Campaign Journal Book One
This is a log, in book form, of all the events of a campaign the webmaster ran in Farland.
Table of Contents
- The Characters
- Chapter One-- Defending Woodtown
- Chapter Two--the Cult of Grlarshh Attacks
- Chapter Three-- The Winged One
- Chapter Four-- Politics and the Dragonquest
- Chapter Five--Gold and Blood
- Chapter Six-- The Clouds of War
Bartarius of Outelion, a powerful barbarian. The leadership of the group has fallen to Bartarius, and he does his best to lead well. He is often, however,near to cracking under the strain.
Ragnor Ack-Rohan, a half-elven cleric/mage. Ragnor is a no-nonsense, pragmatic type who gets the job done. He seems closer in heritage to his human rather than his elven ancestors in this respect.
Malcall Grimson, another powerful barbarian. Malcall is a ravager and a berserker who dismays people by his manners and appearance. His whole goal is to fight and collect "souvenirs."
Fundin Northammer, a cautious Dwarven cleric who is no longer with the group. He is still an ally, however, for presently he is seeking his exiled peoples in order to bring reinforcements to the aid of Dragonspur.
Dralin Ironshield, a powerful and greedy Dwarven cleric who is currently seeking the legendary Dwarf-hold Liferock in order to restore the Dwarves to their former glory. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
Tili Deepdelver, a powerful Dwarven warrior, Tili fell defending the heroes during their attack on the Winged One. He lies in a hallowed cairn deep beneath the Hilly Crags.
Valanduil of House Cirana, a noble elf who was once the companion and advisor of Bartarius. His life's doom is to seek the Elven artifact called the Stone of Silence, but his whereabouts are currently unknown.
Belshrum Stoneaxe, a berserk and freakish Dwarven warrior, Belshrum's fondest wish was to die in battle. His wish was granted when he fell during the group's exploration of Carn Keller.
Chapter One- Defending Woodtown
|25th of Darkenmonth, 8168 F.R.|
The story of the current campaign begins in a small farming village called Woodtown, located two to three days travel east of Dragonspur City in the newly liberated Kingdom of Kelerak. It seems that Woodtown is being inexplicably attacked by undead. The undead seem to be focusing on the town cemetery. It falls to the town cleric, one Ragnor Ack-Rohan, to investigate this disturbance. Before he has a chance, however, several strangers coincidentally enter the town at the same time. Two are dwarves from a nomadic Mountain clan who have come from the Highlands of Zeland to the East. Their names are Dralin Ironshield and Tili Deepdelver, and they are seeking food for their people, who are fleeing a food shortage. The other is a Barbaric Northmen from the semi-wild Wolf Clan to the North, named Malcall Grimson. He is a brutal man with a short temper, and it seems that he has been exiled from his clan. He seeks only adventure. The mayor of the town agrees to give food to the clan of dwarves if Dralin and Tili will aid Ragnor in seeking out and neutralizing the threat to the town. Malcall is along for the ride. They agree, but the only clue they have to go on is the fact that scouts have reported that a small cave, previously home to a tribe of Goblins, has recently been usurped by a strange group of secretive humans.
They set off for the cave, but on their way they meet a strange cleric in a deserted cemetery in a wood. He seems to be attempting to raise some skeletons to send to Woodtown. They capture the cleric and learn that he serves an evil God, the God of death and disease, Grlarshh. They take him back to the town for punishment, and then return to the Cave. At the cave the find themselves in a pitched fight with novitiate clerics of Grlarshh, as well as the undead controlled by them. They win the battle and kill the leader of the clerics, a coldly beautiful woman named Ivanova. However, some parchments indicate that the real leader of the Clerics is a more powerful priest of Grlarshh named Urdar Ack-Jovich. Unfortunately they just missed Urdar, who left several days ago to go to Dragonspur City. In the city he plans to get reinforcements so that he can sack the town and "recover the items of Afej the Black", whatever that means. Dralin, Ragnor, Tili, and Malcall thus set off for Dragonspur City in pursuit of Urdar.
Chapter Two-The Cult of Grlarshh Attacks
|1st of Kalt, 8169 F.R.|
Arriving in the famous Dragonspur City, with a population of some 55,000, the heroes meet with the city guard led by Captain Brian Hightower. They are informed that there is a price on the head of any Goblinoid in Goblin Town (a sequestered section of the city full of dark folk, left from its occupation). They also find out that the house of Urdar lies in Goblin Town. They thus enter this dangerous section of the City and slay some goblinoids for bounty. They then enter the house of Urdar, but find out that he is at a hidden temple somewhere in Goblintown. They also find, to their dismay, that he and HIS High Priest, one Widfaral (who has also left the city and gone to the town of Dessingrove in the Afej Barony), have allied themselves with one of the tribes of Orcs which inhabit Goblintown. They manage to find and invade the hidden temple of Grlarshh (hidden because the worship of Grlarshh is illegal to all races). After much hardship, they sack the temple, but find that Urdar (who is deeply in love with Ivanova, and thus in a hurry to get back to her) has already left with a party of orcs to sack Woodtown and recover the items of Afej. Thus the group is forced to race back to Woodtown.
They arrive too late, however, to prevent the attack, and find that Woodtown is being held by the forces of Urdar, who is ransacking the town cemetery for some unknown reason. The heroes attack Urdar, and slay him in their hardest battle yet. One of their allies, a young rogue whom they rescued from the temple of Grlarshh, falls in the battle. However, the town is liberated and the threat seems to be neutralized, although it is a hollow victory. Dralin, Tili, and Ragnor arrange for the remainder of the Dwarven Clan to move into the town of Woodtown (renamed Wotun), to help rebuild and defend it. A young berserker dwarf named Belshrum Stoneaxe also asks to join the group to avenge his father, who fell at the hands of Orcs while on a diplomatic mission to Woodtown from the dwarves. Worse, Urdar made him into a zombie. With this new addition to the party, the heroes then set off to Dragonspur City.
Chapter Three-The Winged One
On the way to the city, the heroes find a mysterious tomb. It turns out to be the crypt of the Fiend, a very powerful and mysterious being who speaks in rhymes. The Fiend gives the party a vision of both The slain Lord of Lust, Brathelathor, as well as a mysterious Winged Figure who faintly resembles the Lord of Sin. Perplexed, the party continues on. They arrive in Dragonspur City and meet with both Captain Brian Hightower and the Court Mage Lord Yedus. They the venture into Goblin Town and slay a powerful Ogre Mage, an officer in the evil forces. Belshrum falls in the combat, but is raised. They take the head of the ogre back to Yedus and Hightower. In conversation with these personages, as well as from clues they have found in the house of Ognor the Ogre Mage, the group learns that a mysterious figure, "The Winged One" is to be sold a gem, a special spell component, from an evil wizard named Vagnar Maltaran in Goblin Town. This then is the winged figure about which the Poetic Fiend warned them. The purpose of this spell component, called the Key-Lock Gem, is to bring Brathelathor the Lord of Lust and the former evil ruler of Kelerak, back from the Abyss where he has been banished. Dire news indeed! This was the Ogre Mage's mission. The group also learns that the Ogre mage has already sent a party to the wizard's to purchase the gem.
The group speeds to the wizard's house. They invade the house and cause the wizard to submit. He tells them that they are too late and that he has already sold the gem to a party of orcs who are on their way to the Hilly Crags west of Kelerak to give it to The Winged One. The party plans to set out on the trail of the orcs. Before they leave, however, they are beset in their inn by a group of rogues from the Dragonspur thieves guild, led by one Corfin, the lieutenant of the guild. Corfin backstabs Dralin, but the rogues are defeated. Corfin escapes. The group then sets out for the Hilly Crags on the trail of the Key-Lock Gem.
Arriving in the Crags, they find the hidden Lust Fort, home of the Winged One. They also find a force of 5000 orcs camped outside it, poised to invade Dragonspur City when the Lord of Lust returns. The party meets up with a mysterious druid named Leah, who tells them that there is a secret way into Lust Fort. It is an abandoned underground road called The Deep Mines Passage. They venture through this long and dangerous route, and after much hardship, and after Malcall obtains a powerful but possibly cursed battle-axe, they find themselves in the dungeons below Lust Fort. Again after much hardship and travail, they slay The Winged One, who turns out to be Barghevor, a half-demon cambion and the son of the Lord of Lust himself. They smash the Key-Lock Gem and, taking the head of The Winged One, they attempt to flee back into the deep mines passage. But do to some mistakes off the party members, they find that their way has been discovered and that they must fight their way into the deep mines passage. They are beset by Orcs and a spell-caster and are involved in a pitched battle, when unexpectedly Urdar reappears. But he is revealed as an undead revenant seeking the killers of Ivanova, his beloved. He kills Ragnor Ack-Rohan, but is killed (again) by Malcall and the rest of the party. In sorry shape, and dragging the dead Ragnor and unconscious Tili, the party sets off down the deep mines passage, pursued by Orcs. The group makes a stand in the passage and routes the remaining orcs, but not before the unconscious Tili is hit by stray orc-arrows and slain. With deep sorrow, the group decides that they can only carry one person for long, and thus leave Tili under a makeshift Cairn, the collapsed ceiling of the deep mines passage. Eventually, the party makes its way back to the closest village, Bestraville, famous for its temple to the Goddess Bestra. There Ragnor is raised and the party healed. They make their way back to Dragonspur City, and are given a heroes parade and granted a gift of land by the Lord of the City, Naglor Osbern.
Chapter Four- Politics and the Dragonquest
On their way back to the city, however, the group has found that all is not well in Dragonspur. They meet some Kalish mercenaries who are on their way to the house of one Lord Turstan Quentin. This Lord Turstan seems to desire the Lordship of Dragonspur. The heroes tell Lord Naglor about the mercenaries, who informs them that this Turstan is a popular Lord in the city. Indeed, most of the standing auxiliary, encamped outside the walls, are sympathetic to his cause, primarily because he seem to be lavish towards them with his money. The elite City Guard, who maintain order inside the city, are still loyal to Naglor. Plus, it is known that Turstan is keeping Kalish mercenaries at his estate within the city. The heroes pledge loyalty to Naglor and return to their house. But here the group reaches an impasse: Dralin and Belshrum, the dwarves, wish to go in search of Liferock, the sacred ancient Dwarven home, where it is rumored that the race was born. Ragnor, however, wishes to remain in service to the city. Thus the group is sundered, with Dralin and Belshrum returning to Wotun (Woodtown) to make preparations to begin an expedition to Liferock, and Ragnor and Malcall remaining behind in Dragonspur. But then the famous Bartarius, one of the liberators of Dragonspur returns from the east. It seems that he has been in captivity to the Lord of Envy for eight years. He is bearing news of massing armies in the east and wishes to warn Lord Naglor, an old friend. Naglor asks for his aid, telling Bartarius that it is a troubled time. Bartarius agrees. Naglor suggests that he join the group of Ragnor and Dralin (not knowing that Dralin has left). Bartarius again assents. After the situation is explained to him, the barbarian suggests that Naglor needs money to raise an army and maintain the city. He says that he knows of the location of a dragon hoard- far across the kingdom to the west, in the Naeb Brakes. He says that he will slay the Dragon, recover the hoard, and donate it to Naglor for the defense of the city. The group prepares to set out. But it seems that Dralin has not forgotten the group after all. He has sent an apprentice priest of his god Khuldul, a young dwarf named Fundin Northammer with the charge to aid the group of Ragnor in whatever way he can. At this point, the party is invited to the manor of Turstan, who asks them to swear allegiance to his cause. When they refuse, they are later attacked by masked men, but Malcall makes short work of them. They then spend several days attempting to aid Naglor in a political way. Under Naglor's banner, Bartarius fights and defeats the champion of Turstan, the famous Gladiator Stephen Steelthews in the tournament of the Festival of Harvests. The party then sets out for the Naeb Brakes, after Bartarius hires a young bard named Tancred to record his deeds.
On the road just outside of Dragonspur City, however, the party meets more Kalish mercenaries on the way to Lord Turstan. They fight and vanquish them all. On the body of their leader, however, they find a note ordering the mercenaries to go to Turstan on behalf of Widfaral. The group thus learns that Turstan is somehow linked to the cult of Grlarshh and thus to Afej! The plot thickens. Sending the note to Naglor, they continue on their mission.
Arriving in the small fishing city East-of-Sky, on the shore of the great lake of Kelerak, the Lake of the Sky, the party charters a boat and waits to sail across the huge lake. While they are in an inn, however, they hear talk about a mob going to lynch one Jacob, for the alleged murder of a popular war-hero named Hamo. They go to the town jail to prevent the mob from unjustly hanging Jacob. They find out from Jacob that he was Hamo's best friend, and that he and Hamo were contracted by the Chamberlain of the Barony, one George Danube to recover a golden raven from the haunted Ravencrest Manor five miles from the city. While there, a demon-like beast attacked them. Hamo managed to cut off two of the beast's fingers, one of which had a golden ring with some sort of crest on it, but was slain by the beast. The monster inexplicably let Jacob go. Jacob believes that if the group could recover the body of Hamo and the ring, it would provide some clue to the real killer's identity. The party goes to the Chamberlain's mansion to ask him to delay Jacob's execution until they can recover the body of Hamo. While there, they notice that the crest of the chamberlain's house is a lion rampant. They also notice that George has the peculiar habit of keeping one hand in his coat, Napoleon style, at all times. George grants them permission and they set off.
Arriving in the manor, they recover Hamo's body after much hardship. They also recover the Golden Raven and the ring. Surprisingly, the ring has a lion rampant on it. They travel back to the chamberlain to accuse him of the murder, who seems to be visiting with his mother, Lilith. When the chamberlain gestures to have them arrested, they notice that he has all his fingers! The party is involved in melee to avoid being arrested, when George's old mother reveals herself as the demon-beast. The group manages to barely defeat her and recovers a note from her body. It indicates that "she" is a demon in the service of the Lord of Lust. She is writing to The Winged One (who she doesn't know is dead). She says in the note that Hamo, as commander of the town's army, refuses to march the army to the Hilly Crags to meet up with the Winged One's army to attack Dragonspur. But by killing Hamo, and framing Jacob, the demon has removed any resistance to her plan, since the Baron, himself, one Baron Oliver, is in her dungeon. She also says that she has located the Golden Raven and will send it along with the army. It seems the Raven is also a spell-component to summon the Lord of Lust back to Kelerak. The group destroys the Raven and frees Baron Oliver, who is very grateful and agrees to begin diplomatic relations with Dragonspur City. Satisfied, the party sets sail across the expanse of the Lake of the Sky.
Aboard the ship the Iron Lady, the group meets Captain Hadrian. The Captain laments the two days that the group held up the ship, since all ships are obliged to travel an extra two days on the lake to avoid a cursed island, Coffin Island. Bartarius tells the captain that he wishes to explore this island and makes arrangements for the group to be let off for a day at the island. On the hilly and rocky island, the party is attacked by harpies, who abduct Tancred the Bard and carry them to their lair. Climbing the steep hill, the heroes slay the harpies in a pitched battle in which Ragnor is knocked unconscious. They rescue Tancred and return to the ship, telling Hadrian that they believe they have ended the menace of Coffin Island.
The ship arrives several days later in West-of-Sky, but the group is informed that the town, which is the capital of the Ranulph Barony, is under martial law. It is illegal for armed foreigners to wander freely in the town, due to the threat of attack from the Afej Barony to the West. The heroes choose to stay on the ship. Ragnor enters the town and consults the half-Elven sage Gisla Rotrou for information about the blue dragon who lives to the west. The sage informs him that the Dragon is named Skywing, and that he originally took part in the conquest of the Kingdom 400 years ago, serving the Lord of Lust. Well-paid, he settled down in the Naeb Brakes to guard the route between Kale and Kelerak. But nothing has been heard from the Dragon in many years. Further, she tells Ragnor that the Dragon has a passion for history. Gisla also seems very interested in Ragnor's reason for wanting to know this information.
Having learned this news, the heroes are escorted out of West-of-Sky. First, however, they report to Sergeant Peter Ack-Philip, who is required by law to record their names and business in the Barony. They journey on to the small town of Walchelim, then strike out west on the little used Beacon Trail. Passing through the Lorindon Swamp, the party comes to a wooden bridge-the only forge over the Fulk Stream for miles. But the bridge is a toll bridge and is guarded by 6 trolls and 20 kobolds. In a pitched battle the heroes slay the trolls and the kobolds and claim the toll money. They then skirt far north around both Dessingrove, the capital of the Afej Barony, and Carn Marrot, the newly rebuilt citadel of Afej. Finally they come to the edge of the Naeb Brakes, a forlorn treeless stretch of land. Striking West, they come to the remains of the ancient road that led between Kale and Kelerak.
But traveling on this road, they see that an unidentified group of figures is behind them and heading in the same direction. When they encounter the figures, they see that it is a group of orcs, led by large Uruk-Hai orcs, and escorting prisoners. The orcs have a curious "A" badge on their shields and identify themselves as Carn Orcs. They attempt to apprehend the group, but are quickly dispatched. The party is able to rescue one of the two prisoners of the orcs, the lady Joan of Dessingrove. The group learns that the rulers in Dessingrove have made a deal with the Dragon. For a sum of money, the rulers supply the dragon with a troop of Orcish guards, as well as some captives every few months as food. The group seems dismayed by the news.
Nonetheless, they set out towards the lair of the dragon under cover of invisibility spells. Coming near, they see that the Carn Orcs, who obviously serve Afej and seem to be in league with the dragon, have built a square tower to guard the entrance to the dragon's cave. The cave itself is a large hill with an ominous 30' gaping hole in the center. After much argument, they strike on a plan. They send Malcall, invisible, to attempt to spy inside the windows of the building. Avoiding the two oluk guards, he looks in but finds the tower dark. He goes back and returns with Bartarius, who lifts him up to the lighted second story window. Here he sees 5 orcs and a half-orc cleric, the obvious leader of the garrison. But Bartarius can't resist taunting the oluk guards, still invisible. With the garrison roused, the barbarians flee back to the party. The next day, the party rememorizes spells. Ragnor turns everyone invisible again. Bartarius and Malcall creep up on the two guards, while Fundin casts a hold person on them. One is held and the other is quickly slain. The group then breaks into the tower and, in a quick battle, slays the 30 inhabitants and the cleric. They eventually take one oluk, Shagbal, captive. He tells them the layout of the Dragon's lair.
The group concocts a plan. They tie two dead orcs to stakes, and Ragnor casts phantasmal force to make them look like the dragon's intended victims. The group then awaits the coming of the dragon, hoping to gain surprise. But Skywing has other plans. When he doesn't fall for the ruse, Bartarius and Malcall (with many protection spells on them) venture down the passage and come to an inexplicable stone wall apparently sealing it off. They realize it is an illusion just in time to see a large chamber, containing the immense and hideous glory that is Skywing! The dragon immediately breathes lighting on Bartarius, who is severely injured. But Malcall and Bartarius bravely and viciously attack the dragon. And miraculously, due to their fighting ability and with helpful spells from Ragnor and Fundin, the two Barbarians manage to almost slay the Dragon, though they are both gravely injured themselves. Skywing attempts to surrender, offering to share his vast knowledge of history, but, enraged, Malcall slays him. The party then pauses for several days to rest, heal, and count the immense treasure that now belongs to them, and thus to Dragonspur City! Bartarius divides the treasure, setting the great majority of it aside to aid the plight of the city.
Chapter Five- Gold and Blood
Deciding to head back to Dragonspur by roughly the same route, the heroes set off East. But three of the party are again stricken by a familiar but mysterious illness. Ragnor and Bartarius are sick, but Malcall falls deathly ill and can barely stay on his horse. He is near comatose. Ragnor and Bartarius are able to be healed by a Cure Disease spell, but for some reason it doesn't seem to be affecting Malcall.
One day into the Naeb Brakes, the party is waylayed by five cloaked figures who come on them unawares and surprise them. The figures reveal themselves as Elhil or Elves. They are led by one Leanorfin of the House Arduval, an Elhil Lord of great nobility. He seems to shine with an inner radiance, and he is tall and proud. He reveals that he is the leader of the Talranuil, or the Shadow Walkers, the famous and legendary group of Elven rangers. He reveals to the heroes that there is a party of orcs patrolling the edge of the Naeb Brakes, hoping to perhaps catch the party. The elves lead the heroes far around the blockade, and two days travel takes them to an outpost of the Shadow Walkers, found in the Black Wood to the North of Dessingrove. Here the group rests and studies for a week under the care of the elves. Malcall's disease is tended by Leanorfin. The progress is thus temporarily halted. The Elves tell Bartarius that Valanduil is seeking him and will meet him in Dragonspur sometime in the indeterminate future. They also tell them that the Shadow Walkers are again abroad in the land and the elves are stirring. They also warn the party to beware of trolls in the hills to the east. Finally, giving them supplies and naming Ragnor and Bartarius Duthan, or elf-friends, the party strikes off to the East.
Within two days travel the party meets 4 trolls and a giant troll. In their weakened state without Malcall, they barely vanquish the troll, sustaining serious injuries. But they press on, leaving the hills behind them. Days later, their travel slowed by their heavily laden horses and Malcall's condition, they find themselves camping on the edge of the Green Copse. They encounter some evil Ettercaps. The beasts think to lead the party into a deadly trap, but are instead trapped themselves and slain through the combined efforts of Bartarius, Ragnor, and Fundin. Traveling on, the group comes to the town of Walchelim. Knowing that this town is in the heavily policed Ranulph Barony, however, the group skirts it and heads down the road to West-of-Sky. They come upon a patrol led by one Captain Anselm. The party, perhaps unwisely, tells the Captain that they are from Dragonspur, heading back from a trip to the Belendale. Cpt. Anselm suspects that they are spies for the Afej Barony and attempts to place them under arrest. Fearing that their Dragon-gold will be confiscated, they attack and slay the soldiers to a man, sparing only Anselm. The party, especially Bartarius, then finds themselves caught in a moral dilemma: they already slew 29 men over this gold and they are at a loss as to how to treat Anselm. Should they slay him or free him? They put off the decision and force the Captain (through mistreatment, which further deepens the ethical problem) to march with them to West-of-Sky.
At the heavily patrolled city, Ragnor ventures in alone, cloaked and hooded. He goes to the docks seeking Hadrian, ship Captain of the Iron Lady. On the way, however, he discovers that the party is being sought for "questioning"! He finds Hadrian who agrees to ferry them back to East-of-Sky. He says that he will meet them three days hence in a small town to the north called Dunton.
When Ragnor is leaving the docks, however, he is followed by a mysterious figure. The figure stalks him back to the hiding place of the party They notice him and apprehend him. The mysterious figure proves to be one Olaf, a thief in the employ of Gisla Rotrou the sage. He reveals that he has been hired by Gisla to watch the docks and be on the look-out for the party. If he finds them he is to bid Ragnor to meet Gisla. She has "an offer he can't refuse." Troubled and perplexed, the group tells Olaf to leave, saying that Ragnor will get in touch with Gisla in a few days. Bowing, the thief takes his leave.
The party then immediately sets out for Dunton. While traveling, however, they are inexplicably attacked by an invisible wind-type force. The creature proves dangerous, but the group is able to dispatch it. Upon arriving in Dunton, Ragnor enters the town invisibly, and meets the ship of Captain Hadrian. But he finds that Olaf has somehow tracked the party to Dunton. He arranges for Hadrian's sailors to make the docks a little dangerous for Olaf. In the mean time, he goes back for the party. With some judicious use of "Fly" and "Invisibility" spells, the group is able to board the ship with all of the dragon's treasure, although they must abandon their horses. However, before the ship can embark, Olaf returns with the city watch. They say that they want to search the ship. Hadrian refuses and makes them return with papers. In the interim, the ship sets sail illegally. It is pursued all the way across the Lake of the Sky by the guards of Dunton, but makes it into the Oliver Barony and the town East-of-Sky ahead of pursuit. Luckily, the Oliver Barony is especially friendly to the party because of a previous adventure. The group asks Baron Oliver to delay the pursuit, and they hire porters and wagons and set off for Dragonspur.
In the town of Hometon, after a choice encounter with some Ogre bandits, the party figures out what is making Malcall so sick. Through a divination spell cast by a local priest of Kantor, they learn that his powerful axe is actually cursed (it is in fact radioactive).
The group finally makes it into Dragonspur and gives the hoard of Skywing to Naglor. Bartarius and Ragnor are knighted and granted a Farmstead, and Malcall and Fundin are each granted one favor of their choosing (Malcall asks Naglor to safely dispose of the axe, and Fundin has him create a shrine to the Dwarven God Khuldul within the City). They also find out some terrible news. A huge army of Orcs, sent by Garlgax the Lord of Envy, is encamped only 200 miles to the East, and sending crowds of refugees into the Spur by the day. Nevertheless, the group attempts to temporarily settle in for some much needed rest.
Chapter Six- The Clouds of War
Two weeks later, however, the peace of the heroes is rudely interrupted. An envoy from the Dark Army commands audience with Naglor under flag of parlay. The envoy is led by one Khadufel the Southerner, a dark-skinned human mage. Bartarius recognizes this mage as a member of the evil adventuring party known as The Eye. This group, which had nearly slain Bartarius in the past, is led by the infamous Hobgoblin freelance assassin Bolg-gatha. Khadufel tells Naglor and the party that he is here to offer the city two options. He says that they can either be invaded immediately, or that they can offer safe passage north through their lands to another dark envoy. He says his purpose is to parlay with Green City. He gives Naglor one day to ponder.
The next day, before Khadufel returns for the answer, the group meets one Albert, who reveals himself as an agent for the Thieves Guild of the city. He says that he bears a message from Corfin, the lieutenant of the Guild. Naglor agrees to relax the strictures against non-violent thievery in the city in exchange for the message. The message is that the Thieves guild has spied upon the dark envoy and determined their actual destination in the north. It is Carn Keller, the ruin of the ancient Fort of Keler, the founder of the Kingdom of Kelerak. When The Court High Mage Yedus hears this news, he researches it and finds the likely motive for the visit. It says that the Lord of Lust chose Carn Keller as the hiding place for his most treasured item, the Mirror of the Abyss. It seems that, with this item, the Lord of Lust could be immediately summoned back to the World. It appears that Bolg-gatha and the Eye may have been contracted by The Dweller in the Vale itself to recover this item to return the Lord of Lust to Kelerak. The group prepares to depart for Carn Keller, hoping to beat the Eye to the mirror.
Before they leave, however, the are called to council with court High Mage Yedus and Lord Naglor. First Naglor tells the group that an old ally of theirs, Belshrum Stoneaxe, has been arrested trying to get into Goblintown without the proper papers. Apparently he had grown tired of the relative peace in Wotun and had traveled back to the city to slay more goblinoids. Fundin pledges himself for Belshrum's good behavior and he is released into the custody of the group. He vows to fight for their cause, as "it's as good a way to die as any." Yedus then asks the heroes to retrieve the Mirror of the Abyss so that it can be studied and used as a bargaining tool before it is destroyed. Bartarius is suspicious and reluctant; the group leaves for Carn Keller without agreeing to bring back the mirror.
|15th of Kalt, 8170 F.R.|
They travel north, braving the icy wind and newly-fallen snow, until they come to the friendly city of Wyvernia. The city looks very militaristic, but due to the terrain, it appears to be the quickest route north. The party approaches the gate where they meet an inordinate number of guards. Upon learning that Bartarius and Ragnor are Knights of Dragonspur, the guards request that they meet with the ruler of the city, one Lord Drake Rose. The group agrees. The are relieved of their weapons and horses, and escorted to the main palace, which is more like a fort than a mansion.
Therein they meet Lord Rose. He doesn't appear entirely trustworthy, and the groups suspicions are born out when he leads them down a dark passage. Stating that he "has made a deal which will keep the Dark Army from his borders for quite some time," he opens a thick oaken door to reveal-- AN AMBUSH. The party is confronted with a party of Orcs and Uruks, led by a black-cloaked figure. Bartarius recognizes the figure as one Jonas the Snake, a member of the Eye known for his use of poisoned blades. It seems the evil adventuring group has beat them to Wyvernia in some respect. In a frantic (and unarmed) battle, the group manages to slay most of the orcs; Bartarius kills the traitorous Lord Rose. Ragnor and Fundin cast spells, ensnaring The Snake in a Hold Person enchantment. They question him but he proves to be uncooperative. They slay him and make a break for the city gates. There they are met by upwards of forty guards. But due to the might and prowess of Bartarius, the spells of Ragnor, the Berserker fury of Malcall and Belshrum, and some judicious use of a Firebreath Potion by Fundin, the group recovers their weapons and horses and flee the city, outdistancing their pursuers.
The group continues North towards Carn Keller. However they are waylayed several times on the road, once by undead and once by Trolls. They find themselves wondering: are these simply random wilderness encounters, or has The Eye set obstacles in their path?
The party continues onward through the semi-wild land towards the ancient Carn. After passing many hamlets and towns, they come to the community of Green City. Bartarius is suspicious after the incident at Wyvernia, but Ragnor enters the town in company of the guard. He speaks to Lord Preston Stautney, after finding out that Baron Albert Goldcrown is unavailable. Stautney tells him that Green City is sending 1500 troops (500 cavalry, 1000 infantry) to the aid of Dragonspur. He also tells him that Khadufel the Southerner had been there two days prior, but had been turned away with threats of violence. Satisfied, Ragnor obtains safe passage for the party through the city and they continue onward.
On the journey, a hidden archer ambushes them in the middle of the night. After suffering damage from red arrows with black fletching, the party attempts to apprehend the sniper but is unsuccessful. Bartarius, however, recognizes the arrows as belonging to a member of the Eye, namely their tracker. Realizing that the Eye is ahead of them, they pick up their traveling pace.
Arriving at a large hill, the party spies ancient ruins that adorn the top. Searching the vast ruins, which appear to have been a large keep or castle many thousands of years ago, the party finds the entrance to an underground cave or dungeon. The entrance is inscribed with the saying, "Stand fast the Green Throne." Before the party can descend, however, they are assaulted by some Uruks, who have ostensibly been left on guard by the eye. They slay the orcs and enter the dungeon.
They find the maze-like passages to be deadly indeed. They encounter some dangerous animated marble statues, and are harassed continuously by some small, devil-like beings. Moreover, they are forced to face many nefarious traps, tricks, and riddles. The party finally pauses to rest; however, they are in bad shape. All members are injured, and Bartarius has broken his ankle in the last trap. Expecting to be attacked at any minute by the demon-creatures, or worse the Eye, the heroes hunker down for some much-needed rest.
After healing Bartarius' ankle, the group continues to explore the rest of the level. They encounter many mephits, but make short work of the pesky creatures. They also encounter many undead shadows, but slay them with little trouble. Finally the group finds a secret staircase down. Descending about 90 feet deeper into the earth, the adventurers encounter some squat demonic creatures, which are apparently some sort of warning system. The creatures flee from the party. The party follows right into a trap! They are assaulted by several of the squat demons, and one darkly beautiful winged female demon-sorcerer. The group slays the squat demons, but the woman-demon flees up the corridor and taunts the party from behind a wall of force. The party talks to the demoness, and discovers that she does not appear to know that the Lord of Lust has been slain. She was apparently left here by Brathelathor to guard the Mirror of the Abyss. The demoness manages to stall the party long enough for more demons to arrive. As they are fighting these creatures, the demoness dimension doors from behind her wall. She charms Bartarius, then proceeds to cast a scorching bolt of lightening down the narrow corridor, hitting the entire party. Unfortunately, this lightening bolt slays the already wounded Belshrum; the party is bitterly reminded of Belshrum's earlier words. The bolt, however, breaks the charm on Bartarius. Enraged because the lightening has destroyed his newfound blue dragon armor and worse, slain a party member, Bartarius kills the demoness. Grieving, the party drags the charred body of Belshrum up to the higher level; the heroes set up camp in a secluded spot.
The next day, they tentatively venture down again, still in search of the dreaded Mirror. They almost immediately encounter the same winged female demon-sorcerer! Upon closer inspection, however, they see that it is a different demoness. This demoness, Estellia, congratulates the party on slaying her sister Anderia. It seems that Estellia wishes to make a deal with the party. She is tired of serving the guardian of the mirror, a powerful demon named Viscaris. She tells the party she will lead them to Viscaris and the mirror if they will slay him, thus releasing her from her servitude. The party refuses and slays the beautiful demoness. They then proceed to make a painstaking search of the rest of the level. The group encounters, and is nearly slain by, a terrible gang of demonic apes. Eventually defeating the apes, the group finds a long staircase that takes them to an ominous bridge over a dark chasm. Beginning to cross the bridge, the party is attacked by a large force of demonic manes. When they turn to fight the manes, they are ambushed by Viscaris. But the demons are no match for the champions of Dragonspur, and the heroes slay Viscaris and drive off the manes. Searching the demon's lair, the party finally finds the evil mirror of the Abyss!
The heroes rest, then attempt to leave with the mirror. They are walking up the ramp that leads to the outside, when suddenly their way is blocked by a wall of fire! Bartarius recognizes the voice of Khadufel the Southerner on the other side of the wall and assumes that The Eye is challenging them. Rushing through the flames, Bartarius surprises the wizard and hacks him down. Alas, a contingency spell causes him to disappear before he is slain. But Bartarius himself is subsequently paralyzed by a hold spell. Malcall rushes through the flames after Bartarius, but is intercepted by Bolg-gatha himself, the leader and assassin of the group. Fundin and Ragnor also come though the flames and join in pitched battle. Fundin is knocked unconscious, but the group manages to slay the elite Uruk warrior Girch and the strange lizard-man priest Histhlin. But Malcall inadvertently gives the mirror to Bolg-gatha, who teleports away with it. A strange red-skinned Orc tracker also escapes the battle. The group is left empty-handed and down-cast.