Khemed is contacted by Sennefer, who asks him to come back to Old R’Kassi to investigate Nivaos which had suddenly gone quiet. While traveling there they are set upon by Katherine Vera who demands that the party give her the angel. Vera threatens to slit Jane’s throat. Fenrir responds by breaking hers.
The party arrives in Nivaos on December 7th, only to find that the entire town was completely empty. There were no signs of an attack, no natural disaster. It was as though everyone simply vanished. As the party explored the town it appeared as though the townsfolk simply got up and left the city.
This actually turned out to be the case. The party stumbled upon a dying man who could barely see, who told the party that a horrible plague had come to the town. The townspeople were desperate to be cured from their disease. Naturally, the Man in Rags had come through Nivaos but that was not all he had done. Along with every one of his lieutenants, Lucian, Priest, and Therin, he was able to convince the entire town to go to the ziggurat. It was unclear why the Man in Rags really wanted the entire population of Nivaos, but the party knew it wasn’t good. Before setting off, the dying man begged the party to end his suffering. No one knew what the right thing to do was, but Jane understood the man’s desire. With no time to debate on the decision, our heroes followed the trail the people of Nivaos left behind.
When they arrived at the cliff above the ziggurat, the party saw the entire city of Nivaos below them being led by Priest in prayer. It was readily apparent to the party that the prayer was meaningless and only a means of keeping the people busy. Through a variety of scrying and stealth, the party managed to steal a large amount of black onyx from inside the ziggurat, but not without alerting the White Ravens stationed there to the party’s presence.
After hiding the black onyx a ways away the party encountered Lucian and his men. During the battle, Jane discovered that she could perform a literal kiss of death, which she performed right in front of Fenrir, much to his shock. As they fought the party was able to drive Lucian back and defeat his men, but sadly there were plenty of White Ravens to replace them. Knowing what was about to come, Lucian had his men fall back to regroup.
Khemed, using more scrying, was able to see what was going on in the central chamber of the ziggurat. The Man in Rags was in the middle of performing a ritual. Therin was assisting him and had several of the crystal bugs stored. Only this time the bugs had black onyx jammed where the crystal would normally have been. Suddenly it appears as though the bugs have killed the Man in Rags, devouring him whole. The bugs then move onto the several captives in the chamber, infecting them until they stopped moving. Then, a glowing symbol appeared on each of their heads. Every one of them began to move as one, with the same voice. His voice. The Man in Rags was now the Man of Bugs, an endless swarm capable of taking over the bodies of creatures.
Khemed can barely describe the rest of what is happening but he doesn’t have to anymore, the bugs are swarming out of the ziggurat now and attacking the people of Nivaos. What has occurred is not just out of the party’s league, the Man in Bugs is not just a threat to a city or country, but the entire world.
Faced with this monstrous force. Our heroes do the one thing they could do. The one thing anyone could have done.