Immediately following the Shadow Portal ritual that begins the adventure, the group finds themselves in complete darkness, standing at arms-length proximity, floating atop a small barge. The barge floats on sea water that stretches endlessly in every direction. Any form of divination to determine their whereabouts will place them “on the border of the Shadowfell”.
Note: No Magical Lighting will function here.
They may spend some time fumbling about in the dark. Attempts to swim or paddle the barge will prove fruitless but not dangerous.
If five or more minutes of total blindness pass, read aloud the following:
From the darkness, the voice of a female child whispers, “Curse the darkness.”
Once someone lights a traditional light source (candle, torch), read aloud the following:
You are floating on a small wooden barge on an ocean that stretches endlessly in every direction. There is no sign of land, and the night sky is starless and without a moon. There are no visible currents or waves. There is only the faintest breeze, which seems to constantly shift direction. Suddenly, from nowhere, an apparition appears! A translucent young human girl, perhaps in her early teens, stands on one corner of the barge, with her back to you. She is barefoot, and wears a summer dress with a flowery pattern. She clutches a single long-handled oar. Without turning her head to look at you, she speaks in a low voice:
“A fare paid once apiece, ever high the cost,
Always with two pieces, else the traveler lost,
Never in your lifetime, and always by another,
Return the night while holding air, lest the earth does smother.”
The apparition of Rose then stands, idly waiting, and any attempt to communicate or otherwise interact with her fails.
Gaining Passage from Rose
The poem and her oar are references to the price paid to the infamous ferryman, Charon, to cross into netherworld. To progress to the next area, The Crypt, the party need only douse their light source (“return the night”). When the light source is doused, all the characters will be instantly transported to The Crypt. Their actions leading up to the dousing of the light will impact the conditions of their arrival.