Vecna's Plan

Part VII
Return to the Temple of Lost Secrets...

After the group finishes at the King’s Court, they spend the night back at the Riverside Inn. The group of dwarves are there in full force, being loud and obnoxious. Bannack makes his way to the groups’s table and sits down to discuss what happened in court.

Not long later, his group of dwarves start keeling over at their table. It seems their drink has been poisoned! Quite a stir is caused and the kitchens are searched and cooks questioned. No one seems to know how it happened. Bannack is suspicious of this Anton fellow and the look he gave Relmar. He asks if he can join the group and find out more about him. They readily agree.

The group, now consisting of a half-elf/half-orc, a wild elf, a human and a dwarf, spends the next few days searching about the city for clues to Anton’s whereabouts or dealings. They have no luck but are then approached by a weasly man in an alley. He reveals himself to be Lord Reece of the King’s Council. The barely recognizes him through his disguise as a begger. Lord Reece tells them that Anton must be stopped, though few in Corswick will agree with him. He tells them the Elven war with the gnolls is now over. The elves were invaded and took heavy losses but won the war. However, they only won when Queen Ildereen appeared and cast a spell, extinguishing her life but saving her people. The elves are regrouping now.

Lord Reece also tells the group that Anton is looking for an artifact, the Eye of Vecna. He already has the Hand of Vecna, and if he obtains both, his power will be great, possibly too great to stop. Lord Reece has gained word that Anton wants the Wizard Stone so he can power a finding ritual spell that will lead him to the Eye. However, the Stone may be in the possession of an elven wizard who was seen heading for the Temple of Lost Secrets.

The group leaves the next day, determined to find Arduro and the Stone before Anton’s minions do. They travel back to the Great Forest, arriving at the temple two weeks later, after meeting and being led there by Gabby the gnome, who they meet again along the way. He takes leave of the group to continue to hunt goblins in the hills.

The Temple of Lost Secrets is much as the group found it before, though empty. The find many signs of a great battle here, apparently between gnolls and humans. They know from what Gabby said that gnolls overran the cult as they were searching and the cult had to flee. Gnoll and human remains litter the place.

The group finds an entrance into the long-abandoned crypt area and begin the search there. They are confronted by a host of spirits including an allip, wraith and shadow. They battle through only to find a horrid beast at work deep in the crypt. Its hooded face is made up of dozen of eyeballs and its skin is dark and decayed. They also see none other than Arduro, crucified to the wall the room. Ghorn takes a blow from the thing’s tougue which blinds him and he becomes nearly helpless. The rest of the group wins the day against the vireous drinker and his zombie-like creations, saving Ghorn from certain death.

Arduro pleads for his life to the group. He states he was trying to protect the stone by leaving them. He tells them he has hidden it here under the temple and this monster was trying to get him to reveal where it was. He takes them to it and they all head to the remains of Lorien.

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Part VI
Corswick...

Leaving Anton and the city of Avidar behind, the group of elves and a human head north toward Corswick. They pass through more flooded fields and more beggers along the trail. A day from the city some of these beggers turn into ambushers that the group dispataches.

The the envoys arrive in the small town ironically named Rain. Here they find the town mostly abandonded and signs of a bloddy fight. Human corpses lay all about the village. They find an inn called the Raindrop and find a group of hooligans holding out there. They seem to have a number of female prisoners and supplies in the inn and are having a hedonistic time.

After some debate, Lazaral decides to use his skills and magic to rescue the women. He climbs to the second floor and manages to free two women before the thugs figure out what is happening. Lazaral is then confronted by the leader of the group and large man with a greataxe and a helmet shaped like a hog. He names him self the Hog’s Head and cleaves Lazaral nearly in half.

The rest of the group flees, being unable to save their friend. On the outskirts of the village they find a burned and ruined temple of Pelor. An old priest named Herold groans and is helped by the group. He claims the town was overrun by the Hogs Head and his local thugs once the Doomsdayers convinced them the end was near. He also relates to his saviors that Pelor has not granted his plea for spells since the Storms. It seems the gods have grown silent.

The group leaves quickly and heads further north to the great city of Corswick. The city is the largest any of them have seen and sits along a forest and a lake. Stone walls surround the city, which is divided into many districts. Once inside, the priest of Pelor takes leave and the group heads to Stone Hall to plea an audiene with King Henry II. The group convinces Lord Melvin Hallister to schedule a time at the King’s Court. While there, the group sees a group of scowling dwarves, one of them dressed in fine clothes with business there as a mithril trader. He is guarded by a few dwarves, one notable for his two dwarven axes at his side.

Taking room at the exclusive Riverside Tavern and Inn, the group agains runs into the dwarves, who are logding there, also. They find the dwarf trader to be Relmar Deepiron from the Crown Valley Dwarves to the north, who lead the Lillington Alliance. The other dwarf is named Bannack Wyrmskull and is a Ranger and Paladin.

During the time while the group is waiting for their turn in court, they witness the arrival of Anton, followed by over one thousand commoners. He sets up near the Mermaid’s Fountain and preaches a similar speech that the group heard in Avindar. This time, though, he has over a thousand voices cheering him on. Next to Anton is a large figure in a steal hog helmet and a smaller man. Anton preaches for Vecna and then proceeds to demontrate his power by casting a spell and walking on the water of Mermaid’s Fountain. The people are convinced.

The group spends the next week attepting to track Anton down in the city with no success. Finally the day arrives when the group enters Castle Corswick, along with Relmar and his Dwarves, and sits through a long day of King Henry II’s court. After noon, Anton arrives and is given a time in front of the King before others who have been waiting. He asks the King’s permission and sanction to build a temple of Vecna in the city’s southern district, an area known to house the poor. The King’s Small Council seems opposed. Anton proclaims he knows the King’s uncle is ill and he can heal him, unlike the other priests of the city. Relmar the dwarf scoffs and draws a scathing look from Anton. The King suspends court and takes Anton with him.

King Henry II returns and states the temple shall be built and will be also paid for in part by the crown. The dwarves are then heard and the King agrees to pre-purchase some mithril from them. When the group is finally introuduced as emisarries from Lorien, the court hushes a bit. The fued between Corswick and the Elves is long in the past but still felt to some extant. The group explains the situation in Lorien. The King tries to be understanding but tells them they cannot afford to send troops into the forest when things are in such disaray here in Corswick. The group offers their chest of treasure which the King accepts. He agrees to send a group of 20 rangers to Lorien to report in the situaion.

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Part V
Rain, Rain, Rain...

Leaving the ruins of Ghost Keep behind, the group elves head north for the human Kingdom of Wellington. Their sturdy mule and cart, piled with furs over a chest full of riches, they make their way through the trails of the Great Forest.

The group comes upon Hobgoblin bandits at Alexis Bridge, who wear insignias of being members of the Red Hand, a union of Orcs, Hobgoblins and other monsters that overan the Elsir Vale to the west. The group attempts to talk their way out of a fight but things turn ugly. The bandits didn’t know what they were up against.

The group continues north but only two days later clouds cover the sky and rain begins to fall. The group makes camp to wait out the rain. The rain however, does not cooperate. After three straight days of heavy nonstop rain, coupled with lighting and thunder, it is apparent the group needs to find better shelter or be flooded out. They head east, deeper into the forest, seeking shelter in some wooded hills.

The find a nice cave up on a hillside, however, it is already occupied by a group of Lizardfolk. The heroes make an uneasy alliance with the already hungry and restless group, led by self-proclaimed King Ironclaw. The group then witnesses some lizardfolk hunters return to the cave, brandishing booty and two human slaves. Ghorn takes the lead to negotiate with King Ironclaw for the King is now pestering the elves to find new shelter. King Ironclaw agrees to let the rest stay and Lazaral is given to the King as a slave.

Lazaral witnesses one of the humans killed, cooked and eaten by the Lizardfolk, who laugh that he is next and force him to help with the preparations. Lazaral manages to speak with the other prisoner, who names himself Helious, a caravan guard out of Corswick, the capital of Wellington.

Ghorn and Grimble eventually ride to the rescue and Lazaral takes the cue and frees Helious during the distraction. Over a dozen of the lizardfolk fall in the cavern. The group questions a prisoner, a shaman named Yissa, who denies have anything to do with the rains and claims they have made her ill. The group silences her and waits out the rain.

The rain holds for three more weeks. Thunder and lightning shake the sky and it seems as if the world will come to an end. Then no more. The group slowly gets its things together and heads back north, much delayed.

Once outside of the Great Forest, they find the fields of the humans flooded and people begging for help along the road to the north. They soon reach a moderately large city called Avidar. Here they find things is disorder and many public preachings about the end of the world. Guards question them with cold words and finally let them through the gate. Soon they see a person familiar to them.

Anton, leader of the cult the PCs found earlier in the Temple of Lost Secrets, is here, preaching about a god named Vecna, and how his wisdom will get the people through this troubled time. He says it is time for the people to give power to Vecna and let him lead them. He asks the people to join him as he travels north to the capital of Corswick to speak with good King Henry II and ask him to accept the power of Vecna.

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Part IV
The Situation Worsens...

The group heads out, their mission to protect Arduro and see the Wizard’s Stone into the hands of the winged elves on top of the mountain. They are ambused on two occaisions by gnolls and then trolls. Many of the elven guard are killed. As they enter the mountains across the lake, they come to a stone bridge and are ambushed once again.

A battle begins and during the battle Arduro curiously moves forward to engage the gnolls and ogres with his magic. He is then charged by an ogre whose club sweeps him off the bridge. Lazaral spots him floating to the bottom where he lands and takes off running down the valley. The group finishes the fight and the monsters flee.

Unsure of what happened, the group decideds to climb the mountain to wait for the Winged Elves. They wait three days and there is no sign of any living creaturs atop the mountain. They return to Lorien, convinced that Arduro is a traitor. The elves are not so quick to judge and decide to wait for his return.

Over the next few weeks most of the outlying elven villages are overrun by gnolls, goblins and some ogres. No other trolls have been spotted at this time. The Queen of the Elves, Ilderren, send for the group herself. In a meeting at her floating island-tree-fort, the group is asked to represent Lorien and travel to the northwest to the human kingdome of Wellington. They are given a chest full of gold and jewels and a Royal Writ giving them permission to ask for aid from the humans. Queen Ildereen informs them this task will not be easy, as there is bad history between the elves and these humans.

The group agrees and prepares to leave, securing the large chest under piles of fur on a cart pulled by a sturdy donkey. They head west and stop at Arwen, the last outpost the elves have. Here they are told about the Ghost Keep to the southwest. Being ever the curious, the group heads there first, taking a small detour. Here they find human ghosts and a demon bound to attack them each day. They make peace with Ghost Lord Ulster and even find some interesting magic items.

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Part III
Gnoll War begins...

After spending the winter months with the wild elves deep in the Great Forest, the group decides to head back to Lorien. Grimble is curious to see the bastion of civilized Elveness. As they leave spring is beginning and the weather is wet.

A few days east of the Elven city, the PCs come across a patrol of elves, dead from a gnoll ambush. They track the trail of blood to a nearby cave. A brutal charge and fight ends with the elves freeing an elven captain named Tillian and a gnoll prisoner. The gnoll admits that Ulven Blackblood has regrouped the gnoll tribe and plans on sacking Lorien.

The group heads back to Lorien quickly and sits in on a council of elven leaders. Tillian is given charge of the defense and preparations. The group meets Arduro, Lazaral’s ex-master when he was an apprentice in the city.

Lazaral decides to attempt his big heist and the group manages to break into Arduro’s tower and steal some magic items and a spyglass. They have a suspicion about his motives but find no hard evidence.

After this the group is called on to scout and deal with many gnoll activities in the area. They chase a group down into some old ruins and find a magic sword that cuts through ghostly creatures. They dispatch many gnolls, and also harass a group lead by a half-ogre/half-gnoll. However, they find the numbers of gnolls to be much larger than expected.

Another council is held in Lorien. The PCs are told by High Wizard Rentar that the magical defenses of Lorien are powered by a device called the Wizard’s Stone. This device must be protected at all costs, for without it, the defenses will fade over time. A great debate is held and the council finally decides to send the wizard Arduro with the Stone to the winged elves in the mountains across the lake. The group will protect him on this journey. Also at this time, the Hunter’s Arrows (a groupe elite rangers) are sent to the south to make sure Kelmar the Troll King is not joining in with the gnolls…

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Part II
The adventure continues...

As the prisoners lead the group of three elves and a gnome through the tree-covered hills, they come to the ruins of a temple, set on a crag high on a hill, next to a flowing waterfall. At the base of the hill is a field where a battle is engaged. Cult members are battling a number of goblins led by gnolls!

Gabby the gnome yells in excitement and charges at the goblins. The prisoners struggle to break free and help their friends and the elves let them go. The battle ends with the humans victorious. The elves parley with the group and are led to the ruined temple up on the hill.

At the temple they are greeted by Anton, leader of the this cult of Vecna, though he does not say this openly. He is very polite and offers the group every courtesy. He tells them he is here at the Temple of Lost Secrets looking for a certain prophecy given by the man called the Blind Prophet some hundreds of years ago. He does not divulge why he needs this. He admits that the elf they seek is here, though, they cannot have him. Teryn came to him recently and asked for his help. The elf was driven insane when his paramour died of disease and he wants her back. Anton is willing to help him. In the meantime he asks the group if they are willing to stay and help him fight off the goblins that are giving his people such a hard time. Gabby the gnome agrees but the Elves do not.

Later that night the group witnesses a ritual performed by Anton and the cult members. They bring Leena back to life but during the process her disease is transferred to Teryn. He sees his love and then the rot on his skin and is driven mad, attacking, weaponless, the cult members. He then runs and jumps off the cliff and to his doom.

Leena, being revived from the dead, is faint and pale. She is strangely distant. She leaves with the group as they agree to return her to her tribe in the forest. The elves arrive there a few weeks later and decide to stay through the coming winter. During this winter Ghorn and Lazaral and Grimble become good friends, fighting off Orcs and learning about each other…

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Part I
Adventure begins...

The story begins when Lazaral (an elf self-exiled from Lorien) and Ghorn (a half-elf/half-orc paladin of Obad-Hai) were fishing in a stream in the Great Forest, just north of the Elven community of Lorien. They heard thunder and took shelter as a rain hit. They met a wandering, dirty elf with bones in his hair and a large boar as a steed who was also seeking shelter from the rain.

As they spoke, the elf, named Grimble told them he was seeking an rogue elf named Teryn who had gone insane and murdered members of his tribe, located deeper into the forest. Sounding like fun, Lazaral and Ghorn agreed to accompany him on this mission.

Tracking the rogue elf to an elven village they found blood and fire. The elf had slaughtered most of the town. They also found evidence of goblin and gnoll activity in the area. Following the trail, they went north into the Hills of Mistrust, a wood and feral area.

Along the way, the group of elves came across a colony of large spiders which had ensnared a gnome! They defeated the spiders only to find the gnome excessively chattering about goblins. He was obsessed with tracking and hunting down the monsters. He agreed to stay with the group through the hills, as he had found many signs of them here.

The group tracked Teryn and found a sheltered cliff where he apparently met with others, most likely a group of humans. Further along the track, the group was ambushed by a group of cult members where insignias of the demi-god, Vecna.

Two members of the group were left alive and forced to lead to the group back to their leader, who they claimed was a divinely touched messiah from the far South. Their group was held out in an old abandoned temple in the hills…

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