The Black Star and the Heart of the Abyss

Scene 1: Through the Blood Rift

Layers of the abyss roar past you as Captain Vlaxx plummets the Sheviathon through the Blood Rift deeper and deeper into the Abyss.

A world of black snow covers you in a cold sooty ash. You feel your own will begin to break as you pass through the Woeful Escarand. Dust flows past the Rainless Waste.

Galun-Khur, the Noisome Vale, The Steeping Isle, The Marsh of the Pierced Men. Each layer is more horrible than the next. The forest of Living Tongues, the Flesh Forges, The Endless Maze.

Soon they begin to blur past as time and space begins to stretch and twist. Horrible storms begin to crash against the hull of the Sheviathon.

“The Sheviathon was never built to handle these stresses.” Shouts Captain Vlaxx, her eyes burning with psionic energy as she steers the chaos ship. “She’s not designed to go much further than the upper layers of the Abyss. While I was repairing the ship I dug down under Plains of Hunger and found a lot of ruins of old cities, old worlds. I found some large sheets of strange metal and beams of hardened wood that I stored down below. If you think it will help, you might shore up the Sheviathon’s frame. Otherwise you might give the psionic engines a boost. Beyond that, you might pray to whatever god you believe in to give us a hand. Otherwise, I fear this might be a one-way trip.”

Scene 2: The Landing

“There it is!” shouts Captain Vlaxx. As you look out over the bow of the ship you see a swirling storm of red and black. In its center is a multi-colored multi-fasceted crystal of enormous size. You see Orcus’s Chaos Ship, the Black Skull banking around it. Ruined platforms of stone and twisted metal swirl around the crystal. Upon a larger one of these platforms you see a red pentagram pulsing and flaring. Numerous figures surround this circle. One of them is unmistakable. Orcus.

As you watch, bolts of black lightning smash into the hull of the Black Skull. Powerful forces seem to twist the ship and then it breaks apart spilling out the twisting white plumes of its spiritual engines. The pieces of Orcus’s ship seem to twist around the crystal in some form of terrible orbit.

Near the crystal, a huge being of black stone laced with red pummels the crystal with its black iron fists. Each hit results in blasts of chaotic energy that would rip the existence out of any being – yet this being remains unharmed.

“The storm is too strong to land near the platform. I’ll have to drop you off over there.” Vlaxx points to a larger platform orbiting further out. Flames erupt around it and parts of it break away yet it seems to be the most stable area in the heart.

Vlaxx steers the ship near the platform and you leap onto the strange stone and metal surface of the platform. You feel the entire platform shift under your feet. Overhead, the storm roars with chaotic life. In front of you the stonework breaks upward as X two-headed worms break out from the ground below. Chaotic beasts forged in the very heart of the Abyss, they scream at you with blind rage.

The party fights the Ancient Abyssal Worms and kills them.

Scene 3: The Heart of the Abyss

Leaping closer to the Heart, you see Timesus smash again into its surface. Thin cracks form along the crystal’s edge. You can imagine the rending of worlds every time that crystal breaks. How many millions has he already destroyed? How many worlds have broken apart with each hammer of his fist? The very thought is staggering.

To your right you see Orcus with a host of demons around him. One of them you recognize, the Marilith Shonruvvu, Orcus’s Keybearer. Her hands swirl with red energy holding open a large portal. You see a large host of demons has already gone through into the gray world that lays beyond. (Religion DC 30, it’s Letherna, the homeworld of the Raven Queen; Perception DC 30, you see war has already broken out beyond the portal).

“The forging of a God is no easy thing,” shouts Orcus over the roar of the storm. “We must all sacrifice much and take many risks. Stop Timesus, save the multiverse, and watch the creation of a new God!” Orcus holds his black hand to the swirling sky. In it you see a single long shard of the Heart of the Abyss in his hand. Any other mortal hand that dared touch it would result in complete annihilation but in a hand forged from the stone of Timesus, even Orcus might handle the most deadly weapon ever created.

“When you finish here, when you stop him, come to Letherna and mourn the death of the Raven Queen. Then kneel before I, your creation, the new God of Death!” Orcus steps through the portal, Shonruvvu follows, and the portal snaps shut behind him.

With another smash of Timesus’s hammering hand, the crystal cracks again.

On Timesus’s Death:

One hundred and seventy years ago, an old farmer wept over the body of his last child, his eldest son, who had succumbed to a fever. The farmer hugged his son and as he let go, he left behind all of the love for humanity he had left. He watched his wife die under then hands of brigands. He watched his youngest son starve to death after he made the choice to feed his oldest. Now he cared for no one. For one hundred and seventy years, Arantham sought to wipe clean the sins of his past. One hundred and seventy years later he nearly had his wish. But now he watches as his hands crumble to dust and his spirit flows into the crystal forever destroyed.

Scene 4: The portal to Letherna

As the gateway to Letherna opens to you, the smell of angellic blood and burned flesh flows past you. You see the Raven Queen’s homeworld ablaze. Demons fly past chasing winged sorrowsworn. As you watch, one throws barbed trident through the back of one of the Raven Queen’s servants. Bands of the demons smash against the Letherna’s defenders leaving hundreds of trailing bodies in its wake. Though dormant for tens of thousands of years, the Blood War has found the doorstep of the Raven Queen.