One Slot, Levels 5-10
Short Description: Tiresias the Blind, in the wake of the discoveries of an undead cult under the temple quarter, calls a Conclave of the Factions. The Chosen attend the meeting only to be met with chaos and battle. What can they learn from it and how does it involve the missing High Priest of Zeus?
Characters: Yang Beifong, Heskarn, Bree Tealeaf, Tennessee
Under a rainy sky, the Chosen appear in Rome to find only the sleepy Thaddeus at the waystone to guide them into the city. Upon meeting back at the Shrine to Prometheus, Tiresias. the Blind Soothsayer, tells them that little action has been taken by the Legions since their discovery of the undead below the city. He laments that it is as if the Arbiters would rather ignore the problem than confront the reality of a cult of Hades in their midst.
Further, Tiresias believes only the Factions will be able to deal with the Cult if it gains in power and marches its restless dead upon the city. However, his pleas to the other leaders seems to fall on deaf ears. Adelphus Gein, the High Priest of Zeus, has not been seen in weeks nor returned letters from the Witnesses. Ianarius the Cornucopia has brushed off meetings, consumed by preparations for the Harvest Feast of the Descent, marking Persephone’s return to the Underworld. Renae of Apollo, dubious of the old soothsayer, ignores him in her pride. Efrem of Hermes, seems not to care while Sidony of Athena schemes to replace the Temple of Zeus as leader of the factions.
The Chosen seek out the leaders, and through shame, cajoling, intimidation, and outright bribery manage to convince all of them to meet Tiresias at the Waystone for a conclave at dusk. Though the ordeal costs them much of their coin as they needed to bribe the Legio Arbites upon being found near the Senate. Of them all, they find the most hope in the reclusive Adelphus of Zeus, who’s absence was easily explain as mourning for a wife and son lost to childbirth a month prior.
The Chosen, flushed with success return to the Witness shrine to prepare for the conclave. As dusk loomed, they made their way to the hills near the Hippodrome, where the Waystone rests. Sharp eyes caught sight of collectors of the dead heading towards the stables and athletes dormitories of the Hippodrome. When approached, the drivers fled, leaving their carts of linen draped dead behind. The Chosen approached, confronted by a number of undead, including the desiccated husks of mummies. During the battle, explosions rocked the hills near the aqueduct, coming from where the Waystone stands.
The Chosen finish off the dead and rush to the conclave site. What they find is devastation. The conclave tent, erected earlier in the day by Tiresias’ stewards, lie smoldering and obliterated. Bodies of the faction leaders and their attendants cast aside by the force of tremendous explosions. The Chosen tend to those they could save, cover those they could not, and a midst their mercies, are accosted by a platoon of Legio Arbites investigating from the city wall. Only a bribe settles their interest, leaving the survivors to make for the Temple Quarter, bearing the bodies of Renae, Efrem, Adelphus and a host of assistants, including young Thaddeus.
Tiresias wakes under the ministrations of Aella of Dionysus, despite the tragedy, he is more certain than ever that the chosen needs to hit the undead leadership in the necropolis if the cult is so brazen to make such an open attack.
The Chosen descend into the undercity only to find the massive cavern housing the army of the dead no longer exists. While the find the great wall and gates, along with the ruins of the Flesh Golems and Minotaurs that once guarded them. The rough hewn walls of the cavern end behind a line of noble mausoleums. The wall is solid and ancient, of the miles of necropolis that once stretched beyond, nothing can be found. Two of the chosen search and find the remnants of powerful artifacts that bent space, tuned to Carceri and Tarterus. Further search reveals that the noble mausoleums have been plundered, the bodies disinterred and in one, evidence of a dark animation ritual is found. That was found in the family crypt of Urbanus Gein, the very family of the High Priest of Zeus.
Returning to the surface, they find the city above being battered by gale force winds and torrents of rain. With every step, it seems the storm grows in power, dogging their steps to the Shrine of the Witnesses. There, they barter for the services of Aella who casts the ritual to speak with the dead. The blacked, burned body of Adelphus is awakened to see if he can provide insight into the doom that has befallen his family and the factions. After a few questions, it becomes apparent that the body is that not of the priest, but of a slave, either duped, charmed or animated to impersonate the missing faction leader. The Chosen head out to the temple of Zeus to confront the fallen priest.
The streets are empty as the storm, now a hurricane, beats down on the city. Lightning and thunder clash to make travel, even the few miles between the districts, an ordeal. The chosen arrive deep in the night, lighting flaring into the open roof of the temple. Only with their gifted sight, the Chosen see churning winds, elementals, guarding the entrances to the temple. With Yang in the lead, they scale the back walls of the temple and gaze upon the open air plaza within. Adelphus, clutching an artifact of power, stands invoking the corrupted powers of Zeus to destroy Rome under the fury of the skies. In the shadows of the colonnade around the plaza, a spectral creature lurks.
The battle is a marathon, as the four chosen attempt to stop the weather controlling ritual. Thinking the odds in their favor, they commit to the fight early, only to find the Stormlord more than a match. Aided by the command of the elements and his spectral wife, the mad priest pushes the chosen to the edge of death numerous times.
Only when they alter their tactics, targeting the spectral creature and banishing it, are they able to break the giant of a man’s concentration. Turning the tide, they push him to the limits of his resilience, finally felling the priest. Without him, the storm fails, eventually dwindling to a light rain at dawn.
In the early morning light, they leave the temple and are greeted by the golden sparks of Zeus, thanking them for breaking the corruption of his temple.