Aug 082012

Earlier in my journal entry on the Fissure of Woe, I mentioned the requirements needed to enter the gods’ realms are steep. Finding enough skilled adventurers willing to enter the Mists is a challenge in itself. It’s no surprise that mortals shy away from the land of the dead. Through my connections in a guild, I persuaded seven individuals to accompany me into the Underworld and explore every section accessible. Elwin, Selenium, Dark One, Magic D., Bunny S., Solorian and Mini S.T. grouped up by Grenth’s statue in the Temple of Ages before giving the Voice of Grenth our offering to enter his domain.

A lost soul cried out to us as we entered into the Mists. It was trapped in this chamber by the surrounding monsters, and pleaded with us to kill the grasping darkness and terrorweb dryders. He said he was trying to get to the Hall of Judgment to be judged by Grenth.

This was trickier said than done. The lost soul failed to mention the other horrible monsters that wanted to kill us. Bladed aataxe, dying nightmares, and skeletons banded together to stop us. Later on we learned that these tough skeletons were minions of Dhuum. The previous god of death, Dhuum, was in constant battle with Grenth to reclaim the Underworld. Their conflict is not good news for my exploration of this realm, but hopefully I can uncover a great deal of it with the help of my friends.

Hunting down terrorweb dryders brought us to a narrow corridor which led into a larger room and a monument to Grenth.

The Reaper of the Labyrinth appeared before us just as the last terrorweb dryder was slain. Like the Eternals in Fissure of Woe, the Reapers of the Underworld ask for assistance with various tasks. Out of the three tasks he mentioned, we decided to tackle the seemingly most important one: Restoring Grenth’s Monuments.

Throughout the Underworld, terrorweb dryders have imprisoned Grenth’s Reapers, causing a disconnect in power between the god and this realm of death. We needed to travel to several areas, kill the terrorweb dryders, and ensure that the newly rescued Reapers came to no harm.

Heading towards the Forgotten Vale, the Reaper of the Labyrinth suggested we also escort a few souls on our way. It didn’t seem like a difficult request at first, but we had to keep the souls safe from mindblade spectres, bladed aataxe, and more of skeletons of Dhuum.

The lost souls stopped as we approached a village run by Mayor Alegheri. I was relieved that we didn’t have to bring them too far.

Just up ahead of the mayor, we found ourselves in a large battle with skeletons of Dhuum and grasping darkness. These skeletons were given a significant amount of power by Dhuum. Unlike other 2creatures in the Underworld, there is very little you can do to protect yourself against their deadly attacks.

Freeing the Reaper of the Forgotten Vale from the terrorweb dryders, we learned that malicious spirits were brought here in the reaper’s absence. The vale is a sanctuary for gentle spirits that cannot defend themselves, and during the disconnect with Grenth, a few wrathful spirits settled in.

We were asked to kill the wrathful spirits and ensure the Reaper and ghostly villagers would not be harmed. At the end of our task,2 a black widow spider appeared. I tamed the creature and tucked it away in my backpack so it would not come to harm during our exploration. I can’t wait to fully train it and discover its talents for combat!

Next, we headed for the Twin Serpent Mountains to free its Reaper. The mountains create a great vantage point for looking back over the Forgotten Vale.

Obsidian behemoths and a few charged blackness populate the Twin Serpent Mountains. The behemoth’s shiny, metallic skin caught my attention. After we killed one, I tried to salvage the skin, but could only recover its jawbone intact.

Atop the mountains we could see structure in the distance. Perhaps this is the Hall of Judgment the lost soul mentioned when we entered the Underworld. Beneath our gaze, we caught a better look at the large remains of some ancient creature.

Throughout the Twin Serpent Mountains, two different colored serpents (for which the region is named after,) can be found burrowing in and out. Not much is known about them, and during our visit we could not detect any movement. None of the Reapers would enlighten us on why they are here in the Underworld.

This Reaper of the Twin Serpent Mountains asked us to defend him from the Slayer, another vicious creature bent on severing Grenth’s influence from the Underworld. The Reaper forgot to mention the small army of terrorweb dryders behind our boney target, but we still made short work of them. Our reward for aiding the Reaper was another black widow spider. (As it turned out, this was the reward for restoring each monument.)

Leaving the region, we looked below at the Spawning Pools on our way out. The pools appeared to be filled with a black substance, probably tar. It’s not something we looked forward to walking through.

Entering the Chaos Planes soon gave us a new appreciation for life. Many ghosts roam the area, and if you killed a banished dream rider, many more of their mindblade spectre allies suddenly appeared. If we killed two banished dream riders, our group would be overwhelmed by the amount of new enemies. In addition to this deadly problem, skeletons of Dhuum joined in the fray whenever a large group of mindblade spectres appeared.

Rescuing this Reaper of the Chaos Planes from a small group of terrorweb dryders was the least of our worries. The task it demanded nearly killed all of us.

Storms on the Chaos Planes are a remnant from Dhuum’s rule over the Underworld. Hoping to take advantage of this Reaper’s weakened state, Four Horsemen of Dhuum rode toward us. The position of this Reaper and the horsemen posed a problem. If we guarded one of the two possible entries, the other would be left open for attack. Bunny S. offered to use her spirits as a decoy on one side, while we defended the other and killed two of the horsemen along with their terrorweb allies. Then, we rushed to Bunny’s side and killed the final two horsemen before the Reaper of the Chaos Planes could be harmed.

North of the Chaos Planes, we entered into the Bone Pits to free the next Reaper of Grenth. With the narrow passages leading up to the monument, we couldn’t help but bump into many dead collectors and threshers that inhabit this region.

During this Reaper’s imprisonment, many spirits were cast into a pit of torment by Dhuum’s terrorweb dryders. Only a few spirits could be rescued, and it was our duty to protect them as they made the journey to this Reaper of the Bone Pits. They needed to be transported to the Hall of Judgment to receive their fair judgment from Grenth.

Waves of terrorweb dryders tried to stop us by snatching the ghosts up and eating them, but we were quick to deal a fatal blow whenever they tried.

Crossing the Chaos Planes again in order to reach the Spawning Pools, we discovered it was filled with terrorweb dryders. Tar that fills the Spawning Pools made it difficult to rush towards them and avoid their meteor showers.

Clearing the Spawning Pools of all terrorweb dryers, the Reaper of the Spawing Pools demanded that we slay their queen. So we slowly walked out through the tar the way we came, and entered combat with the terrorweb queen and her minions. Our victory was swift.

Bringing news of our victory to the Reaper, he said our actions bought Grenth a bit of time to re-establish a connection to the Underworld. It sounded as if killing the queen was a temporary solution. If Grenth is having such a hard battle in the Underworld, he should be inviting larger groups in to join the battle. The actions of a small band of adventurers surely cannot be enough.

The Reaper of the Spawning Pool teleported us back to the Reaper of the Labyrinth, and we accept his final mission. Powerful terrorweb dryders known as the Keepers of Souls have enchanted aataxe, giving them invincibility. He asked us to defeat the Keepers of Souls.

Eliminating these unwanted guests proved difficult. The Keepers of Souls hid behind their enchanted aataxe and terrorweb minions. If we rushed toward them at the wrong moment, they could easily block us and we could do nothing to kill the aataxe. It took a lot of careful planning and use of the Reaper’s power to teleport us to the monuments throughout the Underworld, but we finally managed to kill all six Keepers of Souls.

One region of the Underworld was left unexplored: the Ice Wastes. We headed to the entrance and encountered new foes: smite crawlers. Similar in appearance to the Crystal Desert scarabs, these pests cast smiting magic to made our final journey especially painful.

Killing off the last terrorwebs, this Reaper of the Ice Wastes asked us to protect King Frozenwind, leader of Grenth’s ice elemental forces. Due to the terrorweb’s assault on the Underworld, many of Grenth’s ice elementals have been destroyed. King Frozenwind could summon more allies, but during his ritual, more terrorweb dryders would seize the opportunity to kill him.

It wasn’t readily apparent where the terrorweb dryders would arrive from, so we split our group to cover more ground. After several persistent waves of attacks, the ice king was able to complete the ritual and we followed him to the Hall of Judgment.

Arriving at the Hall of Judgment, King Frozenwind was alarmed to find that Dhuum was about to break free. He asked us to fight the old god into his prison, with the help of Grenth’s Reapers.

I certainly didn’t anticipate this. No one in my group was prepared for this challenge. It also seems to me that it is only a matter of time before he breaks free again. Surely us mortals cannot be asked to guard against Dhuum forever. What does Grenth expect to do when Dhuum breaks free?

Initially we tried to damage Dhuum, but quickly had to give up. It was disheartening to travel all the way to the Underworld, free all of the Reapers, restore all of their monuments, and help with a few tasks just to fail now.

If Dhuum is such a problem, and will eventually escape from the Underworld, why do the other gods not care? I’d think that Grenth would care enough to either stop Dhuum himself or get the other gods to help him. To a mortal such as myself, Grenth gives the appearance of an uncaring god or an incompetent one. I hesitate to write such words, but the god of death should not hope for the actions of a few adventures to eliminate his problem.

Prized Spoils: 4 golden items, 2 globs of ectoplasm
Friends: Elwin L., Selenium I., Silent One D., Magic D., Bunny S., Mini S.T., Solorian D.