell his allies.
The Pentagon stood for Ashnar, a dark god who created a world below ours with the deadliest of creatures.
The S stood for Hutep, the old god of goblins.
The sideways S with two dots stood for Ranagar the old god of the giants.
The lightning bolt stood for Tenro god of disasters.
He also tried to explain to his allies that these gods are no longer around because they were destroyed hundreds of years ago, but they were too concerned with finding the last stone they cut the conversation short.
They had come to conclusion that the last stone had to be that of Natyr, with the symbol of a triangle on it and remembered there was still the room with all those treasure chests and perhaps one of them had the last stone. One by one they opened the chests, destroying the ones bent on consuming the opener and claiming the treasures in the others. Alas they were right; one of the chests did in fact have the stone with a triangle on it. They quickly rushed back to the slab and placed all the stones in their appropriate places as dictated by the shield outside. With all 10 stones in place, they were magically sealed so they could not be removed and it opened a doorway leading further down another winding staircase deeper into the citadel. Certain they would find something ultimately evil, they followed one another cautiously down the stairs until they arrived in a room made out to be a shrine; a large statue of Epha in the center with piles of gold and silver spread around the base. Just before the statue stood a person in a black robe facing the statue who instantly spoke with the adventurers.
“I am unarmed, so please steady your weapons…” Uthar symbolled to his allies to lower their weapons and join in conversation with this man. “What have you done, you ruined everything. What compelled you to come here and kill all of my men?” Uthar tried to justify killing all those men because they were evil and worshiped Epha, but the man was not so convinced that was a just reason. “You have no proof they were evil, and why do you only see Epha as an evil? Do you not see she has been blessing the people of this city with our offerings to her?” Uthar informed the man, there may be blessings now but anything given from Epha, such an evil god comes at an ultimate price. “I see now, there is no middle ground. You came here unprovoked… To you it is Good vs Evil, My goals vs yours… I promise my goals will be achieved despite your efforts, but first I will make sure the people of Der’A Du remember what they were given.” With the end of his statement the man’s entire being burst into ashes and settled onto the ground.
Upon exiting the sewer entrance, our adventurers see the city on fire. They rush to see what it is and notice the entire marketplace is burning to the ground. People run past them almost ignoring the fire, and ignoring the questions of what is happening. Instead they all run to the temples which are engulfed in an inferno as everyone in the town lends hands to try to put the fire out, only to fail. Just moments go by and the whole temple collapses into the ground, dirt and dust fill the air and cover everything. The air goes quiet as everyone tries to grasp what just happened only to hear the man in the black robe, as his voice echoes across the air,_ “We tried to work with you, but you sent men to destroy us. We will no longer dwell in the darkness. We will no longer bring you benefit. We will become… The Void”