In the Shadow of Kings

A fog of nightmares

Sarghon

We enter the dark cold tunnel, closing the door behind us and the zombies starts banging on the door, growling and clawing. But then suddenly it all stops as the tower comes crashing down on them, and eventually everything turns silent again. From the neatly carved rock we realize we must be in some form of service tunnel for the tower. It reminds us of the crypt, with a similar architecture. We look through the journals to try and find our way so as not to get lost in the tunnels, and eventually find our way for the tower of the hand. On our way Grax takes a closer look at the amulet of the eyes, which has inscriptions listing the names of all previous advisors who has hold the position. It seems it has been going on for thousands of years!

On our way we come upon what seems to be a guard station, and Xeeliah and Grax finds some crude spears. But the rattling sound of the weapons seems to wake something up, and we suddenly hear the sound of dragging feet in the direction we are heading. We continue and the sounds get closer, but then eventually it disappears before we see a sign showing the direction of the Tower of the hands. Suddenly the sounds become stronger again and we reach a corridor with some 10 zombies. While they haven’t noticed us yet, we try to sneak past until one of them spots me. We are forced to fight them off but in what I can only excuse as a bad choice in the heat of battle, Grax sends of a sounding thunder attack which echoes loudly through the cave tunnels and we hear the sounds of more enemies coming closer, attracted by the disturbance.

When we arrive at a trapdoor leading upwards to the tower of the hand, it is locked and while Xeeliah tries to lockpick it, it seems that it is instead something resting on top of the trapdoor. With some force we manage to open the trapdoor and enter into the entrance hall of the tower. Things are not as we expected it, with half of the hall in rubbles, the rest intact. Outside, barracks, blacksmiths and more surround the plaza. It is evidently the military center of the city, but the plaza is empty of life, but dead bodies are spread around all over the place. In the hallway there are several entrances that lead to the other rooms.

In order to try and get a grasp of what’s been going on here, Xeeliah runs out to the plaza together with Grax to fetch one of the bodies for a ritual. They notice that the bodies of soldiers are marked by the spear, sword and hammer, the latter two seemingly the defenders.

Meanwhile Aryenne and me go through the rooms, which seem to have been broken into with some kind of explosion, but no fire. The main entrance is totally in ruin, not many bodies around with signs of another powerful explosion as the throne in the room has nearly been smashed to dust, but we see two statues depicting the sword and hammer. There is only one other exit, leading to stairs heading upwards. It seems the tower has 5 floors and on our way to the next floor there is a body on the steps like if it had been trying to crawl up. Looking closer she has an amulet around her neck, the amulet of the hands. She has no wounds, so in the hope she can better explain what went on here we carry her up and lie her down on a table. While I make preparations for the ritual, the others go up the stairs to investigate the other levels. The top floor, which seems to be the private quarters of the hands, is divided into smaller chambers with a small library with books of the city’s military history. Amongst them are letters with private correspondence with the eyes, voice and hands, clearly holding secret information as they talk about things the queen should not know about, coordinates of where a large force has moved, and more.

When the ritual is finished the spirit of Samelia, the hands, shows herself, asking why we disturb her soul to risk her wrath. She told us that the advisors wanted more freedom, and although the queen did her job well Samelia wanted to be the queen. She was killed by magic, fierce magic. And while they all organized this, their plans were destroyed by the betrayal of the spear, which she now found out was the puppet of the real power in Yaramuke. Once this power, which she refers to as the mind of Yaramuke, found out about their betrayal, it made them pay. Her finally words before her soul fades away again is simply “It is no use, she will kill you all anyway”.

As she finishes the words, a female scream comes from the north, quickly joined by more voices. We all run down to the armory but are stopped in the stairway by a spirit. “I am the guardian ….” is all we hear before the spirit slowly disappears again. It lingers for a little longer and before it disappears it tells us “I will have your souls” and the screaming continues.

After we escape into the armory shadows appears behind us. We close the door and when opening the other door we see more shadows quickly approaching and quickly close everything. Fear strikes us, remembering the shadows from the dreams, as a wind swooshes through the room and something begins seeping through the door, something like a dark fog. We quickly try to cover up all the holes but before we finish the fog begins to materialize. The Guardian of the Minds proves to be a tough fight, but eventually disperses. After that everything just turns into darkness, and we find ourselves yet again sleeping with restless dreams. The same dreams again, with screaming women dressed just as the hands. I see a black fire enveloping the queen, who tries to protect the children around her. But the fire catches her hand and the heat begins deforming it by burning through the skin as if it was a claw. Then everything turns black again…

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