Into the depths of the Abyss (Wrath of the Righteous)
For decades, demons have ruled the Worldwound. Fearsome fiends of every stripe-their mottled skin harder than iron, teeth like serrated blades, and eyes burning with Abyssal flames-roam the ruined lands that were once known as Sarkoris, leaving their mark wherever they go.
Four crusades have attempted to cleanse the land, but each seems to meet a worse fate than the last. Were it not for the line of magical wards tones along the eastern and southern borders, the demons would have long ago overrun northcentral Avistan and beyond. The Fourth Crusade hasn’t really ended as much as petered out, yet some refuse to accept that. Amid crippling shortages and record lows in morale among the crusaders, the Mendevian war effort teeters on the brink of collapse. Though the demonic occupation of the Worldwound is growing, as is corruption among the crusaders, a dwindling minority of paladins and priests maintain that the Fourth Crusade is still vibrant and alive, and that the turning point in the war is only a few days away. The Fourth Crusade is anything but vibrant, but the crusaders are more right than they know about the approaching turning point in the war. It’s just that the turning point is likely destined to favor the Abyss. One of the greatest weapons arrayed against the crusaders is their own mortal ignorance. The crusaders have long held that it is the inherent disorganization of demonic hordes, coupled with the bolstering wall of the wardstones, that keeps the world safe from the Worldwound. Unfortunately, while a leaderless mass of demons is indeed a bickering tangle of chaotic, directionless violence, the demons of the Worldwound are far from leaderless. Deskari and his demon lord allies do not want merely to wipe out their enemies physically. They want to annihilate their very natures; to destroy what gives them hope. They want their enemies to fall to their own base instincts and wallow in
the countless sins that will, in the end, consign their souls to the Abyss as grist for new demonic life. Only then does Deskari plan to send out the armies of the Worldwound to crush the rest of Golarion.
The corruption that has grown among various crusading companies, knightly orders, and other organizations involved in the war is in large part an unavoidable result of human nature. But over the decades, it’s been subtly nurtured and encouraged by the demons-particularly the secret order of the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth. These cultists of the demon lord Baphomet have infiltrated every maj or group among the crusaders, working at undermining their morale and corrupting purity from within even as the demon host of the Worldwound relentlessly attacks them from without. For a time, the Templars were content to sow seeds of corruption and lay foundations for rebellion and disorder, but D eskari has grown impatient. A hundred years after the death of his old nemesis Aroden, D eskari has set his end game in motion, and Baphomet and his cult are hastening to comply by stepping up their acts of corruption and treachery within the ranks.
Deskari’s greatest minion is, however, no longer strictly mortal. Areelu Vorlesh, architect of the Worldwound on its Material Plane side, completed her transformation from human to half-succubus soon after the Worldwound opened. Since then, she’s focused her efforts on discovering new sources of power for her master. Her greatest discovery was found in a remote location in the Midnight Isles of the Abyss. There, in a cavern below a mostly deserted and forgotten isle called Vazglar, she uncovered a vast deposit of Nahyndrian crystals; dark purple crystals that form from the spilled ichor of murdered demon lords. Areelu discovered a method by which several Nahyndrian crystals could be liquefied and distilled into an elixir capable of infusing those who drink from it with potent mythic power. This was only the first use she devised for these rare and potent crystals. Working with a hierophant cleric of Baphomet named Hepzamirah and a worm that walks blackfire adept named Xanthir Vang, the three managed to forge a f lawless Nahyndrian crystal into a single chisel-one that in theory, when struck against a wardstone, would destroy the stone in a devastating blast.
Areelu chose the wardstone at the city of Kenabres as her target, for it had already been damaged in 4692 AR by Khorramzadeh the Storm King. She brought the balor in on her plan, offering him the honor of using the Nahyndrian chisel on the wardstone-Khorramzadeh ignored his wounded pride at being treated as a lesserranking member of Deskari’s armies for the moment, so pleased was he with the prospect of finishing a job he’d started 2 decades ago. If all worked according to her plan, the destruction of the wardstone would have an unraveling
effect on the others that stood along the Worldwound’s border. The armies of the Worldwound began to mass for a great attack to take advantage of the anticipated failure of the magical barrier.
Orchestrating the precision of such a massive attack took time-and while demons do follow orders when their commanders are fearsome and powerful enough, such tasks are still no small undertakings. Today, everything is in place. A massive invasion force, led by the Storm King himself, is prepared to launch its largest attack in more than 20 years, and the people of Kenabres have no inkling that this day may be their last. Of course, there are complications to the plan. The city of Kenabres is still defended by the ancient silver dragon Terendelev, while back in the Worldwound a renegade succubus named Arueshalae has discovered the secret of the Nahyndrian crystals and is working to subvert Vorlesh’s plan. But it’s the presence of a few heroes of mythic destiny, who happen to be in Kenabres during the Storm King’s attack, that will prove to be the greatest obstacles of all.