All great epics start with humble beginnings. Life learning experiences and the unfortunate knowledge that even trusted and respected officials may have ulterior motives. This is such a tale.
Like many such stories, the adventurers first gathered at an inn. Hired as mercenary bodyguards, each had their own reason for being there. Truth for knowledge, a desire to make one’s mark in the world, insatiable curiosity, or the simple desire for gold. In the end, all would lead to a years’ long tumultuous friendship that would lead to the greatest adventure any of them would ever experience.
But they were not alone. Several other young men and women also gathered there. Some were fellow sellswords, while others were members of the royal guard.
Two notable names would lead the group: Malcolm, the dour yet competent lieutenant of the royal guard, and Argyll, the charismatic and genial royal archivist tasked to retrieve some mysterious artifact from within the storm-surged former capital of Kalor.
Their trek would lead them east. Kobold bandits did attempt to waylay the group, but they were rapidly dispatched. Regrettably, one of the guards would not survive the ambush.
As they approached the old capital, they would experience first hand the terrible magic that animated the oceans: a veritable hurricane of a storm would batter the adventurers as they approached their destination: the main temple to Pelor in the center of the vast metropolis. Unfortunately, what they would not know until the had nearly reached their destination is that a different race had moved in and called Kalor home: the Kuo-Toa.
Fighting and then running as hundreds of fish-men converged on them, three more would lose their lives before they were able to seek refuge within the temple and bar the heavy doors. Within, they finally found the secret trapdoor that would lead them underground and into a nest of skeletal undead.
With the team split to search the series of tunnels for the artifact, the adventurers would meet but very efficiently deal with a small wave of skeletons. As they would head the other to way to meet up with the rest of the party, they would discover yet more skeletons (and the unfortunate bodies of more of their group) lying defeated.
Finally, they would come upon a small enclosed room at the end of a corridor. At the opposite end, they would spot a brightly yellow glowing orb, with Argyll eying it, Malcolm and the two remaining guards at his back. Two tiny crystals had also been placed on the orb’s pedestal.
With a mischievous grin, Argyll would utter a few short words, and a magical barrier sprung up between the six adventurers and Argyll’s group. Malcolm and the guards drew their blades in alarm, but it was then that Argyll’s true nature was revealed. With the kind of grace and speed only found in rarest of warriors, Argyll’s staff would split in half, from which two bright magical rapiers would emerge. The two guards would die within seconds, and while Malcolm put up a valiant fight, the adventurers would be forced to watch helplessly as Malcolm would be robbed of his life as well.
Behind the adventurers, many many more skeletons would attempt to rush them, but before the party could get overwhelmed, all skeletons would fall to dust and bones on the ground. Argyll had pulled the orb from it’s pedestal, uttered a few words, and the orb’s intense light would dim to a mere glow. With a bow and a word of thanks for cake, he would disappear into a magic portal, leaving the adventurers trapped in a temple with no way out.
Fortunately, the magic crystal powering the magical barrier would not be strong enough to last, and after two days of pacing and searching, the crystal would shatter and the magic would dissipate. They would analyse the pedestal to see the words inscribed: “May the evil of Haredrin never return!”. Mysterious words that would remain a mystery over the next few months.
When they emerged from the temple, they would be shocked to discover bright sun under a blue sky, with the waves lapping gently along the coast for the first time in a thousand years! With a confused Wilshon, captain of the royal guard, patrolling the city, wondering what the hell happened.
Following the disappearance of Argyll and the story provided by the player characters, all the PCs were detained by Wilshon, the captain of the royal guard, while they investigated their claims. Argyll was never found, and all scrying attempts failed, but the royal guard did find mostly burned remains of scrolls and diaries making reference to the Haredrin Knights, a cult they believe, among his possessions. They had also found a few those tiny crystals, but none of them had any spells locked within. Sadly, and much to the chagrin of the court mages, none of the spell scrolls used to create these interesting new spells have been found. The royal guard believes there may be more cult members around, but they have no clue as to who they might be.
Unfortunately for the PCs, while the royal guard no longer believes they are responsible for what happened, and the royal guard DID raid your homes to be sure (sorry, guys), they have not allowed you to leave Taris for fear of you spreading the word of what happened and causing a panic among a justifiably jittery people. After all, the seas did calm after a thousand years. They have allowed you to send letters of correspondence to your families to ensure them you are alright, but they have read all of them.
You have all been kept under guard in a lush home near the palace. The royal guard keeps watch on you 24/7. And while you are certainly not lacking in comfort (REALLY not … some of you may be getting fat), you do feel yourselves become a little stir crazy.