The battle with Sohrab continues. Bilya dispels Cornelius’ forceful hand. Fatima slips into the main room, invisible. She flies up to the ceiling where she sees more wights crawling outside along the surface of the dome. Still nauseated from the Stinking Cloud, Fatima becomes visible, pretending that she is well. She tells Sohrab that all this fighting is unnecessary and that she would love to hear about his plan. The wights continue to hold Cornelius and Io.
The Persistant Image continues. It depicts a tribe of people on a great plain, looking to the sky. A huge star is falling toward them. The scene then cuts to a large city, with a high central tower. A burning orange-red star can be seen above, falling.
Sorhab asks “Do you know what this means?” Fatima replies “I would much rather hear what you have to teach on this.” A rumble is heard from deep inside the pit. The dragon snorts.
Sohrab welcomes them to the ancient city of Tumaraa – once capitol of the southern tribes of the Labreyan people.
It was constructed inside the dormant volcano on this island in homage to the spirits of fire. Some two thousand years ago, a large fragment of the falling star, that caused the “one hundred year winter”, struck the city. Many died before they could escape the city, but not before a riot ensued. King Nanui and Queen Oriata escaped the wrath of the mob, taking refuge on a nearby island. Unbeknownst to their people, the monarchs had become vampires, years earlier. A priest hid them in a temple for months after the star struck. He ultimately betrayed them by trapping them beneath the earth, under running water. They were imprisoned for nearly 2000 years, until a group of agents of the Stars’ Children unwittingly released them. The group managed to kill them and plundered their royal artifacts.
Sohrab asks the group if they know what the source of magic is. Fatima explains that it comes from the star fragments. He confirms that is indeed true for arcane magic. He continues.
So called “divine magic”, contrary to what the priests say, derives from the power of the planet herself. It is “earth magic”, more correctly. The two sources of magic, from earth and star, remained separate until 2000 years ago, when the star fell. Less than 300 yards below them is a very large piece of the star fragment. It sits just above a massive lava bed. If the two sources of magic were to come into contact with each other, a great reaction would take place – with the release of almost unlimited power. My work has caused the fragment to slip further down toward the lava. This close proximity has caused the increase in storms and high level magic spells have become somewhat unpredictable because of it. But you probably believe that this falling star in the sky is the biggest threat to you.
He turns to the image over the pit. The scene now focuses on the orange-red star in the sky. “Is this what you fear?” The star grows as your view gets closer and closer to it. The star is a huge ball of fire with eddies and explosions on its surface. But the star is far away from their planet, Ardia, not overhead as it first appeared. Sohrab says:
The star is slowly destroying itself and will explode in perhaps hundreds of years. It would be a grave threat to this world, were it not that it is trillions of miles away from here.
It is amazing how willingly some will believe a lie if it suits their interests. Some use the lie to acquire power and some to consolidate that which they already possess. It was easy to convince the leader of these ‘Children of Zepha’ that it was a falling star when he understood what kind of power he could gain from it. The Church of Zaur was just as easily swayed.
The Stars’ Children were somewhat more difficult to convince. Gladly, the Children of Zepha made sure that the skeptics were eliminated. They could have traveled to the star to confirm its path. But they decided against it, since my activities here made such travel highly dangerous to them. Others, like the Ulgar, had been expecting a star to fall to the ground for some time and misread the signs.
In fact, a star will strike this world much sooner than would occur naturally, thanks to several nodes that your people built centuries ago to attract the stars. Even so, it will not happen again for thousands of years.
It has been most useful as a distraction from what I intend. The Children of Zepha were also very helpful for obtaining some of the artifacts I needed to begin my plan. Only a few things remain to be done, before it is ready…
Smiling, Sohrab waves his arms to dismiss an illusion that had been concealing the perimeter of the room. Many thin, yellow tubes can be seen emerging from the sides of the pit, leading to four seven foot tall glass and metal “pods” set into the wall, equidistant form each other. Two of the pods are empty. The other two contain a cloudy liquid. Inside one, a body floats – that of a woman. Cornelius recognizes her as a member of the Stars’ Children, but is unsure of her name. The other pod contains the body of a man – that of Sohrab!
The other “Sohrab” laughs again. Along the northern wall stands a young Labreyan woman who must have been concealed by the illusion. She steps forward, also smiling. Io, Fatima, and Cornelius recognize her as the woman who was sentenced to death many years ago, when they were in the bodies of the children. Cornelius and Io remember that her name is Eeva.
Still chuckling, “Sohrab” says “You are probably wondering who I am. Then, the illusion on him dissolves. The group sees a foul undead creature before them – a lich! The creature introduces himself as ”/characters/moratu" class=“wiki-content-link”>Moratu.
He goes on.
I have spent centuries hiding from the people that wished me dead, simply because of my beliefs. My wife (he looks to Eeva) was murdered by them, just for being MY wife. Now, justice shall be served upon them! The power of earth and star magic shall combine. This now dormant volcano will be so no longer! The great power of the magic will unleash an explosion, the likes of which has never been seen or heard. It will destroy the life on these islands and send the planet into another age of ice – this time for 1000 years!
Whoever survives, shall kneel before their new king and queen. Our bodies restored, we shall be the wielders of the only magic remaining to this world!
Moratu points to the empty pods and says “I just need two more volunteers…”
The illusion on Bilya also disappears, his mummified body now apparent. Cornelius estimates that he could not have been in this state for more than a few weeks. Fatima says “I don’t really like your plan Mr. Lich” and shoots a ray at the container holding the real Sohrab, severely damaging it.
The battle resumes. Io tries to break free. She manages to further damage Sohrab’s vessel, but is soon killed by the wights. Pascal also falls but is able to get off a burst positive energy first, which damages the undead, including Moratu. The dragon launches a blast of magma at Cornelius and Fatima but catches Bilya, the mummy, also.
Moratu touches Cornelius with his skeletal hand and paralyzes him. Likewise, Eeva touches Fatima, causing her to fall asleep. The party members dead or immobilized, Moratu orders his wight servants to get the Token of Galus from Io’s body. He smiles, saying that the other tokens will arrive shortly – he will need them to capture the magical power from the reaction.
The bodies of Cornelius and Fatima are each dragged to an empty pod, to be placed within. At that moment, a dark, swirling vortex appears by the eastern door of the room. As the vortex fades, a ghostly figure appears beside a large wardrobe.
The figure says "“Lust for revenge gives you power, Moratu. So does it to your enemies!” In response, Moratu quips “Thank you, Alaad. You have brought me what I have been waiting for. Just as expected.” Alaad moves to attack Moratu.
Inside the wardrobe laboratory, the other party prepares for combat. Quintin uses a newly discovered alchemy to divine that they will soon face an ancient undead enemy. As they emerge one by one from the wardrobe, they see the battle scene. Not having acted yet, the group’s plans are as follows:
- Murad will summon an ally
- Quintin will throw 4 holy bombs
- Arah will cast Piller of Life
- Bertom will attack the mummy