THE GRAND TALE OF THE BONESPLITTERS
CHAPTER 1 - KHELB AND THE BURNING PLAGUE
When Gareth arrived in Silverymoon, he first visited the Temple of Tempus . He got a warm welcome there. In his quest, he headed towards the various bars in the city, to gather information about the killer of his mother. He entered the Dancing Goat Tavern, owned by Zonos, but before he managed to get any information at all, he got in an arm wrestling contest with a very strong Half-Orc named Bashnak, the bouncer there. Bashnak wiped the floor with Gareth, but after a couple of drinks, everybody was in a good mood. After that, a powerful Wizard named Garagos the Red, who claimed to be a member of the board at the College of Invocation in Silverymoon, approached him. He told Gareth about the great adventures he has had in the past, particularly his battles against the Orcish Ripped Gut-Tribe in the Nether Mountains . He even went to their settlement at Baraskur where he captured a young blue dragon. He needed some help in his search for his son, Mark Yindra. He's a miner in the city of Khelb , and Garagos needed to know how he was doing, and he actually wanted him to return to his father. Mark is an eighteen-year young boy, is 6 feet tall, and has straight red hair, blue eyes and a plain complexion. He apparently got lost in the mines, after some disease struck Khelb. Garagos was willing to pay 750 gps. for the information. In the meantime, an Elf named Galaeron and a human named Sid Vicious joined the table and were willing to do the job as well. Galaeron heard a rumour that Garagos would retire from the board at the college of Magic . Garagos told him his information was incorrect, but Galaeron finally joined the party to get more arcane knowledge. Sid was only interested in the bounty they could collect before and after the quest was over. The party also convinced Bashnak to join them in return of lots of booze. Together they prepared themselves for the journey to the town of Khelb . Bashnak quickly became renowned for his drinking and his hatred for Dwarves. He even has a mark of an ale filled mug on his forehead, but doesn't want to talk about it. He named his Great Axe Dwarfcleaver. Gareth likes him for his strength and his worship of Tempus, two things they have in common. Galaeron, on the other hand, seems a bit haughty to Gareth. However, he does speak many languages, which shows his intelligence. His first strange action was trying to divide the gems they got from Garagos between the three of them, leaving Bashnak out of the deal. Of course, the others did not agree. Instead, Bashnak's cut was used to buy him lots of Brainkillah, a very potent drink. Sid is a simple story. All his actions and words indicate he's in it for the money. Gareth doesn't appreciate it well, but it doesn't bother him very much either. On their road to Khelb, they got acquainted and got in a couple of battles. One was with a Black Bear, the other was with some Highwaymen. Dwarfcleaver did well in combat, as did Gareth's Battle axe, Sid's Light Crossbow and Galaeron's Longbow. Gareth proved very useful for healing the party members after combat. Especially Bashnak needed these favours regularly. After that, they had no trouble reaching their destination.
Khelb is a city of about 1200 to 1800 people, mostly humans, and was founded only recently after the finding of gold ore in the mountain range. The general store is called the Mountaineers Cat, and there is a Temple of Lathandar and a tavern. Other than that, mostly common houses surround the village square. The Mayor is Christofar Sendars, and he told the party about the plague that had been troubling Khelb for four months now. Father Samuel, a priest of Lathandar, wasn't able to counter the effects of the magical disease that corrupts the water in Khelb, even if he creates water magically. The group would get 50 gps. for finding the lost miners dead or 75 gps. for finding them alive. In addition, the Mayor agreed to help them find Mark Yindra and to hold a major feast with fair maidens and plenty of booze if they could rescue them. Galaeron offended the mayor by asking for a meeting with dead lesser beings. However, other than that incident, the relationship with the mayor remained friendly. The next day, the party entered the mines. In the caverns they wandered into a pit. Not much later, Gareth and Bashnak had an argument, because Galaeron had mistranslated a sentence in Orcish to Gareth. Gareth couldn't appreciate the “joke”, punched Galaeron and after that was very reluctant to help him in any way. Somewhat further in the mines they were attacked by kobolds. Galaeron took a hit from a crossbow bolt right away and went unconscious. Bashnak and Sid charged down, but Gareth was too clumsy and fell down. Two kobolds immediately went after him and stabbed him unconscious. At the end, two Kobolds were dead when the party was force to flee. Sid recovered Galaeron, while Bashnak rescued Gareth. Outside, Father Samuel revived the group. While Sid and Gareth tried to find some supplies that could help them in the caverns, Bashnak claimed the tavern as his own. He was happy to find out that his long lost brother Bashgar had tracked him down and finally found him. Bashgar is a somewhat smaller Half-Orc who is hard to miss with his multi-coloured hair and his wolf companion. When Gareth and Sid returned, Bashnak and Bashgar were involved in some friendly brawls. Gareth and Bashnak then got into a serious fight when Bashnak offended Tempus by claiming that no real god would let them fight against stinking kobolds. The fight was interrupted after Sid tricked Bashnak into thinking his bar was on fire. There, the party drank heavily and confirmed their bond, although Galaeron didn't participate in the drinking and Sid was too weak to take the drinks like a man. Gareth found out about it and warned Bashnak that Sid threw his drinks over his shoulder.
The morning after, the party went back into the mines. Sid triggered a stone trap, which hampered Galaeron and Sid in their hearing. Galaeron was cowering away when he was told to act as a scout. Finally, he was dragged to the front, his Long Sword in his hand, and he couldn't do anything else but to comply. They encountered eight more Kobolds and slaughtered them all. After that, Galaeron fled back to the town ,while the others continued their search in the mines. When Gareth tried to heal the other party members, he was shocked to learn that Bashgar doesn't favour Tempus as his brother does. Instead, he worships Silvanus. The three of them had an argument about which God is better, but no one was convinced by the other. After that, they went on and encountered three more Kobolds, one of them being a spell caster. Luckily it could only cast Burning Hands before it was slaughtered by Gareth. They explored the mines some more, when they were attacked by Zombies. After a fierce battle, which ended with eight killed Zombies, Bashgar was laying unconscious. Gareth checked his vital signs and declared Bashgar deceased. Bashnak carried his brother's body outside of the mines, where Father Samuel found out that Bashgar wasn't dead at all. He revived him and healed everybody as best as he could. When Bashgar found out what happened, he took revenge by punching Gareth in the face. Even Bashnak was very angry with him for falsely declaring his brother dead. Struggling with his near death experience, Bashgar disappeared into the nearby woods. Bashnak, Sid and Gareth went to the bar, where Sid declared he was fed up with this mission and wanted to abandon the quest. In shock, Gareth went to Father Samuel and told him what happened. Gareth also informed about the condition of Galaeron. Father Samuel told that he was still very weak, but he was conscious and he would be able to handle this news. Therefore, Gareth told him Sid wanted to abandon the quest. Galaeron was shocked and didn't want to quit the quest. He told Gareth his honour wouldn't let him abandon this Holy Mission. He further told a fabulous story about “The Bloodliners”, a group of adventurers that defeated great evil mages, where he was nothing in comparison with (The Bloodliners were an old party that travelled from Waterdeep to Westgate to end the threat of the Nightmasks there). He said he wants to help the party with his knowledge and arcane powers. Gareth was excited with this news and went to Bashnak and Sid to talk about it. They agreed that the next morning, the group would talk about it together.
The next day, Gareth returned to the bar after a good night's sleep in the Temple of Lathandar . Galaeron accompanied him, and they found Bashnak and Bashgar eating in front of the bar. When Gareth wanted to get Sid so they could discuss the matter at hand, he found out that Sid was gone, and so were the contents of the tiller of the bar. Bashnak was furious and immediately rushed toward the exit of the town to pursue the thieving scum. Bashgar and Gareth followed him as best as they could, and Bashgar even sent his wolf companion after Bashnak. Bashnak eventually found Sid's severely cut up body, but never told the others he wasn't the one who killed him. When Gareth arrived shortly after that, the head was removed from its torso. Gareth believed Bashnak to be the one who did that to Sid. They went back to the bar, where Galaeron showed himself to be an excellent swordplay, for he was practicing remarkably well. Bashnak went into his bar and put the head of Sid above the counter as a trophy, gems stuffed in his mouth as a warning to other thieves. After some praying and resting, the party decided to enter the mines once more. There they encountered great evil in the form of a Gelatinous Blob, two Black Guards and an evil Orc Priest. The party fought with all their might, and managed to kill the Blob and the Guards. Gareth however succumbed to his wounds and had fallen unconscious. The Orc Cleric threatened to kill him, but by a masterful ruse and some luck the other party members managed to save him in time. At that point, the caverns were falling in and the party fled the mines, Gareth being carried out by Bashnak. Outside they found the town of Khelb in flames, while rain was already putting out some of the fires. They ran outside the town's edges, where Bashgar started praying to Silvanus in order to revive Gareth. As soon as he recovered, they ran away from the town to find a save place. In the meantime, Gareth used his divine powers to heal the party members as best as he could. In search of a hideout in the mountains, the party encountered some Hobgoblins and slaughtered most of them. They found a good cavern to take shelter and rested here for a while. There, Gareth prayed to Tempus to gain some more healing spells for the fatigued party. In a vision, he got a reminder of his duties to Tempus and he's told that the party were infected by some kind of disease that he needs to remove by all of them in order to restore the health of the party. Furthermore, he received a blessing from Tempus, which enhanced his ability to remember lessons from the past. Finally, he also was told that he would receive a great weapon in the near future.
Gareth tried to heal the party members as best as he could, but it became obvious they needed some more rest if they wanted to get safely back to Silverymoon. In the afternoon, Bashgar got some sort of nightmare while he was sleeping. His body slightly shrunk, and only when Bashnak called out to Tempus, the nightmare disappeared. Bashgar lost all his multi-coloured hair. The day after, Bashgar told Gareth he had some kind of vision and he needs to disappear into the woods to reflect on matters. When he returns he is transformed into a Shaman. He told the party members he found his spirit guide, which seems to act as some kind of God to him. In the meantime, Gareth remembered his vision and restores his health and that of Bashnak and later even Bashgar, but Galaeron refused his healing, despite the warnings Tempus had given to Gareth. Some time later he needed some assistance from Bashnak and Gareth to crush a gem. When Gareth found out that Galaeron wanted to call a familiar, he confronted him with the fact that this is a custom of Mages. However, with Bashnak around, Galaeron vigorously refused to admit he is one and claimed he is a fighter, and as a prove of some sort he showed his sword. Gareth was not impressed and could not be convinced of that, even more because Galaeron had told him the opposite before. After this incident they headed back to Silverymoon.
CHAPTER 2 –THE BOX AND THE BLOOD WAR (WORKING TITLE)
Back in Silverymoon, Bashnak and Bashgar went into town to buy some goods and to get some work, while Galaeron and Gareth pay a visit to Garagos the Red. He was furious and claimed he burned the village of Khelb as retribution for the death of his son. He told them that they failed him, but that he had further use of them and that he would let them live, for now. He told them that his cause is the same as the cause of the Temple of Tempus , and that would be the main reason that they would have to obey his new orders. His orders were that the party need to form a commando group to infiltrate and gather intelligence from an Orc tribe that is plotting against both him and the Temple of Tempus . Gareth is told that he needs to go to the Sacred One in the Temple of Tempus where he'll receive further instructions. On exiting, Gareth received two pouches of platinum, gold and silver for the ending of their previous assignment. At the Temple of Tempus the Sacred One gave Gareth a wonderful axe named Glorious Victory, which has the properties +2, chaotic and human-lesser bane and can cast Cure Light Wounds twice per day. The Sacred One told Gareth and Galaeron that their first assignment would be to seek out someone called Jaerul, who lives in the city of Leafton , to gather info about the rival Orc tribes. They are told that the party will report their findings to Garagos.
In the Dancing Goat, Bashnak got into a fight with the new bouncer Urgar, a human barbarian of considerable strength. After a fierce battle, in which all persons in the bar participated, Bashnak killed him and took his weapon, a +1 returning Maul. After that, the party hired a room (at 2 sps a day, for 4 persons). Gareth and Bashnak prayed to Tempus and the party agreed to go on the mission. Gareth had a hard time selling his gems in order to get a Banded Mail, but after some trouble in one store, caused by Bashnak and Bashgar, he finally managed to get a good deal for them. The next day, he was able to get his armour and give 5 pps. to Bashgar and 5 to Galaeron. For Bashnak he bought three bottles of Frenzy Water, worth 39 gps. They left Silverymoon and went on their way to Leafton. Bashnak asked Gareth if the liquor was as much worth as the platinum, but was not assured by Gareth's answer. Moments later, the party was under attack by two Leucrottas, some kind of bull rushing wolves. They managed to kill them and get on the road again.
Later, a Red Tiger attacked Galaeron. In a joined effort, the party severely wounded the cat and it ran away. Bashgar urged the others not to kill it, despite it attacked them first. He claimed it wasn't a worthy foe and it just tried to defend its territory. At the end of the day, they set up camp, found some food, and created a fire. Bashnak hated spiders, claiming that they're creatures of Lolth. Therefore, when Galaeron was bonding with his spider familiar, Bashnak tried to grab it and eat it. Luckily for Galaeron, Bashnak missed. However, Galaeron is warned for the future. That night, Gareth had a dream about a child falling into the hands of some great evil. He sensed it was in the northern direction. As Bashgar had the same feeling because of his totem spirit, the group decided to in that direction. They encountered six Brantas on the way, but those creatures just ran away after seeing the party. After that, Bashnak and Galaeron got into a big argument about the book Galaeron carries with him. Galaeron claimed it was a praying book to him, just like Gareth's prayer book. Bashnak and Gareth demanded to see the book, and Gareth discovered it was a spell book, used by Mages. He also discovered Galaeron's last name is Goldstaff. As the three of them argued about this finding, the party is suddenly attacked by two monstrous creatures that carry big weapons. Bashnak performed a heroic act by giving one of the creatures his own weapon after the creature had lost his. Still, the group managed to slay both of them. They travelled onward and discovered a hamlet called Leafton near the Spine of the World. Bashgar sensed great evil in the village, but when they arrived there, only frightened and worried citizens are found. Ogres attacked the village and severely wounded Jaerul. As he's the party's contact, Gareth healed him to get some answers about their quest. Jaerul claimed to be a child of the House Invincible and told them that Orc tribes are rallying in all the Silver Marches. Ogres are frequently encountered and even Giants are on the road lately. The Elven, Human and Dwarf races are planning to stop this threat. Jaerul told the group of a child called Arathel, who was found in Leafton some weeks ago, after the villagers saw a falling star. He gave much pleasure to the villagers and was a bright boy: he mastered languages more quickly than any other. The Ogre raiders kidnapped Arathel; their leader wore a Blue Robe. A man named Burton agreed to lead the party to the Ogre caves, which is about one day travel from the village. The group developed some plans to rescue Arathel. Bashgar came up with a scheme to disguise them all as Orcs and infiltrate the lair. The rest was not convinced of the feasibility of this plan and Bashnak came with the idea to kill all the Ogre patrols, slaying them in small groups until none remained.
At night, Bashgar had a dream and went off to speak with his spirit ancestors. Gareth heard some kind of drumbeats and recognized the word “Unlar”, spoken by Bashgar. (Unlar, Bashgar's spirit guide, was actually an old barbarian Bloodliner that died fighting Bugbears). After his watch, Gareth went to sleep and dreamt the same dream as the night before, but the message was more urgent. He saw a mental picture of some kind of ultimate evil, but the picture was very blurred. At dawn, the party had some breakfast and went on. They sing a couple of songs, including the Song of the Sword. Gareth seemed puzzled by the good health of Galaeron. After an hour they arrived at the Ogre lair. They investigated the cave and entered when they discovered two insectoïd Ogres. After a hard fight they killed the creatures and encountered a Blue-Robed Ogre who calls himself Broth the Lesser. Bashnak damaged him severely and Broth fled. The party moved on to find a boy who seemed to be Arathel. Bashgar healed him and they took him outside. The discussion about Galaeron's profession flared up again and he claimed to be a Transmuter. When Arathel needed to take a leak, he suddenly disappeared and Broth was there. After a blow from Gareth he fled again.
Bashgar healed Gareth, who was severely wounded by Broth, and they all entered the caves once more. They encountered two Scorpion-like creatures and killed them in a joint effort. When they went deeper into the cave, everyone accept Bashnak were buried in a stone trap. Bashgar was dying and Gareth took him outside. Bashnak and Galaeron went on and found the real Arathel. Bashnak found some potions and when he went outside with Galaeron and Arathel, he used them to lessen the wounds of Bashgar and the boy. Bashnak foolishly ran back into the caves to find Broth, but the cave collapsed and Bashnak was buried under tons of rock. The party grieved for some time and Bashgar left the party to guide his brother's spirit in the Other Realm. The others found their way back to Leafton. Galaeron fell ill along the way, and Gareth recognizes the Burning Plague from Khelb. He prayed to Tempus and some divine power gave him the powerful spell Restoration to cure Galaeron. The other spells he used to heal himself and the others. On the road to Leafton, they encountered a Celestial Being, some kind of Angel, who talked to Arathel and them and took Arathel with him. In Leafton, Gareth reported to Jaerul and Mayor Kriel. There he found out that Burton is also struck with the Burning Plague. In a discussion with the Mayor, the Town Healer and Jaerul the decided to put all people who had contact with Galaeron and Burton into quarantine. Gareth healed Burton and his daughter, who were the only ones with the Burning Plague. In the mean time, he played some card game with Galaeron, which ended in a draw (1-1). Jaerul also told him that they were going to meet a guide for their next mission: Ander Stormwind. When he arrived, the quarantine was still in place, but the next day they finally met. Ander looks like some sort of Ranger. He told the others they need to go to Citadel Adbar. He will leave marks for Bashgar to follow. Mayor Kriel also told them about a bounty on two brigands, if caught alive. The party left Leafton and went on the road to Citadel Adbar. In the meantime, Galaeron told Gareth about the Crown Wars and some other Elven stories. On the road, the encountered some humans who were led by a man named Kerr Ronsall. After some hostile words, during which Kerr tried to bully the party into attacking him and rushing into his (badly hidden) pit trap, Kerr fled with his men. A Halfling named Lyle fell from the trees and was captured by the party.
Ander pursued the fleeing men, while Gareth and Galaeron stayed with Lyle. As Ander followed them, he found traces of Giant Spider webbing. He got into combat with the humans and three Black Spiders. The spiders were killed by Ander and the humans, after which they tried to flee again. In the meantime, Lyle tried to flee. Gareth knocked him out cold, but Galaeron still hit the unconscious Halfling to be sure. They were trying to tie the captive to a tree, when they spotted a limping Orc, followed by a sturdy Dwarf carrying a Mercurial Great sword and a Tower Shield. The Dwarf caught up with the Orc and killed him. When the Dwarf approached Galaeron and Gareth, Ander cried out for help. He saw Kerr flee and killed one Human and captured another. Gareth and the Dwarf ran to Ander. When they got there, Gareth took over the prisoner and returned to camp while Ander and the Dwarf pursued Kerr. They tracked and captured him and took him to the campsite. They tied him to the tree along with the other prisoners. The party agreed to bring them to Leafton to collect the bounty from the mayor. Gareth, Ander and the Dwarf went off to take a better look at the webbing site. While walking , the Dwarf introduced himself as Dutroth. Gareth argued with him about the worship of Tempus. At the site, they found some webbed and decaying bodies, one of them bearing the (unidentified) hairy signs of lycantrophy. In the meantime, Galaeron tried to put Kerr to sleep by bashing his head in with a rock. He managed to escape and was pursued by Galaeron. They both were captured by a travelling group of Dwarves, lead by Harkon. Dutroth travelled with them, but decided to remain with the party. The Dwarves finally agree to take the party to Silverymoon, where they can claim the bounty. In exchange, the party was allowed to do some bargaining against favourable odds. Gareth divided the loot from the corpses found in the spider webbing, and Ander and Galaeron took the opportunity to make some trades. They left the group of Dwarves to get back on the road to Citadel Adbar. At night, they were attacked by a group of nine Orcs and an Ettin. Galaeron died in the fight, Gareth got unconscious again and Dutroth was heavily wounded. The party looted the dead corpses and took the body of Galaeron and his equipment with them. They tried to get back to the Dwarven caravan to try to raise Galaeron from the dead. While Gareth was praying to Tempus, they encountered a Half-Elf Bard who claimed to be Darryl van Horn. He offered to bring the body of Galaeron to the Dwarves with his horse. The party agreed to take up the offer, but Darryl returned with bad news: the Dwarves couldn't resurrect Galaeron. He then offered to take the body to Silverymoon, where the chances of success should be much better. The party agreed to let him help once more, and gave him all the equipment from Galaeron as a down payment. They agreed to meet in Leafton within a ten day.
In Leafton, Ander took up watch to spot when Darryl and Galaeron would return. Dutroth and Gareth went to Burton , where Dutroth offered his services as a smith to him. Gareth told Burton about his plans to hold a ceremony and a feast in honour of Bashnak. Burton agreed to help him as much as he could. He suggested to hold the feast at High Harvest Tide, so the celebration of that important day would be enhanced with the ceremony and the feast. Gareth agreed to that and Burton helped him by taking care of the transportation of the fifty gallons of ale Gareth wanted to contribute to the feast. When Gareth asked the Mayor to approve his plans, he reacted very enthusiastically. The Town Healer was very pleased with the offer of Gareth to perform additional healing, of course in the name of Tempus. The rest of the day Gareth spent by shopping and residing at the Inn . Burton , who temporarily also ran the Inn , made a decent meal for Gareth and Dutroth, who brings some to Ander later on. In the Inn, a Tiefling named Taman introduced himself to Gareth and Dutroth. He's about 6 feet tall, has blond hair, and wears black clothes, a hood and a belt that is holding a dagger and a rapier. His most distinctive feature are his eyes, which look like yellow cat's eyes and which revealed him to be an Outsider, which are quite common in the Silver Marches, but often distrusted because of their dark heritage. When Dutroth brought the food to Ander, Taman asked Gareth about the whereabouts of Galaeron, because Taman is a minor illusionist who wanted to learn some things from Galaeron. Gareth explained what had happened to him and why they were waiting in Leafton. The next day, Gareth healed some children who had some cuts from fighting with each other. Later on, he was approached by an old lady who claimed to have a big rate in her basement. As her grandfather, the founder of Leafton, was also a follower of Tempus, she argued that Gareth was the best man to take care of the problem. Gareth agreed to help her out and killed a Wolverine that was living in her basement. Lady Leafletter rewarded him with the choice between three magical gifts. Gareth decided to accept a magical Platinum Bracelet, although one could only wonder why the proud adventurer didn't choose the obviously most powerful items of them all, the Pink Bunny Slippers of Speed. He buried the corps of the Wolverine and showed the bracelet to Dutroth. However, even he didn't know what the magical effect would be. He buried the corps of the Wolverine and showed the bracelet to Dutroth. But even he didn't know what the magical effect would be, so Gareth decided to put the bracelet in his backpack, for now. The following day, Garagos used his scrying abilities to contact Ander to talk about the recent events. Garagos wanted them to leave immediately to Citadel Adbar. When Ander tried to get the party underway, Gareth refused to leave, as he made a promise to the villagers, to Bashnak and to Tempus and didn't want to break this. They agreed to stay until the feast was started, and then would move on. Everyone helped with the preparation of the feast, which would take place two days later. In the evening at High Harvest Tide Gareth held a strong ceremony in honour of Bashnak an Tempus. After that, the Mayor held a speech about High Harvest Tide and the feast started. As the party announced their immediate departure, Gareth toasted a lot with the villagers and got intoxicated. He seemed very popular among the villagers because of his actions in the last couple of days. Taman asked to join the party, and under conditions he was accepted to join. The party force-marched the whole night and the following day. In the afternoon, when it was raining, they were attacked by a Troll. They noticed the regenerating ability from the Troll and after a tough battle they manage to knock him out. Gareth used his torches to permanently kill the creature with fire, which was not all that easy in the rain. They rested and resumed the forced march the next day. In the evening they made up camp and in the middle of the night, they were attacked by four Wargs. Two of them got killed, the others fled. Taman used the blood of the two corpses to perform some sort of ritual, partially in the name of Tempus. Dutroth got angry with Taman about the ritual and frustrated the ritual. Even Gareth claimed never to have seen such a ritual in the name of Tempus. Ander warned them about making so much noise and Gareth returned to bed.
At dawn, the party moved on. When Gareth was praying to Tempus at high noon, Dutroth and Ander spotted a wounded Elk. Carefully, Ander approached the animal, took the javelin out and tended the wound. After a while, the party moved on. Gareth seemed to have trouble with his step and almost lost his balance a couple of times, because of the magical bracelet he put on. It took him some time to adjust to his new style of movement. Later on, they met Darryl van Horn again. He told them Galaeron was raised, but was occupied elsewhere. He showed them a note that seemed to be from Galaeron, backing up Darryl's words. He rode off again. The party went on the road again, in search of a Ranger's Cabin in the woods somewhere. Just before they got there, they spotted some Orcs. The party members ambushed and killed them. At the cabin, they met the owner, Wilhelm Thunderer, but Gareth didn't quite catch this and understood his name was Wilhelm Vanderberg. Inside the cabin, they party met Darryl again and Wilhelm' wife, a slim Elven woman named Lady Oriza. Their son, Darwin, served the party some drinks. Darryl offered his services as a Bard to write a poem about Bashnak for Gareth. Soon after, he told a fabulous story about Lady Oriza and how she disposed of the murderer of her father. Suddenly, everyone was alarmed. It appeared a large group of twenty Orcs attacked the cabin. On top of the roof of the cabin, everyone gathered to face this threat. In a ferocious battle, nineteen Orcs got slaughtered and one fled into the woods. Unfortunately, little Darwin didn't survive the fight, as the fireballs the Orc leader used proved to be quite effective. In the thick of combat, when Gareth tried to jump of the roof, he didn't drop down but rather floated down gently, much to his surprise. After the fight, Dutroth, Ander and Gareth took care of the Orc bodies, while Taman grieved along with Wilhelm, Lady Oriza and Darryl van Horn. Inside, Dutroth, Ander and Gareth prepared to get some night's rest. Taman stayed with the others and tried to get a particular magic item from Darryl. He even challenged him to fight over it. Darryl's punishment proved to be harsh indeed, as he cast Dominate on poor Taman .
In the middle of the night, Gareth heard a horse run off. When he tried to find out what was going on, he found a note from Darryl, explaining why he had to run off so quickly and what Taman had done that night. Gareth told the news to Ander and Dutroth, and they all decide to watch Taman very closely. The next day, the party said goodbye to Wilhelm and lady Oriza, apologizing for Taman 's behaviour. Dutroth left them some magical items to protect themselves from further harm. The party travelled on in the pouring rain, thunder and lightning. At the end of the day, when they made up camp, they were attacked by a Shambling Mound, and easily dispatched it. That night, Gareth had a terrible nightmare about an Orc invasion of Silverymoon, where many people died, including people he knew. He even dreamt of the Burning Plague. When awakened, he was very cold. The party moved on, but when Gareth started to pray at noon to receive his spells, he noticed he was too out of focus to get into contact with Tempus. At the end of the day, they encounter a party of about seven Werewolves who are trying to kill two Barbarians. After a ferocious fight, they managed to bring all the Lycanthropes of the Grey Wolf tribe down. The barbarians Olruf and Beogar of the Black Lion tribe thank them for their support, offered them a meal and even wanted to give a magic item as reward, but Dutroth convinced them with a clever ruse that payment wasn't necessary. If Ander had found out about this, he wouldn't have been too thrilled with that though, as the item was a magical quiver with an unlimited supply of arrows. At night, Taman snuck away from camp to make some kind of blood offering. Ander noticed him sneaking away, followed him, witnessed what happened and told Gareth and Dutroth about it. The next day, the two Barbarians bade them farewell. The party travelled on, and Gareth was able to pray to Tempus again. After that, they confronted Taman with what they discovered the night before. For the time being, Taman convinced the others of his good intentions.
Early in the afternoon, the party encountered 5 Ogres. They decided to attack them on the spot, giving the Ogres no chance to deal the first blow. After a fierce battle they managed to kill them all, and even destroyed the Ogre Shaman's holy symbol. After that, the four of them resumed their travel. After a while, they discovered that they were being followed. Suddenly they were attacked by 2 River Trolls. It was another hard fight, but they finally killed both of them. The party travelled further, until light started to fade. They decided to make camp under an overhanging rock. When Gareth was preparing to start his watch, he threw a big plant on the fire to keep it going. It turned out to be poisonous and it released toxic gas when it hit the fire. Gareth got a little sick for a while, but he still took watch as usual. In the deep of night, they were attacked by a band of about 20 raiding Goblins, about 4 of them were even riding Worgs. They were out to steal the equipment of the party. In the battle that followed, a lot of Goblins were killed, but some got away with the backpacks of Dutroth and Taman .
The party pursued the remainder of the Goblins in order to get their belongings back. Even the strong current of the river Redrun couldn't stop them, although Gareth caught a severe cold from it. They all entered a cavern where multiple Goblins and Worgs, who were all slaughtered or ran away. Deeper into the caverns, they encountered more Goblins and Gareth even fought a Otyugh in a pit trap. With the combined effort of Gareth, Dutroth and Ander the Otyugh is killed. Meanwhile, a leader came into the cavern and wanted to negotiate. Ander promised to walk away without more killings if the belongings were given back. Dutroth and Gareth got out of the pit, and when Dutroth discovered his Book of Grudges is soiled by some Goblin, he killed their leader. The others fled deeper into the cavern system, but the party went back to the open air. They travelled on in the direction of Citadel Felbarr. In the afternoon they encountered some fishermen from Rauvin Hills, a village near Citadel Felbarr. Suddenly, a medium sized Blue Dragon appeared and flew over them. Despite the attempts of Ander to bring it down, it flew to a herd of sheep, took some of them and killed the herder with his dragon breath. The party immediately moved on to the village to hear the stories about the Dragon. They agreed to kill the Dragon for a handsome reward. They walked into the village, noticed some buildings like a Magic Shop and went to the Tavern. There they started drinking, talking to the other guests and inventing a party name, which turned out to be “The Bonesplitters”.
They ate and drank for a while, and after that they talked about slaying the Blue Dragon. Taman came up with some useful information. Gareth heard some rumours about the Zentharim being spotted near the Great Desert , and they even might want to join the Federation. Taman spoke with Dale, who claimed to know some more information about the Blue Dragon. The party agreed to play a drinking game. The game ended in a brawl, but was resolved by Belch, the tavern owner. The Bonesplitters rented two rooms, but Dutroth didn't seem to sleep in his bed that night. The next day was spent on recovering from the alcohol and getting much needed supplies and the information from Dale. The following day, the party went out to search the Blue Dragon and to kill it. In a fierce battle, the Dragon was very wounded and fled to it's lair. Because of the Spiritual Weapon cast by Gareth, the Dragon died in the entrance of his lair. The party followed the Dragon and entered his cave. They were attacked by two Huge Constrictor Snakes. The party managed to kill one of them, but the other managed to kill Taman before it fled.
They returned to the village of Rauvin Hills, taking with them the body of Taman , his belongings, the defeated Dragon's head and some scales of his body. At the village, they agreed to bury Taman at the shrine of Silvanus, the god he claimed to worship. They gave him a warrior's funeral, burying his armour and weapons along with him. At high noon, Gareth started to pray to Tempus, but to little avail. He seemed to have relied too much on the Deity's power in the last couple of hours. Meanwhile, Ander was approached by a beautiful woman who introduced herself as Mara Helder. She seemed to have an interest in Dutroth, but he was too occupied looking at the praying ritual that Gareth performed. Mara headed back to town, and the party followed after Gareth was done with praying. They collected the bounty for the dragon's head, and Dutroth wanted to use the Dragon's scales to improve his shield. He managed to get a hot date with the Dwarven town smith (as far as hot dates go with dwarfs), who apparently was a female, and in the night he forged his new shield. The rest of the day, Ander and Gareth rested, drank and ate, and watched a beautiful performance from Mara. The next morning, Dutroth took a well-deserved rest, while Gareth, Ander and Mara used the time until high noon to stock on supplies and get rid of access baggage. Gareth donated to the Church of Helm , in order to help defend the city from future Orc raids. When Dutroth woke up and Gareth received Tempus' blessing, Mara tried to talk to Dutroth about his family, but Dutroth refused to give much information. The party decided to take Mara with them on the recovery of the Dragon's treasure to determine if she could join the party, although she was made clear she couldn't claim part of the treasure. As the party went deeper into the caverns, they found the dying brother of Dutroth. After a conversation with Dutroth, his brother died because of his severe injuries. Dutroth was however able to ease his suffering with his newfound clerical powers. Dutroth vowed to kill a man named Derk. Ander also pointed out that we should be aware of a man named Eskario, supposedly the master of the Dragon. A little further into the cave, the party encountered two Shambling Mounds. After a short but hard fight, they managed to kill them. Dutroth used his newfound clerical powers to bring Gareth back to consciousness. Their next encounter was with a Golem, who they killed very quickly. In a hallway a bit deeper into the cave, Dutroth activated a trap door and was hit by a poisonous dart. Inside, two Shadows guard a sarcophagus. Gareth used his divine to drive them away. Ander tried to open the sarcophagus, but he wasn't strong enough. The others didn't want to disturb whatever is inside.
They decided to explore more of the caverns. They soon encountered two Shadow Dogs, and quickly killed them. Nevertheless, Dutroth was panicked by their howls, so Ander had to get him back. Gareth and Mara waited for them until they returned. They continued to explore the caverns and surprised a Bodak. In the fight, they entered a dead magic area, which made it even harder to attack the foul undead creature. Ander and Mara even gave up after some time, so Gareth and Dutroth were on their own. They were very afraid to look into the gazing eyes of the Bodak. Nevertheless, when Ander and Mara were forced to join the fight again, they finally managed to slay it. After some further exploration, they found a Xorn in one of the corridors. Dutroth wanted to reason with it, but Ander very quickly was fed up with it and tried to kill it. Suddenly, three more Xorns appeared. One of them was killed, but Dutroth convinced his party members not to kill the others, but to just beat them unconscious. Deeper into the caverns, the party discovered a bridge over some tar pits. As Ander already found out before that some parts of the cavern were highly unstable, he decided to test the bridge with some rope around his waist, which Dutroth was holding. Despite the protective measures, the bridge collapsed while Ander was on it, and he falls into the tar. Dutroth managed to get him out quickly, so he was not too heavily damaged. Mara used a Fly spell on Dutroth, so he could get everyone across the now broken bridge. They encountered a second dead magic area in a place where there is also a large door with a symbol of Helm and a lock on it. Gareth sensed that the door could be opened with positive energy, but they first needed to figure out how to get rid of the dead magic area. Exploring the caverns even further, the only remaining solution was to open the sarcophagus. However, as everyone was hurt and tired, and Gareth needed to pray to Tempus, they decided to go outside to find a safe place. When they tried to return to the outside, they noticed there were some villagers at the beginning of the caverns. One of them was Dale and the others were dwarves, one of them the one Gareth had insulted in the drinking game. As that one was decided to kill Gareth, the party defended themselves. They managed to kill the aggressive dwarf and to capture Dale and the other dwarf, so they could question them about why they attacked us. They took them outside and found a safe cave so Gareth could pray and Mara could rest. Dutroth talked to Ander about his behaviour in the fight with the Bodak, but Ander only showed disrespect toward Dutroth. Dutroth then attacked Ander and pinned him to give him a good beating. However, Ander managed to escaped the pin and fled outside. After Gareth finished praying, he asked what all the ruckus was about. Dutroth explained his behaviour and together they waited for Mara to wake up, so they could question the prisoners.
The three of them separated the prisoners and woke up Dale. Mara and Gareth questioned him about the whereabouts of Derk. After a long talk, they couldn't reach an agreement about releasing him in trade for information. He even tried to attack Gareth, who was casting Detect Evil upon him. The party finally agreed to bring the prisoners back to Rauvin Hills, where the prisoners would be handed over to the Temples of Moradin and Helm. The head of the Temple of Moradin even tried to get some information from Dale, but he stubbornly refused to cooperate. They finally delivered him to the Temple of Helm , where a priest promised to put Dale into jail, after hearing the stories about him and recollecting other events about him. The priest also advised the party to bash down the door inside the cavern, despite the holy symbol on it. Dutroth and Gareth then visited the town's smith, who lent them a adamantine War hammer to bash in the door. Mara visited Belch's Inn and danced in front of the crowd. When the three of them decided to head back to the cave, they were approached by a Dwarven Town Guard who bore the weapon of Citadel Felbarr to indicate the town as a protectorate. He showed them a note that was found on Dale, which contained information about some of his contacts (Nalavolides the Blue Dragon and it's mother, Stromstress Tessele and someone called D.W.) and a place of importance, Ilgostrogue's Watch, where a group called The Wrath could be contacted. The party tried to get some more information from the locals, but weren't able to find anything more. They agreed to return to the cave, made camp there and hunted for food. In the morning, they were attacked by an Earth Elemental and two Xorn. They managed to kill one of the Xorn, but Gareth and Dutroth were put unconscious by the Earth Elemental. When they were awakened by Mara, their money and other valuables were taken away by the Xorn. Ander returned, and together they entered the caverns once more. They opened the sarcophagus, but they found nothing inside. They went on to the door with the symbol of Helm and Dutroth smashed it with the War hammer he loaned. Inside they encountered Eskario. They approached him very wearily, and he turned out to be a Vampire, whom they attacked. After a very hard fight, they finally managed to slay him. They followed his gaseous form to his sarcophagus, and Mara explained they should drive a stake through it's heart. Dutroth made one of his Light Flail and finished Eskario off.
They searched the body of Eskario for items of worth. They managed to find some necklaces, rings, bracers and a wand. They went back to the cave where they first encountered the Vampire. Ander, despite his previous fall in the tar, tried to cross the bridge by foot once more. Luckily, this time only his toes got a little burned. On the other side, Ander got a little emotional and didn't want to move on. Dutroth and Gareth searched the room and found a quiver with silver arrows, a spell book and some personal books from Eskario. They decided to take it all with them. The party decided to head back to Rauvin Hills, where they went straight to the Temple of Moradin , to explain what had happened to the head of the Temple . They then wanted to visit Dungeo Massio, but he still wasn't home. Mara and Ander decided to pay Belch a visit, while Dutroth and Gareth went to Dagnal, the Dwarven smith. Dutroth returned the hammer he borrowed from her. Ander and Mara also went to the smithy after their visit to the inn. They agreed to head to Felbarr as soon as possible, and Dagnal offered to join them on the journey. As she needed some time to prepare, the party decided to take some time to sell of the items they found. At the gem cutter's shop, Gareth recognized that a symbol on one of the coins was identical to one on his potions. As they couldn't figure out what it was, they let it rest. On another coin, they found a Zentarym mark. They refused the coin. The party and Dagnal left Rauvin Hills a short time later. They stopped to rest and pray, and Gareth used the time to look if any of the potions and magic items they were carrying was emitting an evil aura. He found nothing. They travelled on, and late in the afternoon, they were approached by two men on horseback. One of them was wearing a symbol of Tempus on his armour. Gareth decided to greet them and pay each other proper respect by showing them each other's weapons. They also shared some stories about glorious battles they performed in and Baldur told him some useful information about the Orc activity, and about Darryl van Horn. Gareth decided to aid Baldur on his mission for a short time, promising to return to them in Citadel Felbarr. He healed his party members and took off with Baldur and Jergal, a warrior of Tempus. The others decided it was time to sleep. Mara used her powers to create a Rope Trick, so they'd be safe in the night. When they travelled on the next day, they encountered about 14 Knights in Silver, who were pretty badly wounded. Dutroth healed the most severely wounded a bit and they decided to travel on together to Citadel Felbarr. Along the road, other travellers joined the caravan. Close to Felbarr, they even encountered a Dwarven patrol with marks of Clangeddin. The group entered the city without any problems. The party left the rest of the caravan and headed to the Temple of Moradin . They wondered where Gareth was staying, but gave it no further thought. Dutroth tried to get his items identified, but with the little money they had, he could only get some Bracers of Armour identified. After that, they visited an inn to get some food and rest. They started talking to some other visitors and got some useful information. A Dwarf named Dugner approached Dutroth to aid him on a quest. The party decided to accept that. They first were to visit the House of Exposition. Dagnal said her farewell to the party, as she needed to do some trading the next morning. Dugner led the party to the museum. There they found out in a big moment of confusion that Ander was substituted by a Doppelganger. Ander was released and they all tried to catch the impostor, but it managed to flee from the scene.
Back at the inn, Ander and Dutroth further argued about their discussion in the cave. Ander then received a package. It appeared to be from the Doppelganger, who gave the Endless Quiver of Silver Arrows back to him to show him the game was over. The party and Dugner made travelling plans and went to sleep. The next day, Dugner introduced the party to the caravan they were going to travel with. Dedrick, the caravan leader, showed little appreciation for Dutroth, but he accepted their company. Ander heard that Gareth also was in the tunnels and tried to scout ahead to see if he could find him, but to no avail. After some travelling, out of nowhere an Elf appeared with a couple of carts and bodies behind him. He introduced himself as Aniriomelith Imythomilion, or Anir for short. He showed Ander a letter that was written by High Lady Alustriel herself, explaining why he was there and what needed to be done. As they travelled on, Anir talked to Ander to get acquainted and to tell him what happened with the caravan he was found with. The party then encountered two strange men, one a worshipper of Cyric and the other named himself Tiax, and they were talking about freeing a trapped Seraph. They whisked away before anybody could react. The rest of the day was uneventful. When the caravan set up camp, Dedrick activated a magical light with a Netherese word. Anir was very interested to learn more about it, but Dedrick couldn't give him more information about it. While on watch, Anir talked to Ander about Gareth and why he disappeared. The following day, the caravan moved on. They met another caravan, who warned them about Orc Raiders. The rest of the day went by with little to do. At night, a Spirit Naga attacked the party. After a short but fierce fight, they manage to kill it. Mara, Ander, Anir and Dedrick decided to investigate the Naga's nest. They met a famished Ogre there. It tried to flee, but they managed to bring it down and tie it up. Mara questioned it's tribe and about the Naga. Dedrick explained that the merciful thing to do was to put it out of it's misery, so when Mara, Ander and Anir walked away with heavy hearts, Dedrick finished the creature off.
The rest of the night went by peacefully. Anir wrote some things in his Book of Languages, while Mara figured out how to use the Wand of Magic Missiles the party found on the Vampire Eskario. The caravan moved on, and after some time a big ball of light suddenly appeared from a hole in the ceiling to light the corridor. It stayed about three hours with the caravan, after which it disappeared into another hole in the ceiling. In the evening, the caravan settled down again to rest. Dutroth got some advice about the Hammers of Moradin. Later that night, everyone heard voices in their heads, telling them to die. Two Bearded Devils and a Bone Devil were ready to attack the caravan, and a thick Wall of Ice appeared out of nowhere. The caravan sprung into action and quickly finished off the Bearded Devils. The Bone Devil however, appeared to be a greater adversary. He summoned eight more Bearded Devils in the name of Barbazu, but slowly the caravan members found out that they were only figments. The Bone Devil demanded that they surrendered and that they handed over the War Hammer Dutroth was carrying with him. Dutroth rightly refused to, and after a long and very hard battle, the Bone Devil is slain. The caravan moved on for a few more hours and tried to rest once more. Ander and Mara used their spare time trying to identify some magic items. Dedrick decided to talk to Dutroth about his War Hammer, and Anir tried to translate more of the notes he got from High Lady Alustriel. After a long period of rest, the caravan moved on. On their journey, they found the remnants of a brutal attack on another caravan, which turned out to be from Cormyr. After some more exploration, Dedrick decided to return and to give the deceased a proper resting place. Everyone helped to make some rafts from the remains of the wagons and put the bodies on to them, so that the underground river could take them away.
In the evening, the caravan settled down to rest again. After some time, a group of people entered the camp. They wanted to speak to Mara and turned out to be followers of her. They pleasantly surprised her, and one of them delivered a ridiculous ode to her. They also gave her presents and letters from relatives. When the other caravan members came to see what was going on, one of the followers even insulted Ander. Ander got a little fed up with him, but decided the young man was too weak to defend himself properly. Mara tried to send her followers back to her house, as she realized that they would get hurt if they travelled along with her. All but one, who seemed better suited for the life of an adventurer, were finally convinced to return where they came from. After some more resting, the caravan moved on. They were attacked by twenty-or-so Orcs, who managed to kill of one of the Dwarven warriors. However, after a fierce but short fight, most of them were killed and the remaining few fled away. The bodies were searched for valuables and useful items, and then disposed. The rest of the day was uneventful. The day after, the only thing that happened was that they left the main road and took a left turn in the caverns. The caravan rested once more, and Dedrick and Dutroth had a big argument about the War Hammer of Dutroth, honour, and the like. In the night, Darkmantles attacked the caravan, but they were quickly defeated. The next morning, everyone travelled on. Mara, Anir and a couple of Dwarfs scouted ahead of the caravan, and after some time they found a crying woman that claimed to be attacked by Bats and by Orcs. She told how her caravan members were slaughtered and tried to get comfort from Anir. When she tried to kiss him, he quickly left her grasping arms. Mara, the more passionate of them, then tried to comfort the woman and was hugged… by the Succubus. Anir spotted that the hug made Mara seem weaker.
Anir pulled Mara away from the Succubus, but as he headed for the caravan, two Arrow Demons appeared and started shooting at him and the other caravan members. A fierce battle followed, and some of the Dwarves were killed. After half a minute, a group of bats appeared at the battle scene. They turned into Quasits and attacked the caravan members as well. The bats were killed, and after the Succubus got a hold on Anir, she too was destroyed. The group even managed to kill one of the Arrow Demons. Nevertheless, as the last one appeared to be driven into a corner, he suddenly turned his attention to Anir and killed him with a skilfully marked shot. Moments later, the Arrow Demon teleported to the body of Anir and took something out of his backpack. Then he returned to whatever plane he came from. Some of the survivors started to mourn over the fallen ones, while others took care of the wounded. However, a distressful warning that a group of Ogres were coming close by to raid the caravan disrupted them. Dedrick decided to take a last stand to give the caravan time to escape to Citadel Adbar, and Dugner and Ander aided him with his final task. They fought valiantly to hold of the Ogres, but they were simply outnumbered in the end. The remaining Ogres eventually caught up with the caravan and attacked them, but after a gruesome fight and with the unexpected aid of some Hammers of Moradin, the Ice Spire Ogres were defeated. The Hammers explained that they were chasing this group of Ogres for quite some time. They quickly moved on to avoid further attacks, and when they were safe, the Hammers healed everyone as much as they could. They even removed the negative effects the Succubus had left on Mara. They travelled on in the direction of Citadel Adbar. The only attack that they occurred in that couple of days was with a Troll Hunter, but he was slain quickly. In the meantime, Dutroth informed the Captain of the Hammers, Roran Stonehammer, about the box the Arrow Demon had stolen from Anir. Roran decided to resurrect Anir, who was glad to be back among the living. His happiness turned partly into sadness as he discovered that the box he was carrying was stolen from him.
Luckily for Anir, the only thing that was missing was the box. He continued to translate the papers and made a summary in his personal book. Roran talked to Dutroth about him joining the Hammers of Moradin. The group travelled on and met another caravan that would travel just in front of them. The group reached the gates of Citadel Adbar, and passed through the gates without the extraordinary security measures other caravans had to endure. Roran and the Hammers said goodbye to the party, as did the remaining Dwarves of the caravan. Dolrass was the only one staying with the party, as he was appointed their guide in Adbar. They were on their way to a meeting that Lady Alustriel had arranged for Anir. When they arrived on their destination, Dolrass bade them farewell and went off to lead the caravan. At the place of the meeting, tight security measures were taken against Mara, Kathra and Anir. Together with Dutroth, they were led into a conference room. Anir was invited to sit in the chair normally reserved for Lady Alustriel, as he was her representative. They all waited on the arrival of the other Dwarves that were going to attend the meeting. The last one to arrive was King Harbromm himself. He asked Anir where the artefact was. Anir suddenly realized that it was the box they wanted to have, and told Harbromm that it was stolen from him. Harbromm then furiously explained what needed to be done and took his leave with the other attendees. Only Mara, Dutroth, Kathra and Anir stayed behind in a darkened room. As there was no way to get out, they waited until something would happen. After a couple of minutes, Roran, his Hammers and a strange looking Dwarf that was chewing on some flowers came in. Roran took charge and asked Anir some more questions about the box. Anir explained that he was told that the translation was important, but wasn't told about the importance of the box. Anir then handed the papers and the translation to Roran, who showed them to the strange Dwarf, named Virgil. Roran then gave the party a brief lesson about the world, the planes, and about Sigil. He informed them about the box, it's history and it's importance. Roran told the party they needed to retrieve the box to save all of Faerûn. Virgil would be their guide, and he gave them their first instructions about Sigil and the Lady of Pain. When formally introduced, Dutroth suddenly used his real name, Edrack Rockfist. The party was then led to a building called Moradin's Forge. There they received some amulets to let them speak a language named Planar Trade. Furthermore, Roran enhanced Edrack's Hammer in a special holy ceremony. Virgil then led them through a portal in the fireplace. On the other side, their lungs started to burn from the foul air they had to breath, though it didn't harm them. Edrack, Mara, Kathra and Anir were amazed at the sight of Sigil. Virgil explained to them that they needed to obey three rules: don't worship the Lady of Pain, don't hurt her helpers and don't destroy anything in this city that belongs to her. They followed Virgil to a place called the Temple District, where they visited a Merchant's Shop. To their amazement, a Fiend named Akin owned the shop. Virgil and Edrack traded some items with him, while Anir and Mara were a little hesitant to deal with a Fiend. Shortly after, they left the shop and were led by Virgil to the Temple of Moradin .
After Mara noticed that many creatures outside were wearing signs of some sort, Virgil told them about the fifteen guilds that were in the city. In a shop, Virgil tried to sell the translation notes he got from Roran. Mara managed to buy them from him. The party then went to the temple of Moradin , where Edrack talked to the chief cleric about the mission. The cleric told them the church had paid a contact to get information about the whereabouts of the box and to relay that information to the party. They had to contact Shemeska the Marauder, who could be found at the Fortune's Wheel. The cleric also recommended an inn called the Portal Jammer. The party decided to visit those inns as soon as possible. On the way, everyone except Anir visited a shop called Parts and Pieces, where Virgil purchased some portal keys. When they return outside, Mara and Anir get into a verbal conflict about the private life of Anir. Virgil and Edrack tried to stir them up to get into a real fight. It failed, but Anir then turned to Edrack to tell him he's jeopardizing the mission with his actions and questioned his honour. Things seemed to turn ugly at that point, and Virgil was stirring up the conflict even more. Anir then told Virgil to do his job by guiding us, instead of raising a conflict between the party members. The party headed to the Portal Jammer, but suddenly a sphere of darkness appeared around them. When they got out of that, they noticed they were being attacked by a Giant. They managed to disable it quickly, but just as they thought they had the situation under control, a Jarilith attacked from the globe of darkness and killed Mara in one ferocious attack. It immediately tried to find a new target, and Edrack tried to give the others time to regroup. Nevertheless, they soon realized the Jarilith is too powerful, and Edrack the second victim. Anir, Kathra an Virgil fled from the scene to a portal nearby that Virgil knew of. They discovered very quickly that the Jarilith wasn't pursuing them. They decided that Kathra would go back to check on them.
Kathra went back and took all the gear she could muster with her. After she returned, they decided it was safe enough to return with the three of them, to see if they could find more evidence about the attackers. When they returned, there were no traces left of the fight. All the bodies were gone. Not knowing what to do next, they agreed to go to the Portal Jammer. Virgil arranged some drinks, and tried to contact Shemeska. That didn't work, but after some time a Tiefling approached them, who would take the remaining party members to her. As Kathra tried to blend in the crowd, she disguised herself as a Tiefling. The real one wasn't amused and used a blowgun to put her unconscious. Anir carried her along to the Fortune's Wheel. They also noticed that the church of Moradin was burnt to the ground. Inside the inn, they met with Shemeska. She gave the information the party was entitled to receive. The party needed to find a group of about 10 Demons that carried the box. They travelled to the 168 th layer of the Abyss, and took a safe route through Carceri. The party needed to intercept the group there, before they could reach Mount Orthrys , the throne of Cronos. She also told them that she could reunite them with Mara and Edrack. Kathra and Anir were forced to sign a contract to release both party members. As soon as the contract was signed, Mara and Edrack appeared, although they had several stitches inside them. They also appeared to have golden eyes. The party left and decided to buy some rations, before going through a portal that would lead them to Carceri. They were dropped into a swamp, and after some reconnaissance they picked a path to follow. After three hours, they encountered 3 Demodands who were leading 12 enslaved humans though the swamp. As soon as the Demodands spotted them, they attacked the party.
As the party travelled on across the chaotic good plane, Edrack finally saw something in the distance that agreed better with his nature. Caves. An earlier conversation with Mara who had suggested for the proud dwarf to wear flowers, was instantly forgotten as he led the party toward the rock outcroppings.
They encountered a flock of sheep in front of it, and before they could start to investigate, a deep voice resonated out of the cave: “Who is stealing my sheep?”. Seeing the one-eyed giant storming out of the cave, Virgil impulsively shouted “Nobody”, while the party grabbed for its weapons. After the first exchange of blows, Mara made ready to whisk the group away. The Cyclops however, was too quick and took her down with a fast, but heavy blow. After Kethra and Virgil quickly healed her (with a distraction from Virgil, loudly proclaiming Edrack as the party's leader), Mara tried to reason with the giant. At that moment, a couple of smaller Cyclopes tried to storm out of the cave but were blocked by a wall of force Kethra had previously enacted. After it was dispelled, the Cyclops stormed back to block them himself.
Since they felt themselves under heavy stress to fulfil their quest quickly, Edrack and Virgil wanted to use this moment to leave, but Mara wanted to see what the Cyclops' intentions were. When the giant turned around, he led them further away so that his lesser kin couldn't smell and get aggressive because of the ‘offensive' smell of humans. The creature told the party that a group of demons had attacked and stolen some sheep. One of the creautures was flying, while another spat acid. Quietly Edrack conferred with Virgil the likelihood that the offenders were after the party. They quickly decided not to make this known and especially Edrack felt the urgency to leave quickly.
Mara however, was still conferring with the Cyclops, who said that he could speed their travel with a gate at the back of his cave in exchange for help. Fearing Mara to reveal crucial information about the quest and delaying it by helping the giant, Virgil quickly took over conversation by promising in a grand voice that the giant need not worry and they would help him right away. The giant however, saw the lie for what it was and stormed toward the Modron while Edrack used the moment of confusion to run off with the artefact.
While Mara tried to calm the creature again, Virgil moved behind her, saying the Cyclops should take no offence and listen to Mara, as she was (now) the leader. As the giant indeed calmed once more, Virgil once more offended the Cyclops by trying to secretly drink a potion of healing and, when caught, lying again by saying he was just trying to “wet his lips”. Meanwhile he strategically moved behind the women. Mara finally saw that leaving was the wisest path and she cast dimension door, bringing the party to the – still running – Edrack, who was less shocked by the others suddenly appearing before him than learning that Mara had such an ability and only chose to use it now.
Since the day had been long, the party choose to rest and Mara cast rope trick to make sure the Cyclops wouldn't find them. After some hard-earned rest in the conjured space they continued their journey with Mount Olympus in sight.
Mount Olympus proved to be a hard climb. When Vergil took out his compass to locate the easiest path, Edrack tried to convince the group to go through the Mountain via a cave, but they thought of an easier way: Using Mara's magic they would try to fly the greatest part of the climb.
It would prove to be a real case of mind over magic when some of them closed their eyes, willing themselves to fly faster, nay, believing it to be so, for after a while they saw the grand architecture of the fames Greek Pantheon looming before them. Edrack's faith was even so great that he sped forward like a meteor to be quickly surrounded by the famed Olympian warriors. Though their jubilant and friendly nature was queer, if not downright unsettling to the nature of Edrack (and visa versa), the group was escorted quickly to the High Temple of Zeus.
When the doors closed behind them in that great Temple and they stood alone waiting, they took in their surroundings. At the end of the great hall there was a great statue of a towering giant of a man sitting on his throne before a clear blue pool. Seeing his mission done with the arrival at the temple, Vergil raced there to take a refreshing dive in it. Alas, a door under the statue opened, and with a wave of his hand, an old man in the white clothing of the old Greeks transported Vergil back to the side of the pool.
And so it was that the group, when the identity of the elder was confirmed to be that of Zeus himself, saw finally the joyous end of their quest before them. A wave of serenity passed through Zeus as he accepted the artifact to take the lightning in his hand. Only to have that look change from confusion to outright rage.
“It's poisoned, how dare you!”, the lord shouted and before they were well aware or could try to explain they were teleported away, to find themselves back, confused and all, somewhere on the rocky, desolate slope of the Mount Olympus again.
Suddenly, a burning sensation came from one of Edracks as well as Maras feet and a sinister gem presented itself, as if growing out of their own bodies to stay stuck as a pimple. The owner presented itself via some means of scrying as a powerful demon and proclaimed the marked ones as his to serve him at a later time of his request. For now, they were free to bring news to mighty Moradin.
Edrack was furious at this and tried to chop of his own leg, and failing the strength of will for this, asked Vergil to do it.
Always open for new things, Vergil was ready to take a good swing when Edrack was willed at the last moment to stop him. Not in a mood to mess more with the dwarf, Vergil took a run through the portal identified in beforehand. At that, Edrack tried to prevent Mara from going as well, seeing it has his duty to see see would not take this evil presence into Moradin's own court. Alas, Mara and Kethra escaped him nonetheless, and after a few moments he decided to follow himself.
Once there they were attacked by a party of demons who seemed to be on the winning side until celestial aid came for the companions.
So it was that they were brought to Moradin, a giant of a dwarf, standing patiently at the Forge that created so many dwarfs already. Despite their surprise of the twists in the last days, the Dwarven god first thanked them to tell Edrack that he could not release him from the gem but that he would be on their side in a later battle where this would be resolved.
He also gave them a way to contact, via Vergil, celestial help where they to need it in one dire situation. With that and the promise of his payment as well as more thanks he sent Vergil away. Next, Moradin also thanked the remaining 3 companions and told them that for the four of them the time had come to return to Faerun. Thus, the companions were told to step into the fire of the Forge to return and ‘be reborn'.
Feeling burned, recharged and remade all at the same time, the three Planar Travelers once again found themselves in a sideroom of Adbar's holy temple. A quick look to the wall behind them were they came from showed a glimpse of two beautiful crafted, gem-adorned statues of human women behind Mara and Kethra, as well as two dwarfs behind Edrack, but they disappeared back into the stone, too fast for the group to fully appreciate them.
The group was apparently expected as they were welcomed by one of the Hammers of Moradin who called for a novice to guide the women to their room, while Edrack was invited to give report of what had transpired.
After being shown to their room, the women quickly went to find a steam heated bath to refresh where they met with a pleasantly surprised and rather fat gem merchant from Sundabar, whom didn't seem to appreciate the discussion topic of his wife Gertrude with these rather naked ladies. On the way to their room the ladies met up with a nephew of Dolrass, who told them Dolrass was back to Felbarr, so that he would give them the 400 gp the party had earned by their guardianship of the caravan. Also, he had received Ander's bow, which was remade in his honour so that Mara could give it to one of his worth so that it could be used again in the fight for the Marches.
Meanwhile, Edrack was dumbfounded to enter a conference chamber behind the altar, where he was applauded with loud bangs on a big round table by all Hammers of Moradin, after which he was invited by Rorann to give a full report what had transpired. Even though Edrack wasn't so sure of himself, having left his weapons outside the conference chamber in fear of the evil taint on him, he was told by Rorann to have faith in the Soul Forge, just as He had shown in Edrack.
Edrack was subsequently given a white Hammer of Moradin habit by the Drapier and was initiated in the order. He was given the title of Seneschal and to his own astonishment and pride told that, as the Lone Hammer (the popular name of the function) he would act as both deputy and adviser to Grand Master Rorann.
Furthermore, he was asked to reward his companions as well as renew their services with the sum of 75.000 gold pieces to be spent at Adbar. Also he was told that, as Seneschal he was entitled to access additional temple funds and means.
Next, Edrack was asked to accompany Rorann to the King's Council. After congratulations from the king he was present when the following was discussed:
Still no news from Mithrall Halls. Orcs continue building up fortifications, although the orcs closest to Adbar, the Tornskulls, still do not seem to have joined them. There are voices for sending a mass to Bruenor's aid, but a full out attack will not be possible as it will leave Adbar weak while Mithril Halls may already be without hope.
The group of ogres that were raiding the tunnels been seen near the North Gate. More information is difficult to obtain as their master, probably a demon, prevents scrying attempts.
Alustriel's son, the commander of the federation forces has asked for more weapons to equip the newly joined soldiers from Newfort. There is some concern because they are former Zhents, but it is decided the weapons will be granted.
More potions of Thayan-Everlund wizardry were found in orc hands in the Rauvin Hills. A Silverymoon wizard found out that an adventuring party named ‘The Wrath of Talos' is probably somehow responsible for getting it in their hands. It is deemed of crucial importance that the Thayan enclave will be closed and the mercenaries stopped. With the threatening war against the orcs however, hard evidence of the supplying of orcs with this magic is needed to convince Everlund's elders. A meeting is arranged with a possible guide that says to know more about the whereabouts of the Wrath of Talos. It is suggested that Edrack and his friends meet this person to investigate the case since he knows the contact.
Underdark traders have confirmed the unusual lack of activity from the Menzoberanzan drow. It seems that they are having some sort of a religious crisis.
Oldreth's black mine was closed yesterday because of the finding of a strange black ooze that attacked the miners. Nobody were seriously injured.
After some shopping and rest, the companions were taken deep down in the Citadel to a gate to the North of Adbar. On the way they were told what was going on: The Hammers were preparing for a full-out attack against the troubling ogres, now that they were spread out. A force of the ogres was still on the way back to their fortress, ‘The Dour Fissure'. While the main body of the Hammers would go for the prime group there, the companions were asked to set off an avalanche to take out the ogre expedition. The place of ambush would also be relatively close to the meeting point with the contact so that they could investigate the business with the Wrath of Talos afterwards.
And so it was that the group set themselves up for the ambush at a small, high mountain path. And indeed, after some hours of waiting they saw an ogre coming around the corner and decided to set the trap off. Unfortunately, they found out the hard way that ogres use advance scouts too, so that the party failed to hurt the main group. Still, there was a positive side to this as it turned out that the ogres carried some weary and beaten prisoners: Ander, Dugnyr, Dedrick and a middle-aged human named Walter. The ensuing fight proved to be hard: Edrack quickly came to the aid of the unarmed prisoners, making a heroic slide down the mountain but lost consciousness after the ensuing blows, and was almost tossed down the mountain. With grim determination Walter summoned a dagger out of a tattoo on his palm to jump up to stab the ogre in the neck. Enacting final vengeance however, the ogre grabbed on to him in his fall so that Walter fell down with him down the mountain. Coming to the aid of the party, the women cast fly on their allies but were subsequently surprised when the leader of the ogres, an ogre mage Ander knew to be named ‘Brath', suddenly appeared and blasted them with a cone of cold. Nonetheless, the ogres were defeated in the end and the remaining prisoners freed. Dedrick and Dugnyr were to return to the Citadel, while Ander would help his old friends in their new quest. Ander found and took a leather map, probably Walter's, with unknown content with him.
After travelling the icy mountains for some time, the group reached the rendez-vous point where they were greeted with a familiar, ‘hello, friends'. Dale appeared to be one of the contact group, together with 3 dwarfs and a mysteriously fully robed, gruff priest named Dracobi. When the third dwarf returned especially Edrack and Mara were surprised to discover his identity: it was Edrack's brother, Enleth, whom Mara had left close to dying at Sundabar. The other dwarfs were friends of his, and were named Donstone and Merlith.
Nonetheless, especially Edrack proved to be suspicious of this group, even more when he found out that Dracobi had a strong evil taint about himself. Although he angered his brother by showing his suspicions to the new group, he later found that Enleth had chosen this unsteady alliance out of an all-consuming hate for what had happened because of Wallow's actions as well as the burn wounds that the indeed heavily scarred dwarf had received from his previous encounter with Derk and the Wrath (of which Mara was present).
The group travelled the cold wastelands in the direction Dracobi led them until the heavy snowfall forced them to an early rest in an abandoned cave. That night, Ander confided his traumas from his capture and subsequent torture to Mara while Dale showed an interest in Kethra, after having been told by Mara that Kethra liked him. In the morning however, the Ghour leading the Ice Spire Ogres suddenly tried to get revenge by leading a group of ogres into the cave. A fierce battle followed when a traumatized and enraged Ander shot the first arrows of his reclaimed bow. Dracobi subsequently angered Edrack by raising a fallen enemy to fight his former ogre comrades. Edrack was held by Mara's magic however, and with most of the ogres fallen or dying she ended the battle by banishing the Demon from the plane. When Dracobi and Ander returned from the maze the Ghour had sent them to, the fight between Dracobi and Edrack was temporarily put to rest and the party made ready to travel on. Before that however, Mara teleported back to Citadel Adbar to get some hard-needed supplies. Edrack and his scarred brother Enleth started to renew their relationship by sharing an old homebrew ale that Enleth had brought for the occasion.
The group travelled on and found the remains of a starved and frozen Tornskull orc near their next campsite. When they climbed the mountain in their path, they finally had a clear path of their goal: at the other side of a flat icy plain stood a mountain range with some sort of castle ruins on them. Ander was startled to see some figures moving up the sloping mountain path from this distance.
In order to avoid unwanted eyes (Dale put a cloak over himself so that, like Dracobi he would be unrecognisable from a distance), Mara teleported the party right to the other side of the plain, at the base of the mountain path. Here, the party decided to settle in for the night while Ander and Kethra moved a bit up the path to discover the signs of lots of passing humanoids in the wet and muddy snow.
At this point a heavy storm came up in the course of no more then a minute so that they decided to return to the others. When they had almost reached the base of the mountain, Kethra was suddenly attacked and launched hard against the side of the mountain by some bolts of lightning coming from a dark cloud, after which she lost consciousness. Meanwhile, the rest was startled to see a huge red dragon flying past. When the group rushed to the fight they saw a madly screaming albino orc female and recognized her to be Tesselee, leader of Talos' Wrath. Tesselee hadn't counted on the fury of Mara however who, thinking her best friend Kethra to be dead, focused all the deadly power she could muster, slaying Tesselee on the spot. While Dale warned the group not to worry about the dragon's breath, Dracobi had cast the spell True Seeing to see the center of the cloud as a small sphere pulsing with light and maybe even more startling and disgusting to his eyes, he did not have vision of a true red dragon, but that of a bald man, naked but a belt, reaching with his feet for Kethra's body in order to fly it away.
The party was pressed hard by the ensuing blasts of lightning and hard wind coming from the huge, dark cloud. When the cloud suddenly disappeared, Ander was down and thought to be dead, Enleth's body had completely disappeared and the other two dwarfs, Merlith and Donstone were blasted by such powerful a lightning bolt, that they were no more than unrecognisable black lumps.
The party found out that Ander was alive and that a great deal of the inflicted damage was non-lethal. Dale surprised the others by casting a healing spell on Ander and agreed to tell the group more. Dracobi meanwhile studied the top of the mountain to discern various small campfires. Dale told the party about the nature of the remaining members of the Wrath of Talos and that the red dragon form came from a powerful item worn by one of them. He also warned the group that if the disappeared friends were still alive, they would probably be tortured by their captors. He also said that he was not planning to let this happen and that he would get Kethra. After some discussion, the party decided to return to Abdbar first. They had found a message between the remains of Tesselee that said they had until high sun the next day to face the Wrath at which moment the captives would be executed. The message was addressed to the ‘stalking red-haired bitch', probably signalling Mara.
Dracobi signalled his intentions to wait here instead of visiting Adbar after which the others told him they would attack at first light so that he could join them in the attack. Ander insisted that Dale came with the others, but just as Mara enacted her spell, he stepped away while excusing himself and saying that he would still go after Kethra.
At the Citadel, the group got the information and the rest they needed. To their surprise, Ander and Edrack found out that Edrack was the highest ranking of the Hammers of Morradin as most of them had gone to help free Mithrall Halls from Obould's orcs. Mara tried to scry on Mara but was blocked by some powerful magic. She did see a glimpse of the following: Kethra was laying in an icy prison, where a lean, shifty-eyed goblin with a filthy parody of a uniform with the insignia of a blue dragon just walked away and where two glassy giants stood guard. She tried to teleport the group there but was blocked to end up the dwarven ruins of Ilgostrogue's Watch and specifically above a giant, broad hole leading downwards.
Luckily she had, amongst the other protection spells she had enacted, obtained the ability to fly so that their location now gave them a good viewpoint of their surroundings. The first thing they noticed however was not of sight, but of a loud cry of pain as they saw a bald man in a heavy robe standing next to a tied-up Enleth as he systematically peeled of the dwarf's skin with a crude sword. The man noticed the group however, and warned them not to attack under the threat of piercing Enleth's throat. Ander decided to shoot nonetheless, and while he managed to take the man down, he could not prevent him from ending the life of Edrack's brother. A heavily armoured bugbear and a horned, harpoon-armed monk joined the fray but were easily captured. Dracobi had casually walked to the fight with Dale at the beginning of the fight to join the others again, although Dale had turned invisible with one of his potions and had failed to turn up again. Edrack checked on Enleth's body to find it heavily booby-trapped.
At Edrack's suggestion, Ander shoots an arrow at the explosive bottles behind Enleth's body. With a flash, a sea of fire not only engulfs Enleth's body, but also that of the two prisoners, the monk and the bugbear, whom they left nearby. The party finds out they're dead and they take an unscathed belt from the bald man that says ‘red' in Chondathan. The party scouts the area and enters a guard tower. Two pairs of fresh footprints in the snow originating from a single pair of boots lead in, and out of the tower. Inside the party finds two racks with the now familiar Thayan / Everlund potions. When they take the stairs upward, they are puzzled by a strange sound coming from upstairs and find a strange white and black, birdlike creature that seems unable to fly. The friendly creature seems to be left as food and Ander comforts him, naming him ‘Wobbly'. When the group goes further upstairs they find some closed trunks and beds and a study room on the top floor. On a desk they find some documents with the following content:
1) These documents form a contract entailing the establishment of a Thayan Enclave in Everlund. It is signed by 4 council members including Vaeril Ruidhen High Sorcerer, Malvin Draga Keeper of the Bridge, Borun Fendelben Master of Guilds, Yeshelne Amrallatha High Priest of Corellon Larethian.
And, as a representative for the Thayans, it is signed by Zulkir Lauzoril.
Mostly it is about conditions such as the selling of only certain low-level, non offensive magical ware to the general public, more powerful ware only with the approval of one of the council, the forbiddance of slavery, a clausule that Thayan citizens can only be banished, not convicted by the Everlund authorities, a clausule that the Thayan enclave is considered as Thayan soil, monthly royalties as well as discounts to the Everlund authorities, a clausule that forbids Thayan officials to wield magic or carry dangerous items in the city, a clausule that forces the Thayans to print both the symbol of Everlund as that of Thay on all sold items, etc.
2) Another document is signed for the receipt of some magical items by Malvin Draga, Keeper of the Bridge. Most items seem to be simple potions, although 3 ‘orcbelts' and one ‘dragonbelt' stand out.
3) A letter:
The arrangements with the Thayans are still going fine. It is nice to see the money coming in from that, all to eager Lauzoril, with his nice “council compensation” (even though Sindyl and Borun get half of that of course) as well as from the orcs via you. Even as I am writing, the prices for magical items go up as the whole Marches are gearing up for a fight against the orc threat.
Keep up the good work and see whether you can sell them the next load of carts.
When the party tries to open a closed cabinet, a trap goes off and a blade barrier has some destructive effects also on the cabinet itself, which easily opens afterwards. Inside, there are more papers:
1) A letter:
Good to hear you have arrived and settled well. As I write this, Dale has settled in Rauvin Hills with the wyrm and will be our eyes there. As for the first cargo, it will arrive soon. The orcs are expecting you in a tenday. Prices are already agreed upon, I will not be ripped off a single copper!
Make sure you and your friends keep your temper a bit more the coming month as well. Just remember the destruction I promised you in return for a little stay in the cold there. With your new toys you will be sitting in the front row when the orcs start rampaging the Marches!
Don't fail me,
(Because of the reference to Dale, Mara only shares this letter with Ander)
2) Another letter:
It seems some things are changing. As Obould is getting more powerful with the day, we could do with an alliance. You will assist the leader of the Tornskulls in negotiations with Obould's representative. The magical belts making you pass for orcs and the red should make this possible, seeing the friendship you already built with the Tornskull leader. Remember though that you can only use the belt that many times!
The meeting will take place when next the moon is full.
Keep up the good work
Ps: you might want to reconsider your, ah, games a bit: I had some complaints from Sisporalyphix. It seems ‘the general' and she fail to appreciate the, shall we say, improvements you did to those statues above ground. Also, they seem to be missing a few servants?
3) And this letter:
It's good to hear your dealings with the Tornskulls and Obould's orcs have gone so well. I have spoken with Sisporalyphix and she has agreed to new steps that should be able to fulfil your appetite for destruction. I want you to return to the orcs as soon as possible and make them to take up their stuff and take the gate to the High Forest.
It should not be hard to convince them. For one thing this location should suit them much better.
You told me yourself the Spine is almost devoid of food and you can make clear how poorly defended the villages around Everlund are. Just make clear that Everlund itself, is to be off-limit for them until we give the signal.
Furthermore, Obould may find it in his own interest to attack the Marches from both sides if that time were to come.
Sisporalyphix agreed to let the orcs enter, with no more than 50 orcs in her lair at every time. If you can get them at Ilgostrogue's Watch on the fifth of next month, that means you should be done on the 9 th , when we can expect the bastard to be back. Of course, if ‘the general' were to come back earlier and get mad again because of all our friends in ‘his' castle, feel free to send him down to be set straight. Just try not to kill him yourself. It took already too much of my profit to calm her when the little wyrm died.
Finally let some of Obould's allies help guard the gate. Sisporalyphix hates uninvited visitors.
Edrack sees these notes as enough to finish his assignment and a fight ensues with the others, who want to try to save Kethra first. At one time they are interrupted when they hear loud crashing sounds from the first floor of the tower and they run downstairs. Here they find Wobbly standing awkwardly in the debris of a fallen storage rack, wet and filthy with the contents of the broken potion bottles. The party pauses their fight for a moment to further investigate the remaining buildings and they find a recently ruined temple of Moradin. Mara and Edrack see an exact likeness in a stone broken head, to the god they met on the planes. The party decides to travel down the mountain in search of Kethra. Down the shaft they meet a group of orcs, backed up by a quartet of Frost Giants and their winter wolf allies. The ensuing fight is hard. Dracobi cuts off the path of some orcs with a blade barrier and secretly makes contact with the goblin Schneel, Mara uses various confusion and enchantment spells to good effect but is constantly chased by orcs trying to disrupt her spell casting. With a final outburst of strength Edrack hammers the final Frost Giant to death, but its ferocious Winter Wolf pet reacts by shredding his throat. Maddened by this sight Ander storms after the retreating orc leader, a cleric with the, somewhat dubious, name Brother Justin.
Edrack feels himself being propelled up to the light above, through the shaft in the mountain. A voice calls out to him saying “A life for a life”. Next to the statue yard he finds a dwarf that looks like the old dwarf that once gave him his hammer. When he looks at it he sees most of the runes on it are gone. The dwarf shows him a terrifying scene: a big hound with crawling skin devours the screaming hazy image of the bald man that killed his brother. After that the beast moves forward to where his, also hazy looking, brother Enleth is, fists raised defiantly, while standing over his own mutilated body. Edrack looks at his own hands and sees the haziness on himself as well and realizes, without the expected pang of regret, that he must be dead. The old dwarf next to him, Dagnar Stonehammer says that while for Edrack the time has indeed come, there is still a chance for Enleth. It will take the last of Dagnar's powers however, so that Edrack must help him and in doing so take his place. Edrack agrees and Dagnar faces the Chaos Hound. Edrack gets to Enleth and the world goes white while he feels himself drawn to a place of enormous power.
Mara sees a flash of light and sees Edracks hammer flying through the shaft to the air above. Edrack's body has disappeared and so she runs after Ander with the rest. Just ahead in the tunnels they hear footsteps and they struggle to catch up. A small group of invisible orcs delay them for all the short amount of time that it takes Ander to spot their location and let loose two arrows. They pass a room with female and young orcs and Mara allows them to escape. Further in the hallway an orc stabs Mara from out of the darkness but before he can do any serious damage he is pinned to the wall by an arrow piercing his. The group runs on but they don't hear the orc cleric's footsteps anymore. They come up to a hallway with a cave at one side and a pile of sand on the other. The sand is strangely hot and Dracobi warns the group to stay away from it. They go into a cave to find a goblin in something vaguely resembling a uniform whom tries to talk but is quickly killed by Ander. Dracobi tells him not to kill any more goblins, while he removes the key the goblin was trying to hand over. The key opens an icy cell which holds Kethra. Kethra is filthy and distressed, strangely enough part of her gear lies in her cell, while another part is missing. A single ice golem is dispatched off with the help of an elf named Tarek Fleetfoot that used a flaming sword to escape the prison in which he was held. Together they move deeper into the caves to come upon a grisly (grizzly) scene: a huge bear is standing on a pile of goblins while still more goblins are holding spears to it, trying to keep it at bay. The bear turns out to be Tarek's companion and to the party's displeasure Dracobi orders the goblins to stand down. The goblins recognize Dracobi, referring to him as ‘general'. Dracobi guides the group to a gigantic, closed, iron door, behind which the blue dragon takes its residence. They decide to retreat to Dracobi's hidden quarters for rest first. Tarek goes outside and up the mountain where he meets up with a dwarf who asks Tarek to tell Ander that Edrack is ‘all fine'. The dwarf has a strange echoing voice and acts like he is trying to get used to the world but promises to come down in time.
Ander is glad when Tarek tells him about Edrack. The party moves down the mountain to the iron doors. Schneel, Dracobi's goblin servant is leading a group of goblins guarding the door. He says the goblin leader Ghistpok is inside with Sisporalyphix. Some goblins disagree with Schneel and Dracobi but at a sign from Schneel they are quickly and brutally disposed off by the loyal goblins. The group opens the door and moves in the former dwarven throne room, a hall filled with old and big statues of dwarven heroes. Dracobi sees Sisporalyphix, by means of a true seeing spell as an illusion while she greets her son and tries to talk to the party. Nonetheless Ander starts the fight but is grabbed by Sisporalyphix who jumps on him from her true location above the portal. She takes him and Wobbly (seated in his backpack) in a pool of sand while Tarek summons an earth elemental to go after them. The remaining Ice Golem attacks together with Ghistpok and some other goblins but especially Ghistpok is quickly disposed off when he fails to jump away as Dracobi casts a maximized Flamestrike on him.
Ander is let loose and subsequently congratulated by the dragon for being the first one to see her hoard. Cruelly, she pities him as well as it will be the last thing for him to see. When Tarek's earth elemental shows up she takes off into the air and with clever illusions manages to lead the elemental in the wrong direction. Then she herself disappears and everything becomes quiet around Ander. He takes notice of Wobbly and apologizes to the penguin and to Mielikki, Ander's goddess. There seems to be a lack of air in the cave and Ander wastes some time searching through a pile of coins until he notices some items on an altar in the back of the cave. With time running out he searches for a ring of wishes or some other useful item but passes out from lack of oxygen (sadly he does find a ring of the ram but doesn't recognize it as such).
The rest of the party moves on into the hall. After a while they hear pained calls for help in Ander's voice but most of them see through it as another sinister ruse from the dragon. The group moves on and meet up with the blue dragon. A heavy fight breaks loose and in the end the party seems to be on the winning side when Sisporalyphix escapes again. The party figures she can return any time after administering some healing magic and so the group decides to move back. They hear the sound of metal on stone and when they come back in the Throne room see Enleth (talking about himself as ‘we', and with a familiar gem on his warhammer) breaking a passage in the wall towards a room with the dragon's hoard. Next, he recovers the bodies of Wobbly and Ander. While Wobbly appears to be in good health, Ander sadly turns out to be dead. Dracobi suggest to raise him but the others do not feel comfortable with the idea of Dracobi performing such magic on Ander. Mara, Kethra and Dracobi take away the hoard with their bags of holding. The party moves away and hears the taunting voice of the dragon coming after them in the darkness. They meet Schneel again who is threatened by Tarek. Schneel retreats before Dracobi can interfere and after a while a painful yelp is heard. Tarek sends his bear companion in the direction of the scream and a while later there is an explosion of light in the tunnels as Sisporalyphix rewards the bear with a full blast of its breath. Thankfully for the forest creature, he was still under the influence of protection spells from Tarek so that it can quickly return to the others. The party decides to bail out. Tarek teleports to the portal from which he entered while the others teleport to Silverymoon to show Alustriel the documents. They forget to take Enleth and Ander's body with them.
Tarek comes to the High Forest side of the portal and decides to bury it with some well-placed Stone to Mud spells. Just before he does so, a bloody and broken goblin is tossed through the portal. Had he taken the time to investigate it he would have noticed it was the, barely alive, goblin leader Schneel. Tarek moves out of the caves and into the High Forest where he finds a carnage of orc bodies lying around and hanging in some of the half-uprooted and scarred trees. One of the trees presents himself as Turlang who tells Tarek that there are three armies of orcs. One has moved days ago to the north, while the others have moved in the High Forest. Tarek gets a magical armour from Turlang that previously belonged to another famous elf hero of the Forest.
When they arrive in Silverymoon, Dracobi puts a geas on Mara so that she cannot follow him. He then takes his riches and leaves the city. Mara seeks an audience with Lady Alustriel.
copyright © Sander Buiter, 2003-2004