The Awakening

You're all in a tavern....

...and some thugs walk in (totally original).

9th Day of Nightal : Evening – Fallcrest – The Red Drake Inn

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Today was a bad day. While hitching a ride back to Fallcrest in a large caravan of merchants and adventurers, our heroes were set upon by a gang of goblins. While they managed to fend off the attack and chase off the goblins they looted all of your earnings from their latest, separate, endeavours.

At this point the party aren’t fully acquainted.

A low fire burns in the hearth of this comfortable, lively, common room. Now safe within the walls of the small city of Fallcrest, they find themselves in the Red Drake Inn. It is a popular tavern, full of patrons drinking and talking loudly.

Not long after their second round of drinks a group of tough-looking men saunter into the centre of the room. They look to be common thugs, however, one man stands out from the rest. The leader of the group, a scarred man in chainmail, looks around the room menacingly. He looks intently into the corner of the room where there is someone who had hadn’t noticed before; a hooded man sits further back into his seat, attempting to avoid notice.

(Perception DC_12) The hooded man appears to be petrified, visibly shaking with fear at the sight of the scarred man. He wears the robes of a merchant, and the pendant of Avandra, God of fortune and adventure. [Insight = there is something odd about him.]

Suddenly the mercenary points out the hooded man to his men. Then he shouts out with a deafening cry that silences the lively Inn’s walls. He commands all others to leave or be killed. Quickly the tavern empties, he and his men move towards a hooded merchant.

The scarred man shouts at the party to leave but instead they implore the thugs to stop least they so their own fate.

The merchant cries out for help, “Please don’t let them kill me! I…I….I’ll make it worth your whi….!” He says before being hit around the head by one of the scarred man. (PP DC_10) “The master says you know how to get it working.. So!? How does it work?! You better tell us now or we’ll slice you open right here!”

“That’s enough! Boys, kill these idiots!" the scarred man shouts.

After the fight the group approach the the hooded man in the corner…

The man huddled in the booth is dressed in plain merchants’ robes with his hood up and covering his face while he clutches the holy symbol with his now white-knuckled hands.
As the group approaches he lowers his hood, revealing his face. The man’s brown hair is in utter disarray, and even now, his thin, wiry frame quivers from the traumatic experience. He looks up at you all with wide, blue eyes as you approach and says..

“Th-th-thank you so much for saving me! Avandra bless you; bless all of you! I thought for sure that I was d-d-d-dead! My name is [Traevus] Cranister, I am a simple merchant of the Westcity and am deeply in your debt. I must admit I have seen you all before, you were part of the same convoy as me that was attack this morning. You truly are great warriors, please take this as a gesture of good faith. You see, a Cranister always pays his debts!” [10gp each]

Q: Who were these men and why were they trying to kill you?
“These men were hired thugs that I can only assume an old business partner of mine, Malareth, must have sent to kill me.”

Q: Why would your partner send thugs to kill you?
“Well it would seem he has been driven completely mad by a small artefact we recently came across together! You see he betrayed me one night and stole my share of the earnings! He had even tried to have my throat slit, lucky for me I had ‘Boo’ here looking out for me.” ([Traevus] reaches into his pocket to reveal a small distinctly ugly looking rodent… he sits it on his palm and strokes it gently.) “…He woke me up just in time and I managed to escape our old encampment!”

Q: Do you know anything about the convoy this morning?
“Yes I believe I do. Please, have a look in his pockets” (gesturing to the scarred man’s lifeless body).

Upon searching they find a small scroll on the mercenary’s satchel. The seal broken in side it reads in thick black ink…

“Traevus is a traitor. Find him, find out what he knows and bring him and the ornate box he stole, to me at the Temple Of The Four. My birds tell me that he shall be on the ‘first-light’ Westcity caravan to Fallcrest tomorrow morning. Do NOT disappoint me. M”

Traevus nods and reveals a small scrunched up letter with the same seal, written in the same hand and with the same message however this one… is written in Goblin…
“You see? Both these thugs and the goblins were sent by [Malareth]! He truly has gone mad!”

Treavus avoids questions about the ornate box, dismissing it saying that it is nothing. Explaining that he doesn’t know why [Malareth] had become obsessed with it, wrongly believing it to be something with powerful magic!

[Traevus] then seems to look up at you with a renewed hope…

_“Listen, I truly thank you all for coming to my aid. Having seen how well you handled yourselves with those goblins this morning and now with these thugs, might I beseech you to come to the aid of this old merchant?

I am scared for my life and I am afraid that the only way to stop the threat is to end Malareth’s madness before it gets out of hand. Before he betrayed me, I heard him uttering words of pillaging the Fallcrest trade routes, he must be stopped! Also there is the matter of our possessions? Those disgusting Goblins took off with something dear to me just as I’m sure they did for you, yes? Well you see, I think I know whereabouts their lair! Will you help me retrieve our possessions and stop [Malareth]?”_

As the party go to leave the city guards rush in but luckily the barkeep, who had hidden behind the bar, recounts your acts of bravery to the guards. They thank you for your acts and call for the bodies to be cleared.

Our adventures spend the night guests of the Inn and set on their way to the lair the next morning..

10th Day of Nightal : Morning

On the road to the Temple Of The Six…

The group is now on route to the so called Temple Of The Six, a hideout of madman [Malareth] and the location of your stolen coin. You are on a lonely road, approaching the site along the directions [Traevus] gave you. The distant howl of wolves has followed you since you set out from Fallcrest, and now you see two of the beasts emerge from behind some rocks along the side of the road. The wolves grown menacingly. Suddenly, with a shrill cry, three goblins appear from behind a ruined town and rush to attack! “Ambush!” Gaius shouts!

The party fights off the attackers swiftly and after the fight, upon searching the Hex Hurler’s green bloodied corpse, they find a curious looking device. A disk, perfectly circular with draconic text engraved all around. They are single letters and symbols and have dividing lines between each. (Dungeoneering DC_12 = You recall that such devices are known as ciphers, used to lock enchanted doorways.)

The party finally arrives at the gateway to the Temple of the Six. A large door stands before you, seemingly the only way in. They realise they must use their skills to seek out and unlock the mystery of this locked door.

Using their familiarity with Dungeons, ruins and general spelunking they uncover the circular slot lined with what appears to be the outer cipher ring. They then clip the cipher into the wall and use it to decode the draconic gibberish on the doorway.

“They make everything that can be seen, and everything in between.
They make the nights warm, the days cold, the crops grow,
the desert flourish, the world’s foundation and the weak strong.
Six they count now from the simple days of four.”

Just as the code is complete there is a deep knocking sound, the sound of mechanical parts turning. Then six holes shift open on the wall. Spread out in a large Hexagonal pattern. The group figure out the riddle and start to illuminate all of the holes by putting the relevant element into them.. fire for fire, wind for wind, earth for earth etc.
Once the group illuminate all of the keyholes they step into the next room. After looking around for a few seconds they suddenly become very sleepy and fall unconscious….

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JamesR

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