The Keystone

Deeper into the SCC 3

Approximate Date: Spring, 600 B.C.

TREASURE

ITEM RECIPIENT LOCATION FOUND NOTES
Fireheart Tattoo Saar Sacrificial Room Burned into Saar’s chest by love

After the bloodbath in the Butchery on the first floor of the Secret Cabal of Cain, the trio returned to the Well to wash up and get refreshed. As they rested, Von reached into his pack and found a letter from Lia. While they were there, they heard noise coming up the nearby stairs and got into defensive positions. As the noise came around the corner, Raeya almost skewered Ojitar with one of her arrows, but refrained at the last moment. They rejoiced at finding each other again, but then Tatsuya shattered the moment by announcing that his brother had been killed. The Ranger started sobbing at the loss of her friend, until Cassia, ever the pragmatic, suggested that their mission was a failure, so they should all just leave. Raeya wanted to see the body and ran down the stairs, the others in tow, while Cassia rolled her eyes… but still followed.

On the lower level, the flames were still spurting in the hallway, so Raeya reached up and hit a hidden switch in the wall to shut them off. The other two Dragonborn couldn’t believe that they’d never noticed that. The 5 of them stared down the hall, but there was nothing to be seen. Cassia spoke what they were all thinking by asking if anyone else thought it was odd that there was no body, no bones, and none of his gear? No matter how hot the flames were, his metal armor and sword would at least be melted slag. This gave them all hope that their friend could still be alive. Raeya suggested that they should go down to the next level, but the Dragonborn told her that they’d already searched the whole level and there was no other stairs than the ones they’d just come down. Raeya rolled her eyes and led the group down the hallway. She stopped at the end, near the statue of Cain, and turned the upward pointing knife downward and the statue slid aside revealing stairs that led further down. Tatsuya had checked the statue for magic, but not for mechanical switches.

(As to what was happening with Saar, read the Temptation of Saar)

As the group was halfway down the spiral stairs, a loud roar caused them all to pause. Cassia whispered that that was the sound of “ultimate suffering” and then the shockwaves began. The earthquakes knocked some of the group off their feet and all 5 of them tumbled down the stairs the rest of the way, ending up in a pile of bodies at the bottom of the stairs. When they extricated themselves, they were in a room with an altar in the middle. Laying upon the altar was Saar, naked, and atop him was a naked silver Dragonborn female, and both were pierced by a huge broadsword and were bleeding profusely. As they watched, Saar roared again in pain as flickers of blue tinting rolled across his golden scales (since Tatsuya has had problems with a Blue Dragon, this kind of freaked him out). His scales then turn to stone, shattering the blade, and knocking it and the female Dragonborn off him as he lunged at a muscular elf who stood nearby. Von looked closer and recognized the elf as his Uncle Varis. The leader of the cabal reached back and pulled out a huge twin-bladed axe, indicating that he wanted Saar to attack. As the two of them started fighting, other figures stepped out of the shadows of the room to attack the rest of the group, while others stood back in the shadows chanting.

As the fight broke out, Cassia noticed that the blood from the two Dragonborn on the alter was flowing into a magical sphere, within which a fiery portal had opened. She asked Tatsuya to look at it and he confirmed that there was some sort of necromantic and demonic magic at work. Fearing the worst, she shouted for the rest of the group to find a way to stop the dark ritual. Ojitar climbed atop the altar and leapt through the fiery sphere, only to get hurt as Varis struck down Saar, who had already been badly hurt by the sword through his lung. Von stepped closer while the others distracted the Master Mahan to heal Saar and bring him back from unconsciousness. Instead of attacking Varis again, Saar used his shield to try and cut the sphere off from the altar, but to no avail. Cassia then used her mental powers to push it at a ritualist and he died from the fiery burns that he received, but still the sphere continued to grow.

Von whirled on his uncle and asked where his family was? Instead of answering, Varis asked his nephew if he knew the meaning of their family name: Qayin? He explained that the name was a derivative of Cain, the Father of Secrets and as such, their blood was full of power. He then turned to Raeya and told her that her family name of Lamech belonged another line of Cain that was full of Satanic power. Varis then told them that the cabal had been using this powerful blood for their rituals, which were coming to fruition this night. Von again screamed his question at his uncle, who could only laugh and state that his family was dead, that they had all died begging for their lives. The cleric flew into a rage and attacked the man he had admired, only to be struck down and left bleeding on the cobblestones as the rest of the group attacked Varis. With their combined strength, they were finally able to overwhelm him, as Tatsuya poured a healing potion down Von’s throat to bring him back to consciousness. Once their leader was down, it was easy for the rest of the group to kill the rest of the cabalists. As the last ritualist fell, the chanting in the room came to a halt and the sphere of fiery blood splashed down on ground near Varis, the elf who had tried to create it. Tatsuya began wiping blood from off his brother’s chest, and discovered that his Mark of Shame was finally beginning to heal and fade, while a bloody tattoo had formed over the center of his chest is the shape of a fiery heart. Anwen had died protecting him with her love to the very last.

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