The black iron archway looms menacingly in an otherwise quiet forest clearing. The sickening, roiling portal casting an eerie red glow on the party as they march forward. Jamlamin stops short...
"This is as far as I go. I have no stake in this journey and I owe you people very little. I'll protect this end of the portal but once it closes I'm leaving."
The party silently nod. Dael wonders why Jamlamin even bothered to stay as long as he did. The party hold their breath as they pass through the door to Tartarus.
Red light envelops the party and slowly fades to black. The ground falls away as they suddenly experience the sensation of acceleration. Moments later they regain conciousness. Rilken opens a single eye, noticing he is laying face down on a paved road, black and glossy stones covered with a loose sooty dust that sticks to his beak and feathers. He looks around to see Dael, Marcy, Illiaph and Alistye similarly splayed out on the ground.
Rilken takes a quick survey of his surroundings. The road seems precariously perched on a cliffside and leads from the portal behind them to a smooth iron wall before them. The portal behind them casts a faint blue-green glow, which provides the only illumination other than some very faint lights in the endless bog of pitch below them. A wide sickly green river snakes its way from beyond the horizon into the citadel of Tartarus.
Dael immediately searches for a way through the iron wall. An apparent set of massive doors seems barred from the other side. The fortress before them seems impregnable. Alistyre points out a small footpath down the cliff side leading towards the bog and the party begin picking their way down the ashy mountain face.The air near the bog is thick and heavy. Moving through it is almost like moving through water. On the edge of the river, Dael's sharp eyes alert the party to a figure moving through the mist. They all dive for cover as a large craft silently cuts to the rivers edge. A figure on the vessel, hooded, cowled, and unusually tall, wickedly beckons the party on board his ferry. The party look to Rilken who explains that this is a ferryman, dark figures who ferry souls to their final destinations.
The ferryman invites them aboard his ferry and then holds out a withered hand. Alistyre puts several gold pieces in his palm but they are instantly dumped onto the deck. It is then that they notice the deck is strewn with the withered mummies of ancient passengers. The ferryman demands greater payment and after many tries, it accepts Parun's Coin which quickly disappears into his tattered robes. The ferry is pushed off shore with a hiss and a groan from the river.
The river itself passes through the great Tartarun Gates before winding it's way back to Limbo. Approaching the ramparts, Dael's sharp elven sight spies lookouts on the walls. The party take shelter under the ancient corpses as the barge passes through the gates. An ear splitting crack is heard from the citadel. As the ferry makes it's way through a patchwork of sharp walls, crumbling docks, and ebony stones, the party spot the dreadful queen of erinyes. Tilphousia, the queen of Tartarus appears in her beautiful and terrible form atop a tall tower amid a field of chained spirits. Wheeling above her head is a burning lash of blood-red flame which lashes hundreds of feet long, reaching even the most distant spirit. Another explosive crack sounds throughout the citadel as the whip literally rends a humanoid soul to pieces. The party shiver at the thought of coming face to face with Azogun's dark queen.
The ferryman beaches his barge behind a large jutting stone and waits for the party to disembark. The creature makes several odd jerking motions before looking around and shoving the party off his boat and onto shore. He snaps his fingers twice and points to a ancient dock further down the beach before pushing off.
Another bone-shuddering crack from Tilphousia's whip marks the end of another spirit. Illiaph's familiar bounds through a nearby courtyard, relaying the positions of several armored humanoids as well as several armed and manned ballistae and a small passageway which seemingly leads deeper into the citadel.Alistyre quietly summons various stone elementals. The earthen creatures storm the ramparts, serving as a distraction while the party slip though the passageway into the citadel proper. Funiku's map is simple but understandable and guides the party through the maze of twisting passageways. They come accross the first of the three rooms listed on the map. Each one bears a small emblem. A long hallway ends is a massive iron door. Obvious mechanisms keep the imposing door sealed. Branching from the hallway are six passageways, four of them ending in small rooms with great pull chains. A simple puzzle if every edge of the walls and floors weren't covered in razor sharp spikes.
Alistyre can easily manage the passageway. Shapeshifting into a small monkey, Alistyre tied ropes to each of the pull chains. His plan worked and all pull chains were tied in place. The rest of the party relied on Illiaph's dimension door to cross to the other side. The massive
I'LL KEEP WORKING ON THIS