The Fall of the Citadel
With some unknown army poised a mere hundred or so yards from Belthaar’s western gate, Yenyu, Coroebus, and Amon continue to wait and watch the spectacle unfolding around them in the market district — Hundreds of Keepers of Ershkigal clashing with the city-watch and the garrison of Belthaar at the gates of the Citadel. Arrows can bee seen raining down into inhumanly silent Keepers as they assail the massive wooden gates that separate the palace from the lower city. Amon from his perch on the roof of a nearby bank witnesses the Keepers falling under the withering hail of missiles, but also notes a circle of Keepers gather around a lone figure in the dimness of the torchlight square below him. Faint sounds of some incantation begin to rise on the wind and some seconds later a massive blast of thunder fills the air and knocks him backward. When he looks up, all that remains of the citadel’s once proud gates is a collapsing ruin of stone and bodies flying through the chill night air. The remnant of the Ershkigal cultists swarm over the rubble and resume their assault on the palace.
Curious, Amon clambers down the from the roof of the bank and pads along the battlements of the inner city wall and ascends the citadel walls to get a better vantage of what the Keepers are doing. When he reaches the top he arrives just in time to witness the spectacle of three great lions launching themselves into a score of Keepers who are rounding the corner into the western gardens of the grounds. Roars fill the air and bodies of Keepers can be seen flying around, but eventually the Keeper’s numbers overwhelm the lions and flashing scimitars rise and fall cutting them down. Done with their bloody business the Keepers quickly batter the palace doors open and pour into breach disappearing from view. Amon decides that there might be more to be seen at the rear of the palace and creeps through the shadows and eventually climbs the palace walls to get a good look at what is inside a 4th floor window that is ajar. To his chagrin he climbs the masonry only to be spotted by the King’s harem and a burly eunuch that charges him. In his haste to climb down he loses his grip and falls 60 feet landing heavily and awkwardly in some shrubs that barely manage to break his fall. He struggles to stand and realizes that his arms have gone completely dead. Seconds later he hears a rustle in the bushes near the citadel wall and spots a face emerging from a well-concealed trap door — a poorly disguised nobleman and his consort sneaking out of the city? Amon staggers towards them and introduces himself. Taken aback the man demands that Amon help him for the sake of the city and for the sake of King Simshattar. Amon assents and the trio exit the citadel through a postern door set into the clifftop gate of the citadel. After several minutes of descent they reach the bottom of the escarpment, but are immediately surrounded by soldiers of Ghezath and taken into custody.
Meanwhile, Yenyu and Coroebus notice a new commotion in the streets near the city’s prison. Screams of terror and cries of confusion can be heard echoing in the distance, from the eastern part of the city. From their perch near the Lion Gate the source of the tumult soon reveals itself. A beast something like a cross between an eel and badger the size of a small house undulates up the street. It wriggles and writhes on four long tentacles as thick as a man’s torso and seems drawn to the path of destruction left in the Keepers’ wake. It passes by them without noticing and proceeds toward the citadel.
Setting aside the threat posed by the mass of figures outside the city wall for now. Yenyu and Coroebus follow after the creature at a very healthy distance as it moves through the ruins of the citadel gate and creeps into the palace. With the beast inside the palace they ultimately decide to brave getting closer and ascend the steps to the great bronze doors of the palace. When they peer within the sight of a great battle greets them. The last dozen or so Keepers and their High priest are locked in battle with the crawling corruption spawned that looks like it was vomited from the deepest pit of Hell.
Choking down their fear and feeling their options about to run out, Yenyu and Coroebus quickly decide to throw in their lot with the Keepers and attack the writhing horror. The High priest utters a sorcery of destruction and rends the creature. Gouts of ichor spray over the polished marble tiles and the enraged the creature flails at the Keepers cutting them down like wheat and crushing them in its iron grip. In short order all that remains of the Keepers is their lone High Priest, now held fast in the vise-like grip of the badly wounded creature’s tentacle. Seizing the opportunity, Yenyu and Coroebus strike an opportunistic blow and fall the beast.
Dazed and bewildered by what has transpired, the duo begin to explore the eerily silent palace. Floor by floor they survey the building hoping to find some sign of the sapphire Sadmimmon/Ikhtanbu has sent them to retrieve. With few rooms left to explore the figure of Sadimimmon suddenly appears and interrogates them in Ikhtanabu’s strange, raspy and nearly disembodied voice. The shade seems consumed with its search and barely even registers their presence. The two look at each other and decide that now might be the time to abandon their association with the single-minded revenant and quietly and quickly exit the palace and make their way towards a slightly ajar postern gate set into the Citadel’s North Gate.
After several minutes of descent they reach the bottom of the escarpment, but are immediately surrounded by soldiers of Ghezath and taken into custody . . .