The Hope of Erethor

The First Knights of the Last Age


Hearing the dreaded news that the true heir of Erenland has been raised as a Legate, the Heroes of Erethor began to plan for a nearly impossible task. Rumour had it that the true heir had left his cloister in the North and been sent south to Hallisport to partake in a ritual tied to the Blood Mirror of that city.

Knowing that the Blood Mirror’s 100 mile radius would act to dampen or dispel the magic at the Heroes’ command, they had to plan for the worst.

With the help of Kalil Al-Asham, the heroes heard of a failing resistance movement still at work within Hallisport. The leader of the group, a young woman named Shadowflame, would be at the tavern near the edge of the docks. Knowing that demihumans would be killed on sight, Sparrow disguised himself as a human child to sneak into the city. Fearing for their friend, Jeromah posed as a slaver and brought Kendra and Alia into the city in chains. The presence of a female elf shocked the guards at the gate, awestruck by what they assumed was an “escaped sacrifice”. Still, they allowed Jeromah’s party by, but sped off to alert their superiors of the strange sighting. Kendra and Alias made a quick costume change, then headed into the tavern. It wasn’t long before Shadowflame inferred that these visitors’ timing was highly suspect. Risking much, Shadowflame led the Heroes of Erethor into the city sewers and aided them in gathering information.

From her and her four remaining comrades, the Heroes learned the name of the True Heir: Thelion. They learned also that it was rumoured he had become romantically entangled with an female elf prisoner who was scheduled to be sacrificed. After days of gathering further information, the Heroes surmised that the Elf female, Antiquilenae was a double agent, a willing servant of Izrador who was grooming Thelion to be the very sacrifice he feared that his beloved one was destined to become!

Seeing no reason to wait for the ritual sacrifice, the Heroes attacked the temple of Izrador at noon with four days remaining before the ritual was to begin. Prior to this bold daylight assault, they had asked Shadowflame to cause as much trouble as she and her comrades could, throwing gold coins at pirates, spending money on free liquor, setting fires and stoking turf-wars among the pirates. It wasn’t long before the wharf was nearly set ablaze, thus distracting the city guards.

Attacking at midday, the heroes struck when the servants of the Shadow were at their weakest, having spent long hours in ritual at Midnight for the past several days. With powerful arrows from the bow of Kreel, powerful spells from Lars Urs, and a courageous charge from Kenda, they Heroes of Erethor succeeded in slaying four great warriors of Izrador and killing one legate, the Heroes felt nearly invulnerable until the remaining cleric destroyed Kendra with a single utterance. The spell destroyed her body completely, leaving only her equipment as remnant. The remaining heroes dispatched the Cleric then sought for Thelion in the hospital below the temple. There they witnessed him comforting a manacled Antiquilenae. When she saw the demi-humans creep around the corner, she nearly screamed, but Sparrow’s covenant item, Silence, was too quick, casting the entire area in a soundless dome. Motioning Thelion beyond the spell’s radius, the heroes explained that he was the True Heir to the throne of Erenland.

To their relief, Thelion was already a Pale Legate, and as a man deeply in love with an Elf damsel, he was not one to wish to carry on as a servant of Izrador. The Heroes placed the crown onto Thelion’s brow at which point he fell into unconsciousness. Sparrow knocked Antiquilenae unconscious as well as the Heroes fled the city toward the Griffon Mounts, escaping the dark city of the South.

Back at the astrologer’s observatory, Thelion awoke, but he was not himself. His eyes were wholly purple and his voice was resonant and stirring. “We are Thelion-Shandris” he said, “The amber has been broken. Who among you would serve the king?”
Jeromah stepped forward, bending his knee to the king, but in an instant, Thelion-Shandris spoke, “No. No knight of our land will ever bend knee to a tyrant again. Stand and be knighted. Hold the Crown of the People. You are the First Knight of the Last Age” and so with each of the Heroes the same expression was made. When told of Kendra’s Sacrifice, Thelion-Shandris summoned his divine power and resurrected her from the dead, then knighted her for her courage. “We shall retake Hallisport and make it our capital. From the South, we strike North!”

The Shuddering Valley
To seek the Crown


You leave the crypt of the last queen of Erenland. The Wings of the Griffon are yours. Emerging from the crumbling natural chimney, you find yourselves in the Wood of Starry Hope. Your guide, a member of the Wardens of Erenland, is unsurprised to see Kalil Al-Asham, “The Black Lance” – leader of the Freeriders of Southern Erenland.

Kalil guides a strongly built, swift-looking black charger along the stony path to greet you. Unlike the other Erenlander’s you’ve seen, the Black Lance is far darker in complexion, and smaller in stature. Inquisitive, steely-eyes move quickly from face to face.
“I see that the Sahi have not been proved wrong,” he begins, bowing slightly at the neck.
Here, Kalil will inform the PCs that he must bring them to the Hagarin Observatory ASAP to learn what is to come. The Sahi Clerics will tell the rest.
When the PCs arrive at the observatory, the Sahi are surprised at the variety of races, but take it as an omen. The chief Sahi is Ahmed Sune Ariza. He greets the PCs and asks them about the three items they seek. He confirms that he suspects he has located the crown of the king.
“The last king wore the crown into battle, but after he fell, his trusted leitenants struggled to retain it. Riding south after saving the item, these men eventually became the Free Riders of the South. The Crown was taken to the Empty Wood, a stronghold of these Free Riders for generations. Yet its whereabouts were lost in a most peculiar and unsettling way.
Here, Kalil picks up the thread, “You see, the Empty wood has been kept a secret, not through magic, but through simple deception. We had though it a safe refuge because it had no animal life and most considered it haunted and unclean. A perfect cover for my forebears. But in the last few years, many of my brethren hiding in the wood have gone missing. And so with them went the crown. I sought the truth and so followed the tracks of one of those who have been lost. He went where I could not follow. Into the Shuddering Valley.

The Empty Wood is a small foreboding copse of trees, barely half a mile across, located in the Kaladrun foothills. While such a place should be teeming with animals that would attract the attention of the famed trappers that prowl this area, the wood is avoided at all costs. No animals of any kind live within, and hunters share night tales of the Empty Wood over many a flagon of watery wine. Some claim that ghosts haunt it, while others say that a demon or dragon dwells within. None of them are close to the truth.
Hook: Asmall group of freeriders has taken up residence in the Empty Wood, using the old folk tales to hide from those who might come looking for them. They leave false signs of monsters, make strange noises whenever patrols come nearby, and hunt what few animals they can find to extinction and
hang their bones from the boughs of the trees in order to increase fear of the wood.

Led by Kalil through the Empty Wood, you stand near the edge of a wide, gray valley of stone. In the centre, a slow moving river meanders through. Bulrushes and flocks of tall, elegant looking birds, and warped dead-looking trees are all the signs of life you can see.

Tall birds like cranes wade in the water. There is a strange intelligence to the creatures as they all cease in their hunt for food, turning their necks to watch you pass. As you move beyond them, their unnerving song can be heard, they do not sing, but cackle at you as you pass them. The entire flock begins to cackle madly, watching you go beyond their sight and deeper into the valley.

Strong green markings stand out in contrast to the valley’s gray dust. Nearly ten feet across these enormous symbols appear to be incomprehensible. Thumb-sized splashes of red mark each of the glyphs. In a wide circle around the glyphs are stone byres. 60 feet from you, the valley narrows abruptly. The river leads underground, leaving only gnarled trees near the entrance to a cave.

Human bodies with animal parts sewn to them in place of their own natural skeletons. Stag headed corpses, fish eyed monstrosities, and other vulgar mockeries of the human condition. In this narrow space, the PCs are attacked by the octopus trees before entering the cavern itself.

This large cavern reeks of death. Decomposing corpses of humans rot away in a pool of putrid green gel. The stalagmites and stalactites make much of the cavern well nigh impassible. Yet with effort, you could proceed forward. The path narrows near the end, and becomes level some 60 feet away from the entrance.
Combat: once the PCs are halfway through the difficult terrain, the Eyedra begins casting from behind the Silent Images of the Decapus.

Here the PCs find a pile of discarded clothing and other materials including piles of preserved human skin filled with excrement. Much of the There are also some weapons and other treasure including:

This room rises sharply upward. A primitively carved staircase rises upward for 80 feet. It is ten feet wide. At the top, a chamber opens up. Two enormous thrones sit on either end. Behind them on a raised dais are two other thrones.
Unless the PCs take special care to be stealthy, the monsters are already levitating in the 60 foot high room.

After a long descent into the cavern, you come to yet another dark chamber. A pile of weapons, armour, moldering tomes and other jewelry and other metallic masterpieces glisten at the far fringe of your light. The pile sits on a tiny island in the centre of an enormous pond that takes up most of the area.

The Fell Court of the Last Queen


Start date: LA 100, 26 Arc of Hisha

As the heroes emerged from the temple complex at Wylar Nothas with the Standard of Erenland in hand, Connor Al Siad greeted them:

“By the Sahi and the Weal! Blessings be upon you!” the voice sounded from a shadowy corner of the temple ruin. Connor Al-Siad, Warden of Erenland stood before them. at his side stood a silent, grim figure. “The stars themselves could not be more true in their course than you, my admirable friends.” Turning to his brethren, he continues, “I told you, they are worthy. They are what we have been waiting for. The secrets of our Order must be shared with those who are sent by the stars. There is no question!

“Ward-Brother, lead them to the Wood of Starry Hope. The ruin we have long observed must now be taken by storm! You seek the Wings of the Griffon? We are certain that robe is hidden within the cavern. It is a tale of woe that I tell you know. Woe and anguish, but listen, if you would find the true heir to the land!

“One hundred years ago, the last true Queen fled her husband’s side. Not from disloyalty, but from fear. She held, wrapped in the Wings of the Griffon, her child. A miracle child, for she bore him at the age of fifty. All the people rejoiced that this late birth was a sign that the kingdom of Erenland would not fall to the Shadow. And so she fled with her entourage, seeing the her husband’s death on the battle field.

“As she fled, she and her entourage took shelter in a cave. Little did she know, the cave had one entrance and one exit only. Finding her hiding place by means we can never know, the great lich, Sunulael bid his servants not slay the Queen, but burry her and her entourage alive. Knowing they would rise again as the Fell after starving to death. Imagine the Queen’s anguish, as she watched her infant son torn from her hands, and his swaddling clothes, the Wings of the Griffon, let behind for her to meditate on during her dying hours. This is what we know. The cave is in the Wood of Starry Hope. Get there, defeat the guardians assigned to the cavern’s entrance, and find the Wings of the Griffon. May the Stars remain true and may my Ward-Brother prove an able guide.

After a long journey, the Heroes arrived at the Woods of Starry Hope. An enormous crag some forty feet tall stands at the wood’s heart.

The crag at the woods’ heart looks like mound of smashed stone. The uneven surface of the forty foot hill is cut into uneven. Atop the crag is a natural cave entrance filled in with boulders. It wasn’t long before the preternatural guardians of the entrance appeared. Three Ice Devils, let here as eternal guardians of the tomb, fought to destroy the Heroes. Through sheer will and good fortune, the heroes prevailed!

Their victory allowed them to climb downward 70 feet through a natural chimney into the subterreanean lair of the Queen.

Entering the cavern, they heard a dreadful hymn. Sung in a raspy voice, the lyrics of the once sacred song were desecrated, each verse changing from the common tongue to infernal. Three powerfully built, armoured warriors stare forward as awaiting the heroes. Each of them wore a gold and crimson tabard with the symbol of the Griffon upon it. These men were among the last loyal Erenlanders ever to see the true heir and the queen mother alive.

The song they sing is as follows:

“Behold the setting of the sun,

so comes the ending of the day,

In shadow still our virtue run,

through our dauntless, mortal veins.”

Destroying the guardians, the Heroes venture forth into the final chamber. Here, sitting on a primative throne of bone and rubble, sat the last queen of Erenland. Beside her, a tiny throne with the Wings of the Giffon atop it.

The Fell Court was guarded by an enormous Devourer and a wide gash of a crevass bewteen the queen and the heroes. Though her magics were immensely powerful, the Heroes proved too much for her. Destorying the last queen and her guardian, the Heroes took the Wings of the Griffon as their prize and left the foul Tomb.

They await their next move. According the Wardens of Erenland they must seek the Freerider of the south, Kalil Al-Asham, the “Black lance” in the nearby town of Hope.

End Date: LA 100, 12 Arc of Sutara

Wylar Nothas - temporal temple


LA 100, 1 Arc of Hisha (return to Caradul via “The Old Ways”)

The Heroes of Erethor were tasked by the Council of the Throne to rush to Wylar Nothas, an abandoned temple dedicated to the Old Gods. This ruin was rumoured to be a meeting place for the Wardens of Erenland – a chivalric order devoted to the rightful heir to the throne of Erenland.

Ressial has interpreted the book of Shandring’s Gambit. In his estimation, there are three artifacts of the Erenalnders that must be found: The Banner of Erenland, the Wings of the Griffon, and the Crown of the King.

Upon setting out, Valana and Vala’im parted ways with the Heroes of Erethor. They have work to attend to in their Dawrf-holds in the east. Replacing them, is Aleah, an Elven Channeler, and Lars-Urs, a human Channeler. Both of these new heroes are vouched for by members of the Council of the Throne.

Fleeing south-east, the Heroes of Erethor found their way to Wylar Nothas. A squardron of burning, giant skeletons wandered mindlessly around the ruin. Using a ruse, the Heroes distracted the mindless giants and bypassed them. When looking for an entrance, they heroes were met by an Erenalnder named Connor Al Siad. He identified himself as a Warden of Erenland and, hearing their mission, informed them that his brother-knight had stolen the Banner of Erenland and hidden it in the temple complex below. But Connor warned the Heroes that his brother Knight did not come out alive!

Taking this warning seriously, the Heroes entered the ruined complex. Strange were the events within the complex. Time itself fluctuated, shifting from present to past when the Heroes did certain actions in specific rooms. Among the most important discoveries they made was the star-altar. Using a relic from the past (a stone carved in the shape of a star), the Heroes placed the relic onto an indentation in the altar. This action whisked them back through time and allowed them to speak directly to the Divine Spark. The Divine Spark has knowledge of the Past and Present, and was therefore unaffected by the temporal shift, allowing the Divine Spark to speak knowledgeably about the past and the present. This ability to commune with a member of the Divine Weal is of immense import!

The Spark revealed that it too, believes Ressial’s reading of the Prophecy. When the True King is back upon his throne, the Divine Spark will take action. Until then, the Divine Spark remains encased in amethyst stone, guarded by the angels Anuviel and Solarien.

The Heroes took up the challenge, went into a time-hidden room and fought with a Time Dragon. While in the past, they were able to access an otherwise ruined section of a deep pool. They also found the body of the knight who’d brought the Banner to the past to protect it. Alas, he could not protect himself.

The Heroes have emerged from the ruin of Wylar Nothas and seek Connor Al Siad, hoping for guidance on their quest.

End Date: LA 100, 26 Arc of Hisha

The Fate of the Immortals
The depths of Domhain


100 LA, Arc of Zimra, 22

The passages of the Domhain are silent. When last you came into these ancient halls of the Aelthar, you battled the spawn of the Abyss, slaying them with what might and will you could muster. You recall the wonders of the great, domed room wherein you observed the magical stars form strange constellations when the ancient tome, “Shandring’s Gambit” was placed upon the plinth. Venturing onward, the great sucking breath of the mountain seemingly pulling you down, ever downward into the bowels of the mountain. Here, you enter the great room where a chasm opened-up thousands of years ago, splitting the floor in half where you and your comrades battled the vrock master and his beblith thrall. Here where you caught a glimpse the passages that lead into the mithril mine. Indeed, the light stone of ancient smiths abides in a large vein here. Onward still you press until you’ve returned to the hidden room wherein the spirit guardian of the Aelthar sent you on your quest. A quest you have completed and come back again. Seeing the ghostly image shimmering before you, it points to the sealed lock at its feet and asks aloud, “Have you found the key? And having found it, will you enter into the lower realms and rid Eredane of a dread evil?”

Deep in the mountain’s heart, a new sense of dread looms in the air. The terrible, echoing wind of the abyssal chamber above is far behind you. Now you are in the dark, close air of the lower depths. For the most part, there is only silence here, yet between your collected breathing you catch hints of a sound, a sound that reverberates in your mind rather than your ears. The sound of a beautiful woman’s voice. A voice that laughs wickedly in a mocking tone.

This hall stretches on some distance. Two sets of double doors are on either side. At the far end, you see evidence of a cave-in.

A huge furnace dominates the room. Blacksmith’s tools litter the floor. Half-finished weapons lay covered in aeons worth of dust. The room is utterly dark. There is a door leading south.

A long bridge of stretches across the chasm. At first glance it appears to be made of stone, but its impossible thinness makes you realize its true nature. The bridge is crafted from mithril.

This room has carvings of warriors of the Aeltherian race along each wall. Strangely, their hands are empathy, as though they once held weapons.

The temple has stood the test of time remarkably well. The adamantine pews and the great granite plinth at the southern end of the room looks as new today as it was eons ago. A silver torch burns blue at the front of the plinth.

The secret door opens onto an unfathomable vastness. Massive stone stairs descend before you. They are broken and stand like columns in the yawning pit. The depths below seem bottomless.

Spanning the depths is a bridge as old and solid as the mountain itself. Torches are lit along the railings. Something huge and dark lingers at the far end of the bridge, standing between you and two mighty stone doors.

Upon opening the door you are granted a vision; the room, otherworldy in every way echoes with the sounds of lyres and women singing. A rose-like perfume wafts from the room as a over a dozen candles burn within. Along the ground, rose petals litter the floor along side crumpled, satin sheets that lie in heaps. In the room’s centre is a four-posted bed. The walls suddenly erupt in dancing tongues of flame, flame that gives off no light or heat but merely dances as though to the music playing in the room. Beautiful winged women approach you, one holding her tapered finger to her full lips, “Hush my love. We needn’t waken the mistress.”

This room is made from smooth, polished Dark stone. In the room’s centre, a 15-foot high tower stands. Around the base of the tower, an eerie green fog hovers, rolling and moving in the windless chamber. At either end, two figures, held by what appears to be adamantium chains kneel in spheres of blinding light, facing the centre of the column. The back of the room is dominated by a titanic, purple crystal. Within the crystal, you see figures, tall and elegant. You believe you can see pained expressions, and fearful glances on their faces. Yet they are immobile as flies in amber. Floating above the central pillar is a nearly perfect globe of light. Below it hovers the room’s guardian. A towering, corpulent beast. This fiend has the hideous head of a boar and arms ending in fatty, four-fingered hands. It speaks.

“You have come from beyond the seal. From beyond the stair. From beyond the bridge and from beyond the boudoir. I fear all my slaves have fallen to your aeltherian arms. Yet you are not aletherian. No. You are deeply unworthy of the weapons you wield and the amour you don! Mongrels and apes! You enter my kingdom, my domain where even the angels – the very handmaidens of the gods tremble at my feet! And you believe yourself a match for me? Know only this before I slay you – that should you fail here, I will finally leave this prison and remerge in the world. With the seal broken, the celestial remnant that made these crystal invulnerable to my touch will now be shattered. One by one I’ll cut the gaping mouths of the trapped host. One by one I’ll slay this legion. And soon, I’ll be able to finally undo the spark that hovers mockingly above me now! The seal, powered by these slaves will no longer protect this thing from my wrath! Evil may now touch that which was locked from us when the mighty Izrador fell! Know this, and dwell upon it in your last moments whelp! You have brought upon yourselves and this pitiful world its final Armageddon!

End Date: LA 100, Arc of Hanud, 25 (Back at Druid’s swamp)

Into Ibon-Sul
Deals with Deamons


100 LA, Arc of Halail 19

The Heroes sat in council with Suruliam and her peers under the great Cyprus tree known as Echo’s Gate. The great druid congratulated the party for their remarkable success against Vrolk and his acurssed Obsidian Spire.

Whilst sitting in council and discussing the vicotry, Co’ree entered the council and landed softly on Suruliam‘s shoulder. The druid listened intently then looked to the Heroes and spoke. "The legate and her orc soldiers have, indeed found their way to Ibon Sul. How they learned its location is unknown to me. But their ambition will be their downfall. Co’Ree and his leapers have followed their trail through the Aruun Jungle. We now know the way through. You mentioned that it was your desire that you’d enter this forbidden city. You know already the opinion of Aradil – that you should not enter this place. I will give you my own council too – I fear you’ll succeed. Yes, I fear it. The artifacts you seek may be our undoing. A key that opens a long locked gate into the depths of Stone Deep? A realm known to be as demon-haunted as Ibon-sul? But I see you are adamant. I am not going to urge you to stop. You’ve achieved more in a year that we’ve achieved in a hundred. Go. Take what supplies you need. We will do everything in our power to aid you in this quest. Though I will have much to explain at the Council of the Throne and to the Queen herself…."

Co’Ree lept onto the shoulder of Kreel to serve as aid and guide on their journey.

The Heroes left Surruliam and equipped themselves as best they could. After going through the trackless jungle for fully thrity seven days of travel, the Heroes came to the edge of the great city of Ibon-Sul.

Much of the city was drowned, the waters and shape of the land likely altered by the great Sundering of ages past. Here now, among the first mortal beings in three ages approach the city, once a centre of the Altherean race’s culture and magic.

While investigating a tower, the heroes heard chanting in a nearby building. Though quick, they were not quick enough. The female, Sarcossan legate and her four Orc Elite guards had completed their prayer (and descation of the temple). They were not to outlive the day however, as the heroes dispatched them with ease and took from the fallen legate a contract written in blood on the skin of a Danisil elf. It read:

To the Master in Grey,

It is by my will, the will of Xarudulex – Lord of Ibon Sul and of the Violet Citadel – that an alliance between our forces be made.

Our terms are simple: free us from the glphs of Ibon Sul!

Our responsibility is equally simple: slay the Danisil and enslave them then drive upward over their corpses while you press down into Erethor from the North.

Upon the fulfillment of your terms, we will fulfill ours – as is our will and desire!

Death and slavery for the Fey! Misery and servitude for the Humans! Extinction for the Dwarves!

I shall lead the Demons into Caradul and make Aradil my footstool. I will slay her, and make her body a trophy, nailing it to her own great Tree! The forests shall fade and the land itself will sicken and grow putrid with the flood of Fey Blood our deal shall bring!

Free us!

An enormous thumb print in blood stains the bottom of the document, beside it, a red-wax seal bearing the sigil of Izarador. is stamped onto the leather document.

The heros investigated the rest of the ruin, hoping to avoid being flanked from behind. Though they were wise to take such precautions , even these battle-hardened veterans could not be ready for the trickery of the demons. The heroes split the party, half of them entered a building submereged in the stagnant waters of Ibon Sul. The other half waited on shore. At this precise moment, four Babau demons teleported into the small building and began to flank their foes, driving their claws deeply into the Heroes’ backs. It was hard to move in this five foot deep water and so the battle was treacherous and escape, difficult. More Babaus appeared, called by their bretheren. Finally, the last Babau was slain. The heroes learned a valuable lesson that afternoon – the treachery of demons is far beyond that of the mindless orcs!

The heroes reached an arch of stone, at its centre on a small colum, a purple flame burned. One by one the heroes touched the flame and found themselves swept high into the air, landing some three hundred feet from the archway, elevated onto sheer cliffs of a strangely glowing purple stone. This ruin was indeed, the violet, Daemon Citadel.

A disemobodied voice mocked them while three Vrock made futile attemps at summoning other demons to their aid. The Heroes took advantage of this failure and made their way to tactical postions, stimied by the high platforms of their foes and the debris covered terrain that filled the central square of the old citadel.

The Vrock danced and wailed, three of them in a circle. How strange and terrifying to see demons delight. Mystified and frustrated the heroes waited for their foes to engage them but an evil force swept from the centre of the ring of Vrocks and shuddered outward, rippling and crackling in the air like an expanding globe of evil. The power of sin and ruin filled the heroes, some escaped the power of the Vrock’s danec while others took the full brunt, unable to defned themselves from the vulgar strength of their foe.

The Vrocks, confident of victory swept in, meeting the Heroes in melee. It looked like the end of the Heroes until a single Vrock was finally slain. With this demon’s death, the death of the others quickly followed.

Enraged, the self-appointed master of the Citadel appeared. Xarudulex Lord of Ibon Sul and of the Violet Citadel – a Glabrezu – a creature of malevolence and chaos 5,500 pounds of pure evil!

Furious that his lietenants had been slain, Xarudulex walked across one of the high stone bridges of the citadel. Here, Sparrow saw an opportunity. His covenant weapons, weapons he holds to be more important than even his own life, were used to their full effect. Casting Shatter from his blade, the elfling targeted the keystone of the bridge. Xarudulex unable to fly and caught off guard fell fifty feet from the bridge and landed hard on the bare stone. Now unable to choose the terrain for his final stand, the great demon clawed his way up the side of the citadel and was stuck in a corner. Kendra took full advantage and tripped the great creature. The once mighty demon was humilated and beaten on all sides – but even now he was not helpless. His many attacks were terrifying, even from this positon and very nearly killed Kendra for her boldness!

The demon died, its huge carcass lay dead in the purple stones of the ruin.

The Heroes, having destroyed the guardians of the citadel entered its treasury. There they saw it – the great shell and beneath a nearby throne, the key to the lower reaches of Stone Deep.

Half dead but victorious, the Heroes pondered their next move.
End date: 100 LA, Arc of Zimra, 22.

The Obsidian Spire
A strike against Sunulael!


Return to Blackshard

100 LA, Arc of Sahaad, 6

The unbroken fortress of Three Oaks rose before the heroes as they returned from the dragon’s lair. It is much as they had left it, save for a thick fog now surrounding the woods immediately to the north and beyond. The Elves of Three Oaks seem even more meagerly supplied than before. A massive pile of backpacks and sacks are piled along the floors of the fortress – laid out in case of evacuation. It seemed Lord Dashtir’s fear that Three Oaks may be overwhelmed was sincere. Lord Dashtir greeted the Heroes in his usual manner, “The Shadow will fall!”

To which the Heroes responded, “And the Light shall return!”

Sitting down with his most trusted allies, Lord Dashtir spoke plainly, “This fog and the growing malevolence of the insane whisper emanates from a source of some great evil. My spies tell me of an ebon crystal in a mist-shrouded gulch. Burned buildings surround the place yet orcs and oruks are there, seemingly demolishing what was ruined and rebuilding the key structures. My troops have, one-by-one, been going mad since the fog from the darkening wood has returned. The only good news we’ve received has been your slaying of the dragon! In the weeks I have known you, you have accomplished more deeds of renown than most heroes could ever hope for in a lifetime and yet, I must task you one final time; will you seek out the source of this Darkening Wood and destroy it once and for all? If you succeed, return to Three Oaks and tell us of your success.”

After a lengthy journey back to the Darkening Wood the Heroes made their way toward Aelgar’s Gulch. The fog that had receded from these lands now filled the camp. Through the thick gauze, a lyre’s strains were heard as were Orcish voices. Snatches of the conversation hinted at the orcs rebuilding the camp. Sounds of hammers and saws punctuate their conversation.

Killing a sentry, the Heroes crept into the old camp. In the guise of a Legate, the Heroes approached, demanded to be seen by their head Legate of the camp. The orcs, seemingly unimpressed stated that there was only “one Legate”. The Heroes became suspicious of the orcs immediately, but realized only too late that the Orcs where Fell, bound to some unknown power. Mahogin now Fell led a group of undead Oruks from a secret passage in the Western crag. Aelgar, Fell too, led a contingent of undead Oruks as well. The fog made attacks at range difficult. Using what they knew about the Darkening Wood, the Heroes focussed on destroyed the crystal shard at the camp’s heart. A minute later, the fog dissipated, making attacking at a distance a possibility once more! Soon after, the foes were quickly vanquished. The shards of the crystal were collected as were there Fell bodies of Aelgar, Mahogin and Aelgar’s son.

Once more the Darkening Wood has been banished from Erethor. The voices of Whispering Wood, so often defiled in the past months spoke again. Though the fog rolled away to its hidden sources and the trees themselves found peace, the first voice heard by Kreeland Sparrow was not one of gratitude but of distress. Vague feelings of urgency and fear permeated their senses and called the Heroes south. The words Three Oaks, Ossion and grave news were clearly heard.

Three Oaks and the Brightening Wood

100 LA, Arc of Sennach 3

En route to the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp the Heroes headed back toward Three Oaks. Though the fog was gone, the flames of the Burning Linehad risen. From atop a hill the Heroes could see the army of Commander Jorg Kinslayer has gained ground on the battlefield, and what was more, a foul new threat rose from the South. On the horizon a long, thin line, like a skeleton’s shadow stretched out toward the front. It appeared that a third army had arrived. Though not yet within striking distance of Three Oaks, it was a matter of hours before this dread legion joined the assault. Anxiety gripped the Heroes as they hurried through t he woods toward Three Oaks, eager to join in her defense.

They arrival was marred by grim news. Lord Dashtir had been badly wounded. Pushing against his healers with his right hand upon seeing the Heroes, Dashtir half-rose from the cot. His eyes were unfocussed yet his face was set in the same grim mask of determination. “Dragon Slayers and Saviours of the wood! My soul hastens back to my body and my spine turns to iron! You have succeeded in our hour of need, yet there is more devilry coming from the south, as I feared.

Sunulael, the First Legate of Izrador has sent an army of Fell and Giantkin to Three Oaks. How this black priest can control the Fell is a mystery to all, yet it cannot be denied! The walking dead, once a scourge to friend and foe alike…a mindless storm of death and disease has been harnessed by the master of death and they come to Three Oaks to end our resistance at last!”

Suruliam beckons you to the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp. She believes she knows the source of this new malignancy. The fate of all rely on you now brethren, you are indeed the Hope of Erethor.” Looking to the Heroes, his eyes fluttered. He fell back into his cot, his body convulsing in agony. Clenching his fist, he spoke, “I know you will not fail us. The Shadow will…” but he did not finish. The silver Beacon, Lord Dashtir had fallen silent.

Return to Druid’s Swamp

100 LA, Arc of Sennach, 20

Upon reaching the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp the Heroes approached the great oak tree known as Echo’s Gate. Sitting in council was Suruliam – Hierophant Druid of the swamp. With her was Breouland Yihil. Standing in their midst was Ossion and Rolarr. Seeing the Heroes, Breoul summoned them. “Grave news, friends. Ossion, speak of what you’ve seen in the heart of the Dead Marshes.”

The Heroes were just about to listen to Ossion’s tale when they noticed yet another familiar face. Huge and silent, the prophet known as White Mother’s Sonsat in council, listening.

Ossion’s eyes glassed over and a look of terror came unbidden to his face. “I had not reached the heart of the marsh, but came close before the dread overtook me. A massive cloud swirls overhead and cries fill the air! The Lost, those souls of the departed, fly in a whirl overhead, a grim gyre, warning the living of foul magics and of a siren call unheard by any but the dead! I felt a heart beat pounding in the brackish waters around my knees and on the wind, shrieks of agony from the centre of the marsh. The evil Aradil spoke of – in the utter south – Suruliam agrees – I have found it! The last thing I saw before I was overcome with fear was an ebon outline in the grey mist, a black finger, a tower reaching up from the depths. I did not approach it but my guess is that it rises some 420 feet into the sky. It is the epicenter around which Lost souls churn and howl."

Hearing that the mysterious threat they had sought so long had finally been discovered, the Heroes wasted no time. They knew that Three Oaks was still in jeopardy, and waiting here would do nothing to aid their allies in the north and so, without hesitation, the Heroes ventured into the greatly feared Dead Marshes.

The Dead Marshes

LA 100, Arc of Sennach, 33

Ossion’s words were proved true soon after entering the Dead Marshes. In the sky above, the Lost swirled in an anguished maelstrom. The spirits of the dead formed a wailing host amongst the glowering storm clouds that have driven all creatures of flesh from the swamp. The chill mists of the Dead Marshes were thicker than anywhere else in the Druid’s Swamp – and they are as cold as a winter’s night. The ground of the glade was broken and unstable, little more than mounds of earth covered by clumps of black, lifeless grass between pools of stagnant water. After days of travel, the Heroes found themselves near where they assumed Ossion and Rolarr turned back – for the same instinct screamed in the Heroes veins to turn back – to flee now, before it was too late…

The stink of decaying vegetation and water-bloated flesh filled the Heroes’ nostrils. The disquieting sound of a monstrous heart, felt rather than heard, grew ever stronger. A green light emerged from the depths of the water and cast a fiendish glow in the haze that is sickening to the living. To the Heroes astonishment, the sinister glade began filling with a green mist. The Sickening Mists filled the air around them. From below, a splashing was heard. Bony hands clawed at the Heroes’ ankles. Grim, orc-skulled Fell emerged from the bogs, attempting to drag you down with them into their watery graves.

The battle that followed was fearsome. Six heroes stood perilously on tiny lumps of land. Around them rose twenty-four Fell orcs, clawing at them. The heroes, though overwhelmed in number were not shaken by these maelgral fiends. Too slow moving to deal a serious blow to the Heroes, even when tripped and threatened, were able to use their expertise to undo these vile creatures in short order. Among the great warriors of this battle was Kendra, an expert with the spiked-chain, she could slay these undead in a whirl of steel and fury, even from a prone position.

What the Heroes realized most from this battle was simple: the rumours of Orcs being made Fell were indeed true, and perhaps rumours of Sunulael himself being behind the corruption of his rival, Jahzir’s orcs had truth in them as well. They also briefly recalled the words of the letter entitled: To Maelzon from the Master in Grey, that spoke of “when the South burns and the swamps are thick with sinew, then the day of triumph will have come…”

Skirting the Spire

Marching onward past the bogs and bodies, the Heroes at last came to the foot of the Obsidian Spire. The jagged tower glistened in the centre of a maze of treacherous paths and grassy humps filled with stagnant water. Below the surface of these mires, a sickening green seeped from the depths, a ghost light the colour of fresh bile.

The walls of the tower were constructed of long shards of black, glassy rock, wickedly pointed and overlapped like the scales of a monstrous beast. There was something reptilian about the Obsidian Spire, and it is almost seemed alive. From its depths, a dull pounding reverberates across the glade like a vast demonic heart; each beat sends ripples through the scum that covers the water of the tainted pools and sends waves of dread into the marsh beyond.

To the astonishment of the Heroes, a line of slaves, mostly orcs, were being led, drugged and in chains toward the entrance to the Spire. At the head of the column stood a scrawny but cruel faced Legate, his Ape Astirax nearby, its red eyes glinting menacingly above the heads of a dozen mercenaries from Sharuun.

Not willing to risk letting these villains enter the Obsidian Spire, the Heroes quickly formulated a plan. Charging the unaware foes, the Heroes unleashed hell. Valana used her Ashen Loop to full effect, blowing a cone of flame at the Sharuun mercenaries, catching nearly all of them in her firey path. In a few short minutes, the reign of terror enjoyed by these servants of the shadow faded into smoke. Looting the bodies, the Heroes equipped the slaves who seemed most capable. Directing them back to the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp and especially to White Mother’s Son, the Heroes proceeded toward the nearly invisible door to the Obsidian Spire. The slain Legate, Krell, knew the password, but his grimacing, cracked skull had no way to betray its secrets now. Instead, the Heroes employed the mighty Vala’im to crash through the gate. This was no small feat, for the Obsidian Spire is made of powerful material. Eventually, the door gave way, and the Heroes, now giving up all hope of a surprise attack, made their way in to the fearsome stronghold of the foe.

The Spire’s Brides, Servants and Secrets

Within the spire, the black rock glistened with beading moisture. The air was hot and fetid, like a rotting womb. The eerie lich light and a hazy mist cast a sinister cloak over the narrow corridors, winding stairs and uneven chambers of the Obsidian Spire.

The tower stretched above the Heroes. Peering up, they saw nothing but darkness, as though the entire tower was a hollow shadow. A spiral staircase in the Southern end of the structure seemed to be the only way up.

Climbing nearly 100 feet up, the Heroes mounted the stair. The floor above was a semi-transparent, black, volcanic glass. Through it, the Heroes could see shadowy figures hurrying to and fro.

An altar to Izrador sat in the centre of this room. Half a dozen female Legates of the Shadow stood ready, their lioness Astiraxes licking their chops – eyes glowing red in the torch light. None spoke, but the mad brides of the tower raised a baleful battle cry and prepared themselves to defend the master of the tower.

Rushing forward, Kendra took two steps onto the obsidian floor of the chamber, to her shock, the floor simply gave way – an illusion! Such tricks are always dreadful but to plummet one hundred feet straight down through shadow is a feeling of total helplessness that few can stand and fewer still can survive. The Heroes, now tentative of the very floor beneath their feet tread carefully during the battle, most opting to hop over the altar at the room’s centre – a canny choice which undid much of the traps’ trickery. In time, the brides of the tower fell before the Heroes might, but at no small cost, paid out in blood and fear.

Climbing another hundred feet into the shadowy tower’s heart, the Heroes saw yet another semi-transparent floor. Here, the movements were slow and deliberate. Maniacal, male laughter filled the chamber above. There, standing near an altar to Izrador were the Spire’s servants and their Tiger Astiraxes. A similar situation unfolded. Illusory floor panels gave way, sending many of the heroes to a dreadful, one hundred foot fall. In the end, the Heroes triumphed. Peering up into the darkness, the wondered and what dreadful tricks still lay ahead.

The same, Obsidian glass floor came into view as they ascended a total of 300 feet in the air. Here, there were no telltale sounds or shadows. All was silence and darkness as the Heroes entered the chamber.

Being born into a world little better than a nightmare, never before had the Heroes any occasion to doubt their senses at the horror around them. Yet in this moment, looking up, they saw a figure from a madman’s dreams – alien and utterly diabolical in appearance, a humanoid form swathed in eldritch horror peered down with dull and merciless eyes. An instinctual fear stirred at the base of each Heroes’ neck – an instinct as ancient as the Elthedar themselves. The creature’s head – there was something wrong with its head that the Heroes could not seem to fathom. After seconds of denial and dread their minds finally admitted the truth being told by their senses: the head of the creature, was putrid purple in colouration with whirling tentacles writhing in the near darkness. Casting their eyes about them, the Heroes saw three other such figures standing at the chamber’s far side. Every nerve shouted out to flee…senses awash in a primal dread. Never had the Heroes been in the presence of a nightmare cthonic and ancient as this. A name came unbidden to the fey – Darghul – the mind flayers floated before them!

Within seconds, Kreel stood forzen, stunned by the psionic powers of the fiends. So too did the mighty Valana. The other heroes had all fallen trough grim, illusory holes in the chamber’s floor – all save the valiant Sparrow. Risking all, he leaped across the chasms, barely being quick enough to grasp the side before he fell. Pulling himself up at the feet of a Darghul, the Elfling stood before the might of its psionic assault – yet he did not quaver or fail. Standing against the great power of the enemy, Sparrow single-handedly slew the creature, then hurried off to aid his stricken comrades. Had Sparrow not succeeded here, this tale would have likely ended in the death of half the party, yet luck was ever at the Elfling’s side, and so at his time of greatest need, the boon granted him at his birth bore fruit. It was not long before the other two stalking creatures were slain, and the last of their number was outmatched by the combined force of the Heroes. They’d survived that which few may endure, and proved themselves once again, true champions!

The Lich Loft

The highest chamber in the Obsidian spire was awash with the sickening glow that permeated the rest of the tower. The sound of the beating heart was hunderous in this place, and words could not be heard at all. A skeletal creature looked up from the balefully glowing orb over which it stooped. The sharp angles of its skull were encased by withered, leather skin, stretched to breaking by its rictus smile. In the empty eye sockets, two pricks of cold blue light grew larger at the audacity of the Heroes’ intrusion. A male and female legate stood guard at the lich’s command, as did the Legates’ astirax companions.

Making quick work of the Legates and their creatures, the Heroes rushed the old lich, Vrolk. About to utter a dreaded spell, he was stifled by the resourceful Elfling and his magical weapons. An unnatural silence filled the room, making it impossible for Vrolk to utter the words of power needed to cast his spells. Even his dreaded Staff was of no use. Fleeting into secret paths behind the Cadaverous Eye, the lich was stopped by the relentless Valana. Wrestling the withered creature to the floor, she smashed the beast with her bare fists, pounding the unlife from the corpse. The other Heroes joined in the fray and in moments – the great power of the Dead Marshes was destroyed.

Turning their attention to the Cadaverous Eye, the Heroes wondered at its power – the power to control the Fell! Temptation filled their hearts – to use the Fell against Izrador and to hold the keys to an unending army! Yet they remembered too that their allies at Three Oaks were under siege by the Fell, obedient to the last command given. Knowing that Three Oaks must not fall, the Heroes destroyed the ancient and evil wonder, and in so doing, sent the army of Kulos the Exonerated into a madened frenzy, thus saving the fortification of Three Oaks from being overrun, and saving the life of their old friend, Lord Dashtir!

Cracks in the Shadow had begun to form. Widespread knowledge of Sunulael‘s treachery against Jahzir moved through the Whispering Wood like wildfire, and it is assumed, into the ranks of the Shadow’s forces too.

What lies ahead may have been hinted at months ago through the words of Dustel Terk the seer. “If Dashtir is triumphant, there shall follow civil war.”

The Heroes returned, triumphantly to the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp on 100 LA, Arc of Halail 19!

Three Oaks and the Southern Threat


From the Abyss into silence

100 LA, Arc of Shareel 26

An unnatural silence hung in the air. The Aruun near Stone Deep was known to be a place where natural life recoiled but this silence was something more sinister. At first the Heroes attributed the strangeness of this silence to the effects of the deafening winds of the Domhain but, after a few more minutes, they realized it was something more. The jungle, the Whisper itself was silent. During their time below the surface, something had muted the voice of Erethor.

The eerie void was filled by a strange voice. Staring at you from a moss laden branch, the Heroes could see Co’reethe leeper. His usually vivacious eyes looked sullen. “Return. Druid’s swamp.” Pointing at himself, Co’ree steps eagerly to and fro. “Follow. Whisper-Gone.”

Waiting to see if the Heroes understood, he shuffled slightly in the tree, seemingly anxious to lead them back to the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp

The four-day journey seemed much longer. The rainy season had begun in the jungle making everyday hard going. Sleeping was less comfortable than before and more work too. Beyond these inconveniences, the lack of the Whisper troubled the Heroes, particularly Sparrow and Kreel. The void created by the Whisper was occasionally filled by chilling sounds: a long bout of weeping, shouts of pain and worst of all, a maniacal laughter that had more than once uttered each of the Heroes’ name between breaths.

Breoul head of the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp greeted the Heroes upon their arrival. Unlike their first visit to this place, the serenity of the Whisper Academy was replaced by armed Danisil standing guard. Much of the population of the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp was either in arms or in hiding. Breoul guided the Heroes toward Echo’s Gate, the great Oak and heart of the Hamlet. Upon reaching its roots, he sat down and inhaled deeply.

“Friends, we welcome you. Your return from the depths brings hope to us who live in such dismal times. I am eager to hear of your adventures in the Domhain, but before you speak, let me tell you of what has come pass in your absence. The Darkening has returned and what is more, has spread. Few messages were passed along through the Whisper before all this unfolded. We heard, perhaps a week ago, that Aelgar has died, so too has the noble Mahogin. Days later, a message from Ossion was sent, that he has heard rumours of a great army rising from what he called a necropolis and that a bastion of evil lurks in the Dead Marshes. Then the Whisper was silenced. I fear for our troops defending against Grial’s orcs. Without the Whisper, they have lost a great tactical defense. Speak friends, what news or queries have you?”

The Heroes spoke if their discoveries within Stone Deep. Breoul’s enthusiasm was tempered by his dread. After much deliberation, the Heroes decided to head north, toward Three Oaks to see what aid they could be there.

Grim Tidings: Fell Heralds of the South

100 LA, Arc of Dorsham 12th

Following the path north toward Three Oaks for nearly 10 days, the Heroes noticed the brush beside the path had been pushed through. Strange indeed that anyone would choose to walk through the brush when the path was so close, and even stranger that it seems no attempt has been made at stealth. A gruff laugh was heard ahead and voices spoke in the orcish tongue.

The Heroes headed into the clearing, attacking the orcs they could see. Sadly, there were orcs nearby that the could not see. These orcs, all of them, were Fell and far tougher than the usual orc soldier. Such a revelation made the Heroes wonder where the enemy had come from and where he was going.

Three Oaks

100 LA, Arc of Dorsham 23rd

Cresting a bald hill by night, the Heroes were taken aback. A light like dawn burned in the north. This light was distant but distinct, too massive to be missed. Kreel shook his head in wonder knowing that what the Heroes saw was the infamous Burning Line. The ever burning fire Grial’s orcs fed in an attempt at finally breeching Erethor’s defenses. The Heroes hearts sank at seeing its scale magnified by the darkness. Looking just east, another dread filled their heart. As though the earth had opened, belching up devils the fields, they saw campfire after campfire. Thousands of fires burned in a terrible glow. This can only be the army of Commander Jorg Kinslayer Orc leader in the East.

High above these unholy fires, some other light shimmered. Easily mistaken for stars, these white lights shone at the forest’s edge. Elf fire to be sure, but impossibly high up. Marching onward dim outlines of trees could be seen, massive trees, the likes of which exist nowhere else in Eredane. The Heroes approach the fortress known as Three Oaks. Three massive oaks dwarfed the trees around them, standing proudly at the forest’s edge, defiantly against the Burning Line’s threats and Commander Jorg Kinslayer troops. Here was the fortress that had never fallen. Guarded by the noble Elf Commanders Trevalin and Lord Dashtir.

Weathered Elf guards drew bows on the Heroes briefly but seeing the were elf-friends, they lowered their weapons. Allies were in short supply and they had little time to parlay. They hurriedly lead the Heroes by secret ways into the fortress of Three Oaks and up the massive, vine staircases into the fortress itself. Standing alone for a moment, The Heroes wondered at the many injured elf warriors laying in cots and being tended to. Vigilant guards stood at the ready, their armour dingy and their once splendid robes tarnished. Fatigued and dirty, they had little cheer, merely looking at the Heroes as a token of acknowledgement. Soon, a familiar figure appeared. The mighty Lord Dashtir emerged from a small building nearby. He greeted the Heroes, nodding first to Kreel and Sparrow. “The Shadow will fall!”

The Heroes responded, “And the light shall return!”

“Come, I have been told some weeks ago that you might be sent here. We’ve much to discuss.”

(The following is an excerpt from the war journal of Lord Dashtir)

100 LA, Arc of Dorsham 23rd

I met with the Heroes long into the night. They had much to tell and I much they needed to know. Their intelligence, coupled with our own, lead us to suspect that Sunulael may be turning healthy orcs into undead, swelling his own ranks of loyal soldiers while depleting those of Jahzir and Grial Fey-killer. I cannot admit much regret for the death of another orc – or another million for that matter – but each orc risen as Fell under Sunulael’s banner becomes a more deadly and implacable foe.

Despite this dire news I took a certain modicum of desperate hope from this turn of events. If we can not through our own strength destroy the enemy from without perhaps we can, through guile and intellect, facilitate it’s destruction from within. The great generals of Izrador’s army working for their own ends and their own selfish schemes is naught but welcome news for us. The first cracks have appeared in their once-united front, we now need only find the right wedge to help rend it asunder.

What troubles me most is this mysterious Master in Grey. I have no inkling who this person – or creature – may be and this unsettles me greatly.

100 LA, Arc of Dorsham 24th

The fog of the night before was burnt away. I took the sun’s strength and the clearness of the sky above as a good omen for our success this day. I went to the highest balcony of the city to overlook the massed orcs below and was surprised to find one of the Heroes there, the elfling Sparrow. He too, it seemed, wanted to take the measure of the enemy. No words passed between us – this moment was one for neither pleasantries nor bravado – we simply stood together and dwelt on our own thoughts as we watched the thousands of orc camps break and arm for the coming battle.

An hour later we were massed and ready to meet the enemy. Our own thin ranks seemed ludicrously inadequate, almost insignificant, compared to the endless sea or orcs before us. From atop my horse I could see rank upon rank of them rolling across the plain and, in the distance, Jorg Kinslayer himself. I would gladly give my life to strike but a single blow against him but he cowers at the rear.

I sounded my horn and we charged. First blood was struck by one of the heroes, that same elfling Sparrow. Whether fueled by bravery or folly I know not but he bolted ahead of the army, leapt atop a towering oruk four times his size and gutted the beast before it took three steps! His companions were right behind, savaging the oruks with blade and bow. Their skill and ferocity was astounding to watch. I understood now how these heroes were able to delve the demon-haunted depths of Stone Deep and emerge alive.

I have seen oruks slay seasoned warriors with a single stroke of their massive weapons, I have seen them struck by a dozen arrows and carry on fighting as if their wounds were little more bothersome than the stings of insects, but I have never seen them decimated so easily as they were this day. Kendra and her curious chain weapon knocked them prone and bashed in their skulls. Valana pummel one to death with her bare fists. Kreel rained death upon them with power and accuracy I’ve rarely seen. Little Sparrow was a blur, gutting and slicing them with the speed of a hunting bird. Vala’im dropped three with a single blow! Truly, this was the work of heroes worthy of the name.

With the aid of these heroes the tide was turning. With Jorg’s southern flank in shambles we began to wrap around and start pressing the enemy on a second front when near-disaster struck. Saroula had returned from the south. She and her guards had clearly traveled hard and fast to reach Three Oaks, which could only mean that her mission had been a success but that the news was dire.

“Saroula returns! Protect her at all costs!” I bellowed to my troops, yet once more it was these great heroes who saved the day. With no concern for her own life Helka plunged into the ranks of the oruks and snatched Saroula from their grasp. Throwing Saroula over her shoulder Helka struck down one of the fearsome beasts and, dodging blows and black orc arrows, delivered her safely behind our lines. I foolishly allowed myself to be distracted by this and nearly paid for it with my life. Were it not for the Heroes coming to my aid I’d have been pulled from my horse and slain by the orc and oruks that surrounded me.

With his battle lines in chaos and his oruks dead Jorg sounded the retreat. This was not a true victory, only a reprieve, but Three Oaks will stand for another day. Truly, Aradil chose wisely when she chose these Heroes. Were it not for their skill, their bravery, and their dedication I doubt we would have won the day.

The light shall return!

Captain Saroula had spent hours healing. Despite the wishes of her elf guards, she wished that the Heroes and Lord Dashtir enter. Surprised by the many races before her, she looks to Dashtir in wonder. He nodded knowingly and bid her speak.

“So these are the heroes of Eredane who pulled me from the jaws of death. I thank you. My journey south and the death of my loyal guards would have been for naught if I lay dead on the battlefield.”

Her blue eyes gleamed in the light of the lamps. Brushing back loose hanging curls of thick red hair, she revealed a bandage around her neck. The Heroes surmised that this was the nearly fatal arrow that nearly drew her from the land of the living. Grimacing and sitting up she continued.

“I have been told that you faced incredible odds to save me, at a risk to your own lives. If such a coalition of Fey and Man can stand up against the Shadow we can win this war. You are truly the Hope of Erethor.”

Sipping from a wineskin, she paused then looked to each of the Heroes’ faces, “It is time I discuss what I found in the South. I’ve made a map. Lord Dashtir, I ask that you give it to these noble warriors. Follow it carefully. I found the cavern of the Dragon, though I did not see the beast, only the balls of fire that it left in its wake. I heard it though. I heard it’s fearsome cry and it’s unholy howl. I also found tracks. For some time I swore we were fighting a phantom, but no. It is a physical thing, merely one that attacks at night and cannot be seen. I have already spoken with Lord Dashtir. He will create a distraction in the North of his front come dawn. When you see Jorg’s troops move northward, a break in the southern line will appear. That will be your chance. Hurry through and look for the landmarks. The land becomes barren quickly and you’ll easily make your way. May the will of the Forest protect you on your quest. Slay the dragon and save the South from damnation.”

Flame and Shadow

100 LA, Arc of Dorsham 28

At dawn silver trumpets were heard in the north. Lord Dashtir commanded his forces and pressed the orcs nearest the Burning Line. Watching from a distance, the Heroes were amazed how swiftly Jorg’s soldiers moved toward the battle. A hole in the southern most extreme of the enemy front was revealed. Looking quickly at the map provided by Captain Saroula, the Heroes spotted the first landmark on the horizon. Not wasting this chance, they proceed carefully ahead.

The next days were spent moving from woodland to wasteland. Hills and flat-lands dominated that neither region. Orc patrols seemed all but non-existent. Still the Heroes remained vigilant. At last, the yawning mouth of a cavern was seen.

The cave descended steeply underground. Darkness surrounded the Heroes. Only Valana and Vala’im could see until a torch was lit. Soon enough, the Heroes found themselves at the bottom of the passage. They were startled at the size of this cavern, its dome reached 60 feet high and was equally as wide in diameter. Fires burned ahead. Peering out into the wide cavern, they saw three fires burning in a triangle. Another cavern seems to continue downward beyond this point.

Choosing to invsetigate the flames, the Heroes were stunned to realize these fires were living beings. Fire elementals! Behind them, a shimmering shadow appeared, large and terrible. The dragon, the dragon they had come to slay was seemingly made of shadow. It attacked them then seemed to disappear. It was barely visible in the dim light. The battle that followed was a dread test for the Heroes yet the Shadow Dragon was not invincible. A thing of flesh and blood, it was tripped by Kendra in an unlikely turn of events. From here, the Dragon’s fate was sealed as the Heroes teamed up to end the beast’s life. In short order the mystical scales of the slain dragon were removed from the skeleton of the creature and brought back, a trophy to Three Oaks!

Return to Three Oaks – Dragon Slayers!

100 LA, Arc of Dorsham 34

The Heroes returned to Three Oaks and noticed the fog lingering near the Burning Line had drifted south in their absence. The woods, it appeared, were Darkening once more.

Darkness of the Domhain

Stone deep

Valley of the Lost Fortress

100 LA, Arc of Shareel, 23

Stone Deep – Domhain in the elder tongue. The heroes rested a day and spoke little – the name of this ancient place never far from mind. Having heard tell of the moldering fortress’ entrance from the Arunath Giant, the Heroes took a day to steel themselves then headed off along the twisting paths of the mountainside.

Coming to a small clearing in the jungle, the Heroes were at last confronted with huge, pitted statues more than a hundred feet high flanking a brooding threshold, the top of which came only to the figures’ knees. Their forms were badly worn by millennia of wind and rain. Yet even now, the features of the armored warriors were clearly not human or elven, but neither are they dwarven. The style of their amour and weapons is antique and of a design similar to that used by the dwarves in the First Age.

The brooding valley leading to the fortress was strangely quiet and empty of life. While standing by the collapsed entrance, the Heroes noticed movement in the jungle nearby. The rippling coils of a huge snake wound around a great cypress; the serpent’s pale green and white scales blending almost perfectly with the moss-stained bark of the tree.

The snake’s broad, flat head tapered to a blunt nose and was crested with two bony ridges above the red eyes – eyes that glittered with reptilian intelligence. The monster lazily swayed in the tree’s branches, its open mouth revealing long, sharp fangs. It spoke in a sibiliant hiss, recognizable as speech, (High Elven no less) and addressed the gathered adventurers.

“It is rare to see anyone approach the Domhain of their own free will, save the servants of the Shadow. What brings you to this abysmal tomb? I am Ahilissa, wanderer and defender of these mountain bogs.”

Treating with the Dire Snake, it became evident that Ahilissa knew the fastest way into Stone Deep. She slithered along the wet, moss-covered stone of the mountainside. Gliding diagonally up the rough stone, she did not wait for the Heroes, some struggling under the weight of their packs, to keep up. Soon, all were gathered on a narrow stone shelf jutting from the mountain. Only then, high above the trees, did the Heroes realize how far they’d climbed in the past few days since they left the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp. The Aruun lay spread before them like a emerald mantle shot in silvery-white cobwebs of foothills and low, bald mountains. Ahilissa watched, her red eyes darting from Hero to Hero until at least she spoke, “Here, at your knees is a window. It was once a watchtower from within the mountain. The view you are enjoying was a similar one to those elder fey who built this fortress in the First Age. Crawl through the window and you’ll be within the Domhain. I can lead you no further.”

Within the Western Hold

A crumbling stair spiraled along the side of the circular guardroom. Large, metallic pipes clung to one side of the room and disappeared into the ceiling and the floor. The only clue to their purpose was a strange mouth piece. It was from this that the Heroes concluded that this room was once a citadel used to warn of invasion.

The warmth and humidity of the Aruun Jungle disappeared within the walls of the Domhain. The silence of the jungle was replaced with a distant cry of wind. A wind which bellowed from somewhere far below.

Though there were many battles in the rooms ahead, the Heroes persevered, finally clearing the fortress’s Western Hold. Many mysteries lingered for them. For there was a room, tall and perfectly domed, that had not been disturbed for ages. The dust was thick on the floor. In the room’s centre stood a stone pedestal marked with Dwarf-like runes, yet none could make them out. In another room, three dry pools stood and above them, three shafts of moonlight. The Heroes wondered at what ancient wonders had once been observed in such rooms as these.

It would be sometime before they learned the ways of the Domhain. After rest, they made their way toward a room they’d not seen before. Unlike the howling, cold abyss around them, this room glowed a dreadful red. Flame burned here and a natural crystal formation was left untouched. The strange shape curled and pulsated from one corner of the room to the other and for a moment, the Heroes felt as if they looked at the beating veins of the corrupted mountain. This was not the only horror that awaited them in this pocket of Hell. A being, muscular and terrifying lunged from the dancing shadows, his face familiar to them all – Aelgar. It looked like Aelgar himself who had so recently died, was now there before them. He spoke, cursing them for leaving him to die only to be damned! The devil attacked and so too did his invisible servants. Lion like creatures that shimmered in the shadows. It was no small task, but the heroes prevailed. The face of Alegar vanished from the dead thing, but his words did not leave their minds. A strange treasure awaited the heroes. a steel barrel stood in the corner – its origins and purpose unknown.

Shadows, blacker than night!

With each step the Heroes descended lower into the Domhain. With each step, the sound of the distant wind rose. Making their way into a new section Stone Deep the Heroes found themselves in a large room. Rubble from stone tables and benches littered the floor, making travel across the room difficult. In the far end of the room, a statue of an Alethar warrior stood, overlooking his ruined domain. Sparrow searched the room while the rest of the party explored other routes below. From the statue lunged two shadowy figures. Demons of pure darkness that flew with a terrifying agility. Such enemies on difficult terrain were dreadful indeed. Even while this horror unfolded, Kreel and the others were engaging a dreadful, spiny demon – with it came a pack of Hell Hounds. The party was forced back to the large room where Sparrow stood against the Shadow Demons alone. The battle was fierce, Kendra was gravely injured but battled on, taking refuge behind her powerful sister Helka. Through sheer dint of will (aided by tremendous tactics) the Heroes were able to defeat the Demonic foes. Nearby, they found a well – a deep, massive well and a strongly constructed lift that had stood the test of time. In the well room, the Heroes saw two more strange metallic barrels. It was not till much later that the Heroes realized the secret of the Western Deep.

In another abandoned chamber, the Heroes found a symbol that had the appearance of Dwarven Guidemarks – Goral Fen. Valana discovered that by speaking the meaning of the glyph (Armoury) aloud, would cause the door swing open. Here, a strange treasure waited. A simple figure-eight loop of Mithril, similar in style to the design on the outer wall that had swung open for them upon speaking the word. Puzzled, the Heroes continued on, deeper into the dungeon below.


The winds of Stone Deep howled loudly in the depths. The Heroes, barely able to hear one another searched the hallways around them. A massive room opened up before them and to the East, an archway decorated with the same marks as the secret room above. The party moved toward the door, all except for Helka. She ventured alone into the massive room to the West. There, beasts cut from the mind of a madman throbbed and slobbered, their formless bodies belching and lolling mindlessly. Engaging the fiends, Helka was stricken. Her form began to melt away before her eyes, in moments, she was nearly the consistency of a pudding – her skin falling away from the now formless bone. The party did not hesitate but turned wildly, seeking the enemy that felled their comrade – yet the Heroes kept their distance, striking with bow and arrow rather than blade and fist.

Desperate for a cure, Kendra ran off into the depths, seeking anything that might save her sister. Sparrow, seeing the other beasts being destroyed steadily by his able friends, ran along with the furious and terrified sister deeper into the dungeon. Their torchlight attracted the attention of yet another demon, this one a wall of muscle known as a Herzou. Though the demon was powerful, he was no match for the wit and guile of the two rogues, fist tripping then flanking, again and again, making all of the Abyssal muscle next to useless. Not knowing that the other Heroes led by Kreel had brought Helka back to the mysterious yet comforting Valut of the Heavens, hoping that its would have some healing properties to bring to bear. The elf’s gamble paid off, and the sister began to stabilize, slowly regaining her form.

In the meanwhile, Kendra and Sparrow retrieved a book printed with mithril pages. The other Heroes who’d stayed behind to slay the chaos beasts used the mithril whorl as a key, revealing a trove of ancient armour, much needed by the forces of Aradil in their battle for survival.

Sharing their news, the Heroes regrouped in the Vault of the Heavens. To their surprise, the mithril book had similar symbols as the stone pedestal. Placing the book on the stone and closing the iron doors, a spectacle unfolded. Stars appeared on the huge, vaulted roof and the pages of the book flipped forward – the stars moved in a blur as though passing through time – and the book spoke, calling itself “The Tome of Shandring’s Gambit”. Three wandering stars glowed in the constellations, “The Crown”, “The Banner” and “The Storm”. Then, the book fell silent.

Realizing that Stone Deep held many riddles, the Heroes began recounting their adventure thus far. Their minds wandered back to the mysterious, empty pools upstairs. Gathering all three barrels, the Heroes filled them with water from the Well and filled the moonlit pools. A secret door opened and a trove of weapons and a book known as the Tome of Champions was made known to them. Placing the Tome of Champions on the stone lectern, the Heroes listened in awe to the powers of their new weapons, read aloud by an ancient Alethar writer who’d left this very weapons for those worthy enough to take up the mantle of this ancient and noble race.

At last, the Heroes were united, armed and armoured for the fight that remained…
Filling the barrels with water from the shaft…filling the basins. The Chamber of Champions). reading the “Tome of Shandring’s Gambit” inside the vault of the heavens.

The Scar

A huge scar tears across the stone floor in this chamber, and from it issues the chilling and preternaturally loud wind that fills Stone Deep. Your torches flicker in the eldritch winds. Crouched atop a toppled throne, a gray mass of muscle, feathers and talons stares pitilessly across the chasm at you. Spreading its wings, this huge, humanoid figure with the head and wings of a vulture preens its body, peering at what appear to be puss filled, open sores on its sides. It steps from the throne and glides a few paces. Its gaze fixed upon the intruders. The creature croaks out what you guess to be a mocking laugh. Gliding across the massive fissure in the centre of the room, the monster used spells to confuse and disorient the Heroes. It appeared as though there were not one, but three vulture-headed demons to contend with. Fearlessly the heroes pressed on, despite the ever growing power of the winds.

In the midst of this battle, another front opened. Crawling from the scar, a spider-like demon known as a Beblith emerged. This powerful hunter attacked the heroes relentlessly. Great harm was caused by its claws and poison. The heroes prevailed but needed to retreat to the Vault of the Heavens to heal.

After three days, the heroes emerged and continued their investigation. The found a huge, circular design on the floor of a chamber. Upon exmining it, a guardian spirit appeared.

“Greetings outlanders. I see by your strange dress and foreign looks that you come from afar, yet…I sense some good in you. What brings you to the mouth of the Abyss that was once known as the Domhain? I am King Valtarian Dor. The Key to the seal is in the palace of Ibon-Sul.”

He explained that this seal was created to keep the demons below from rising. It seems they are bound to Stone Deep – Domhain so long as the seal is in tact. Valtherin revealed that the key to this seal is held as a secret in the Palace of Ibon-Sul. Sadly, the king had been slain long before the city of Ibon-Sul had fallen and was unaware of its fate when the heroes spoke with him. Upon hearing of the city’s fall, he was dismayed. The Heroes left Stone Deep and emerged back into the Aruun.

Of Blood and Daemons
The Jungle Path to Stone Deep

Bog hag

The Journey South
99 LA, Arc of Sutara, 22

Having sent Sula and her Wildlanders back to Caradul with Mahogin and Aelgar, the Heroes moved steadily South. En route, the New Year came to the lands of Eredane, and on the eve of the first of Shareel, beneath the new moon, an ambush unfolded. The Heroes survived, but just barely. Pursing an Orc and goblin who escaped the battle, the Heroes learned much about the mysterious figure known as The Master in Grey.

100 LA, Arc of Shareel, 6

Lord Dashtir, famous general of the Elf nation, led his troops through Erethor he met briefly with the Heroes and discussed the need to defend Three Oaks from the coming tide of Commander Jorg Kinslayer’s troops.

Druid’s Swamp
100 LA, Arc of Shareel, 8
The Heroes received a warm welcome from the Arch-Druid Breoul and his comrade Rolarr upon arriving in the Hamlet of Druid’s Swamp. Healing those who required it, Breoul encouraged the Heroes to rest. Yihil insisted that a war council be convened to share news of a new threat, recently uncovered by the Heroes’ recent destruction of Camp Blackshard.

Yihil explained that a new, dreadful menace was hidden by the Darkening Wood that has only now been seen. Ossion will go to investigate this terror that lies beyond the Dead Marshes.

The Heroes traded much of their gear with Eridon and her beautiful though willful apprentice Sue-Cora.

Before leaving Druid’s Swamp, the Heroes sought the council of the two seers, Dustel Terk a Whisper Adept who can see the past, and Criagth Galeck a Whisper Adept who can give limited and conditional glimpses into the future. Much of Craigth’s visions were predicated on two factors: the Heroes success in undoing the evil beyond the Dead Marshes, and Lord Dashtir’s military victory at Three Oaks. If either of these two matters failed to come to pass, his visions were, by his own admission, of no reliability whatsoever.

Up the Mountainside
100 LA, Arc of Shareel 9

The Heroes departed the Hamlet and made their way up toward Stone Deep. They had been warned of daemons in the jungles. They’d also been warned of some dark evil rising. Infant Danisil had been kidnapped in droves as had nine elf sisters. Yihil feared that a sacrifice was in the offing to free a daemon long locked away.

Guided by Co’ree, an intelligent Leaper and aid to Breoul, the Heroes were led toward Stone Deep’s known entrance.

En route, Kreel and Co’ree felt a malign influence in the Whispering Wood and had to fight off thoughts of betraying their own party members. It was at this moment too that the Heroes able to hear the Whisper learned the dreadful news that both Aelgar and Mahogin were dead.

At this moment of woe, the Heroes were attacked by highly organized and motivated Garillon, Displacer Beast, and a Displacer Beast Pack Lord.

White Mother’s Son
100 LA, Arc of Shareel 20

After healing and camping, the Heroes ascended the mountain. Here they met White Mother’s Son a peaceful though unstable Orc. He claimed to be a deserter from a party of Legates and Orcs sent to liaise with Demons in Ibon-Sul. For reasons unknown, the emissaries came to Stone Deep. Here, they attacked the Arunath Giant and were killed, apparently, to a man.

White Mother’s Son claimed that he received a vision from the White Mother that she was trapped in the heart of Stone Deep and that she needed him to free her.

The Orc also informed the Heroes of the location of the Circle of Standing Stones where the fell Giant lived. White Mother’s Son had heard elves screaming and infants crying in the circle and warned the Heroes of grave dangers at the deserted temple.

Battle of the Standing Stones
The Heroes encountered beautiful, Danisil elf sisters, apparently tied up and terrified. The sisters warned the Heroes that the Danisil infants were being sacrificed at the foot of a great tree. The Heroes rushed to aid the Infants only to discover the sisters were in fact, Bog Hags using a glamour to change their appearance.

The Dark Tree was, indeed, preparing to ingest the Danisil infants. The Heroes, through use of fire and sheer will, destroyed the Dark Tree in record time. As the tree died, the sounds of stone on stone could be heard. The Aruun Giant emerged from the fog and joined battle, slaying some of the Bog Hags. The Heroes have gained a powerful ally in this ancient Giant.

Co’ree the Leaper and his tribe promised to take the Infants back to Druid’s Swamp to be reunited with their families.

The Heroes heard tell of a nearby gateway that will lead them into the very heart of the once great Alethar kingdom of Stone Deep.


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