We decided to hunker down in a frozen tenement building. During the night, a strange shadow nails a black sheet over the door, and the Black Hart’s frightening whisper’s harry us through the night.
The next day, we carry on to a place where even our magical light struggles to penetrate. Beyond this, we come upon a large group of armed warriors who are stood frozen in formation. We pass them, and near them are piles of frozen corpses which begin to glow revealing a great throne, upon which sits the Black Hart.
It rises and speaks to us, claiming that Kiekus’s father was killed by the Karmi, who also slayed Kieku’s mother. It speaks of burning Drekki’s home, and having his exile wrought upon him. It speaks of murdering Cusp’s family, and tells us to join him, bringing Ilthaqua the Frozen Lord to the world, and acting as his tools in bringing about a terrible darkness to the world. We spring to the attack, but Cusp and Kieku die. Ulf get’s kissed and turns into an Ilthaquan even after we’ve killed the Black Hart. Ulf, or his Ilthaquan form escape into the dark night.
We find a couple of captives in a cage and a set of stairs behind the throne into the side of the ediface. One of the frozen men, carrying a journal regarding a last defense against a black horror which came over the land. Cusp recalls that Ilthaquan are children of the Great Old One and they can infect people with a psychosis that changes them into Ilthaquan. The Ilthaquan kiss quickly curses you, and changes you into one of them. This makes us believe that Ulf is now cursed and insane and very hard to recover to a normal state of mind. Only a wish or miracle would return him to normal.
We climb to the top of what turns out to be a miles high tower at the top of which has black gemstones around the top of an alter, set into depressions and carved with sacrificial grooves. A holy symbol of Ilthaqua is carved into the alter as well. The stones, it seems are a critical component of a nefarious ceremony, so we remove them and make our way back down to the base of the tower.
We return to the caravan, and continue traveling across the crown of the world. Uksaker comes too, but is catatonic. We return to the road, and travel about 450 miles and find that the caravan is building up a retinue of undead which follow it. We make a stand at a place called the Dead Man’s Dome, which is rumored to be haunted by a benign ghost. The undead fall in to attack us, when there is a keen wail, a flash and for a moment we see the Black Hart’s visage in the cloud. We are set upon by an undead Mammoth and Hoarfrost spirits and during the fight, a ghostly figure attacks the mammoth and we prevail against the filthy undead. The ghost who helped us reveals to us a terracotta warrior talisman, and proves the legend of this place true.
We travel onwards and descend from the high ice, coming to the village of Ulangorn. One of the many stops on the Path of Argoni. We stop and trade for a while, before leaving. We pass through the Demogorgi forest and encounter a hideous spider. We kill it and continue and come to the lands of the Osman Confederation surrounding Lake Boreem and continue to the town of Jagerin, which stands along the Path of Argoni. The people here are not particularly interested in our arrival so we don’t stay here long. The Path of Argoni comes to the Wall of Heaven mountains, a place called Alterzood, the last pass. The temperature drops and ominous storms menace the horizon. The mountain passes rage with avalanches, and the Black Hart’s menacing visage grows in the storm. We believe the Black Hart has manifested in the blizzards. Koya suggests we find a necroplis sacred to Desna, which should be hidden in the mountains somewhere and offer us a way through.
We travel with the Morozko’s on our heels, before we find the underground passage to the necropolis.