The Coming of the Alstar Uln, Part 4

Druhaus stared out her window, watching the fury of the winds whip about loose dirt and stone. Her home, which she shared with her brother, hung on the edge of the eternal storm. Never had the tempest advanced on their dwelling, however. She spent much time looking into its depths, mouthing words no ears would ever hear. It was as if their shack was the divider between chaos and order, existing in a place that was neither.

“I will remind you again, sister, that we have a task. You voted yes at the council, so I would expect you would work to find a way into Samsarras. Unless, of course, you changed your mind.”

The voice came from Mugan, her brother. He stood over a large table covered in well preserved tomes, perfectly sized mounds of powder, and clean glass bottles full of various liquids. Everything was in its place and nothing looked like clutter. The same could be said of Mugan’s bearing and dress.

“It picks up again, it does. One day, it’ll crash over the side of the ravine and suck us into it. We’ll be struck by lightning and the winds will grind our bones together to dust. I can smell the rain through this open window. I can hear the tempest when I sleep.”

Mugan did his best not to sound annoyed.

“And you celebrate this, do you? You say you look forward to our end, but I feel you’ll plead for life as most do when it comes. Now please, I may have found part of our answer in this…”

Druhaus turned and stormed across the room, her wooden staff beating an irregular pattern on the floor as she walked, each impact leaving a black smudge on the wood.

“That is what you don’t understand, brother! We do not have an end! Being is but dust that shapes and reforms and crumbles on unknowable whims! You assign meaning to the unknowable.”

Mugan looked up from his tome, annoyance playing across his eyes. He took his braid in hand and moved it behind his back as to have a clear line of vision to his sister.

“That as it were, we still must find a way to open a path between realms. You can stomp and rant if you wish, or you can help. I’d prefer not to do this on my own.”

“I’ve seen the answer, brother. It lies out there.”

Druhaus extended her arm and pointed to the open window she had but moments before been looking through. The storm let loose a particularly loud crack of thunder, as if in answer.

“The storm can touch all things, Mugan. It is powerful, even more so than we. We could ride the winds to Samsarras and unleash havoc! Think of it!”

“We could ride the winds to death as well. What you say is true, but the storm is unpredictable. We’d have as much chance of landing in Samsarras as we did in Sribinet, the demon realm. Even more likely than that, the storm would unmake us.”

Druhaus cackled at the comment, her dirty finger nails scratching at the bald part of her head. She danced in joy at the thought, hopping from one leg to the other in circles. Mugan ignored her, momentarily lost in thought. Suddenly, his eyes lit up in dawning.

“Unless… wait, yes!”

Mugan turned back to his table, putting away his current book and quickly grabbing another. He flipped rapidly through the pages, his fingers making precise movements as he searched for the proper information.

“No, no! You’re going to ruin it, brother! Stop!”

“Hush. I know there is a way. It should be simple. One just needs a guide.”

“Yes, but he won’t do it! He voted no! You can’t!”

Mugan stopped to look at his sister again, a wry smile crossing his face.

“You already knew, didn’t you? Yes, that’s it. Music. We would have to be sung across. Breisch is the key. He will bow to the will of the vote. You should be happy, sister. We know how to reach Samsarras.”

Druhaus had calmed. She made her way slowly back to her window, staff clacking as she walked. Her widened eyes narrowed and drooped, the excitement of the past few moments fading as light into dusk. She spoke so softly that she barely heard herself.

“We can not cheat the storm of its due forever, brother. That is the secret I know that you do not. It will collect what it is owed.”

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Digging in the Sand

Bones. So many bones. How many people have been buried here?

You find a rusty long sword and a small, golden vulture head worth 250 gp.

Red Sand

The sand here on the edge of the sacrificial ground is loose and looks recently churned.

Vulture Priest

The Vulture Priests are the enemy of knowledge and enlightenment. They seek to bring the eternal silence, the end of all things. Decay and obedience is their only god.

Armor Class 6 [13]
Hit Dice 1 (4hp)
Attacks 1 × Beak (1d4 or by weapon)
THAC0 19 [0]
Movement 120’ (40’)
Saving Throws D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (1)
Morale 8 (11 when at their temple)
Alignment Lawful
XP 10 
Number Appearing 2d4 (1d6 × 10)
Treasure Type D
Immune to the Divine: The spells and powers of clerics and paladins have no effect on them.
Weapons: They frequently use wickedly curved daggers, which they use for sacrificial purposes.
Soul Clouders: There is a 10% chance that any Vulture Priest can use the sleep spell once per day. The targets are still awake, but they are beset by such a deep depression that it has the same effect as sleep. They may only watch what unfurls around them.