It was dusk as the ragtag group of travelers approached a stone bridge spanning across a small river. In the distance they could make out a flicker of light that they believed to be their destination, a lone tower standing guard over some long forgotten place.
Suddenly, the baying of wolves that the group had heard for the past hour turned into snarls as five wolves stepped out of the undergrowth. As the wolves stepped forward menacingly Dafydd the Wizard began waving his hands and murmuring an incantation. As the incantation came to completion there was a great flash of fiery light from his hand followed by a small pop. Nothing more happened and Dafydd looked slightly embarrassed.
Shaking his head in what could only be assumed to be frustration and disgust, Khgngk turned towards the lead wolf and let loose a bolt of dark lightning. The Eldritch power crackled through the air and crashed into the wolf, causing the wolf to cry out in pain. The battle had begun!
As the wolves charged in to get their meal a voice pierced the night, “You can take shelter in the tower. I will help you as I can.” And with that there was a flash of blinding light in front of one of the wolves and the wolf stumbled as it lost its sight.
As the battle raged on, the ragtag group no longer acted as a group of strangers. In a matter of moments the team acted as single unit and the wolves began to fall at their feet one by one.
Once the final wolf had fallen, the woman from the tower called out again to invite the adventurers to find shelter and have their wounds tended to. After the party was cared for she asked them, “Have you come here in response to my request for help?” Indeed they had.
The woman’s name was Treona and she claimed to be the seer of Kiris Alkirk, the former leader of Kiris Dahn. Kiris Dahn had fallen to goblins in recent years and most of the land presumed Kiris Alkirk and his people had been killed in the attack. A man, introducing himself as Kiris Alkirk, greeted the newcomers and then promptly excused himself, with the explanation of “business to attend to.”
With all five adventurers looking at her expectantly, Treona began, “In ancient times, dark mage Tieflings forged a set of magical stones. Eight were created and they were called the Slaying Stones. Each stone possessed the power to instantly destroy one being of the user’s choice, within the vicinity of Kiris Dahn; a great power indeed. The Slaying Stones were used to defend the city of Kiris Dahn but over the centuries they were used, one by one, until the eighth was gone. Without the magical stones to defend the city, Kiris Dahn soon fell to the goblins. I have recently heard word that there is a ninth stone hidden somewhere in the city. I need you to seek out and retrieve this ninth Slaying Stone and bring it to me. I intend to destroy it so it can bring no harm to the world.”
Upon further questioning, she solemnly continued, “I fear, if you do not succeed, it will fall into the wrong hands and be a danger to us all. I believe that there is another seer currently searching for this stone. Her name is Dreus and it is imperative that we find it before she, and her band of orcs, does.”
When asked for more information regarding Dreus and the orcs, the adventurers were offered this, “Dreus and I were formerly students of the same teacher, rival students if truth be told. I haven’t seen or heard from her in years but I have reliable word that she is working with a particularly brutal band of orcs.”
After some discussion and negotiation the party accepted the quest from Treona. The seer gave them three scrolls to help them along their way. Each scroll had the magical ability to tell the user if a building contained the hidden stone. Treona couldn’t give them much more information, other than to give some suggestions as to the most likely places the stone may be held. She promised them some form of reward, should they succeed.
After a good night’s rest in the tower, the adventurers packed up their supplies and headed out into the chill morning. Luckily, the rain had stopped overnight and the road wasn’t too treacherous. They made good time and before long Kiris Dahn was in sight.
As Kiris Dahn came into view over the horizon the group was faced with the dilemma of how to enter the city unnoticed. It appeared there were three ways they could attempt to enter. The first option was to sneak past the guards, through the main gate. The second would involve a swim through the river and an attempt to either scale the wall or enter through the kobold slums. The third choice would require exploration through the forest further east and across the river, with the hopes of finding an alternate entrance towards the rear of town. As they stopped to consider their options Maerelda observed, “There only seem to be three guards over the gate. One of them isn’t really paying attention and the other two are pretty regular with their routes. I would bet that if we time things right we could waltz right in through the gate.”
With Maerelda’s careful timing and Nyx’s stealthy footwork, the group made a quick sprint past the guards and through the gate where they ran smack into a pile of rubble blocking the way. “Not to worry, I’ll just push this boulder out of our path” exclaimed Sora as she rolled up her sleeves. “This should only take a min…. ugh. Just a mome.. argh. Ummm…. maybe we should take a look around.”
Dafydd decided it would be a great time to create a diversion… although the rest of the group wondered about whom exactly he was “diverting,” and counseled him to wait until a more opportune time.
Dafydd poked around the nearby gatehouse and found an alternate passageway to get past the rubble. Wandering through dark tunnels, they made it to the exit of the gate towards town. As they exited the tunnel Khgngk created a diversion to distract any goblins who may have been watching their point of exit.
The party successfully entered the kobold slums and ducked into a nearby ramshackle building, hoping to find a safe place to wait while Khgngk asked around town for helpful information. Before Khgngk could head off they realized they had inadvertently invaded a kobold home, populated by some feisty junk collectors. Sora’s attempt to intimidate them seemed to merely infuriate them.
During a quick battle, the group killed several kobolds, and captured Grub, an unwilling kobold helper. Grub helped to lead the group to a kobold named Speelock. Speelock was known to “collect all the magics”, and would hopefully provide some insight into where the Slaying Stone might be found. Grub also warned about the orcs in town, who had been “torturing and searching” as they ransacked and pillaged through town. From what they could gather from the distraught kobold, the orcs called themselves the Severed-Eye Orcs and were known as a particularly vicious band. The orcs enjoyed torturing their rivals and were known to brand their mark across one eye of their victims.
As the party arrived at Speelock’s house, they noticed that Speelock was guarded by two iron constructs, which they soon found out, were programmed to defend her at all costs. As Grub fled, the party engaged the constructs and attempted to capture Speelock with the intention of interrogating her.
Nyx started it off with a solid sling bullet to a construct’s head, echoing hollowly as the head was nearly knocked off by the sneak attack. While the party was occupied with their attempt to defeat the first construct, Speelock took the opportunity to retreat with her second construct into the barn. Sora noticed this and took chase. After the first construct was knocked to pieces, Speelock peeked out the barn door and splashed a jar of foul smelling liquid all over Khgngk, which he quickly discovered to be ankheg bait. A huge and frightening ankheg swiftly approached from the fields outside of town. Maerelda blasted healing over the group as the ankheg approached, then rushed towards the barn to aid Sora.
As Khgngk cleaned the goo off of himself, the ankheg headed towards the nearest prey, who happened to be Dafydd. The ankheg bit him by the leg and attempted to drag him back to his lair. Nyx rained sling bullets as Khgngk rained infernal wrath upon the ankheg as it marched endlessly on. Suddenly, with a bang, Dafydd teleported himself from the ankheg’s maw. Shortly after, Khgngk’s devastating fire consumed the ankheg and burnt it to a crisp.
Meanwhile in the barn nearby, Speelock and the remaining construct nearly rendered Sora unconscious (who had been having a difficult time wielding her battleaxe in the cramped quarters) but Maerelda swooped in to heal the Paladin in the nick of time. Maerelda smacked the construct with a light hammer blow, which knocked the creature to the floor. Dafydd, in his flight from the ankheg, poked his head around the barn door and shot a magic missile at Speelock, knocking her unconscious. The group tied her up, gagged her and holed up in Speelock’s house, with the intention of interrogating her in the morning. Later, searching Speelock’s house, they came across a magical battleaxe that fit perfectly into Sora’s hands.
As the group settled in for an extended rest, they all had one thing on their mind: To find the Slaying Stone before the Severed Eye Orcs did!
To Be Continued…