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Dance of Souls (DM: Knight Otu)

Adventure Summary - The Dance of Souls

The events were set in motion when a secret organization called the Ashen Talon manipulated two nobles, Seran a'Larat and Godo of Diarun, into bribing a servant each of the other's household into stealing a valuable piece from that noble's collection of art. Unbeknownst to the nobles, the Ashen Talon also bribed the prospective thieves and took them into their employ, thus taking controlled of the stolen art pieces, two pieces of the Dance of Souls.

The two nobles, realizing what must have happened, met and had a talk, deciding to put matters into the hands of mercenaries, and hired Azaroth, Banion, Beamer, Gur, Rose Marie, and Sam. The six adventurers received what information the nobles could give without implicating themselves, and the promise of a greater reward for information that might lead to other pieces of the Dance of Souls. The group decided to walk to their first destination, Lathirn, the Den of Taka, where they met several citizens, including Officer Garum (a worg), Janur and the bar owner Kenatur, officer Samuel (subordinate to Officer Garum, much to his dismay), a red-headed barmaid, and the gambler and auction house owner Tennar.

From Janur, Beamer and Gur learned of a cart that may have been headed for the Stonepike Mountains to the east and that Tennar was recently accosted by a group and managed to knock out one of his attackers, who later talked about an organization called the Talon and was later killed, supposedly in retaliation for revealing the organization. Banion overheard a talk between the officers Samuel and Garum, with Samuel promising to deliver a report on that Talon group before taking his extended leave the next day, though neither seems to regard them as more than a (well-organized) thieves guild. Azaroth and Rose Marie pose as buyers to Tennar, who invites them to his auction house after a misunderstanding attracting officer Samuel.

The next day, Azaroth found a note for a meeting in the Broken Skull with a certain Fourdrinker, and Banion scouted out the area surrounding the Dancing Scimitar, coming to the conclusion that the group was being watched. Beamer and Azaroth followed the invitation of Tennar to his warehouse, where he confronted the two with his suspicions that they were related to the theft of the Dance of Souls. Deciding to put their hands on the table, Azaroth and Beamer revealed their role, and showed Tennar the note Azaroth received. Tennar, Beamer, and Azaroth had been shadowed by Banion, who also saw two other figures that were interested in the activities of the group, masked and cloaked.

After Azaroth and Beamer left the warehouse, Banion rejoins them and relays his observations and his fear that they are being followed, but a quick ambush attempt yielded no results. The group decided then to follow Fourdrinker's invitation, fully expecting it to be a trap, with Gur and Azaroth in the open, and Banion and Beamer following in secret.

In the Broken Skull, Azaroth and Gur quickly meet Fourdrinker, who leads them to a deadend where several thieves wait for negotiations, with a cloaked figure overlooking from a window. Since Azaroth persists on getting the Dance of Souls, the thieves attack, indicating the name of the onlooker's organization as the Ashen Talon. Seeing the fight go in favor, the observer of the Ashen Talon simply goes to leave the building, but is surprised by a turn for the worse when she emerges, and flees. Little later, the group hears Officer Samuel call the guard, and realizing that he should be on leave, flee and hide. They do remain close enough to overhear Officer Samuel and the unmasked observer - the red-headed barmaid - talking about a mountain keep.

While Azaroth, Beamer, and Gur flee the city via the city walls, Banion sneaks back to the Scimitar to check on Sam and Rose Marie, finding that they had left earlier after an anonymous warning, and then to Tennar's warehouse. Relaying his information cryptically, Banion nevertheless receives the lead that the keep may be the "Keep of Bloodstained Dreams" in the Stonepikes and a permit to loan mounts from the stables in the nearby village of Lornsten, and proceeds to join back with the other three.

In Lornsten, the four adventurers get their promised mounts and find an old man who was in the general area of the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams, and he cautions them that these dreams are in fact real and indirectly took the lives of his old comrades, apparently by enhancing aggressive behaviour. Worried about this, the four share some of their history with each other as they travel to the Stonepikes, concerned that the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams may be a false lead. In the meantime, Tennar aids Officer Garum in revealing Samuel and the barmaid as members of the Talon, and a few more prominent Talon members flee the city, while a wagon is dispatched in the direction of the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams. Samuel later turns up in the Red Dragon Inn, leaving a message for the four heroes.

Reaching the mountains after an eventless travel, the group first managed to rest without experiencing the Bloodstained Dreams, But the next night proved that not only are the Dreams a reality, they affect the whole area rather than just the paths. Azaroth was affected strongly and almost attacked Beamer due to the Dreams. With this experience, the group backtracked to their previous resting place, where they decided to wait and ambush the next Talon group passing by, which soon came from Lathirn.

After the successful ambush, the group extracts some more information on the Keep and their employers, and sets the prisoners, stripped of their equipment, free. The group moves onward, experiencing another round of dreams, and reach the Keep. After some discussion and hoping for another ambush, the four perform a night-time assault which eventually results in the capture and torture of Azaroth until the three others can break him free while also finding the Dance of Souls. On the way to their employers, they meet a mercane who seeks the Keep as well and have a dream of an ashen creature warning them against revealing the Talon. The nobles finally take the Dance of Souls of the adventurers, and pay them.

Location Information

Orussus

There is a temple of Grendath in Orussus.

Lathirn

The guards at the gate encourage travellers to peacebind weapons, but seemingly won't question someone who chooses not to. They tend to do a shoddy job at peacebinding weapons, it seems.
Business is conducted where ever it is convenient. Though the main street is propably what one would call a business district.
The city wall is about 15 feet high. There are occasional stairs that allow access to the top of the wall.
Broken Skull: An inn in Lathirn. Apparently, it deserves its colorful name, and many wonder how it can stay in business considering the constant need for repairs. It is down the road from the northern gate.
it is a run-down, shabby establishment, propably in constant threat of being closed. The furniture looks like it is about to break, and the floor could use quite some cleaning. A table in a corner sounds as if it will break any second under the pressure of the ongoing arm wrestling contest, and another table looks dangerously weak under the four drinks standing on it, and the lone person - a half-orc - sitting at the table does not seem to intend drinking any of them anytime soon.[/indent]
Dancing Scimitar: An inn in Lathirn, owned by Kenatur ai Turakin. The bar is quite large, fully running along the long side of the room, at each end a barrel.
The Scimitar has stables, housing common mounts for 5 silver a day.
The Scimitar provides sleeping rooms, one big common room, and several one-person bedrooms. "The big room, if you don't mind the company of several others, is 2 silver per head, and is right to your left, through that door and the one behind. The more luxurious rooms upstairs are 5 silver per head. Same door, but up the stairs." "...neither of the rooms can comfortably hold more than one person. The rooms for humans would have to be renovated, and the rooms for small folk are laid out for small folk."
Kenatur keeps a dartboard behind the bar, and gives it out to those interested if there is room to throw.
Kenatur keeps a book below the bar into which select patrons (notably the city watch and the clergy of Taka) can stamp if they were satisfied, waiving some of Kenatur's debts. These patrons receive their meals and drink for free. Supposedly, the clergy of Taka never gives out stamps, while Officer Garum (who is credited with drawing up this solution for the Scimitar) occasionally gives out two stamps. The presence of these patrons is a draw for other patrons, who place bets on how many stamps Kenatur may receive.
The Scimitar serves Sirocco Fireale, a swirling red and orange liquid, topped by a yellow crown of foam. The liquid seems to have a soft, warm glow. It costs 1 gp per mug.
Tennar's Warehouse: A large building in Lathirn where Tennar keeps items of various nature and worth, from trash to treasure. It is warded by several guards, and Tennar hinted that there may be secret compartments if he wants to keep some things semi-secret from the church of Taka (not with much success, however). The items are kept mostly in shelves which stand in rows at the beginning, and more 'mazelike' in the middle to make room for larger items. It is known to contain books and texts, various arts and jewelry, board games, and a tiny selection of magical art.
Tennar leads the two quite straight through the streets, finally approaching a large house. At first glance, it must have seen better days, as it is quite run-down, but Tennar assures them that the appearances are deceiving. Opening the door, you are greeted by two half-orc guards. "These two are my guests. Continue to guard the entrance, please." Opening another door, you finally are in the warehouse proper, as evidenced by the numerous shelves. "The shelves are sorted by... theme, you could say. The first two to your left and right are ancient books. Art, of all kind, is stored farther inside." - "I thinks several are originals, but they are more curiosities than anything. Legends, prophecies that naver came true, that sort of thing. There are a few interesting fragments, but being fragments, they aren't very useful for their original purpose."
The shelves have a closed back,so for the most part, it is not possible to see what's behind.
There are several small windows at the upper edge of the walls.
The shelves you pass contain small jewelry (in several cases you can tell that there are many more cheap materials used than really expensive ones - you also think there are a few obvious fakes), then some rather common household items for two rows (though this is where shelves start to be less in a row, and more to make room for some large items), and then small statuettes and figurines. The shelves here are arranged in a square that opens in two directions, with a table in the center that seems to hold several well-crafted board games.
The magic arts shelf: From what you can tell, this is easily the smallest shelf, and while you cannot always make out obvious magic items, you're certain that this shelf contains the magic art. Nothing you see resembles the three descriptions you've heard, and nothing stands out as a fourth piece of the Dance of Souls.

Regarding the Stonespikes: "It's a big mountain range, about 300 miles to the east. Not really sure why you'd go there, though I believe there are some mines... such as a salt mine. Some other deserted holes that might be interesting for adventurers. There's also rumors about cursed sites. And supposedly, there's also interesting beasts and plants."

Lornsten

A village a few miles east of Lathirn. It has stables that are run by an associate of Tennar. Otherwise, its gp limit is 200 gp.

Keep of Bloodstained Dreams

A keep at the edges of the Stonespike Mountains. It has a reputation to be haunted. According to information that the old man Taras heard, it fell into disuse after a series of cave-ins.
At the start of the path that leads towards the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams sits a small stone slab inscribed "To the victims of the Keep," which may be a grave Taras set up.
The Bloodstained Dreams the keep is named for are real, though their intensity and range radiating outside the keep varies. They affect even creatures who do not sleep in the normal sense, such as elves, but creatures of animal intelligence are unaffected.
Once a Bloodstained Dream has pierced through the mental defenses of the dreamer, he or she doesn't dream (Bloodstained or otherwise) for a few days until they recovered from the dream. Proximity to the Keep can prevent recovery. The dreamers feel as if dreams are kept away from them, and recovery is felt as if something crumbles within them, allowing some light to shine into the darkness.
The Bloodstained Dreams appear to be a strange mixture of truths, half-truths, fictions, prophecies, and lies. They seem to preferentially draw upon experiences and fears not only of the dreamer, but also those the dreamer has met - especially if these people have had Bloodstained Dreams before.
Certain members of the Ashen Talon have indicated that, if someone is deliberately killed within the range of the Bloodstained Dreams, that the killer is overwhelmed by memories and experiences of the killed person. The information obtained this way may be incomplete.
The path that leads to the keep continues further past the keep, and into the mountains.
The keep appears to be square, with a surrounding wall that has one floor that seems to be higher than the path. The wall has a large gate and several small windows. The windows are small, some are barred, the others are closed with what appears to be thick glass.
The keep and the wall appear to jut out of the mountain at first glance, perhaps built into the mountain. On second glance, however, it appears that the mountain may have collapsed on and welded with the keep.
The wall juts out about 80 feet from the mountain, and is 110 feet long on the side that does not touch the mountain. Beyond the gate is a nearly 40 * 90 feet big courtyard, reduced only by the main keep which juts 10 feet into the courtyard.
The main keep appears to be 50 * 50 feet large and has two floors overground. It sports a large door in the center. It is connected to the eastern and western parts of the wall by small 20-foot long passages, which sport two doors on each side, one to the main courtyard, and one to a smaller courtyard each, which would be 20 * 30 feet large if it weren't foir the mountain. The roofs of the passages are lower than the wall and the main keep. The wall and the passages are ten feet wide each, and the wall is 20 feet high. :There are no stairs down into the courtyard from the wall.
Each courtyard is lit by torches, with two torches at the sides of the gate and each door.
The surrounding mountains make climbing the walls relatively easy, requiring a Climb check DC 15 unaided. According to plans found in the Keep, the Talon has considered making the top of the wall less accessible, but obviously had not yet implemented this.
At least some portion of the main keep's roof is 'welded' with a uprising piece of rock. The roof also blocks divinations like detect magic, either being too thick to penetrate, or containing lead.
The northern portions of the eastern and western parts of the wall appear to have collapsed. Plans found in the keep suggest that the Ashen Talon plans to repair or otherwise expand those sections.
The first floor of the main keep consists of a t-shaped corridor and two large bedrooms with five beds each, presumably for the garrison. At the end of the corridor, a staircase leads up. Some maps found in the keep suggest that either exists a hidden staircase down, or the Talon plans to create or unearth one.
The second floor of the main keep consists of a corridor with four door, which lead to several rooms. The first room on the left is an office with a desk, a shelf, and a bed. The second room is a storage room, mostly for food and drink. It contains a smaller, lockable room. That room contained the Dance of Souls. The second room from the right is an armory, and also contains a smaller room. That room was used as a makeshift prison and torture room for Azaroth, since no weapons were stored in the room at the time. The first room on the right was not explored. The small rooms have no windows.

Ravensdale/The a'Larat residence

The a'Larat residence is at the western end of the main road, and one house north of it.
An iron fence surrounds an elaborate garden, dotted with several trees, and a pathway to the large, clearly noble house. The pathway is mostly flanked by trees, providing shade, but not all the way to the gate.

NPC Information

Godo of Diarun: A half-orc aristocrat. Against all odds, Godo is indeed a noble, if a minor one. He surprisingly was made the legitimate heir of his family by his father. Godo's family took a great hit when the illegitimate half-orc surprisingly was made the legitimate heir, and Godo works to repair the damage done this way. He is a collector of art, mostly statues, and a rival of Seran a'Larat in this pursuit. Godo possesses one piece of the Dance of Souls, a collection of art that incorporates illusion. He has long hoped to obtain Seran's piece, and vice versa, but these efforts were in vain so far. His residence is in Diarun, a coastal city that is farther from Orussus than Ravensdale. Sometimes, he is accussed to be financing an orc uprising, to which he replies that he seeks to uplift the station of orcs through peaceful means.

Knowledge (nobility)
DC 10 - Against all odds, Godo is indeed a noble. He surprisingly was made the legitimate heir of his family
DC 15 - Godo's family took a great hit when he surprisingly was made the legitimate heir of his family. Godo works to repair the damage done this way. He is a collector of art, and a rival of Seran a'Larat in this pursuit.
DC 20 - Godo possesses one piece of the Dance of Souls, a collection of art that incorporates illusion.

Seran a'Larat and his wife: A blond human aristocrat with green eyes. Seran a'Larat is a minor noble who collects art, especially paintings. He speaks a fake accent he claims to be noble, though he tends to lapse to normal speech at times, especially when angry. His wife is reputedly enchanted with a special painting in his gallery. She is rarely seen, and some whisper that she is insane.
Seran possesses one piece of the Dance of Souls, a collection of art that incorporates illusion. It is rumored that this is the picture his wife is enchanted with. His residence is in Ravensdale. There are some rumors that he keeps a vampire in his residence, which some people claim to be his wife. The Lady a'Larat is pale, and long black hair frames her face, obscuring her ears. It is unclear whether she is a human or a half-elf. Her voice is distant, but focussed. In her rare public appearances, she usually wears an elaborate white dress. She has referred to the Dance of Souls Despaired as her children. It seems no one quite knows what her condition is - perhaps not even Seran.

Knowledge (nobility)

DC 10 - Seran a'Larat is a minor noble who collects art. His wife is reputedly enchanted with a special painting in his gallery.

DC 15 - He speaks a fake accent he believes to be noble. His wife is rarely seen, and some whisper that she is insane
DC 20 - Seran possesses one piece of the Dance of Souls, a collection of art that incorporates illusion. It is rumored that this is the picture his wife is enchanted with.

Turlach: Was a guard in the employ of Seran a'Larat. Tall and bearded, Turlach has red hair, brown eyes, and a particularly long nose. He stole one piece of the Dance of Souls for the Ashen Talon. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Deleth: Was a guard in the employ of Godo of Diarun. Tall and bearded, Deleth is distinguished by his blonde hair, blue eyes and a scar across his face. He stole one piece of the Dance of Souls for the Ashen Talon. He was one of the defenders of the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Doran and Tegar: Half-orc guards in Lathirn. Rude.

Janur: A man with a great hatred for his life in Lathirn, but cannot leave due to his debts. He likes games (and seems a bit too eager to enter them for his own good), and considers himself one of the reasons "why the scimitar still dances."

Kenatur 'Ken' ai Turakin: The owner of the Dancing Scimitar, a Sairundani whose travels have stranded him in Lathirn. A rotund man with dark hair and eyes, the church of Taka suspects him to be a cleric of Geoth. He is in great debt that constantly threatens to put the Dancing Scimitar out of business.

Officer Garum: A worg working for the Lathirn city watch. He seems to have a understanding of human law that is unusual for a creature of the wilds. He was responsible for the arrangement that may or may not save the Dancing Scimitar from ruin. He is 'leashed' to a half-orc who obeys him to perform actions Garum himself cannot perform.

Officer Samuel: A former member of the Lathirn city watch and a member of the Ashen Talon. He was dissatisfied with his work, and the fact that Garum overtook him in his career. He has fled the city after being revealed, his current whereabouts unknown, though he appeared in the Red Dragon Inn some time after his flight from Lathirn. He was responsible for covering up several of the Talon's actions.

Samuel appeared in one of Banion's Bloodstained Dreams as an enemy who knew each of Banions moves beforehand. Apparently, he was a disguise of someone else in that dream, but Banion woke up before seeing who.

Tennar: A gambler and auction house owner, though he apparently has other dealings as well. A large redhead. Tennar was attacked by a team of the Ashen Talon because they believed that he has some kind of access to a piece of the Dance of Souls (which he neither confirmed nor denied). He managed to knock one of them out before he was saved by Garum. He owns a mercyful dagger called Morte. He has stated that he considers adventuring to be too risky and unpredictable, and that he prefers auctions and gambling. He loaned Azaroth a crude illusion magic item to keep up the impression that Azaroth wants to deal in art, and has provided the group with a permit to loan mounts in Lornsten. When Azaroth returned to Lathirn, he was away on business travel.

Nareene: A barmaid at the Dancing Scimitar.

Fourdrinker: The nickname of a half-orc member of the thieves' guild, responsible for making contact with prospective buyers (or victims, as the case may be). His nickname derives from his recognition sign, having four mugs in front of him. He doesn't seem to drink from them, instead dividing them among the patrons. He also does not seem to fight when things turn sour, and flees.

Jeriane: A former barmaid at the Dancing Scimitar. She and Samuel are supposedly lovers. She is a red-headed elan psion and a member of the Ashen Talon, acting as a recruiter, finding people suitably unhappy about their lifes and convincing them to join. She has fled from the city after being revealed. Her current whereabouts are unknown.

Taras: An old man and former rogue living somewhat outside Lornsten. He is white-haired and uses a cane to walk. A big scar crosses his face - right through where his right eye would be. He is quite thin, and he was propably very dexterous in his peak years - and he is still quite fast for an old man. He is the only survivor of an ill-fated group of adventurers that travelled to the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams, never reaching it before the dreams caused one of his companions to lose his mind and attack the others. He buried them and retired from adventuring, now considering it foolish business. He tries to come up with insulting names for those he talks with, and is generally unpleasant.

Cadoreysien: A half-elf fighter of the Ashen Talon, with short brown hair that reveals her short pointed ears, and green hate-filled eyes. She has the reputation of being a loudmouth. She is short, but tough, and has indicated that she murdered people who thought she might be an easy victim. She has claimed to be the unwanted child of a careless couple that was shoved off to the scum of Lathirn.

Maliwan, Merriweth, Afra, Arewiel, Creriw: A male elven wizard, a female human rogue, a male human fighter, a female human ranger, and a male human cleric of Taka who were companions of Cadoreysien and also members of the Ashen Talon. Maliwan has been hinted to be the leader of the six. Afra died during the battle against the heroes, from wounds suffered due to a fall. Arewiel appears to like animals better than people.

Maliwan appeared in a Bloodstained Dream of Beamer that concerned a supposed betrayal of Azaroth. In that dream, Maliwan was an ally of Beamer against Azaroth, who had performed a demonic ritual.
Merriveth appeared in a Bloodstained Dream of Banion, where both were rivals and master assassins. She somehow managed to kill him while he thought he killed her in that dream.

Kad, Astoadric, Digimos, Astrid, Kaeriewen: Garrison of the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams and members of the Ashen Talon. Kad, Astoadric, and Digimos are male humans, while Astrid and Kaeriewen are female humans. Their current whereabouts are unknown.

Prodith: Female dwarven wizard, and a higher-ranking member of the Ashen Talon. She captured and tortured Azaroth, and is aware of the Terror. Her current whereabouts are unknown.

Drilaaywen: Female half-drow (half-Nesfylim?) cleric of Lilitu, and a higher-ranking member of the Ashen Talon. She captured and tortured Azaroth, confronted the other PCs, and is aware of the Terror. Her current whereabouts are unknown.

The drunkard: A man in Ravensdale who sees many spirits of the alcoholic kind, then sees spirits of the other kind. He has claimed to have seen the Lady a'Larat drinking blood as a vampire, and the city being under attack by giant rats. He isn't being taken seriously, and seems to always attract a laughing crowd. His clothings indicate that he isn't exactly poor, but he is poorly groomed and paranoid.

Organization Information

Lathirn Thieves Guild: Prides itself in being able to get almost everything, for a price. They may be willing to step on the toes of the church of Taka for the right price, but shy away from stepping on the toes of the Ashen Talon.

The Ashen Talon: The Ashen Talon is a secret organization working in cells and using infiltration to achieve its various goals. It seems that the Talon works to keep from being seen as a threat, using some resources to appear incompetent, and keeping even the incompetence hidden, making it even harder to get real information on the organization.

The Ashen Talon use minor magic items for recognition, Talon Insignia, a small black talon that is linked to a certain member. If two talons are pressed against each other by their respective rightful owners, they produce the illusion of falling ashes to show this. These talons radiate faint divination and illusion magic.
Various members indicated that the Ashen Talon may seek, and might have the means to, reforge the world in some fashion.
The Lathirn cell has been described as not being the largest. The actual size of the cell is unknown, but it seems there were at least nine members.
The garrison of the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams was expecting replacements from Lathirn (which the group ambushed), and a search team from the mountains (which did not appear during the adventure). Turlach may have been part of the search team.
Notes found in the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams speak of an Ashen Oracle, which may be an important factor in the dealings of the Talon. The (or an?) Ashen Oracle may have appeared in dreams of the heroes to warn them against revealing the Talon. Those dreams managed to pierce the non-dreaming effect some of the characters suffered from.
The Ashen Talon appears to have agents widespread, and access to much information and large funds. At least one kobold in Eskaron's clan held a Talon Insignia. The Ashen Talon seems to recruit several of its members from people who dislike their lot in life.

Loose Ends/Unresolved Issues

  • What are the other pieces of the Dance of Souls, and why does the Talon seek them? Does the combined Dance of Souls have special powers after all?
  • What is the Terror Beneath the Keep?
  • Who is the mercane that travelled to the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams, and why did he seek it?
  • What ails the Lady a'Larat if she isn't a vampire, and why?

Legends

The Dance of Souls: The Dance of Souls is a collection of art objects incorporating illusion magic, of unknown size, though many sources say that there are nine pieces. They supposedly were part of a dragon's hoard, but currently two are in the hand of collectors while the location of the others is unknown. A wild theory of some people says that the Dance of Souls may show additional powers if all pieces are together, but most sages dismiss this claim. Seran a'Larat calls the painting named Dance of Souls Despaired as his own - a nighttime landscape, with a varying number of spirits floating above it. His wife is reportedly enchanted by this piece. When found in the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams, the paining was so filled with spirits that the landscape was barely visible. This was no longer the case at the a'Larat residence. In Godo of Diarun's possession is the Dance of Souls Perfect, a small silver disk capable of creating the illusion of up to five metallic dancers. When found in the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams, it displayed a single bronze dancer, sitting and apparently saddened. At the a'Larat residence, a silver, brass and gold figurine danced. An unnamed collector possessed the Dance of Souls Enamored, an exquisite facsimile of a large harp. It could not be played, yet it created the most beautiful musics, while angels, illusionary of course, flew around it. He never wanted to part with it, said he would take it with him on his move. Godo and Seran never found out where he went. According to notes found in the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams, a tower in the Stonespike Mountains holds another piece of the Dance of Souls, but it is not known where exactly that tower lies. A map suggests that the Ashen Talon has searched through roughly one-third of the Stonespikes already.

The Terror Beneath the Keep: It appears that the source of the Bloodstained Dreams is a terror of some kind imprisoned somewhere beneath the keep. Feeding off the sanity of intelligent beings soothes it, but the often inevitable killing causes it to stir. It seems the goal of the terror is to wake, becoming more and more powerful the more awake it is. To this end, it sends out its dreams, and rewards killing with information. The Ashen Talon's goal seems to be to keep the terror slumbering.

The high-ranking Talon members apparently kept the Terror a secret from the lower ranks, explaining the visions and dreams differently. They seemed to fear the possibility that the Terror be worshiped or waked, at least prematurely. There does seem to be a cult dedicated to the terror.
Azaroth may have had closer contact to the Terror beneath in some dreams, and might have felt its presence, though those might have also been torture-induced nightmares. In the first, he experienced
Darkness eternal, what does it hide?
I'm farther than the farthest starmoth
Crawling under your skin
I wander, I slumber

Caught in freedom
Purer than the Angels
Crueler than the Fiends
Deep beneath, Deep within

Mightier that a million soldiers
Weaker than a breeze
Confined in omnipresence
Stranger Realities

I sense the fighting I bring
it stirs me
I sense the souls I consume
it soothes me

I sense a presence, calling my name
Promises of power
It seeks
That insignificant fly.

A waste to even swat it.

Did Azaroth really hear those words? Was there not a presence he felt? Looming over him like a large boot, ready to crush him? A chamber, shrinking by the second? Pressure against the chest?

Then, it is gone.
  • In the second, he experienced
The darkness grows darker, more detailed. A fiery frost rushes along the grassy desert. A vast nothingness resides in wandering. So vast, Azaroth senses but an atom of it, and that atom is so powerful, it would likely destroy him if it did glance at him, give him more than a passing thought. The nothingness wanders far over Azaroth, mostly oblivious to his presence, and acidid screeches start to consume his mind, sparks of night consume his body, all because of the mere presence of the nothingness - it is not even touching him. If Azaroth had to guess with his burned, frozen mind, the nothingness is worlds away, yet it almost destroys him...


And with that, Azaroth's eyes open, into a dark room, uncertain what was and what was not a dream...

Notes

This game was a victim of the Big Crash, completely obliterating the single side thread created for Azaroth's capture, but that thread was reconstructed from Google cache.

Azaroth Alone

This appears to be the first reconstructed thread after the Crash of '06. It was a side thread to Knight Otu's The Dance of Souls, consisting mostly of the interrogation of a PC who had fallen into the hands of a sinister cult who was making use of the Keep's dark magic. There were still a couple of gleanings worthy of note:

  • There is a place in Living EnWorld called the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams.
  • In the Keep of Bloodstained Dreams is a small, windowless room with no furniture and only one door.

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