Spoiler alert: if you plan to play The Evils of Illmire, don’t read this!
A blow has been dealt to the nameless cult of Illmire with their figurehead, the vile and evil sorcerer Rancidius decapitated and the cultists kicked out of the Temple of the Luminal Star (at least temporarily). The perpetrators of this heroic act, our merry and extremely violent band of cult hunters: Anistor, Evalore, Gravik and Kristos have only a short time to act, for the cultists are raising a clamour in the town and the party can hear lots of shouting, questioning and calls to action.
There is one room in the temple as yet unexplored. A doorway is hidden by a tarpaulin covered in demonological symbols scrawled in blood. The surviving cultist prisoner is terrified of what lies beyond the portal and our band rationalise that whatever the cult are scared of may be of help to them. The tarpaulin lifted aside they discover a chamber with a pedestal at it’s centre. Around the pedestal are the skulls of sacrifice victims arranged as though designed to ward some power. On the pedestal is a mace, the Luminal Star the temple is named after; this must be an item of true good to cause the cultists so much consternation. Kristos reaches out to pick up the mace, but his his hand is thrown back forcefully by some unseen power causing him some damage. The others all try, reasoning the mace can only be carried by someone who is truly good and pure of heart. None of them are successful, all suffering the same consequence. Realising the mace is important and knowing time is against them the mace is carefully scooped up in a sack and stuffed in a backpack.
Outside a crowd has gathered and a heavy hand thumps the doors of the temple. The rational voice of Lord Crellmont pleads with the party; they must stop this madness, he considers himself responsible for sending them on this path. Believing the old mayor to have been compromised in some way they ignore him and make good their escape, bringing the cult’s captives with them. Realising now is not the time to deal with the terror in the crypt our heroes make good their escape, avoiding detection and leaving the ill fated place behind for a short while at least. The loggers camp is perhaps the nearest safe haven and so they head for there, arriving in the early hours of the morning.
After a good rest the party decide they must head back to Illmire and at least from a distance see what has transpired. Perhaps under the cover of darkness they will be able sneak in again and try to free Lord Crellmont from whatever has caused his change of heart. It is early afternoon before they set off once more. Passing nearby one of the many farmsteads that litter the fields outside the town our adventurers see a group of six locals watching them closely. The apparent leader of the group steps forward and asks who the characters are as they have heard there was trouble in Illmire the previous night and there is a reward for a group of dangerous bandits who murdered the priest. The line of questioning and the conversation in general turns a bit dark and threatening, so Kristos loosens the Tetractis Blade in its scabbard slightly and sees a blue glow, a sure sign of the presence of evil. It is inevitable that combat will follow, but this time it is swift and no less brutal with all but two of the locals killed (bear in mind, they’re not just randomly killing locals, they were getting strong cultist vibes). The two only survived as they had tried to run and were caught in a sleep spell cast by Evalore. As they are about to murder the two Anistor notices something moving in the ear of one. A closer inspection reveals something in the woman’s ear canal, and deft use of a pair of fine nosed tweezers extracts a repulsive worm like creature. As the thing is extracted, thin tendrils trail behind it stretching back into the woman’s ear, but eventually the repulsive thing is removed and squashed under foot. When the woman is awoken she is confused and shows relief that her nightmare is over. Her last clear memory is of visiting the temple… the rest has been a blur.
Things now start to make sense. The party already knew the cult had some kind of mind control or other influence going on and these worms must be the method to achieve that. Checking the other ‘local’, he didn’t appear to have any such worm in his ear, and identified as a true cultist he is quickly despatched. The bodies are buried and a clarity of purpose emerges. Lord Crellmont, Captain Frey and perhaps others who have these parasitic worms can be saved and once more our heroes head back towards Illmire as the sun sets, steely determination in their eyes.