Walking Cinders

The Story Begins

Wherein a Paladin, a Sorcerer, a Goblin and a Cleric walk into a bar.

When first we met our heroes, they had all found themselves staying at the Stoned Gnome. With the Southeastern quarter of the city, the travelers’ district, under quarantine, there were only two Inns to choose from. Almost as if by fate, the crowds in the common room forced them all to sit near each other and the wonderful music played by the Bard Brand Amberson lulled them into a genial mood. Alistair and Tbur began discussing their mutual consternation regarding the strange animal attacks that seemed to be occurring everywhere. They determined to find the cause of these attacks, if possible.

Hearing these great and in Tbur’s case, somewhat fragrant, heroes dedicate themselves to setting the world to rights, Nymeria and Arsinoe offered to join in this most noble quest. Gallant Alistair quickly accepted the gracious offers of aid and companionship. The next morning this brave company set out to the Wizard School to see if any information may be found for why otherwise harmless animals would suddenly become so fierce.

After briefly conversing with a visiting professor, the Lady Eilhana Gladomain, these brave souls traveled even deeper into the school and approached the library. After hours of exhaustive research of many tomes in many tongues, the brave adventurers learned that disruptions of the natural world could reflect disruptions in the balance of power between the gods, that some actions aligned with a diety may strengthen that diety even in the absence of an increase in followers, and that certain demonic rituals could amplify and focus dark energies.

Using their combined knowledge, experience and native wit, our heroes determined that the most likely scenario was that some individual or group of individuals was strengthening dark powers, likely powers of undeath, and this was echoing throughout the natural world. They determined to seek council with Brand to see if his vast knowledge could shed light on some likely locations from which these fell fiends could be operating. Humble Brand generously granted their request for audience and shared freely of his knowledge, even granting them a map to the most likely location in the area.

On the way back to the Stoned Gnome, the brave adventurers were ambushed by Dire Rats. Though they fought bravely and ultimately overcame their foes, the Paladin was sore wounded and infected with a foul disease. With the realities of combat so fresh in their minds, the next morning the adventurers discussed the possibility of finding some strong and brave fighting man to swell their ranks. Miro, who had been a comrade of Tbur’s during his most recent travels pledged his sword to the cause, in exchange for consideration in the form of his share of the loot.

Thus strengthened, our heroes bravely set forth into the lands seeking an abandoned Dwarven mine. In the middle of a long day walking without shade or rest, our merry band came to the outskirts of a forest. Far from offering rest and surcease, the woods provided cover for a band of Drow intent on murdering the travelers. Tbur, striking fast, dealt fiery death to the first Drow to break cover. The commotion attracted the attention of Etune, a Druid travelling through the area. The fight was fierce, and Tbur’s incendiaries were dangerous to friend and foe alike, but in the end the Drow lay fallen upon the forest floor. Honorable Alistair used sweet reason to join the Druid in common cause, increasing both the strength and likelihood of survival of everyone involved. The Drow were stripped of their weapons and clothing, tied to a skid, and repeatedly beaten unconscious by Tbur as the noble adventurers drug them back to Firinwillow to answer for their crimes.

Though the heavens themselves opened up with all their fury, our heroes let nothing dissuade them from bringing their prisoners to justice. And when they did all arrive at the headquarters of the Firinwillow Watch, lo! there was a great celebration and much rejoicing. Unfortunately, through foul trickery and evil magics, the Drow did escape their cell and make off into the night. Alistair the vigilant roused the Watch and went forth into the darkness to seize the brigands once more, but it is a difficult task indeed to track a Drow at night.

The following morning, Alistair heard word of suffering in the quarantined Southeastern quarter of the city, a building burnt, the residents possibly dead. The tale tugged on the gentle heart strings of caring Alistair and he sought his companions’ leave to enter the disease ridden area to lend what assistance he could. His companions, though noble and understanding of his desires, convinced Alistair that their true duty lie in following the path they had set themselves and righting the balances of the world. With much regret was Alistair forced to agree. Before setting out once more, Alistair attended the morning ritual of Sarenrae and received him there a blessing from the wise cleric.

Once more these adventurers, these righters or wrongs set forth on the path to the mountains. Came they in the late afternoon to the place of their onetime ambush and without hesitation continued onward into the forest. While journeying in the forest, they chanced upon a web which could only have been spun by a spider of giant proportions. The vigilant Druid, being more comfortable among the rocks and stone of the mountains, cleared the path of the web that the party would not have to risk losing their way in the woods. As suspected, the beast that created the web was of a monstrous size and did fiercely punish the Druid for destroying its home. The companions soon gathered together and chased the spider into the woods, injured but alive.

As the day came to a close, these brave adventurers came once more out of the shadow of the wood and stood under the open sky. They made camp, knowing that the morrow would likely bring them to their destination.

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TimHardesty

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