In the rubble of the tower of Rualiss the Eladrin, you find a tome. The cover is terribly aged, and cracked. It appears to be made of some type of thin leathery material, sown together in small patches with pronounced stitching running in random patterns. It seems unnaturally heavy for its size...as if it is weighed down by something...
The first page begins the tale of The City of Skulls....the city that waits.
Places exist in the Shadowfell where no mortal is meant to tread. These fonts of wickedness have a darkness so profound that setting foot in these realms sees the soul pulled from the body and the flesh seized by ravenous spirits hungry for the warmth of the living. Terrible places all, the City That Waits is among the worst. According to legend, it slowly sinks in an ocean of darkness, its towers rimed with necrotic ice and infested by the damned.
Ages ago, there stood a city named Moil, in a place or world long forgotten. Inhabited by cruel and selfish people, they indulged their wickedness in wanton acts of evil. Such was their iniquity that they even turned to the demon princes for the power they offered. Of those cults dedicated to the abyssal powers, those sworn to Orcus had the greatest influence, and in time they stamped out all other rival sects and cults until they were masters in their unwholesome city. For all their selfish cruelty, excess sickened the Moilians, and little by little, Orcus’s hold weakened as they searched for a more wholesome power to find redemption for their evil ways. No matter their efforts or improved intentions, the demon prince’s grip was too tight and when the people refused to make sacrifices in his name, his anger was unleashed. It took form in a terrible curse, causing the Moilians to fall into a deep sleep. As they slept, Orcus seized the city and flung it into the deepest regions of the Shadowfell, where it was believed that they would succumb to the fell energy there and serve him more loyally in undeath.
As expected, the Moilians died out and awoke as free-willed undead, drifting aimlessly through their now frozen city. Orcus never reclaimed Moil because his attentions were drawn elsewhere with dire upheavals in the Abyss. So the Moilians waited for the return of the master who forsook them, The widespread corruption and undiluted shadow power made the City That Waits an attractive prize for many dark lords and fell agencies, but it was Acererak who thwarted his rivals and claimed the city for himself. Using ready labor, the undead host constructed his Fortress of Conclusion somewhere even deeper in the Shadowfell, where no light shines at all, and only death dwells. Tethering the great citadel to the City That Waits, Acererak ensured he could still influence the mortal world and thus hatch his sinister plans. So Moil waits still, the last tattered remnants of the ancient people shuffling about as their city decays around them and new forces lay claim to the sinking towers and the spinning minarets that, on occasion, break free to tumble into the void overhead. It is a place of chill, horror, and danger, but, rumor suggests, it is also a place where great magic lies in wait to be reclaimed by those with the courage to seize it.
Orcus laid a heavy curse on the Moilians—a curse they must bear still. However....a new power is rising.
The next chapter begins a story of adventurers making their way to this foul city. They are invited by their "hosts" and promised great riches and power if they survived the tomb. The would be adventurers have been many and you see a list of names several hundred pages long...you presume these are the names of the adventurers that have tried to best the tomb and fallen short. As you look at the last page, 5 more names appear magically at the bottom and a new page appears...ready for more foolhardy heroes to add their names to the ever growing list.
As you turn the last page, a small piece of paper falls out to the ground. It appears to be a hand written note, torn at the left edge, as if it was once a part of a journal.
The lettering is written in red and it reads:
We entered that accursed tomb with the welcome of its
foul attendants, each smiling and offering whispers of
encouragement. Into the blackness strode five foolhardy
adventurers and yet only I walked out alive. The tomb claimed
the first, when eager Rillian stepped boldly and foolishly into darkness. Khasta sprung a wicked trap and died in the blink of an eye. Algrum stepped into a portal and I can only presume he died, for the sounds of his screaming echoed all around us. And Phillip, poor Phillip, crumbled to dust by I know not what.
I escaped with my body intact, but I can’t say the same for my mind. The tomb’s horrors haunt me still. Acererak, cursed lich, awaits my death and when I die, he’ll steal my soul as he did those
companions I left behind in that evil place. Know this: Seek
not the Tomb of Acererak for there are easier ways to die.