An unlikely group of beings gathered in a remote, hidden network of caves somewhere in the North American continent. A Sowki shifter named Pall Mall, the being responsible for the creation of this hidden sanctuary and attended by several powerful beings bound to his will. A Demigod of the Greek Pantheon named James, his true power sealed away and unable to be released. A t-rex looking alien named McGreggor Allistersaurus, in over his head but still attempting to stay true to his secret mission. A human in a bio-engineered second skin named Steve, far from his home dimension and his House of Gary. And lastly there was a human temporal wizard named Trent Logan, standing alongside his companion amid this assembly of inhuman allies.
All these beings were gathered here, waiting on Trent to produce the mystical artifact he had safeguarded for the last three months. Trent cancelled the magic for the dimensional bag where he had stashed it and the blurry object no-one could quite focus on fell to the floor. Trent then had everyone step back and cast a time stop spell to freeze it in time, which stopped its high-frequency vibration and allowed everyone gathered to view the weapon. Every being in this room now had the honor of being the first beings in many millennia to actually see the object in this form.
Both Gimbly and Diminutive Bubblefuzz were runesmiths themselves, and they got as close to the time stopped area as they could to visually examine the artifact. They confirmed that it was not a rune weapon as they were familiar with them, but rather something from an earlier form of magic, possibly something which was similar. Gimbly asked if he could physically examine it back at his forge, melt it down and deconstruct it in order to really learn its secrets. The group politely declined his offer. Trent cancelled the time stop effect and the object resumed its blurry, un-focusable appearance.
They discussed whether anyone would or should grab it, and Trent recalled through his retro-views of the Deevil Reagent Baaz wielding it that he never actually touched it himself – rather, he wrapped his rune-robe around his hand the two times that Trent saw him weild the sword to deadly effect. This only intensified the discussion. James stepped forward with his own runesword, Appolyesties, and touched her to the artifact in the hope that she could use her psionic abilities to learn more about the weapon’s purpose or history. Instead she felt intense pain when she touched the artifact, so intense that all she could do was psionically scream into James’ head, and was still screaming even after he pulled her away.
Some sensing magics and psionics were used to try and gain more information about the sword. There was no mistaking that it was seemingly alive, and was evil. Finally Jescha walked forward to pick the weapon up, creating a flurry of action and movement from the other’s assembled. Notably, James tried to stop her, and McGreggor tried to stop him. Neither were successful and Jescha grabbed the sword, picked it up, and stood there holding it. The sword became visible to everyone then, and appeared to be pulsing, or breathing. Jescha craned her head as if listening to a far-away voice. Seemingly in a daze, after a few moments of listening she dropped the sword back on the ground. From where the sword lie sprung up some sort of Escher-esque portal, the likes of which no-one present had ever seen before. Talking as if far away herself, Jescha tells those assembled that “Only seven can go through. That’s what he said. We have to help him.” The portal did not appear to be very stable, and before everyone could fully process what was occurring both James (shield raised in front of him) and Steve (“For the balance!”) ran through the portal. Upon seeing this, Trent took Jescha’s hand and walked through the portal together with her. His confidence in his ability to travel between dimensions made him believe it would be simple for him to not only return, but also bring back the others as well. McGreggor wasted no time running in, following after Jescha (“My lady!”). With five having traveled through already, Pall Mall made the decision to set his minions to guard the sword and area, then stepped through the portal with his Valkyrie, Sonja, close behind.
After some indeterminate time had passed, all seven travelers awoke on the sand in a desert. Amidst their disheveled group was a naked man who was not with them previously. The group started bombarding him with questions and he babbled back at them in some incomprehensible tongue. He got up and slowly started walking in a direction. Jescha, still slightly dazed, told Trent “We have to help him. Whatever it takes, we have to help him.” The group, for lack of other direction, began following him. Despite this area being “low magic,” both Trent and Pall Mall wre able to cast various magic on the man (including Remove Curse) but he did not respond to anything until the Tongues spell was cast upon him – at that point, he seemed to be able to suddenly understand and communicate with the group in Ancient Sumerian. But he did not seem to know anything. Not who he was, where they all were, where he was going, or what had happened recently.
Some aerial reconnaissance revealed a small city not too far away, in the direction the naked man was heading. A little ways away from the city a giant tower could be seen, which reached all the way up into the clouds. Pall Mall tried to send his bird familiar to get a closer look, but it wouldn’t get much closer to the tower and relayed back to Pall Mall its feelings of discomfort as it approached. As the group reached the city the naked man walked right through the front entrance seemingly unnoticed, but the guards stopped the group. They also suffered from the inability to speak coherently and a quick Tongues spell corrected this issue, much to the amazement of the guard who it was cast upon. A quick conversation between the group and the guard allowed them to finally enter without needing to fight their way in.
The city was in a state of pandemonium. Everyone seemed to be babbling nonsense, which only appeared to fuel the chaos. The streets were filled with all manner of violence, death and debauchery. Those who had the proper historical training were able to finally see enough of the area to recognize the town and surroundings as ancient Babylon, despite all the chaos in the streets. The naked man walked through it all seemingly unnoticed by anyone in the city and equally uninterested in them. As they walked through the city Trent slipped away a few times in order to try and cast his portal spell to allow him access to his dimensional envelopes. Each of these spells was unsuccessful, and each time Trent became increasingly worried. Pall Mall also slipped away from the group for a while in order to explore more of the city. He eventually rejoined the group.
The naked man’s journey took him to a Babylonian temple, a ziggurat, where he stopped. At the base of the steps he knelt to pray. No amount of talking seemed to be getting through to him, but shortly after he stopped to pray a group of 10 Babylonian guards came towards them from around one side of the ziggurat, while another 10 came towards them from the other side. These guards were hostile and a massive melee broke out. Steve lept into action and was a whirring engine of devastation, taking down over half of the guards himself. James, McGreggor and Sonja fought against the rest, while Pall Mall, Trent and Jescha kept more of an eye on the battlefield, looking for moments when they could unleash magic to support the others.
A few of the guards turned out to be magic users themselves, and upon closer review it was revealed these guards weren’t human at all, but Chaos Demons! Firethorns, Skullstealers, Spiked Stranglers, and a few Savage Furies rounded out the attacker’s ranks. As the fight waged on Pall Mall cast the Realm of Chaos spell to take a few of these beings into a private dimension where they would face their own worst fears. Jescha summoned a meteor strike which missed the battlefield and instead crashed into the ziggurat itself, causing a fair amount of damage to the structure. Through tenacity the group was able to slay majority of the demons, with only a few managing to get away, and one was able to be held captive for questioning. Unfortunately, all he could coaxed to say was the following, over and over: “We are Chaos, Chaos is strong! Chaos is legion. We are legion. WE ARE CHAOS! CHAOS IS STRONG!” After too long spent on that frustration, the chaos demon was dispatched by the group.
The naked man, meanwhile, had walked up the stairs of the ziggurat to the entrance at the top of the temple. McGreggor, the group quickly realized, had already followed him up there while they were occupied with questioning the chaos demon. The group ascended the stairs and discovered a woman laying on an altar, surrounded by a magic circle with writing in a dialect of cuneiform. Using the magic of The Eyes of Thoth, Trent was able to decipher the following phrase within the writing:
ALL WILL PERISH
The woman on the altar did not appear to be either dead or alive, and after some investigation they determined the woman was under the effects of a suspended animation spell. Before that could be explored further everyone gathered inside the chamber where the naked man walked into. The chamber had a raised dais with a throne on it at the opposite end, with a skeleton wearing a crown sitting in the throne. In front of the dais and throne were throngs of skeletons, all prostrating themselves before the throne. The throne had the same writing and words on it as was identified in the magic circle outside. There were channels carved out of the stone which led from outside the chamber to above the throne. On the ceiling was a mosaic.
The naked man had stopped again in front of the steps leading up the dais, and was bowed down in silence. Something about how these skeletons were arranged sparked James’ memory, from back in New Calgary – he had witnessed some beings worshiping the Deevil Rift in much the same way. They were even dressed in similar armor!
Quick Summary of the remaining events from the adventure, to be expanded upon in a future edit:
* James touched the crown on the skeleton’s head and became possessed by a female being.
* The being tried to escape the chamber (in James’ body) but was caught and restrained by the group.
* The being begged and pleaded to be let go and set free from this place.
* The group made the assumption that the being in the crown was the spirit/soul/essence of the woman in suspended animation.
* The crown was carefully removed from the skeleton’s head, brought out of the chamber and placed on the body of the woman on the altar.
* The woman on the altar began to bleed from every pore of her body. This blood was captured in the grooves and began to travel those paths.
* In the chamber, the naked man walked up to the throne and knocked the (now crownless) skeleton out of the throne.
* The sky darkened ominously.
* The skeletons in the chamber animated and began clapping for the naked man.
* Trent cast a Time Stop spell to stall the naked man. The skeletons turned to face him and he and Jescha ran from the room, convinced the skeletons were going to chase them.
* Outside, McGreggor punched the altar into tiny stone fragments, revealing a passage one could descend with a rope which was there.
* McGreggor announced “Everyone, follow me!” and slid down the rope.
* Only James followed, but first he demanded of Trent “Make sure she lives! She’s important… And Baaz might not be a bad guy!”
* James and McGreggor ended up in the sewers of Babylon, which were filled with refugees from the Chaotic city. The two found each other eventually but then left each other’s company.
* James went topside and emerged within the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. He made his way from there back to the ziggurat.
* Meanwhile, Trent had erected a Superior Protection Circle around himself, Pall Mall, Jescha, Sonja, Steve and the bleeding woman, in anticipation of a skeleton attack which never came.
* Trent cast a Negate Magic spell on the bleeding woman, and the bleeding stopped.
* Trent and Jescha re-entered the chamber with Steve. Pall Mall and Sonja stayed behind to guard the woman from the altar.
* In the chamber, the naked man is just sitting in the throne, and is unresponsive to their attempts to communicate.
* Trent notices channels within the mosaic in the ceiling, and surmisises that when filled with blood, they make a different picture.
* Trent uses illusion magic to “fill in” those channels and see the full, second image. He then copies the image into his notebook. It’s a celestial map for seven locations.
* When Trent, Jescha and Steve go back outside, the protection circle has been marred enough to be deactivated, and neither the woman from the altar, Pall Mall or Sonja are anywhere to be found.
* Trent uses the Retro-Viewing spell to see that the woman from the altar talked with Pall Mall, scuffed up the magic circle, then disappeared (teleported).
* A moment or two later, Trent sees Pall Mall open up a dimensional portal so he and Sonja can follow her.
* Trent and Steve have a private conversation.
* James re-joins Trent, Jescha and Steve, and is filled in on what he missed. He is dismayed to hear that the woman from the altar is missing. He and Jescha surmise the woman was the goddess Ishtar.
* James and Trent have a private conversation, then Trent walks away from James and back into the chamber with Jescha to do some more investigation.
* James tells Trent, Jescha and Steve that McGreggor is heading to the Tower through the sewers, and that they should all meet him there.