The City of Pain
We revisit our trusted guardians as they return to their stationed town of Dell. Fresh from their long, but rewarding adventures of dispatching with Riel, the evil priestess of Shoton.
Lohrin, Kalan, Lorrellian ("Rel"), Bud, and Froin return to town and immediately seek an audience with the Duke. Tragically, His lordship is away on travels in Greenlin. They update Lord Phillipe with a quick overview of what their most recent work has entailed, and their discovery of Tors being empty. Lord Phillipe is most concerned with the missing inhabitants of Tors, and gives blessing and support to the guardians initiative to discover their whereabouts.
As a first order of business, we attempt to scry upon Lord Stiller the most notable inhabitant of Tors, and a significant landlord of the relm. The white temple is unable to scry upon him, or the other notable town figures of Brenton the town merchant, or Fren a shadowy trade route operator. While concluding our business within the temple, a disturbance is heard outside.
The team exits the building to lay eyes on a tall dark skulled man with very little hair, black eyes and wearing only a loincloth. He is recognized to be a high ranking priest of Kathan the earth god. Through conversation with Khoet the priest, he reveals to us insights into a great and evil darkness beginning its infestation of the land.
The messages that Khoet gave to the guardians were cryptic and difficult to understand. The clues included the following:
"The City of Pain, it rises" "it is risen"
"The sons of the Brother have risen their hands"
"Only the son of the brother reigns"
"Where Falas meets his master, the dark one reigns"
"The desecration has raised his interest"
"North & North – The great temple was desecrated"
"East of the Gorge lies the dwelling within"
"The Dwelling is the House of Pain"
"The Stones Move"
Bud the ranger was able to roughly decipher the clues which all seem to point to North Riverton a town on the northern border. North Riverton is the post for four active guardians, and home to a white temple where Verita a priestess of Mitras lives.
Quickly re-convening with Lord Phillipe, and updating him to the recent events, He dispatches the party to North Riverton via way of Tors. Reaching Tors, there has been no significant changes since their first discovery of the empty town. They continue northward as quickly as possible.
Upon reaching the outskirts of Lake Stephan, the guardians approach a small encampment. A tall skinny man of about 6 feet and weighing roughly 140 pounds with brown hair stands grinning as they approach.
He introduces himself to the group as Bohos a follower of Lotar ("the fool"). As anoying as his rhymes were, much of what he spouted was prophetic. His insights into the the townsfolk of Tors was "The people of Tors are gone, think of them not, receive a sign, until then they will rot". With perfect insight, Bohos is able to see the very sole of each of the guardians, and through his rhymes they learn that Rel is part Drow. The party settles in for the night and partakes of Bohos’s offer of Stew.
The heroes wake together in the morning, Bohos is gone, and they realize that the planned watch rotation has been somehow disrupted. Traveling northward at best possible speed, they arrive in Riverton the next day. While there they start to hear disturbing stories of dark forces in North Riverton.
The heroes then opt for the slightly longer overland route to North Riverton since both Kalan and Froin have aversions to water travel. Pressing hard, the reach the town of Demark, where more rumors of "Dark Beasts" and "Shadows moving in the night" are heard.
Deciding to press their travels through the night so they can approach North Riverton in the morning, the party hears a hideous howling, and fighting off the fear swelling in their soles, stands and is able to kill the pair of Shadow Mastifs that have surprised them on the road. Looking for their lair, the guardians find themselves at the mouth of a small cave. Kalan, without thought of personal injury, bravely enters the cave alone. While searching around inside, he discovers a body. In the hand of the corpse, he finds a small magical crystal. On closer inspection of the body, he is dumbfounded as he recognizes him. Somehow Lorrellian has been killed and lies decomposing at his feet. But how? He just left Rel outside…
After some initial confusion Kalan calls out, and the others crowd into the cave. Lorrellian checks out the body closely and identifies it as that of a traveling Psion. Found on the body were some pouches of gold and gems. Also found in the cave in a semi-buried backpack were two additional crystals and a non-magical scroll with the word "Celurian" on it. They leave the body in the cave, and hide the entrance.
Continuing westward along the road it isn’t long until the party spot some blood. They track the battle scene to the remains of four dead Guardians. Upon inspection, three had been killed by the four shadow mastifs they had been fighting. The forth appeared to have been vanquished by a mindflayer. The thought of a mindflayer in the area sends a small chill and brief silence across the battle scene. Collectively the bodies are recognized as the guardians posted to North Riverton.
Packaging up the bodies, the party rides into North Riverton, causing a bit of a stir as the bodies of the Guardians are recognized. Kotur and two henchmen meet the party in the street, and lead them to the guard station. After quick introductions, and a brief news update, the fallen Guardians are taken to the temple district for preparation.
The temple district consists of two temples one Red, and one White. Additionally there are two shrines one Green and one Black! The bodies are treated with great respect and sanctified by the White temple, and moved to the Red for final viewing and cremation. Froin is well received at the Red temple and leads a service whil0e there.
While Froin is busy at the temple, the remaining party members split into separate missions. Kalan and Rel head to the white temple to pay respects and gather information, and find themselves invited to afternoon tea. Bud and Lohrin head to look for Kotur, but find him out of his office. They are informed that he is in conference with Lord Simon at the Mine office, and once there they overhear that the Lord is worried about the quota, and he doesn’t like Guardians. Following Kotur back to his office, it is obvious that he is under duress, and cannot completely tell us what is going on. He points out that the miners can be readily found in either the "The Shaft" or "The golden grotto" bars. While in the red temple Froin is introduced the news and rumors hearing something about the "6th of the 10".
The party reconvenes, and head to "The Shaft" bar. Like all mining towns, there are always those who have recently gotten their pay, and are out on the town for a good time. Froin gets to know a small group of dwarf miners, and discovers that four people in shaft 6 or 7 had "not come in", they were "taken", they had "found something they weren’t supposed to". Additionally Froin is able to discover that Dwaine is the supervisor for 6 or 7. At another table it is discovered that it was in #6 that the people were lost, and that they were "eaten by monsters". #6 is an Iron Mine, and the dark dwarves there might be responsible. There is also a guard on duty at the entrance to #6.
At the afternoon tea, the party meets Manis. Manis is a lore master, and tells everyone that the crown of the 6th has been picked up again. The party makes a polite retreat from the tea, and makes arrangements to be lead to the entrance of #6.
Without incident, the party is lead under the cover of darkness to near the entrance of #6. From the cover of trees they can just see the guard protecting the entrance.
<< And the adventure continues >>