The Midlands Histories

Stirrings in the South

On an otherwise quiet day, the front door of Luthien’s slammed open. Through the doorway and up the stairs strode a well dressed human man. He made his way directly to Daryn’s office, entered unannounced, and shut the door behind him. Shouting could be heard even on the main floor of the Guildhall. Marric Spellblade and Lam eavesdropped as the stranger gave the guildmaster an earful of complaints.

When the shouting was over, the door opened and Daryn asked Lam to gather his group together. Meeting in the common room, Daryn introduced the man as a landed lord and a long-time patron of the guild. He briefly explained that another group of adventurers had been sent to assist the man with a bit of trouble while they had been away and that group had apparently disappeared after accepting the job. He then went back to his duties and left the man to explain his situation personally.

Just over a week ago, his daughter went missing while off playing in the woods on the edge of his property. It was his belief that goblins were the culprits, as they had been spotted by the groundskeeper poaching sheep. The first group of adventurers who rode out to help him rode into the woods, only to never return. He desired to know where these delinquent adventurers disappeared to, but more importantly he was growing ever more concerned over the whereabouts of his young daughter.

Country manor
Accepting the task, the party rode out with him to his estate south of Arislen, where they wasted little time before heading out to the woods. They were accompanied by the groundskeeper, who said he knew of some ruins in the woods, where he believed the goblins were hiding out. Half-way to the site, they came across a lone white horse, clearly missing its rider. Sending the steed back with the groundskeeper, they pressed on and came upon the remains of a keep, where a small pack of goblins were arguing among themselves.
Ruined keep
An attempt to approach unnoticed did not go quite as planned, and they were engaged by the goblins, who attacked fiercely. One shouted a war cry, invoking Vecna. Despite their resistance, they were shortly put down. Near the back of the ruins they discovered a pile of bodies… the other adventurers. Among them was Azura, still alive. She explained that when her group found the goblins, there had been twice as many. She did not know where the little girl was, but offered her assistance, expressing eagerness in exacting revenge for her fallen guildmates. She noted that she had seen some of the goblins heading deeper into the woods to the south.

As the sun arced towards the horizon, its light coming filtered through the increasingly dense canopy above, the came across an ancient walkway, bordered by an equally ancient wall. In the middle of the wall, a pair of iron doors stood slightly ajar. Pitch blackness waited beyond the threshold.

Lam summoned light to the blade of Talendil’s sword, and they broached the darkness. Within, they found further ruins, what looked like the crumbling remains of a vault. Pillars lay toppled, and a chasm had opened in the ground almost half-way between the doors and the opposite end of the ruin. Beyond the chasm a sphere of violet-black energy swirled, illuminating a raised dais, weathered statues, and several small crypts made of bone.

They approached the energy cautiously, but as they crossed into the illumination, skeletal warriors emerged from the bone crypts, and were soon joined by stronger undead. As the party fought off their assailants, they determined that the sphere of energy was somehow responsible for the stirring of the dead from their graves. Lam attempted to disable it with a spell, which only caused the magic to lash back at them, cutting into him and his allies with necrotic energy while bolstering the undead. It was eventually determined that the necromantic magic was being anchored by two pyramid-shaped piles of skulls.
Forest ruins
The magic dispelled, they were left with naught but the thin light of dusk and the glow of Talendil’s sword. Searching the dias, they discovered a bloody stone altar. Bree determined that the blood was not human, much to their relief. After further searching, they found a switch that swung the altar aside, revealing a stairway leading into the ground. Leading with the magical light upon his sword, Talendil preceded the party into a small chamber, in the same sort of condition as the vault above. A brief ambush by goblins caused further structural damage to the room and the ceiling came down upon them, sealing off the stairway.

Making their way quickly through a pair of doors, they followed one of the goblins they had taken captive, who told them he would lead them to his “master”. Near the end of a hallway, a few short feet away from another set of doors, a hole had been opened into the earth. Ignoring the sealed doors, the goblin pointed to the breach and insisted that it led to his master. After tying him up securely, the party made their way down a small tunnel that had been carved out of the dirt, only to be set upon by more skeletal warriors after setting off a magical tripwire. At the end of the tunnel they discovered a cavern, dimly lit by two large braziers, where a shadowy figure held the lord’s daughter in thrall.

“Leave now, or join me,” the figure threatened. “I am raising a city of the dead to honor Vecna.”

Choosing neither option, the party attacked. They, in turn, were set upon by strange goblins with black eyes and long, ragged claws.

Despite the figure raising the goblins to fight for him again after they were defeated, the fight turned in the favor of the party. Talendil delivered a heavy blow to one of the goblins and then upturned a brazier upon it, giving it a fiery death.

The shadowy figure offered a cessation of hostilities. “You may take the girl,” it said. “I can always find another sacrifice.”

The party rejected this second offer, and Lam called elemental winds from the Foundation to send the figure flying up to the ceiling. Buffeted heavily by the strong winds, the figure collapsed. As he did so, the girl, until then frozen in place by necromantic magic, let out a bloodcurdling scream and collapsed, unconscious but alive. Pulling back the figure’s hood revealed a gaunt face, with sunken black eyes. The party identified the creature as a wight.

The only known exit sealed, the party tried the other set of doors, finding them jammed. A little muscle forced them open, which caused the rubble and dirt trapped behind to fall out upon those standing too close. Twice foiled, they searched for anything they might have missed, discovering a hidden doorway in the hallway between the twin chambers. Stale air and empty wall sconces were their only companions as they walked down a lengthy corridor for hours. At the end, they emerged from a spiral staircase to the foundation of what once had been a tower.

A long march through grassy fields led them back to the lord’s manor as day began to break. His daughter returned to him, the party retired on soft beds as his guests.

Quest XP: 150
Encounter XP: 2,218
Role Playing XP: 100
Total XP Per PC For This Session: 694
Current Total Shared XP For The Campaign: 3,194 + TBA
Bonus Individual XP:
TBA

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