Called to Service
Each of our heroes received an urgent letter from Iapol, an elf woman who serves as the de facto magistrate of the small town of Blackroot, on the southern reaches of Tethyr, abutting an old, swampy forest of the same name.
Her letter read:
Friends, forgive my imposition, but if you can be spared, please come and see me in Blackroot. Captain Towercrest has gone missing, and I fear the worst. I keep a room at the Boar’s Head Lodge. Please hurry.
As the fates or gods would will it, the adventurers arrive late on the same evening. Among them are…
Orren, a noble and selfless dwarf cleric, clad in chainmail and fiercely wielding a warhammer guided by divine might.
Slashreap, the impulsive, yet dangerous Tiefling who needs nothing more than his trusted longsword to protect himself and his allies, and turn the pain and punishment back on his foes.
Les, the rash and fierce Goliath avenger who is always first into battle and last out of the infirmary.
Vespera, a practical and patient witch whose command of the battlefield has often saved many lives, including her own.
Tava, a quiet yet imposing dragonborn wizard. His control over elemental forces make him feared and respected.
Last, and possibly least, Roderick, the half-elf ardent. What he lacks in wits and wisdom (a fair bit most will say) are made up for in an uncanny stubborn determinism. It is certain the tales that will be told of him will be met with laughs and bewilderment.
As the crew arrived on the edge of town, however, they were overcome by a heavy presence which carried their minds to blackness and drew them into a dreamlike state. The image of Blackroot before them disappeared into the blackness.
When they came to, they found themselves in broad daylight at the remains of an old excavation site. Slashreap sprung into action. He climbed to the top of a small fence and discovered the excavation site was overrun by kobolds. They turned to him and hissed, and soon the party was engaged in fierce battle.
Roderick, by brute force, cleared away for his companions by smashing through two lines of fences. Upon reaching the other side he attempted—in the midst of fierce battle—to engage a pair kobolds in civil discourse. When his words were met with swords he had no choice but introduce them to the foul end of his longspear.
The fighting was intense, but ultimately the party of heroes won. They discovered that a rope ladder descended into the excavation pit below. They climbed the ladder down and continued into the pit.
The cavern below was adorned was clearly the work of dwarves, though which and when was unknown. An open chamber led to a narrow hallway that was guarded by a large statue of a dwarf in full battle gear. Roderick rushed forward to get a closer look and fell right into a kobold trap. The floor opened below him, and he tumbled into a pit where he remained until the party had dispatched the enemies.
The party helped Roderick out of the pit trap, and after a short breather headed down a dark hallway. A larger chamber was at the end of the hall, and Les snuck up to peer around the corner and see what lay within. Seeing only a rabble of kobolds milling about, and emboldened by the last few battles, Les jumped out into the room to face them without even waiting for his party to come help him.
He would regret this decision.
After turning the corner and making his way out into the room a bit, he was surprised to discover that in a side alcove was an infant dragon perched upon a dwarven throne. The kobolds engaged Les in combat, and soon the wyrmling followed. Before his allies could arrive, Les was knocked to the ground and beaten within inches of death.
Help did arrive, however, and soon the tide of battle turned in the heroes’ favor. The wyrmling fell, and soon the kobolds were defeated as well. The battle was brutal and exhausting, but they triumphed.
Some members of the party rummaged through the dragon’s coffers and found gold and gems as well as magical amulet that granted protection to its wearer. Others explored the cave. More signs of dwarf ancestry were evident from carvings, tapestries, and paintings. Most curious was the large, black pit at the far end of the chamber. It was so deep that one could imagine it had no bottom. Stepping close to it made one feel as though it were pushing them back. But the resistance was not a gust of wind or wall of water; clearly there was a strange force at work. Vespera approached and through her wealth of arcane training determined that a weak, but benevolent arcane force emanated from the abyss. She saw flecks of purple light wafting up, and as she leaned over the pit to inspect it more, the orb she carried to focus arcane energy began to glow purple as well. It was as though magic enveloped it.
But then the abyss pushed back hard, and Vespera was thrown away from it. All of the heroes began to feel dark and overcome—a feeling similar to the one they had as they arrived in Blackroot. But as the blackness took root in their minds, other visions flashed in as well.
Each experienced vision of painful, grotesque, and horrible deaths: drowning in violent oceans, peppered by arrows from faceless men, crushed under the thick weight of earth, torn apart by fantastic beasts, starving in an endless jungle, and eviscerated by thousands of pellets of magical energy.
A brief sound of laughter rang in each of their ears. Then they awoke.