Deep within the Winterhaven Keep, in the Cathedral of Blood dedicated to the Demon Prince of the Undead, Orcus, the Death Cultist leader Kalarel cried out in pain as Riam’s scourge drew blood from his leg. The others were closing in – Aran’s blades gleaming in the light, radiant energy gathering around Elwanen as he ran forwards as Theron shaped another bolt of arcane energy. The strange wooden creature hefted a massive Warhammer, inscribed with runes, over it’s head and stepped closer. The battle was clearly lost, and Kalarel knew his dark master would be most displeased. Looking around, he could see that his undead allies were destroyed or scattered, the profane items dedicated to Orcus were overturned and ruined.
As the warrior-woman Cass moved in closer, swinging her axe, Kalarel whispered a last prayer in his mind and hoped for a swift end, swifter than those he’d granted his victims throughout his life. Abruptly the pain in his leg vanished, to be replaced by a searing agony throughout his limbs. Dark tentacles of energy had seized him, emanating from the ink-black portal behind the Cleric, and with a wrench Kalarel was pulled through the archway. His cries of shock and pain cut off the instant he passed through.
The companions that had battled down to this lowest level of the Winterhaven Keep looked at each other, hardly daring to believe that they had finally disposed of the foe that had plagued the area in the past months. There was a silence in the room, a glad noiselessness that spoke of hard work rewarded and goodness winning through.
“Now,” said Elwanen grimly. “Let’s see about getting this thing closed.”
Sabbat Fau, his long hair reaching to the floor in an unkempt mess, reached into the bloodstained robes he wore. Pulling out the Mirror recovered from the Dragon’s Tomb, he glanced down into it and went white in shock. Staggering back, he thrust the mirror towards Theron, the Wizard, and almost ran back to the chains that led back upwards and out of the complex. The Tiefling Des followed him, shouting back that he’d make sure he was all right. Theron examined the mirror to see what might have caused such a reaction, but could see nothing. However, when he looked at the portal’s reflection in the mirror, he suddenly realized he could see runes carved all around the edge of it.
“Wait a moment…” he said slowly. “I think I can do this. I can see runes on the archway. Give me a few minutes and I think I can reverse that ritual that he has been doing. It seems it’s much easier to close this portal than it is to open it.”
Elwanen, the only other person with experience in magical matters still in the room, concurred. “We were told the portal was locked closed a long while ago. Overcoming that closure would be like lifting a very heavy rock – if it’s not completed then it’s easy to slam it back down again and keep it there. Go ahead, Theron, I’ll assist if I can.” Theron nodded and began to chant arcane words of power, hesitantly at first but gaining in confidence.
With an eruption of necrotic energy and violent noise, a forest of tentacles emerged from the archway and stretched out towards the group. Yelling, Aran and Riam ducked underneath them, weapons back in hand. Cass swung hard with her axe, the magic that powered it bursting into flame. As they were stood further back, Theron and Elwanen avoided the attack, but Fangorn, stood right in front of the centre of the archway, was slow to react and instantly caught up. Pulsing, the tentacles began to drag him forwards, into the same oblivion that had earlier captured Kalarel.
Planting his feet and straining with all of his strength to hold off, Fangorn cried out in terror as a bitter cold began to spread through his body, draining his very essence from him.