The Travelers of Terra

Chapter 5
In Hot Pursuit

Having retrieved the white lotus, the travelers returned quickly to Gridan. While Q went to report in to Eldin, the rest of the group proceeded to the Temple of Melora. They gave the flower to the high templar watching over Dr. Cain. High Templar Gregan took the flower and prepared a pool of water in a marble basin near where Dr. Cain lay. The party was excused while Gregan and his assistants performed some very complex rituals to extract the components from the flower. While the party waited, they explored the city and refreshed their supplies. After several hours, they were summoned back to the temple by Brother Gerard, an assistant to the high templar. Eldin joined the party as they went into the templar’s study. The flower still lay in the water, though its appearance was much diminished. It was now just a clear crystal flower, though the water now seemed to shimmer with a mystical energy. Propping Dr. Cain up, the high templar administered some of this magical water to him. Color returned to Dr. Cain’s sickly looking skin and he began to stir. Within a few moments, he was awake. Though a bit out of it, he was lucid enough to answer questions about his experience. He recalled searing pain, flashes of images, malevolent intent, strange animals, and a murky forest. He had no memory of the powerful blast he let loose upon Ventus. Having gotten all the information from him that he could recall, Dr. Cain was left to rest for a few days. The group then sought more information from the Lavendis brothers.

The Lavendis brothers were very eager to search Dr. Cain’s mind for information. Together they delved into the depths of Dr. Cain’s psyche and were astonished at some of the things that they found. First, the images that Dr. Cain saw of shadowy beasts in a dank, gloomy forest were familiar to them. They recognized the place as the Forgotten Forest, north of the town of Riverside Rest. It was a place they knew well and had visited frequently in their travels. They also knew the overgrown building that Dr. Cain had seen. That was Farfang Keep, the personal retreat for Kelmar, the human member of the original Travelers. It is located on an island west of the forest. If the creatures roaming the forest were what the brothers thought they were, the people of Riverside Rest might be experiencing some trouble. Upon hearing this, Eldin had his attendants dispatch his fastest messengers to Warden Gemel, the leader of the city. Having seen the thoughts and feelings of the necromancer through Dr. Cain, the brothers shared their conclusions about his motivations. This foray into Dr. Cain’s mind confirmed some of their research findings. Ventus was exceptionally power hungry. He believed that current society was deeply flawed in their checks on magical powers. He felt that the only solution was a genocidal cleansing of Terra, and a reestablishment of society with complete freedom and where there were no limits on individual power. Also, they believed that since Ventus had traveled through the portal to Earth he might be able to recreate the spell that would connect the two planes. Finally, they also discovered that Dr. Cain has somehow manifested psionic abilities. Whether Dr. Cain had latent psionic abilities his whole life or he was infused with the power when he traveled through the portal, the brothers were unsure. Psions are exceptionally rare in Terra. Most spent their lives studying in Rithmithran Tower, to the south of Dunnedale. Since Dr. Cain was still very weak and would have difficulty traveling to Rithmithran Tower, the brothers said they would write a message to their contacts there and ask for assistance investigating this strange development.

The forgotten forest to the north was their only new lead, so the travelers geared up while awaiting a report from Warden Gemel of Riverside Rest. Eldin’s messenger did return with disturbing news. The citizens of Riverside Rest have been reporting strange events. Many have been having terrible nightmares, and many others have reported that they have had the feeling of being watched or stalked at night. Farmers on the outskirts have come forward with tales of mauled and mutilated livestock. Warden Gemel requested aid, and the party was eager to head north to investigate.

After several days travel, the group arrived at Riverside Rest. They were greeted by a relieved Warden Gemel who updated them on the situation. He offered them food and lodging after their long journey. The next day, the travelers requested to see the remains of any slaughtered livestock to see if they could confirm the nature of the animal that has been preying on them. Warden Gemel showed them to a farm to the north of the city where the most recent attack had been reported. They were greeted by two elderly, and very frightened, farmers. They had left the carcass out in the field where it was killed because they were afraid of harmful effects of going near the cursed animal. As they approached the poor creature, Dassarius distinctly felt magical aura still resonating from the carcass. While he could not pinpoint exactly what it was, he knew whatever killed this animal was not natural. Q also noticed from the claw and bite marks that the predator was most likely feline in origin. The group fixed their gaze to the north on the wide swath of ancient and ominous-looking trees that was the beginning of the Forgotten Forest.

The group headed north into the forest. It was already late, so they didn’t get far before they stopped to camp for the evening. In the middle of the night during Yolanda’s watch, she detected the faint howl of an unfriendly creature. She took a mental note of the direction for when they set off in the morning. The next day, an eerie, unnatural fog filled the forest. The travelers moved slowly, hunting for signs of creatures of the Feywild. The fog made their progress difficult. As they searched the Forgotten Forest, they stumbled upon a surprising magical object. It was a rune, glowing blue and floating insubstantial off the ground. Dassarius was able to read it as a runic word, Fel, but was unable to discern its purpose. The group explored all they could with this object, but being unable to move it or otherwise affect it, they took note of its location and moved on. The explorations of the forest also uncovered two more runes, Mec and Cad, at different points of the forest.

The group pressed onward in search of their prey and for any clues as to Ventus’ interest in this place. For such an ominous feeling forest, the travelers encountered little danger and were beginning to feel that their exploration might go incident-free. Those hopes were dashed by the piercing roars of the forest’s fierce predators. A pack of dire wolves and 2 cave bears came bounding towards the group. The party was momentarily stunned by the ferocity of the attack, but they regrouped and pressed the offensive. The group was split, Arjahn and Dassarius handling some wolves to the north, Yolanda engaging a small group solo, and Asura and Q teaming up on two of the creatures a little to the south. The team finally decided to stick together and focus their attacks on one animal at a time. The group came together, taking advantageous positions around the creatures. With their combined energies, the savage animals were quickly put to rest.

The party took a short time to heal. Having felt the savagery of the local inhabitants first hand, the group was much more vigilant as they searched the rest of the forest. As vigilant as they were, it is difficult to prepare for an attack when the aggressors appear out of thin air directly next to you. The group was not completely caught unawares. Several noticed a faint popping sound and the momentary glare of feline eyes around them just before the attack happened. Flashing into existence beside Arjahn, Q, and Dassarius were three of the Fey panthers that they were seeking. The panthers were fierce predators, bounding with such astonishing speed and power they would knock their target flat. As the group was starting to get a handle on this threat, two dire wolves, drawn by the smell of blood, bounded in to get a share of the meat. The party was certainly surprised by the arrival of more ferocious animals, but having fought dire wolves before they were confident they could overcome these animals. Q was having a tough time getting away from one panther that seemed to have locked its predatory gaze upon him. Dassarius moved backwards a bit to give himself time and range to unleash the power of the Feywild upon the creatures when he heard the thud of fast moving, padded feet from behind him. As he turned to look, two more dire wolves bounded out of the underbrush, their fanged maws biting at Dassarius as they leapt. Now the team was getting worried about surviving against so many deadly animals. But they regrouped and shifted their focus towards one creature at a time. It was difficult, but as each creature fell dead, their momentum picked up, and their fury overwhelmed that of the denizens of the forest. Soon, all the animals lay dead, and the group took a rest to tend to their wounds.

As the party wandered, they thought back to those magical runes they found situated in the forest. Could they have something to do with the strange events in the region? The group had killed some Fey jaguars, but they were no closer to solving the mystery of the recent disturbances or the reason for Ventus’ interest in this place. That is when they remembered Farfang Keep. It was on an island west of the forest. Dr. Cain had flashes of the ruined retreat of the original traveler. So the new travelers headed west. When they reached the coast, they could see the island and the keep in the distance but were somewhat disheartened for they could not perceive a way to get there. “Why not take the bridge?” Dassarius asked, somewhat confused as to why the group was talking about making rafts from fallen trees. The group stopped and looked again. While there was no traditional bridge of stone or wood, when they looked very closely they could discern the faint outline of a pathway connecting the two places over the water. To Dassarius it was as apparent as the trees and rocks of the forest behind them. He could see the blue arcane energy lines that formed the bridge quite clearly. As such, he led them to the base of the bridge. When he tried to touch the structure, he found it to be completely insubstantial. Letting his mind open to the forces of the magic around him, he detected that there was a series of five “key” holes at the foot of the bridge that would allow them pass once opened. There was no doubt that the floating runes in the forest were the keys they were looking for. And there were still two more to find. The party decided to search for the other two to see if once all found, the means of opening the bridge for passage would become clear. They knew they had found three runes in the northern and eastern parts of the forest, so they decided to scour the southern and western parts as well. They set off with a new determination and focus, but that focus blinded them from the danger right in front of them. It wasn’t until Yolanda became engulfed in thick, green ooze that they realized their peril.

Before them was a gelatinous cube so large they wondered how they could not have seen it before. Yolanda was able to quickly pry herself loose, but she found herself somewhat dazed from being submerged in this monster’s digestive juices. The rest of the group was starting to take positions around the cube, but it was not going to be that easy. From around them came the now-all-too-familiar howl of dire wolves. Wolves bounded in from the sides and the rear. Attacking with the wolves were two creatures so far unknown to them. Smaller than the dire wolves, they looked no less deadly. They looked like very large, black, savage dogs. Like the Fey panthers, they bounded with astonishing speed. It took a few moments to realize that they were moving faster than any of their eyes could see. They were in fact teleporting around the party, attacking their most vulnerable areas. Arjahn was caught in back against four of the wolves himself. Q, Asura, and Yolanda were dishing out phenomenal damage to the ooze, that is, until it engulfed them all in its horrid, slimy body. Though she was grabbed, Asura found she could still move and attacked the creature from within, slicing away at its innards. With these heroes triple teaming their lethal blows against the cube, it quickly burst in an explosion of gastric slime, no longer able to hold its form together. Considering the odds stacked against him, it was amazing that Arjahn was standing, let alone fighting. Four of the dire wolves savagely tore at him while his teammates were busy with the cube. This particular pack of wolves seemed intent on mauling Arjahn and pursued him wherever he moved. With the cube left splattered across the ground, the others turned to help their besieged comrade. Dassarius unleashed bursts of Eldritch fury, Q released arrows with devastating accuracy, and Yolanda and Asura delivered mighty blows to the savage creatures. Even though Arjahn fell at one point, he drew upon the inspiration of his companions and raised himself to finish the battle. Before long, the fury of the travelers swept across the battlefield, overwhelming and destroying all the foes in their path.

Having encountered so many unfriendly beasts in one day, the group took an extra few minutes to rest and heal. Though they felt better, this last battle truly took its toll and sapped their inner reserves. But they were very close to crossing over to Farfang Keep, so they continued to search for the last two magic runes. They were grateful that the forest allowed them to pass unhindered, though they were still vigilant for any sign of a threat. Combing the forest, they found the two runes they were looking for, Sah to the south and Tur in the east. These rune words were surely connected to the ethereal bridge, but how? Now that they had found five runes to match the five key holes, they headed back to the foot of the bridge to see what they could make of it all.

The group now faced a kind of challenge to which they were unaccustomed. Dassarius examined the bridge and key holes with his arcane eye. He believed that these runic letters were used to assemble a password that would allow them to cross the bridge. But he was unsure of what order the rune letters were to be used. Arjahn thought about the towns and villages or the area. This password puzzle seemed to resemble a type of word game that locals liked to play where they mixed up the letters of words and had to be reassembled. Wisps of memories of the former traveler came to Asura’s mind. She recalled how often powerful mages would use walls of force to protect an area that could only be traversed with the correct password. Arjahn too had knowledge of powerful clerics in time passed using similar magic to protect and preserve from danger. Q was thinking more about how the runes were situated in the forest. Having an innate sense of the layout of the forest, he recalled that three of the runes, Mec, Fel, and Tur, were located in a semi-circular shape on the north and eastern stretch of forest, while Sah and Cad were situated further away to the south. From this, Dassarius surmised that the pass code was probably made of two words, one using the three to the north and one using the two to the south. In their debate over how the words went, Yolanda had a flash of insight. The Traveler in her must have sent a bit of wisdom forward, for Yolanda seemed to notice a connection between the situation of the runes and the placement of the stars above. She felt sure that if they arranged the northern letters in a clockwise order, and the southern letters in a counterclockwise order, they would unlock the bridge. Surprised by her sudden insight and assuredness, and also not having any other ideas, they decided to go with Yolanda’s idea. First, the southern words. Dassarius reached out with the tip of his rod in what he felt was the first of the key holes. As the tip touched, the surface of the arcane lock bristled with blue energy. Each movement of the staff left a trace like that of a paint brush across a canvas. Dassarius smoothly wrote the arcane words Cadsah Felmectur. When he finished the last letter, they seemed to lock in place and crackled and shone with arcane power. Now, the letters and locking mechanism were completely clear to the entire party. From the center of the water a brilliant light erupted, temporarily blinding the group. The light faded as the power began to spread out over the area of the ethereal bridge. Before their eyes the bridge solidified in an almost crystalline fashion, with branches of translucent matter hardening like water in a winter frost. The path to the Keep was now open. The travelers were eager to explore the other side, but were wary about their current state of battle fatigue. Q decided to just scout the area on the other side while the others made camp. He returned sometime later to report on what he saw. With this information the group decided on which way to enter the Keep and rested for the evening.

Early the next morning, the group headed out towards the southern part of the keep. At this end was a very large courtyard, behind which the Keep could be seen. Considering how long ago the Travelers lived it was amazing that any of this place still stood. Still, it was not in great shape. The high outer walls of the courtyard were either crumbling or covered in a variety of foliage. The iron gate across the southern entrance was likewise covered and completely rusted around. Sealing the gate in the center was a lock in the shape of a lions head. The mouth of the lion was the place where the correct key could be used to open the gate. Not having or wanting to look for the key, the party decided to try other means of opening the gate. Q stepped up and quickly and began to use his deft skill to try to pick the lock. He was finding this task difficult and hissed an elven curse at the lock’s antique design and poor condition. Yolanda grew tired of waiting and asked Q to step aside. With a powerful swing the lock split open with a rusty metal crunch. The group parted the gates and stepped into the courtyard.

The entryway had five foot walls of ornate stonework lining the left and right side of the path. What caught the group’s immediate attention were the two life-sized and carefully carved statues behind each of the walls to the left and right. They were statues of two warriors standing atop pedestals, arms resting atop the pommels of large swords propped in front of them. The two statues were both turned towards the path that ran up the center of the courtyard. Yolanda went down the path first. At one point as the path came closer to the center of the courtyard, Yolanda stopped for two reasons. One, she heard the distinctive sound of a pressure plate being activated beneath her foot, and two, immediately after that sound, the eyes of the statues snapped open and fired two concentrated beams of fire at her. The group found cover from at least one statue at a time by moving close to one of the walls. Each member searched the pathway for any clue that would disarm the trap, but it was difficult to concentrate while dodging laser-fire blasts. While Q went forward to search for the trap mechanism, the rest of the group returned fire. Dassarius and Arjahn both released blasts of fire at the statue to the right from their place behind the wall. Yolanda and Asura both tried to scale the short wall and rush the statue, but had difficulty getting over because of the walls slippery and poor condition. They opted to then throw their ranged weapons from the cover of the wall. Age must have taken its toll on the deadly statue, for its eyes blinked out after only a few attacks from the travelers. Shifting to the other side, the group now focused its energies on the statue to the left. Again, Dassarius and Arjahn loosed bolts of arcane and radiant fire at the statue. This wall was in much better shape, and Yolanda and Asura had no trouble scaling it to charge the construct head on. Yolanda made it first, hammering at the statue with her pick. The stone warrior was ready for attackers who dared to approach its base. Its arms sprang to life and gripped the sword affixed to its front. In a smooth arc the sword came down upon Yolanda, but not before she could bring up her shield to block it. Though deflected, even the brash and stalwart Yolanda was shaken by the power of the blow. Asura followed closely behind and charged at the statue to deliver a hefty attack of her own. The warlock and the cleric continued to use their might from afar, while the two melee warriors dealt damage up close. With a few more robust attacks, the eyes of the now broken construct blinked out, its inner fire extinguished. Though thoroughly destroyed, the statues were still quite valuable. Attached to their bases as decoration were several crystal ingots which the travelers took as compensation for their trouble.

But their trouble was not over. To get to the end of the courtyard the party had to cross between another set of identical statues. Having already tripped this trap, with the scorch marks to prove it, Q was easily able to identify the row of pressure plates that would have activated the stone watchers beside the path. Rather than try to disarm the trap, the party decided to merely leap over the dangerous tiles. Asura, Arjahn, Q, and Yolanda were confident that they could jump clear over the space, but then they stopped and looked at Dassarius doubtfully. With a sigh, Dassarius winked out of existence and appeared instantly ten feet beyond the row of trapped ground. The rest of the heroes quickly joined him on the other side, though not quite so gracefully. Before them they saw the entrance to the keep. There were two large, intricately carved doors flanked by two equally large and intricately carved statues. Though somewhat sullied from centuries of neglect, the doors and statues were completely intact and still held the essence of their former majesty. The group began to walk towards the entrance but did not get far before they stopped. Sauntering out from behind the two statues was a pack of nasty creatures. From one side came three familiar forms; shadow hounds, sleek and black with bared fangs. From the other came a different kind of creature. They looked like large, hairless dogs. Their skin seemed to have an ashy appearance and the air and ground seemed to smolder with heat around them. The group of creatures came together snarling and eyeing up their new prey.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Asura charged the first hell hound a vicious slashing charge. As she stepped back from her attack Asura noticed that the air seemed ablaze around the creature, but her Tiefling skin kept her well protected. Yolanda did not fair so well after her charge at a different hell hound. Her skin singed with heat that emanated from the foul creatures. This particular grouping of hounds seemed as if they had much experience hunting together, for they cleverly kept the two fighters off balance as they pushed the group further back towards the trapped pathway. As Asura was fending off two of the shadow hounds, she felt the sharp stab of steel in her back, and then she saw nothing. The others were shocked by what they saw. They saw a humanoid creature of slight, wiry build. She had grayish skin, black eyes, and carried a vicious looking greatsword. Her hooded, black cloak seemed to ooze darkness and her form was difficult to discern even though she was in plain sight. Being difficult to see by those not of the Shadowfell was something this Shadar-kai gloomblade enjoyed immensely. Facing such attackers, the Travelers moved back towards the central walkway, hoping to use the walls on either side to bottleneck the attackers, limiting their access to the artillery members of the group. But the shadow hounds easily broke the front line of defenders, teleporting to the rear to engage Dassarius and Q. The party fought furiously against their assailants, and as the hellhounds began to drop, the gloomblade and the shadow hounds made a tactical retreat teleporting out of sight. The Travelers took this opportunity to drop the last hellhound, and as they began to approach the doors, the shadow hounds and gloomblade reappeared surrounding Yolanda. She was instantly overwhelmed and fell from the violent onslaught. It was at that moment something triggered inside Asura. A memory, a sense of something else in the universe surrounding and infusing all that she saw. She unconsciously raised her hand muttering words she didn’t know that she knew, and for an instant, her eyes flashed with arcane energy. From the ground around their foes a vertical column of golden flames erupted and burned all within. Having received hefty damage, the gloomblade winked out of existence, leaving the shadow hounds to fend for themselves. Once the initial shock of Asura’s surprising ability wore off, the group returned their focus to dispatching the savage canines before them. With the addition of the reinvigorated and inspired Yolanda, that was an easy task. With no more obstacles barring their way, the group entered the ancient home of Kelmar the Traveler.

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Chapter 4
Search for the White Lotus

The party quickly equipped themselves for the difficult journey ahead. While preparing their equipment, the group took some time to gather information on the Dundran Mountain area. Most of the information was about typical mountainous terrain, but some had heard rumors of Orc movement in the area. As they were gearing up to set out, there was a disturbance at the western gate. Since they were heading that way, the group decided to see what was happening. The remnants of a group of traders from Dunnkeep were straggling in. They reported being ambushed by a band of orcs. All their belongings were taken, as well as 3 women and 7 children. The group decided since they were heading that way anyway, they would track down the band of marauding orcs.

The party headed west, following the swath of destruction and trampled earth the orcs left in their wake. Near sunset on the second day, as the travelers approached Dunnkeep, they encountered a small orc party. It did not take much effort to smite the fowl beasts, but there was something very puzzling about this encounter. Attacking with the orcs were 2 jaguars of the Feywild. They were put down as easily as the orcs, but the party was curious as to how creatures of the Feywild came to be fighting alongside the orcs of Dunnedale.

Over several more days the party tracked the orc raiders west to the Dundran Mountain range. The party would have had to have worried about their food rations had it not been for the amazing hunting abilities of their ranger, and the unorthodox, yet effective, hunting method of their resident warlock. As they reached the foot of the mountains, the orc trail became difficult to trace. Luckily there was only one path that led deeper into the mountains, so the party headed in. After about a day of cautiously delving deep into the mountain range, the travelers came upon what could only be a pathway into orc territory. After all, there aren’t too many ways to interpret pike-mounted heads at the beginning of a trail. Ominous clouds had been gathering all day, but the storm did not break until they reached this point, almost as if nature itself was warning them of the path they were about to take. Despite the gruesome trail post warning, the party took the path, steeling themselves for what was sure to be a difficult fight. Rain pounded on them, making it difficult to see. The lightning and crashing thunder made it even more difficult to detect any danger. They walked along the mountain pass, eyes focusing on the ground in front of them and the tops of the craggy cliff walls to the left and right of the path. It wasn’t long before the adventurers knew they were spotted. Throwing axes rained down on them from concealed attackers 5-10 feet up on the cliff walls. The travelers took cover against the rock walls, returning fire in kind. As if the axe hurlers weren’t enough, the group was also besieged by a horde of orc brutes and minions. This group of assailants proved more resilient then the band that fell on the plains east of the mountain. But they too fell before the strength of the fighters.

The heroes pressed forward. The pathway ended in a large area encircled by shear rock walls. This was where the orcs had made their encampment. Crude shacks lined the outer rock circle. The ground had been trampled to dirt, and now was turning into a field of mud filling with pools of water from the deluge. At the back of the encampment, the party could see hanging cages containing some very scared, but living, human captives. In the center there was the smoking remains of a large fire pit. There were orc brutes and minions to the left and right of the fire. There were some more axe hurlers on top of the ramshackle dwellings. Behind the fire pit was the most startling sight. There stood an unbelievably large orc. He was clad in thick studded armor. His long hair fell wild behind his back, leaving bare a frightening, battle-scarred face. Behind this monstrosity lurked an orc shaman. His back was bent, his skin blistered and joints gnarled. He carried a twisted staff, adorned with feathers and dried, shrunken heads. Strange roots and vines hung from his neck and cloth belt. The orcs were clearly ready for their arrival. Raising a massive great-axe above his head, this orc titan let loose piercing battle cry. The orcs surged forward. With equally stunning ferocity, the adventurers charged forward to meet them.

Arjahn engaged the band of orcs to the left of the party. He quickly pounded the minions to dust, but the orc brute that led them was no stranger to battle. They both fought furiously, each delivering massive blows with their weapons. Meanwhile, Asura and Yolanda charged through the now extinguished fire at the orc chieftain, eager to test their mettle against such a powerful foe. Realizing the damage the axe hurlers could deliver from their position, Q and Dassarius swung to the right in order to end the threat.

The orcs fought viciously against the heroes. For every blow that Arjahn landed, his orc opponent responded in kind. Q and Dassarius found it difficult to take down their ranged opponents while simultaneously dodging the thrown axes. The orc leader was the biggest challenge of all. For every strike against him, he would retaliate with two. Matters were not helped by the orc shaman who used his ill-begotten magic to instill fear into Yolanda and Asura, clouding their judgment and limiting their actions. Nor were they helped by other orc brute and minions who also joined the fray. Once Q and Dassarius took down the ranged attackers, the heroes felt the battle going their way. The ranger and warlock focused on silencing the shaman as well as mopping up the remaining orcs. Asura and Yolanda continued to chop away at the gargantuan orc, swiping at the lesser orcs whenever they could. After many tense moments, Arjahn called upon the fury of Melora and smote his enemy with a righteous brand, the shaman and lesser orcs lay lifeless on the ground. But the great orc was not deterred by the odds against him. He fought more furiously than ever, but to no avail. He too was sent as an offering to the Raven Queen.

The travelers freed the captive humans who were grateful beyond words. Upon searching the encampment the group noticed another pathway squeezed between the might cliff walls. It seemed to lead south, deeper into the mountain range. They were eager to pursue this new discovery, eager to find the key to Dr. Cain’s blight. But being heroes of good conscience, they could not let these women and children fend for themselves after such a traumatic experience. They made another thorough search of the encampment, gathering all the looted goods onto the stolen cart along the wall. During the search of the shaman’s belongings, the group found a disturbing clue as to the reason for the orc attack. On a tattered piece of paper were the words “10 humans.” This did not seem to be a random attack by a marauding group of orcs. This puzzle piece had to wait, as the party had more immediate matters to attend to.

After loading up the goods, the travelers escorted the weary women and children back to Dunnkeep. Along the way, the group asked the commoners if they heard or saw anything else during their captivity. But the group only reported seeing orcs and couldn’t understand their language, so they had no more information. The citizens of Dunnkeep were extremely grateful for the safe return of their people. The party refreshed their supplies, contacted the local authorities about the orc threat in the area, and had an update sent to Eldin in Gridan. Now unencumbered, the party quickly set off back to the Dundran mountains, eager to explore the southern passageway.

After a few days, the travelers stood before the pathway. The carnage at the orc camp remained. No one seems to have come and discovered or disturbed the orcs’ eternal slumber. Without any hesitation the group proceeded deeper into the craggy depths of the mountain.

After walking for some time, the pathway led to a large, cave-like opening. Knowing that the white lotus supposedly grows in a cavern deep under the mountains, the party continued down the path into the pitch black depths of the Dundran.

Seeing the way forward may have been a challenge for average adventurers, but with Dassarius’ enchanted cloak and the fantastically luminescent sun rods, exploring the caverns depths was not challenging. What was challenging was not being killed by the cavern’s local inhabitants. Many large and nasty creatures called these caves home. The travelers discovered this while exploring one offshoot of the main passage. While walking down the side passage the party was surprised by several gargantuan leaping spiders. The spiders clearly had the advantage here, leaping from the darkness and swiping at the heroes, only to disappear again in to the black. Asura and Yolanda chased the spiders to the left of a great column in the middle of the cavern while the others went to the right. Dassarius, noticing the legs of one giant spider behind the great column, seared it with his devastating power from the Feywild. He was very surprised when, as he pursued the now bloodied spider, he found himself ensnared by pincer-like barbed hands. He was now grasped by a nasty cavern choker, whose long arms and spiney hands were designed for strangling its victims from the dark. This new threat left Asura and Yolanda to deal with the spiders while Q and Arjahn aided Dassarius against the chokers. Though initially surprised, the party regrouped and left these monsters as little more than mounds of gore. Only one spider had enough sense to retreat. As it made a final jump to safety, it found itself pinned to the wall with an arrow, a victim of Q’s unerring marksmanship.

The group was about to return to the main passage when Dassarius felt the definite presence of magic. Following his sense, he led the party to a deep pool of water at the southern end of this cavern. Dassarius was sure that source of this arcane feeling came from the bottom of this pool. Arjahn and Dassarius jumped in and swam down to investigate. At the bottom, they found an ornate looking box. Judging by its placement, it seemed to have been placed there on purpose. Wary of just grabbing the box, the two went back up for more expert help. Q went down this time and, after some examination, noticed a trap would be triggered if someone tried to move the box. With dexterous hands and a sharp mind, Q easily disabled the trap and brought the box to the surface. Unlocking the box was just as easy. Inside, the party was happy to discover a Bag of Holding. Not finding anything else of note in the cavern, they went back to the main passage and continued deeper south.

The main passage opened up into another large cavern. The travelers were instantly on their guard because of the large, thick spider webs that covered almost every inch of the walls and ceiling. Since this was the only way, the heroes went deeper into the spider lair. Towards the back, they noticed a corpse that was somewhat fresh. Well, fresh compared to the mostly decomposed remains of many creatures that were unfortunate enough to find their way down here. As they stepped up to examine the carcass, Yolanda, Asura, and Q were surprised by the leaping attack of several deathjump spiders. At that same moment, spiders of all kinds seemed to swarm out of the very walls and ceiling. One particular swarm seemed to coalesce into a large group and moved together to attack Q. As the heroes responded to this sudden threat, another deathjump spider dropped from its hiding place in the ceiling to attack Dassarius at the rear of the group. A fierce battle ensued as the heroes fought for their lives and the spiders for their dinner. The party was experience battling the deathjump spiders, but this spider swarm was difficult to deal with as there was almost nothing solid for their weapons to hit. Dassarius reached for a flask on his belt and loosed it at the spider swarm. In a flash of light and heat, the alchemist’s fire burst from the shattering glass, dousing the spider swarm in flame and dealing substantial damage to the rippling mass of legs and teeth. These beasts were no match for the battle hardened travelers and quickly succumbed to their might.

The travelers continued to the rear of the spider lair where the pathway now descended in a slope of slippery rocks. As the group cautiously followed, they all felt the ground underneath them violently tremble. Q and Asura had enough footing to jump to the sides of the pathway. Dassarius, Arjahn, and Yolanda did not have such luck. The very ground crumbled beneath them and they fell into the darkness. After a short fall, they became submerged in a rapid underground river which quickly carried them away. The raging rapid continued through several twists and turns before it reached a large pool. Looking up, the three adventurers saw an opening in the rocks above. Desperate for air, they darted up towards the surface. As they caught their breath, Yolanda noticed that all around this new cavern were lots of mounds of dirt, as if something had been digging or tunneling all around. As they exited from the pool, they found out what it was. Dassarius let out a scream of surprise as from the ground emerged several chitinous reptilian creatures. Arjahn knew these animals as kruthiks, and was wary of their churning, barbed limbs. From their nasty sounding clicks and hisses, Arjahn also knew they were not going to be very friendly.

Back in the passage, Asura and Q had to think fast. Since the river followed in the same direction as the passage, they quickly ran down the pathway, looking and listening for any sign as to where the river continued. It wasn’t long before they heard the cry of Dassarius’ surprise echo from further down the pathway. Asura and Q now began running headlong down the path to meet the one comrade they knew was alive, and in trouble. As they ran further, they heard the distinctive sounds of a furious battle. Q rounded the last corner that opened up into another large cavern. He saw his companions being swarmed by several adult and young kruthiks. As he rushed forward to engage, several more young kruthiks emerged from the ground before him. Knowing Asura was right behind him, Q slid past the younglings, moving closer to aid his embattled allies. Indeed Asura came charging in behind Q, savagely slashing away at the kruthiks in her path. Combining all their efforts, they party made the kruthiks wish they had just stayed underground.

Having regrouped and shaken off their latest near-demise, the group noticed a large passageway in the rear of this kruthik hunting ground. The path went back and curved around to the left. As the party walked on, a separate passageway opened up to their right. As they deliberated which way to explore, a choice was made for them. From the ground at the mouth of this new passage erupted the head of a humongous kruthik hive lord. It spat a vile acid upon the party, leaving them burning and weak. As quickly as it was there, the head vanished beneath the ground. The party could sense that it had retreated back in the direction of the new passage way. Knowing they wouldn’t be safe to explore the rest of the mountains depths unless this threat was dealt with, they pursued the kruthik hive lord.

Yolanda was particularly incensed by the hive lord’s acidic surprise and went charging after where she thought the kruthik retreated. The rest of the party followed up behind, but it was Yolanda who first stumbled upon the kruthik lord. It was sitting deep in its nest, surrounded by many of its offspring. Yolanda sprang into action, picking and swiping furiously at the onslaught of barbed, metal-like appendages. Arjahn was next to charge up into the fray, unleashing a scorching blast of lightning dragon breath. Both Yolanda and Arjahn were becoming quickly overwhelmed by the almost endless onslaught of kruthiks. As the rest of the party arrived to engage the kruthik horde, the hive lord used its massive spiked legs to walk around the wall to an advantageous position before blasting the party again with its caustic acid. Though the kruthik swarm was causing grievous injuries, the others decided the hive lord was the biggest threat to their survival. Asura, Q and Dassarius focused all their force on taking out kruthik leader. Using their most devastating abilities, the adventurers laid waste to the hulking beast. But they were far from safe. Both Arjahn and Yolanda had both fallen while holding the surviving kruthiks at bay. It was only through their sheer force of will, as well as some strategic healing, that they were able to keep fighting. Now that the hive lord’s acid was no longer a threat, the travelers were able to fight with their full strength. With their combined might they exterminated the kruthik horde. Weary from the constant barrage of monsters, the group hunkered down in the kruthik nest for an extended rest.

The time passed without incident. The travelers woke refreshed and ready to continue their mission. They went back to the main chamber where they were side tracked by the hive lord. They turned west and continued their search for the white lotus. After walking some time they came to beautiful underground waterfall. But there did not seem to be any other paths to take. This was the end of the line. Searching high and low, they did not find a lotus or a new path. They did notice that the waterfall sounded a bit different at its base than at the top. So Asura dove in the pool at the base of the cascade and swam underneath. She discovered an underwater passage leading behind the waterfall, but it was too long to swim. While she explored below, Yolanda discovered a tunnel behind the waterfall at ground level. Once Asura came up and joined the party, they set off down the hidden passage.

The pathway was narrow at first. But as they walked, it opened up wider and wider. Then, the walkway opened up into a massive underground cavern. The path continued forward, but now was flanked by deep, shimmering blue water on both sides. The walkway led to the middle of the cavern. The water on the sides was narrow at first, but expanded out to the far walls of the tremendous chasm. The back wall of the cave was lined with massive waterfalls, roaring loudly in the subterranean depths. But what drew the attention of the adventurers was at the end of the path. The walkway expanded as it progressed into the cavern to about 60 feet in width. It formed a peninsula in this underground lake. At the end of this peninsula there was a shallow pool of water. Many white and purple colored lotus flowers grew in the water. But in the center was truly an astonishing site. One lotus flower had grown tall, strong stems that lifted it from the water. As the stem got closer to the top, it seemed to turn from plant matter into some kind of organic crystal. The crystal continued to the top where a large, beautiful lotus flower had blossomed. It was not carved, but rather seems to have grown naturally out of crystal. This certainly was the white lotus that they sought. As they moved closer to retrieve the flower, a giant form burst from the water behind them.

Hovering above the water, framed by the billowing waterfalls behind, was a young blue dragon. “Do not disturb the sacred orchid,” it bellowed in guttural common that seemed to shake the very walls of the cavern. The dragon reared its head as its mouth charged with lightning, and the dragon released a blazing bolt that leaped from one hero to another. The dragon was keeping its distance, assaulting the group from afar with its lightning powers. The adventurers were far from helpless, though. Q, Dassarius, and Arjahn , refreshed from their recent rest, unleashed their destructive attacks upon the blue menace. Even Asura and Yolanda, though limited by range, were able to hurl their throwing weapons with enough skill and accuracy to do some serious damage. Dassarius called upon the power of the Feywild to curse the dragon with a powerful psychic attack, causing the dragon to land near the waiting warriors. Once on the ground, Yolanda used her enchanted pick to freeze the dragon within the party’s reach. The dragon proved even more dangerous up close, slashing with its claws and goring with its horn. The heroes were able to land enough blows so that by the time the dragon was able to escape to the air it was grievously wounded. As it flew above the shimmering water of the cavern, Dassarius hit it with one final Eldritch blast that engulfed the dragon in flames, sending its now lifeless body crashing into the water.

Arjahn cautiously slipped into the shallow pool encircling the crystal lotus. The water seemed to revitalize him, filling him with strength and healing his wounds. He reached up and delicately grabbed the flower. As he did, the area where the crystallized flower met the organic base shattered leaving Arjahn holding the white lotus flower. While Arjahn was carefully extracting this natural treasure, the rest of the party was busy gathering treasure of other types. They hauled the dragon out of the water to gather any valuable parts from its body. Yolanda was also able to locate the dragon’s lair and with the help of Asura and Dassarius, they hauled away quite a bit of treasure. They now had the white lotus. It was time to return to Gridan, revive Dr. Cain, and get some answers.

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Chapter 3
A Plot Unfurled

After shaking off the necromancers stunning curse, Arjahn was able to administer healing to Dr. Cain. This provided him with just enough strength to pull Yolanda towards him and whisper ”...must…protect…earth…” He then slumped back into what looks like a coma; wounds healed, but still unconscious.

Asura led the charge into the next room to find a large, ornately carved burial chamber, with a beaten and scorched villain struggling to stand back up. “I’m not finished with you yet,” he croaked, pointing a gaunt, quivering finger at Asura. Then in a blaze of dark flames, the necromancer vanished, leaving only a cloudy mist behind.

Surveying this room, the party discovers that this is the final resting place of Aron, Lord Lavendis…at least it was…until our antagonist decided he needed some new digs.

Upon inspecting the headpiece of the staff that the statue of Lord Lavendis was holding, Dassarius had a vision that showed a distant land. In the middle of a thickly forested area there was an ancient temple that contained an identical statue holding the actual staff. After sharing with the group and consulting the map, the party believes that place to be near Valerian City.

They collected Dr. Cain (and what was left of Yolanda ) and hustled back to Gridan. They went immediately to the Temple of Melora to get aid for Dr. Cain. The temple priest that greeted them was alarmed by Dr. Cain’s condition and they placed him in Arjahn’s room until the High Priest could attend to him. The party returned to the barracks to rest for the evening.

In the morning, the group had a meeting with Eldin who was happy to see them return, but very unhappy about the news they brought. He dispatched a team of powerful magi to deal with any remaining undead and reseal the Lavendis tomb. He also suggested that we see the two remaining Lavendis brothers in town to see if they had any additional information about these happenings. As they might be upset about the party breaking into the family mausoleum, Eldin wrote a letter to the Lavendis brothers attesting to the truth of the story the group would tell them. He also paid them a hefty sum of platinum for their services (ka-ching!).

The party then goes to the Temple of Melora to check on Dr. Cain. When they meet with the high priest, he asks the group to tell him how Dr. Cain came to be in this condition. Now having all the information, the temple elder informs the group that Dr. Cain is afflicted with a Lich Possession curse. His body is in perfect health, but his soul has sustained tremendous damage and cannot be cured by conventional means. He tells the group the story of the White Lotus flower which is said to have the power to cure this affliction. Leaving Dr. Cain in his care, the group goes in search of the Lavendis brothers.

The brothers could be found high in their arcane tower. The party was shown up to the brothers’ study where they were busy with all manner of magical study and experimentation. The duo was much dismayed about hearing of the fate of their ancestor’s remains. Upon hearing about how three of the party came to be in this world, the brothers began (as Ryan called it) “googling” information by summoning magic tomes and scrolls out of thin air, quickly searching for any information on the original travelers and this necromancer.

From the information they magi-googled () the Lavendis brothers pieced together the story of the Travelers as such. They were originally three very powerful mages who were particularly interested in teleportation. They had developed a series of gateways that could teleport people and goods instantly between the major cities of Terra. Those gateways have not been operational for quite some time. They also were secretly experimenting with inter-dimensional transportation. The brothers believed that the Travelers had successfully made a gateway to the world of Earth. On their return, they were ambushed by a rival mage named Ventus. With several of his followers, Ventus is said to have killed the Travelers. The battle drew the attention of many guards who engaged Ventus and his followers. The account of this fight is unclear, but it appears that Ventus went through the portal at some point, and was never seen again. The rest of his followers escaped.

The brothers asked how the three even came to find the portal. When describing about Dr. Cain, the matter of the silver bracelet came up. The brothers instantly demanded to know where the bracelet was. The last the party knew, it was in Dr. Cain’s possession. One of the brothers vanished, only to reappear a few moments later with the bracelet. He explained that this bracelet belonged to one of the Travelers and was the reason they were able to go through the portal. They theorized that the Travelers built the gateway so that only they could pass through it. They must have left the bracelet on the other side, anticipating that someone from earth would find the portal and come through. They think that this magical warding is what kept Ventus from leaving the gateway cavern on Earth. They also believe that the reason the three from earth look like the Travelers is to help whoever would have come from earth to blend in with the inhabitants of Terra. However, when asked why they not only had the appearance of natives of Terra, but newfound abilities and knowledge of this world, the brothers did not have an explanation as to how that could be.

Dassarius also mentioned the vision he had when he touched the headpiece in the tomb. The brothers were instantly alarmed and demanded who else they had told about this vision. The group informed them that only Eldin knew, and the other brother vanished this time. He reappeared a few moments later informing his brother that “it’s been taken care of.” The brothers then explained that the location of the staff is very secret knowledge about the Lavendis family history and the temple in the Valerian forest.

The party explained their next steps to the Brothers, who laughed at the idea that the White Lotus even exists. They did admit that it is possible, however improbable and very difficult to find, as the White Lotus is said to grow only in the deep subterranean caverns in the Dundran Mountains.

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Chapter 2
Through the Looking Glass

The trip through the portal was quite a doozy, and it appeared that the party went from the frying pan into the fire. After meeting with Mayor Eldin and his mysterious entourage, the group was taking a nice twilight tour of town when they are met by a band of mangy looking mongrels.

Tonight on the Gridan nightly news. The town is under attack!!! Terrifying creatures of old have stormed the city from the North Gate! Mysterious heroes from another world have held them back, saving innocent civilians! They could be headed to your part town town, find out after this short word from our sponsors! (Crawl: Stocks in mead are plummeting…Zombie wolves are eating children…Lamp oil now on sale at Smitty’s…)

The party (btw feel free to come up with a fun team name), after following the trail of undeady messness, came upon a creepy graveyard and trounced the zombies who awoke from the coffins buried below. Your now camped in front of a large, sealed, mausoleum, which has more footprints leading in and out of it. In the middle of the night, your culinary exploits attracted the attention of 2 wandering gravehounds, which you all made short work of (i should have used 3 or 4…next time…next time…).

That blazing skeleton should have stayed in bed…and welcome to the Lavendis Family Catacombs…spooky!

The party made it a few feet down the main entry corridor when they were ambushed by a pack of shadow bats and flanked by a pair of phantom warriors who were none too happy to be having any visitors. Mike, you’ll love this…one of them got dusted and the other escaped by phasing through a nearby wall. Vaarsuvius, ehem, I mean Dassarius, in an attempt to get some distance between himself and the fray, bumped into a clay scout who gave him quite a headache. After taking out a pair of magical crossbow traps, the team got jumped (literally) but a small pack of Imps (but you don’t really know they’re Imps). Spooky! After taking out a double line of skeleton warriors and skeleton flame throwers, the party is ambushed by an old friend and his insubstantial buddies.

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Chapter 1
New Beginnings

Dr. Cain will begin: “I have to thank you kids…you saved my life back there. I don’t know how…but you did. When those rats rushed toward me, I saw my life flash before my eyes. I’m honestly not totally sure what’s going on here, but considering the circumstances we’re in, I think it best that I tell you everything I know. First of all, Dr. Walters, as you may have noticed, is not only a friend and colleague…(pregnant pause)...she’s my ex-wife. We met in graduate school in a Cultural Anthropology seminar. Long story short, we got married 5 years later, and had dreams of travelling the world, going on fantastic adventures, and seeing every corner of the globe. The truth is, we never saw every corner, because she was obsessed with the jungle…(he pauses, and puts his hand deep into his pocket, and pulls out what appears to be a silver bangle)...and this is why.”

Dassarius – Before any of us rest, I think we need to talk about just happened. I mean, we go and touch those glowing circles and suddenly we are transformed!!!? WTF?! We have these insane powers.! I can travel around becoming invisible. You guys suddenly have insane strength and a sense of crazy wisdom (especially you Asura). And isn’t it so weird that we all have abilities and characteristics that are similar to when we were normal??? Like, me for example, I was always the one in back of the room..trying every which way to hide from my work, my classes, my professors in the hall..and now I have this ability to literally disappear with a few short steps. And you guys know I was an Earth Science Major, and now I have this uncanny knowledge of the natural world. I was just able to tell that that water was safe for us to drink by looking at it! I was able to tell that those rock formations down the hall…ya know those 4 stalactite pillars were stable. Its like I have all the experience any geologist could ever want, and I only have taken a few classes so far! But these physical changes are weird. I got these pointy ears, and am totally lean and ripped! And you Asura. You have this ability to lead us and have all these tactics planned. You were able to figure out which way to go next, and set up an amazing battle plan to fight off those rats… Although, lets be honest, it was me in the end who cleaned up that crap while you two were whimpering on the floor….HA! And what was with this healing ability? I know you have always had an interest in medicine and are thinking about Med school, and now suddenly you were able to bring us back from near death with just a few words! What do you guys think? And this nut obsessed with the jungle? What is her deal?”

Asura – This situation is certainly disconcerting, our physical and mental changes most of all. As you know I am always very cool and collected. When we first saw those giant insects and spiders, even though I should have been freaking out at their unnatural size, my first thoughts were how to coordinate ourselves to take them out quickly. Even stranger were some surges of emotion that I felt during the battle. There were times in the thick of the fights were I had an overwhelming sense of fury, like the fires of the deepest hell, rise up inside of me. While there are so many questions about what has just happened that it is completely overwhelming, we need to stay focused on the biggest issues at hand: how do we change back and get back home. Dr. Cain, it would be most helpful if you could tell us everything you know, starting with that silver bracelet.”

In his croaky, professory voice, Dr. Cain responds: “You both raise some very interesting points. I too am quite surprised at the…changes (and he leans over with an eyebrow raised to look behind Asura and notices her new tail and horns)...that you’ve all experienced, i have not seen or heard of anything like what has happened to you all…but i must say, you look like you all stepped out of some kind of dungeons and dragons game! As for this bracelet, if you could believe it, this is even more of a mystery. Syl…ehem…i mean Dr. Walters, entrusted me with this many many years ago…this really is what started her obsession with the jungle. (Sigh) According to what she tells me, this bangle was passed down in her family for many generations…and we’re talking about many generations of explorers, scientists, archaeologists… The story of how her family came into possession of it is a little vague, but we do know that it was found deep in this jungle, embedded in a rock face on top of tall rock formation. (To illustrate, he holds up his hand, palm flat, and draws a circle in his palm with his finger with his other hand). Wanting to know as much about it as possible, her family conducted a molecular analysis of the material, and learned that its composition is unlike any known metal we have here on earth. She gave it to me for safe keeping when she left to explore the jungle. She was afraid that if she didn’t survive her expedition, the bracelet would be lost again. And now I’m afraid the only viable direction is to press onward…the entrance is caved in, and i’m afraid that if we disturb the walls around it, we’ll only do more damage.” (He glances ominously at the two large stone slabs that appear to be doors on the north and south sides of this room)

Yolanda sat quietly listening to the others talk about this experience. They were all scared. She, on the hand, was excited. Instead of sitting in Dr. Liebowitcz’s class she was in an unknown place with amazing powers. She understood the others’ anxiety, but she was excited to see what tomorrow would bring. Would be able to fly? Would she be able to wield two war picks? Would she grow a tail?

Dr. C. was showing them all a silver bracelet. Yolanda heard something about keeping it safe and pressing onward. That excited her!

“Let’s press on after a good night rest. Some sleep should calm your…um..our nerves.” Yolanda smiled. She knew tomorrow would bring more extraordinary things.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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