Aboard a small ice floe, our swashbuckling heroes – plus a small party of orcs – sail north from Vorgheim, on the trail of the jarl’s kidnapped daughter. On the voyage, the sun disappears below the horizon and never returns, the cold grows nearly unbearable and there is a close call with a strange ship, black as night, that boards their ice floe but fails to discover them. All the while, Korbin uses scrying to spy on Ylva Vorgsdottir and witnesses the unnatural torments that are befalling her in the Far Thanazian clutches.
The guideposts on their journey are the monuments – horrifying columns made from the frozen dead. Six days later, a horizon appears – a wall of ice, a hundred feet tall, with a temple of black stone perched at its very top. Seeking to get a better view of the surround, our swashbuckling heroes climb their way atop a monument. On the way down, however, the monument activates. Bursting into black, necrotic flame, the monument kills one orc, cripple another and siphons off into the looming temple.
Climbing the decrepit stairway that – according to Korbin’s scrying – Ylva climbed a few days earlier, the pirates arrive at the foot of the temple. Made from sheer obsidian, the only entrance they can find is a circle of strange writing. Some experimentation reveals that a small amount of necrotic energy is required to open a portal and, this done, the characters can step inside.
The temple they discover is deathly quiet, without a trace of sound or motion. The hallways are covered in ghastly skeletal depictions that, when disturbed, come to life. There’s a strange chamber in the temple’s center, surrounded by jars of disgusting offal, to be put to some unknowable purpose. Strange acolytes, tattooed and pierced, hang from hooks in a dormitory. Raw meat is served in the temple’s kitchen and an emaciated acolyte is kept, shackled to an altar, awaiting the sweet release of death.
As they explore the strange temple, they do battle with its skeletal guardians, Nasira too frightened to emerge from the doorway. They also encounter two acolytes – one preparing food, another shackled to the altar – and interrogating and slaying both, learn some vital intelligence. This temple is called Naznoto, one of many erected through Far Thanaz. The frost giantess is kept below and the only way to reach below is to head upward, to the observatory. What’s more, they learn that the Far Thanazians worship death as the one true god, the disciple they slay muttering the following shibboleth:
“Death is god. Death is dominion. Death is everlasting.”