If you have not read this story TURN BACK NOW! or risk losing forever the unspoiled appreciation of Clark Ashton Smith's prose.
Inspired by the rules and setting of the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyberborea boxed set and the discussion of the same on the OD&D Forum I have started sifting through my collection of Clark Ashton Smith for ideas.
Charnadis (Demon) - [MON]
Lyspial (Siren) - [MON]
Sadastor (Planet) - [PLC]
"...I found a vast and winding valley that plunged even deeplier into the abysses of this dreadful world. It was walled with perpendicular cliffs and buttresses and pinnacles of rusty-red stone, that were fretted into a million bizarrely sinister forms by the sinking of the olden seas. I flew slowly among these cliffs as the wound ever downward in tortuous spirals for mile on mile of utter and irredeemable desolation, and the light grew dimmer above me as ledge on ledge and battlement on battlement of that strange red stone upreared themselves between my wings and the heavens. Here, when I rounded a sudden turn of the precipice, in the profoundest depth where the rays of the sun fell only for a brief while at noon, and the rocks were purple with everlasting shadow, I found a pool of dark-green water - the last remnant of the former ocean, ebbing still amid steep, insuperable walls. And from this pool there cried a voice, in accents that were subtly sweet as the mortal wine of the mandragora, and faint as the murmuring of shells."
"...I am a siren, and my name is Lyspial. Of the seas wherein I swam and sported at leisure many centuries ago, and whose gallant mariners I drew to an enchanted death on the shores of my disastrous isle, there remains only this fallen pool. Alas! For the pool dwindles daily, and when it wholly gone I too must perish."
The Treasure of Sadastor
In a deep valley the demon Charnadis hides his treasure hoard on an isle at the center of a red lake. Each new moon the demon sacrifices a beautiful maiden so that he may remain on this plane of existence. Prevent the sacrifice and Charnadis will be dispelled and his treasure will be for the taking.
If only it were that simple.
At the center of a small lake of accursed water in the valley of Sadastor lies the isle of Lyspial, a vampiress-siren. She is bound to her lake and isle and must feed from the blood-red waters. It is she who sacrifices any that can be brought or lured to her isle. At its center is a small manor house and behind the manor a tall ash-tree. From this tree she hangs her victims by their heels while their blood and life essence flow from their slashed throats. A channel runs from the tree down to the waters of her lake.
Charnadis is the willing paramour and servant of Lyspial. The great winged demon has servants of his own, both human and demonic. The humans, members of a cult which worship Charnadis, spread rumors of the treasure of Charnadis and gather slaves to be sacrificed to Lyspial. But Lyspial hungers for men and women of strength and power as well as the blood of slaves, so that the rumors that bring treasure hunters and adventurers are as desired as a steady flow of life and blood of lesser men and women. Charnadis also steals a few succulent maidens for his own desires and for Lyspial to sacrifice.
The valley of Sadastor is home to a tribe of wild-men who worship Lyspial. They live in a series of caves that honeycomb the valley. They are armed with poisoned blow-pipes and arrows, nets, jars of enchanted smoke that make men sleep, etc... to aid in the capture of anyone entering the valley. They do not attack the human cultists and the slave caravans which they recognize by certain signs and emblems that the cultists use and wear within the valley.
Charnadis has at his command lesser demons and his human cultists.
Lyspial has at her command Charnadis, his servants, the tribe of wild-men and all within the valley. Within the lake there are many lacedon ghouls, the tree and the top of the manor is home to several harpys, and Lyspial has charmed several adventurers (future sacrifices) who attend her within her small manor-house and will fight for her.
The manor has many small luxuries and treasures but in a chamber beneath her bedroom is a treasure vault containing a respectable amount of gold and jewels and a number of magic items, weapons and armor gathered from slain adventurers. A greater gorgon guards this treasure.