In the first part, you were introduced to Salamondre, the virtuoso lich, and the cursed relic that he uses for his phylactery. In this entry, we’ll explore the organization of the cult, the faithful lieutenants that serve Salamondre, and what they and their leader hope to accomplish with the Song Undying.
A minor noble whose family emigrated from Illyria ahead of the Mharoti Empire’s conquest, Lady Cressida Vallis’s father was exposed as the head of a slaving ring and sentenced to execution. Unsatisfied with his punishment, the judge decreed that he would be excommunicated by all the temples of the Crossroads, as would his family, despite a lack of evidence that they were involved or even knew of Lord Vallis’s criminal enterprise. Lady Cressida was one of the first to begin following Salamondre’s teachings of the Song Undying.
Three years ago, Cressida was inflicted with a terrible, wasting disease. Per the edict laid down by the judge, no cleric of the Crossroads would assist her. Relying on mundane medicine to slow the advance of the inexorable disease, Cressida awaited death. As heir to what was left of her father’s fortune and properties that had not been seized by the government, she began to put her affairs in order. While deciding where to will what was left, she was approached by Salamondre. He promised not only a cure for the disease, but a restoration of her renowned beauty. Cressida signed all she owned over to the Song Undying and accompanied Salamondre. When next she made a public appearance, people marveled at her miraculous recovery. She became the best promotion for the Song Undying, and soon the cult was the talk of Zobeck.
After being ministered to by Salamondre with the Song Undying (actually the energies of the Thrice-Cursed Heart), Cressida appears much as she did before she was ravaged by the disease. Her dark-olive skin is unblemished. Her thick, wavy black hair is glossy and full. Her brown eyes are clear and piercing, untouched by fever or fatigue. Yet as with all the subjects Salamondre has worked with thus far, she is not fully physically restored. Her hands and arms to the elbows are withered and gray, and thick claws grow where her fingernails once were. Cressida wears long gloves at all times to keep her hands covered. Despite the lack of a full recovery, she fully believes that Salamondre will eventually manage to restore her. He has returned her life to her and freed her of the edict of the courts and the shunning of the clergy. For this, she is unwaveringly loyal to his cause.
The First Voice. While Salamondre’s celebrity is the greatest draw for the cult, Cressida is the public face of the Song Undying. She is intelligent, educated, and cultured—and well used to dealing with people from all walks of life. Her hardships are also well known in Zobeck, and many know of the disease that befell her and the miraculous recovery she received by the powers of the Song Undying. She is the gatekeeper to the cult, meeting and evaluating petitioners and determining the worthy. She also represents the cult in public venues, lending her grace and charm to the service and betterment of the cause.
Blood Lust. Many of those “reborn” through the power of the Song Undying are prone to violence and murderous impulses. Cressida is exceptional in that she exhibited none of the blind rages or violent fits most of the converted typically show before they are conditioned. However, she still possesses a deep blood lust and love of violence, reveling in watching violent acts, even if she is unable to participate. She will often venture into Zobeck at night, incognito, to spectate at underground fighting arenas and other such blood sports.
Medium undead, lawful evil
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 90 (12d8 + 36)
Speed 30 ft.
|16 (+3)||13 (+1)||16 (+3)||13 (+1)||12 (+1)||17 (+3)|
Saving Throws Con +6, Wis +4, Cha +6
Skills History +4, Insight +4, Perform +6, Persuasion +6
Damage Resistances necrotic, radiant
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Dwarvish, Elvish, Illyrian
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)
Magic Weapons. Cressida’s melee weapon attacks are magical.
Spurn Dogma. Cressida has advantage on saving throws against the spells and abilities of clerics, druids, and paladins.
Multiattack. Cressida makes two attacks, with either her claws or whatever weapon she has on hand.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.
Glorious Refrain. Cressida sings the refrain of the Song Undying, and all creatures within 60 feet with an Intelligence of 3 or more must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed until Cressida ceases singing. Cressida must spend her bonus action on subsequent turns to continue the refrain and its effects. She may stop singing at any time.
Creatures charmed by the glorious refrain will move as close as they can to Cressida, to within 5 feet if possible. Charmed creatures will avoid dangerous terrain, such as lava or open pits, stopping where they are if such obstructions block them from moving any closer to Cressida. Charmed creatures may make a new saving throw against the effects each round on their turn. A creature that succeeds on its saving throw cannot be affected by this ability again for 24 hours.
Bloodthirsty Lunge. When a living creature within reach of Cressida takes piercing or slashing damage, she can use her reaction to make a melee attack against that creature. If the creature is not within her reach but at a distance equal to or less than her current speed, she can use Dash as a reaction to move toward the creature.