Having defeated the evil beast within the caverns, we rested within the village of Vauclusa. But, there is work to be done within the caverns to investigate other potential access points upwards to the Fort. I must also decide how best to defeat and control the malignancy that caused the wights. For now, I will endeavour to protect my companions by studying the item, hoping to chance upon a method that will neutralize its effects. So far, I am strong enough to withstand its attempts to contact me. I will continue to struggle and keep the Grey Hand safe. I shudder to think what might occur if it were to become dominant within a group as powerful as ours.
We return to the caverns, and disable (permanently?) the Symbol of Pain trap. Exploring the passageways and small mausoleum chambers, we find one room vacant, one room full of the dead, and one room blackened with soot. Necahual offers to speak with one of the dead, hoping to find some answers. She expects that we should be able to ask 4, perhaps 5, questions. They must be detailed and specific, as she explains the dead are unwilling to be disturbed.
She animates the residual lifeforce of one of the bodies and begins to ask our questions..
1) Is there another way out other than the main door to this hall?
The only path is the path to Kharneth. (As I recall from my religious studies, he is one of the elder gods of Chaos.)
2) Whilst living, who was the person buried in the coffin?
The “Butcher of Souls”.
3) Are there secret chambers with this hall?
Foul answers and non-compliance.
4) Are there other worked rooms in the tunnels?
Foul answers and non-compliance.
5) What was the purpose of the small, soot-stained room behind the dais?
To bring souls to Kharneth.
So, we uncover yet more Chaos here within the demesnes of Avignon and France. The forces are strong here. This Kharneth worshipping cult must have been the downfall of Vauclusa. We leave the Hall, burning the wight bodies as we do. Searching the caverns yields nothing. Depending on Lewanna for her skills in survival and searching, we eventually determine that we’ve covered all the spaces within.
We rest and upon awakening, I am challenged again by the Presence. Rage, hate, vileness, contempt, chaos.. it all spins through my head but I am strong. We leave the caverns and head to the Fortress above. Searching all three dilapidated buildings finds nothing.
DAMN and All. What have I been doing! I read through my older notes and wonder if I have been in asleep. Perhaps, I’ve been dreaming my way through some imagined wonderland of life, blown in the wind as others take the lead! This will change, NOW.
What in the seven levels of Hel is this futile progress that we make searching through shit and foul bedding. There is NOTHING here to find in the fort. Instead of wasting our time, we should be strengthening ourselves to confront the forces of the Maker! This is a fool’s errand we have undertaken. The Maker’s children in Avignon should be our next “project”, destroying them while they are weak and mewling like worms. The almost-defeat they somehow survived at the hands of the Chaos Cults has made them ripe for the taking.
Erebus is getting on my nerves, for months, he has been cajoling me to lend my support to Sutekh Djet. Now, I feel as though a veil has been removed from my eyes.. and he is HESITANT! What is this? I am his supporter and companion, but he is becoming a stone around my neck, asking me why I act as I do. What does he think? I am a staunch supporter of the Grey Hand, and now can see how it can be used to fulfill our Destiny. The time to move is Now!
Now we discuss and “vote” for the change to reclaim our Power through a trip to Pandemonium. How can we NOT go and still look at ourselves in a mirror, proud of our efforts. We must grasp every possible chance to grow and expand our potential. NOW. We must walk the planes with Kiel NOW. These puny bastards fear the planes.. I become disgusted with them. Erebus continues to nag me.. Perhaps he is a stumbling block to our Success?? For now, I need them all. That may change.. or I may change the composition of the Grey Hand through my own creative efforts.