One: Ordered by Gods
That Which Stalks the Night
Inigo explained to us by the campfire that we needed to split up to distract That Which Stalks the Night. He claimed it was urgent that he and Arek proceed alone to discuss great issues. We needed to proceed to the Lost Temple of Sss’Raast and then to a ship commanded by a Stone Dweller friend of Arek. The Tempiss Liassi was never spoken of in Krin except to scare children around the campfire but I knew from Argea that it was dread and a blight on Sentar. As I did not know this human, I was uncertain of the soundness of this plan but the others agreed. I went off with Linkoplitzit and her Mechanical Man who had Pelu, so that they had some protection and guidance in the night. An hour into our journey, we were attacked in the swamp by a pack of six wolves. I suspected that they were under some foul influence as they were mangy, wounded and sick but I was unable convince them to leave us. We were forced to kill them all and even Pelu fought according to legend.
We arrived at the Lost Temple of Sss’Raast on time and worked our way around to its entrance. As I came around the corner, I saw Nimbus and Tiberio fighting spawn of the undead and Inigo. That evil creature was at the centre of the fray in fact: this foul man deceived us! I heard him taunt the others claiming that he killed Arek. All manner of undead spawn from the swamp joined the attack. The bard’s song inspired my new arrows on their way to the foul man but to no effect. I instead focused on the vampire spawn of a fallen knight of Heeroneous. Ah yes, the one who beat me in Folha’s grove named Gahir. Even as I fired on him, I bore him no malice and only wanted to free him from a curse which must have so pained his Inquistior’s soul. I wanted to save the brave wolf guarding Tiberio that was fighting in our pack. Suddenly, I saw my venerable uncle Adiya shamble towards Nimbus. Oh woe and veritable shame to be lost to these undead. His face unmasked in death to reveal his fall from grace and descent to savagery.
We began to turn the battle and managed to defeat Inigo. He cried, “Master I have failed, here is your meal!” and disappeared into smoke. His Master then began to emerge from the depths of the Temple. It was a Yuan-ti vampire: truly a thing of dread from the worst of nightmares. Nimbus rushed towards it bleeding all over his body. He touched a fallen figure and ran to a defaced pillar drawing the fiend toward it. Arek stood up from the healing touch and called the strength of Moradin to him. He was able to strike down the remaining spawn with his might and I saw my uncle collapse, thank Zuras!
As the last spawn fleed from Arek, Calibre struck it down and I ran to aid Nimbus. His lifeblood was draining away and the Temple began to collapse. I ran into the Temple, searching amid the rubble with Arek. We found his body pinned under the rubble and with the she-gnome's mechanical genius and Arek’s strength, I pulled Nimbus’s limp body from the ruin as the dawn broke.
On the blood-soaked grass, we tended to Nimbus and a cleansing rain began even as the sun got brighter. The Temple collapsed unnaturally as it began to glow in the daylight. Suddenly, Nimbus drew breath and collapsed. It was as if his spirit had been away from his crushed body and had now returned. The birds began to sing for the first time since I had been out of the Enclave.
I took a silver dagger from the wizard and went to my uncle and drove it into his heart to destroy his corruption. I found his mask on his body and began the Ritual of Passing. As my mother had taught, I covered his face with my unmasked face, holding our masks and saying the Prayer. The Prayer of Passing:
“Oh blood of my mother and my clan, you return to the land. Your spirit will now soar on the wings of the Raven among our ancestors.”
I collected his mask and his Spirit Pouch fashioned by the hands of my mother to protect him on his quest. What that quest was, I do not know and will keep that question under my scales until I next see my mother.
We decide that we will again need the aid of Zieata to restore Nimbus and we proceeded together to her Grove.
Arek's Tale of Woe