مظهر خادع الصنو (Alsanu Mazhar Khadie)

Over a year ago, on Second's Fifth of Beramosk, 5,733 NB, members of the Blood Bears, along with other adventurers from Jastrey, managed to finally kill Dreghor Veniir, the necromancer and younger brother of Garen Veniir, who had attempted to assassinate not only Garen, but the rest of the Blood Bears as well. Garen's concerns about Dreghor's research and plans at the time of his death have led him to this- going to the nether to find Dreghor Veniir...

Story Notes

Garen is concerned about what Dreghor has been up to all this time in the nether and intends to find his brother. Though carrying out further vengeance will likely do little to ease the would be paladin's mind. With the proper approach, he may be able to learn something...

 

NAMING: Using Arabic to stand in for Opunin, "Alsanu Mazhar Khadie" translates to "brother/twin/peer" "veneer/fallacy/show"; a play on the brothers Veniir, the triplets, and that Garen is worried about the wrong brother...

 

REQUIRED PC: Garen

Materials

Black Hooded Cloak

Drehor Wig (Brian will provide)

Monsters

NPC Drehor Veniir

1.1 – Dance with the Dead in the New Moonlight

Narrative
[UPON REACHING THE RIVER OF SOULS:]
Wandering the near nether in Jastrey, you come upon a river that cuts through what would normally be there; the River of Souls. Multiple ferrymen can be seen taking those with coin across the river, disappearing into the low fog that hangs over the river.

[GIVING COIN:]
Giving the ferryman your coin, they wordlessly take you across the river.
Scene Notes
"Reaching the Near Nether is done, like most realms, via a properly attuned portal. Many factors play a part in this attunement: It is easiest at dusk, during the new moon, in the presence of the undead, and in places where death is common, such as graveyards, crypts, or battlefields. Less scrupulous spellcasters may also employ fresh death, sacrificing a living victim in order to create strong but temporary attunement for their purposes."

The cinematic opens as dusk settles over Jastrey. Short of that setup, it is largely up to Garen to guide it. Garen has very little practical skills to get to the nether, but knows people who can assist him. How he determines Dreghor's whereabouts once there are also up to him.

Any character who professes to be a "necromancer" or draw power from the nether may assist the party in reaching the near nether; the most likely candidates are Cedar, Silaine, or Varian.

The near nether of course resembles the Jastrey the players all know, but after wandering for some time, they will eventually reach the River of Souls. Multiple ferryman can be seen in this scene, taking small groups of souls across the river if they have coins for passage.


Continue to the next scene once the party has crossed the River of Souls.
Narrative Effects
Adapt Water (THREE CHECKS; Very Hard): PASS (3): Though you are completely sapped of all strength and exhausted to the point of death, you manage the crossing on your own. FAIL (1): Attempting to swim across the River of Souls, the effects of the waters begin to take their toll... [Flaw: Always Fatigued for the rest of the SHIFT!] FAIL (2): You struggle to keep going; the pain is gone- which is somehow more concerning... [Spirit Reduced by 1/3 for the rest of the SHIFT!] FAIL (3): You're can't go on...Through the fog, you can't make out either shore from here- your vision fades... [Player is LEFT TO THEIR FATE!]
Fly (TWO CHECKS; Very Hard): PASS (1): Though you are completely sapped of all strength and exhausted to the point of death, you manage the crossing on your own. FAIL (1): Attempting to fly across the River of Souls, the effects of the nether begin to take their toll... [Flaw: Always Fatigued for the rest of the SHIFT!] FAIL (2): You struggle to keep going; the pain is gone- which is somehow more concerning... [Spirit Reduced by 1/3 for the rest of the SHIFT!]
Forecast (Not Paying the Ferryman; Very Easy): Unfavorable.
Locate (Dreghor; Medium): Dreghor is in the nether.
Locate (Dreghor, using Garen as a conduit; Automatic): Dreghor is in the nether.
Propel (THREE CHECKS; Very Hard): PASS (3): Though you are completely sapped of all strength and exhausted to the point of death, you manage the crossing on your own. FAIL (1): Attempting to leap across the River of Souls, the effects of the nether begin to take their toll... [Flaw: Always Fatigued for the rest of the SHIFT!] FAIL (2): The River is far wider than you thought- did you jump far enough? [Spirit Reduced by 1/3 for the rest of the SHIFT!] FAIL (3): You fall short and land in the River of Souls... Through the fog, you can't make out either shore from here- your vision fades... [Player is LEFT TO THEIR FATE!]
Tread (THREE CHECKS; Very Hard): PASS (3): Though you are completely sapped of all strength and exhausted to the point of death, you manage the crossing on your own. FAIL (1): Attempting to tread across the River of Souls, the effects of the waters begin to take their toll... [Flaw: Always Fatigued for the rest of the SHIFT!] FAIL (2): You struggle to keep going; the pain is gone- which is somehow more concerning... [Spirit Reduced by 1/3 for the rest of the SHIFT!] FAIL (3): You're can't go on...Through the fog, you can't make out either shore from here- your vision fades... [Player is LEFT TO THEIR FATE!]

2.1 – Forlorn Farm

Narrative
Arriving on the far shore of the River of Souls, you see what looks like a farm, though what grows in the field is completely unknown to you. A few Forbidden can be seen working the field.

[ARRIVING AT AMARANTHINE:]
The high walls of the Forlorn City appear out of the mists as you approach; a handful of Forbidden, armed and armored, stand outside the gate.

[AFTER PAYING:]
After providing your payment, the guards allow you entry to the city, directing you towards the Living Quarter.
Scene Notes
Crossing the River of Souls, the party will encounter a farm near Amaranthine. The crop, while suitable for creatures of the nether, such as the Forbidden, is deadly to the living. Any player who chooses to consume it must make a MEDIUM check; on SUCCESS, they are SUBDUED - on FAILURE, they are SLAIN.
The Forbidden don't have much to say to the party, but can direct them to Amaranthine, if asked.

Players may attempt to enter Amaranthine, but as they are still living there is an additional fee: blood. If the players give a small amount of blood (a half pint), they may enter Amaranthine and are directed to the Living Quarter.
CONDITIONAL: Attempting to force their way into Amaranthine is a FLAGGED PLAY, which goes poorly for them. Anyone who voluntarily accepts the play will be SLAIN. If the entire party is SLAIN, they are LEFT TO THEIR FATE!


Once inside Amaranthine, continue to the next scene.
Narrative Effects
Insight (Easy): They are speaking the truth.
Inspect Nature (Hard): You have never seen anything like the crops in the field, but you are sure they are plants.
Locate (Dreghor; Medium): [indicate direction to Amaranthine.]
Locate (Dreghor, using Garen as a conduit; Automatic): [indicate direction to Amaranthine.]

2.2 – Living Quarter

Narrative
The Living Quarter of Amaranthine is much like any city in the mortal realm really, merchants and tradesmen attempt to ply their wares, most notably perishables such as food and water, or lodging and other supplies that those who intend to enter the deep nether may require.

[UPON FINDING DREGHOR'S QUARTERS:]
You approach an otherwise nondescript door in one of the housing blocks.
Scene Notes
The party must track down where Dreghor is within the city, though if they fail all their narrative checks, they can find someone who might remember seeing an Uordeq who strongly resembled Garen- for the right price...
BLOOD? The player is afflicted with the flaw "Always Fatigued" for the rest of the SHIFT.
COIN? The player must hand over 10 gold.
OTHER? Generally, things that are only available in the mortal realm are highly valued for trade to other living.

Once the party finds where Dreghor is, they have to gain entry. If they fail all their narrative checks, they can attempt to force their way in- triggering the wards Dreghor erected.
EVERYONE: "4 Prime"
ANY VENIIR: "SLAIN"


Once they are able to enter, continue to the next scene.
Narrative Effects
Breach (Hard): You shatter the door inwards, revealing a completely dark interior. [Trigger Wards when they enter unless they Dispel them!]
Dispel (Medium): You think you've dispelled the trap.
Insight (Informant; Medium): They're telling the truth.
Inspect Magic (After Breach/Sabotage; Easy): These runes are some sort of trigger- the room has been trapped!
Inspect Secret (After Breach/Sabotage; Medium): These runes are some sort of trigger- the room has been trapped!
Locate (Dreghor; Medium): [indicate direction to Dreghor's Quarters.]
Locate (Dreghor, using Garen as a conduit; Automatic): [indicate direction to Dreghor's Quarters.]
Sabotage(Hard): You unlock the door; as you pull it open, you can see it is covered in runes. [Trigger Wards when they enter unless they Dispel them!]
Speak Drakeric (Medium): The runes are part of a trap!
Speak Opunin (Automatic): Though incomplete, you can make out "-Get Our Broth-".
Track (Impossible): Souls don't leave much to track, especially if it's been awhile...
Translate (Easy): The runes on the door are in both Drakeric and Opunin; the Drakeric runes are part of a trap, while the incomplete segment in Opunin says ""-Get Our Broth-".

3.1 – Memento Mori

Narrative
[LIGHT/ADAPT DARKNESS:]
As you enter the room, the walls are completely covered in writing. A figure in a black hood cloak stands facing the far wall.

[CHECKING THE WRITING:]
The writing is carved into the walls themselves, and seem to be in multiple languages.

[FINAL NARRATION - BLOODED DREGHOR:]
As Dreghor reaches the threshold of the doorway, barbed chains suddenly manifest around him. He turns back and reaches for you, "Brother! Don't let him take me!" They quickly draw tight and rip the struggling soul of Dreghor back and upwards as alarm bells sound within Amaranthine, screaming as he's lifted into the air. Within moments, he's gone...

[FINAL NARRATION - LOST SOUL DREGHOR:]
As Dreghor reaches the threshold of the doorway, barbed chains suddenly manifest around him. They quickly draw tight and drag the unresponsive soul of Dreghor upwards as alarm bells sound within Amaranthine. Within moments, he's gone...
Scene Notes
When the party enters, Dreghor is standing facing the opposite wall. He will not respond to them in any way, regardless of their actions (except giving him blood; see below).

The writing was originally wards to keep everyone else out, but Dreghor began adding notes to the walls in an attempt to keep from losing himself.

If someone gives Dreghor a few drops of blood, it will bring him back enough to talk to at least.

DREGHOR - RP NOTES:
You are Dreghor Veniir.
IF VARIAN: You are angry at him for leaving you here.
Since the last time Varian saw fit to draw you to the mortal realm to speak, you have been holed up here in Amaranthine.
The Reapers relentlessly pursued you; for being dead, for being a necromancer, and for growing the Black Fruit - which Varian took advantage of to get himself out of the harrowing.
You will ask what vengeance Garen has travelled all this way to deliver.
VENGEANCE: "Yes vengeance, not justice - I've been trapped here since the last time Varian summoned me, slowly losing my mind and my very sense of self- I have no idea how long I've been blankly staring at a wall before you showed up- what could you possibly be trying to deliver justice for now?"
WARDS: They're to keep everyone out, especially him - just like your room in Sind.
ARQVEIL: You haven't seen or heard from Arqveil since well before Garen delivered his vengeance; the mad king is likely back in Tarkalsys.
HIM: "You're really that stupid, aren't you, brother? You're so focused on me that the real threat has completely escaped you. He was using me all along, and I didn't see it in time- Your death was the only thing that would placate him."
GAREN'S DEATH: The only thought that brings you any joy is that Garen's Death will be particularly long and painful now. Garen is not prepared for what awaits him.


CONDITIONAL:
If the players attempt to take Dreghor out of the room: he will try to resist if he's been given blood, but they can force him. If they haven't given him blood, he'll generally do whatever they want, wandering aimlessly otherwise. Regardless, if they attempt to take him out of the room, read the final narration.
Amaranthine guards will arrive to speak with the players, but obviously the soul that was bound is not anywhere among them. After gathering all the information they can, the guards will leave the party.


The party may continue to examine Dreghor's quarters, but otherwise this ends the content.
Narrative Effects
Adapt Darkness (Automatic): [Read the first narration.]
Commune Corpse (Impossible): There's no corpse here...
Commune Spirit (Impossible): The spirit doesn't even acknowledge your presence...
Dispel (Impossible): These runes are complex enough that you're not sure where to start...
Insight (Medium): Dreghor is speaking truly- which is of little comfort...
Inspect Magic (Easy): The runes are designed to keep anything from getting in or out.
Light (Automatic): [Read the first narration.]
Purge (Impossible): There is no haunting or possession here...
Resurrect (Impossible): There is no body here...
Speak Drakeric (Medium): The runes are designed to keep anything from getting in or out.
Speak Opunin (Automatic): [See Appendix.]
Translate (Easy): [result of both "Speak Drakeric" and "Speak Opunin".]

X.1 – Appendix of Dreghor's Writing

Scene Notes
> The wall immediately in front of Dreghor says:
"Never forget out brothers' failure.
Never forget our brothers
Never forget
Forget
Forget
For..."

>The rest of the walls contain entries from Dreghor's journal, but most emphasis is placed on his final entry. Other information is scrawled to try and help Dreghor remember who he was, even as any semblance of self started to slip away from him...
"Third's Fourth of Gephirel, 5,724 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
How a cripple defeats a warlock is beyond me. Somehow, however, he did. It should have been a relatively simple matter to kill a fifteen year old cripple, but now Gevok is dead and Garen, the cripple, has fled. Already the other clans see us as weak, word travels fast when a promising user of the dark arts is killed - especially by someone who should have been killed at birth. Why our parents allowed Garen to live escapes me, but I shall never forgive them for bringing this ruin upon us, nor will I forgive him. I only hope his death is prolonged and painful."


"First's Ninth of Mentrischt, 5,730 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
Six years. How has he survived for six years? I never would have known, had I not been looking for a teacher. I'd heard of a warlock of some power in the wandering shard, Jastrey; Akon Nivarian was her name. I sent several agents to observe, to determine if she was there and powerful enough to warrant my time - but they have returned with other news. Akon is apparently gone, but a one armed uordeq named Garen Veniir is there. As nature refuses to kill such an obviously flawed creation from itself, I shall do so. I have sent an assassin to deal with him, on this, the sixth anniversary of Gevok's death. Happy birthday, brother, it shall be your last."


"Third's Femest of Arathost, 5,730 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
Apparently Garen has found a new family. I wonder if they would call him brother if they knew he killed his own? The assassin I sent was apparently not skilled enough to handle a cripple either - seeing as he never returned, yet Garen still lives. Obviously I shall have to take care of this myself. I've enlisted several assassins. We shall descend upon Garen and his newfound family, and I will take everything from him, just as he did from me. I will kill his new family, and make him watch. And only after that will I finally put an end to this cruel joke of nature."


"First's Seventh of Yentrischt, 5,730 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
My shoulder still aches, and I can feel the beast within myself, trying to get out. I shall overcome this. I killed the spies I had in Jastrey, as they failed to take note that this Kresh person was A WEREBEAST. I had them, I could have killed them all, save for that unexpected development. That mau is also of concern - he managed to escape detection and get help. I have ordered my new spies to keep a close watch on him as well as Garen and Kresh. The only good to come of this is a note from Garen. The note itself is unremarkable, and crudely written, as one would expect of a retarded creature such as he. However, two of his new family members have foolishly given me something of use. I shall use this gift to keep better track of this family of his."


"Second's Sixth of Elistrei, 5,732 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
I have earned my white robes, but my further teaching will require a greater effort on my part. Fate has sent me some assistance however. Garen doesn't know what it means to be an uordeq, and so sends a shriss after me. In truth, this Siska of Sind is more uordeq than Garen could ever hope to be. She has an iron will, and refuses to break, but this only gives me more time to refine my technique. Gevok is right, I have left our brother alone too long. I have created a special messenger for him, and sent with is something that I'm sure will get his attention. He's predictable, ruled by emotion and rage - the exact opposite of his "sister". We shall take this opportunity to settle things with the mau, Shrayvar, as well. He saved his family once, now i shall use him against them."


"First's 11th of Beramosk, 5,732 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
Through Shrayvar, I've learned that Garen and his family intend on going to confront Kresh's father, Ragna the Hornbreaker. I'm well aware of Ragna, and have conducted business with him on several occasions, rarely in person though - he's an unrefined, crass, vulgar man - though I can admire his application of force. When I sold him the latest batch of enemies from the Shadelands, I also let him know about their plans. They intend on posing as gladiators in the pit - let's see them truly play the part."


"First's Ninth of Suribatre, 5,732 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
It would seem I underestimated the vampires, or perhaps overestimated Siska. They are unaware of who was behind the attempt, however; I may be able to use this to my advantage. If they're suspicious of each other, they won't be as focused on an external threat. Regardless, he's growing impatient; I'll have to do something soon."


"Third's Fourth of Gephirel, 5,732 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
If I weren't otherwise occupied, I'd give Garen a present, preferably between the 4th and 5th rib. Instead, I'll have to settle for sending him my latest creation. He throws Prime around like a child, so let's see how predictable he is. I'll be observing directly this time. I've heard there's a master of bone in Jastrey, and I need to learn more about his motives. He continues to grow impatient, I've told him I'm making my move soon. I've taken the precaution of warding my room in Sind against spirits of all types. I need somewhere to get away from him."


"Third's Fifth of Gephirel, 5,732 NB
Garen's failure is complete.
A paladin. By the shade, he's a paladin. I didn't think he could bring us any MORE shame, but he finds new ways! It's been hard to keep the beast down, but I don't care now - it was quite cathartic to simply tear those who would mock me apart. No finesse, no torture, no prolonged death - just to simply rip, tear, and rend. Perhaps I've been approaching things the wrong way. Perhaps I should simply tear Garen limb from limb - fate has already started the job for me, after all. Perhaps it's just him in the back of my mind though - I know he wants a body, perhaps he simply wants to free up a vessel..."


"Third's Sixth of Gephirel, 5,732 NB
Never forget our brother's failure.
All my planning was almost for naught due to the interference of some Theocracy peon. He couldn't possibly fathom the power he contended with. Weak minded fool. For once, Jastrey was useful to me; in the ensuing chaos of the First of Avaren calling down the power of an immortal on Trinsburrow, I used my pawn, Shrayvar, to take the relic. The mau's stealth, which I once despised, was quite useful. It almost seemed a pity to use his body as a new vessel, but better him than me. But then Garen had to interfere. Dimwit that he is, he simply attempted to physically stop a ritual with powers far beyond his comprehension. It's likely too much to expect that this act was finally the last in a long line of failures, but I can hope. I had to escape with the relic before I could see his end. I'll have to find a new vessel."


> MOST NOTABEL:
"He knows a great deal, but I always feel as though I must remain on edge when speaking with him. When he's in a teaching mood, I have to take as much as I can, because the next moment he may suddenly start making demands, or start rambling, or simply fall silent. I've had to get creative with how to actually record some of his teachings, as the power of the words simply destroys anything I put them on. I've placed them in Baam's shadow on my day of creation."
"He went on at length about Stursgraad, the other nobles, and his children. he wouldn't stop. Even when I retired for the evening he simply. kept. talking. I eventually had to retreat to Sind to get any peace."
"I think he expected that last one to actually kill me, I know he still wants a vessel, but he refuses to take anything less powerful than he was. I need to find a suitable vessel - soon."
"He has refused to teach me anything more the past mestrun until I cut my hair... I'm so close, what matter a minor inconvenience? Then today he's asking why I cut my hair - he doesn't remember ordering me to do so, and claims he never did."
"He has some remarkable theories regarding the black fruit, which I have attempted to verify."


> MOST NOTABEL:
"Second's Fifth of Beramosk, 5,733 NB
Never forget our brothers' failure.
I tried to bind him to the abomination. He didn't take kindly to that at all. I had to try something, I've felt him trying to take control, maybe he's been in control all along. I've made sure that Varian knows about the guild meeting. With any luck, Garen will find out and come. This only ends with one of us alive. One death, two deaths, one life, who knows. It's hard to think. I still have plans of my own, but I have to do something. Arqveil said that the closer the connection was the more likely it was to take. That's why he's been hounding me so much. We both hate him, I hate them both, I'm the only one who has brought our family any respect. This may be my final entry. It's strange, but i wish Arqveil was here now, mad as he was. I only hope I've learned enough to be the victor this time."