An Age of Darkness

Journey to the West
Not the Chinese Epic
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The Story So Far, Part II
Because Dan Can't Always Recap...

The party then moved on to other outer buildings of the temple, eventually finding the Orcs’ shaman and his bodyguards, who they quickly dispatched. They also found several prisoners, including torture victims. One of the prisoners was so mutiliated he asked to be killed, a request that Karaerdrel obliged. Amongst the refuse strewn about by the Orcs, Ve’lar managed to locate a curious silver key. Unsure of what it was to, he saved it, knowing it might come in handy.

In the grand hall of the Temple, the adventurers found what appeared to be a giant, golden snake. Upon closer inspection, they found it was a very lifelife construct, apparently created to guard the Temple. Although most of them were ready to fight the construct, Ve’lar was able to calm it by claiming they had destroyed the intruders in the temple and that they sought to preserve it. The snake golem appeared satisfied for the moment, although it kept a watchful eye on the party as they moved about the temple. Ve’lar found a trapdoor in the middle of the room, which the silver key unlocked, leading under the Temple. There, he discovered the Temple’s true purpose: a great gate, built directly under the earth and secured by many ancient and powerful warding spells, professed to house the World-Eater, the Old God Koraborin, the great snake that would devour the world at the end times. Shuddering at the thought of Koraborin’s release, Ve’lar quickly returned to the grand hall, locking the trapdoor behind him and didn’t mention the terror lurking below to his comrades, resolving to keep the secret of the Temple for himself.

Having scoured the entire temple complex of Orcs, the party then set about insuring that the Orcs that would be returning to the temple would not remain: they took the corpses of those they had slain and posed them in various grotesque ways. Ve’lar went so far as to brand many of the bodies in different languages with runes that professed divine retribution on the invaders. Satisfied that the remaining Orcs would not stay in the Temple upon witnessing the adventurers handiwork, Raeb and the others returned to the forest elves. The Keeper was impressed, and he thanked them for their help. He proposed another exchange: if the party could return his granddaughter, Natyne, from the clutches of the Witch of the Whispering Woods. In return, he would agree to re-open trade with Highever, using Raeb as a liason. The party felt this would go far to mend relations in the region, and accepted the task.

Upon their arrival at the Witch’s tent, the party encountered none other than Natyne, who was none too pleased to see them. She threatened them with violence, but eventually backed down when Azariah herself appeared. Azariah explained that Natine had sought her out, and that Azariah had originally refused to tutor Natyne in the ways of the witch. Despite her story, Azariah didn’t seem too keen on forcing her new pupil to leave. She offered several deals to the party, none of which any of them were overly pleased with. During the negotiation, however, Ve’lar deduced that Azariah was aware of the the wards in the temple to Koraborin, and offered the silver key he had obtained at the temple in exchange for Azariah’s releasing Natyne. Azariah accepted, even going so far as to spirit the young girl back to the village herself. Azariah also requested a favor of the party: if they could locate and return her staff to her, she would grant them any boon that was in her power to grant. Keeping the witch’s offer in mind, the adventurers returned to Tollith Lethari.

Upon their return, the party were met on much warmer terms, and the elves seemed truly grateful. The party then returned to Highever with the dweomerthistle bestowed upon them by Keeper Athelarius, eager to return and discover what truths the red book of Nue held. On their way back to Highever, they eventually fell in with another caravan of merchants, who told them of rumors of doomsayers speaking the worst kinds of blasphemy, something about “liberating the world from the tyranny of the sun.” In fact, the party even witnessed the execution of several of these doomsayers as heretics upon their return to Highever, by none other than Fergus Calhoun, the High Priest of Sieris in Highever. The adventurers could discover little about these doomsayers, however, only that they called themselves the Masters of the Black Sun

Upon their return to the Great Library, Dorn Greymantle thanked them and performed the ritual to discover the prophecy he sought. Although Dorn was able to read from the Red Book of Nu, and recite the Prophecy of the Black Sun, the magic took its toll, and it ended up killing the old dwarf, leaving Joll as the new Loremaster of Highever. Resolved to follow the words of the prophecy, the adventurers began to look for ways to travel west, to the New World.

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The Story So Far
Because Dan Can't Always Recap...

Dorn Greymantle, the Loremaster of Highever, sensed that a great time of change was upon the world. Needing access to arcane knowledge he did not possess, he called Karaerdrel, Raeb, and Ve’lar Swiftrunner to Highever’s Great Library. There, he imparted to the three adventurers that he was in failing health and requested that they aid him in a final task: the retrieval of a book of knowledge from the catacombs located below the Great Library. Although their reasons were there own, they each decided to aid the old dwarf in his final request.

The adventurers descended into the catacombs beneath the Great Library, it having been sealed by Dorn himself when the forces of King Valkan the Black had besieged Highever. The powers unleashed by Indar of the Dawns Death, the General who led Valkan’s forces against Highever, had disturbed dark things underneath the city, and Dorn had sealed the catacombs…until now.

As the adventurers descended, they found forgotten parts of the library, included a shrine to the original God of Knowledge, Nue, as well as countless forgotten books. In one room, they found that something had burrowed up from below the earth, leaving a trail of none other than books deep into the earth. Traversing this passage, the adventurers discovered the great gate to the once-famed Dwarven city of Kharakis Adzorig, long ago lost to hordes of undead and sealed away by its last great king.

Not wishing to disturb an innumerable host of undead, the adventurers pressed on, even deeper into the earth, when they came upon the lair of whatever it was that had been burrowing into the earth. Rifling around the various books in the lair, they found their objective, and returned to the surface as quickly as possible. Upon their return, the adventurers informed Dorn of the re-discovery of Kharakis Adzorig, and also gave the book to the old dwarf. Dorn then asked another favor of them: travel south to the elven forests in order to obtain dweomerthistle, a special plant that grants insight and would allow Dorn to scry the information he sought from the Book of Nue.

The adventurers quickly set off to the South, with a letter of introduction written by Dorn to Keeper Athelarius Dreamfrond, leader of the southern Elves, and Raeb’s faithful donkey Sal in tow. The adventurers encountered wild beasts in their trek through the Whispering Woods, but the most noteworthy event during their journey was their run-in with Azariah the Witch of the Whispering Woods. As they traveled, they happened upon a dead unicorn in a glade, with the Witch standing over it. Karaerdrel, apparently having dealt with the Witch before, approach her in greeting, as Raeb guarded Sal against any hungering the Witch might have for donkey flesh. Ve’lar having his own concerns, quickly made use of his stealthy nature and vanished into the dark forest, observing the entire exchange. The Witch had been gathering the unicorn’s blood, but denied killing it. She then warned Karaerdrel that not all in the forest was right and that he ought to be wary, before vanishing in a cloud of ravens. Unable to help his own curiosity, Ve’lar retrieved one of the vials of unicorn blood that the Witch had left behind, secreting it away before his fellows could see what he had done.

Eventually they reached their destination. Unfortunately, their reception was less than warm: a generation ago, a human from Highever had fallen in love with Keeper’s daughter. She returned his love, but circumstances conspired against them, and Athelarius’s daughter was eventually tragically killed, with her human lover unable to save her. As such, Athelarius’s disposition toward Highever and non-elves had soured greatly. However, the adventurers recognized that things were amiss in the village, and offered a trade: they would provide their services as warriors and diplomats in exchange for dweomerthistle. The Keeper agreed, and set them about their first task: cleansing an ancient holy site of Orcs. The Elves later explained to the adventurers that the temple was sacred, and no forest elf could set foot there.

The adventurers eventually arrived at the temple only to find it had been set up as an armed Orc encampment. Through guile and swift action, the adventurers were able to neutralize many of the orcs without much trouble. And they were even able to rescue a half-elf named Sidurii, who agreed to join them in their task. Having cleansed the outer courtyard of the temple, they then began to clear its inner rooms. The first room was a massive sepulchre. This sepulchre lead to a giant room containing what appeared to be an active portal. Although Ve’lar seemed eager to learn the workings of this portal, one of the other party members decided to throw a rock through it…resulting in the appearance of a river drake. Although the river drake was fierce, the adventurers beat it into submission, with Sidurii ending its life with a final elbow splitting its skull open. Upon the drake’s death, however, the portal ceased functioning, leaving the adventurers to wonder what may have lain on the other side. The second room they found was locked by a riddle spell, which Sidurii solved with little effort. Inside were many treasures, and yet another door locked by a riddle, which Karaerdrel solved after some slight thought. Inside this second room, the party found a magic circle which seemed to freeze time. Trapped inside the circle, seemingly powering the circle, in fact, was a small, elven-looking child. Upon closer inspection, however the adventurers discovered that the child possessed the features of a reptile, replete with scales. Unsure of what might occur if they disturbed the magic, the adventurers pressed on into other areas of the temple.

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