Mallan goes to talk with Kanos about the undead. He suggests that Mallan talk to the King's rangers, Sayara and Gromradas. Mallan finds them at the constabulary talking with Zeek, a member of the local watch. Mallan carefully explains what he has heard and describes Team Glarg's willingness to help solve any problems. Sayara and Gromradas explain that tin used to come to Quivera via the road from the east. The tin was mined near Fire Mountain (Sir Logmar's lands).
Note: The tin shipments passed through Baron Karst's lands into Rush Creek where drovers would pick the tin up and haul it back to Quivera. Karst was always a very private man. He did all of his dealings through Overmen that would bring the tin across the Rushing River into the hamlet of Rush Creek. Recently though, there has been no word from Rush Creek. Any travelers heading that direction never get much further than half-way between Prince's Rest and Rush Creek. The report is always the same. Those that survive tell of hordes of undead milling around without purpose the closer the travelers got toward Rush Creek. The Overmen do not pass in and out of Karst's holdings anymore. So far, none of the Overmen trapped on this side of Rush Creek are talking.
Sayara and Gromradas suggest that Mallan talks with Cargath. Anorela tries and tries to convince party members to come with him to the Drunken Dog Pub. He is convinced that Squeak, Scratchy, and Bitey are wererats. Anorela continues his surveillance of the three suspects until the meeting with Cargath. Anorela is convinced that he knows where the wererats' lair in Quivera is.
Sterling notices a wagon driven by two Overmen bearing the crest of Baron Karst. Sterling waves yelling at the overmen to talk with him; incredibly, the two Overmen wheel the wagon around and greet Sterling with open palmed salutes.
The drivers says, "I am Smastor, and this is Skuggastor" pointing at the Overman sitting next to him on the wagon board. "What business do you have with the All Father manling? Hurry up, our time here is short!"
Sterling says, "Greetings Overmen, and well met! I'm Sterling, elven ranger of Team Glarg. Your standard is that of the Lord Karst, would thou be on a quest for your honorable Lord? How fare things in and surround his estate? My party and I have been asked to inquire about Lord Karst's overdue taxes by Reginald, Knight Marshall of the Duke. Surely there must have been a wagon ambushed along the trail to Balcon, as good men of your caliber certainly wouldst not ignore requests of the Duke. What has happened?"
Smastor and Skuggastor look a little sheepish. They offer you a chance to go to the Three Ann Pub, the main competitor in Quivera to the Drunken Dog Pub.
Sims is standing behind the bar as you enter. "Hail Smastor! Who is your friend?" Sims points at Sterling. "Someone that is interested in helping us with our ... ummm ... zombie problem." Sims scowls and looks down.
The Three Ant seems to have a somewhat higher end set of patrons than the Drunken Dog does. Smastor and Skuggastor scan the pub and then head towards a table with two seated gentlemen. Both are wearing simple tunics of plain colors. One has Runes of mastery and knowledge/truth displayed while the other is wearing Runes of plant and fertility.
Skuggastor greets the latter saying, "Ho Bochol!" Bochol is the local priest for Flamal, the god of seeds and plant fertility. Bochol motions for the three of you to sit at the table. Bochol says, "you know Dagohild already." Sterling recalls that Dagohild is the local apothecary. Smastor starts things off by saying, "Bochol, Dagohild, this is Sterling. [Gestures to Sterling] He says that he has a sturdy band of adventurers who are here to clear a path to the All Father's Keep. There are a lot of skeletons, zombies, and ghouls, and even stronger night walkers between here and the All Father's keep."
Bochol interjects, "OK, why are you telling us this?" Skuggastor comes to Smastor's aid saying, "it would be to all of our goods if this undead menace were dealt with. Do either of you have items or magics that might aid Sterling and his band?" Bochol says, "well, we don't know anything about Sterling and his band. What has made you select him as your champion?" Smastor sits back silent for a moment, and finally says, "I like the way he looks, and desperate times cause for desperate risks."
Dagohild says, "I'll tell you what. If Sterling and his band do something notable and good for Quivera, I will donate some Ignis Weed, Healing Potions, and Demon-Fire." Smastor replies, "that is more than we could have hoped for!" Dagohild says, "I know Baron Karst will be generous in his recompense." "True, true, very true" Skuggastor says, "and, what say you Bochol?"
Bochol spends an uncomfortable moment eyeing Sterling and then turns to Skuggastor to say, "my skills and influences do not lie with the unliving, but I would be willing to give you a message to bear to the Plateau of Daka Fal to the northwest. Those ancestor worshippers surely have some proof against the night walkers. The shamans don't like to see things cut off from the spirit plane. If Dagohild is satisfied then I will give you my bond to take to the shamans."
Smastor turns to Sterling and says, "I would like to meet with your band as soon as possible. What skills do they bring to this fight? What might they do to prove their mettle and intents to Bochol and Dagohild, and when can your band begin?"
Sterling says, "Good men, my party and I have recently arrived from Balcon. Our party has several errands to run around the city before we will be ready. Allow me to meet with the remainder of my party and our leader to discuss this mutually beneficial endeavor. Might we meet again in a day or so to discuss the details? Perhaps we might need to hear what the shamans know about dealings with the undead."
All four nod their agreement at meeting with your party mates in two days. Dagohild says, "Let us meet here [at the Three Ant Pub] when Yelm is at his peak [noon] two days hence. As to what the shamans of Daka Fal know, I cannot say with certainty, but they hate the undead and have fought the unnaturally raised since the Gods Time. Besides the knights of Humakt, I can think of no better ally if I were to fight the legions of undeath."
Later at the meeting with Cargath ... Cargath ushers the party into a circular room at the center of his home/shop. The room smells of heavy incense, and the walls are painted black with glow-in-dark stars, runes, and mystic symbols in a light green. As the party members' eyes adjust to the gloom, they see a round table with a dozen or more seats arrayed around it. Cargath beckons the party to take seats. Oddly, Anorela does not show up on time. Eventually the party elects to begin.
Cargath looks around the room at each of the party members in turn. After an uncomfortable silence, Cargath says, "I have been told that you are here to see me about a trip to ancient Damaral. Have I been told truly? If so, what questions do you have?"
Sterling opens by saying, "Good Mage, thank you for having us. Silvus sends her regards. You are correct about us seeking ancient Damaral. Do you know anything about those lands and if anything has been happening there recently? Any rumors or concerns?"
The remainder of the meeting with Cargath is recorded in the log below.
Note on Zhalindor: Gold pieces in Zhalindor are called Wheels. Silver pieces are called Lunars. There are twenty Lunars in a Wheel. Coppers are called Clacks, and there are ten Clacks per Lunar. Other nations have other currency. The Wolfen, a race living on the northern edge of the Timerian Empire, to the south, use retangular pieces of money that look like dog tags. Most parties convert large amounts of coinage into gems. Gems are easier to carry, to conceal, and generally hold their value well across borders.
2152 Y.O.L. - Sea Season - Harmony Week – Clayday
After successfully purchasing goods for travel, and Sterling’s meeting with the Lord Karste’s Overmen, the group re-joined to discuss matters with Cargath.
Cargath begins, "very well. Damaral is one of the ruins in the Barony of Quival that dates from the Kingdom of Lei Po, or the Great Northern Empire as it is generally called today. The extreme western settlements came as far as Tumeria and the present day Duchy of Kernan. The Empire fell because of internal corruption. The Empire worshipped the Pantheon of the Void, headed by Lord Eldar.
"Magic and especially summoning magic have a corrupting influence. Can one truly say who rules who, summoned or summoner? Demons were routinely called upon to perform basic functions from growing crops to cleaning homes.
"The ruins, the truly old ruins, share common elements. The cities are constructed in a monolithic fashion. The walls are continuous as if the city of ten thousand souls or more was raised in a single night, raised by non-mortal hands. Often at the very center of these cities, there was a captured Voidling or powerful demon that was worshipped as a local deity.
"When the Empire was destroyed, many of these entities lived on. What lies for countless aeons dreaming might find that death itself does die.
"Given their construction and uses, it should not be surprising to you that the structures themselves cause corruption. Just spending too much time in and around the ancient places can wither one’s soul. It is rumored that Veldman visited such a place to gain great powers, and it is said that he was never the same afterward.
"Oh yes, much power can be gained for those willing to take the risks … eh, eh, but at what cost? At what cost?
"Certainly the cities must have possessed some control over the servants of the Void. If there are methods for countering the servants of the Old Ones, whether implements or knowledge, then thouse would be founding the Empire’s ancient bones.
"The Empire was once a verdant grassland. The capitol was fair Permeganon, and the military center was Traagor. The magics held in the Empire’s heyday were immense, almost unimaginable, but some of those magics exist to this day. No doubt. No doubt. Yet, the dangers attendant in just traveling to these exotic and evil locales are considerable.
"This I can tell you though. Damaral was a good sized city. Within its borders seek the implements called “Eldar Signs.” They appear to be pentagrams enclosing a flaming eye. The Signs are the bane of those associated with the Void. Merely holding up a Sign forcefully in the direction of a Void spawn will cause the being discomfort and pain. Additionally, such creatures cannot use their foul magics on you while you are in contact with a Sign. If the Sign makes contact with the Spawn, it will hurt the Spawn gravely, but beware for it is said that such an abuse of a Sign will cause the Sign to fade and cease to function.
"I confess that I lack the knowledge to create these Signs. Still, in the days of Lei Po, it must have been a common enough thing. Today, there are Mages of Legend that might still possess the will, the power, and the knowledge. Saint Acheron, Carrastinian the Red, Dialecti the Terrible, and the Founder, Malachi, all come to mind.
"If the knowledge to create the Signs still exists in the Great Waste where it would be found in Permeganon or the Temple of Eldar. Beyond the obvious perils, it is said that the Lords of Void extract some payment for every boon they grant.
"It is legended that Veldman sold his soul to Lord Eldar in exchange for the wampheri egg that was used to infect Tumeria.
"What you seek to do is noble and brave indeed, and I have a deep and abiding faith in Silva. I will do everything in my power to help you succeed in your quest.
"To that end, let me present my apprentice who will join you on your adventures and in fighting the darkness!”
Just at that moment, the bard, Yargan, comes bursting through the door. The bright light streams in and temporarily stuns the group.
Cargath recovers quickly and shouts, “what is the meaning of this you oaf?!?!?!?”
Yargan stammered breathlessly, “sorry Sir Magnus! I meant no harm! One of the party’s own, Anorela, has been abducted by Wererats! I was working on a new ballad about Team Glarg, following Anorela at a safe distance, gathering new song information. Suddenly, Anorela was surrounded and beaten down. I confess that I froze in place until they started to come towards me.
"I fled back to the Drunken Dog as quickly as my legs would take me! The patrons said that I could find you here, and here I am. Being held by lycanthropes is never good, but speed is of the essence! Please, let me lead you to the werehouse were Anorela was taken."
The group quickly followed Yargan to a sewer opening, cleverly hidden in one of the warehouses in town, and proceeded to the unknown depths below. Quickly dispatching 2 dire rats and several swarms of diseased rats, and somehow managing to avoid being infected by their terrible disease, the group crossed a precarious, rickety bridge and up a flight of stairs. In the next room, their worst fears were confirmed… Anorela was tied to a statue with Squeak, Bitey, and Scratchy in the throws of some horribly grotesque initiation for the new recruit.
Quivera apparently holds many secrets. Perhaps the party could do much good ...
Bursting into action, the group slaved Scratchy as fast as possible as he was holding a magic sword that we beginning to control some green goo on the sewer floor. After a short battle, Bitey and Squeak both admitted defeat and dropped their weapons. Team Glarg knew that if they didn’t do something, the beasts would only infect others and begin the pestilence again. Their hands forced, the team dutifully exhausted the wererats lives, cleansing the city of Quivera of their plague.
Pushing onward, Sola noted the statue in the room appeared movable, and the group hesitated not but a second before pushing it out of the way. On the other side lay an iron giant of sorts, one of which none of the party had ever seen before. Releasing the creation from its magic circle, the friends soon learned the creation was War-forged barbarian from a long and distant past. Being frozen for the last several thousand years, the group climbed up the stairs to exit at the surface again, swapping stories of adventures both past and present.