The count was familiar with the story, and had been told that the secret to the rituals to strengthen the bond is written in stone below the Rakshaka family home. In addition, an ancient temple on the Rakshaka lands in the Northern Waste allows Rakshaka to speak directly with the spirits. The three-headed amulet of the family (which Sarad now has) is associated with the temple. However, the Count never saw any of this, nor performed the ghastly rituals.
The count was murdered as he was investigating the identiy of one leader of the Nayam Trian, the mafia of Vaniym, Chinnapucacha, and Naukashay.
Meanwhile the party is preparing to head to the Northern Wastes to seek food for the city. Pathik agrees with Sarad that they should attempt to visit this temple while there.
When the party arrives, they find a small Kirti military force overseeing the harvest. Harvesting of the grain south of the river is proceeding normally. However, the farmers refuse to harvest the grain north of the river in the area known as the Vdenam. The farmers say that giant worms live in that area and the worms eat those foolish enough to venture there. The commander of the legion there chalks up the stories to superstitions. A local farmer, when questioned, describes the worms as having many hooked legs, and attacking from beneath.
The party decides to investigate these "worms" the next day. The grain north of the river will help alleviate the food crisis in Kirti.
The next day, the party is ferried across the river. Thier horses are left behind for fear the horses would be lost to these "worms." Omar summons an earth elemental to help search the ground. It casts about, but without luck. Chendra flies around looking, but sees nothing. As the party looks around, it becomes clear that Omar's summoned elemental resents him, and that Omar's control over it is waning. It finally breaks free of Omar's magic and attacks him. Omar quickly puts it down with a pair of lightening bolts.
Chendra notes a smell of rotten fruit further up the ravine. After much searching without any luck, a man in a floppy hat approaches us from the west. At about 200 yards from us, he darts into the fields and hides. Chendra flies up to look for him, but he has vanished. All that is found is his floppy hat.
The party searches further up the ravine and locate an abandoned home. We rest for a while while Kvin prays to Agnee to help him "Find the Path" to the worm lair. Agnee's blessing leads the group to the eastern cliff wall of the ravine where the party is instructed to dig. They begin digging with a crowbar while Pathik disappeared to "get shovels."
After some digging, Sulam falls down into a chamber with four huge centipede like bugs (Ankegs). A quick fight later and the bugs fall.
The party waits a half hour until Pathik returns with the promised shovels. Unknown to the party, Pathik used his mental disipline to walk extra-dimensionally to Kirti and back, with a brief fall into the ocean due to a miscalculation.
Omar, deeply afraid of confined spaces, drinks heavily before the party ventures below the earth to explore. Out of the chamber Sulam fell into, a tunnel leads onward. A bit inward the passageway forks.
There, the ground begins to slightly vibrate. Anticipating attack by more of the beasts, the party covers the two forks. The preparations are to no avail, as a monstrous ankeg bursts out of the wall! The giant insect hits Omar, who falls into the fall made by the beast. A quick fight and the beast is dispatched. Wounded party members are healed with Agnee's blessing.
Omar has been badly hurt by the ankeg. Its bite is acidic, but dilution helps.
The party drags the body out of the tunnel and returns to search the tunnels. The passages all eventually end, collapse. Nothing more found, the party left. Leaving, they note the figure from before, but without hit hat. He disappears into a shadow in the cliff and isn't seen again.
A quick ferry back and the party reports on their findings to the army encampment (aided by the heads and bodys of the beasts). Now that the upper bank is safe, the farmers will harvest it soon.
The party returns to the north bank to investigate the northern wastes and find the temple Sarad is newly familiar with. Near the temple in the small steppe, the party camps for the night. During then evening while the party patrols the perimeter, a desert troll, skin the color of the sand, attacks. It is quickly dispatched and burnt.
The next day the party advances into the ravine. Deep in the ravine, on the west face, is a tall columned temple. Black stone blocks the windows and entry. As Sarad approached, bearing the three headed amulet, the stone turns to a rippling liquid. The party enters.
The temple smells of rotten meat. The walls, floor, and twelve foot ceilings are all jet black. The party's torches dim, and attempts to create magical light fail. A quick check by Sarad reveals that this black stone doesn't turn liquid, although the "doorway" does. With only the light on three laterns, each dimmer than a sputtering candle, the party advances. Chendra enchants the laterns to burn supernaturally slowly.
(1) Advancing to the left from the initial passageway, the party finds a large contraption. The sound of water dripping is occasionally puncuated by a creak from the device. The party theorizes that it is some sort of water clock and moves on. Several windows open into perfect darkness. A coin flipped through the window disappears without a sound.
(2) The next room extends well beyond the range of the light. The stench of rotten meat is worse. The party hugs the left wall and moves into another room.
(3) A quick search reveals a chest and several open topped barrels. Torches rest, oil soaked tips down, in the barrels. Flames from the the laterns fail to light the torches, but Chendra casts magic from his hands and lights two. These torches burn much brighter than the party's laterns. Chendra again summons magic to prolong flame, enchanting the torches. The chest, when opened, holds yet more torches.
(2) Armed with better light, the party backs out of the dead end. The source of the stench is quickly clear, a pile of dead orc bodies litters one side of the room. Bars block the way out of the remaining exit. Beyond the bars, the party sees a low ceiling composed of an iron grate. The floor is pitted and bloody. Small bits of gore lie about. The room reeks of death.
(5) Returning to the main hallway, the party takes the right doorway, opening to a room whose floor is covered with almost man sized yellow worms. The writhing worms don't appear to notice the party, so the party carefully steps though. (6) The next hallway is similarly covered, but the worms end when the stairs begin.
(7) At the top of the stairs wait two ivory colored humanoid insected with red eyes. The insects ask the party, speaking directly into their minds, what they are doing here. Sarad introduces himself as Count Rakshaka, but the insects reply that he is not Rakshasa. Pathik similarly introduces himself as the Count, and is similarly rebuffed. Pathik explains that someone in his family's past made the agreement with them, and he is here to learn more. The insects mentally explain that they know nothing of this, but one who does approaches.
(8) After waiting for a brief period, the party is escorted further in. One of the insects flings fire from his hands, lighting oil lamps aroudn the room. The next room has a metal grate floor which opens over the bloody room below. One corner has a stone floor upon which sits a throne. Faintly visible up the stairs is a shadowy form.
After the party enters, a group of ten men enters from the same doorway the party used. The men are finely dressed, outfitted in noble attire, jewelry, and blades. They scatter themselves around the room. A pair of particularly finely dressed men follow, one of them coming to sit on the throne. Sarad, wearing the three headed amulet, sees the men for what they are, raven headed half-men.
The seated man-beast speaks, saying that it feels a bond with Sarad. Sarad explains that he wants to understand the agreement his ancestor made. The raven explains that the rituals have not been performed for some time, and few of the man-beasts could enter the world. The ravens are still interested in the agreement. Sarad asks for details on the the agreement, and is led into the next room.
(9)There, a black stone obelisk stands, covered in writing. Four animal faces, Reven, Tiger, Ape, and Hyena look down from the top of te obelisk. Chendra casts a spell on Sarad enabling him to read the foriegn writings.
The obelisk tells the history of the covenant. A war was occuring the material world. An ancestor of the the Rakshaka family was a great warrior in the war, as was his entire clan. The war spanned many planes. The enemy in the war was never described, but appeared to be quite powerful. This ancestor came to Kryngath, the plane of the Rakshasa, during the war and forged a pact. The Rakshasa received physical forms in exchange for fighting for the ancestor and his family. The ancestor would perform various rituals to create a bond that to the material world that the Rakshas could travel. This ancestor was the original Rakshaka. Since then the Rakshasa have helped the family in war and intrigue. Based on the tales on the black stone, the Rakshasa are skilled in battle and intricate pltting. They are able to blend into mortal society. Based on the repetition of names, they live for a hundreds of years.
The leader of the Rakshasa explains that originally four clans were part of the pact, but now the Ravens are the most interested in maintaining the pact. Reestablishing the bond requires resuming the rituals of lust, bestiality, and blood. The leader doesn't seem to think that it had been a long time since the rituals had ended, but Sarad's knowledge of the previous Count lets him know that it has been at least twenty years, probably many more.
The leader introduces himself as Rahja Hakason, and his second is Rhuk Raka. Sarad is surpised, since Raka's exploits, many of which are quite old, are listed on the obelisk.
Omar, curious, pulls out his magical tome and summons magic to grant him perfect sight. Pathik and Chendra, afraid that Omar is about to do something rash, mentally blast him. Omar, hit by two psionicists is reeling, when the true sight begins. He gets a brief, perfect look at a plane of pure evil and collapses.
Sarad says he'll need to think about it, but send a warrior with me to so I can inform you when I decide. The Rahja agrees, and tells Sarad that when he restarts the rituals, send his warrior back, and more will return.
Joined by one of the Rahja's ten men, Bhuta, the party leaves. (Bhuta is a word meaning apparition.) Omar is carried, since is is still unconcious. When the torches are brought outside they explode, wounding most of the party.