Chapter 20 cerrunos obsidian portal

Entering the room before them, the party found themselves in what looked to be a tiered lecture hall. Down at the bottom, standing before a large cauldron, was a sickly looking, elderly man- who could only be Professor Slate. Rather than allow him to gain the upper hand, the party launched an attack, with Wombert wisely grappling the Professor, stopping him from reaching much of his magical arsenal.

The fight was over fairly quickly, but the party had expended many resources. They debated what to do, and, knowing that their most powerful foe still lurked beneath, settled on a night’s sleep before they headed to face him. Doubling back, they spent the night warily watching the stairs, alert for any ambush that might come while they slept- but none came.

Finally, they felt prepared to face the headmaster himself. Heading into the final level of the crypts, they found themselves in a richly appointed study. There, sitting at ease by the fireplace, sat Darkmaster Gandling. He informed the party that he had been following their process through the school, and approved of their methods. Rather than simply kill them, he wished to offer them a chance to join him in accomplishing his goals.

He was, in fact, a Titan- raised in secret by Tenebrous, and kept to accomplish the gods own plans, rather than aid the mortals of Cerrunos. However, the death of Tenebrous had caused a loss of much of his power, and he had toiled for many years to recover a fraction of it. Now, using souls of the dead as a conduit, he was siphoning the last of the blood of the slain god from the forest- a task which had taken much longer, and required more souls, than he had anticipated. He didn’t want to see his work go to waste, and offered to aid the party in accomplishing their goals, as he would prove a powerful ally with his power restored. Money, fame, power, family, acceptance…he offered rewards to each party member in turn, but they could not be swayed, and battle soon commenced.

Through a combination of luck and skill, the party survived Gandling’s most deadly spells (most of which had been directed at Creed, in an attempt to remove him from the battle), and defeated the fallen Titan. They proceeded to finish destroying the Tomes Alexi had tasked them with, and were rewarded when he opened the Barov family vault for their reward.

The party then headed into Gandling’s ritual chamber, where a great bowl filled with a swirling substance sat, slowly draining. As they entered, Wombert climbed up the steps leading to the bowl, and attempted to drink some of the “liquid” within. As he devoured what turned out to be a human soul, the mirror on the wall suddenly activated, displaying the reptilian eye of the black dragon, Sintharia.

She was annoyed that they kept stumbling on to her plans and disrupting them, and revealed the full extent of what the party had involved themselves in. Proclaiming herself the Harbinger of the Four, she explained that there had been four powerful Titans raised in secret by the Betrayer Gods, hidden and left dormant in the world, as a fail-safe should the Godswar result in their defeat. Sintharia was tasked to find and wake the Four- Death, Plague, War, and Famine, and implied that she had so far succeeded in finding two of the four, one being Gandling- Death. She also revealed that she had initially believed the Amadan Duhr to be another, War, though that was not the case. She warned the party against meddling in affairs beyond their station, implying that she had an unpleasant surprise awaiting them when they returned home.