Encounter: Calliaste Shanda
Calliaste the Lillend and her fey consorts appear shortly after the battle with Jurak is over, demanding to know what happened. The party, wishing not to partake in yet another fight, fabricate a yarn about how the Talireans hunted down and murdered Jurak the Elder, and that the party had engaged in battle with them and scared them off.
One of her consorts reminds her of the sack of Cannoch Naoi, and the elven consorts express their hatred of the Talireans. With that, Calliaste turns her wrath against Farholde and the Church of Mitra in particular. She wages her own personal war against the murderers of Jurak.
The party then decides that a rest is needed before venturing into the Horn, and they search a 1 mile perimeter for a suitable place. They witness what seem to be ghost-like whisps of light circling many of the stone spires in the area, and avoid them. Finally they find a suitable resting place, and rest without incident.
Entering the horn
Rook analyzes the spire and sees 4 entry ways that the party could penetrate.
First, is the cave opening below ground.
Second, is a walk up a wide set of stairs a hundred feet which appears to arrive at a landing.
Third, there is an entryway to a second level that appears to be accessible via a small winding stairway that hugs the side of the Horn.
And finally, the fourth is a grand archway, to which no stairs rise to. Instead, to enter here they must either fly or climb.
After some deliberation, they choose to the final entranceway which rises more than two hundred feet above the cavernous entry far below. Rook feels the easiest way is to climb from the entrance to level 2. This still involves a ninety foot angled ascent, of which they have a hard time.
The Horn of Abaddon: Level 3
The landing platform is baroquely adorned with every surface decorated with countless daemons tormenting and triumphing over mortals foolish enough to oppose them. Prominent among these decorations to the left of the archway is a bas relief of Vetra-Kali sitting cross-legged.
They group uses disable device to discern that his three eyes are buttons that if pressed simultaneously deactivate the pit trap that wards the entrance.
Another mechanism is found and the group’s engineering knowledge reveals that the pit remains deactivated until an identical bas relief on the other side of the wall is similarly pressed.
Once inside, the entranceway is a large hallway with five doors. The baroque decoration continues and everywhere is found bas relief carving showing the doings of daemons. There is a great deal of abyssal writing here as well. Arkhan understands that this hallway tells the tale of the ascension of the daemon prince Vetra-Kali Eats-the-Eyes.
It is revealed that Vetra-Kali is a leukodaemon who through his savagery and remorseless cruelty rose from the ranks to be appointed an Archdeacon of Pestilence in service to the Pale Horseman. This hallway exalts and praises the many ruthless deeds done by Vetra-Kali to gain this prominence.
Six green ominous flickering continual flames (one beside each of the single doors and two beside the double doors at the end of the hall) light this hall.
Within the chambers of this floor, the group finds evidence of a great battle. What is likely to have once been the personal chamber of the mortal leader of the Sons of the Pale Horseman, is now empty save for ash and splinters. Olar believes the chamber was wrecked by a tremendous explosion such as a fireball.
There is also a burned library, that Arkhan believes was likely destroyed by The Victor when he discovered it. All that remains is an inscription in Abyssal that reads “Behold the secrets of death. Use them for my glory.” But alas, there are no secrets here anymore. Only ashes and memories.
Another room reveals a great magical battle was fought there between the wizards of the “Sons” and the priests of Mitra. Deep gouges cut into the stonework reveal where powerful spells once blasted out again and again. Now, other than its scars, the room is empty and unremarkable.
There are also a number of other empty rooms, which all would have each once served diabolical purpose, such as cells for human sacrifices, and what was once a brothel.
Meditation Hall of the High Priest
Exploring the rest of the level reveals a peculiar room. This meditation chamber has no furnishings. The walls and floor of this chamber are covered in abyssal script. The phrase
“Receive the wisdom of Abaddon” is written prominently on the curved northern wall. There is a circle of such script in the center of the floor that is the nonsense word “nen” repeated over and over again.
Olar and Arkhan both find that saying ‘nen’ here does nothing, but that meditation here might reveal dark secrets, and receive visions of the Outer Planes, in particular of Abaddon. The “Sons of the Pale Horseman” believed these visions contained great wisdom.
Arkhan spends some time here receiving the power of the room, but finds that staying here long, would impart great power, but may also have consequences. The visions of other worlds might drive the weak minded mad with visions of violence and gruesome ritualistic orgies of slaughter.
She decides to think about it, and perhaps come back when there is more time.
Fane of the Three Eyed Prince
As ornate and baroque as the entryway hall is it pales before this expansive and vaulted chamber. This is the Horn’s most exalted temple — reserved only for the High Priest and his elite retinue. Most of the Sons of the Pale Horseman never entered this temple and never experienced the strange rites conducted within. The fane is adorned with a riot of lurid color. Brilliant bas reliefs depict daemons of every sort engaged in countless acts of wanton evil, callous destruction and inhuman savagery. Rows of pews allow a congregation of the chosen to gather. The podium is doubtless where foul sermons of Abaddon’s wisdom and bile were delivered to those gatherings.
At the front of the chamber are four shrines (A-D).
A – A white shrine decorated with bas relief depictions of open pits of the dead and lepers crying in anguish.
B – A shrine of red stone decorated with cruel iron weaponry and scenes of slaughter.
C –A shrine of black stone decorated with images of mortals wasting away from hunger and starvation.
D – A shrine of pale green stone adorned with a skull with two coins over its eyes and an inscription of jagged abyssal writing which reads “Behold a pale horse. Its rider is Death and all shall follow him.”
There is also a large bas-relief image of Vetra-Kali sitting crosslegged holding his greatest work, his masterpiece, a vial of some sort.
Below the vial is inscribed a name ‘The Tears of Achlys.’ Vetra-Kali also holds three blades and a strange jagged key with an Abyssal inscription “Hail Vetra-Kali”. The three eyed daemon prince pays homage to the four shrines, but there is no doubt that this fane is built primarily to honor him.
On all the other walls are litanies of the deeds of this monster. It was Vetra-Kali who crossed the great void and came to the prime material plane to establish the Sons of the Pale Horseman. It was he who oversaw the construction of the Horn of Abaddon and it is because of this that the Horn superficially resembles this horror from another world.
Olar also found that there is a secret door hidden in the east wall. It is well concealed but radiates a strong conjuration magic, revealed by his Detect Magic spell.
If the secret door is opened by pressing all three of Vetra-Kali’s eyes in unison, and leads to a room full only of worthless discarded temple paraphenalia covered in cob webs — wrecked pews, discarded masonry, piles of mouldering boards and the like.
Olar has the idea to speak the words "Hail Vetra-Kali” in Abyssal, and instead enters into a small pocket dimension and the true treasure vault.
Waiting inside of the pocket dimension is a Dread Wraith and three Wraith Spawn. They do not attack the party, but instead the Dread Wraith introduces himself as Ezra Thrice-Damned.
About a decade after the Sons’ defeat, their last high priest’s tormented spirit gained enough vigor to manifest once more. This spirit coalesced as a wraith. Ezra seeks to ally with our cadre of villains. He somehow knows that they are ambitious servants of Asmodeus and seek to break the Silver Seal.
He offers them the accumulated wealth of the Sons of the Pale Horseman in return for their help. Heaped about this room is a trove of treasure. In addition to all of this, there is at the center a small podium that rises like a claw. Between its talons it clutches a single dark radiant emerald.
They negotiate for some time, and manage to pry some information about the location of the seal from him.
The group neither accepts nor rejects his offer, and ask him to remain in the room, where they will return once they have found more evidence of what is to be done. Scared and feeling as if they are about to be betrayed, they quickly flee the room and close the pocket dimension behind them.
They discuss the information as a group, and that there is a fourth floor, only accessible from the caves. They decide they need to start there.