Session Report - Ormid Et Al - Unholy Magic, More Undead, A Summoning

14:00 -14:10 For a while the group simply lean on the stinking, dripping walls and enjoy the feeling of not being dead. Then the doors leading from the manticore's chamber begin to boom and bulge towards them as the daemonic beast tries to smash its way free, and they back off, encountering another set of reinforced doors. These are subsequently torn open by the warforged, and the group find themselves looking at a dark crossroad; reflected firelight gleaming from the left, a barely visible sullen red glow welling from the darkness ahead.

Edging forwards the group come to a small chamber which has two exits; one to the west (a strong stink of urine and ammonia wafts from this tunnel, leading the group to assume it leads to some kind of midden), and one to the south (the red glow can be seen to emanate from here). 

14:11 - 14:40: Carefully, the group move towards the southern corridor, and at once see two huge, crude symbols on the floor, painted in (still) boiling blood, glowing with necromantic power. The symbols are promptly disabled by the artificer - who summons his Onyx Dog, invests it with a little of his own life force, and then sends it over the symbols - triggering each in a burst of repulsive, rotting light, the poor summoned animal yelping in agony as its energy is consumed, before it is sent back to the statuette.

With the symbols gone, the group carry on south, entering a narrow (10' wide) corridor that seems to turn around on itself heading mainly east. Fresh blood (less than a day old) is spattered along its filthy floor, as if something bleeding out was carried this way, and as the corridor turns northwards, the group see that it ends (in the eastern wall) with another reinforced doorway. The aether in this area is alive with energy so strong that even the Veteran is aware of it. All recognise the filthy tang of daemonic magic, and before the group attempt to open the door (which is covered in grisly blood symbols, fetishes and pieces of various animals), Ormid risks a peek into the magical realm - immediately wishing he had not, for he sees, somewhere close by, a wound in reality being torn open by potent ritual magic; a portal to some dark and unstable realm of raw chaos and malevolence. With horror, the artificer realises that someone is trying to summon a daemon to this plane of existence, and that they are very close to succeeding.

Ormid tells the group what he has sensed, and they discuss whether or not they should go on. As they discuss this, so the air become suffused with the smell of burning blood, and a psychic weight begins to press down on them. Despite their weariness, wounds and misgivings, the group realise that they can't simply stand by and allow a daemon to be called - especially as it is probably being called to deal with their "army" and "invasion".

The door is opened (no wards are found on it beyond the disturbing iconography and daubings - possibly as such magics might disrupt the ritual), and at once the throat-grabbing stink of advanced decay assaults the group. A murky, faintly luminous miasma clouds the air ahead, and the group are barely able to make out the two lumbering figures that stamp and stumble forwards until they are nearly upon them - two more animated Morgorim. These things are slain, and the group move on, soon spotting another blood sigil on the floor, in front of a another door - this time covered in well crafted circles and wards against extraplanar intrusion. By this time, a constant sense of dread and oppressive wrongness presses down on the party. From beyond the door, they can hear a number of unspeakable sounds; two gigorim voices, terrified and raw, coughing out the words to the ritual they are casting (although they sound more than a little horrified by what they are doing), an indistinguishable tearing sound, like hot knives through rotten flesh, and something else - a filthy, black, muttering in a tongue that seems to pollute their minds simply by hearing it - something ancient, malevolent beyond description, and powerful.

The group move to open remove the glyph. However, at this point a horrible, insane scream goes up from beyond the doors, and the air is suddenly wracked by echoes of wild magic and psychic screams. The entire area shakes as if in an earthquake, and the group feel something massive and terrible shift its metaphysical weight into their plane. The screams (those of one of the chanting gigorim) suddenly meld with the darker voice (although the other gigorim can still be heard screaming, his yells almost childlike in their raw terror), and the air is filled with the sound of ripping flesh and snapping bone. Sickened and suddenly worried, the group back off a little - just as the door explodes outwards in a shower of magic and splinters, and something utterly nightmarish, roaring from its multiple mouths, and lashing with its many misshapen limbs, pours through its frame (the glyph triggers uselessly beneath the flabby bulk of the horror).

It takes the artificer a moment to realise what they face, but then the copper drops.

"The daemon has possessed one of its summoners and warped their body for its own use. It's still 'putting them on' so to speak, so is a little less potent at present. Destroy it and send it back before it can truly take over its host".

His comrades need no further encouragement, and launch themselves in towards it. Their epic weapons cleave into the shifting, flame wreathed flesh of the thing, each blow triggering terrible wailing screams from the huge fanged mouths that cover its monstrous form. It responds by spewing a thick unnatural spume of fiery corrosion towards the group, drenching them in consuming abyssal energy, whilst its mere presence is enough to unseat their sanity and stop them riding the escalating winds of battle. Hurt badly, and already close to breaking point, the group almost sob with relief as the thing begins to split open - revealing a maddening weave of flesh, energy and chaos within, the remnants of the possessed gigorim slowly being hacked away to reveal the possessing spirit. Llewellyn darts here and there, the Devastating Momentum chewing chunks off the thing, whilst Ormid stays back, his magics raining down on it viciously, washing the flesh away like horrific paint. However, their victory is not easy, as the thing rips into them with claw studded tentacles, tearing through armour like paper, and sending them smashing into walls. But victory, of a kind is theirs, for suddenly, with a roar of ancient fury, the flesh form is peeled off, and the thing inside is unleashed.

"Glabrezu" gasps Ormid, as he recognises the form of the daemon; a hulking, four-armed behemoth, with the head of a rabid dog and the horns of a goat.

Billowing with magic, the summoned daemon is momentarily stunned by its unexpected transition from flesh back into spirit - and this proves to be its undoing, for before it can even react and bring its incredible powers to bear, the warforged, calling on every last ounce of his strength and resolve, focusing all the accumulated pain and rage he has gathered that day into one attack after another, leaps towards it. The Annihilator seethes with its own power, enhanced up by Ormid's castings, and time and again it strikes the abomination; each blow weakening the magics holding it to this dimension, its form becoming more and more unstable and unreal...until suddenly, with the fifth epic blow, the horror is banished in a burst of chaotic energy and deafening shrieks back to its own nightmare universe.

For a moment it is like the volume has been turned down on reality, as the rage that mantled the group subsides...only the sobbing of the last terrified gigorim filling the tainted, blood tasting air. Fumes, like shadows hover where the daemon was, almost leaving a negative impression of it, as if its evil has been burned into realities skin. However, as that fades, so too do the group come round...and turn their attention to the weeping monster.