The Devil’s Riddle: Session 45

Lisandra closes her eyes and reaches out with her senses. Almost at once she recoils, her features contorting in disgust. “Oh! This place reeks of the Dark! Something foul occurred here…”

She takes a deep breath and concentrates, picking her way through the layers of foulness and corruption that cling to this place like congealed blood. In her mind’s eye she senses the place and time a dark ritual was performed, and pieces fall into place.

“Rufus, we had assumed the Darkspawn followed us here. I’m not sure that’s true, at least in the manner in which we had presumed.” She opens her eyes and meets the blademaster’s steady gaze. “What I sense here is an unholy rite, a summoning ritual that opened the way to the agents of the Dark. I don’t think the Darkness followed, I believe it was called.”

Rufus strokes his chin, concerned. “That would suggest that our foes had allies here, that their taint had already spread into this world before they themselves broke through.”

“Perhaps,” Lisandra nods, “though we cannot be sure. It is possible that the ritual was conducted in error, or that the consequences were unknown.” She sees the look of skepticism her bodyguard shoots her, and shrugs. “I confess, it does not seem likely.”

“But the house?” demands Idril. “What of the house? These ruins look hundreds of years old! How is that possible?”

“The Source is in all things” the Channeler responds. “Most strongly in living beings, in animals and plants. But to a lesser extent present also in felled wood, in stone and steel and glass. I think what happened when a portal opened here was that an outpouring of Darkness bled into this world. At its touch all remnants of the Source were burned away. Stone crumbled, wood rotted; in effect this place aged and decayed hundreds of years in a matter of moments.”

Fyn shudders. “Light of the Seven! If it had that effect on the building, what would it have done to any people here?”

Lisandra nods. “It is a horror that does not bear thinking on. We must do everything in our power to prevent any similar incursions. But I fear we will not achive that here. Our quarry are long gone from this place; I think we must return to the tunnels in order to seek them out.”

There is no debate; a lingering dread taints this place and all the group are grateful to take their leave of it. Within minutes they have made their way back down into the smuggler tunnels.

“Very well” says Rufus. “Fyn, with me, but quiet and touch nothing unless I say so!” The pair head down the unexplored tunnel, which turns to the right. A door stands before them, which Fyn examines for a moment before announcing “Unlocked, I think.”

Rufus nods, backing away to the cover the corridor corner. “Very well. Tomas, stand close by me. You others, behind us. Fyn, glance inside and be ready to fall back in case of danger.” He nocks an arrow. “Everyone ready? Then go!”

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