Istivin : City of Shadows.
Algorthas the Seer
Here is his Mega Speech…
One by one you make your way down the constricted, spiral staircase. It is so narrow that the smallest of you can easily touch the opposing walls. First you pass the granite foundation of the temple, slippery with the moisture one finds everywhere underground. Beneath that is another layer of black-green malachite sparkling slightly in the light of the lanterns which dot the walls. Finally you reach the bottommost layer, which seems to simply be layered, flat river rocks, packed on top of each other. With each step you have felt as if you are stepping further and further into the past, counting down the centuries into the farthest reaches of antiquity.
Finally the stairway opens up into a larger, rectangular room lit by several large, tallow-burning lanterns. Except for a small cleared corridor down the middle of it, the room is packed with every kind of occult oddity imaginable. If a traveling sideshow collided with a trade caravan and a furniture seller’s cart, the resulting chaos would likely resemble a corner of this room. Shelves and cupboards, cabinets and cases are all crammed with bottles of dubious liquids, vials of powders, mummified digits, pickled remains of various creatures, canopic jars, and even less identifiable items.
An entire section seems to be taken up by various armors and weapons, each looking exceedingly valuable and ancient. In the far corner sits what can only be an entire sarcophagus covered in strange symbols and probably weighing several tons.
On the far side of the room, behind a desk covered with stacks of books and papers sits the old man who greeted you upstairs. He is currently writing furiously by the light of a multi-colored lantern in the shape of a six-pointed star.
Upon your entrance he finishes his sentence and places his writing quill back in its ink well. “Ah, there you are, ladies and gentlemen. I was wondering what was keeping you. I’m glad you could make it.”
Before any of you has a chance to give him a reply he continues, speaking at a brisk pace. “As I am sure you have all already noticed, for by your looks and reputations you are a bright lot of youngsters, a pall hangs over Istivin, and I know you have seen the least of its malign influence. The citizens of Istivin, well most of them anyway, have grown used to these strange phenomena over the years. I have been investigating the issue for some time, and have learned some most disturbing things.”
He pauses briefly for effect, “I believe that an Abyssal presence grows within the city. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it is slowly spreading and could eventually threaten all of Sterich and beyond.”
“Since her husband vanished, the marchioness has had her hands full just trying to keep the peace, and I don’t believe she has the resources to do anything but fight the symptoms of this Abyssal infection. Worse, I feat that this taint may have already taken root in her heart, so I have not revealed this information to her … or her advisors in the Keep. But you are new to the city, visitors, and let us say a MUTUAL friend has assured me your trustworthyness is only equalled to your bravery….”
“I had some conversations with some guardsmen this morning, so I know of your encounter with the madman last night; indeed, this is the main reason that led me to contact you at your residence. And while I am on the subject, you could have done a little better than that particular city manor. There are buildings of much finer construction … but I digress, my apologies.”
He clears he throat. “Where was I? Oh yes, the madman. Well, I have come to believe that this madman is somehow the key to this … situation. His name was Alanar Kane, and he worked in the deepest dungeons below Krelont Keep. Dungeons to which no outsiders are allowed access.”
The old man trails into silence. Suddenly, his eyes grow wide with twinkling excitement. “If there is one thing more plentiful than mysteries here in Istivin … well, mysteries and pointless, ugly fountains perhaps, it is books. Most of the city’s noble families keep extensive collections of ancient tomes as a sort of status symbol. The city is a living library. And lately these families have been more concerned with paying their guards and other henchmen than in projecting a certain status, and I have thankfully been there to take over many of these books, at quite a fair price, I might add.”
“In one such tome, I came across a record of the construction of Krelont Keep penned by architects buried ten centuries ago.” Algorthas strokes his thin beard thoughtfully. “I know of a secret way into the keep through an old escape tunnel, an entrance that leads through a sewer pipe and directly into the Deeper Dungeons.
“If you can get in and investigate the dungeons below the keep, I believe you’ll learn something of the threat that hovers over Istivin. With any luck, you’ll find a way to counter it. But you must hurry; there isn’t much time. The presence has been growing stronger with each passing day, far more quickly than in prior months. I feat that we are rapidly approaching a cataclysmic event….
Mark Rolls his eyes and says “Im going camping. Whos with me ?”