Abderaz: Rebirth

Adventure 53-55: Second Seige of Menethar Part I-III

The second battle of Menethar begins with the heroes helping to hold the wall against the oncoming horde. The battle opens with the heroes shooting what ranged weapons they have as the undead surge forward, with Adgar destroying vast swathes of the enemy using bursts of living fire. The heroes fight off the skeletal warriors ascending the siege ladders and battle stone gargoyles swooping in from above.

The walls shake and there is a thunderous sound as the heroes turn to see a raised great worm emerge from the earth, bringing down a section of the wall. The heroes rush to that section to battle the beast, arriving to see Obudai coming from the other direction. Mutana nimbly dashes down the rubble to engage the creature, while the others take up position out of reach and Shai’ani moves summons her centurion of nature and then flies in to attack as well. Meanwhile, Obudai slides down the other side, calling the creature all manner of foul names while he batters it with his greatsword.

Mutana is snatched up and almost swallowed, but manages to crawl out onto the creatures head. Using siege breaker, he cracks open the worm’s head carapace and those that can begin pouring attacks into the weak spot. Meanwhile, Adgar realizes his magic isn’t cooperating, and so switches on his runes and enters the fray with his hammer to great effect. Thakan meanwhile does his best to heal the massive blows the worm is inflicting. The worm is finally felled, with Mutana riding the corpse down and leaping to safety.

The heroes hold the breach for a time, then see an undead dragonling flying towards the gate. The creature appears to drop off a cadre of troops and the heroes decide to counter the threat, lest the gate fall. When they arrive, they encounter General Kairon and his wight guards, as well as a necrolyte, a healer of the dead. The heroes engage and prioritize taking out the necrolyte, with Thakan landing the final blow with a critical blast of holy fire that reduces the creature to ash.

The heroes then decide to focus on taking out the guards, but soon realize that as each guard falls the general becomes invigorated. The cease attacking the guards and focus on the General, but the wight’s ability to intervene means they are still slowly being slain. As the General grows in size and unleashes his various powers, the heroes begin to get worried that the enemy may be too strong, but with a furious assault they manage to bring him down. With their commander dead, the undead army falls into disarray and retreats, escaping through portals.

After the battle the group meets with the three Lords again in the war room. Lord Jerovel says it is time to begin the final push, gather our forces, and march on the blighted citadel of Atheron. Amunet says this battle you must fight alone, a final crucible to prove you can stand against the true fight to come. However, I offer one piece of advice. The vampire lord must be dealt with one way or another before you confront Azazae. You cannot defeat both at once, that is certain.

Lord Ethna says that while we prepare and march, we need to send specialist teams to three objectives. There are rumors of something in Uruval Bog, which would lie on the flank of our siege lines and so represents a potential threat. We also have word of villagers in Yarasa being experimented on by a minion of Azazae, the fruits of those efforts could be used against us. Finally, our scouts indicate that remnants of Amerana forces are hiding in the forests. We need someone to make contact and bring them over to our cause. The heroes debate and then decide to aid the viilagers of Yarasa.

Before they leave, Lord Jerovel presents them with gifts from his own armory or which he had made special for them. See the details below:

  • Armor of Volcanic Drake: Light III (fitted, -1 AP), +2 Str, +2 Cha, +1 Con, +2 AV. Resistance checks against your spells that deal fire or force damage suffer a -1 penalty.
  • Armor of the Iron Drake: Heavy III, Fitted (-1 AP), +2 Mystic Str, +2 Mystic Con, +1 Agi, Fortified (reduce SDM 2), +2 mystic AV. DR 15 against fire.
  • Savageheart Leather: Light II (fitted, -1 AP), +2 Agi, +2 Cha, +1 Con, +2 AV. +2 mystical bonus to natural attack damage.
  • Ring of Inspiration: Takes 24 hours to recharge after use, requires Move Action. All allies in command radius can reroll all rolls they make until the start of your next turn. During that same period they may add 1d6 to all damage they deal with an active attack (not passive damage) and reduce all damage they take by 1d6.
  • Belt of the Purifier: Any time you heal someone with a power, roll 1d10 per poison, disease, arcane, and supernatural effect they are currently suffering. On a roll of 7+ that effect is removed.
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Adventure 52: The Price of Heroism

After returning to Stambrecht, the heroes discover Griltag (Adgar’s mentor) dead in the smoldering ruins of his forge, the remains of undead scattered about. King Ofric says Adgar’s family has been taken to safety and the heroes decide to investigate, tracking the undead back to where they emerged from the sewers and remnants of Old Ardia. They soon realize the attack was surgical and no threat lurks in the depths. This is followed by the arrival of Amunet.

Amunet appears disturbed, her normally expressionless face troubled. She reports that Darakan, Thakan’s brother, was slain by a vampire lord and hung from the walls of Menethar. Following that, she traveled to find that Skardus’ clan had been attacked by undead as well, but had repulsed the assault. She also found the wreckage of one of the caravan of Mutana’s brother, but no bodies were found. The heroes’ families appear to have been targeted.

Amunet offers to open up a gateway to Menethar when the group has completed their business. After returning to Menethar, the heroes take some time off to rest and recuperate. During the downtime Thakan has a conversation with Amunet, who he finds drinking in a hallway. She intimates that she knows of the dragon’s offer, and that perhaps it would be better for them to take Menethraxia up on it. Amunet says she is as much, or more, a monster than the dragon. Thakan tries to offer comfort and declines her offer, believing still there is good in her.

After the break, heroes meet with Lord Ethna in his war room, where they are introduced to Lord Awilar of Marathea, who has joined their cause. Lord Jerovel then enters the chamber, and sternly greets his son, Thakan, saying that Thakan is now second in line for the throne and so must rise to his new station. The conversation is uncomfortable, but oddly some of the heroes appear taken by Lord Jerovel’s no-nonsense approach. It soon becomes clear that Lord Awilar has joined them because of the dragon threat, and the three Lord’s indicate that Amunet and her bard friend have convinced them to put Menethar at the heroes’ disposal once Azazae has been dealt with, including resources from all three kingdoms.

As they discuss their plans, a horn sounds in alarm. Amunet teleports the heroes to the battlements, where they see a vast horde of undead on the horizon with siege weapons in tow. Amunet immediately starts to cast, but finds she is locked in a magical struggle with Azazae, who has joined with a circle of acolytes to boost his power. The struggle, for better or worse, removes the strongest wizards from the battle until one wins. The heroes prepare for the assault as the second battle of Menethar begins.

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Adventure 51: Proving Their Worth

The heroes hear the voice of Azazae, who says they have not defeated him despite what it looks like. He also says that even should they survive this, those they care for will suffer his wrath. The heroes then proceed to fight the frozen dead and an undead giant. Mutana holds back the giant while Shai’ani and Adgar try to distract the remaining frozen dead. Meanwhile, Skardus fights from the shadows and fringes and Thakan dances about, healing where it is needed. Shai’ani and her centurion take down one undead while Skardus and Mutana work down another, but it is Adgar’s fire that proves truly punishing against the undead. Eventually even the giant is brought down under hammering blows from Mutana’s living weapon enhanced by Adgar’s flames.

After a day of travel they reach the tower of Peiter, still in excellent shape and surrounded by a dome of energy. Floating on one edge is a plate of brass with gemstones and sockets. After a little experimentation, Adgar realizes that putting the yellow and red gems in the sockets is the answer, creating the colors of fire.

The heroes then make their way to the wall of the tower, as their are no doors. They find a series of Arai runes, which Adgar translates as a sequence of numbers accompanied by a stone keypad. Skardus solves the sequence with Mutana and a door opens, revealing a large room with a stone golem inside.

The golem says the secrets are not for them and tells them to turn back or be dealt with. Adgar challenges the golem, which says they may pass if they prove their wisdom. The heroes answer a series of three riddles, after which the golem turns into stairs up to the next level.

The next test appears to involve manipulation of light and mirrors. Eventually the heroes configure them properly and a flash of light teleports them to the top floor, where they are met by an image of Peiter. The final test is the test of purpose, which Adgar passes to Peiter’s satisfaction. The heroes are allowed to claim the book and leave the tower.

Secrets of Fire
Any spell dealing fire damage may have one of the following modifications applied:

  • Wildfire (Fire damage dice explode, but casts critically fail one easier)
  • Spiritfire (Gains crossing property and can be used in drell, but difficulty to cast increases one)
  • Blackfire (gains unholy and increases damage by 50%, and cast is one easier, but is corrupting)
  • Whitefire (gains holy, but cast difficulty increases one)
  • Livingfire (gains life property, but costs one extra vitality)
  • Palefire (gains necrotic, but casts critically fail one easier).
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Adventure 50: Lifting the Curse

Still inside Mutana’s inner spirit, the heroes travel to the mountain off in the distance. Mutana mentions at prompting that this is the place where he defeated bandits who had attacked a caravan he was with; his first battle as an adult and trained warrior. As the heroes approach, a voice echoes bidding Mutana to come to an accord, saying that they are far more powerful together. Mutana steels his resolve and rejects the offer, entering the cave to confront the corrupted spirit.

The heroes make short work of the other corrupted memories, then take the fight to the were-spirit. Adgar in his hardier spirit form stands toe-to-toe with the beast alongside Mutana, while the others occasionally take refuge from it’s bursts of rage. Eventually they bring it down and awaken back around the fire. Mutana feels the simmering rage of the curse lift and now feels in harmony with the grimstak spirit.

When the heroes return to Stambrecht, Menethraxia Drozul arrives, landing outside the city walls, resting upon them as if they were merely a fence. The Arai send arrows forth in desperation, but cease when she tells them to cease their buzzing or she will burn their city to ash. She calls out the heroes, who approach with Thakan in the lead to speak to her. Menethraxia offers a deal, give her Amunet’s head and she will call off her children. She and Thakan speak for a time, then she withdraws to let them ponder her offer.

Sometime later, the heroes head North towards the Hafdenhjar Fells to seek the tower of Peiter Strukka, wherein Adgar hopes to find Peiter’s Grimoire on the secrets of fire. As the travel frozen dead burst from the ground in an ambush.

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Adventure 49: Stambrecht

The heroes resume their journey to Stambrecht. Despite the summer sun, the winds of the cold north maintain their bite as they travel northward. The road is adequately maintained with a steady traffic of merchants carrying wagonloads of goods in both directions. Scattered grasslands are dominated by sprawling temperate forests, all giving off an air of wildness not often found in the Eoran. After two weeks on the road, the high walls of Stambrecht come into view, ringing the city built in the shadow of the Belga Migdrein.

As the heroes approach, Wenadu appears beside them, saying, “Here stood old Ardia, first city of the northman, heart of the northern conquest. At the foot of the great mountain three chieftains swore allegiance to the first King, an alliance that allowed the Arai to seize these lands from the disparate Vel tribes. When the wooden buildings of Ardia were claimed by fire, the Arai rebuilt in stone the city of Stambrecht, a perfect example of their stubborn and defiant nature."

The heroes are briefly harassed a bit by the gate guard, looking down on the silk-swaddled southerners, but Adgar’s reputation proceeds him and he smooths passage. As they make their way through the city, it is clear a section has been burnt, stone shattered by the heat of dragon fire. Rebuilding is already beginning, but the wound is still fresh.

The heroes secure rooms at a nice Inn, with Mutana trading a barrel of his now famous beer for their room and board. Adgar checks in with his old master and then with his blacksmith friend to help Mutana locate the one-eyed grimstak. This leads them to Torfen One-eye, who tells Mutana to meet him at the stone ring on Gesgart hill that night to discuss his problem, and to bring his friends.

Adgar shows his legendary hammer to his old friend, then works the forge he once used in his youth. During his work, Onouti speaks to him about the grimoire. Onouti suggests that the Forgefather has his reasons, but the secrets within are dangerous and Adgar should be cautious.

Shai’ani also encounters Frost Fairies, who mention that Summer is in ascendance. They say the Vaulkyria of Summer is afoot in the North, and that Shai’ani would be wise to avoid him at the height of his strength.

That evening they heroes meet with Torfen on Gesgart Hill. Torfen mentions that the Were condition is a perversion through dark magic of a natural gift. He says Mutana can cure the condition or he can cleanse it, restoring it to its pure form. The ritual to cleanse involves entering Mutana’s inner spirit and defeating the malignancy within, and is far more dangerous. Torgen says Mutana’s friends may accompany him, and would be of great assistance, but they would share the risk.

Choosing to cleanse the gift, the heroes drink from a special flask and enter into Mutana’s inner self. They appear in a featureless void, Mutana as a white wolf, Skardus as a black Xelus, Shaiani as an awuilla of ice with flaming eyes, Thakan as a wingless dragon with glowing eyes, and Adgar as a stone-skinned bear with molten eyes. Being in the realm of the spirit, the heroes find that their normal abilities are unavailable to them, but they have new spiritual abilities.

Seeing light in the distance, they travel to investigate, eventually coming upon a scene of a caravan being attacked by Bandits. Mutana recognizes it from his memory as the time when he first killed a man when he was but a boy. As the heroes close to aid the merchants, the caravan guards turn to attack the heroes alongside the bandits. The heroes realize these are corrupted memories, and so begin to cleanse the area. The feeling is strange, as they fight a young Mutana and his father, but they steel their resolve and the last corrupted memory eventually falls.

When the battle comes to a close, Mutana sees a mountain in the distance, another memory of the time he tracked down bandits to their lair when he was still a lowly caravan guard. The heroes gather up and continue on towards the mountain.

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Adventure 47-48: Northlands Part II & III

The heroes arrive at town and see that dragonkin and a large male dragon are attacking the town. The heroes decide to attempt to reason with the dragon, Hessaraxus, sending forth Thakan, who has learned Khediz and can speak with the creature. Thakan’s mastery of the language is sufficient, but his understanding of dragon customs and term usage are not quite up to snuff yet. Hessaraxus makes the case that they are expressing their true nature in accordance with their mother’s will, and offers the heroes the chance to leave out of respect for the Drokun amongst them.

Having not been able to reach an accord, the heroes proceed to attack the dragon and his minions. They hold up at the edge of town, using buildings for cover, while Shai’ani flies off to save some villagers. Thakan to tries to save villagers by drawing off dragonkin (Khazari and Khazrokhin) harassing a second set of villagers. Meanwhile, Mutana holds the line as Adgar and Skardus focus on helping to bring down the dragonkin coming after the group. The heroes prepared defenses and boons help to mitigate the dragon’s assault from the air while they focus on the minions.

When the last of the minions falls, the heroes begin working on the dragon’s wings, attempting to bring it down to the ground where they can attack him with their full strength. Eventually, a critical strike from Skardus severely cripples one of the wings, and Hessaraxus is forces to lands. The heroes close in and it is a tough battle as the dragon’s might blows thunder home, with only the fortification spell saving the heroes from the otherwise overwhelming attacks. Finally, the dragon admits defeat and signals his willingness to surrender, exposing his throat. The heroes have the dragon swear to aid them when the time comes.

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Adventure 46: Northlands Part I

The heroes travel seven days back to Menethar after wrapping up things at Avashara. All along the way, all of the heroes save Skardus suffer erotic dreams of Atlzeria. Upon their return, the soldiers cheer, “Iluvare!,” as they walk through the gates. After reporting their success to Lord Ethna, they are told the watchtower of Paranon has been taken, in no small part due to their friend Obudai. Unfortunately, the village of Evani was lost, overrun by the dead.

The heroes are then given one month of downtime as Lord Ethna awaits additional forces to gather.

Skardus meets up with Obudai and shares stories over drinks. Skardus also has a vision of the Great Xelus, who indicates that his compatriots are cursed. Skardus meets with the group to discuss this vulnerability.

Shai’ani meets the Queen of Winter, Eladria Vis Indolare. She indicates that Atlzeria is not done with them, advising her to keep the heart of winter and end this incarnation when the time comes.

Mutana meets up with Gaveter, a mentor and old friend who joined up with the Ethna army recently. Gaveter has followed Mutana’s career with interest, and the two catch up over a few drinks of Mutana’s special beer. Mutana also picks up a squire named Athoro, the feisty son of a baker who seeks more than a life of making bread and sweets.

Adgar is surprised at his forge by Freyyda Forgemaiden, who bids him to return to the home of his fathers, and there upon the high fells of Hafdenhjar he will find the ruins of Peiter’s tower. Hidden there still is Peiter’s grimoire. Before she departs, she blesses the forge and Adgar uses the opportunity to reforge his hammer into a legendary weapon.

Thakan encounters common folk seeking blessings, having gained a reputation as a holy man. While researching in the library, Thakan encounters Tazaxes, Voice of Atrazeralax. “Atla’zur, Drokun,” the Voice says, and Thakan responds accordingly having learned Khediz. The Voice says, “The call has been sounded, death is in the wind. My master will continue to aid you as he can, but be wary, a dragonflight unlike any seen in years beyond counting is gathering. You have allies amongst the Dro, but too few I fear.”

After the downtime they gather in Lord Ethna’s planning room and learn that reports of dragons awakening across Abderaz have been flooding in. The great beast has even burned part of Marathea, though the Wizards saved most of the city with a shielding spell. Lord Ethna decides to deal with Azazae as quickly as possible, but seems shaken by the scale of this new threat. A round-about reference to Amunet is made amongst the party, at which point Thakan fully expects her to make a sudden appearance.

Amunet appears in a flash, dressing in her full battle kit as she was when the heroes traveled to the past. Confused and worried, Lord Ethna puts a hand on his hilt and confronts her. She says, “It is worse than you know, little lord. The great mother has called her children from their slumber, and all but a few obeyed. With my people beyond reach, these who stand before you are your last, best hope…with my aid, of course.” After a brief exchange, she departs.

Wenadu then appears, strumming an instrument while sitting on a window sill, saying, “The time has come to go north. Darakan’s wizard can open a gate to Ameris; from there you can make your way to Stambrecht.”

After requesting transport by way of a traveling gate, the heroes find themselves in the great city of Ameris, home of House Jerovel, and former abode of Thakan. In the distance, the great citadel carved into the high mountain stands capped by a jade dragon statue staring out over the city. Thakan ushers the heroes along, being of a mind to not linger in the city.

After nine days on the road, the heroes spot smoke rising from the village of Kattenbrecht, with a dragon circling overhead. Screams in the distance indicate their might yet be villagers that can be saved, so the heroes resolve to intervene.

Khediz Notes:
Dro: Dragon
Atla’zur: Sun on your scales
Drokun: Child of the dragon
Pashaidan: Honored adversary
Drovur, shaur axu nush?: Dragonblood, how can this be?
Ur nuk tovoshar; tun axum Nashra, avo fulxar. Kand vokeen ir: One is of my line. They smell Nezuran, but only slightly. There is no illusion.

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Adventure 44-45: Necropolis of Avashara Part III & IV

Thakan recalls he does indeed have the ritual to bring Adgar back, and sets about the task. Once that is done, the heroes take stock of their resources and then head to the southern column of light.

As they approach, they see a shrine to Karunda occupied by a large winged, demonic woman. Karunda appears and says she is Atlzeria the defiler, a demoness of the second fold summoned into the service of Azazae. The heroes prepare and then launch a surprise attack. Atlzeria uses her powers of black fire and summons lesser demons to her aid, all the while seducing various members of the group with her dark powers. Only Skardus completely resists her temptations, though all successfully resist the drive to turn on their friends. In the end, Atlzeria decides to retreat through a portal when things begin to turn against her.

Though they are tired and wounded, the heroes decide to proceed to the last light. Karunda says they face Voruna the twisted, a man who has been gifted flesh-shaping powers by Azazae, which he in turn used to make himself into a monster. His tortured creatures, poor souls who have also been flesh-shaped, are at their masters beck and call. As they near, they hear a voice booming out of a small stadium set into the ground, saying, “When Vontius’ light went out I knew Lord Azazae’s plan had failed. When the Sisters went dark, Atlzeria approached me about combining our forces, but that is like letting a viper into your home when the grimstak is growling at your door. Come, heroes, I do not fear you.”

The massive Voruna and his creations prove a challenge, with the heroes being forced to use Shai’ani’s blizzard to try and keep the lesser minions at bay, or slay them as they come in. Mutana stands and takes the brunt of Voruna’s attacks until the thing is wounded, at which point it frenzy’s and starts randomly attacking the heroes. The group unleashes as much firepower as they can against Voruna, finally bringing the beast down with a flurry of blows from Adgar’s hammer under the effects of lightsurge.

*Karunda’s Raiment: Robes, +2 AV, +1 Con, +2 Int, +2 Cha. Resurrection has a range of 30’ for the wearer. If the wearer is reduced to 0 or less hp, all allies heal 1d10 plus SPS immediately at no Stamina cost.
*Kleidenfjar (bonebreaker): Harkein, Brutal, Improved Balance, +2 to hit, +2 force energy damage, +2 crit result rolls.
*Cloak of Carnage: Once per turn, make a melee attack as a free action if you reduce an opponent to 0 or less hp.
*Rings of the Sisters: Wearers can concentrate to know the approximate distance and direction of all others currently wearing the other rings.
*Serpentine Ring: -1 to parry/dodge rolls against spells of the wearer, arcane only.

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Adventure 42 & 43: Necropolis at Avashara Part I & II

Four green columns of energy arise from the sprawling necropolis, piercing the stormy sky like poisoned spines. The rows of graves and tombs extend far into the distance and meandering about them are thousands of undead. The heroes, testing the strength of Karunda’s ward, slowly make their way the through the masses towards the nearest column. Karunda’s ward holds, and the heroes are seemingly invisible as they eventually come within sight of what appears to be a crematoria.

Karunda appears beside them and indicates that ahead lies Vontius Trajan, an Ursus necromancer guarded by a skeletal sentinel. After the heroes make a plan, they close in on Vontius, but before they launch their attack the crematoria flames rise and the image of the lich Azazae appears. He says, “I knew you could not resist interfering here. I finally have a way to dispose of you without that witch interfering. I banish you to the oubliette!”

With that, all goes dark, and the heroes find themselves naked in a stone room and cut off from their powers. The only light comes from a small crystalline shard, which when touched whispers, “Let this be a light in the dark; it is what aid I can give.” The heroes determine they are in a shadow plane, using their knowledge of the planes.

The heroes make their way through the labyrinthine halls, coming across emaciated and gibbering wretches along the way. All the while they hear a faint whisper in their minds. They stop and take some time to think the problem through, but eventually return to searching, after which they come across a Shezar-Ki named Abujin, who seems somewhat more lucid. He agrees to guide the heroes to the shadowlord of the Oubliette and instructs them that he can only be defeated through declarations of positive will.

The heroes eventually find and confront the shadowlord, defeating it through force of will and belief in themselves and their cause. With the fall of the shadowlord, they are returned to the crematoria, where a surprised Vontius is caught off guard.

The heroes quickly assault Vontius, focusing on taking down his guardian while Adgar works feverishly to counter the necromancer’s spells. Shai’ani’s blizzard destroys the skeletons swarming up the stairs while the heroes furiously attack the necromancer, eventually felling him without suffering too much harm.

The heroes then decide to trek to the Western column, once again making their way through the undead horde. As they near, Karunda once again appears. Karunda indicates ahead lies the Prepatorium, where bodies are prepared for internment. There lies the sisters of silence, three noblewomen kidnapped by Azazae and turned into the undead creatures they now are. While they have the memories of the sisters, the bodies are occupied by the spirits of the anwae. He indicates that they create an area of silence around them and their talons drip with poison.

Skardus scouts the structure, and after some planning and preparation the heroes burst in through the doors on the short side of the building. At first the heroes deal with the sisters who move in and out of invisibility, striking and retreating. Eventually, Adgar strikes down one of the sisters with a fiery blow and the remaining sisters fly into a frenzy.

Mutana is hard-pressed defending his allies, but when a second sister falls to a fire bolt from Adgar, the last remaining one becomes a blur of claws that even Mutana could not hold back. Adgar is slain and Thakan is dropped before Mutana and Skardus can finally bring her down. In desperation, Skardus and Mutana use healing salves to restore Thakan to consciousness, but too long has passed and Adgar is beyond Thakan’s magic. The heroes are left to contemplate their options on how to proceed.

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Adventure 41: Embers of Memory Part III

As the heroes enjoy some downtime at a local pub, Wenadu strolls in tuning his lute. After singing a song in an unknown language, he has a brief conversation with the heroes about the nature of the dragons and their relationship to the Nezura. It is unclear at the end of the conversation if the heroes are enlightened to confused by the content of the conversation.

During the two weeks while they consolidate control over Menethar, the heroes have a number of encounters. Mutana has a grimstak dream, where he once more encounters the one-eyed grimstak. The one-eyed grimstak says, “Time grows short, young cub; find your way north before long, I sense the beast growing within you. Come to Stambrecht and I will find you.”

Skardus has a vision in the market place, seeing the spirit of the Xelus that says, “Septus Artia Mundii, the fate of the world rests upon you, cat of the plains.” As the vision clears, he sees a very large Punjal who bumps into him. After a conversation, the Punjal, named Obudai, offers to fight for Skardus. Skardus decides to test the Punjal by having him help Lord Ethna take the Watchtower and Paranon.

Darakan meets up with Thakan. The estranged brothers have another tense conversation, with Thakan still uncomfortable with Darakan’s assertions.

Adgar encounters Arudra the fortuneteller, who gives him a reading: Child of the mountain, born to the hum of steel and the roar of flame. Flamebearer, steelbender, runescribe, stonehand, and forger of legends. You are the inferno working in tandem with the tempest. Fire is life and death, the warmth of the hearth and the horror of dragonflame. You must find the secret in the dark of the fells. You must tame wildfire or be consumed.

As the heroes journey to Avashara, they see flames and smoke in the distance. Skardus and Mutana sneak closer and see dragon spawn feasting on a wrecked merchant caravan. Their knowledge of dragon lore compels them to deal with the pack, as it is likely there will be more attacks. After a brief but intense battle, the heroes drive the kill much of the brood and the remainder flee.

A few days later the heroes arrive at the necropolis of Avashara. In the distance they see thousands of undead milling about the necropolis. As they approach the are met by Karunda, Keeper of the Dead, an Enar of the Yadara. Karunda agrees to shield the heroes from the sight of the undead not near a necromancer in exchange for the heroes aid in giving peace back to the dead.

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