A Harrowing Saga

Into the Darkness

The men that charged the Golden Hands were savages from the Eye of the World Mountains – barbarian clans that had heard of Orden being alive, and came to capture him, and punish him for his wrongdoings.

The barbarian clansmen charged the Golden Hands, and butchered many of them in a ferocious rage. The Golden Hands, although outnumbering the savages from the North, were unprepared, as they were attacked by the rear, and overwhelmed.

Orden and his companions were captured, and herded along in chains, awaiting a trial by the chiefs who wanted justice.

A pair of former Black Thorn mercenaries ambushed the caravan of barbarians, wanting to get their mark on the adventurers. With many attempts on their lives still yet unanswered, Soren took up his oath to Orden and Gavin, and hijacked the cart that held them. Amidst the chaos, Soren fled from his pursuers, with Orden and Gavin clinging on for dear life.

The riders chased the fleeing cart. In a last stand to escape, and judging the environment, Soren slew one of the horses, causing the cart to topple alongside the small mountainside… and caused an avalanche in the process.

Covered in snow, in the midst of a wreckage, Orden and his companions were thrown into an underground cavern, where they met a mercenary the barbarians had hired – a Half-Orc, undead figure Loz, who advised them he needed to escape as well as them.

Heading through the cavern together, and noticing the many missing dead corpses, Loz and the adventurers headed into the unknown once again, regaining the lost time on their goal of obtaining the spear that had slewn Salun.

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The Road of Death

After the morning, the heroes and Marcus headed to the executions, where Ariakas had called to arms Wardens in Maribor, as they laid assault to the Emperor’s men, and Ariakas himself killed the Emperor amidst the chaos before being overwhelmed by soldiers. The heroes and Marcus fled through the sewers of the city, into the wilderness.

After escaping Pagua, the heroes were captured by Soren, a former captain of the Golden Hands, who had become a brigand, and captured the heroes to be sold as prisoners. Soren’s men had been viciously assaulted by the heroes, where the heroes gave Soren an ultimatum – assist them to the cursed city, or to be killed for his actions. Soren guided the men, along with Marcus through the woodlands, before being ambushed by a group of hired thugs. In the skirmish, Marcus was slain.

Guided by Soren, the adventurers found a haven in Hirsk, where they escaped the Golden Hands through a smuggler’s passageway beneath the town, only to find that later, Rupin had betrayed them.

Being chased down, and enslaved by the Golden Hands, the heroes see a group of armed, mounted men charging the Golden Hands, and await their fates.

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The City of Treachery

On the ride to Pagua, Gavin and Orden had encountered an inn, where they sought shelter, and found the aid of Jack Rupin.

Encountering the guards at the inn, the pair was forced into delivering a letter to the Emperor of Pagua. As they awoke, they found that their horses were slain, and the horses tongues were cut, replaced with a message – a simple piece of paper with the symbol of the Cabal.

They left hastily in the morning, and upon arriving at Pagua – they offered the letter that was given to them, only to find that the guardsman had demanded that Gavin, and Orden be arrested, and brought to the Emperor on crimes of suspicion against Maribor.

The city was in a festival, celebrating the year, where travelers came from as far as Redania for the celebrations.

Forced to meet with the Emperor, the adventurers were released, only before meeting their lost companion Ariakas – who had been locked away in the dungeons of Pagua, and tortured for his crimes as an inquisitor.

Ariakas explained to them that he would be hung, and executed in the morning, and they must allow his death to occur so they may find the cursed city. He explained they would soon meet a man that would lead them to the city, but they must also be aware that they would be hunted by the Cabal – a hired group of assassins, no doubt hired by the Prophet of Aren, and the Emperor himself.

As they left to find the worth of the platinum bars that they were gifted by Graz’zt, Rupin headed to an inn to find them a room. Gavin and Orden met with an Appraiser Huang, only to find that the bars were not bars at all, but containers. They refused to open them, and headed to an armorer, where they found nothing of value.

Leaving the armorer’s, they entered an alleyway, only to find a box – inside, the dried tongue of a horse from the cabal. A group of thieves assaulted them, but fled, and one was murdered, his skull smashed in. In his hand, was another note, telling them: “You’re fucked.”

As they hurried back to the inn, they found Rupin, who introduced them to Lars, a man in a similar position, who explained he could assist them in finding a guide to Tho-Siggot.

As they headed to their room, a large tiefling in black armor came to their room, claiming to be an escort from Lars. As they ate dinner together, the tiefling attacked them in surprise, in the name of the Cabal.

The tiefling was slain, and on his corpse they found a letter, notating their deaths must be completed, and the sum of payment upon completion. The adventurers followed Jack Rupin to Lars’ establishment, where they met Marcus – the man who would become their guide to Tho-Siggot.

Marcus escorted them to the Basilica of Aren, where they found disguises as priests of Aren, and headed off to the executions in the morning.

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Memories

Slaying Tzrenkit, the elder evil that took over the University, the heroes were confronted by Graz’zt, the prince of the Abyss.

Upon having defeated Tzrenkit, Graz’zt felt it was worthy of Gavin to have the choice to regain his soul, albeit at a price.

Graz’zt offered him two choices, and upon deep consideration, felt Gavin was not worthy of either. He gave Gavin back his soul, although he left the University as it was – with its entire population dead, and the small city left in ruins.

Sir Stephen of Cintra left the party, conflicted with his own morals, to confront the life he left behind.

With Stephen now gone, the heroes pushed forward to Pagua, where they looked to meet Ariakas and finally reach the Cursed City of Tho-Siggot…

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The Grip of the Abyss

Travelling towards Gavin’s alma mater, the heroes found the University, a massive old Elven city of Ildranar.

The lake surrounding the city, and acting as a natural defense, was crashing upon the city’s walls, and a massive, black swirling storm crackled lightning, and thundered onto the city below. The statues of stone mages that were built into the city’s walls eyes shone in the darkness, staring at the heroes at the bridge to the city, watching them as they headed into the Abyss itself.

Encountering Todd, the once manifestation of Gavin’s taint, as an imp, Todd informed the heroes that the storm above the city was a portal, to none other than the abyss, opened by Archien, the devil that Gavin had made a pact with.

Entering the city, the heroes saw that the inhabitants were no longer men and women, but in fact husks of flickering gold, as they had been trapped in between the material plane and the abyss.

The city itself was under the control of Tzrenkit, an elder omnipotent evil from the abyss, that had been summoned by Archien, and was controlling the city.

As the heroes went through the city, their own memories, and experience became the plaything of Tzrenkit, and were forced into illusions of torment, and pain, reliving past experiences in a twisted, sick game.

Making it to the University, Archien held the heroes back by pitting them against a gibbering, foul beast made up of many mouths, and slabs of flesh that defended the gates to the University against the heroes goal of freeing Gavin’s soul.

Pushing forward, and into the University, the library at the entrance was filled with gusts of wind, and many of the books, and papers rustled, and slammed against walls.

Several mages delighted in playing a game with the heroes, a game of riddles, which the heroes had succeeded in winning. Had they lost, one of them would have lost an eye – literally.

Heading into the mess hall, the heroes faced a large group of manes, small, rotting demons filled with maggots that blocked the heroes way to find Tzrenkit, and Archien.

Destroying the manes, the heroes headed into the office of Garreth Lorren, the University’s Grand Master, only to find Lestat Agrias dead – on a glyph painted on blood. Deducing that Lestat had in fact been murdered while trying to perform a ritual of reversal to reset the abyss, he was murdered while performing it.

On his person, the heroes found that Lestat felt that Garreth was forced into opening the portal to the abyss, no doubt by Archien himself.

Heading through a secret chamber into the Chantry’s supply room – Sir Stephen found a sword that called to him. Perhaps the sword found him, but the Blade of the Nameless One seeks to make Sir Stephen it’s champion, and commit an act of evil to take the first steps of becoming it’s true owner.

As the heroes entered the Chantry, they saw the statue of the Patron Champion of the Ildranar casting a shadow over many lit candles that were bleeding wax onto the steps leading up to the statue. A hooded man, in purple robes gilded with gold was at the feet of the statue kneeling. Beside him was Archien himself.

Archien revealed that he was a lieutenant of a demon prince, and that he no longer had Gavin’s soul. He revealed to Gavin his own mother made the greatest sacrifice herself – and became Tzrenkit.

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The Crypt of Elizar

Upon staking out Kyracolides, the adventurers and the Inquisitor ambushed the young blue dragon, and slew it, and found it’s hidden hoard.

The Inquisitor had been lost to a trap that threw him into a subterranean river that carried him far from the grasp of his companions.

Pushing through into the crypt, the adventurers encountered many dark spectres, and those that haunted the crypt.

Getting close to Elizar’s crypt – Orden the White, fell through a trap on a bridge, into a massive pit of hot tar that engulfed his companion Cyrind. In an effort to save his master’s life, Cyrind sacrificed his own so Orden could grasp the rope his companions threw down to him.

The Knight – Sir Stephen’s hands were torn raw and bloody by the time he was able to haul Orden back up the bridge.

Upon regaining their focus, the adventurers finally reached the tomb of Elizar, where he was trapped.

Finally opening the tomb, unbenownst to the adventurers – they set free Elizar. When they entered the room, Elizar distracted them just long enough so he could escape, by turning into a mist.

The adventurers chased after him, and determined that they had been in the crypt nearly an entire day searching for the vampire, before settling that they should split up and hunt the vampire each on their own…

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Lothering and the Dragon

On leaving the Citadel, the adventurers learned from their companion Gavin, that he received a letter from the University of Magi, that his Grandmaster had made a deal with the demon they previously encountered – Archien.

They headed to Lothering, the farming village on the highway, where they spotted a blue dragon flying from the Iron Knolls.

Heading into Lothering to rest, they learned that the dragon Kyracolides, had been terrorizing Lothering, and forcing them to give him sacrifices, and was stealing their cattle.

When they were escorted to the Rooster’s Perch in the village, they walked into a village meeting, where the Mayor Yordel and Captain of the Village Guard – Gustav were arguing about sending a letter to Pagua for aid.

The adventurers accepted to help rid Lothering of Kyracolides.

Upon being led to the entrance of the crypt where Kyracolides kept his lair, Gustav explained to them that the village lied, and the crypt that the wizard Elizar had been forced into was in fact a crypt that was made for him, as the wizard had been forced into it by the village centuries ago after the death of Karn.

Ariakas beheaded Gustav for being a coward, and not facing the dragon himself. The adventurers fell into conflict with Ariakas for killing Gustav for poor reason, but even with their conflict of interest, they headed down the tunnel of the crypt into the lair of the dragon and the vampire-wizard Elizar…

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The Path to the Citadel

The adventurers saw that Drak al’Than approached with a white flag, and he instructed them and Baron Mathan that he was sent as an escort to get to the Citadel unharmed.

Their comrade Bal, the hound archon left for Aedirn, where he went to hunt demons. He was not allowed to venture with them to the Citadel due to his celestial bloodline.

They traveled swiftly, ignoring cities and towns, to where they reached the Citadel unscathed.

The Citadel gave off many strange sights, a city built out of cerulean blue stone, and many of it’s inhabitants were half-demons, and of mixed race.

They met Chancellor Zoretha, in the palace, where they met her in her private office.

Baron Mathan, informed Zoretha that the adventurers were his prisoners, and he captured them for trying to steal the shroud of Salun.

Chancellor Zoretha had Baron Mathan beheaded, and disclosed to the adventurers that he was lying. She also informed them that they had a great duty, as she needed them to resurrect Salun by bringing her the taint- the spear which killed him, and his remains.

They also learned that Aren had died nearly five decades ago, his death hidden from the realm.

They met a new companion – the Inquisitor Ariakas, who would lead them to the cursed city of Tho-Siggot, in search of the taint.

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Leaving Gibber Peak

After having settled with Prince Vilmos, the adventurers left with the prince to Erusmea to deliver the shroud.

Expecting treachery, the adventurers were introduced to Baron Mathan of Erusmea on a camp that the Prince made outside the main road. They accepted an offer by the Baron, where they learned that the shroud was actually commissioned by Chancellor Zoretha of the Citadel.

They all had odd experienced from the taint they gained from the exposure to the evil domain of Gibber Peak.

As the morning came, and they ate their breakfast and watched the Baron instruct his soldiers, they all saw the Hellhound and his warriors preparing themselves on a set of hills in the distance…

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Kurjan and the Shroud of Salun

The adventurers helped free the wolf, Finnaire, after defeating a dwarven ancestor spirit.

They learned that many of the orcs in the fort hadn’t been seen for nearly a week, along with Kurjan himself.

On their way to the chapel, the adventurers had accidentally alerted guards in one of the keep’s towers, and fought their way to the chapel, where they found Kurjan himself.

Along with Kurjan, the chapel of Salun had been desecrated, and zombified, and skeletal orc guards attacked the adventurers. After slaying Kurjan, Sir Stephen and his companions went to the crypt below to seek out the shroud of Salun.

In the crypt they found that Kurjan had summoned a stitched devil, Archien, and trapped it to weave fate, and tell him of the future, and help him become a lich.

The devil offered to help the adventurers, and offer them their true fates, not once, but twice.

Orden destroyed Kurjan’s phylactery, and Gavin offered to help the trapped creature.

Wiping away part of the glyph, Gavin’s arm became wrinkled, and marbled crimson in color, and his pupils of his eyes became golden.

“I am now freed. In your realm. I have promised your fates. Kurjan’s treasure is hidden underneath my glyph in a holowed stone block. You shall all die, in the name of Salun, to give birth to a new world. Soon, your true fates will be decided when the world plunges into war. Then you shall take your places politically and decide the outcome of all the realm. Farewell men of Salun. Your friend Gavin has now been tainted by the Abyss.”

Archien laughed, and after speaking he vanished, and Gavin was left tainted.

The adventurers heard the sound of heavy footsteps, and struggling upstairs, where they found Old Reginald in the grips of two Cintran knights, where Prince Vilmos of Cintra declared that they give him the shroud of Salun, and that they should watch Reginald be punished as a traitor to Cintra.

Sir Stephen, a knight of Cintra refused Vilmos, and denied him the hanging of Reginald.

Vilmos and Sir Stephen are now locked in a duel that may decide both Stephen’s, and the adventurers’ fates.

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