You climb out of the stone chute to the open platform on the peak of Nightwyrm Fortress. Gusts of cold wind threaten to throw you from the reaches to the jagged rocks seven thousand feet below. Four battlements rise on four corners of the platform. In the center of the circular platform the Soul Well burns white. Within its reaches you see thousands of souls twisting and screaming as they are drawn from the Shadowfell sky down into the dark depths below.
You don’t see the guardian, Urishtar, at first. It isn’t until he shifts that you realize how close he is. He stands off the edge of the platform on a forty-foot square overhang that acts as the shadow-dragon’s perch. He waits for all of you to rise up from the chute.
All around you swirl draconic wraiths. They glare at you with burning green eyes but keep their distance. Every so often one of them picks a white gleaming mote out of the sky and drops it back into the soulstream. You realize these are souls of the dead who escaped or fell away from the beam.
“Your words on the bridge below disturbed me. I haven’t thought about the old days for a long time. I had forgotten them.”
“Yet I am a being of destiny, as are you. We could wax philosophy for an age and it would make little progress. Let me simplify it for you.
“If you defeat me, you were right. If you fail and die here, than we know which way the winds of destiny blow. Frankly, I hope you are right, but I will not let this steer my wrath for a single moment. Prepare, Shieldbashers. Your future awaits.”
The party battles the mighty shadow dragon. After a powerful battle including the death of the dwarven wizard Oswald, Mika, the party’s sorceress, burns down the shadow dragon with a powerful blast of magical fire.
In a final furious roar, Urishtar, Guardian of the Soulstream, crashes to the ancient stonework of Nightwyrm Fortress. Ahead of you, the twisted soulstream flashes bright.
Using the scroll of the Shadar-kai witch, you draw out a circle in crushed ruby. Each of the sigils seems both completely foreign to you and strangely familiar. With the circle complete, you begin your ritual. There is no struggle here, no challenge of might or the mind. Only one thing will close the soulstream and restore the proper paths of the dead – a soul. One imbued with the proper magics of the Raven Queen and then fed into the soulstream will corrupt Orcus’s corruption and defeat the great power that twists it.
Whose soul will it be?
Fausto throws Nightbringer, his magical intelligent sword, into the soulstream. The effect is powerful and immediate, the soulstream collapses forever and the streams of the dead are restored. Another figure, however, lays on the battlement of Nightwyrm Fortress – the Warlord, Ninebreaker.
The party used the Rakshasa scroll after a rest in the Shadar-Kai village. Ninebreaker takes his equipment from his Shadar-kai wife before leaving. Using the scroll results in the following:
Blackness surrounds you and panic stabs deep. For a few moments that feel like eternity, you imagine life lost in void of the far realm. Yet you can’t imagine the far-realm would smell so much like beer and vomit. A heavy push spills light upon you and you realize where you ended up – among rotted boxes in an alley of a city completely alien to you.
The smell of oil and rain on stone fills your lungs as you breathe air from a different world. Yellow light illuminates the wet cobblestone streets. The sounds of laughter and a crash of metal rise above the ambient sounds of the city streets. Staring up reveals the true strangeness of this destination. You stare up into a street very similar to your own. The world in which you find yourself is not flat, but tubular, as though you stand on the inside surface of a massive stone dough-bread treat of your youth.
“Well, look at the cutters who just fell out of the blitz.”
A young tiefling woman dressed in brown leather clothes and soft-soled slippers smiles at you as she leans on the alley wall.
“Don’t get all jangled up, I’m not here to honey-peel you. Just looking for a mert or two to show you the cage. Come on, let’s not map the planes here. Some bridle-cull or crow-feeder’s likely to find you gawking like that and get you Lost. Let me take you to a hole I know – the Golden Sprout. No metal cups there.”