The Devil’s Riddle: Session 41: Heart of Darkness

Four cowled figures stand facing one another, eerily lit by the glowing orange  coals in the brazier that lies between them.  

“Let us begin” rasps the tallest of the hooded figures. Each of them raises their hands, clasping those of their neighbors, forming a circle. Black lightning crackles between their fingers. The flames in the brazier flare up, tinged with green and purple. In union the four figures begin a sibilant chant.  

“Pierce the veil! Tear back the safeguards of this world! Hear us Master! Hail to the Fury! Hail to the Glory that Was and Will Be! Hear us!”

The colours in the fire intensify, the flames rising higher still. At their heart a set of features form. They flicker, blurred and indistinct, then stabilise.

“Speak, my Shadowspawn. How progresses the ritual?” The voice is chilling, evoking putrefaction and the crypt. The four figures cringe visibly, and there is hesitancy in the hissing voice of the figure that responds.

“Master, forgive us, there has been a delay. We captured the one who recovered the book, but he was killed before our Harvesting could be completed and before we could learn of the book’s location. And when we were able to perform the Harvesting it was somehow reversed…”

“FOOLS!” The voice is deafening, and fire erupts outward. The force of it rocks the four figures back, flames igniting their robes in places. “You have allowed your base hungers to guide your actions, ignoring the true prize! You lose yourselves in skirmishes whilst forgetting the war!”

The tallest figure bows its head. “As you say Master. We shall refocus all our efforts upon completing the ritual.”  

“And have you now recovered the book?”

“N-no, my Master but…”   

Flames erupt, punching through the chest of the tallest creature. It shrieks, its hood falling back to reveal cadaverous features. Even in the throes of pain its mouth is set in a hideous rictus. The flames consume it utterly, until nothing but its smoldering hands remain, still clasped in those of its neighbours.

“Master, we have taken steps to discover the book’s whereabouts.” hisses another of the creatures. It drops the scorched, twitching hand it holds and reaches up to pull back its cowl. The features revealed are those of the young bookseller, though the skin is now palid. Grey lips are pulled back into a fierce grin and the eyes are those of a corpse. “It is hidden at the inn known as the Devil’s Riddle. It shall be a simple matter for us to retrieve it. Any that oppose us shall be slaughtered. And once we have it your ascension is assured.”

“See that it is so.” replies the figure in the flames. “Do not fail me in this my Shadowspawn.”

The flames subside, leaving the figures shrouded in darkness once more.

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One Response to “The Devil’s Riddle: Session 41: Heart of Darkness”

  1. So now the enemy has a face and a purpose, and we have a little more of the backstory to this conflict filled in.

    Now the question is: can the party discover the enemy’s plan and prevent them from carrying it out? I hope so, because I don’t fancy their chances if the Fury breaks through…

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