The Ashen Crown, the Lords of Madness, and the Queen of Death

A Plan to Destroy the Ashen Crown

After the battle, House Jorasco treated the party’s wounds. Once everyone’s injuries had been take care of, the party paid Yeraa a visit. The healers working on Yeraa had encountered an unexpected complication. There were two souls vying to return to her body. One likely belonged to Yeraa and the other likely belonged something fell, but it was not clear which was which.

The party resolved to let the healers pick one of the two souls at random, then planned to interrogate that soul to determine if it was really Yeraa. Ever careful, the halflings chained Yeraa’s body into place before performing the steps in the ritual necessary to call one of the souls into the waiting body.

Awoken, Yeraa immediately began yelling for vengeance against Tikulti and straining against her chains. Once the hobgoblin was calmed down some, Arasinya devised a method of determining whether this was the real Yeraa or not.

“Yeraa, what did you say about me in your private journal?” Arasinya asked.

“You read my journal?” Yeraa growled. The party nodded. Yeraa frowned. “Nothing I’d care to say to you in person. No, who am I kidding? You’ve already read it and I relish the chance of saying it again: You’re either a fool or a liar pretending to be a fool.”

“She’s the fake,” Arasinya said immediately. “Kill her.”

Having determined that Yeraa was in fact, Yeraa, the party’s next step was to persuade her that destroying the Ashen Crown (or at least part of it) was the most sensible course of action. Yeraa resisted the idea at first. Destroying an ancient relic of immense cultural value to her people, one that could help unify them and bring them peace, seemed a grievous sin, especially given Yeraa’s position of leadership in the Wordbearer clan, a clan that has sworn to preserve ancient goblin culture.

Yeraa, however, trusted Dex and held the party in respect (er, with one exception). Her own death, the death of her companions, and how easily her band was compromised and destroyed, served as ample evidence of the danger posed by the Emerald Claw. Reluctantly, Yeraa agreed to the destruction of part of the crown rather than risk letting it fall into elvish hands.

Dex gave Yeraa both Ashurta’s blade and Murkoorak’s orb, which had formerly been in Arasinya’s possession. Apologizing, Dex revealed that she had managed to steal all the fragments of the Ashen Crown from the rest of the party while they were distracted.

Dex gave Karruuk’s Circlet to Tinker, who attempted to destroy it using the disenchant ritual. The circlet glowed hot, but did not dissolve.

The party resolved to take the crown to Ashurta’s tomb, believing that Ashurta’s ghost might know of some way of destroying it. When Ashurta learned of the party’s desire to destroy the Ashen Crown, the very thing that he had been guarding a fragment of for thousands of years to ensure that it might one day be restored, he, quite predictably, flew into a rage.

As Ashurta thundered with fury, Dex quietly snuck away, back to the altar room.

“Speak to me, you filth,” she demanded with her thoughts.

“You have succeeded. Excellent,” Belashyrra enthused. “The device is below the altar in the crystal chamber. Its instillation is now finished.”

“What do you mean ‘is now finished’? We have cleared this place of any defilers several times now.”

“My servants have worked quickly.”

Dex approached the altar and commanded it to open. The altar split down the centre and with a grinding, the halves moved aside, revealing a set of spiral steps leading below. Dex descended quickly, commanding the altar to close behind her. Upon reaching the bottom, Dex discovered that the cavern has been cleared of kruthik corpses. There was a faint smell of strong, poisonous chemicals. The King’s Citadel had probably fumigated the kruthik hive before boarding up the temple and leaving.

Continuing along the winding passage, Dex reached the crystal chamber. Within, at the centre of the chamber, sat a throne a throne of metal and wires and jewels. Upon the throne sat a man, vaguely human in appearance. His body was of chitin and sinew and his face, though almost handsome, seems like it was stretched over something else, like a mask. Dex instantly felt that the thing before her was Belashyrra, the Lord of Eyes.

Supplicant before him in two rows were the deathgaunts, the undead dolgaunts brought back from the tomb in Greywall. In one corner of the room was a corpse of an unfortunate bounty hunter: a half-orc, half-eaten. In another corner was Ijavik, tied and gagged, sobbing.

Dex glared at the deathgaunts. “I had left them on the ship, secured. I do not like their presence here.”

“They helped with the instillation,” Belashyrra explained with a wave toward the deathgaunts. “Thank you for bringing them! And the crown. Now we can finally destroy it.”

“I will destroy it. You will show me.”

Belashyrra smiled beatifically. “Yes. Of course.” He rose from the throne and stepped down off the dais. He pointed, with his long fingers, to a set of recesses in the throne, which looked to have been designed for each piece of the crown. “Insert the pieces as indicated. It is very intuitive.”

“We won’t be destroying the whole crown, but the circlet for certain.”

“As you wish.”


MatthewKelly MatthewKelly

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