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.