Legends and Lore

The Guardian (Episode 5)

As the companions followed Robyn further into the temple of Sehanine several in the group noticed movement from behind an elevated water basin at the center of the square forty-foot wide room. Approaching carefully, the group managed to coax a disheveled man dressed in worn leather armor out from hiding, and they soon learned his name was Kiris Hoyt, a possible heir to the ruling Kiris family bloodline. The group began asking Kiris Hoyt about why he stayed after the fall of Kiris Dahn eight long years ago, and how he managed to survive without being discovered by the town’s conquerers? The man began to explain how his family had abandoned him here as a power play. It was a clear attempt to cut him from the distribution of family wealth in his eyes.

It was during this conversation that Hoyt suddenly snapped to attention, as the thunder of dozens of little feet could be heard approaching from the temple’s northern and southern entrances. Soon nearly a dozen goblins blocked the groups escape route, their leader waving about a silver dagger while yelling “kill the rat man!, them too!, kill all rat mans!!” Kiris Hoyt began to stumble backwards, as a look of shock filled his eyes. Then he began to transform. Bone and sinew began to snap and pop, while Hoyt’s fingernails and nose began to elongate. He was quickly transforming into a humanoid rat! Within seconds Hoyt bit Robyn and Dirk as arrows began to fly from the goblins at the southern portcullis. From the northern exit more goblins approached with worn short swords in hand. Coren moved to the northern stairs to block their entrance, and quickly disposed of the ragtag group with a series of impressive flying leaps and spins. By this time Hoyt was on the move, making his way towards a metal door on the eastern wall. It was obvious that the rat-man was badly wounded, but those wounds were slowly mending before the companions eyes! Unable to stop Hoyt’s escape Robyn quickly moved to lock the wererat inside the hallway. Both Coren and Dirk apparently disagreed however with Robyn’s strategy, as they knocked him unconscious in order to prevent him from blocking the door. It appeared to be playing out just as they had hoped as Altain had the opposite end of the hall blocked as well. Then an unexpected turn took place as Altain was struck with one final blow knocking him unconscious, which allowed Hoyt to escape through the southern passage! But not before the wererat picked up a silver dagger near the now dead goblin leader Triflik.

Coren, Dirk, and Wolven quickly gave chase as they climbed rooftops and scrambled down alleyways. Luckily a blood trail left by the wounded rat-man allowed the group to track Hoyt back to the ruined library several blocks away. But it was there that the pursuit stopped, as the trail of blood abruptly ended. Most likely the result of the creatures unusual ability to heal. Meanwhile Dirk was left wondering about the silver dagger, with the hilt exquisitely crafted to resemble intertwining serpents, and whether it might have been enchanted?

It was during this disappointing chase that the group of three discovered another abandoned wing of the massive library. Bookcases had been pushed aside as though a large beast had moved through the area, and three large brassy scales lay upon the floor nearby. On the other side of the bookshelves a stone wall panel had been tossed to the ground, revealing an empty alcove. There the companions discovered gouges from giant claws all around the corners of the alcove and on the wall panel. Coren began to wonder if perhaps a large dragon had beaten them to the last remaining slaying stone? If true, the guardian of the stone would most likely be more dangerous than anything they could have ever imagined.

Unable to pick up on Hoyt’s trail, the three companions returned to the temple district where they found Robyn (now conscious) watching over Altain near the water basin. Thankfully both were still safe, although Altain was still unconscious. They then decided to use their second ritual scroll of detection in an attempt to detect the lost slaying stone. Unfortunately the slaying stone was not detected however, and the group decided they needed to press onward. Now the group only had one scroll of detection remaining and they knew they needed to make it count.

Altain was now being carried by Coren as the group made their way to the Kiris Mansion. But as the group neared the towns stables growls could be heard emanating from inside, and a small voiced yelled out in what sounded like the goblin tongue. Deciding to check the stables, the group discovered two goblins watching over a half dozen wolves. Fortunately the companions were able to take the two goblins by surprise, giving them no time to release the viciously trained animals. It didn’t take long before the enemy was silenced permanently. It was then decided that everyone was in need of a good nights rest, and this temple seemed as good a spot as any, so the group holed up there for the remainder of the night.

The next morning Altain had once again regained consciousness so the companions began to make their way northward towards the mansion. The city seemed different in the light of day, and the companions couldn’t help but notice an area to the east of the Kiris mansion where steam seemed to be filling the morning air. But with little time to contemplate what it might be the group quickly press on, but both Robyn and Dirk complained of an unusual sensitivity to the morning light. Each was running a slight fever, and both were now left to hope that it would disipate over the next day. But Dirk had other things on his mind as well, as he constantly kept one eye open for Hoyt, or more importantly Triflik’s blade in which Hoyt had so conveniently walked away with.

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The Ruins of Kiris Dahn (Episode 4)

That night the companions slept through another cold and dreary night, but this time in the warm confines of the tower kept them dry. Awakened at sunrise to the sound of a wooden spoon striking a sturdy fry pan. A hot breakfast awaited them after an evening of uninterrupted rest.

After the group was well fed, and the necessary information had been covered, the group headed out into the wilds once again. This time however they intended on avoiding the deep woods at Treona’s suggestion, and instead stayed to the lightly wooded outlying areas. This proved to be a wise choice, as the companions not only made up for lost time but continued to travel without incident over the following two and a half days.

Then on the third afternoon the ruins of Kiris Dahn finally came into sight. A rickety palisade at the town’s entrance was the only sign remaining of the old gate that once welcomed visitors during more peaceful times. Unfortunately three small humanoids could be seen guarding the city gate, and unwilling to announce their presence with a sudden attack, the companions wisely decided to make their way through the surrounding woods to the more secluded field to the east, where they made a less conspicuous entrance.

While making their way through a residential district they spotted what appeared to be a tent city near the southern part of town, and nearby a small dog-like humanoid was being beaten by several goblin guards. Choosing to remain out of sight however, the group quietly continued towards the ruins of the library. The structure still stood, but many of it’s walls had tumbled down, and books and scrolls were now exposed to the elements. It was there that the group discovered an intact wing of the grand building. There they disposed of nearly a dozen small goblins before finally discovering two of Treona’s requested texts, along with many others the group deemed worth saving. Then before departing it was decided that Altain should cast one of the three ritual scolls given to them by Treona, but the slaying stone was not detected.

Next the group began to make it’s way towards the temple district when they suddenly found themselves nearly surrounded by unsuspecting goblin guards. Luckily they managed to duck into an abandoned building nearby without notice. It was there that they witnessed many of the goblins curiously inspecting anothers face, and a strange scar over the small goblin’s right eye. It was quickly becoming evident that the guards were going nowhere fast, so it was finally decided that the group would escape using the back door. It didn’t take long to realize however that the group was not alone, as swarms of rats suddenly poured from two directions enveloping several of the companions. To make matters worse two blood sucking bat-like creatures with four wings soon joined the fray. The swarms of rats neartly proved too overwhelming, but the companions fought bravely and prevailed in the end. With several of the companions seriously wounded, and Altain unconscious, the group decided to rest for the remainder of the day.

Well rested the group prepared to press onward, but not before checking the remainder of the building. Two sarcophagus were soon discovered in a nearby room, apparently the resting place of past members of the ruling family. After the combined effort of several companions, both heavy stone lids were slowly maneuvered to the side of each sarcophagus. The human remains inside the first sarcophagus wore a golden crown studded with sparkling red and blue gems. The second sarcophagus’ remains wore an elegant silver tiara, and a stunning golden necklace. Each knew immediately that treasures such as these were extremely rare, and their value was most likely beyond imagination – especially in New Haven’s struggling economy where gold was non-existant.

Once again prowling the streets of Kiris Dahn, the group continued to make their way towards the temple district. Remnants of holy shrines still remained, but in a state of unrecognizable disrepair. One even bearing the symbol of Bane, crudely etched over another unnamed god of the past. But one shrine grabbed Robyn’s attention in particular, the Shrine of the Moon. Although the rogue could likely not explain why, he just happened to spot the worn engraving of a crescent moon on a nearby stone. It was a shrine to the goddess Sehanine, a god Robyn had learned of and worshipped though his childhood due to his mother’s influence. During a time of disbelief amongst the vast majority in the world, Robyn could only wonder if this might be some kind of sign? He began to wander towards the welcoming sight, with his companions not far behind eyeing the dark shadows of the ruins surrounding them.

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Lost (Episode 3)

As the companions continued to move deeper into the darkness of the Deadwood Forest some began to feel a chill upon the early evening air, and then the pitter patter of rain on the canopy above. A short time later they found themselves shivering uncontrolably before suddenly sensing the horrific presence of an unwelcoming spectre. Thankfully the companions once again fought bravely despite the unnaturally cold aura that emanated from their enemy.

As the daylight hours began to wain Coren spotted a bony finger protruding from the leaves of the forest floor. Inspecting it further, yet very carefully, he concluded that it might be best to leave it alone. But it was too late, before he could react Robyn suddenly stepped forth and revealed the remainder of a human skeleton. Frustrated at his companions carelessness, he repremanded Robyn, and then proceeded to collect the numerous pieces and placed them in a large sack (and then sarcastically stated that they now had a new travel companion). None could quite figure out what the apparently disturbed half-orc might be up to?

The next day started like any other, surrounded by the thick wooded forest with no escape from it’s depths in sight. It was also becoming obvious to some (like Robyn) that the group was beginning to lose its way. In particular a discussion between Coren and Altain seemed to alarm Robyn. So he quickly decided to climb a large tree nearby to take a look for himself, but upon reaching the very top he suddenly lost his delicate balance. Those below stood in shock as they heard the crashing of several scores of branches, before realizing the lucky rogue had managed to finally catch himself half way down the towering tree! Finally with another close call Robyn finally made it to the top, but what he saw gave him little hope, a canopy of trees for as far as his eyes could see with overcast skies concealing the sun. Soon they were back on the trail (although there was no trail to speak of) and pressing onward in whatever direction they determined to be southwest? It was nearing dusk when the group had yet another extremely dangerous encounter with a wraith cloaked in darkness, nearly killing Robyn and Wolven. It was during this moment of extreme danger that the group witnessed the unexpected. Altain began to swing his sword in a massive arc as arcane symbols of burning crimson light trailed the now glowing red blade! What they had just witnessed they could not be sure, but there was little doubt of its effectiveness. Then finally the darkness was once again pushed back, and the group found itself once again thankful to have survived, as they prepared to settled in for the night. Each wondering what exactly it was that they had just witnessed this night?

The next morning the companions awoke to an immense downpour, and the ground on which they slept was becoming a muddy mess. But good news was to be had at last, as the deep woods began to give way to the much more sparsly wooded outskirts of the forest. Unfortunately that also meant a drenching amid the constant downpour without the protection of the thick conopy above. Battling the soggy conditions of the cool fall air the group continued pressing onward into the late afternoon when they suddenly heard an immense screech up ahead in the distance. Then a few minutes later the smashing of branches and twigs close by, before the forest floor began to tremble with the footfall of what would prove to be a very large enemy. Crashing through the trees was a creature much larger that a grizzly, fur and feathers covering the beast head to toe, and an owls beak capable of tearing the flesh from anything unfortunate enough to end up it’s immense claws. It didn’t take long for Altain to find himself within the powerful beasts claws before pulling off what many of his companions could only describe as some sort of magical power, as he suddenly appeared outside of the creatures long reach! But there was no time to ponder, as Coren soon fell unconscious in a pool of blood. This time it was Dirk’s opportunity to prove his worth to his new companions, as he consistenly outflanked the owlbear and then delivered the final deadly blow. Coren was stabilized, and thankfully survived, but it was yet another close call that had everyone deeply concerned about their mortality.

As dusk approached the companions began to prepare camp as the rains continued to fall mercilessly upon them. Many fell asleep quickly as a number of watches came and went through the night. Then something was spotted in the distant woods? It appeared to be the light of a mysterious lantern swaying in the wind? The group was roused from their sleep, and it was soon decided that they should investigate. Soon the group could make out a small three-story tower just ahead, but also in the trees surrounding them numerous sets of reflecting eyes. Before the companions could react a pack of wolves sprang from the dark clusters of trees, and soon the group found themselves surrounded. It was then that they heard the yell of an elderly woman beckoning them to make haste toward the tower. But the muddy footing of the forest floor made escape nearly impossible, and each companion was quick to realize they would once again need to make a stand. The battle was short lived, and soon the group was able to make their way toward the light of the tower.

Inside the tower the companions were introduce to an elderly woman named Treona, and a regal man of nobility named Kiris Alkirk. Their shock of seeing others so far out in the dangerous woods was evident, as was their praise of the companions fighting prowess. Sitting inside by a warm fire, it wasn’t long until Treona asked the group for a possible favor. She then told them of a town three days travel to the southwest called Kiris Dahn. It was there that a legenday slaying stone of power had apparently been forgotten by the sands of time. Treona needed someone both strong and brave to find this stone, and then return it to her so it could be destroyed. She then explained the history of Kiris Dahn and the fact that Kiris Alkirk had apparently been the last ruler of the town, which eight long years ago was invaded by a goblin horde. She also explained the fact that there were originally believed to be eight slaying stones (all spent in the past to defend the city from powerful enemies), until her recent research revealed an unkown ninth stone! It was a dangerous mission to be sure, especially considering that the goblins were now believed to inhabit most of the northern end of the town, but she seemed certain that these men had what it took to be heroes. As the conversation continued it became obvious that the group would be willing to accept the quest at hand, and the conversation began to turn towards more strategic details. Treona believed it was safest to enter Kiris Dahn at its southern end to avoid much of the goblin horde, and she hoped that the stone might be discovered in either the old library, one of the temples, or the Kiris estate. After much discussion it was finally time for all parties involved to turn in, and the companions were invited to spend the night, but not before Treona made one last request. She wanted five books saved from the overrun city if at all possible, and expressed her sincere gratitude to them all should they happen to retrieve them. As the group snuggled in by the warm glow of the fire, and began to drift asleep, none could imagine what might await them in the ruins of Kiris Dahn.

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The Darkness Beyond (Episode 2)

At sunrise the next morning a rag tag group of four (the mysteriously cloaked individual was noticeably absent) arrived at the Griffon’s Nest Inn as planned. After a quick meeting with the Old Man the group departed for the Deadwood Forest. Nearly three hours later the group finally had made it through the farmlands to the lightly wooded outskirts of the deep forest, but not before meeting a loner named Dirk heading back towards town. After a short conversation Dirk decided to join the small band of companions bringing their number to five.

The lightly wooded land seemed simple enough, light foilage had little effect on the groups ability to see or scout ahead. Then nearly an hour into the woods the companions noticed they were being followed. A short time later they finally caught a glimpse of whatever it was that remained just out of sight, a small humanoid dog-like creature that stood perhaps three and a half foot tall. Several in the party moved toward the little critter, but then took notice that the trees beyond began to shiver with movement, as numerous others quickly retreated. The companions would continue to notice the small dog-like creatures to their right flank throughout that morning.

Later Robyn scouted ahead and spotted a large humanoid attempting to create a fire for cooking. The creature stood nearly ten foot tall with a muscular physique. Apparently irritated with its inability to start a simple cooking fire for its recent kill, the ogre seemed prepared to give up. Luckily the companions realized they might be able to avoid conflict by offering to start the fire. After a short negotiation, and a little smoozing, the incredibly large ogre agreed to allow the group safe passage as he began to cook a warm meal.

Later that afternoon the group began to make its way into the more heavily wooded interior of the forest. The difference was noticeable as the darkness under the thick canopy seemed oppressive. Visibility was now down to perhaps ten feet with the thick foilage obscurring line of sight significantly. Also one couldn’t help but notice that the small dog-like creatures that had once followed their every move were nowhere to be found. The group pressed onward even as shadows seemed to dance about the woods, yet always seemingly just out of sight? Many began to rub their eyes in an attempt to refocus. It was shortly thereafter that many decided something out there just wasn’t quite right, and the group took up a defensive position in a circular pattern, backs turned inward toward one another. Shadows of darkness continued to dance about in the woods around them. Then the temperature began to noticeably drop. Suddenly Altain collapsed unconscious and a figure shrouded in darkness was suddenly hovering right behind the companions! The group scramble quickly in all directions trying to avoid what seemed as nothing short of death itself. Hearts raced as each tried to make sense of what was now transpiring before them. It wasn’t long before Dirk also went down from death’s deadly touch. The situation was quickly growing more dire when finally the remaining three companions rallied to their dying companions cause and finally drove the darkness away.
WraithThe group continued delving deeper still. Several hours later the woods turned unnaturally cool once again, and an uneasy feel began to grab hold of the companions. Perhaps a minute later the ghostly image of an elf began to materialize before the party. The two elves, Wolven and Altain, stepped forward hoping to avoid yet another conflict with the undead. While other ghostly elves began to materialize around the group the two companions attempted to negotiate safe passage, but it became obvious that an alternative route would be needed to press onward. However Altain had one last question for the ghostly elf before him, he simply wanted to know if this entity recognized his fathers name? The response was simple and to the point – the name Moonfire seemed familiar! It was a rare clue, and Altain Moonfire was content with any information that might help him unravel his families mysterious history. The group then slowly made their way around the perimeter of this particular part of the deep forest.

Later that night another attack took place. Shadows once again began creeping towards the sleeping companions, and their crackling campfire unnaturally began to dim. An attempted whistle from Wolven failed to awaken the companions as they suddenly came under attack from two hounds of shadow and darkness. Luckily the group managed to quickly react to the unexpected attack, successfully driving the shadow hounds back to the darkness in which they came. The remainder of the night was thankfully uneventful, but some still had the feeling that something lurked in the darkness just beyond their fire lit camp, it’s dark piercing eyes ever watchful.

Day two was met with two more beings shrouded in darkness, but this time the party saw the darkness manifesting in advance. United, they successfully pushed the unnatural beings back into the darkness, as they had the others the previous day. Some amongst the group then suggested they return to New Haven to report that the woods were haunted, but others argued to press onward. And so it was the companions moved deeper into the darkness beyond…

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The Story Begins (Episode 1)

You make your way through the bustling streets of New Haven later that day, as visions of your future cloud your thoughts. Having checked out all three of you possible leads for employment has made one thing obvious, things are worse than you originally believed. None of the jobs you inquired into on this fine fall day payed particularly well. The only real positive you could see was that some of the employment opportunities had perhaps more of an upside than others over the long term.

Replaying these thoughts through your mind time and again, you continued to make your way towards home. Guards often pass you by with their well kept armor glistening in the waning sunlight, swords at their side. Maybe it was true that the pay wasn’t great, but the opportunity to protect and serve had some appeal, plus there was surely an equipment allotment?

Then you began to notice that the city around you had grown much more quiet. But it was the smell that quickly gave your location away. Looking up, the run down buildings were the first tell tale sign that you were passing the lower district slums. People lay about in the streets, some looked unconscious, while others were overcome with coughing spasms. Then you spotted several rats making their way along the base of several buildings before scurrying down a nearby street drain. Quickly you cover your face before hurrying along, but not before spotting several city guards loading bodies into a cart!

The next night you made your way to the Griffon’s Nest Inn. Curious about the mysterious meeting taking place. It was there that you met the proprietor of the establishment, Borsk, a heavy set bartender with a graying goatee. He directed several individuals toward a large table where an older man, with a white beard, could be seen sitting near one of the large fireplaces. A small crowd was slowly assembling around the table. Apparently a past adventurer himself, the Old Man was now looking for a younger generation to lead an expedition into the darkness. The funding for such an excursion coming from his own pocket. After a short negotiation four other individuals and yourself showed interest in his offer. Several of the attendees seemed anxious to begin. It was decided that you five would meet at the Griffon’s Nest Inn at sunrise tomorrow.

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Introduction

You awaken to the smell of freshly baked bread shortly after sunrise on a cool fall morning. Street vendors and merchants can be heard wheeling their carts across the cobblestone streets to the market square. It isn’t long before the morning streets are bustling with business. The cool morning air finally begins to warm slightly as the sun rises to the east. After a good nights rest you make your way out into the city streets of New Haven to run some early morning errands.
City skyline
It is on these busy streets that you catch word of preparations being made for a merchant caravan to make the biyearly trek to the distant town of Hommlet. This small town of less than one thousand inhabitants was discovered just three years ago, and remains the only other known settlement in the area to date. You’ve thought of joining up with just such a caravan over the past several years, but the extreme dangers involved with such travel requires serious thought. It’s well known that of the five previous caravans, three have failed to return, and no survivors have ever been found. You decide to think it over since the deadline for signing up as a mercenary is still two weeks away.

Completing your morning routine you then decide to stop to check out the news post outside the Griffon’s Nest Inn. Curious, you hope that something might peak your interest. Apparently the city guard is looking for a few good sword-arms to strengthen their numbers. Patrols around the perimeter of the city walls have been on the increase as of late.

Another post is looking for adventurers interested in delving out into the darkness beyond the safety of New Haven’s city walls. A meeting is set for tomorrow evening at sundown at the Griffon’s Nest Inn. There is no signature hinting at who might have left the announcement.

Winter is now closing in fast, and you know your personal coffers are running low once again. Sickness is said to be spreading in the poorer districts of the city, and there is growing concern that this winter could see a much higher mortality rate than usual. Not to mention that poor crops this fall are sure to lead not only to a food shortage this winter, but inflated prices!

Tired of the never ending routines of daily life and the struggle to survive, you’ve finally decided it’s time to take control of your destiny!

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