The Trials of Rhun
In the court of the Lightbringers
Our adventurers found themselves at the mercy of a band of Lightbringers holding martial dominion of a strange province. Though on what land they were shipwrecked none would say, only that their fate lie within the stronghold.
Manners are not within easy reach
As you approached the stronghold most of the peasants, farmers and villagers greeted you with a mixed sense of disgust and outright animosity. Their anger seemed to be directed towards you because of other things that were developing within the province. It was palpable as many tried to spit in your face on your long procession to the keep. Yet, you made it sounds and safe, though bound tightly with rope.
The Court of Rhun proved slightly less hospitable than the village below.
You were greeted by the Lady Calinda. A beautiful and stoic woman who gave no hint at her true motives. She asked you small cryptic questions, and before she could explain much or answer any of your questions you were sentenced to hang in the village square. With that she left you to stew on your impending fate in the main hall.
Answers yield only more questions
Heroes become auxiliaries
Though you would die as easily as she may have wished. Lord Ozric returned in steaming anger and promptly set you free. He had a proposition that may spare your lives, provided you were willing to face horrors beyond imagining. The Village of Dondenn had not been heard from for a long while. Lord Ozric set you on a scouting mission to find out what exactly had happened there and why the village was so silent. He took Rahm the Swift as hostage while you got outfitted and set out on your way.
The path to the village
The forest was teaming with wild goblins willing to slash your throat, but the intrepid adventurers continued onwards and towards the smoking horizon. What lay in wait for them none could anticipate.
Burned to the ground
The villagers were slaughtered and their houses lay in burning heaps. Their flesh was all scarred and you noticed that this was not the work of Goblins or rampaging Elves. Suddenly from the shadows emerged a monstrous mass of flesh and tentacles, it’s slavering maw agape with razor sharp fangs.
The heroes banded together and discovered that fire was its weakness. Heike, together with Davlin Xiloscient and Cade Thorngage manged to cover the beasts in fire. It fell to the ground writhing in pain and wreaking of decaying flesh. As you searched the area you noticed it left a trail. Cade Thorngage, Heike, and Davlin Xiloscient set out to find its source while Brother Taklinn Lightbringer remained behind to tend to the dead.
The secret cave…
After much wandering you found the entrance to a peculiar cave. It’s existence seemed almost out of place amongst the peaceful forest. Yet, the beasts trail led into the bowels of this accursed place and you decided to journey into its depths.
The cave was filled with strange carvings of a peculiar eye wreathed in flame. Traps also filled this place from room to room. It took careful navigation and the clever tactics of Cade Thorngage to get through it. Finally though, you came to a large room. At the center was a sacrificial dais covered in blood and mutilated corpses. An insane man named Barroken turned to face you screaming, “You will all burn for Taros!”
The battle was long, Barroken had many tricks up his sleeve. But, in the end he was no match for the warriors. As you investigated his remains you found several odd trinkets, all with the moniker of the great eye wreathed in flame. You decided to inspect the dais and the surrounding carvings. As you did you began to feel light headed, you could swear that you heard faint whispers as the room began to spin. In the interest of time, you booked it out of the cave and back to relative safety.
As you made your way back to Dondenn you noticed that Cade Thorngage was not among those returning from the cave. There was little time to reflect on this, however, as Elves filled the air with a volley of arrows. Your best bet was to run for your lives. Eventually, you made it to a place of relative safety.
Time, was again, not on your side, as you took your first rest in days spiders poured out of the woods and into your camp. You fought valiantly slaying them all in the dark. You placed their remains on spikes as warning to any other who might disturb your slumber. In the morning you struck for Stronghold. Cade’s disappearance weighed heavily on your mind.
Mystery in Stronghold
Upon returning to Stronghold you noticed that many were readying themselves for battle. It seemed as though the entire assembly of Lord Ozric’s men were called upon. You met him in the local tavern where he unloaded more bad news upon your troubled shoulders. It seemed as though Rahm was suffering from some deadly malady and the only answers lay in an archaeological dig far to the North.
You met Gavinn, who was too friendly, and far too capable of slipping into or out of the shadows for your own liking. Yet, you had no other option for a guide to the dig site. You asked Lord Ozric if he might spare any men from his campaign against the Goblins. He stated that that was an impossibility, yet, he knew of a warrior on the outskirts of town who might be able to accompany you.
Dimo Higgins, the half elf warrior, proved to be a jolly companion. Eager to prove himself the “Goblin Hunter” he gladly joined your company and became the most devout in proclaiming his love of adventure and capacity for slaying. You learned of his love, the maid Sheila, and how he fell from the favor of the village of Stronghold. He sought to bring honor to his name and Sheila back to his home.
With new friends in tow you struck out for the dig site.
Desolation for diggers
The archaeological dig site was quite impressive. The area seemed to be carved into a massive cliff face, and it seemed as though entrances (or windows) dotted the mountainside.
You found the campsite utterly devoid of life. As you searched the area you found blood trails leading to an entrance in the cliff face. Moreover Gavinn found a journal with several pages missing from it. It appeared to detail the happenings of the diggers, though it stopped abruptly after an entry specified something about a lower level and the carvings beginning to make sense.
Without delay you hurried into the cliff, Dimo leading the charge. Gavinn was the only one to waver in the charge downwards. This prompted immediate distrust from Taklinn who demanded that Gavinn join them. Gavin, however was fervent in his decision to remain up top. Heike eventually managed to convince those willing to go to leave the old man behind. He didn’t really have much of a place to go anyway. Down you all went, into the pit of darkness.
The Caves of Taros
Inside the caves darkness permeated your every movement, indeed, if you didn’t watch your step, you could easily get lost. The further you ventured, the more traps you found. Traps and wandering monsters. You cut them down easily enough, but still managed to get turned around a few times.
Throughout all of it you saw the Eye of Taros (as you came to learn what the symbol meant) branded and hidden in all of the carved tapestries of the depiction of the Gods. At first, with subtlety and then steadily growing in size and prominence until it desecrated all other depictions of the Gods.
Pushing through traps, moving through tiny corridors, fighting off wave after wave of evil creatures you eventually discovered the passageway down. The closer you got to it the louder you could hear echoing chanting come from below.
The secrets of Barroken
Upon entering the lowest chamber of the dungeon you discovered a massive pile of charred skeletons and heard the fevered pleas of a dying man mixed with the lusty chortle of a familiar voice. From the shadows you saw the burning dais rise from the ground and Barroken laughing wildly. “Burn for Taros!” He cried loudly, and the battle was joined.
A fierce wizard, you locked horns with him and took him down with relative ease. Though in the fight, you seemed to forget that you had seen this man somewhere before. When, seemingly from nowhere Rahm the Swift leapt from the shadows. With a warning of the doom awaiting Stronghold he urged you guys to quickly run from the cave. That’s when he appeared.
Up from the depths of the dais rose a terrifying figure. Hard to behold, seemingly crippled with oozing pustules and laughing hysterically, Ghauroth came forth. With his hands he shot fire in all directions, Dimo bravely charged forward to come to grips with the enemy. He fell at Ghauroth’s feet, Sheila’s name was his dying breath. Ghauroth drank deep of his soul than surveyed the room and made quick work of Taklin and Davlinn, he had his eyes set on Rahm and Heike. Rahm took the opportunity to try some innovative tactics. First, tossing a bone from the pile in Ghauroth’s direction only to have it land a few feet in front of him, next he tried inciting Ghauroth’s wrath by peeing on the bone pile. It didn’t seem very affective.
With hope seemingly lost the heroes banded together, waiting to face death in each other’s company. Out of the shadows appeared a coughing swearing Gavinn. He laughed at Ghauroth, who seemed distracted at being unable to notice Gavinn. It gave Gavinn enough time to launch a rather large lightning bolt into the heart of Ghauroth weakening him to such a degree that he fell to his knees. With a well placed shot Davlinn finished Ghauroth off, he fell to the ground cursing saying, “burn for Taros” as blood spurted from his neck.
Gavinn ushered everyone out of the cave, commanding that no item from either wizard be taken with you. No one seemed to take the time or care to carry Dimo’s body from that pit of despair. And there he shall remain, until his bones turn to dust.
Meanwhile Above Ground
On the way back up to the surface Rahm filled the group in on the goings on of Stronghold. Lady Calinda is apparently possessed or enthralled by the spirit of Taros and has designs on the town itself, were it not for Gavinn, Rahm would still be rotting in her dungeon.
Lord Ozric and his men looked exhausted, yet proud when they met you. Apparently the Goblin campaign had ended well while you battled in the depths below. Gavinn cut in quickly and stated that everyone must quickly head back to the village of Stronghold. You raced back there, praying you would not be too late.
The Ashes of the Innocent
You made it back to Stronghold too late. Whatever plans Lady Calinda had on this place she had already enacted them with great relish. Stronghold was reduced to ashes and ruin. Lord Ozric commanded his men to begin tending to the dead. Gavinn proposed finding the trail of Lady Calinda, though the only option available to you is to seek out the Elves, a plan Lord Ozric would be no fan of.
Journey to the Hidden Camp
The path to the camp was absent of Goblins or their minions, clearly Lord Ozric’s campaign was quite successful. Gavinn maintained quiet optimism throughout the entire journey. Though you had misgivings about his character you feel somewhat more at ease at his presence. Yet doubts raged in your mind about him, how was he able to display such awesome firepower and how much does he really know?
Mormegil was at first mildly distrustful of your presence though after some deliberation with his advisers he proposed an exchange. If you journeyed to the nearby ruins and recovered an ancient tome then he would release Cade, the halfling hostage. After some rapid negotiation by Taklin, you exchanged Gavinn for Cade and made your way to the Elven ruins. Prior to your departure Gavinn had some cryptic words about power being within the crystals.
The Crystals and The Beast
Reunited with Cade, you made your way through the forest towards the Elven ruins.
The ruins proved abandoned apart from the whisps who lit your way and the ancient traps hidden amongst the ruins. As you navigated your way through the treacherous labyrinth eventually you discovered the crystals, moreover, you found the hidden tome the Elves set you out to find.
As you moved in to complete your quest a rather large, foul smelling demon burst from under the ground and charge its way towards you. Action was required and you came together and to out maneuver the beast. Seeing his friends having the situation in hand Heike decided to break open the crystal with the only weapons available to him, his fists! Upon striking the crystal Heike found magical energy surging into his hands, a good thing too, as every attack done to the beast thus far seemed to have little effect.
Davlinn flung himself into the fray hacking at the beast. It roared and slammed into him with it’s claws and mighty jaw. Davlinn would have fallen that day were it not for the timely intervention of Taklin. Sensing the grave danger, and working more out of instinct than anything else, Heike struck out at the beast in rage. The moment his fists touched its carapace the beasts flesh began to slough off and cried out in tremendous pain.
Sensing the path to victory all of you followed suit, blessing your weapons with the energy from the crystals and striking at the beast in turn. Eventually it was laid to ruin and rot, left to decay in the ruins it once guarded.
You retrieved the ancient tome of the Elves and now head back to their camp.