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Tim
Posted by the GM
Serpent's Skull
Eando's Tale
After the battle, you make your way carefully back to Saventh-Yhi. Help from the Muse provides relieve to the party and during your well earned rest you are finally able to question Eando in length.

“There’s more happening in Ilmurea than you may realize. The serpentfolk are preparing something big, something that’s a threat not just to those living here in Saventh-Yhi, but to the whole surface world. It has to do with their god, Ydersius, now called the Headless King. Long ago, in the time of Azlant, the serpentfolk had a huge empire—they controlled almost all of the Darklands known as Sekamina. And Ydersius walked among his people on Golarion, a true living god.

“Eventually the serpentfolk set their sights on the surface world, and challenged Azlant for supremacy over all of Golarion. The Azlanti could only fight them to a standstill, until a great hero named Savith led an army into Ilmurea to crush the serpentfolk once and for all. In Ilmurea, Savith faced Ydersius and beheaded him, finally breaking the power of the serpentfolk empire.

“No doubt you’ve noticed that there’s more than one type of serpentfolk— the big, dumb, degenerate brutes and the smart, conniving ones, with magic. In the old days, most of the serpentfolk were of this more powerful, advanced ‘purecaste’—the degenerates were apparently bred only for war. But with Ydersius’s defeat, the serpentfolk empire fell into decline. Most of the purecaste serpentfolk went into a sort of magical sleep or hibernation, while the descendents of the rest eventually devolved into the monstrous degenerates.

“Occasionally, though, a purecaste serpentfolk is still born today. And one of them, a priest of Ydersius called Vyr-Azul, plans to resurrect Ydersius. He’s actually found the god’s skull, and believes that he can reunite the serpent-god’s head and body and restore Ydersius to his former power, heralding a new age, restoring and evolving the serpentfolk, and bringing back their empire of old. If true, this could prove disastrous for us all.

“Scholars say the Azlanti, even at the height of their power, struggled to defeat the serpentfolk while Ydersius walked Golarion. But human civilization isn’t nearly as advanced today. We’re far too fragile and fractured, unprepared for a serpentfolk resurgence. They could wipe out or enslave every living thing in the surface world. At best, we’ll become their slaves. At worst, they’ll keep us in their larders like livestock until they eat us. That’s what happened to the rest of my party when the snakes captured us—all of them, eaten alive.

“But we have an opportunity to avoid that fate. You’ve already proven yourselves by entering the heart of their domain to rescue me. We’ve got to go back down there and stop Vyr-Azul before he brings back Ydersius!”

After hearing Eando’s tale, over the next few nights you are able to ask Eando a few questions.

How do you know all this? “Some I found out from research. The rest I learned while I was captured. During my imprisonment, Vyr-Azul interrogated me. He believed I was scouting for an army—a human army, perhaps their ancient enemy come to stop them. When he realized I was on my own with no chance of escape, he gloated about the new ‘Golden Age’ he would bring about.”

How can we stop him? “Vyr-Azul must have to perform a major ritual to actually resurrect a dead god. If we can slay him or disrupt that ceremony, we can hopefully stop Ydersius from returning.”

Will the ritual even work? Is it possible to bring back a dead god? “Vyr-Azul is convinced it will work. He believes Ydersius was never actually killed, and I’m inclined to believe him. According to the old chronicles, Ydersius wasn’t destroyed. Savith just cut off his head and threw it into a pool of lava, and his body disappeared into the Darklands. It takes a lot more than that to kill a god, apparently.”

When is the ritual going to take place? “Soon, but I don’t know exactly when. I’m guessing that not even Vyr Azul knows. But especially now the pressure’s on him, he’ll hold it just as soon as everything’s ready. There’s no way to know how much time we have, but it’s not going to be much.

Where is Vyr-Azul? “In a place called the Sanctum of Ydersius, probably the most well-guarded place in Ilmurea. It’s a fortress-temple built into the cavern walls outside the city. They never took me there, but I know there’s a whole army inside, and it’s well-shielded with serpentfolk magic, practically impenetrable.”

Can we just infiltrate the Sanctum and kill Vyr-Azul? We rescued you without too many problems. “You were able to rescue me because the serpentfolk weren’t expecting you, and the fortress was staffed at nowhere near full strength. Vyr-Azul knows you’re here now, and since you rescued me, he knows his plans have gotten out. The Sanctum is going to be locked tight, and crawling with serpentfolk.

How do you propose we assault the Sanctum and defeat a whole army of serpentfolk? “I don’t think you can. Not alone anyway. I think the best plan is to try and draw out their forces with your own army. Even an army may not be able to get into the Sanctum by force, but it might just provide enough of a diversion for us to sneak in and stop the ritual. But first, we need a weapon. The morlocks told me of a great weapon used against the serpentfolk in the past, which the ancestor gods hid in a place called the Hunters’ Maze. I didn’t have time to go looking for the weapon myself before I was captured, but the morlocks seemed to think that any attempts to defeat the serpentfolk without this weapon were doomed to failure. Before we go any farther, I think we need to go to the Hunters’ Maze and find this ancient weapon. After that, we can see about building an army.” Eando knows that, according to the morlocks, the Hunters’ Maze is located in the north of Ilmurea in a choked warren of debris and fallen rock.


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