As a round up and a reminder and to push the plot along, LOLS are called to a secret meeting in the Mages’s Tower to discuss the current situation. Representing LOLS are Finian the hobbit sorcerer (James), Frizzlewind (do me a lemon!) the gnome illusionist-mage (Nick making a belated first appearance), Aardvik the cheerfully sectarian dwarf paladin (Alex S), Sanguine the revenant assassin (Olli guesting) and Xaphan the dragonborn warlord (Colin guesting). Present are Murgen and Tamurello, representing the Circle of Mages; Commander Hunts-by-day, a dragonborn commander in the Janissaries, Douglas Mac’O’Riordan (head of the City’s gnomish mafia), plus representatives from the Temples of Bahamut, Correllon and The Raven Queen. Also present is an unnamed well dressed gentleman with a pale complexion, representing the Velvet Order (a group of vampires who like being undead and fashionable and who may also have their own agenda). Finally, on a table, is a bust of an articulated mannequin, with jewels for eyes, which swivel constantly, taking everyone in. It emerges this is a magical conference call device linked to Redevivus, a lich who in life was once Head of the Circle. Murgen won’t allow him in the Tower, in person.
Murgen calls the meeting to order and makes his opening remarks: Viriconium is built on an area of inter-plane instability. About 1000 years ago, a large object broke through into this world and came to rest beneath the city. As it fell, it left a wake of microportals, some unstable, some stable.
Priest of Correllon: Recently, certain areas of the City became isolated from the Astral Plane. This was caused by manufactured devices blocking communication across the plane boundary. The devices were short lived. The result was that divine communication was lost, between the deities on the AP and this world.
Tamurello (second to Murgen): It became apparent that these devices were commissioned from a skilled individual by members of the Cult of Orcus. Their plan would seem to be to isolate the City from the Divine. This may also have the effect of trapping souls of the deceased on this World. An astral plane skiff of githyanki origins which was on the AP, hit an area of instability and fell through to this World. It materialised under city and is embedded in solid rock. It is in a column of microportals which continue down, in the direction of the object that fell through from another plane. The Cult of Orcus is using slave labour to uncover this item. As it fell, it momentarily flickered in and out of existence, scouring fragments from its surface. From recovered fragments and brutal interrogations, we can say the object is indeed The Wand of Orcus.
Priestess of the Raven Queen: The enmity between My Lady and the Abomination of the Deep is known to all. In ages past, during conflict with My Lady, the Wand was lost and without it, The Abomination cannot travel across Worlds. He seeks, through his minions, to recover it.
Commander Hunts-by-day: For reasons that are not yet apparent, the githyanki also desire something in the same region. They have come into conflict with the Cultists and have allied themselves with Drow coming up from The Underdark against the Cult.
Representative of the Velvet Order: Orcus desires dominion over all undead, which can never be. Therefore, we oppose him and will give such help as we see fit.
The RQ priestess says : The dead should give themselves into the care of My Lady. They should not seek to avoid her Gathering by unnatural means.
The Voice of Redevivus cries out: ‘What, and be stuck for an age on that dreary wet Monday of The Shadowfell before being left at the whim of an over-promoted angel?’ The meeting descends into a shouting match before Douglas Mac’O’Riordan bangs on the table with his shillelagh. When there is silence he says, “I haven’t the faintest feckin’ idea what you’re all talking about.”
Velvet Order: The Cult has brought in the necromancer Philatros, a renegade tiefling, to increase its number of undead for an assault on the githyanki and drow. He will sanctify an Alter of Devoured Death and use this to create new creatures. He requires fresh cadavers, or better still, living subjects. We have passed information on to Douglas Mac’O’Riordan.
Douglas MoR: That was you lot, was it? My lads and lasses say they’re out in the boondocks, raiding villages and taking the captives and bodies back to this one place.
Murgen: It is clear that of all these threats that of the Cult of Orcus is the most immediate danger. And the Legion of Lost Souls will destroy them. But be warned, Philatros’ Altar gives him mastery of the Knives of the Dead. Aardvick wants to know more. Murgen explains Philatros can channel death energy back as a weapon.
The group set off as directed. Outside the city, they follow columns of smoke and come across destroyed villages. On the road they find a column of captives being marched by armed thugs and archers under the direction of a death priest. They stalk them through thick undergrowth and then attack. Finian makes the first move and struggles to find his mojo whilst turning into a hobbity pincushion. The mages and warlord strike at one end of the column, taking on the death priest. The assassin and paladin take on the other end and tie down the thugs. The mages try to avoid melee, at one point the gnome uses the hobbit as a meat shield. Focus fire and neat shifty footwork from the warlord means the death priest doesn’t really get free enough to buff his allies and eventually goes down. The assassin and paladin deal with the other bad guys but the warlord is hard pressed to cover all the healing requirements of both groups. The thugs flee when the priest goes down. The terrifyingly menacing gnome soon extracts the required information from the death priest.
The party make their way to a defiled church in the village. Peering in, they see an altar, the necromancer, his new ghouls and his ghast assistants. In the corner is a pile of cadavers. The party attack. The ghasts set up nasty areas of control affecting living creatures. Sanguine the Revenant dances through them, blowing raspberries and whacking stuff. The necromancer calls on the Children of Orcus to rise and the cadavers get up (15 minions!). The mage thinks, they are nicely bunched and fireballs them. More than half go down and the Knives of the Dead bite deep, setting up an aura 9 (one for each death) in the room. The party then activate their radiant swords and wallop a ghast, who is horrified (he’s aghast) and aura goes up to 10 per round as he also croaks. This is seriously hurting and sets up a terrible dilemma. The party realise the altar is the problem and work out they can desanctify it with religion checks, needing two successes. It’s a standard action or a minor at -5 though access is difficult, getting through the zombie minions they daren’t kill and the slowing aura of the undead. However, some of the party can teleport. Sanguine is ordered to stop hitting the ghouls and the gnome gets up after being rescued from a failed death save by Xaphan, to teleport to the alter and starts to de-curse it. He succeeds and the aura fades. Now the serious matter of killing the necromancer can begin. Time is running out so the necro, having been thwarted, legs it. The Cult is denied its undead reinforcements for now but can regroup for another day.