Session 1, The Darkest Hour (Village of Andra)
Artimus, the party’s liaison with the True Empress , charged the party to investigate the where-abouts of a group of his friends tasked to renew one of the Empress’ Node of Power. The party travelled to the sleepy village of Andra and discovered that it has been overran with ghouls. They managed to find a group of survivor holed up in a chapel belonging to the Silver Sun, and learnt that the disappeared party intended to go down to the crypt.
Along the way, the party picked up the journal belonging to the disappeared party, learning that a nefarious artifact known as the Soul Star was interned nearby too. The star grants it wearer control over the Grave Wurm, which could quickly digest dead bodies and expel them as ghouls. Heading down to the Crypt, the party discovered Mormegil, a champion of the Dragon Tyrant, had the Soul Star. However, Mormegil was an egomaniac, and the Soul Star, an item of the Damning Chaos, amplified that trait. The Paladin, Sethren, took advantage of that and challenged Mormegil to a one-on-one duel, while the Rogue (Gabrys, among his other many names), faded into shadow, search the looted crypt and found a spike laced with paralysis potion. Catching Mormegil unaware, Gabyrs attacked him unaware, freezing him momentarily, long enough for Sethren to unbuckle the Soul Star from Mormegil’s chest.
Immediately, the Grave Wurm was freed, and its wrath fell upon Mormegil. The worm was slain by Mormegil, and the party had no problems taking down the already exhausted warrior. He was bind and delivered over to Artimus.
Session 2, The Bonesaw Man (Arkios, City of Towers)
Artimus explained why Mormegil was at the Village of Andra. The crypt hid one of the Empress’ Nodes of Power. Those Nodes channel magical energies to those who control them, increasing the potency of rituals performed in their name. As Vjantos and Aegis were ‘sibling’ Empires, both coming from the same source, they each housed each other Nodes – also a precaution in case one Empire decided to invade the other.
After the Frostfell, an event where several white stars dropped from the sky and smashed into the capital and many provinces of Vjantos and created a vast tract of magically twisted wastelands, many of the Empress’ Nodes were lost and were unclaimed, or otherwise unmaintained. The Dragon Tyrant seeks to convert those nodes to his cause, so that he would could crush the Empress one and for all.
No one knew where are the Empress’ Nodes within Vjantos, but an ancient order called the Lorekeepers did. They were scholars, wizards and sages dedicated to the safe-keeping of arcane secrets of the Aegis Empire, and they were persecuted by the Mad Emperor (incidentally, also the Last Emperor and the current True Empress’ great-great-grandfather), so they disbanded and fled.
They did not wish their stronghold, the Lorekeep, to fall into the hands of the Mad Emperor, or into any other opportunists, hence they destroyed the Keystone, a magical tablet which when used with a Teleportion Portal, could allow one to their stronghold.
Artimus had one piece of the Keystone, and a contact of his, a Sanjorian called Jamar, had it. Jamar was a servant and his employer was a descendant of one of the Lorekeepers. The fragment came to Jamar when his master passed, and Jamar was going to hand it over to Artimus.
However, upon arrival, the party met Viktor, an Inquisitor affiliated with the Judge. There had been a series of murders – 14 in all, targeting only Sanjori. Each of the victim had various body parts missing – arms, torsos, legs and the like. Sethren, being Viktor’s ex-partner, was charged with solving the crime (for 90% of commission, of course). Unfortunately, it turned out that Jamar was the 14th victim, and there were clues indicating that the murderer took Jamar’s fragment of the Keystone. The party’s investigation was hampered by Slogar of House Cannith, who owed the foundry where all the victims worked at.
After questioning the locals and gathering clues, the suspicion eventually fell on Riss, a nervous and tense Sanjorian who was a healer and field surgeon. Tracking Riss to his lair, the party discovered that Riss had been building a flesh golem out of those body parts, imbuing it with the power of the Damning Chaos. The party defeated the golem and Riss, recovering the Keystone.
When agents of Lorehaven came to clean out Riss’ lair, they made off with many books and scrolls detailing the Lorekeepers’ rituals. How did Riss come by all this?