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The Hour of Death

Initial Brief

A handful of notes, scrawled on damp, rotting paper drift through the streets of Rastaban…

“Pathetic mortals! I, Vashti the Hour of Death, command you to cast yourselves before me in the place known to you as Rom and there pledge to undertake a task of great importance. Be swift, for every moment I must linger in your abysmal plane of verdant vitality fills me with utmost disgust.”

The House of Rom have made it known that they’d be grateful to anyone who went and helped Vashti so she’d leave and stop decaying buildings. They’d do it themselves but unfortunately everyone’s a bit busy right now with the massive crater in the middle of the district so please, would you mind just going and sorting it out for them? Thanks.



Arriving in Rom, it is a simple matter for Xenon to follow the trail of destruction to a rapidly decaying building where he comes before the terrifying figure of Vashti, the Hour of Death, a skeleton draped in rags and scraps of rotting fabric. Vashti explains that they were once bound but was released but that in the process, they lost their beloved pet, Kitty. What manner of creature is Kitty? Vahsti isn't clear but they are determined to be reunited. To aid Xenon, they offer him a boon; that in his hour of need, when he is close to death, he may call upon them for aid.

Apprentice Ragnhild of Rom is keen for the situation to be resolved and for Vashti to return once more to the depths of Erosion where they'll stop decaying Rom and so Xenon sets out, bound for the Unbroken Chain where the plane binders are known to live.

With travel papers from House Rom, he is able to secure passage to Gateway and from there enters the tunnels to bypass the siege outside the walls. Unfortunately, a number of imps and a greedling have entered the tunnels from the Conflict-Connection incursion above. Xenon is able to fight his way through fairly easily, though he is somewhat annoyed that the greedling (who turned out not to be a “good dog” when it tangled his legs in webbing) kills the imp that so badly insulted Xenon's mother. Nonetheless, he takes pity on the injured greedling, leaving it alive before heading onwards.

It's a long road to the Unbroken Chain and Xenon is in no condition for extended travel with his sickness but he pushes on. Ahead, the land is barren and parched, with eddies of razor-sharp sand and debris whipped up by the winds. As Xenon protects his face from the swirling onslaught, he notes that these fragments of desolation seem drawn to him, as though bearing some form of sentience. Clearly this is not a natural phenomenon.

Beyond the desolation, the land becomes more pleasant. Lush grassland sweeps out over underfoot. High in the blue sky, the dark forms of vultures circle and Xenon can make out two large grey forms rising from the grass, the carcasses of grey, horned behemoths being picked at by vultures. A couple of vultures land near him and approach curiously. He attempts to placate them with jerky from his rations but this proves a mistake as it only emboldens the birds to attack, seeking more food. Eventually, as they become more aggressive, he is forced to slay them.

The city of Adrovan lies ahead. Upon his arrival, a courtly retainer singles out Xenon and, upon learning that he had been sent there on a mission from House Rom, assumes that he is in possession of the Tome of Adrovan and leads him to Malia Adrovan. The confusion is soon cleared up and Malia invites Xenon to join her for lunch in her garden. Over food, Xenon learns much of the Unbroken Chain, including their beliefs about the planes, their views on binding and weaving and that the carcasses he saw before were those of mega-rhinos, creatures touched by conflict which would grow stronger with each victory. Clearly those two had met a force stronger than them.

Malia's aid is able to direct Xenon to Draken Carna, a preeminent Erosion binder. Indeed, upon arranging a meeting with Draken, Xenon is able to learn that Draken was the one who bound Vashti in the first place, though later sold them. He still has a large, water-filled bowl containing what appears to be a creature with the upper body of a cat and the long, silvery tail of a fish. This cat-fish looks up at the sound of her name, Kitty.

Draken agrees to give Kitty to Xenon in return for him signing a contract to bring him something of interest from Erosion in return. With Kitty contentedly nestled in Xenon's backpack, Draken directs him to the great pit where he may descend into erosion. The pit is a large, circular hole, plunging deep into the ground with steps spiraling around its side. At the top, the steps are smooth and cleanly hewn from stone but as he descends, he finds the steps beneath his feet becoming more and more worn until finally they are nothing more than a loose scree slope.

At the bottom, a layer of water lies and creatures emerge from the darkness. Eels, with far too many sharp teeth and skeletons dripping and clad in barnacles. Communication proves useless and Xenon is forced to fight his way through, a battle which truly tests his mettle.

Victorious, he continues on in search of a denizen willing to communicate with him. As the water deepens, lapping up around his legs, he comes upon a strange sight. What appears to be disassembled fragments of a creature – an eye here, a fin floating over there, chunks of body and mouth bobbing about in the distance.

At first it does not appear to be sentient and Xenon is forced to subdue a fragment in self defence. To his surprise, it quickly rises again and he brings it down once more, attempting to execute it. Instead of dying, though, it ricochets off and forms together with another fragment and this time, it seems to have gained more intelligence, responding to his greetings with “hel…lo.”

Gradually, Xenon is able to bring all the pieces together and before long, he has made a new friend, quite literally. This denizen is quite odd but very helpful, telling Xenon that if he seeks Vashti, he will have to go much deeper. First though, he must find a way to breathe. He should be able to get an air bubble from the tubes. Then, he'll need a ride… if he retrieves a pink marimo (a ball of algae) from the hot vents, he should be able to attract someone to help in that regard. With this knowledge imparted, the denizen disassembles itself once more, with fragments flying off in different directions.

Xenon finds the so-called tubes in the shallows. They appear to be worm-like creatures rising from a coral reef. As he watches, bubbles form at their tops and float off. Avoiding the swarms of endings which swim around the tubes, Xenon is able to lift one of the air bubbles and place it around his head so that he can breathe underwater. With his air supply sorted, he swims deeper, toward the hot air vents.

He finds a number of marimos bouncing between two air vents. None are pink but he manages to form a loop, bobbing the marimos around in a circle until finally a pink one lands in his hand. This, he holds aloft and calls out, hoping to attract the attention of the underwater steed he was assured would arrive.

From off in the distance, he hears a deep, resonating call in reply. A huge mouth emerges from the dark waters, at the head of a majestically beautiful fish propelled by two great fins at its back. This magnificent giant sunfish would dwarf most buildings in Rastaban, save for the Imperial Palace and the Shapers' Tower. Xenon tosses the pink marimo into the sunfish's mouth and hops on, holding tight as the fish plunges into the far depths.

It soon becomes apparent that Xenon is not alone on the side of this fish. Parasites seem to be burrowing from under the poor creature's scales. Xenon fights them, carefully clinging to the sunfish but they are many and very nearly overcome him. In a moment of quick thinking, he lets go of the fish, floating away before using the strength granted to him by the Rod to swim fast enough to catch up and land further down the fish from where he is able to ambush the parasites.

Badly injured, Xenon hides beneath one of the sunfish's huge scales until he arrives at his destination, a huge sunken city. The sunfish slows to let him jump off onto a large plaza of crumbling statues before swimming off, glad to be rid of the awful parasites.

Xenon calls out to Vashti but instead it is Heralds of Erosion that answer, shambling out from the shadows. These skeletons are far more decayed than the ones previously, as though they had been left on the seabed for aeons. They are innumerable, these inhabitants of the city and even a Rod paladin cannot hold out forever. Xenon falls and, as he floats, dying, he calls out once more to Vashti…

And Vashti answers, arriving to restore Xenon to health and aid him in driving back the Heralds of Erosion. Xenon hands over Kitty and the pair seem overjoyed to be reunited. Vashti asks if Xenon desires a boon. All Xenon wishes is to be returned to the material plane.

Vashti grants his request, empowering him to swim upwards against the weight of water and though they do this while cackling maniacally ans shouting “rise!”, it seems to be with good intentions as Xenon shoots upwards toward the light. He emerges in one of Rom's canals, to the surprise of several passers-by.


Xenon returns to Ragnhild and assures her that Vashti will not trouble the city any longer. When he begins talking about his interaction with Malia Adrovan, he is swiftly taken to see Grandmagister Isabella, who is skeptical of his far-fetched story at first but becomes concerned that her alliance with Malia may have been jeopardised. She is relieved to discover that is not the case and agrees to arrange for Xenon to send two yellow marimos to Draken Carna along with a letter in return for Xenon not discussing the Tome of Adrovan with anyone.

Once Xenon has left, Isabella makes arrangement for one marimo to be sent to Draken, along with a slightly adjusted letter.

At the Circle of Mind, Xenon speaks with trustworthy academics of the things he has learnt on his journey and recommends sending scholars out to learn more about the history of the outside world.

To the Order of the Rod, he recounts his tale of his dangerous trek through the wilderness, including his discovery of mega-rhinos which, like a Rod paladin, grow stronger with every victory. Finally, he takes some time to reflect on his failings at allowing the Herald of Erosion to cripple him with the fear of his own mortality, a fear he must overcome.



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  • Surpassing the Self: For the next adventure you may treat FEAR as a strong compulsion to attack the source of the FEAR.
resources/adventure/the_hour_of_death.txt · Last modified: 2019/04/27 09:32 by iain