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  1. The Good, the bad, and the Ugly

April 26, 2011 12:26

The light emanating from the decaying coffins was indeed magic items. Mordrek and Rhohasn examined the items while the rest of the party scouted the area and discovered a second staircase in better condition.

The staircase ascended into a great room empty except for a large cabinet. A’shale and Rodminden began searching the room and discovered large humanoid footprints in the dust. They also heard heavy footfalls echoing down one of the exit corridors. A’shale shifted into panther form and swiftly disappeared into the darkness, followed by Nahjra. A’shale silently approached a young plate armored dragonborn. He slipped quietly behind the hulking warrior and waited for Nahjra to approach.

The three almost came to blows. As A’shale growled threats from the darkness the young dragonborn roared in anger at being surprised, unleashing his dragonfear aura. Nahjra’s steadying presence quickly defused the situation and the dragonborn warrior followed them back to the chamber. Rhohasn and Rodminden searched the rotting cabinet, knocking it over and causing it to disgorge an array of weapons. Rhohasn also found a missive, signed by a grimpreist and dated to the siege of Myhorland two hundred years ago. It was an order for weapons, further confirming the alliance between the two temples.

The dragonborn introduced himself as Shamash. He declared himself one of the Ahnthrynaari, the followers of the silver dragon, sequestered long ago and returned to the world to aid in the struggle against the creeping darkness. He arrived two weeks ago and had survived by hunting rats while monitoring the activities of an orc tribe. Shamansh drew a rough sketch laying out the orc encampments. Beyond that he could not say where he came from or what he was sent here to do. The party returned with their new companion to the temple. They showed Shamash the picture, introduced him to Alo, and shared a meal before taking rest.

At dawn the party approached the orc encampment and found the the main avenue lined with unusual orc effigies. Rodminden and A’sahle studied the effigies in detail, and determined they were composed of the bones of orcs, tieflings, and various species of beastmen. Mordrek discovered the effigies were part of a complex, powerful ritual blocking the passage of infernal beings. In addition. A’shale discovered a set of bi-pedal hooved tracks of a species unknown to him.

As the party continued to examine the ritual barrier, A’shale attempted to climb one of the taller buildings to get a view of the orc encampments. He dislodged a piece of masonry and fell to the ground unharmed. The disturbance attracted the attention of a patrol, and a horde of orcs and a winged demon led by a shaman poured out of the ruins and attacked. After the battle the party stripped the orcs of their equipment and retreated to the temple.

On the way back A’shale smelled smoke emanating from the direction of the temple. The party charged forward while Nahjra hid the orc gear. Entering the temple compound the party saw a Tiefling woman wielding a black sword standing over a young grimpriest writhing in pain as infernal smoke rose from a burn on the man’s forehead. A’shale and Shamash charged, but were thrown aside by the Tiefling’s arcane powers. Rhohasn recognized the Tiefling as the warlock Merasta and greeted her calmly. She advised the party to negotiate with the orcs, claiming the orcs wished to found a nation, and that they are enemies of the Shadar-kai. She also divulged that the barrier was created to imprison an infernal being left behind by the Shadar-kai to haunt the ruins of Mehurland. She further claimed the orcs were offering sacrifices to the shadow devil to appease it’s hunger, and that party could negoatiate a peace with the orcs by appearing to match or exceed the power of the devil they have mastered. Merasta then disppeared, leaving more questions than answers.

The young priest wounded by Merasta survived, but was discovered to be growing a set of Tiefling horns. The party secured a promise form Alo that the community would accept the man’s curse, and was left grimly pondering how to act on Merasta’s advice.

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