The Seven Cities of the Gervasti

Session 29 - The Fate of Souls

Backtracking, the party finds that the negative energy plane wall was dispelled when the furnace was stopped. They follow the bridge into the darkness, and come upon a huge platform that contains a shadowy reflection of the Temple of Elemental Evil. It’s not the current, real world Temple, which lies in ruins – it’s the Temple as it was twenty years ago, at the height of it’s power.

The Temple is staffed by dead-eyed shadowy guards. When Udett tells them that Tatiana is expected by Mairin, they allow the party to enter without resistance. All eyes follow Tatiana as they walk into the thriving Temple.

In the heart of the Temple, they reach the stairs that descend to the basement. At the bottom, the huge brozne doors are standing but ajar, and the room beyond hasn’t been collapsed in yet. Inside, Mairin waits, accompanied by an Enigma and a ghostly shade of Lareth the Beautiful, before the Knights of Kalmor wounded him. This is the room where Lareth and the cultists of the Eye tried to summon their fungal monstrosity twenty years ago. Next to a deep pit in the center of the room, Pandarus lies curled up in a ball. He watched himself kill his niece in Mairin’s recordings, and his will is broken.

Mairin again offers Tatiana a chance to join her for the sake of her soul; she says that Tatiana asked her to perform the ritual, so that Tatiana could become more powerful herself – she willingly sacrificed her family. Tatiana can’t remember any of this, but she can’t tell if the necromancer is lying. She plays her card, and demands that Mairin tell her the truth of what really happened to her. Compelled by the Edda, Mairin divulges the truth: Tatiana did not volunteer for the ritual, and did not kill her family. Mairin tried to compel her, with and without magic, to kill them, but Tatiana refused, so Mairin killed them herself. She altered the recordings once she knew that Tatiana and Pandarus would enter her tower and see them; the fake versions were designed to break their spirits.

Mairin is outraged that she was forced to tell the truth, and once Pandarus hears this, he snaps out of his despair. From the pit, the shade of the beast the Eye tried to summon decades ago emerges; Zuggtmoy, the fungal queen. The beast lashes out from the pit, picking up Annar and squeezing him tightly while emitting a cloud of mind-numbing spores. Mairin retreats behind a wall of blindness and starts slinging spells, while the Engima charges Ingmar and Pandarus and drags them upstairs into the main temple.

At the start of the fight, Mairin seems unstoppable, tossing massive spells at the party while Zuggtmoy’s long reach and the shade of her former lover Lareth keeps the necromancer safe. Tatiana, though, will not stand for it; emboldened by the truth, she charges past the beast and through the wall of blindness, shrugging off spells and curses. Mairin’s ancient body is propped up by powerful necromancy, but Tatiana fights like she’s never fought before. Mairin goes from gloating over Tatiana’s inevitable defeat, to asking her to reconsider, to begging Tatiana to spare her life. In the end, Mairin wails that if Tatiana kills her, Tatiana will never get her soul back. Tatiana replies that justice is more important, and mortally wounds Mairin. After the necromancer falls, Tatiana breaks down Zuggtmoy’s guard, allowing Tomas to perforate the beast.

With the fight over, Mairin begs for her life one last time. Instead, Tatiana uses her death touch to send her to the next life, as painfully as possible.

Pandarus returns from the top floor, carrying a wounded Ingmar with him. The darkness of the tower and the despair that briefly swallowed him have taken their toll, and his soul is quickly fading. He’s become too powerful, and too dangerous, to return to the real world. Instead, he explains to Tatiana how to open a portal back home, thanks her for believing in him, says farewell, and jumps into the pit.

With Mairin dead, her tower begins to crumble, dissolving back into the Shadow. Quickly the party grabs her staff, her enchanted belt, and her spell books, before fleeing back to the real world.

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bhplunkett

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