Many have died in the Horn over the last century and that level of death leaves a scar. In one room in particular, a great deal of evil was annihilated in a single flash of eldritch fire. Now that same evil, that same malevolence bound together and made manifest as a psychic imprint returns to the room it was destroyed to seek living flesh to exact revenge upon. This Ashen Nightmare appears amidst the charred and twisted metal slag that remains from Leges’ successful mission to merge his soul with that of a fire elemental via a great machine and begins to wander the level looking for prey. It wanders past the Alchemical Golem and ignores the spiders and soon finds itself in the newly converted Ekklesian chapel which Leges has constructed for worship services.
As it takes this room in, the nightmare hears the quiet murmuring of a man and, gliding silently through doors and walls, opens the final door to find Credo, Leges’ cohort and Primary Bishop of Ekklesia, standing wringing his hands as he plans the next order of service.
The man is taken completely by surprise as the nightmare sinks wretched ethereal claws into his flesh, wounding him terribly and imparting a viciously cruel curse which plagued the cleric with waking nightmares of the creatures final moments all those decades ago.
Credo runs for his life, flinging himself into the teleportation throne and reciting the command word “RAH”, thus escaping to the second level where Leges is. Yet the nightmare is right behind him and recites the word it heard the disturbed human use.
Fatigued and laden with medium armour, Credo runs past Hexor and Vexor who stand watch over the throne room, screaming at the top of his lungs for his master.
Vexor engages the intruder and discharges his electrical breath but the nightmare dodges it. Vexor takes a swipe at the nightmare with a claw but being incorporeal, the attack does nothing.
The nightmare ignores the two outsiders and soars deliberately for the fleeing cleric. Credo slams into the large double doors and as he moves to open one, he turns round to see the horrific visage of the Ashen Nightmare bare down on him, and with a great spray of blood, Leges is struck hard and hits the flagstones, dead. Finding it impossible to combat the Daemons (and they having similar difficulties), the Nightmare drifts through the wall and disappears. By the time the party beam in seconds later, it is gone. Leges screams and curses in mourning for his bishop, challenging the undead creature to reveal itself, but his fury is answered only by the uncaring looks of his compatriots.
Meanwhile, Jurak the Treeant has banded together six Consorts of Calliaste as well as Calliaste Shanda herself, a Lillend and an Azata. Upon the activation of the Horn, Jurak called his friend, the Lillend through the trees and she has flown to his aid.
As the band step into the caves, two consorts spy a set of two locked gates of iron bars. Going to the northern gate, both attempt to pick the lock unsuccessfully and fall victim to a cultivation of brown mould that hurts them slightly. As the consorts scout further, they come across a collection of rubble blocking easy access into a chamber containing a sickly jungle of bracken and mouldering, rotten forest. They report back to Jurak who stands appalled at the description.
Moving into the body of the cave, some consorts spot the first pit trap and easily disable it. Past the pit, a collection of four assassin vines are disturbed but the bard, Calliaste, speaks to them in plant with a spell and convinces the vines to stand down. The flora, lacking minds, care only for food, making a confrontation inevitable. While the battle rages, one of the consorts is claimed, throttled. However, the vines are hacked to pieces and the battered party continue.
Juraek is forced to turn back after discovering the passages have become too narrow and so Calliaste leads the band further in. It does not take them long to reach the Boggard village.
Gathering on the edge of the village, Lillend flies into the air and hangs twenty feet above the ground to gain a better view when suddenly, a boggard leaps from a hut and releases a horrible and incredibly loud croak, affecting 4 consorts with fear. Two shaken consorts attempt an attack but they are both feeble in the light of this sudden shock. Boggards begin pouring out of the huts. Some of the consorts become even more unnerved and flee, the boggards pursuing and dealing strike after strike, their accuracy a testament to the Horn.
Meanwhile, the Azata grabs a boggard in her tail, grappling and constricting him as she rises higher. Her grip tightens like an anaconda’s coils and soon, the little frogman’s body can stand it no longer and his entrails explode from his soft belly and spill out onto the floor below. With her cohorts in retreat from fear, she become invisible and flies away. The boggards cheer and only pursue her a little way before turning back, satisfied with their victory.