Academic circles are abuzz. The People's College, in collaboration with the Wayfinder's guild, have found a so called 'lost space' and have successfully re-anchored it to reality high in the blue peaks. Reports are sketchy at the moment but several scholars are suggesting that the discovery will unlock some fascinating secrets about Acryn's pre-history. The People's College are keeping the findings close to their chest for now.
In almost certainly completely unrelated news: pale looking apprentices of the College of Stars' visiting Professor of Wounding, Dammerung the Undying, have been circulating around the seedier of Acryn's adventurer hang-outs. They seem to have been trying to recruit skilled 'dungeoneers' with the courage, strength and moral flexibility to undertake a mission of considerable danger. Generous rewards, both financial and esoteric, are on offer for successful applicants.
Tasked by Dammerung to retrieve the fell artefacts he requires to complete the working of some great ritual the party (largely under a variety of aliases) set off for the archaeological dig high in the blue peaks. At the dig site they discover a great castle made of human bones woven together and a very scared group of archaeologists. The party scare them off and venture into the horrifying sanctum.
Within they pass through the various chambers and vaults filled with the horrors wrought by the long last master of the castle, whom they quickly deduce must have been Dammerung when he ruled over the lands of Caul as a monstrous necromancer king centuries ago.
As they work to recover the artefacts they come to understand something of Dammerung's dark design. He seeks to cast the Draconic Deowmer he developed long ago to bring about his ultimate apotheosis into a being of pure death. Jimmy's deduces this would involve him becoming a primal of considerable potency.
In the process of recovering these secrets, while toying with Dammerung's Screaming Orrery Jimmy becomes trapped in the past, being immortal this gives him centuries to research a 'cure for creation' with only Dammerung's unrivalled library of arcane texts to help him. The party eventually recover him, surprised that he seems to have survived the passage of the ages without effect. However, some of them begin to wish they hadn't as they begin to debate how to proceed. Jimmy is clear that to allow the ritual in any form to proceed would be madness as it involves luring a Dragon close with imprisoned souls within Dammerung's Orb. Tabitha and Karlos however cannot resist the lure of power and propose to use the power of the ritual themselves.
Matters come to a head when the party recover the deplorable orb into which Dammerung bound the thousands of souls he slew during the era of his dark empire. Jimmy, ignoring the rest of the party shatters the orb and calls the souls into his divine realm. As he does so Dammerung's furious scream echoes through the halls of the castle.
Returning to the ritual chamber the party confront an enraged Dammerung. He demands that Jimmy be used as bait for the dragons but the party refuse and attack. Though the ancient necromancers power is the great the party prevent him from invoking the ritual. As he is struck down he laughs at them, for he is truly undying, that is until Jimmy rips his cursed soul into his god realm, promising to trap Dammerung in a never ending cycle of reincarnation. With a final wail of malevolent frustration Dammerung is no more, cursed to be reborn as an adorable babe somewhere with only the occasional dark dream to remind him of the power he once wielded.
The ritual stopped all should be well but the lure of fell power is simply too great and Tabitha calls forth the Traitor's power in a surprise attack against Jimmy. As a blade of shadows bursts through his chest a rift into his divine realm is created and the souls within exposed. With Jimmy now acting as a beacon to the soul-eating dragons and with Tabitha having convinced Mudra to lure Tuireann in, Karlos speaks the final words of the great ritual.
All hell breaks lose as Tuireann is pulled into the ritual in an attempt to feast upon the souls within Jimmy. Jimmy fights off the monster until, with a final terrible curse upon Tabitha and Karlos, he steps free of his mortality and ascends as a God. As he does so he rips a host of souls free from Tuireann and hurls them and all those within him out into the world to be reincarnated.
As Jimmy vanishes the ritual is nearing its apex but now in its fury Tuireann turns upon the rest of the party. They are moments from death when the ritual reaches its final cresendo and Tuireann is dealt a terrible wound, its very nature sundered and drawn into the Sarcophagus and in turn into Karlos and Tabitha. As the dark wounding energies course through them Rodrigo looks on in horror as their bodies are ravaged, decaying into monstrous parodies of life, hideous to behold yet filled with power that seems to bend the world around them.
As the carnage recedes and peace descends Tabitha and Karlos realise the terrible price they have paid for their dark ascension (probably not helped by the damage dealt by Jimmy to the Sarcophagus of Sorrows): undeath. Worse still their shared nature seems to be a crime against reality itself. They cannot stand each other's presence and the clash of the natures seems to create an ever twisting, expanding aura of death about them. With no explanation Rodrigo (potentially to teach them a lesson) uses the magical quill to twist their story, ensuring that 'there can be only one' and it will come to pass that one destroys the other (in some form).
Tabitha decides to leave. As she vanishes into the shadows she feels the Traitor's blade at her throat, the goddess none too pleased that her power was used against Jimmy - someone to whom she owed a debt of gratitude. She cuts Tabitha's undead throat and withdraws, taking her power with her.
Karlos decides to claim Dammerung's Castle of Bones for himself, though he thinks he can animate it to move he'll need to find a home for it and for the moment he seals it shut.
Rodrigo returns to the city and reports all that has occurred to the watch. They are horrified that Tabitha was once more able to slip through the clutches of the watch and doubly worried that she now appears to a walking incarnation of death itself. Searches for her across the city are doubled and Rodrigo is personally tasked with tracking her down and destroying her once and for all.
When both Karlos and Tabitha are both back in Acryn, they can never escape the unpleasant feeling that the other is ever present. They find that plant and vermin life all around gradually withers and dies in their presence and even humans will seem to age faster if in their presence for too long. Worse their clashing nature seems to have a darker effect as undeath seems to creep across the city. As long as they both exist the dead will not slumber easily and a subtle but malign malaise begins to linger over acryn: the sick declining faster, the elderly falling dead before their time. In the sewers and alleyways of the city rumours of the walking dead will increase and the cemeteries of the city become places of fear.
In his divine realm Jimmy considers the great solution he has developed, while turning his nascent power against Tabitha and Karlos. Oddly to the city at large Councillor Hoskins seems to be safe and well, as Jimmy's apprentice flawlessly takes on his persona. Over the coming weeks all across Acryn children begin to be born with an odd birthmark that looks like a serpent devouring its own tail. The cycle of reincarnation has begun.
While Karlos and Tabitha both reside in Acryn a malaise of death is upon it. The longer this goes on the greater the number of undead who will rise from the grave to assail the living. The Church of the Tender knows something is terribly wrong but the power of the Divine cannot seem to counter it permanently and they will begin to appeal for aid from any who can stop the growing threat.