Pondera

Dwarven Mafia?!

The adventurers took their time to wander Ixen’s home. Zeetryder and Malbert drunk much ale that night. It would be a miracle if they weren’t plagued with hangovers in the morning. Antoinette retired to one of the guestrooms to pray and Arktor stayed with the horses. Najar traveled to Ixen’s study where the wizard was currently partaking in some spirits. When the deva entered the study Ixen merely ignored him and continued to pour his attention into the many tomes he kept.

After rummaging around for any interesting tomes, he called upon the divine powers of Avandra to guide him to a book. Unfortunately the goddess did not hear his pleas and he obtained a book of elven wine making. He poured through it regardless.


In the morning the adventurers were awaken by the sounds of a rooster crowing. Seconds later they heard someone shout something in Draconic and then in common shouting “Scorching Burst!” Outside the window sat the smothering remains of a rooster. Downstairs Darvar and black bearded dwarf placed upon the large dark oval table bowls of what looked like beef stew; the aroma is a little odd for beef stew though.

“Bear,” Najar nosed twitched, the meat wasn’t prepared properly.

Darvar ignored the deva’s criticisms and informed them, “Ixen has been in his study all night. Tells us he’s not to be disturbed, but he wants to see you folks before you leave.”

After breakfast then went to the tielfing’s study and knocked on the door. Ixen bid them to enter. The first thing they noticed was the now empty bottles of alcohol on his desk.

“Sometimes being drunk allows me to be creative,” Ixen sheepishly scratched his head, “Don’t worry the important thing is I’m sober now. How long that will last I do not know. What did I want to talk to you about again? Oh right…Since Perrin is on parole his authority is limited. I will inform Archmage Asha to write you a letter granting you permission to use the Thundrom’s library in Valido in the mean time act like normal goblins laying adventurers. Go find clues for that treasure clue parchment thing I gave you and right…Lek probably will want to see you if you decide to go to Noirchon. Anything else? Questions? I’ll contact you if I find anything important."

He gave them a red gem, “It’s a polyglot gem, this particular one I created will allow anyone who has it to be able to speak, read, and write Abyssal. Useful especially against the forces of Osay. This item also has another purpose, I can simply perform a ritual called view object. I’ve tuned the stone to purposefully glow every time I perform the ritual on it. I will be able to hear things from the object so when it glows say where you are. I will send a message shortly after. Good luck.”


The journey on the main trade road to Nortek was a long and cold one. The northern winds bit and chilled any uncovered flesh it was able to find. The mountain passages were narrow pathways carved into solid gray stone. Every so often they would pass a carving on the rock either to provide as warning or a simple “I was here” message.

After traveling for a few hours, they spotted a small person bundled up in warm clothing inspecting what looked to be a wheel on his covered wagon. Two Clydesdales stomped their hooves as a person, looked like a dwarf but it was hard to tell under all those furs, brought out a wagon wheel. The wool clad halfing peered through the heavy falling snow and waveed them over.

“Oi! You there! Can you help us for a moment?” The halfing asked when they came close enough, “Went over a nasty bump and crack our wheel in two. We could use a bit of help changing it!”

“Bloody jack ain’t in working condition! I’ll kill Yilt…" The dwarf continued to curse.

Out of the corner of his eyes Malbert could see another halfing skulking behind boulders on the roadsides.

“It’s a trap!” The dwarven fighter roared.

Their enemies fell upon the snowy ground. Their enemies fell down the cliffs. Their enemies fell screams of pain caught in their throats.


After another days travel they came upon the great captial of Ironfast Nortek. The grand city sat inside an enormous caver. Molten pools sat on either side of a bridge heading straight to the city’s arena. As the adventurers walked through the city they heard rumors of the sick king, and the two sons Vanguard and Fargrim. In dwarven politics if the king had more than two children it would be up to the council to decide on which was the better ruler. Unfortunately the vote was split in half on either side. This caused a lot of turmoil in the nation.

First order of business was to sell the treasure they had accumulated over their excursions. As they moved through town Antoinette paused in front of an antique shop. Loud bags accompanied by muffled voices was heard in the tiny store. A scream was followed then another crash. Zeetryder and Malbert busted through the door to find several rugged dwarves shaking down an elderly one.

Words were exchanged briefly and a brawl ensued.The battle was quickly won and the shopkeeper explained that he was Gogrin Earthminer, arts and antique collector. The men the adventurers had killed were part of a dwarven mafia called the Dragonmauls. They had moved in last year and began “asking” shops to pay an insurance fee. Gogrin was being shaken down because his fee had jumped from 15 to 30 gold pieces a month.

“Do you know where we can find these Dragonmauls?” Malbert asked the elder dwarf.

“No, but Lt. Rockfit might have some information though he hasn’t done anything about them ever since they came,” Earthminer grumbled, “He’s at the barracks a few blocks from here.”


When the adventurers confronted Lt. Rockfist about the mafia he let out frustrated sigh, “The Dragonmauls?! They’ve been causing mayhem for months. I’ve been trying to find something on those scoundrels. Most of the storekeepers are afraid and wont testify and the ones who do are considered mentally unstable. Hell I can’t touch them because some of the councilmen back them. Word on the street is the councilmen who do support them are being blackmailed.”

“Blackmailed,” Najar leaned in intrigued, “We’re interested in helping. We are not part of your force. Therefore not constrained by these rules.”

“It is said that Vanguard Orrak supports the mafia, because of the blackmail material. I can give you a few councilmen rumored to be blackmailed. Ira Thunderaxe, Donlel Oakfist, and Nola Trollbane, you’re best bet is Trollbane the other two are away from Nortek for business. You can find her mansion a little ways from here.”


They traveled to Trollbane manor. It was a large stone complex with a domed top and golden glyph inlays on the pillars. A old wispy white hair dwarf greeted them at the door and led them through the house to Lady Trollbane.

After some prodding the councilwomen reluctantly told the adventurers that she was in a affair with a common soldiers and the mafia had those letters. If returned then she would throw her support behind Fargrim. The only information she could tell them was the members of the Dragonmaul mafia frequented to a place called the Musty Yak.


The establishment was dark, the smell of smoke emanated from within. Inside groups of dwarves gathered around tables playing cards and dice. A few of them were chugging pints of ale. When the adventurers entered all eyes became fixed upon them. Unkind looks were laid upon them.

They started getting cocky asking one too many questions. The whole establishment was upon them like a pack of wolves. Wolves that were shot all too soon.

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Goldenhawk Tower

“I didn’t come here alone you know,” Tim said as they trudged back to Leafwind.

“Oh? That’s a surprise,” Malbert muttered sarcastically.

“I came with a Deva named Najar,” Time furrowed his brow, “But since the Thundrom has recalled all their members I’ve got to go back to Valido. I wonder what’s he gonna do now.”

“Was he weak like you?” The fighter scoffed.

Tim appeared to be annoyed but held his tongue, “He was a capable fellow if that’s the answer you are looking for.”

“Hm, where was he last?” Zeetryder asked.

“Last time I saw him he was at the tavern in town, the Little Minnow.”

The adventurers returned to Captain Aven, Tim confirmed the killing of the trolls . Satisfied with a job well done the captain handed them a sack of coin. He mentioned to them that his superior Field Marshal Drake was looking for a few individuals to help with something. All he knew was that it had to do with brigands. They agreed and Aven told them he’d send word to them at the tavern.

………

The Little Minnow was small and bustling with activity. Mounted on the dark walls were all sorts of fresh water fish and a few primitive looking fishing poles that looked like they were made of bone. A large fireplace complete with a dire wolf rug sat at the far end of the room.

A group of mercenaries had taken up a large portion of the tavern and were singing, clearly drunk. Near the fireplace was a young couple on a date. The woman was a pretty thing with a lanky individual with a lisp. She had tankard of ale on her side, while he had a glass of blush wine. The adventurers noticed the woman say something to him, and he timidly poked one of the men and they could barely hear him say.

“Excuse me, I don’t approve of your language.”

The drunken men taunted him a few times. One of them reached over and pours his wine over the his head. The lanky individual stood up in anger and a big burly man pushed him down. He toppled over the table. The woman rushed over to her boyfriend but was immediately grabbed by the arm by one of the drunkards.

A deva, who had been meditating in a corner, rose from his seat and with the grace and swiftness his many lives had granted him and cast a series of spells causing his enemies and the stalwart dwarf fighter to see images of blood. Malbert merely shook off the after affects of this invoker’s attack briefly wondering whether he was on their side or not.

After the adventurers got rid of drunkards the beaten man introduced himself as Potsie Winifred Gale the fourth. He wanted to thank them by paying their for there stay at the inn. Small talk was exchanged between the deva invoker Najar and the others. With some convincing he decided to join them.

While they settled down a young boy walked up to them and said Field Marshal Drake would like to see them first thing in the morning in the Langley Fields. Antoinette thanked the boy and tossed a copper piece his way.

……………….

In the morning they were awakened by the sound of a rooster crowing. The smell of bacon and bread wafted up from the hearth below. Rose had set upon the table plates of bacon, duck eggs, and soft cheeses, wooden cups of milk and tankards of lightning hoof ale. She also brought out 2 wineskins for each of them one filled with drinking water and the other with hot water to put wherever was needed to stay warm.

The rain poured heavily. They traveled out of the city and came upon what people named the Langley Fields. It was a tract of farmland that hadn’t been tended to in a while. Militia recruits were bashing each other with wooden swords and doing some mediocre marching. Every now and then a recruit would lose a boot in the muck and the others would push him over and laugh at him. And not too far off looking at them with some measure of approval/disapproval was an armored man on a horse his squire next to him.

The armored man noticed their approach and got off his horse to greet them properly. They each shook his hand and down to business.

“Are you aware of a tower called Golden Hawk?" He asked them.

Najar nodded, “The desolate tower to the north.”

“Yes, it is a watchtower a standpoint against the goblin hordes. My friend Sorek Orvash is a prospector, who was sent by the local baron to the tower with a group to see if the tower could be rebuilt. They encountered brigands with faces painted like skulls accompanied by the walking undead,” Marshal Drake explained.

“Could you call your friend?” Arktor asked, “Maybe he can describe to us these brigands in greater detail.”

Drake’s young squire waded into the muck to the small house to fetch the person in question. Sorek came out tipped his hat and greeted them. He explained the men he saw in more detail.

“Sounds like some bandits fell into a Orcus cult,” Antoinette glanced at Zeetryder and Najar who nodded in agreement, “We’ll do it.”

“I would attend to this matter myself,” Drake said as he shot a look of disapproval toward the militia recruits, “but as you can see I have my work cut out for me.”

……………………….

They traveled north for a day, the rain continued to pour. It was evening when they reached the tower. The tower itself looked like the top portion of it was sheared off. Around the ruined structure were large pieces of rubble. To the east a large skeleton was buried in the ground. It looked like it may have been a hill giant at one point.

Sorek answered any questions they had. He told them the leader of the watchtower was a elven storm wizard named Valatra Goldenhawk and she was the scourge of goblin kind. The state of the tower was cause by Valatra. About 200 years ago the tower was besieged by goblins and giants and as a last recourse to slay them all she used the tower as the final weapon sending shrapnel in the armies laying them low. It was unknown whether she survived or not.

As the approached the tower Sorek noticed the campsite his men had abandoned days ago had a lit fire. The adventurers agreed that the dwarf should stay back in case things became ugly.

The watchtower’s walls still climbed to the height of 30 feet and ranged from 5 to 20 feet thick. The adventurers not being the most stealthy of folk crunched twigs and kicked rocks alerting men that were talking in the ruined structure.

They dispatched the skull face bandits with relative ease. After searching the camp they found a paint of the tower itself. Sorek explained the flag in the painting was the storm wizard’s crest, a golden hawk on a field of purple and black.

A rope ladder was tied to struts of the broken staircase that looked like it was used to go down the hole in the center of the broken watchtower. Zeetryder cautiously peeked into the dark crevice and thought he saw a face looking up from the bottom. The element of surprise was not their forte so they decided to let the ladder just drop into the room below.

When the rope ladder was dropped a voice shouted, “Hey! Stay the hell up there! We’ll let you know when its time to come down.”

And then Malbert scampered down. There was this moment of silence.

“Get him!”

Braziers had cast shadows of the warriors on the etched walls of the room. Archers had taken their places on old wooden scaffolds in order to pick off the melee fighters at a range. Armor warriors who had previously been lounging about took up defensive stances. A man in fine clothes began to analyze who was the ideal target to charm. Spiritual cats were summoned, ray of radiant energies were shot, and large axes decapitated foes.

“Yenner is going to skin the flesh off your bones and make you into one of his thralls!”

Later on a masked man who tried to sneak into the fray unnoticed was spotted by Zeetryder. He tried using poison on the stalwart dwarves and the craft gnome, but it didn’t work. After he saw some of his comrades fall in battle he hightailed it through the double doors he came from.

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Crazy Town...Literally

It was a dreary day. The past rains had made the roads a thick sloppy mess and the frigid-like winds did not make it feel the adventurers any better. Their horses traveled at a slow pace, their hoofs making sucking sounds with the mud.

It was nearing nightfall when they spotted an inn up ahead. The merchants they have met had mentioned Grassy Place. The inn was small with dark green siding and a sign with blades of grass painted upon it. A young man in a tricorn hat offered to take their horses to the stable. He whistled to another man who helped.

The inside of the inn was warm and cozy, with a large roaring fire in the tavern. It was full to the brim with merchants, farmers, and a few adventurers drinking talking enjoying not being outside.

A dark haired woman who greeted them and introduced herself as Verna, the barmaid. She asked the adventurers what they wanted to drink. Satisfied with their requests she went off. Near the fireplace the adventurers heard a man called Belim talk about the small village of Hope. He explained to farmers that had gathered around him that the town folk seemed to be acting very strangely, the animals even the cows have become feral, and there was this constant feeling of him being watched. Perhaps it was just paranoia the other people in the group said, but Belim didn’t believe it to be so.

Most of the farmers commented that he was out of his goddamn mind until an adventurer spoke up, a young human woman with leather armor and a bow on her back, spoke how the animals in the town were acting unlike anything she had ever seen before. The only reason she did not stay in investigate was because the guards weren’t making her feel all that welcome. Zeetryder and Malbert were intrigued especially about the mention of feral cattle and decided since Hope was along the way they would stop by just to check it out.

In the morning, the fog was thick and the road still very muddy. The adventurers continued to travel north. Plains gave way to shallow hills. The rain was still coming down but in mist like form. On the quiet road a sharp cry was heard towards the left in a clump of trees.

When the adventurers went to investigate the woods they saw a creature of feathers and fur. Eagle in the front part and hind quarters of a lion. It was baby griffon. When it saw them approaching it shrieked in horror struggling to fly, but cried pitifully when it tried to move its wing. Antoinette tried quieting the young creature healing it to the best of her ability. Zeetryder and Malbert tried to draw the young creature’s attention away from the gnome distracting it.

But the young animal kept of crying and every once in a while its cries would be answered by loud caws in the distance. After a few minutes two very large griffons crashed through the tree, their eyes fell upon their baby and the adventurers.

“We’re not going to hurting him…” Zeetryder waved erratically at Antoinette and the yearling.

A few tense moments later the baby griffon hovered to its parents. The adult griffons looked over at the adventurers and gave them a look a satisfaction. One of them bowed its head deeply and they both flew away.

Moments later Arktor came through the bush with reins in hand, “Hey guys, did I miss anything?” His answers consisted of groans.


In the late afternoon their destination came into view. The village was surrounded by a log wooden barrier. Two guards stood outside in leather armor and two swords on their backs. When they approached the guards began to laugh hysterically and point at the dwarves and gnome.

“What in Avandra’s name is so funny?” Zeetryder growled.

“You’re short!” The guard was now crying with laughter.

The guards though their giggles asked what the adventurers wanted in town. Satisfied with their answer they allowed them to pass. They continued to laugh even when they pass the gates.

The town was small with small neat wooden buildings most of them in their regular wooden finish, not painted. The first thing they noticed was no one was outside not a soul. However a black cat walked among the buildings.

“Good sirs do you have any bells?” A beggar from behind a building asked.

“Bells?” Antionette peered closely at the old man, “What do you need bells for?”

“She says we need bells,” The old man replied.

“Who?” Malbert gave the beggar the once over.

“The voice in my head.”

“I’m going to go get a drink…” Zeetryder sighed, “Five minutes in this place and I already can’t stand it.”

The tavern was empty except for a single barmaid and a few farmers. The barmaid, Sonya, asked in a dead flat voice what they would like to drink. Once the placed their orders she walked off.

When the barmaid left one of the farmers from the other tables walked up to them and introduced himself as Norris. He told them in a hushed voice that weird stuff had been going on. He explained that he was in town to collect a sunflower crop from his friend Issac Till, who send him word a few days ago that the crop was ready.

“The door was locked and the crops…” Norris ran his hand nervously through his hair, “They looked liked they haven’t been tended to for weeks!”

“It would be a good place to start looking for a clue,” Antoinette acknowledged.


The farm was just outside the village and sure enough the sunflowers looked as if they had been rotting for weeks. In front of the sunflower field was a small white house. Norris demonstrated to them that the door was locked indeed. Zeetryder without any warning promptly kicked down said door.

Inside the house items were strewn everywhere as if a tornado tore through it. Mud and bits of straw were tracked on the floor and led to the back door. Upstairs some drawers were opened and if looked like someone just took personal items and ran. Unable to find anymore clues they went into the field since the mud tracks led out that way.

While outside in the field another black cat crossed their path. From what they had heard from the farmer and ranger back at Grassy Place all the animals were feral. The birds were not singing though it was late afternoon and the cats they’ve seen so far were tame. Not convinced the adventurers followed the feline around for a bit only to have it stop at one of the scarecrows. Zeetryder tried to find anything different about this particular scarecrow from the other three in the field. Nothing.

“Well this was a…”

The scarecrow let out a terrifying screech. It lurched forward with clawed hands and dug into any holes it could find Zeetryder’s armor. The attack left the paladin with a cold chilling fear. These monsters learned used fear to their advantage to stun and leaving the adventurers vulnerable to attack. Eventually the scarecrows were defeated after a long drawn out battle and burned.

They returned to find Norris hiding in the house. They all decided to go back into the village since there were no more clues at the farm.


The group returned to the town only to have another beggar go up to them begging for bells. They decided the next course of action should be to locate some bells. Unfortunately even though it was only late afternoon the village was like a ghost town and none of the shops were opened. They were told by a guard (that laughed at them) that the local temple may have a few bells.

The temple was a structure resembling more of a normal house than a place of worship. Inside they found a very unfocused Pelor priestess. Her attention wandered constantly.

“Why aren’t there people outside?” Antoinette asked, “It’s broad daylight.”

“Eh…No it’s not…it’s kind of late. Morning isn’t for another six hours at least…oohh shiny!” The priest gazed off into space.

“But that’s midnight…” Antionette remarked, but seemed to be unheard by the priestess.

“Uh do you happen to have bells here?” Malbert asked.

“Oh yes!” She gave them a few silver bells, “We also have a large bell for our soon to be constructed bell tower…but the woodworkers haven’t been back for a while…” The priest skipped over to the altar and started poking a small statuette.

“I’ll be back depending on the effects these bells have I may help you with your bell tower,” Zeetryder offered.

“That would be wonderful!” The priestess grinned and then her attention once again wandered off.


They decided it would be wise to rest and visit the town at midnight. Sure enough at midnight the village was bustling with activity. Shopkeepers were opening their stores, children played in the common square, and men headed into the fields to work. Within moments of walking outside another beggar approached them asking for bells. Zeetryder grabbed him.

“Yes, I have one,” The paladin started ringing it in his other hand.

The beggar clawed and screeched, “Get it away from me!”

“Is this bell not what you wanted?” Antoinette nervously.

“Please let me go!”

Unable to find anything to help solve the mystery they released the beggar. They tried ringing the bells to other beggars to find the same result. Ordinary folk seemed to not care for the ringing of the bells.

“Snowball come back!”

A little girl darted by the group after a small black cat. When the girl caught the creature she immediately brought it the adventurers.

“Hi I’m Lily, and this is Snowball!” She smiled brightly holding the cat.

“How cute,” Antoinette petted the creature, “Why did you name him Snowball?”

“Cause he’s white silly!” Lily giggled.

The adventurers soon found out that every single cat in town was black and there was a excessive of them. What was more puzzling was that the townsfolk perceived the cats in other colors such was striped, orange, and etc.

“Daddy is scared of Snowball though,” Lily cocked her head cutely, “I don’t know why.”

“Who is your dad?” Antoinette asked.

“He’s the mayor.”


When they found they mayor he was hiding behind a desk screaming at some unknown person. The adventurers presence did nothing to calm him down.

“Mortal!”

The mayor stilled at the voice inside his head, “Yes?”

The adventurers looked at him strangely. Only the mayor could heard the voice.

“Tell them, I want a yellow perch. Then they can see me,” The female voice continued, “Okay?”

“But…”

“I SAID I WANT A YELLOW PERCH NOW TELL THEM OR I’LL TURN YOU INTO A DAISY!” The voice roared in the mayor’s head.

“Yes ma’am!”


The task was done easily. There were no surprises that lurked in the bushes nor were there strange with the forest outside of the village. They accomplished their task and headed back to the mayor fish in hand.

“Good…” The voice cooed in the mayor’s head, “Tell them to meet me in the warehouse.”

“I…” The mayor turned to the adventurers, “This fish is not satisfactory to the lady.”

“What are you doing?” Hissed the voice, “Stalling? Hoping they leave? I want to have some fun!”

“We refuse!” The gnome scowled, “She said a yellow perch. Looks like this woman cannot keep her word.”

“Hah!” The voice cackled, “Tell them…I will wait…”


“I bid you welcome!” A tall woman bid them further into her domain, “I expect you have questions.”

A short conversation and battle later the woman laid dead on the dirt floor, blood seeping from the multiple stab wounds. The fighters looked onto the body with satisfaction when clapping from behind some boxes could be heard.

“Looks like you dispatched of Kit rather easily,” A adolescent female half-elf wielding a staff grinned, “I guess you are not as incompetent as the townsfolk.”

“Who are you?” Malbert growled already drawing out his weapon.

“I am Mittens!” Roars of laughter followed, “I hate my name sometimes. Anyways I assume you have some questions.”

“What have you done to these people?” Antoinette gripped her maces until her knuckles turned white, “Why haven’t you turned the mayor?”

“How many have you killed?” Zeetryder stepped up, “What’s with all the cats? You’re an abomination…”

“So much anger in thy words,” Mittens walked to the door and casually leaned back, “Just a little mind control. I do love to have fun. Seeing fear in someone is fun too…I haven’t killed anyone.”

“Where is Issac?” Malbert glared that the half-elf, “You tried to kill us! And Kit is dead.”

“The good farmer Issac and his family left, they seem to be more in-tune with magic and sensed what was happening. The scarecrows probably wouldn’t have killed you…unless I said otherwise. Kit volunteered to fight you to prove how much she had learned from me. Obviously she failed.”

“I had enough!” Malbert charged the mage. She simply stepped to the side making him crash into a wall.

“You are making a big mistake,” Mittens chuckled.

“She’s too powerful,” Antoinette murmured to Zeetryder, “I can feel it.”

“Aww…well…if you won’t attack me I’ll just have to find another way to have fun,” Mitten conjured some dice, “How about a game of dice? If you win I’ll leave the village and if I win you leave.”

“What’s the catch?” Malbert raised a brow.

“Each die contains a soul of a villager,” The half-elf tossed a black die in the air, “When we play the die that loses is disposed of. Think of it as sacrificing the few to save the many.”

“No!” Antoinette cried, “I will not subject myself to your twisted games. How do we know you’ll keep your word?”

“I will not kill innocents,” Zeetryder sighed, “I cannot.”

“We’re leaving,” Malbert brushed past the mage.

“Awww…fine…” Mittens pouted.

When they all left Mittens sat on some boxes twirling her blond hair, “I think Hope needs more feral cows.”


They left in miserable state. Luckily the next town was not far away from them. It was a fishing village called Leafwind. They promptly found work from the job board and killed two trolls for Captain Aven. During this time they learned that Perrin Silverwind had been place in parole because of the destruction of Datshun. It was labeled a magical accident. The Thundrom Order’s power was now limited in Leona and the other countries were keeping a close eye on the orders in their own countries.

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Which Egg?

“Ak k tor,” Much flem said the turtle was needed when saying the password to the magic mouth on the wall Malbert reminded himself.

The magic mouth on the stone wall gave way to a short passageway that led to a wooden door. Being the cautious impromptu rogue Malbert gave the door the once over.

“No traps,” The gruff fighter said.

“Perhaps we should listen for noises behind the door,” Antoinette offered her own piece of advice.

They listened and strained their ears to try to pick up the smallest of sounds, but none were heard except the water dripping of the cave walls.

“It’s an ambush,” Arktor grumbled, “I knew we weren’t being quiet enough.”

“Maybe they’re asleep?” Antoinette squeaked.

“Right…and my presence will cause them to drop dead,” Zeetryder raised his weapon, “Might as well bust down this door.”

“Wait! We don’t know if they really plan to am…” The door splintered under the blunt side of his weapon. Antoinette sighed, “For Avandra’s sake!”

The Dwarves and Goliath barreled forward charging into what they would be a fray. The cleric stood back dreading the waves of Orcus cultists and necrotic energies that would surly come through that doorway. Moments passed and all that was heard was silence. She stepped out from the ruined door to find the bodies of cultists laid dead.

“Your presence is more powerful than you thought,” Arktor glanced around what seemed to be a worshiping chamber complete with giant Orcus statue and stone pews.

Malbert squatted down to take a long look at the dead bodies. They were definitely cultists judging by their black robes and symbols of Orcus around their necks. About ten bodies laid strewn about most of them adorned with blades wounds but a few bore burn marks.

“Probably the other adventurers,” Arktor said, “We should be careful.”

“Wait…” Malbert gave the large statue of Orcus a hard look, “Didn’t Odin said the stone we want is in the Orcus statue?”

“Hm,” Zeetryder peered at the statues slightly glowing blue eyes, “Which one is it?”

“Luck favors the bold as Avandra says,” Antoinette commented.

Malbet took out a dagger and pried the the blue stone from the left eye just for the hell of it other eye jewel seemed unmovable. Satisfied with the job he pocketed the jewel.

They decided to explore the rest of the compound, but carefully, as carefully as two dwarves in heavy armor can. Their metal clangs resonated through the empty cavern. Malbert check a few rooms and when he went to inspect the last one he slammed into something.

“Ow!” The short man cried.

The adventurers ran into the other party Odin was talking about. The short man in leather introduced himself as Hurst, clearly the leader and rogue. He went down the line, Brick a fighter with scale armor and a shield, Henry the robed wizard, and Barney a cleric. Brick was carrying what appeared to be a large egg about the size of a small rain barrel. It was white metallic sheen with a few dark blotches. A brief exchange later and the adventurers found out that the other party were employed by Archmage Xarzith Gix, a dragonborn sorcerer, to retrieve a dragon egg that the cultists obtained recently. They had found the dragon egg in a room full of other reptilian eggs.

“So, have you come across any stones?” Malbert asked, he showed the blue one he just obtained.

“Oh this?” Barney held up a similar green stone.

“Can we have it?” Antionette asked.

“Whoa…obviously this is important to you and we found it first…we’ll let it go for a price,” Hurst smirked.

Some haggling took place and Hurst, who sported a look of triumph, handed the stone to Zeetryder. The other adventurers took there leave. Curious about the eggs they decided to look at the room themselves after retrieving the book on the first floor.

Using the markers they made with their chalk they weaved through the narrow corridors of the maze eventually finding their way back to the room with the two identical tomes. The stones were socket in place and the barriers to the books were down. Unable to tell which book was the real one Malbert and Arktor decided to each take a book off the pedestals at the same time.

“Look out!” Zeetryder roared bring his weapon out.

A sigh of relief was heard from Malbert only to turn into a yell of surprise when Arktor brought his battle axe upon the stout dwarf. The barbarians eyes had turned a milk white, pupils absent. His comrades’ words of dropping the book fell upon deaf ears. No matter what was done or said the possessed Arktor only seemed to attack the closest person. Finally Malbert was able to wrestle the book from his death grip and the Goliath returned to his old self with no recollection of what had just transpired.

They left the cursed fake book where it was dropped and headed back to the third floor where the egg room was. The room as described by the other adventurers were full of eggs. Many of the eggs looked similar to the one the other group of adventurers were carrying. Curious they headed back to Odin only to come across a barricaded door they had missed before. It looked like it was keeping something in and didn’t seem to have been touched by anyone of recent. Yet another thing they could question Odin about.

“Ah I see you are back!” The turtle seemed to smile, but it was hard to tell, “What can I assist you with my new found friends?”

“The other party had an egg with them, but we are not sure if it was the dragon egg you spoke of,” Malbert explained, “We were wondering if you could identify the real dragon egg.”

“Easily!” Odin nodded his head made ripples in the dark pool.

For the next five minutes Arktor, Malbert and Zeetryder brought down the eggs. Odin offhandedly commented that the eggs they brought were in fact drake eggs.

“By the way,” Antionette sat by the edge of the water while the men brought down eggs, “We saw a barricaded door. Do you know what’s behind it?”

“Ah…there is a wizard there. He’s been here for twenty years now and as far as I know he is an enemy of the cultists. That’s why they try to keep him in there,” The giant turtle fixed his egg Arktor brought in, “That is the dragon’s egg.”

“Maybe we should talk to this wizard…” Zeetryder offered, “Anyone who is an enemy of Orcus cultists maybe a friend.”


So they removed the wood boards that were nailed to the door and descended into what seemed like a large moist cavern. It was pitch black so Arktor brought out his ever-burning torch. The sounds of water dripping echoed throughout the cavern. Deep pools of water were scattered around.

“Did you hear that?” Arktor asked swinging his torch around.

“Bah it probably was your imagination!” Malbert scoffed trudging forward into the darkness.

“Eyes in the water!” Arktor pointed.

“Probably a small creature,” Zeetryder shrugged.

RAWR!!!”

Carrion Crawlers and Otyughs leap from the darkness their tentacles and gnashing teeth only made them seem even more monstrous. The Otyughs stench was nearly unbearable causing the warriors’ resolves to falter enabling the carrion crawlers poison stun them.

Eventually they won the battle. When the last one was slew and the corpses of these aberrant creatures laid at their feet they continued their search for the wizard. This time they were more alert.

At the end of the cavern was a simple wooden door. Curious they knocked on it and a warm voice bid them to enter. In the sparingly furnished room sat an old man with a full white beard and thinning hair upon his head.

“I often do not have visitors…” The wizards rose from his chair, “Who are you?”

They briefly introduced themselves. The wizard explained to them that he was Marques. About twenty years ago he was in the Thundrom Order. He and a Narvara Riel were engaged in a dispute and to settle it a magic duel was agreed upon. The winner would do with the loser whatever s/he liked. Marques admitted he was naive and did not take in account how much more experienced the Eladrin woman was.

“She cursed me…” Marques slumped back down on his chair, “I’ve been working on a spell to transport me out of here, but I am missing one spell component.”

“What is it? Maybe we can get it for you?” The gnome offered.

“The cultists…they have a dragon’s egg. I need its shell…You will not go unrewarded. I have some precious jewelry that I don’t need.”

They showed him the egg and which Marques immediately took. He shoved the necklace and bracelet as promised into their hands.

“It will take me a few hours, but I can finally get out of here and be rid of this curse!” He yelled triumphantly, “Perhaps I will go back to the Thundrom Order.”

“You might not want to do that…” Zeetryder interrupted his celebration, “Naivara is an archmage now.”

“Well…then I’ll go to Ironfast. I’ve always had a love for Dwarven ale,” Marques shrugged, “Before I leave, is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Those other adventurers will be back once they find out they have a drake’s egg,” Malbert said, “Could you scry where they are at the moment old man?”

“Certainly, I just have to touch one of you that has touched one of the members of this party,” Marques touched Malbert’s hand, “there we are…oh dear…it seems they are headed back.”

“They said they came on behalf of Xarzith,” Arktor recalled.

“Hmm I knew her back when I was a lad in the order. Allow me to locate her,” The wizard waved his hands over the crystal ball, “Odd…she is in Skoruhk. She seems to be busy with the war there.”

“But that is more than two week journey…so either they teleported or they lied about who they’re working for,” Antoinette narrowed her eyes.

“I can give prepare a ritual in this scroll for you,” Marques offered, “Discern lies.”

“That would be perfect.”


After performing the ritual Zeetryder was now able to tell whether the other party had lied to them or not. They intercepted them on the cultists floor. Several questions later they found out their employer was not Archmage Xarzith. Easily they defeated the other adventurers and learned that they were working for Osay. They were going to meet him at an in with the dragon egg later. Feeling merciful the party left them tied up, took their weapons, and their horses. They relayed all they learned back to Perrin who thanked and rewarded them for their efforts.

“This is a Thundrom problem,” Perrin said, “Please you should no longer concern yourselves with our welfare. I would feel terrible if something were to happen to you because of me.”

Not feeling like being cast aside so easily the adventurers went to the designated inn where Osay was said to be and waited. A group of mages arrived shortly after and marched right up to Osay’s supposed room. A shriek of horror was heard later and the mages ran out the door.

Curious to see what startled the mages so the adventurers went into the room finding a note and a map with the village Datshun crossed off. In the letter Osay said he destroyed the village as a warning for all not to get in his way.

They went back to Perrin who did scry the town and did confirm their fears. Urging Perrin to allow them to assist him, the archmage reluctantly told them that a relic of Ioun existed that could help in their cause. It was own by a tiefling wizard by the name of Exen, who ran a brewery in Ironfast. His nickname was Molotov said to be the creator of the alcoholic concoction.

The relic, Ioun’s book, could answer any question that was written into it in exchange for a piece of a person’s memory. The more important the question the more memory it would take. The adventurers agreed to try find Exen and the relic for the haling sorcerer.

View
A Maze...Bah!

The dungeons was was dark and damp. The adventurers entered the north door first. It was old and rotten with age and mold. When they opened it there were two door to their left and right. They discovered that these particular rooms were administration area. Old worn books and desk with messing legs accompanied each room. They searched the bookshelves but all that was to be found were records of prisoners. During this time Antoinette wandered off from the group.

However their search turned out to be fruitful for behind a doorway in one of the offices were two books on pedestals. Each book was bound in leather no one could identify. Iminye reached out for when of them only to find her hand buffeted back. Her hand still tingled with electricity. It was then they noticed a panel to the side with four alcoves, one of which had a small fist sized yellow stone. So the quest here seemed simple enough. Find the stones to lower the barrier to the books…Right?

Knowing their gnome was capable of taking care of herself the others explored the rest of the area. There was nothing notable in the dining halls or sleeping quarters. So they backtracked and went through the eastern doorway.

Past the moth eaten tapestry they found themselves walking down a long hallway, narrow and dark. After what seemed to be an eternity of walking they arrived to what looked to be like a torture area, iron maidens and racks filled the room, some still had skeletons on them. They discovered much to their surprise that in the holding cell before the iron maidens there was a secret door that led back to the common area’s supply closest.

Deciding that this place was ideal for resting (that and the fact other than the mage and undead they encountered earlier). The adventurers headed further into the torture chambers passing through previously used pits of acid and oil and more racks and iron maidens. A staircase leading down signified the end of the unpleasant areas.

Much to their dismay, Perrin Silverwind’s warning of a labyrinth came to past. The second floor was just that. The corridors were uncomfortably narrow. Thankfully Arktor had an ever burning torch, but it did little to bring them comfort. With torches one could only see so much.

Faint voices were heard in the distance. They tread quietly only to be nearly caved in by a rock slide. Rumble laid on the floor. Moments later goblins, a horde of them, were upon our adventurers. A hexer, who initiated the attack ducked into another passageway only to be squashed under the blunt side of the axe of Arktor. They dispatched the goblins with ease and left one alive.

“Me called Spork!” The goblin cried, eyes really wide.

“Have you seen a stone like this?”

Even though the small green humanoid spoke in broken Common he looked and the stone and nodded furiously. He led them through the corridors to a small square shaped room. The little guy began looking up down and all around. With a eureka moment he spun on his heel almost falling over int he process since his arms were tied and began poke his nose on some of the stones.

“I say he’s stalling,” The dwarf fighter growled and strode into the room towards the small creature.

Malbert’s body came to a halt after he slammed into an invisible wall. At the same time said invisible wall started to engulf him. He tried to break free from the gelatin substance, but it was useless. Sensing the inevitable he took a final breath in bracing himself. He did notice however before he was eaten completely that his skin started to tingle.

They fought the gelatinous cube, every time freedom was reached by the stalwart dwarf the jelly entity seemed to pull him back in. Spork continued to cower in the corner daring not to move and inch or be devoured himself. When the cube was finally showing some damage it split! Two cubes with the capabilities of one now stood in the room. Spork continued to cower.

When they finally won the battle Malbert immediately grabbed Spork by the throat and shoke him, “You knew that thing was there didn’t you!”

“No no no Spork not know!” The little thing wailed pitifully.

“Well I’ll be,” Iminye said as she picked up a fist sized glowing red stone.

When Malbert finally calmed down he demanded that Spork lead them to the second floor, which he was more than happy to oblige. On their way to the second floor they fought swarms of centipedes and spiders. During the spider attack Spork fell in battle. It was only until after the battle they discovered that the “second” floor stairwell he was leading them to only looped into another part of the maze that they already had been through.

“I hate goblins…” Zeetryder glowered.

Eventually they found a staircase actually two after fighting a tar like entity almost like the cube they had fought previously. They chose to go down the northern staircase first, which led to a dead end or what seemed to be a dead end. Malbert stepped onto what seemed to be a pressure plate and red gas started leaking through nozzles from the walls. Not wanted to suffer death the adventurers made their way back up the stairs and decided to travel down a shallow, damp, longer set of stairs.

At the end of the stairs was a huge underground lake. A small pier with a large raft was tied there. In the far distance a glimmer on a large landmass could be seen. They hit land a moment later.

“Excuse me?” A large reptilian head rose from the water, “Oh hello!”

“You’re a turtle…” Iminye cocked her brow.

“You talk…” Arktor was looking quite bewildered himself.

“Well when you’re somewhere for a hundred years or so,” The turtle continued, “You learned a thing or two.”

The turtle introduced himself as Odin and he was happy for the company. He answered questions for them, such as how to get into the cultists lair through the secret passage at the end of the lake.

“Do you know of a magic stone like this?” Zeetryder held up the red stone they had acquired.

“Ah yes! There should’ve been one in the panel on the first floor and two on the second. The fourth one should be in the statue in the cultists worshiping area!”

“But we only found this one in the maze,” Iminye said.

“Well if it wasn’t with the red one you possess then I don’t know where it could be…Anyhow I’ve had quite the busy day!” Odin chatted as he assisted them to hidden passage, “Another group of adventurers came by a couple of hours ago.”

“Adventurers?”

“Aye, but instead of a stone they were looking for a dragon’s egg the cultists obtained two weeks ago!”

View
Death Priests and Kids

After the battle, Malbert found a sack of coins in the the body of one of the hulking zombies covered in bodily fluids. Cleaning one bag of coins with puddle water later all of them went into the cave. It was a cold drafty cavern with white lichen growing on the walls. The cave was lit by torchlight. In the square shaped room fours life-like statues of human soldiers carrying javelins sat in each corner. On the wall opposite of the adventurers was a statue of a beautiful Elven maiden holding a hourglass filled with black sand. Next to her was a shadows of a bird with assorted pieces clinging to the wall like magnets, but they looked movable.

The tangram was simple enough to solve. As the last piece was set into place a stone slab started to rise. Voices drifted to the ears of the party. Arktor recognized one of the speakers using Giant.

“I swear to Kord when I get out of here I will shove that rock so far up your ass…” The Giant speaker roared.

“Shut up wench!” Another voice snapped back in Common.

When the rock slab finally fully retracted a fully furnished room came into view complete with statue of Vecna in the back. A cage sat in the back where a half-orc woman and several children were imprisoned in. The black robed priest dropped his stone and stared at the intruders, his eyes wide with surprise. Finally he snapped out of his stupor.

“Destroy them!” He roared.

Arktor yelled toward the cage, “Don’t worry we’re here to help you!”

Several undead leaped up from the other corners of the room ready to carry out their master’s command. Acolytes armed with scythes joined into the fray. Battle wights in heavy plate mail armor swung their blades. Each time the weapons slashed Zeetryder’s flesh he felt as if some of his life essence had left him. Simple melee attacks would not bring down the wights so easily so they were Antoinette’s main focus. Zeetryder turned his own attention to the undead spellcasters, an enigma of Vecna. Arktor decided that the death priest was his propriety.

In the cage the half-orc woman watched as the adventurers cut their opponents one by one until the scythe wielding acolytes were left standing. Fearful of his life one of them dropped his weapon and sprinted for the cave entrance. Arktor followed closely behind until through the darkness he saw a figure reach out for the escapee’s robe. The acolyte found himself staring into the eyes of a very angry woman.

Arktor rushed back to report his finding to his comrades. He came back to find them releasing the half-orc woman who introduced herself as Ownka. She told them she was captured by the undead a few days prior. The adventurers explained they had ran into her husband earlier. Ownka was relieved that he didn’t die nor kill her rescuers.

They all walked out together, voices from outside could be heard drifting into the cavern. Antoinette recognized the voice to be speaking in Elven saying, “I’ve been very patient with you…”

Not knowing what to expect they armed themselves and stepped outside the cave. Three figures could be seen, one of them was the acolyte that was chased out the other two were in gray robes one about human height the other was about thee and half feet tall. The taller own stepped forwarded and took off her hood.

“I followed you here,” Lek revealed, “But I see you told care of things.”

“Vecna will have your souls!” The acolyte screamed.

Lek rolled her eyes, went back over, and backhanded the worm, “Shut up, I’ll deal with you in a minute.”

The smaller figure took off her hood, revealing Pip, “Do not speak to Master Nohk in that manner.”

“Anyways,” The orphanage matron continued, “We should go back to the orphanage. It’s not safe to speak out in the open like this. I’ll explain everything.”

……

After a short walk, Pip erasing the memories of guards, and tip toeing through the abbey they all gather in Lek’s very impressive library. Books lined both floors though slightly dusty.

“I spoke…” Lek began.

“Intimidated,” Pip interjected.

Lek sighed, “Fine, I intimidated Holly to tell me what happened. I think you were sent to fine me and not her. Redgar was wrong with his information, which I would normally want to happen. I am a servant of Melora. I am what you call a saint.”

Arktor nodded in approval when she spoke Melora name. The other adventurers couldn’t quite believe that a person, who spoke to a little ordinary bird was the holy person they were looking for but she seemed sincere.

“I have long retired. The last thing I need is people asking me to do miracles everyday. Now I just take care of children until my goddess needs me again,” Lek explained, “But I digress let me see the stone.”

Antoinette handed the stone over. Pip and Lek studied it with great interested. Lek whispered a few things in Elven to which Pip nodded.

“The stone is a mithril alloy with adamantite and another unidentified metal, but I do believe this is of drow creation,” Lek placed the stone on her desk, “The item is of divine nature, as you know however drow items loss potency in sunlight. What is less common knowledge is the sae could be said if the drow item is near items of divine nature. The third metal is definitely an Everdark metal used as sort of a shield or buffer to block out the items divine energy until the magic item itself can be neutralized.”

Lek eyed the party, “It will take me a few days to identify this…”

At this the party audibly groaned since Holly said the same thing. Lek smiled, “I will need help.”

She pointed to Zeetryder and Antoinette, “You two had traning in the religious arts so you’ll be of some use, the dwarf more so for his knowledge of minerals. Now someone will have to run the orphanage for me while Pip and I are in here.”

Lek grinned evilly as she looked over to the dwarf fighter and the Goliath barbarian, “You two will do it!”

……..

Malbert glared at the morning sun, “How did I get roped into this?”

A soft knock interrupted his thoughts and from behind the door was a small girl, “Hi Mista, Dwarf, will you play with me?”

“Uhhh,” The children were about to wake up and Axe had asked him to go to the kitchen, “Sorry kid I…”

The litte girl began to sniffle, Malbert sighed and place his enormous helmet on her, “You can play with that in the mean time.”

“Yay!” She sprinted down the hall and crashed into the wall and started wailing.

“For Moradin’s sake…” He trudged to the child and lift the helmet up, “Be more careful okay?”

She looked up at him in wonder and hugged him. “This is going to be a long day,” The dwarf sighed.

………..

“Tommy won’t brush his teeth!” A little boy informed Arktor, “We can’t get him out from under the bed.”

Arktor shook his head and went into the children bedroom. “Which bed?”

Tommy pointed to the one farthest from them, “That one.”

The warrior nodded and stalked over to the bed, with is huge hand he fished under the bed until he felt a head. He then proceeded to grab the child’s head and pulled him out.

The child looked at the Goliath wide eyed, “Brush your teeth,” Arktor glared and simply said.

He nodded slowly and ran to the bathroom when his feet finally touched the ground.

………

“Start with those books other there on mineral,” Lek directed and turned to Antoinette, “The books over there detail magic divine items.”

“What about me Master?” Pip asked.

“Cast spells on the stone, detail reactions of each,” Lek said back, “I’ll be looking at some scrolls for information.”

“Metalsmithers Guide to the Astral Sea by Quarion Utilthl,” Zeetryder said aloud, “Maybe something on Everdark…So tired…”

“Using Mundane Items for Vengeance by Brook Wer,” Antoinette began through the tome, “The Fork of Truth…it makes you angry…okay…Where in Pondera did she get these books?”

…….

“Uh mister barbarian?”

“Hm?” Arktor glanced at the little boy tugging at his clothes, “Susie climbed up the tree…now we don’t see her…”

He looked over at the tree in question. The massive willow tree climbed up about thirty feet and its branches hung over the wall surrounding the orphanage. Hoping for the best Arktor made his way up the tree trying his best not to fall.

On the top of the tree clung a little brown haired girl looking quite scared. Susie looked down at the ground far below her and whimpered. A rustling noise almost caused her to topple.

“Are you okay?” Arktor asked finally reaching the top relieved that she was still there.

“Nope…”

“Okay…let’s get you down…” He scooped her up with one arm and placed her on his back, “Hold on okay?”

“Okie.”

……

Malbert had dozed off in another part of the courtyard. His nap was momentarily disturbed by Donna tugging on his arm.

“Excuse me?”

“Can’t you bother Arktor?” The drowsy dwarf asked.

“He’s busy,” At that moment Arktor came charging across the courtyard with a laughing little girl on his back.

“Great…so what’s going on?”

“Billy went into the basement even though Auntie Lek said never to go in there. He said something about cool armor he saw her take down there once,” Donna explained.

“Fine I’ll go fine the little rascal,” Malbert grumbled as he walked towards the basement door.

The basement was dusty and smelled of mildew. Large white or once white sheet covered pieces of furniture and other large objects. Malbert walked through the rows and rows of antiques until he found a large suit of plate armor. He gave the once over and then peaked inside.

“Oh hi mista dwarf!” A little boy said cheerful looking up at him.

……..

“Zeetryder?” Lek called from behind a stack of books.

“What?” The paladin ground out, the old woman was really starting to get on his nerves…making him sleep deprived and all.

“Can you do to Dwila’s blacksmith and get me a few things?”

“Fine,” He said, anything to get away from her.

One trip to the blacksmith later, Lek was using the new tools that Zeetryder had acquired but they seemed like they didn’t provide the force she needed.

“Oi Zeetryder, I need you to hit this stone with your weapon.”

“Oh alright,” The paladin reluctantly took out his mordenkard.

“I’ll stand over here,” Lek inched away from the stone and went behind a bookshelf, “Swing whenever.”

He rolled his eyes and swung his weapon down. A bright light filled the room and a huge force knock the dwarf off his feet.

“Good now do it again!” Lek called from behind the bookcase.

“I hate her,” He mumbled and raised his weapon once again bringing the flat end upon the stone.

A resounding crack filled the library, but the dwarf braced himself not allowing the energy to knock him down again. When the light died down Lek left the safety of her bookcase and inspected the item. She froze…

“…I hate my life…”

…….

Lek had summoned all the adventurers into the room. She lifted up the item which was a small talon on a thin silver chain.

She explained, “I know exactly what this it. It is a God Relic called Melora’s Talon. Relics are kind of like artifacts, but there are a few differences. Relics carry much more power than an artifact and have serious after affects. I have used Melora’s Talon once, using it enables the person to have immense power channeling it makes spells a hundred times stronger, but the after affects are too dangerous. Relics are linked to a certain god. You can only use one to its full potential if you have deep ties with that god. The side affect after using the talon for a while was that Lek’s mind went into madness, I became more animal than human. It took all of my friends to knock my unconscious and place the collar on to bring me back.”

She stayed quiet for a moment, “I don’t know how this ended up near Gen. Who were you supposed to give this to?”

“Naivara Riel,” Antoinette answered.

“There is no way she can get this item. She is the worst of the Thundrom archmages! She believes that the Fey races are superior,” Lek growled.

“Well aren’t they?” Antionette asked.

At that moment several of her comrades glared at her. Lek ignored her comment, “She believes what the Eladrin king believes, that the non Fey races and the drow should be wiped out. The only reason he doesn’t do so is because he doesn’t have the power to do so.”

“If we can’t bring her the item, then how are we going to get paid?” Malbert asked, “I wasn’t attack by bandits and stinking undead to get nothing!”

“Hmm…We can use her faults against her,” Lek commented, “May I suggest we make a forgery? Reheat the metal and make a cast around say a holy symbol? I think that’ll fool her.”

A couple hours later and one forged stone later the adventurers were preparing to go on the road again.

“From what you told me there seems to be a bad seed in the Thundrom Order. I have a friend, an archmage named Perrin Silverwind. Just mention me to him and he’ll know…Tell him everything that has happened to you, but reveal nothing to Naivara. Just tell the bitch that Holly says there’s a powerful holy symbol inside,” Lek ordered.

Arktor nodded, “Of course.”

“It was nice working with all of you…good luck.”

Pip watched them as they drove off, “Master Nohk?”

“Yes?”

“This seed in the mage order sounds serious, why do trust them? Why didn’t you erase their minds?” Pip looked over at her master.

Lek sighed and leaned on the archway of the gate, “They remind me of myself and my ragtag group.”

“Do you miss the others?”

The Melora’s saint bowed her head, “Of course, but enough of that let’s attend to the children.”

…..

The day was like any other in autumn. The sky above was as blue as could be. Hours past and it seem their cloudless day would remind to be that. A hunched woman appeared in the distance walking in the same direction they were. Closer up she looked to be around sixty years old, sporting thick gray hair and rosy cheeks. A sack on her back was full and a cane clutched between wrinkled hands. When their horse caught up to her she hailed them to stop.

The old woman looked at the cart for a moment, “Where are you youngsters headed?”

“Valido,” Zeetryder said eying the grandma-like figure.

“I’m headed that way myself to my grandson Elliot’s wedding. Unfortunately my horse went missing and with this bad leg I don’t think I’ll make it on time,” The woman cocked her head, “Could I bother you for a lift? I will compensate you of course.”

“Nah, just hop on,” Malbert waved his hand.

“Thank you,can one of you help me up?”

They lent her a hand and pulled her frail figure onto the cart. She told them she was Issa Terol. While traveling she spoke about her grandson how he wasn’t that much of a man using his time to write and play music. Issa was amazed that he found a woman to marry him, but then again maybe he was feminine enough for his fiance to relate to.

Dark clouds started to roll in casting a shadow over the land . A couple seconds later it began to pour heavily. Lightning flashed in the sky spooking the horse. Issa pulled her thin cloak tighter around her, but the flimsy piece of cloth was no match for the huge water droplets. In the distance a large chateau was spotted, its windows illuminated. Desperate for warm shelter they pulled up to the house.

Malbert knocked the dark wooden door and a few seconds later a tall bald mustached man answered, “Please come in out of the rain. You can stable the horse. I am Humphrey, Lady Monique Ivy’s butler. I welcome to Ivy Chateau.”

Arktor nodded and led the poor frightened horse to the stable. The other adventurers and Issa were led to the dining hall. The dining room was beautifully decorated with golden ivy leaves that line the walls. Already seated at the table were three other people.

“Lady Ivy will be down shortly. Please be seated,” Humphrey bowed and closed the double doors.

The other people at the table introduced themselves, as Tia (the human Bahamut paladin), Javier (human cleric), and Othro (halfing rogue). They were hired by someone to go to the Wilds to find an ancient human civilization. Like them they were caught in the rain.

Five minutes later a beautiful woman with long black hair and deep green eyes walked into the dining room. She had on a simply blue evening dress with a large pink diamond necklace which Ortho eyed with great interest. She introduced herself as Lady Monique Ivy. During the course of the meal the lady spoke about herself, how her husband Vassus recently passed away, her time in Valido as an opera singer, and just any topic in general.

View
Stop Attacking Us!

When the adventurers got back to the Three Crown Inn. Wella came out to greet them. She beamed at the basket of apples and immediately went to work on making some pies. Lyle, now a little less fidgety, welcomed back and ask if there was anything he could assist them with. When someone asked him for maps of the region he was more than happy to oblige being a cartographer in his spare time. It was then Malbert suggested that they get some rest. The day had been a long one after all.

They were all awakened by the sound of a wooden spoon hitting a metal pot signaling grub was on. A nice bowl of beef stew and a few slices of apple pie later they said their farewells and went outside. Unfortunately bad luck continues, because they discovered their horses and cart were gone, fresh human footprints in the dirt. They continued on foot down the trade road until a kindly dwarf merchant offered to give them a lift to the next town. He introduced himself as Fargrim, he came from Ironfast and sold military quality weaponry. He mentioned in passing to Malbert that a town called in Hammerfast was experiencing trouble with bandits on the trade roads to the north.

…..

A few days of traveling lead the adventurers to Datshun, a small town in Gadarn located on Lake Solitude. The town was established about fifty years ago the same time the main trade road was built. In that time it has gathered a lot of business from merchants and farmers on their way to the neighboring cities and towns.

“Pardon?” Iminye and Antoinette approached some local townsmen. The young ladies asked the farmers if they’ve ever heard of a wise, powerful religious figure in the area. The younger ones could not recall, but an older woman did mention there was a miracle worker that had past through town many years ago. She cured the sick and dying and went off on her merry way. This peaked their curiosity because the archmage mentioned a male, not a female.

They then went to a local weapon smith to sell their acquired weapons and to use the coin to purchase horses. To their dismay there weren’t many horses or carts in the stables, because it was the harvesting season. They were able to get a cart with a broken wheel, which they took to the woodworker to be repaired and a mare. The woodworker said the wheel would be repaired in the morning.

Zeetryder decided to travel to the nearby Lake Solitude while Arktor and Malber headed to the Empty Fish Tavern which was part of the Inn of the Vomiting Dragon. Bored with the current surroundings, Malbert asked for the strongest drink in the joint. The Hog Spit smelled like something you’d use to clean a outhouse, but the strength of the dark beverage was just to his liking.

His Goliath comrade placed a few coins on the table challenging the dwarf fighter to a friendly drinking competition. Malbert smirked, surely his cast iron stomach would prove useful in this. The members of the tavern cheered and urged in the two competitors. Zeetryder, who was making his way back from the lake, heard commotion similar to the sounds of the bar fights he used to break up in the Broken Isles. Several shots of Skull Splitters later, Arktor was looking a little unsteady. He raised his hand to signal his defeat and Malbert’s victory. Zeetryder grinned and placed a few coin of his own onto the table. Thus the drinking competition dwarf versus dwarf began. Malbert already having a few in him was feeling a little dizzy after the fourth drink. Being honorable Zeetryder set down his glass and declared this competition a tie.

……

Morning came and Iminye informed her comrades that she had found a few leads and she’d catch up to them later. Trusting the young woman can take care of herself the other fours headed towards Wingfall with their fixed up cart. The sun shone high above their heads at noon. Coming towards them from the opposite direction a battered man in chain mail came hobbling towards them. Immediately the adventurers halted their horse and jumped off the cart to help the man.

“Dear sir, who are you? What happened?” Antoinette inquired as Malbert helped him on his feet.

“I’m Faulk,” The man gasped, “Bandits…They captured my entourage and held me captive. I escaped from them when they weren’t paying attention.”

“Probably the same bandits who took our horses,” Malbert muttered. The fighter looked hard at the seemingly beaten man. His hard breathing looked exaggerated.

“Could you please bring me to that stream yonder?” Faulk asked pleadingly.

“Sure,” Malbert glanced over to the stream and from behind a rock a saw a glint of steel. Wasting no time, he grabbed the handle of his axe and bashed Faulk over the head.

Blood gushed forth from the newly made head wound. Faulk howled in pain, cursing as his knees buckled. Orcs with spears and undead sprang from behind large boulders.

“Kill them all!” Faulk scrambled to get up, blooding trailed behind him as he headed for the orcs.

With the element of surprised lost it wasn’t too difficult to dispatch the oncoming enemies. Faulk was the first to fall, but not before he was able to tactically command his minions into strategical positions.

When the battle was finally won, the adventurers found a few valuables on the bodies of the fallen. A particular object of interest was a letter found on Faulk.

Faulk,
Archmage Callon just sent his hires out of Vox. They should be in your area in a week and a half if my priest and the bandits do not get to them first. Pour this elixir onto the corpses to reanimate them. They should be sufficient along with the orcs to overtake the adventurers. Take the stone. They must be stopped before they reach Wingfall! Do not fail me.

This begged the question of course, if the adventurers didn’t tell anyone about the stone they carry, then what’s is going on?

………

The road was dusty, gusts of wind occasionally picked up the dirt creating a miniature tornado before settling the particles into new places on the ground. Malbert, Arktor, and Zeetryder kept their weapons close as Antoinette held the reins of the horse, though she was more than a little alert herself.

“Hello there!”

At this point they all jumped only to find a farmer one a brown horse with empty bags, “Where you all headed?”

“Wingfall,” Antoinette responded with smile.

“Nice place,” The farmer replied, “I’m Peter Woodro.”

The adventurers introduced themselves individually, but he seemed to be more interested in Antoinette. He asked if he could travel with them, safety in numbers and the company would be nice. In exchange he’d treat them to a meal and a warm bed for his farm was about thirty miles from their current position. With some hesitation they all agreed. They found out he was a local historian and he began to tell them local folktales such as the siren of Lake Solitude.

The sun began to dip below the horizon as they reached a small white farmhouse submersed in a field of corn. Just as the group reached the house, a small figure burst from the front door and sprinted into the field. A woman followed behind.

“Thief!” She cried.

The party sprinted off into the dense cornfield. Arktor dashed ahead using his height to his advantage to pinpoint the thief’s location. Antoinette her own legs could only carry her so far shouted after the thief that they wouldn’t hurt her. Unable to use his own height for an advantage Zeetryder briefly observes his surroundings, noting a broken corn leaf, and led this friends towards the west. The thief looked back over her shoulder, the gruff looking dwarfs spewing threats only fueled her adrenaline. She came to a screeching halt however at the base of a cliff and there was no way or time to escape.

Donna sniffled as the shadows of the adventurers came closer. A streak a black tore through the bushes and landed in front of the little girl just as Arktor reached her. Blackie growled and barked nearly snapping off his hand when he got close to Donna.

“You’re not going to hurt me, are you?” The little girl latched herself to the black bloodhound.

Donna listened to the gnome as she proceeded to tell her they wouldn’t if she returned what she stole. With the promise of food and no beatings she handed them the silverware she stole from Peter’s wife.

“She thinks I’d make a good rogue?” Donna thought, “If I could be one that’d be so cool!”

Reluctantly she accompanied them back to the farmhouse. Disappointed with who the thief really was he told them he couldn’t house another person right now, but he did tell them there was an orphanage in Wingfall if they were willing to allow the girl to travel with them. They agreed and planned to set forth in the morning.

………

In the morning after a hearty breakfast they loaded themselves into the cart with little Donna and Blackie in tow and set forth. Peter had told them that Wingfall was a two day journey. There was rest stop called the Inn of the Popping Kernel after the fork in the road. He told them to tell Grampy, Woodro sent them. They finally said their farewells.

Donna poked her head out of the cart once in a while to look at the environment. She never really wandered too far from the Woodro farmlands after her parents died. With curiosity she gazed at the passing merchants and farmers their own wagons and carts laden with goods. When she was not looking at the merchants she tried to get the adventurers to tell her what the neighboring countries were like. Antoinette was more than happy to oblige to her wishes.

As they approached the fork in the road Peter mentioned Donna saw a race she had never encountered before. She briefly heard Zeetryder say half-orc as the humanoid waved them to stop. Donna looked back and forth at the conversing parties. As soon as the word Wingfall fell from someone’s lips, the half-orc hunter attacked. The battle cry was heard, other half-orcs accompanied with gigantic black furred wolves leaped from the shrubbery. Antoinette order Donna to stay hidden in the back of the cart with Blackie. The little girl pouted wanting to see more of the action. She peeked through a knothole on the side of the cart trying to catch a glimpse of the action.

The closest half-orc near the horse began with battle axe drawn clearly with the intention to hack Malbert. The other two loaded longbows and tried to pick off anyone they could. Blood was drawn and the wolves were the first to fall. During the course of the battle Malbert caught sight of a clay imp-like creature. The abomination was observing the fray with great interest, but most of the observing was on the hunters. The half-orc closest to the forest followed Malbert’s gaze. With a mighty cry the hunter charged for the imp, decapitating it in two blows.

The hunter that initiated the fight raised his hands in surrender and threw down his weapons gesturing that the others do the same.

“Please…listen,” The hunter said in broken Common.

Testing the waters Arktor spoke a few kind words in Giant to the half-orcs’ relief. The hunter proceeded to tell the adventurers that a few days ago he came home to find his place ram-shackled, his wife and children gone. A note was left in their place ordering the hunters to kill the party and if they declined the family would die.

The adventurers offered to help the hunters, but they declined. It was their problem, the hunters said and they should go complete whatever they needed to do.

…….

Following the left path in the fork in the road they stumbled upon the Inn of the Popping Kernel as night fell. They quickly spoke to Grampy and acquired rooms for the night, but not before making sure their horse was secure in the barn.

In the morning they continued ever vigilant now. Weapons were held just as a precaution. At noon they came upon a wide open plain with livestock idly grazing. There on a grassy knoll laid Wingfall. The town was surrounded by a ten foot stone barrier with several tall building tops peaking from the inside. Two guards both wearing chain mail, thick metal skullcaps, and carrying spears halted them. They asked them to state their business. The adventurers merely said that they were there to see a holy person of Pelor. Satisfied with this answer they were allowed in.

They found themselves in a marketplace bustling with activity. The first order of business was to find the orphanage. Donna kept close to them, but not in fear on the contrary the new place excited her. Where the adventurers went adventure usually followed and that suited her just fine. It was an easy task to find the orphanage. First of all it was very hard to miss being the largest structure in town taking up several blocks. Molded into the building were symbols most religious in nature so it could’ve easily been mistaken for an abbey if it weren’t for the children playing in the courtyard. A blond haired gnome, who had seen them enter through the gate approached them.

“Hello, I’m Pip! Welcome to the Cyan Sparrow Orphanage, how can I help you today?” She smiled widely flashing her pearly whites.

Antoinette gently pushed Donna forward and told her fellow gnome about the child. Pip looked at Donna with black pupil-less eyes. Content with what she saw she told the adventurers that she must be inspected by the matron. the gnome dashed into the building and minutes later brought out a middle aged woman. She had black peppered gray bird nest-like hair and the bird on her shoulder to match.

“I’m Lek Nohk, matron here and this is my faithful companion Tweet!” The odd woman poked the bird’s wing, “Say hi Tweet!” The bird remained still. “Fine be that way you little tuff of feathers!”

“Why hello there!” Lek bent down to get a closer, but Blackie had other ideas and lunged towards the matron, “Oh puppy!” The dog looked bewildered confused by the matron’s actions, but he allowed her to pet him.

Lek thanked them for bring Donna to the orphanage and offered them a place to stay for their remaining time in Wingfall. They accepted and asked about the local temple. Immediately Lek started ranting about Holly Pegason, the high priestess, how she was a pompous bitch who didn’t know when to ask for help when she clearly needs it. Regardless she directed them to the temple, looking at the group curiously as they left the gates.

……

Tall steeples and stained glass windows signaled their arrival to the temple of Pelor. The grand hall they entered was lined with stone statues of deities and rows of pews. Briefly they paid their respects to the gods. A young boy dressed in white robes went towards them. He introduced himself as Alex. When they inquired about Pegason he led them down a long hallway to her office door.

Alex knocked on the oak door softly, “My lady, you have visitors.”

“Bring them in dear.”

Alex opened the doors for them and took his leave. When the party stepped inside they were greeted by the sight of an old thing woman with wisp snow white hair and thin spectacles.

“I’m Holly Pegason, the high priestess, how may be of service to you today?”

The adventurers revealed to her the stone and their mission. Confidently she told them that she would be able to identify it in a few days. Antoinette warned her that bandits and other brigands had been after the rock, but Holly assured her that even though she is old she is much tougher than she looks. After all she used to be an adventurer herself back in the day.

……..

The moon was high in the sky when the party went back to the orphanage after completing several errands. Several guards darted past them making their way to the temple. When the adventurers entered the temple office that found it in disarray. Papers and books were strewn across the floor and on a nearby sofa Holly laid unconscious.

The guards they had seen enter the temple earlier were questioning Alex. Apparently while everyone was asleep someone broke in and he heard a crash he found Holly on the floor. Unsatisfied with the interrogation, Antoinette used healing word on Holly reviving her. The old woman revealed that in fact the stone was stolen by a black robed figure. The guards told the party that usually in a situationsuch as this they’d use dogs to find the culprit. Earlier in the day the local wizard found sleep powder in the dog food, but it was too late and now none of the animals will awaken.

“Donna’s mutt,” Malbert mumbled, “I bet he could track.”

Back to the orphanage they went. Donna excited that Blackie would go on an adventure allowed them to use the hound. They handed the leash to Arktor, since the dog seem the tolerate him the most.

Moments later back at the temple, Blackie began to eagerly sniffle around the office. He came to the window and took off dragging Arktor with him. The barbarian could barely hold onto the leash. They went through the woods snapping branches and trampling shrubbery. The other adventurers were hot on their heels. The dog stopped abruptly near a clearing. There at the mouth of a cave stood several decrepit zombies and two large undead abominations. Their stench of rotting meat wafted in the air. Iminye with her impeccable timing offered to take the dog back sure that her comrades could handle things.

Malbert, Zeetryder, and Arktor met the zombies head on. With their colossal arms the large hulking undead slammed their meaty fists into the warriors. Antoinette thinking fast use her divine powers to stun the undead and pushed them into the cave. Moments later chilling undead zombies crawled out of the mouth. The new zombies claws chilled flesh whenever they slashed. Even with the added enemies the party dispatched the undead.

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We're Going Where?

Location: The Thundrom Mage Tower in Vox, Gardarn. Mid Fall.

The Thundrom Order did not usually look for outside help, but with the war in Skorukh and the multiple archeological sites that have been popping up there was no one else available. Archmage Redgar Callon walked into the room quietly, his staff thumping on the carpeted floor as he went along. He did enough research to know each person he had summoned today was at least somewhat competent. The gnome Antoinette was a cleric from capital of Dighton, Gen. According to the locals she was a miracle worker who would cure the most mortal wounds. The half-elf from Skorukh Iminye her knowledge of history and the arcane were outstanding. The Goliath from the Wilds Arktor ,his strength and skills were were not matched by many. Malbert, the dwarf fighter from the mountainous country of Ironfast he was as tough as they came. The unusual dwarf paladin Zeetryder, he and his mordenkrad were renown through the Broken Isles.

“Let’s down to business, shall we?” Redgar said, “Two months ago at an excavation site near Gen a village boy stumbled upon this.”

Upon the table he placed a large metal stone and continued, “At a distance it appears to be an ordinary stone, but upon touching it, it radiates so much energy that even the simplest of minds could feel its power. It was delivered to us a month ago when the clergy of Gen gave up on identifying the stone.”

He glared at the stone with spite, “This thing vexes us! The other mages and I are at our wits’ end. Normally I don’t listen to the rumors of peasants, but now I do not have any other options. In Leona in the town of Wingfall there is said to be a person with deep ties with their god. I’d like all of you to go there and try to locate this person. After hearing what your masters and employers had to say about you I’m confident you’ll complete this task without any trouble.
Regardless of whether this person exists or not, find out what you can then take the stone to the Leona capital Valido to the mage quarters where you’ll find Archmage Naivara Riel. She will reward you for the task.”

“What do we get when we bring this rock the woman?” Malbert inquired in a gruff voice.

“Typical dwarf,” Redgar thought and said, “Items of substantial power.”

The group nodded in approval and he continued, “There is one thing however you must do. You must keep the possession of the stone secret from all but the Pelor’s clergy in Wingfall. We don’t need outsiders to ‘rain on our parade’ as they say.”

A few more questions were asked and the hires were sent on their way. Mid, Redgar’s apparentice, who showed them out approached his master.

“Master Callon, do you think they’ll find out anything?” The young gnome asked, “This seems like a wild goblin chase to me.”

Redgar’s gazed followed the adventurers out the mage tower’s gates, “I do not expect them to find anything, but it doesn’t hurt to try.”

Mid shot a look to his frog familiar and nodded in agreement.

…..

The sun streamed through the clouds creating thin beams that danced in the sky for minutes at a time. Cool and crisp was what Gadarn was like in the fall. The adventurers made small talk as they rode on their cart. The two horses trudged along the well worn trade road. Traffic on the trade route was constant in the fall, merchants and farmers traveled town to town selling their wares and harvests.

Through the forests they passed, a faint sound of stone on stone was heard by Zeetryder and Antoinette. Beady eyes peered through the bushes at the adventurer laden cart. The holy ones readied their weapons as human figures clad in leader armor, holding mallets and crossbows, leaped out of bushes and trees.

Soon the bandits were overwhelmed by the experienced fighters. Arktor ‘volunteered’ (more like leap off the cart and charge) to go toe to toe with the berseker welding his death maul. The others took care of the archers and the mallet welding thieves. Divine energy beams were thrown, arcane spells were chanted, and heavy steel weapons cracked skulls.

After the battle was won, relatively easily, they took the spoils of the battle with him, then hopped back onto the cart and continued down the road.

….

Night began to fall as they approached a fork in the road. The now darken clouds drifted through the occasionally blocking the moon. A freshly painted sign pointing to the smaller left road said “Three Crowns Inn” hung slightly crocked on its post. An inn sounded much better to them rather than sleeping on the damp ground of a forest. So, down the narrower road they went white oak and maple trees on either side.

The tree gave way to a humble dark establishment with a sign with three crowns on it. The area was eerily quiet, not even the hooting of an owl or the chirp of a cricket could be heard. A soft breezed carried the scent of rotting meat by the adventurers’ noses. Antoinette’s eye darted from the buildings to the trees. The smell was all to familiar. Zeetryder’s skin began to prickle, evil was about and it was making his head spin. The others noticed their companions looking more than a little uneasy.

Scratching noises became more audible as they approached the darkened building. Ghoulish figures with torn clothing and red sprinted from behind the inn. They screeched, claws slashing in the air as they darted towards the living. The avoided the horse that neighed in fear. As the talons sunk into Malbert’s flesh he could feel life leaving his body and being replaced with a horrid chill over his psyche. Radiant energies seared the undeads’ flesh, leaving a wound of black viscid fluid that flowed freely onto the earth.

After the wights were sufficiently hacked into pieces, the adventurers approached the building.

“I WON’T YOU ROTTEN UNDEAD GO NEAR ME MUM!” A male voice shouted, “BACK!”

“We’re not undead. We’re not going to hurt you,” Iminye said calmly.

The door opened and gave just enough space to slip in. A large nose male halfing eyed each one of them intensely.

“None of them bit ya did they?” The halfing started poking them with a stick.

“Now Lyle leave them alone,” A cheerful stout halfling woman came from the back room.

Lyle sighed, “Mum, there are undead things out there!”

“Nothing like the zombie apocalypse of ’50 dearie,” The woman grinned then turned her attention to the party, “Can I help you?”

She introduced herself as Wella Dale along with her son Lyle Dale. They explained that they own the inn. Lyle began piling furniture in front of the door in hopes of barricading it. Everyone now and then a scratch could be hurt sending poor Lyle three feet into the air with fright.

“Where did they come from?” Iminye asked quietly.

“Oh I have no clue…” Wella began.

“IT WAS THAT BLACK ROBED GUY!” Lyle accused pointing at seemingly nothing.

“Now son it’s not nice to judge.”

“Like hell it isn’t!” The fidgety halfing spat back, “He asked about adventurers two days back. And well adventurers frequent to our in on a weekly basis. He got pissy and left. Next thing you know THEY SHOW UP.” It pointed angrily at the door, “The guard from Vox hasn’t even showed up. We had some adventurers here earlier and they volunteered to go get help…they’re probably dead now…WE’RE DOOMED!”

“Where would they be coming from?” Arktor questioned, his gaze fell on a piece of wood that boarded up a hole one of the wight probably punched through.

“There is a burial ground two miles from here,” Lyle twitched, “Please please please get rid of them we’ll pay you!”

“It’s a lovely orchard,” Wella beamed and began dusting a bookshelf, “If you could get me a few apples from there I can make you all a scrumptious pie or two.”

MOTHER!” Lyle cried, “How can you think of food at a time like this?”

“I guess we should head out?” Antoinette asked.

“I have gruel on the stove if you’re hungry,” Wella started heading into the kitchen, “And I think I still have that bread I made a week or two ago…”

“We’ll be back soon,” Malbert quickly said grabbing his weapon.

“The path is on the right side of the building!” Lyle called as the last person went out the door and muttered, “We are so screwed.”

“Now dear have a little confidence. No need to be so pessmestic,” Wella sat down with her bowl of gruel and sipped gray concoction, “Hm…needs more sugar.”

….

The narrow gravel path started by a shed near the inn and led to a shallow hill surrounded they large apple trees heavy with red fruit. A simple makeshift wooden fence enclosed the area with mounds and makeshift graves. In the far end of the simple burial site was a small wooden shed with a iron shovel leaning against the door encrusted with rust. Malbert and Arktor leading stealthily made their way through the gate and onto the area.

The dead burst from the ground! Soil flew as bony appendages clawed and dug their way out of the grave dirt. Skeletons with swords and glowing red bodies clacked as they straightened themselves out. A figure fly out of the shed, pale skin and black robes encased him. He pointed with his fiery mace at the adventurers.

“Surrender the stone and I’ll make you deaths swift!” The priest roared flashing them a crazy grin.

Arktor, Malbert, and Zeetryder charged in brandishing their weapons. The skeletons with swords flew at the command of their master to attack them. The fiery skeletons held back and threw balls of red fire.

“Vecna will have your souls!” The priest yelled. He then dove into the fray.

They crushed the undead with blows that would shatter the hardest of bone. Arktor with one blow of his mighty axe decapitated the priest at the torso. The skeletons were no match for the well armored Malbert, their fire could not sear him. The skeletons were destroyed. Not forgetting their promise Iminye filled a basket she conveniently had on her with apples to bring back for the kind Wella.

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