Way of the Wicked
13 - The Ceremony Begins
Chapter Twelve: The Ceremony Begins
After learning all we could from Ezra Thrice-Damned we determined to make a thorough search of the entire Horn of Abbadon and began forthwith.
On the second floor we found a series of rituals explaining how to summon allies although I did not at that time learn them. Later, during our long stay, I learned the spells and the creatures thus summoned proved to be invaluable allies.
In a corner room apparently badly damaged by the The Victor’s sack of The Horn we encountered a pair of plant-like creatures and dispatched them without too much trouble. Young Frohike harvested the juices from the beasts and planned to make several bombs and potions but there was little else of value in the region.
On the first level we found some silver coins, a potion, and hidden in a safe behind one of the plaques some magical manacles. Attached to another plaque was a small silver ring although it proved uninteresting. Frohike kept it just in case.
A thorough examination of the room with the pinned Minotaur showed it was originally designed as a food storage area and the magic perfectly preserved items stored therein. This proved to be a most fortuitous discovery.
The headless statue proved so life-like that we searched the region extremely thoroughly eventually finding the second Eye of Vetra-Kali encased in the stone bag carried by the creature. It was clear this was once a priest of Vetra-Kali who was transformed by powerful magic during the assault by the Victor.
We took the central shaft down to the Lower Caverns and with the aid of Zikomo found a narrow passage leading back from the room filled with blue slime. We greased Frohike with mud and he managed to somehow squeeze back there finding a corpse holding the third and final Eye of Vetra-Kali and a ritual book called the The Dirges of Apollyon which detailed the three ceremonies to perform.
Zikomo then took us back to his hut and we partook of another dose of Vision Juice and I was once again rewarded with an audience with Asmodeus. Afterwards Zikomo clained his own vision from Dagon informed him that he was to proselytize to the Boggard tribes living out in the Uskwood to increase our army. He also promised to have his minions ferry messages to Taggun Hold.
We promptly got a list together of the things we would need including foodstuff, equipment to repair the Horn of Abbadon, items for the rituals I would need, items Frohike required to fix the Alchemist Golem, and other things.
We then spent a day with Dunn researching a journal we found in the acolyte chambers, myself learning the rituals and Frohike determining the nature of the various potions we discovered.
I was able to learn all three rituals but most happily Frohike discovered that several of the potions were Stone Meld and would allow us to turn the statue we found on the second level back into a person. This being most likely a priest of Vetra-Kali who failed in his duties and would serve as an excellent sacrifice for the first ceremony.
The salve worked as promised and we brought Halthus back to life. We immediately shackled him and dragged him upstairs to perform the first Supplication of Darkness. I myself cut the still beating heart from the priest and placed it into the bowl of Vetra-Kali and thus began our odyssey.
Upon placing the heart of Halthus in the vessel the Horn of Abbadon immediately flared to life sending green flames shooting miles into the sky as the earth rumbled. The vegetation that covered the Horn was burned away revealing stark stone glowing with powerful runes.
All thoughts of a leisurely seven months of performing rituals was banished from my mind and it became clear that we would have to fortify the Horn as quickly as possible. We had not much time before defenders of Arodon began to arrive. I was certain that the great Tree Shepard Jurok would be the first and we began plans for the defense immediately.