We read though elder Varis’ tome to learn about the nature of our opposition. Or rather, I read through it, while the others experienced various levels of denial, nausea, trauma, confusion, or weird embarrassment (in Gareth’s case), regarding recent events and the contents of the journal. In all fairness to the team, the contents were quite disturbing, and gleaning any significant comprehension of the more theoretical portions is probably impossible for a sane mind.
Varis’ story was essentially one of a man led astray for the best possible reasons. By the end of the Arcana wars, a group called the Spiral Spire (entirely too similar to the site found beneath Lumeria for coincidence) had striven so hard to extract power from beyond our reality, that it had unleashed the Maelstrom and initiated the consumption of our world by the Abyss. In struggling against it, Varis had secretly begun to study the nature of the the Spiral Spire’s alien inspiration. Studied them altogether too well.
By some means, as yet undetermined, and probably not worth pursuing, Varis’ had made contact with an alien entity of the Far Realms. As he learned from it, it learned him enough to master him. He learned that the creatures of its realm, and realms like it, had consumed everything in their realm of origin. Starved for energy, life, and whatever else they could consume, they sought more from other realms. Including our own cosmos. However, the order of our realm is inimical to them. They cannot truly abide here for any length of time. Knowing this, they sought to shatter our cosmos and bring it down to a more digestible and survivable level of disorder for themselves.
To accomplish their aims, they crafted a shard and passed it into our Cosmos where a god discovered it, and fell from grace into destructive madness. Wielding that shard, the mad god used it to infect the Elemental Chaos, to form the paradox that is the Abyss. Beings spawned thereby became corrupted Primordials, Aberrations, and Demons. All made war upon the gods. War on that scale shattered the previous order of our Cosmos, known then as the Great Wheel, into the more disordered state we experience today. Gods now inhabit realms of the Astral Sea above the Primes which reside above the Elemental Chaos, which lays above/around the Abyss. Apparently even the gods themselves were unable, or unwilling, to destroy the mad god. Instead, they banded together to imprison it in the prime, using the god forged chains. Only one chain remains intact.
Over time, Varis’ alien master forced him to construct a Tesseract. A permanent gateway/portal/rift between its alien realm and our own. Varis was still able to resist it in part, for he constructed wards around it to seal it in. Recently he had an ever greater time resisting the compulsions of his master, and so was no longer able to maintain the wards against its incursions. I could not discern how to unmake the Tesseract, and it appeared that attempts to destroy it through naked force would simply rend it open.
Working with Oli, we were able to reconstruct the process for maintaining the wards. We also found special permanent chalks which could be used to redraw altered wards to restore them. Potent chalks of residuum, the workings drawn by these become permanent. The room of the Tesseract proved to match exactly the area of deeply wrong arcana I had perceived before we fought Varis.
Studying the energies being released from that room, it was hard to predict when it might burst open. Perhaps hours, perhaps days. We decided not to gamble on a longer duration and readied ourselves outside each door. The room was initially unoccupied, however the center of it was clearly a place of wrongness. Five smaller regions were scattered in the room. Each a place where the warding had been broken by the warping of the fabric of reality upon which the wards were drawn. Oli moved in and expertly fixed a broken area of warding. A being made of tentacles and eyes, or perhaps eyes on tentacles, emerged from the central rift and assaulted us with a bewildering variety of rays. It also wrenched open another breach in the wards.
The battle was a long and difficult one. The creature drained us of vitality to heal itself, and continually sought to wrench open new breeches in the warding. After sealing one ward, with great difficulty, I resorted to redisrupting it, over and over, by willing visions of pure order into its mind while the others assaulted it. Oli bravely worked to seal the wardings, until finally Llirra ran in, borrowed the chalk from Oli, and redrew the final ward using some inspiration from her deep understanding of the nature of life itself.
After making certain all the wards were complete and precise, we repaired to Varis’ office to make further plans with Altrus and Cathus. Cathus was interested in returning with us to Vergence, whereas Alrus wished to seek out other survivors of his people. They agreed to work to give them warning regarding the potential dangers of the sarcophagi. No one knew if they had been visited by Varis in the past and possibly been subject to alien incursions. Based on my father’s report of a having found me at a facility under some sort of attack, I worry that they may have all fallen in a fashion similar to this facility. I did not state that concern aloud.
As we were preparing to send warnings and gather materials for departure to warn Hestavar about the threat here, proximity alarms sounded. We went up through the base to find it had been penetrated by a significant portion of the angelic hosts of Hestavar. They imperiously began questioning us. I congratulated them on their good intentions, but informed them that they were approximately a half an hour too late. Fortunately for them, we had already resolved the most immediate and dire aspects of the current situation.
Oli did not react well to their imperious manner, her nerves being frayed from the current situation, and the somewhat rough handling the group had previously experienced at the hands of the authorities of Erathis. She over informed them regarding the nature of the threat and got herself silenced for blasphemy. We were summarily placed under house arrest in quite exquisite accomodations at well secured inn in Hestavar. The angels watched us as we rested. None of my team had come through the ordeal entirely intact. All of them were in various disturbed emotional states. The angels impassively gave no recognition of my counter observation. I meditated upon them, what to do about these monstrous aliens, their infected pet imprisoned god, and the excellent view of the Astral Sea from our window.
-Captain Keffin Balnor