The Descendants of Tarakona

The Battle of King's Hope
Wolsner's army of undead attack.

The brave men of New Hope lined the walls and looked out upon the hordes of foul undead which Baron Wolsner had summoned from the great trench beyond the western woods. The nobles of the city entrusted the weakest section of the walls to the True-hearted Adventurers, the Brother Karak, the stalwart Hirk, the devout Ember, the woodwise Pip, the mysterious Thereistra and the foreigner Ardjuna.

Prince Ardjuna cried out to the men-at-arms on his section of the walls, “Fear ye not! Stand still and see the salvation of the good gods, which they will shew to you to day. For the ghosts and evils ones whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever!”

Then the battle was joined in earnest as the first wave of skeletal warriors and shambling monsters charged the unfinished portions of the wall.

After those were destroyed, Ardjuna taunted the approaching hosts of reinforcing enemies, “Coem to us, and we will give your bones unto the bowels of the earth, and your souls up unto the fowls of the air.”

Many brave men fell but the wall yet stood unbreached. Then Ardjuna urged on the townsfolk and seamen, “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of the New Hope, the blessed place of the sanctuary of the New Land. Hope is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved: the gods shall help her, and that right early.”

Terrible abominations now fell upon the defenders: creatures which enveloped men whole within their tainted unboned flesh, yea, even a drake-like beast of such horrific skin. Most of the simple guardsmen were dead by now, save three hardy souls who joined the ranks of the six heroes upon the wall.

Count Dashwood brought word that the army should sally forth and break the circuit of the foe. Ardjuna inspired the newly arrived soldiers thus, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of the enemy, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.”

Forthwith the host of the valiant smote through the beleaguering apparitions. Anon the Count gathered the Adventurers to himself and rallied them with a stirring speech, ”....”

Refreshed and strengthened by the example and oratory of Count Dashwood, the magnificent seven and their three newly emboldened comrades charged straight for the van of the enemy where were Baron Wolsner and his most evil lieutenants, of whom the worst was an enormous skeletal dragon. After a close fought fight, the Count in his wisdom destroyed the philactery of the draconic lich and thus destroyed the will which compelled and led the armies of undead.

A Letter to Count Dashwood
The heroes explore the new land.

To the noble Count Dashwood,

We write to inform you of our survey of the lands around King’s Hope. In the past month, we have crossed what we could of the New Land and have found mostly forests, grasslands and rolling hills. Thankfully, the mild winter made it possible for us to do this and at this time, we have found no signs of an approaching army. However, we must report grave findings far to the west.

It seems there is a giant Scar across the land about a weeks travel east of King’s Hope. The Scar divides this isthmus on which your new City and its hinterland stands from the rest of the continent to the west. We first found a dark and foreboding forest that stretched from the south coast to the north coast. While we ran into no trouble crossing the forest, (besides dark feeling and shadows) on the other side there was a deep ridge.

Filling this ridge were thousands of undead. Creatures of all sorts, some we could not even identify. They seemed to be bound to the crack in the land. Both sides of the ridge have steep slopes, and our one (and extremely brief) attempt to cross this threshold seemed to magically draw the undead’s attention to us. Immediately backing way seemed to bring things back to normal.

It is our assumption that this Scar acts as some type of ward. Whether to keep people out or to prevent passage across, we cannot be sure. There is something else of note, for in what appeared to be the center of this gorge, there was a tall tower. It was too far off for many details, but the top was radiating some sort of dark, purple light.

Conducting a thorough search of the areas closest to the tower, we could find no way of circumventing the undead scar. However, there were signs that the ground, near the tower, leading into the scar was magically disturbed. It is our belief that was caused by Baron Wolsner. His connection to this place is impossible to tell, but we believe that this army he spoke of will be made up of these undead we found. At this time we have no reason to believe Wolsner has anything to do with the scar. Everything around it points to an ancient origin, possible dating back over a thousand years. Let us hope he has only found some minor way to influence this dark place.

It is our intent to stay in King’s Hope till this army of Wolsner’s attacks. Please feel free to use our talents in anyway you feel fit for the defense of the city. We await any orders you wish to give us.

Your humble servants, The Company of Adventurers

A Villain Revealed
Shrewd investigation leads our heroes to the man behind the curtain.

Continuing the investigation, our heroes reviewed what they knew after shadowing each of their suspects. The Paladin Ember plied a ne’er-do-well named Cliff with the juice of the vine until he revealed that a mysterious hooded figure had met him in an alley and paid him to pretend to represent the guild to Baron Goldburg. (Earlier he had visited the Baron and told him about the success of the guild’s expedition against the kobolds.)A search of the alley revealed a strange glyph against bad smells and the remains of tiny carrion-eating insects. Ember also investigated each of the nobles’ houses after this. Looking for any signs, physical or not, of divine power she found minor emanations from some, but some strong and dark feelings coming from the house of Karady.

The group also confronted Lady Dolvain on her pagan activates. She seemed surprising unconcerned about everything they asked. On several occasions she seemed to forget that they had even been talking for an extended period. Using their knowledge of the arcane, and a few directed questions, it became obvious that Lady Dolvain was being mentally dominated. Unfortunately, no one could figure out by who.

Regrouping, the Heroes discussed the events of the past few weeks; there was one question that seemed to hover. Why did Count Windhaven make a speech against them and their guild hall? He had little to no relationship with them and they had done nothing to garner any specific interest from him.

It was decided to confront Windhaven on this. A meeting was easily arranged and the group met with Windhaven a couple days later. Over the next few hours, they discussed current issues with Windhaven. By convincing him there was more benefit to the count with the group on his side, he opened up. He told a story of how a precious family heirloom was stolen from him and he was told it would be returned if he made the speech.

This heirloom was an ancient artifact from the War for the Dead. Windhaven knew little of it besides it had been his family’s duty to protect it for generations and it’s called Velocost’s Armband of Life. However, Karak recognized the name. Velocost was one of the necromancer’s from the War for the Dead. It is said that this armband can take life energy from the living and use it to power the undead. One final note, Windhaven pointed out his meeting place with the mysterious man who demanded the ransom. It too had a glyph and dead carrion bugs.

Having learned more, it was decided that they should ask some tough questions to Goldburg next. He seemed to be meeting with many of their suspects and was also spying on Windhaven it seemed. Ember, however, was tired of diplomacy. She stormed off to Goldburg’s with the rest of the party scrabbling to catch up. Some furious glares and a smashed table, courtesy of Herc, later, Goldburn opened up like a busted damn.

Goldburg admitted to spying on Windhaven, claiming that Wolsner had paid him to do it. He also confirmed meeting with Karady and importing many rare herbs, medicines and experts for him. But, he did not seem to be doing much more in terms of villainous activities.

Next it was time to talk to Karady. There a few strong suspicions in the group now, but hard evidence was needed. He seemed nervous and preoccupied, but Karak and Pip could both tell he was very healthy. So, they asked why he needed such shipments as the ones he was getting through Goldburg. Karady then revealed that his son was incurably ill. Asking to see him, Pip easily discerned from a brief examination of the lad that he himself could readily cure him with the right combination of the herbs at hand. In this way, the guild earned the gratitude and aid of the Baron Karady.

Through this act, Karady confided in them that he was broke from his efforts to ship cures to King’s Hope. For money, he had been taking icons and other objects from an agent of Wolsner. He hid them in his house as common artwork for the most part. Still needing real evidence, they convinced Karady to let them join him for his next meeting with the agent.

Checking out the meeting site ahead of time, they found another glyph, freshly prepared. Knowing Karady and the agent would arrive soon, they hid themselves throughout the alley. Soon Karady arrived with two body guards, then the agent, cloaked and wrapped in black cloth, seemed to materialize in the alley. As he approached Karady, Karak jumped him. But he slipped right out of his grasp, as if he were made only of cloth. The agent then lifted his hand to his face and pushed it into his mouth. When he pulled it out, there was a yellowed, chipped skull in his hand. As he shrugged of his cloak, he also dropped the skull to the floor.

As the group stepped out of the shadows to engage, the agent’s true form was revealed. Beneath the wrapping and cloak was only skin. And waved and undulated as it supported itself through obvious necrotic power. The skull it dropped served only as a prop to its disguise. Herc stood stunned as he described what he knew of the beast. The terror ridden stories his uncle told him as a child were becoming true in front of his disbelieving eyes.

As Herc regained his composure, the creature wrapped its flailing limbs around one of Karady’s guards. The scream was muffled and went silent as he was enveloped by the animated skin. Karady watched in stunned horror as the body of his man flopped to the ground, his skin completely removed.

Jumping into action, the group attempted to kill the creature. It proved extremely resilient to any attempt to restrain it or force its movement. Right before its second attack, the skin of the dead guard appeared. It slithered its way out of the creature and began attacking as well. It quickly snatched up the second guard as Karak was grabbed by the original. As its floppy limbs embraced Karak, he felt his strength drain from him. Karak fought off the fear as it slowly began to engulf him as well.

Both Karak and Ardjuna fought off several attacks from the creatures. As the original finally went down and howled something about his master’s army taking the city. The group quickly brought down the other too with and then dealt with the horror of what just happened to some of them.

Once they had gathered their wits, it was beyond doubt where they needed to go next. Not wanting to waste anytime, they rushed to the house of Wolsner. Breaking down the door, they proceeded to search the house. They were interrupted by the city guard briefly; however they were quickly cowed out the door again. Soon, Pip discovered a secret door to a basement in one of Wolsner’s common rooms.

A purple glow emanated from the basement. Following the light, they found Wolsner immersed in a glowing ritual circle. The purple light came from the shimmering field surrounding the space enclosed my the circle. Bellowing a warcry, Herc charged Wolsner, but as he made contact with the purple light there was a flash and then Herc crumpled to the ground unconscious. Wolsner just laughed and said, “Well, I thought it would be sooner, but you’re here at last. Too bad I’m on my way out. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back and I won’t be alone.”

He broke into laughter again as the purple light increased in intensity. When the heroes could see again, the ritual circle had gone dark and Wolsner was gone.

A Mystery Unfolds
Having defeated the Kobolds, focus shifts to who is orchestrating plots in King's Hope

Leaving the mountain

With the Kobold chieftan defeated, the Heroes settle in for a rest at the peak of the mountain. As they secure a site, Pip notices a figure spying from the cave. As he calls a warning to the rest, it slips deeper into the cave. Needing rest, the group sets up watch and waits til morning. During his night watch, Pip again sees the figure, but it stays back.

That morning, Karak’s first order of business is to secure the corpse of Ishmeer. He asks if Theirastra will create her glowing disc so that they can transport the wyrmling more easily. Some arcane manipulations and heavy lifting later, the group makes it way back to the base of the mountain, wyrmling in tow. Pip tracks their spy and easily determines it is a Halfling.

They emerge near the base to a cloudy, but dry day. While the sun is hidden, there is no sign of rain. Rounding the last bend in the mountain trail, they see the river and forest before them. Somewhat expectedly, due to the spy they spotted earlier, there are people waiting for them.

A darkly clad, humanoid figure stands on the far side of the bridge. He’s flanked by two bodyguards carrying halberds. To the left another human, by his robes and wielded wand, he is obviously a wizard. Across the bridge, nearest the group, stands an Eladrin woman to the left and a Dwarven man to the right. Both are armed, the Dwarf is particularly well armored. There is no sign of the spy.

“So, finally decided to come down, eh?” speaks the Eladrin in a melodical voice.

Ember steps foward to respond, “Who are you?”

“Its simple dear, we’re here to end this adventure of yours,” she answers as her shield hand raises to the sky. The sudden thwap of crossbows releasing can be heard from the forest beyond. Four bolts fly through the sky, three are poorly aimed, but the fourth scratches Karak.

Caught off-guard for only a moment, Karak quickly closes with the Eladrin. Harnessing the power of Kord, he strikes her to the ground. But his elation is quickly tarnished as she manages to save herself from falling down the 10 foot ledge to the river. His campainions quickly follow suit and battle ensues.

Their halfing spy soon shows himself, having been concealed in some shrub and his poisoned dagger finds Karak’s flesh. Herc joins this melee while Ember and Ardjuna engage the Dwarf. Pip and Theirastra support with arrows and spells. Ardjuna envies the Dwarf’s heavy shield, and for this it is repeatedly slammed into him. Meanwhile the human wizards peppers the field with lighting and the cloaked figure hangs back, issuing orders and inspiring his team.

Although Ardjuna makes claims that the Guild is about to be overwhelmed, his comrades show their might as they bring down both the Halfling and the Dwarf. The Eladrin falls back. They give chase, Herc charging into the cloaked figure. He brings his greatsword down and lands a decent blow.

“Insolent fool. Deal with him.”

As if he kicked a hornets’ nest, a frenzy of blows and bolts find their way to Herc. His Half-Orc strength serves him well and he is able to withstand more hits then a small detachment of men could. Blessings from Kord seal major wounds, the rest Herc takes proudly. His friends come to his aid and a close, crowded melee begins.

Spells, arrows and blows are exchanged. With mumbled arcane words, the figure lets forth an explosion of purple, necrotic energy. The heroes feel the life-sapping power of it but fight on.

“So,” speaks the cloaked figure, “You are the ones who saved that meddling fool! Now I understand.”

The hesitation this statement causes amongst the heroes provides the enemies with time to retreat. They move down the path, into the forest, as the halberdiers and crossbowmen provide cover. Before the companions can break through, they hear hoofbeats. The mysterious figure and his cohorts have escaped.

But left behind were the mounts of the Dwarf and Halfling. The group’s wagon is still tucked into the trees and these mounts are quickly hitched to it. As they load their prize wyrmling corpse, they discuss the mysterious figure’s message. Count Dashwood must be the meddling fool spoke of. Perhaps they have just met the man who sent his would-be assassins.

Returning to King’s Hope

Pip easily tracks the horses of their escaped quarry. Its clear they are heading back to King’s Hope as well. With their wagon load and easy pace, they make it to King’s Hope in five days. As they near, they see little progress has been made on the walls, but there are posted guards. A quick conversation with them reveals that their cloaked friend seemed to arrive three days earlier. The guards also laugh at mention of Dragons. They claim it surely must be an odd lizard or drake of some sorts. The guards do tell them that most people stop by a particular tavern on their way to the developed parts of the city. Maybe someone there remembers the recent arrivals better.

However, the group decides they first better store their wyrmling somewhere and report to Baron Goldburg. They bring the wagon to one of Goldburg’s warehouses and then find the Baron at his office. His receptionist mentions how the Baron has already announced their exploits to the city and will be happy to see them finally back in town. Confused, they wait for Goldburg in one of his meeting rooms.

They learn that two days ago, a man claiming to be part of their group arrived and explained to Goldburg all about their Kobold encounters. He immediately announced his role in removing a threat from King’s Hope and relieving rising pressure to hurry the wall. More interested in showing of their Dragon, Karak insists that they escort Goldburg to his warehouse. Once there they are again laughed at when they claim it is a Dragon. However, they manage to convince Goldburg to study the matter further. As he departs, he promises to hire experts to study the corpse.

Over the next three weeks, the group refreshes themselves at their hall and slowly begin investigating who is responsible for the attempted assassination, spearheading the slowdown of construction and their encounter at the base of the mountain. It is quickly learned that two new, mysterious nobles have arrived in town: Count Wolsner and Lady Dolvain. No one seems to know anything about them when they question dockworkers and Count Dashwood.

However, Pip leads to the discovery of Dolvain’s involvment in pagan ritualistic dancing. Futher investigation of the site uncovers a large ritual circle surrounding it. Its clear that the pagans know nothing of it. Upon extended study, Karak realizes its necrotic nature is sapping life energy from the dancers.

While Karak studies, Ember makes introductions with Wolsner. He is very short with her, and nearly kicks her out after only a few minutes. Not long after, a public forum is called by Count Windhaven. He gives a grand speech about noble blood, respect and tradition. He ends with an accusation that the companions’ guild hall, at the edge of the noble quarters, is a blight upon the nobility. Only those of noble birth should own land in such a place. As a result, a formal inquiry into the ownership of the hall is begun. Examining their records, the group discovers an unknown women to actually hold ownership of the Guild Hall Land Deed, Lady C. Romilda Bellehache. Bringing this to Dashwood’s attention, he states that is the name he was told to put on the deed by Duke Austin himself.

Oblivious to this problem, Theirastra makes negotiations with the Dwarves who had arrived in town a few weeks ago. In atempt to gain moonstones for herself and to satisfy the arcane bind put on her by the Purple Wyrmlings, she puts into motion the exodus of the Dwarves from King’s Hope. Though many leave before formallities are complete, it seems they will soon offically be setting up residence in the mountains to the north.

By the end of the third week since their return, Pip and Ardjuna have begun shadowing some of their suspected nobles. Some odd associations are revealed between many of them as it seems everyone is secretly meeting with each other. Ember leaves to speak with Duke Austin about their land deed and Karak completes his necrotic research on the ritual circle. Though only slowly increasing their knowledge, it seems much is to be sorted out if their are to uncover the villian in their story.

Summary of Our Adventure so Far

Summary so far

There are six heroes to our story, Caydence Ember, Karak, Theirastra, Herc, Pip and Ardjuna. All but Ardjuna arrived in the New Land within the last month. They came from the continent of Tarakona where a massive, cosmopolitan empire rules. This empire is simply called The Empire. All of the civilized races of Tarakona are united under this imperial government.

The city of King’s Hope is the first settlement of the Empire’s on this New Land. This is where our heroes reside when they are not out on an adventure. However, currently they are to the north of the town, at the peak of one of the northern most mountains.

They have just finished a battle with the cheiftain of a Kobold tribe. Victorious, they are exploring the Kobold settlement on the peak and tending to their wounds. On this mountain, besides wiping out the Kobolds, they also did battle with a Blue Dragon Wyrmling named Ishmeer. It was this Wyrmling who was worshiped by the Kobolds and believe to be connected with the kidnapping of the governor’s son.

Our heroes aquired this particular quest after speaking with a local noble, Baron Goldburg. In an effort to determin if he was connected to an assassination attempt they had previously foiled, the heroes agreed to make contact with the Kobolds. The mission was either to establish peacable and profitable trade, or remove the threat they may have posed to the city.

During their search for the Kobold tribe, they found an abandoned mine. From the looks of things, it had previously been mined by Kobolds before they were slaughted by Kruthic. As they search the mine, they found a shaft that led much deeper into the ground. Exploring this, they ran into a pair of Purple Dragon Wyrmlings. Getting themselves into trouble, they managed to escape death, but only after making certain promises to the Wyrmlings.

Our next scene will see our heroes recovering from their latest battle and planning their next move. Presumably, this will be to return to town as their resources are diminished and their task apparently complete.

A New Land Awaits
Day 1

After nearly a week, the last night of the voyage had arrived. Everyone on board went to sleep in anticipation of being within sight of land when they awake. In her cabin, the Eladrin Theirastra meditated. Not needing real sleep, she explored the depths of her mind. A muffled cry broke her concentration. Quick, but heavy, footsteps on the deck above followed.

Realizing something was amiss, she awoke her bunkmates. If indeed something dangerous was going on on deck, she would need help. One of her roommates was Caydence Ember, a Paladin, and had with her heavy armor. The other was a fellow dabbler in the Arcane, Sha Sha.

Together, they exited the cabin. Looking around, to the aft of the ship they saw two men crumpled on the ground. A quick check confirmed their fears, dead. As the Paladin finished strapping on the last of her armor, the adjacent cabin opened. A Half-Orc, Karak, and odd looking Dwarf stepped out.

The Dwarf quickly explained how he too was awakened by a commotion and it was agreed that together they should investigate. They filed up the steps onto the deck. A full moon lit the ship well and to the far side they could see several armed men. One of them appeared to be the noble aboard ship, he was surrounded closely by two men holding short swords. Three others seemed on watch and their gaze quickly went to the newcomers. Flourishing their daggers, they approached.

In a blink, Theirastra vanished. Just as quickly she reappeared on top of some crates. With a flick of a wand, she began harassing the three look outs. Though slightly startled by this, her companions brought the fight to the brigands. By the time the two men surrounding the noble realized what was happening, they found themselves surrounded as well.

Using his staff more like a morning star, Karak cracked one man over the head. His Half-Orc strength, combined with Divine power knocked the life from him. His partner also found the Dwarf was accomplished with a blade. Wounded, outnumbered and panicked, the would be assassin threw himself over the ship’s railing and splashed into the sea. It seemed drowning was preferable to his partner’s fate.

With the assassins polished off, introductions were in order. Though the noble had a minor injury, it was nothing major. As Karak tended to the minor wound, he introduced himself as Count Dashwood. He is making the move to The New Land as many had before him. Specifically though, he is moving to help support his good friend Duke Austin, the governor of the new settlement there, King’s Hope.

Later that day, the ship pulled into the harbor. Count Dashwood arranged for his rescuers’ belongings to be taken care of and invited them all to visit the Duke with him. A reward was in order and he was sure the Duke would be interested in meeting able adventures willing to lend a hand.

Duke Austin was indeed quiet happy to meet such people. Not only had they saved his good friend, but he was also in need of some resouceful people at the moment. He explained to the group how his daughter was going through a difficult pregnacy and that his son was out on a hunting expedition. Wanting his family together during this trying time, he asked if the group would be willing to fetch his son and inform him of the situation. Though the Dwarf made a small fuss about payment, the group agreed.

As they left the audience chamber, Dashwood explained how he would take care of their belongings and also gave them their reward. (some coins and a couple of potions) As time was important, Dashwood arranged an escort to the edge of the city and informed them that the Duke’s son had planned to travel north, into the forest about a days walk from the city. Soon, the group was making good time, traveling along a small ridge that led to, and supposedly then paralled the forest.

As evening approached, dark storm clouds gathered in the distance. The forest was to their left and the group was tracking the Duke’s son and his entourage, expecting the tracks to soon veer into the woods. As the storm approached, their attention was caught by howls coming from the forest. Turning to look, they saw a man running as if for his life. The reason was soon clear as a small pack of wolves burst out of the trees behind him. As the group hurried down the ridge to help, the wolves caught up with their prey.

(still in progress)


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