The attacks played out more or less as expected, though much to Lord Ember’s chagrin insisted on participating near the end, dispatching one of the assailants. Once they were clear they returned to the safe house, most of them no longer in any condition to attend a party. And though they did pick up a few items that may lead them to the identity of their attackers, they had more pressing business. After cleaning up they picked up where they had left off, though this time they all traveled together.
Almost immediately upon arrival it became clear how Ryu’ Ve-Ke’rehl had managed to secure invitations so easily. The entire purpose of this event was to spread elven culture, and as a deep elf from near the other side of the world Obsidian was seen as a rare treat; a chance for some to learn even more about the elven way and a chance for others to score the exotic catch of the night. His popularity with the ladies was almost two to one over Ember’s.
Petty rivalries aside, there was work to be done and much to learn. Meetings with Brais Muryo seemed to indicate that he was genuinely interested in his cause, directing a barrage of insightful questions at Obsidian. Of his entourage most would not see the morning, but a half-elf woman by the name of Shari Tir would later prove to be a mercury dragon. Obsidian’s work with the ladies was mostly fruitless, but he did speak with a woman by the name of Callisa Ni who seemed eager to forge a trading partnership. The group also discovered that the highest ranking attendees were a couple by the name of Anastas Katian and Larisa Katian, human advisors to the elven councilman Teodil Ghol. Finally, employees of Garnet were seen working the room as well, marked by their garnet earrings. Unfortunately, efforts to learn the nature of the hungry star or discern the identity of their attackers met with far less success.
When it came time to move to the obelisk the group remained on the estate just long enough to establish their own importance in the social order of things. Upon reaching their destination they found Gomgrim Zekeif and Bonesaw already there and doing a stellar job of alienating the locals. Still, that was to be expected so the group spread out a bit; some watching Brais, others watching the obelisk and still others watching the crowd. They weren’t sure what to expect but caution seemed a wise strategy.
At the exact moment when the time between sunset and sunrise was equal everything went to Hell. Elves all throughout the crowd drew hidden weapons and attacked, most focusing on the non-elven observers while a few of the elven clergy were struck down as well. As they killed they called out victory for the Verdant Mandate; the earth where blood was spilled immediately sprouting flora. But within moments the expanding green turned gray and black, its form becoming twisted even as it continued to grow. And as the corruption spread the vegetation seemed to become aggressive, wrapping around and tearing into those still living, spilling blood and causing the reaction to spiral out of control.
The source of the corruption appeared to be an opportunistic creature from the far realms. As the attack commenced Gomgrim saw the stars within the obelisk open as eyes and a great mostly translucent lion like creature step out. Ten feet from shoulder to shoulder and it’s crown rising another 10 feet into the air the creature resembled a displacer beast with an extra set of legs and a dozen more tentacles rising from the back. It could only been seen by the light that seemed to radiate from the eyes within the form, striking the surface of the beast and illuminating the exterior.
As all of this occurred Aza relinquished control of The Haunted Blade of Sylvaneft to an ancient elven soul that may know the truth of what was occurring. As the beast was born into this plane the soul provided a flood of information. But most important was one word: run. Only Ember didn’t immediately flee, instead making an effort to save Brais and later Shari as she assumed her true form. Both efforts appeared to be in vain though. Unwilling to die he joined his fellows, dashing for what they hoped would be the safety of the temple of Lerelan. It was the longest quarter mile any of them had ever traveled, but as they reached the front gates they were greeted by Priest Davith Bennin who granted them entrance before sealing the doors.
Speaking quickly the group conversed with Bennin while also considering the wisdom provided by the elven soul, hoping to discover a means of dealing with the current crisis. What they managed to piece together was that the events transpiring were predominantly dictated by old elven myths, bastions of a lost faith that were likely maintained as simple, innocent traditions. These myths spoke of the sun as a god of life and a protector, able to drive away the denizens beyond the shell of the world. But such a role could not be sustained, causing the sun to die as it set. During the night it would walk through the underworld until it heard the prayers of the people and use that to find the world of the living and to be reborn once more. The moon was a warden, keeping the creatures from beyond away. But the moon lacked the strength of the sun, and even when full the greedy eyes of those beyond the shell could be seen staring down upon the world. Tonight, the night of the new moon, was the time when the warden’s eye was closed, if just for a moment. Finally, the stars represented those creatures from beyond, hungry to consume the life the sun lavished upon the world.
Destroying the being that had come through the obelisk seemed to be a multi-step process. First and foremost, the lunar warden needed to be restored so that he might seal the gate and prevent any others from coming through. Once complete they would need a means of accessing the power of the sun if they were to strike down the beast. As the sun was currently traveling the underworld it was hoped that priests at the temple of Kinis could grant the party access to the lands of the dead. How they would harness the sun’s power when they found it was still a question. But should they succeed they could travel to the temple of the sun, where the beast now lay in wait, hoping to prevent the sun from ever rising again. To aid them in this Bennin revealed the linked portals that would allow the part to move from any one temple to any other as movement through the consuming vines seemed unwise.
As the portal circles were being memorized one final tragedy struck. Eyes were beginning to sprout upon Priest Bennin’s form, a sign that as his role as a holy man of the stars he was being corrupted by the beast of the far realms. If something was not done he would be consumed entirely, at best to be no more, at worst to raise arms against the party. Rather than let his body and soul be corrupted like that he was struck down by the Blade of Sylvaneft, his soul consumed by the sword, his knowledge too valuable to lose.