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Previously: Fields of Ash (Apparatus Orga)

The second expedition to the deep south to the Ice Wall took us further east than last time, and also further south, as the Ice Wall had melted even more.

As soon as we arrived, we were attacked by the undead, the Skargen and the Black Ice. However, the Black Ice was present with only a few representatives.

As in the last expedition to the Ice Wall a year ago, we were again able to find the crystals on site, which we know form the network to feed and maintain the Ice Wall with power. However, this did not hold much significance for us at this location, except that the Black Ice flooded a crystal group with essence and disappeared into it.

What was immediately noticeable, however, was the fact that all beings gifted with magic and elementalism found it difficult to approach a certain area. In an open field there was a sarcophagus, which was initially guarded by trolls. Near this sarcophagus was an ancient ritual site that continuously drew power from all magic-gifted and elemental beings. Additionally, some could hear a voice when they approached the sarcophagus. In some cases, they were influenced by this voice and also attacked their own people.

At the ritual site was a large maelstrom that sucked and absorbed energy from everything. We found a letter that said that some mages had held a ritual here, after the cataclysm and the melting of the Ice Wall. This ritual went wrong and this maelstrom opened. The souls of the mages were still trapped there and could be released on the penultimate day. However, the maelstrom did not close as a result.

There seemed to be several plates attached to the sides of the sarcophagus, but some of them were missing. When we arrived, only one plate was in place. Some of those present realized that the plates were images of the Seven Saints of the Inquisition, whose stories had been found in the abbey a year earlier.

So, the task arose to find the other plates. All seven plates were eventually found. Through found writings it was revealed that the sarcophagus was a kind of prison for an Immoderate Magician who had made herself immortal. She was imprisoned by the Inquisition at the time and the sarcophagus was made especially for her to lock her away. The trolls present had carried the sarcophagus from a place in the south through the melted Ice Wall to the north because the voice from within had promised them warmth and food if the trolls would do this for them. Then, in a coded text, we also found the instructions on how to seal the sarcophagus at that time. Several people were drawn into a dream/vision in there they met both personalities of the mage. One side promised power to all present, but not as much as she herself possessed. And that they could serve her. She demanded that the plates be used in some order to free them. The other side implored those present not to give in to the “intemperate” side, since she had now realized that she had done bad things and the Inquisition had rightly punished her. Her body was destroyed and her soul was locked in the sarcophagus. This page implored those present to place the plates in the correct order in the correct spirit of the saints. It promised that it would close a wound of the land.

Now it had to be decided what to do with the soul in the sarcophagus.
The decision was made to put the plates in the correct order as described in the instructions. With great effort we managed to do this. The trolls were kept away during this process with a plant called “ghoul weed”. However, during the ritual there were increased attacks on those present. Since magic gifted and elemental beings could not approach the sarcophagus without being influenced.

After inserting the stone plates as instructed, the sarcophagus opened and the insightful consciousness was released. She kept her promise.
The vessel with the soul was thrown into the maelstrom (ritual site) and it closed.

Below the camp we had built, there was a place where unimaginable torments had been suffered. It was the ruin of a church that resembled a place of horror.

People with empathic abilities could not approach the place and the adjacent cemetery without experiencing mental pain and/or other problems.

It turned out that a person named Arbentraklos the Green, possibly one of the Measureless Mages from the south, was to blame for the situation. He came as a friend and the resident villagers served him. He was powerful and could work “miracles”. They built the church in his honor. Through his steward, Arbentraklos invited all the villagers to the dedication ceremony. However, this was a trap, because Arbentraklos wanted to use the souls of the villagers to create a living being. Once everyone was inside the church, he locked the doors and burned the church down with everyone inside. Outside, he could be heard laughing. The fire was magically indexed because magical residue could be found in the ashes.

On all days at night, the spirits of the burned villagers were present. They sensed what was in the sarcophagus and asked that we destroy it.

More attempts were made to free the souls of the spirits. A memorial service was held on the last evening to give the spirits a chance to be released, but it was unsuccessful because the Nightmare appeared, which some of us had already encountered last year at the Abbey on the Ice Wall.

The Nightmare had already appeared in the camp the day before with his devourers. Some of the people present who had already encountered the Nightmare the previous year were drawn back into the dream. The eaters were physically present and walking around the camp. If you ignored them and did not frighten or provoke them, you were largely left alone. They feed on fear and terror.

The nightmare grows by sowing its seed. He wants a weapon to hurt “someone.” Who he means by that, we don’t know yet.
When he appeared at the church ruins, during the memorial service for the dead, he made two of the spirits present there into creatures. What happened to the other spirits is still unclear at this time.

In addition, we obtained information that Garvan had indeed ordered his troops to move south and conquer the land there, and that they were worried that the inhabitants there might learn about it too soon.

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