Eberron - Scarred Elf Campaign
Koln - 4 Vult, 995 YK
Having determined that the Wind Fists were on the verge of attempting some kind of ritual to release a daelkyr from its prison, the party travelled to a ruined keep, where they expected the ritual would be taking place.
The keep itself was little but rubble, but there was a passage to the tunnels beneath the keep. They encountered resistance from the Wind Fists, as expected, and much to the Wind Fists’ regret.
After several battles, they rescued a half-elven lordling by the name of Beoric ir’Aedel Ir’Aedel was a member of the Aundairan aristocracy, send as part of a trade mission to obtain dragonshards in the Shadow Marches (and more cheaply than they could be procured from House Tharashk). His party had been lured to the keep on false pretences. The remaining members of his party had been taken deeper into the tunnels, drugged and ritually painted; he doubted they were still alive.
Ir’Aedel proved to be handy in a fight. He had served in the Aundarian military, and had received bardic training as part of his officer’s education. Koln and Ket soon warmed to him. Krepis was not so sure.
It became clear that the forces beneath the keep could not be defeated in a single day. The party returned to the village to rest for the night. Spent, they would not return as soon as they would have hoped.
The malaise that had settled on the village was growing. The ashi fields were completely empty, the villagers irritable and mistrustful. The village pathways were nearly deserted. On previous returns to the village, the druid Crukal has procured volunteers form whose vitality he drew to heal the party more quickly; now there were no volunteers, which meant a longer recovery. Both Beoric and the druids sensed a strong, dark energy coming from the north, which they expected was the source of the malaise.
Koln’s mother, Annika, was pale, weak, and delirious. Like many of the villagers, she had been suffering from bad dreams. Hogar was hunting for food because the village market had shut down. Koln’s sister, Asta, was subdued, and worried about Annika, but otherwise unaffected.
The party went to the local tavern to try to find a room for Beoric, but found all of the rooms had been let to a group of strangers in military bearing. As a result, Beoric bunked with Ket’s family that night.
Suspicious of the strangers, Koln followed them that evening, and overheard their conversation. He could not get close enough to see them in the night, but he suspected there wereat least a half a dozen men.
One voice, in the accent of the Shadow Marches, sayid “But you had an arrangement with Kalaarel!”
Another, stronger, voice, replied in an accent similar to Douvren Staal’s, “Our agreement was to provide funding, and supplies, which we have. We have no obligation to do anything else, and I have no intention of risking my men to defend yours."
The Marcher replied, “But we have taken heavy losses! And the ritual has been delayed! We need more men to defend the keep until we can complete the ritual!”
To which the foreigner said, “If you can’t defend the keep, that’s not my problem. Frankly, I have had concerns over this little procedure of yous from the start, and I would not be disappointed if someone stopped you from carrying out your plans.”
The Marcher protested, but the foreigner cut him off, saying, “I have nothing more to say in the matter. We have what we came for, and we will be leaving shortly. I suggest you leave now; it could be … unfortunate for you if the locals discovered your presence.
Koln then heard the Marcher leave. A few moments later, the foreigner said, “if it was up to me, we would help these orcs to finish off those savages. I do not like what they are trying to unleash on the world.”
A second foreign voice answered, “But my Lord, will they not bring more of the Blessed into the world?”
The Lord grunts. “Hmm. You will learn in time, young Madox, that more of the Blessed is not, in and of itself, a good thing. Those that make the sacrifice willingly, and for the cause, can do great good despite their darker nature. But to randomly put them out into the world, without a higher calling to keep them in check, can lead to great evil. This thing they want to unleash is one of a handful of creatures that spent centuries committing atrocities in Khorvaire. I only hope the artifact is worth the risk.”
“Speaking of which, have you found a suitable location?”
Maddox replies, “Yes, to the north, at an old Dhakaani temple.”
And the Lord said, “Good, hopefully we can get out of here in just a few days. In the meantime, see what you can find out about that woman and her family. She has been touched by the Blessed; I know the signs, but she is different somehow and I want to know more. It is really a shame those idiots killed Staal before we realized who he was. I’m sure he would have had more information.”
Maddox snorts, “Would he have given it to us?”
And the Lord says, “Not willingly, certainly. But Menelda can be persuasive. And his wife is here; threats might have sufficed, and we could have avoided unnecessary violence.”
Koln knew his mother was different, and suspected that, like Staal, the foreigners had more interest in his family then he would like. He moved Annika and Asta to a hidden location outside of the village, and settled down to protect them for the night.