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Prologue Edit

It has been a month since the defeat of Belak the Outcast and the burning of the Gulthias Tree. The heroes returned to the town of Oakhurst to rest and recuperate. Despite having lost the source of the fruit, the four of them were welcomed warmly, for they saved the Hercules, popular among the townsfolk. The midsummer festival, now safe from all incursions by the vicious Blights, came and went, with much feasting and celebrating. The four heroes were the stars of the hour.

However, not everything was as joyful as it seemed on the surface. Darron and Ruff began to have restless nights, sleep only coming reluctantly, and disturbed by unsettling dreams. At first, they ignored them, guessing that it was a result of their harrowing experiences in the Sunless Citadel. Then the dreams began to grow worse. Each of them would awaken in the dead of night, clutching for their weapons, and drenched in a cold sweat. Worse and worse the dreams became, but always hazy, and swiftly forgotten upon waking. Until last night.

They both recall the dream perfectly. It was the same dream: a pair of red, cruel eyes glowing out of a darkness blacker than pitch, and a voice whispering out of that same darkness, “You have slain my servant and tasted the fruit that was mine. You are mine.” Then, a cruel, mirthless laugh, more like a hiss. The last thing they remember seeing before awakening was the rest of their companions, the goliath with two healed hands, the monk with eyes aflame, and other figures, unknown to either of them, standing before a vortex, a portal rippling and undulating like a wave. And beyond the portal, a brass city, beset on all sides by a fiery sea.

The four heroes now sit in the Boar's Head Tavern, the bustle of the previous week dying down as, one by one, the travelers leave Oakhurst for their own homes and villages. It is late in the morning, and the warm summer sun shines brightly through the windows. However, as Ruff and Darron relate their tale, a chill seems to settle over the tavern, and the light seems to grow darker.

All at once, the feeling is gone, and the four heroes are once again sitting in a bright barroom, with faint music floating in from the last of the festival goers outside, and the smell of fresh-baked bread wafting in from the kitchen.

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Journey to Raven's Hill Edit

The Heroes set out for Raven's Hill, the location named in the note they found in the lair of Belak. They journeyed south for nearly a month, before crossing west to arrive at the Great River. They caught a ship heading north and made their way into the Serradin Valley, the location of Raven's Hill.

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The Cleansing of Raven's Hill Edit

Making all due haste, they arrived in the town, only to find it swarming with hideous undead creatures. Fighting through to the temple of Istra, where living survivors had barricaded themselves in, the heroes met with two others, a dragonborn sorceress, and a half-elf bard. A cleric of the temple, Brother Urgo, begged them to end the attack on the village, and they set out to kill the necromancer responsible.

They found his lair, a ruined old manor, and made their way into the earth, where he had many traps, and undead creatures awaiting them. They fought through, and found themselves in his laboratory, where it appeared that he had escaped. However, they claimed his notes and burned his Tome of Golem Creation. They also found the body of a half-elf, who had been killed about six months before by the necromancer. He had been working on a ritual to transform her into a hideous “flame skull” which he succeeded in doing, just before the heroes arrived.

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Return to Raven's Hill and Arrival at Barrow's Crossing Edit

After dealing with the lair of the necromancer, who managed to escape their grasp, the heroes returned to Raven's Hill, to rest and to speak with Br. Urgo, who seemed to know more than he had initially revealed. He explained to them that he had been friends with Leanne, the Dragornian half-elf who had been investigating a cult, seemingly growing in the Serradin Valley. She had tracked down one member of the cult and had told Br. Urgo that she was about to go after that member. She gave him a key to her safe house in Barrow's Crossing, and told him to use it if he ever needed a safe place to hide. After that, Br. Urgo never saw her again.

The heroes rested that night, but were awakened by creatures in the village. They slew them, but when they returned to the temple, they found the reliquary broken, and the bones inside stolen. They resolved to follow the necromancer in the morning, since they were weakened from their excursions the day before. Before they bedded down for the night, Ruff planted the core of the fruit from the Gulthias tree, near the temple.

The next day they awoke and set out after the tracks. The followed them all day, and found that they led directly for the city of Barrow's Crossing. They arrived at the city in the evening, and made their way to the safe house Leanne spoke to Urgo about. Most of them entered to investigate, while two of them went to the nearby inn and tavern to procure lodgings.

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First Foray into Barrow's Crossing Edit

The heroes investigated Leanne's safe house, and discovered her journal, as well as a map and many books on the history and geography of the Serradin Valley. Reading through her notes, they discovered that she had been investigating a cult dedicated to Gulthias, the Thirsting One, an ancient demon who was slain by five legendary heroes. The five legendary heroes were each laid to rest in different locations in the valley, and Leanne seemed to believe the cult was interested in them, but did not know why.

Finding themselves without any other leads, the heroes decided to rest in town for a short time, gathering information and supplies. They rented out the entire top floor of the Golden Cask, a large and readily frequented inn across the street from Leanne's place. They then set out to explore various parts of the city.

Ruff, unable to sleep, took the opportunity to get some exercise, and began to scramble about the rooftops of the neighboring houses. While doing so, he heard a commotion in an inner courtyard. Sneaking to the side of the roof, he witnessed a rich man and his servants being killed by three figures in dark cloaks. When the deed had been done, the leader revealed herself to be a Teifling, and then transformed into a bird and flew into the night sky.

The rest discovered the following information over the course of the next day and a half:

  • The new Lord Mayor, named Tax, has been pushing hard to solidify control over the city, and this comes at the expense of the various guilds of the city, especially the Merchant's Guild (the Iron Consortium) and the Thieves's Guild, which, more or less, has dominion over the eastern side of the city, known as Ironstreet.
  • Halder, the merchant who was murdered, was the leader of the Merchant's Guild, and the wealthiest man in town. He had been leading the fight for the Guild's influence in the city.
  • His good friend, a dwarven merchant named Zant, was interested in talking to Lander, the bard of the party, but Lander had to leave town before he could make their scheduled private meeting.
  • Nauda met with a dwarven smith named Grotle Stonefist, who offered him a job exploring an old mine across the river, to see if it had any iron left.
  • A cult dedicated to “the silent one” has been reportedly growing amongst the wealthy in the town.

The heroes decided to investigate the fruit that they had, and set out to find an alchemist. They did, and after allowing them some time to experiment on the fruit, discovered that it held poison, of some kind. Br. Alex, impatient to find out the truth, gave the fruit to a beggar, who, after seemingly falling dead, came back to life and began to speak with the words of the demon Gulthias. They slew him, and seeing the vile effects of the fruit, destroyed the remaining samples.

Settling on a course of action, the heroes set out to find the closest of the five heroes' resting places. This was the Sacred Stone Monastery, a remote place, three days travel to the north east of the city. They set out, and after being waylaid by a group of bandits, which they quickly dispatched, they arrived at the monastery, where they began to suspect something had gone wrong. Upon meeting the abbot, they discovered that he was in fact a foul creature with immense strength and a thirst for blood. They slew him, and managed to recover the remains of Br. Silence, the first of the five legendary heroes.

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Return to Barrow's Crossing and the Slaying of the Necromancer Edit

When the heroes returned to Barrow's Crossing, they were surprised to find that Darron had left their number. He had heard news that prompted his return to Averistra. However, the rest of the heroes were swiftly approached by a new member, an elven seer, named Damocles, who claimed to see their fates in the stars. After some initial hesitancy, the heroes agreed to let him join their number.

Nauda pressed the party to pursue the offer of the dwarf Grotle, but before they could even meet with him, they were attacked by a group of assassins, hired by the necromancer they were searching for. Killing all but one of them, they managed to extract information out of the last. He revealed that the necromancer was hiding in the basement of a rundown tavern in the Ironstreet District. Making their way in that direction, the heroes rushed in and slew him before he had a chance to escape.

After slaying their quarry in such a nonchalant manner, they set out to find the old mine, that the dwarf Grotle wished them to find. They were joined by a friend of his, a gnome named Shasta. The party of heroes set off south along the river.

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The Cleansing of the Mine Edit

After traveling down the river for some time, the heroes managed to arrive in a small trading post along the Serradin River. Asking around they discovered the location of the old mine, and finding someone willing to transport them to the eastern side of the river, they set out. Fighting off strange creatures, and being ambushed by a warparty of orcs, they finally entered the mine, which they set out to clear. They quickly encountered a ghost, who possessed one of them and led them down deep beneath the mine into the Underdark. There they found a Dueregar, who had gone mad. Both he and the ghost desired the other dead, and the heroes, unable to decide, angered them both and were forced to slay the Dueregar and dispel the ghost.

Before they were destroyed, both the ghost and the Dueregar spoke of a desecrated temple, near to where they were. The heroes decided that it was part of their mission to cleanse that temple, and so they made their way there and began a ritual of cleansing. They completed the ritual and managed to escape before the temple caved in. Finally, they made their way back to the Mine, and cleared it of the various creatures that had made their home there. Exiting the mine, and making their way back to the river, they found their ship and sailed back to the small trading post on the western bank.

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The Beast of Rundreth Castle, and the Finding of St. Gellam's Remains Edit

Upon returning to the trading post of Arnom, the heroes began to hear tales of the beast of Rundreth Castle, a ruin some thirty miles west of the town. They were already interested in heading to the ruins, as they were fairly certain that the remains of St. Gellam, another of the five legendary heroes, were laid to rest there. Setting out first thing, they arrived at the ruined castle as the sun was setting. Upon approaching the ruined castle, they were immediately confronted with the beast, and several of the them nearly perished. However, they managed to kill the creature, a loathsome Chimera.

After slaying the beast, they spent the night in the castle, and managed to find both it's treasure hoard, and the mausoleum, where St.Gellam's body was being kept. After Nauda Argetlam entered the chamber of St. Gellam, he had a vision of the Saint's death, and he heard a voice speaking to him, urging him to continue to fight against the demon Gulthias, and warning him of another means of return.

After the night spent in the castle, the heroes, weary and injured, but with new resolve, set towards Arnom, with the intent of hiring a boat to return to Barrow's Crossing. On the way, they stopped at the Goldenfields Monastery and were given a place to rest and recuperate. They spent the remainder of the day there, relaxing in the orchards and regaining their strength. In the morning, they set out, once again, for Arnom, where they hoped to find a boat to take them back to Barrow's Crossing.

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The Return to Barrow's Crossing and the Growing Threats Edit

Upon returning to Barrow's Crossing, the heroes found the place in a bustle of excitement. The lord of Barrow's Crossing was going to marry a foreign lady in a few days time, and much of the town was preparing for the wedding festivities. The heroes each set out to do their own shopping and gather supplies, before meeting in the common room of the Golden Cask for a meal and to discuss their plans. Lander, meanwhile made his way to the castle and managed to trick his way into the preparation feast for the wedding party. He performed well, and was paid, but before he left, spotted a half-elf who eyed him warily.

The rest of the group related the various rumors they had heard in town that day.

  • A strange plague is breaking out in the Spread, the unwalled northern slums of the city. The Sisters of Bern have been caring for the sick, but have so far been unable to quell the outbreak.
  • The lord Mayor, Bartholomew Tax has been increasing tolls and taxes all throughout the city. Curfews have been implemented and the town watch has been tripled in size.
  • Every major power center in the city has been removed, either by lord Tax directly, or indirectly through taxation and regulation. The only remaining opposition to the mayor, the Thieves' Guild, is being cracked down on, and is only barely holding on to a part of the Ironstreet district.
  • The new bride of the Lord of the city is unknown to most of the townsfolk, but is quite young, and quite beautiful. The Lord is quite bewitched by her, as is at least one of his sons (rumor has it).
  • Kelib (a gnome alchemist) has gone missing, and his friend, a half-elf named Gat has seemingly begun to lose his memories.
  • Casper the Mad, the astronomer who lives south of town, has also gone missing.
  • A band of brigands has been raiding travelers on the western road. They are supposedly led by a "stone man", a goliath. Some say there are several of them, some say there is just one.

That night the heroes went back to rest in Leanne's, except Ruff, who made his way to Ironstreet in order to scout out the Thieves' Guild. Entering the Guild Headquarters, Ruff managed to get a meeting with the guild leader, a tiefling female named Artisan. Ruff asked to join the guild, and, as a first test, she asked him to get the "special bag" (a bag of holding) from the "stone man" (Nauda, one of the heroes and Ruff's companion). Seeming hesitant, she handed Ruff over to an enforcer to make sure he was telling the truth. Before he was able to convince him that he was truthful, the enforcer brought in a torturer. But as the door opened, Ruff recognized him. It was Sigil, the necromancer, only he looked deformed, and decayed, as if he was leprous or rotting away. In a moment, Sigil recognized him, but before he could act, Ruff used a ring of invisibility and escaped out into the night. He made his way back to Leanne's where he collapsed on the floor asleep.

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Imprisonment Edit

The next day, the heroes discussed their plans, given the new information they have received. Nauda, Drysriel, and Br. Alex set out to the lord Mayor's to offer their aid in defeating the Thieves' Guild, while the others went to the Library to investigate the books they had claimed from the necromancer's lair. The two parties set out, early in the morning.

The group that went to the Mayor's had an audience with him, and discussed aiding in the destruction of the Thieves' Guild. However, during their discussion they began to argue with one of the Mayor's advisers, the leader of the Iron Consortium, the Merchant's Guild. They suspected that he was involved with the Thieves' Guild, and so accused him in front of the Mayor. In the argument that followed, the heroes agreed to subject themselves to a Zone of Truth spell, if the Merchant Guild leader would as well. He agreed, and the heroes were taken to the keep, and put in cells. They were assured that it would only be a moment, but they they were left there. However, they also found that Kelib, the gnome, was imprisoned with them.

Meanwhile, the others had found very disturbing things in the books they had taken from Sigil. They discovered that, in order to raise a demon lord from the Abyss, a huge sacrifice of blood was necessary, as well as the remains of the one who had killed the creature's physical form before it was cast down. They set out to find their friends, but proceeded to follow the same fate as them. Ruff managed to avoid being taken to the keep, but the others were all imprisoned in the cells. Before Damocles and Lander were imprisoned they managed to speak to Shaala, the half-elf whom Lander had seen at the feast. He informed them that he was a friend, and that he would help the escape, if he could. With a few words of encouragement from Shaala, the heroes were led off to the cells.

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Escape Edit

Ruff and Scanlon, the young thief who accompanies the party, discovered that the rest of the heroes had been imprisoned in the cells beneath the keep, but had no way of immediately helping them escape. They managed to sneak their way into the keep, and while Scanlon gathered some of their confiscated equipment, Ruff was able to get past the guards and break into the cells. The heroes then made their way deeper into the cells, where they discovered a passage that led to the sewers. Along the way, they freed several other prisoners, including a half-orc, a monk, and a half-elf, who claimed to be in prison for killing Shaala's son. After the escape, the heroes made their way back to Leanne's to catch their breath and come up with a new plan.

While regrouping, they were joined by Shaala, Lucca (the owner of the Golden Cask, the bar across the street), and Garcon, the warlock who aided them earlier. During the discussion, several things became clear:

  • The Cult only needs the relics of Heironeous, and a blood sacrifice, to bring back the demon Gulthias. The sacrifice is needed to weaken the barriers between this world and the Abyss, while the relics are the chosen vessel for the demon's spirit.
  • The Lord's wedding would provide the cult with a perfect opportunity to cause mass bloodshed.
  • The Mayor will be planning to assassinate the lord at the wedding as well, causing a distraction so that the cult can put its plan into motion.
  • The Lord himself is unwilling to listen to anyone who warns him of the danger. Shaala believes he is enchanted by his bride-to-be.

With the wedding only the day after tomorrow, the heroes decided to spend the day gathering intelligence, preparing, and gathering their strength. Nauda and Aelric decided to try and make their way into the keep to see if they could break the enchantment on the Lord. The rest decided to try and find a way into the Undercroft beneath the Cathedral, where the crypt of Heironeous is supposed to rest. The plan is to make their way into the crypt, gain the relics, and then place themselves nearby to the Cathedral to stop any attempt on the Lord's life. With this plan in the works, the heroes rested for the night in the ruins of an old guildhall on the outskirts of town.

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The Final Battle Edit

The heroes awoke the next day and began to set their plan into motion. Aelric and Nauda tricked their way into the castle, while the others set out to find a way into the crypts. Aelric and Nauda were successful in breaking the enchantment on Lord Stout, but were unable to see the immediate effect, since they had to escape quickly. Once finished, they also made their way to the Cathedral, where the others were waiting.

The group that had set out to the Cathedral had been drafted to work as a "set up crew" for the wedding the next day, and so had ample opportunity to investigate the under croft, which led to the crypt. As they were poking about, they heard the sound of metal on stone come from a passage deep in the crypts. As they all gathered together, Ruff set out ahead to investigate and found that the cult had made their way into the crypt through a tunnel and were already beginning the ritual to summon the demon. The heroes prepared themselves for the fight, when one of them suggested that he run to get help. As he returned to the upper levels of the Cathedral, he heard the sounds of battle. Peering into the cathedral itself, he saw that the cult had infiltrated the Lord's personal guard, had slain those still loyal to him, and had managed to seal the doors to the cathedral. The Lord himself was captured and bound, as were three priests of the Temple.

Caught between the cultists below and those above, the heroes decided to free the lord first, and to then return down below and disrupt the ceremony. They charged into the cathedral and managed to slay the traitorous guards there, after a fierce struggle. They saved the Lord and two of the priests, but found that the Mayor had been slain by the traitorous Illick West, the head of the Iron Consortium, and the Mayor's adviser and friend. Resting for a short time, the heroes made their way back into the crypt for the final battle.

Charging into the room, they found that most of the cultists had already been sacrificed to the ritual. They disrupted the ceremony, causing Sigil, the necromancer, to slay his own sister in an attempt to complete it on time. He then turned to the party and began to cast spell after spell at them. A fierce battle ensued, in which the heroes nearly fell again and again. However, after many blows, Sigil was about to perish. Rather than allow the heroes to finish him off, he jumped into the portal to the City of Brass, which was being opened to allow the Spirit of Gulthias to return. With no one left to protect the summoning circle, the heroes were able to destroy it, sealing the gate, and preventing the return of Gulthias.

They returned to the cathedral where they were hailed as heroes by Lord Stout, and all those who had been saved as a result of their actions. The cathedral was reconsecrated, and the remains were turned to ash, preventing the demon from using that method of returning ever again. For the time being, the city was made safe, and the heroes allowed themselves a well deserved rest.

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