The Blessing of the Ancestors is a ritual conducted by Sun Shamans of the Sklar-Quah to bring the recipients to the notice of a closely allied spirit in order to seek advice concerning a current quandary or event. The information isn’t imparted by the contacted spirit, but rather from the realm of spirits—the spirit contacted merely serves as a conduit for this information.
The ritual itself takes about two hours to prepare—to the outside observer, it looks like little more than a rhythmic droning chant by the acting Sun Shaman. Those who wish to partake in the blessing seat themselves in a circle around the Sun Shaman and his focus fire (a small campfire) so that they are each touching another, forming an unbroken ring of flesh and bone.
The ritual began two hours before sunrise so it would conclude around at the break of dawn. The Sun Shaman chose the upper tier of Bolt Rock to perform the ritual, and the entire Flameford tribe accompanied them to watch, silently and respectfully, as the ritual progressed.
The shaman began by recounting the legends of the tribe and the heroics and wisdom of the ancestors in a sing-song voice, shifting after 10 minutes into wordless droning and rhythmic chanting. This continued for two hours, after which the Sun Shaman slumped and the spirit to be contacted rose from the smoke of his focus fire to address the participants.
As Zellara rose from the smoke, her form coalesced and she recognized the PCs with a smile. She greeted them each by name, and then said that she had a message for them about their goal. But before she delivered this message, she would like to perform a Harrowing for them.
Much like the previous harrowings, a table manifested before her and the harrow deck dances between her hands as she laid the cards on the table for interpretation.
The Betrayal: it foretells that one of the PCs’ allies will betray them before they reach their goal. Yet to abandon an ally one suspects will betray them could lead to an even greater peril.
The Dance: Zellara grows grim and revealed that the card represents herself and that there may come a point in the near future where she may have to leave the party.
The Eclipse: This card represents Zon-Kuthon, the lord of darkness. It represents the
many undead that wait for the PCs in Scarwall. The dual nature of the eclipse symbolizes that the agents of Zon-Kuthon can both help and hinder the PCs, and that perhaps this duality is inevitable.
The Keep: This card symbolizes Scarwall; it represents a destination the PCs must seek out.
The Tyrant: This card represents Kazavon. It symbolizes his current influence over Ileosa.
Wisdom will be important in your immediate future, and that bolstering yourselves against
death magic and the undead would be a good move.
As Zellara finished the Harrowing, she looked to the PCs again and explained that she had a tale to tell them. Without further explanation, she began to sing, her voice clear and haunting.
Fate of steel—Serithtial
Her cage for years sustained
Four enthralled in lost Scarwall;
Undead to keep her chained.
A spirit first, red war his thirst
Still stands at post of old;
A second foe, infernal soul
Waits high in tower cold.
In kennel’s grime third bides his time
Then vents his killing breath.
And on a stone ’mid ash and bone,
The final dreams of death.
The spirits worn and battletorn
And locked in their damnation,
The chained one’s hold at last grows old
And ushers in salvation.
Yet hope remains amid the chains
When blade’s stone cage has crumbled,
Friends to dread and the death of the dead,
Keys to Kazavon humbled.
As she finished her song, Zellara smiled again, although this time her smile seemed somewhat sad or bittersweet. Each PC felt a sudden upsurge in their souls as the spirits of the dead infused them with energy to aid them—even hundreds of miles away, the cruelty and evil of the undead within Scarwall are a blot in the spirit world, and the spirits sought victory as much as the heros. The Shoanti stood amazed as the ritual concluded and Zellara faded into darkness. Finally Chief Ready Klar broke the awestruck silence. “Truly these Friends of the Sun are blessed by the ancestors. They walk with the spirits and bear their mark. They honor us with their presence and friendship. As they go forth to battle the evil that has plagued these lands of ash for many score generations, they go with the power of the Sklar-Quah. They shall go forth with the power of Father Sun in their hands.” The sudden influx of spiritual energy gave each PC two additional benefits to aid them in their trials within Scarwall, as detailed below.
Infused Weapon and Armor: The spirit world infuses one weapon, suit of armor, or shield owned by each of the PCs (even if the item in question is not present at the blessing). If the PC chooses a weapon, it gains the undead bane weapon quality. If the PC chooses armor or shield, the chosen protection gains the ghost touch armor quality.
Infused Soul: The next time the PC fails a saving throw against a death effect, that effect is negated but the PC is stunned for one round as the spiritual energies in his soul are burnt away. This protection can save each PC only once from a death effect.