The red dog sat still in the road until they came in close. The dog suddenly stood up and transformed into a stocky humanoid with a canine head. The hound archon drew his large broken sword and attacked the party. Confused, the warriors fought back, until…
The hound archon turned around and in one swoop, pulled his sword across his chest and kicked Darella in the torso. Her body fell backwards as her head stayed where it was for a time and then fell to the ground. Seeing their comrade beheaded, they all froze in terror. The hound looked surprised and said: “I have been deceived, I am ashamed.” The hound turned around and teleported out of sight.
The party gathered the body of Darella and with haste returned to the temple of Moradin in Hammerfall. After a long ritual, Darella’s body twitched with life. She never said what she saw, while on the other side.
The warriors continued on their journey to Raven’s Pointe. A day’s ride away from their destination, the heard the sound of three horses. These horses and their riders were behind them, and came with great haste and did not slow or stop but passed them taking no heed in them.
Amalyn noticed one of the riders as Elros, current prince of elves. She called out his name, but he took no heed. Delgen noticed that despite the hatred for riding horses, one of the other riders was Belhorn Battlebeard, son of the current steward of Azrak.
The adventurers continued and came to Raven’s Pointe. As they neared the gates, the saw three figures standing alongside the normal guards. These figures were the three who fled past them earlier that day. The figures approached them.
Now nearer, Leomourn noticed that the third figure was Hrothgar, the son of King Tyric. The figures approached and Hrothgar said to Leomourn: “I’m sorry, this has to be done.” And the elf prince climbs into their wagon and started searching for something.
“Are these them?” Asked Belhornto the elf-prince, motioning to the bracers on Leomourn’s arms. Elros replied that those were indeed not. Hrothgarexplained that sometime ago his father noticed that the magical door behind his throne had been tampered with.
Many centuries ago when the three kingdoms of elves, dwarves and men were just budding; they came to an agreement. Giliforde being a well fortified Kingdom was to be the keeper of two treasures. The men of the south would hold one treasure from the elves, and one from the dwarves; to ensure protection. They all swore oaths to protect each other in times of need. The two magical treasures had been held safely behind the throne of the King for centuries.
Until recently. Hrothgarsaid that the magical basin on the magical door requires a blood offering from the King of Giliforde and either an elf or a dwarf. He said they don’t know when the item was taken, but it my have happened when they were suffering the malady of the Tree of Infersus. The elves naturally blamed the dwarves and the dwarves claimed they would not want elven-made bracers anyway, and thus ancient treaties are falling and the old blood wars are again on the rise. Belhorn said they would be searching the entire continent of Rienland to prevent another elf-dwarf war.
With this new found knowledge the party continued into the city. They were soon approached by a priest of Pelor. Sir Jeffers informed the party that he and his band of men had been keeping close tabs on a local necromancer who lived in town. He stated that this Bellamin Wiltthorn was an evil magic user who lived under the guise of a botanist. Sir Jeffers stated that Bellamin was known to leave Raven’s Pointe for extended periods of time and was currently off no doubt committing acts of evil.
Sir Jeffers said that he and his men captured an evil rogue and interrogated him and surmised that Bellamin did indeed practice dark arts, or at least paid this rogue to retrieve an evil artifact. Sir Jeffers said it was an amulet that could control undead, and that he assumed Bellamin was going to use it to wage an undead war upon Rienland. Sir Jeffers offered them a tasty reward if they could somehow enter the wizard’s house and retrieve the amulet and bring it to him, so that he and his men could either dispel, destroy or at least hold it safe from the wrong hands. Sir Jeffers claimed he and his men saw the necromancer leave the tower just a few days ago, and that there was no better time to act than now!
The adventurers entered the wizard’s domain and found out some very interesting things. On the ground floor they found within the bathroom and tub full of gray liquid and human brains. On the roof of the house they found a green house full of wonderful plants and a golden tomato, a prize for creating a perfect tomato in a farmer’s contest. Leomournpicked up the trophy. They searched more of the house, and after killing wraiths who crawled out of a portrait, and demons summoned from hell by eldritch symbols engraved on the floor, they found Bellamin on his bed.
Bellamin was laying on his bed, and his brain was missing. There was a hole in the base of the wizard’s head and by the looks of it had been dead for over a year. Around his neck the wizard had an amulet, Amarella put it around her neck and the Shield Guardian in the corner of the room came to life and followed her every order.
The party continued into the cellar through a secret door. After fighting some hobgoblin mercenaries and a half-dragon, they continued only to be greeted by a Kyton. This chain demon protected the final room of the cellar. After dispatching the demon, they entered the room to find two treasures.
The amulet was hanging behind a large crystal orb. As Leomourn reached for the amulet, the orb came to life with light and a voice echoed throughout the chamber.
“I must congratulate you, adventurers, few could surmount my defenses and live to tell of it.”
Slowly the face of Bellamin came into focus within the glassy confines of the orb. Though he regarded the party with a warm smile his putrid green eyes glimmered with pure malice. “Still, I must warn you even warriors as formidable as yourselves would be ill-advised in touching that amulet.”
Leomourn felt the crushing weight of Bellamin’s gaze upon him. Slowly he withdrew his hand and stepped back to Amarella’s side.
“His eyes,” Amarella whispered to her sister, “What’s wrong with his eyes?”
“Somethings not right here,” Darella responded, “Bellamin’s eyes were blue in his portrait.”
“Yes, well let us not forget he is also upstairs — and quite dead,” Amalyn added.
Leomourn’s hands instinctively went to his quiver, if worse came to worse he would deal with the necromancer and his orb like he dealt with all of life’s little problems: arrows. “I’ve never seen anything like them before.”
“I have,” said Delgen as he pushed the others aside and sauntered up to the orb. He placed his hand on the orb, leaning against it casually and began pouring on the ol’ Shardhammer charm.
“Belly — Can I call you Belly?”
“Well, I, er —”
“Excellent, Belly, let me tell you, my friend, it is so rare that I have the pleasure of meeting a fellow gardening enthusiast. This day and age it’s all about the gold pieces, you know what I mean? Everyone is so focused on making it in the dire-rat race that nobody ever takes the time to relax and garden anymore, but you and me, Belly, we know what’s important. I saw your little set up on the roof and that’s a top quality set up you have there.”
“I just have to ask, Belly, between us gardeners, what’s the secret of your prize-winning potatoes?”
Bellamin blinked dumbfounded at the dwarf for a moment. His expression was mirrored by the rest of the party as they exchanged glances with each other, wondering just what rambling madness the old dwarf was spouting this time. Suddenly Amalyn spoke up.
“You mean his tomatoes, right?”
Delgen’s head snapped around and the dwarf’s smile contorted into a snarl of consternation. “Shut it,” he muttered.
“But his trophy was for — "
“…Just shut it,” Delgen turned back to the orb, “Just ignore her, Belly, you know how those elves are.”
The corner of Bellamin’s mouth briefly twitched upward into a smirk, “Yes, all too well. Indeed, it seems that you are quite an extraordinary lot. Enough with the games.” As the impostor spoke his face began to shimmer and fade. For just a moment those eyes, those putrid, malevolent eyes, were all that remained in the orb. As the illusion faded the creature’s true form slowly came into focus, hunched and spindly it looked almost human except for the mass of writhing tentacles that sprouted from the creature’s mouth.
Delgen tried to speak but only managed to croak, “Mindflayer…”
“Illithid, child of stone. I am an Illithid and you would do well to avoid the vulgarities of your insipid surface-tongue from now on. You have made it all the way here, so it seems that the lot of you have quite a knack for survival. Currently I have need for ones such as yourselves. I want you to bring me a list, a simple piece of paper. It is hidden somewhere within this tower, and so far I have been unable to uncover it.”
“Why should we help you?!” Asked Leomourn.
“Well, for one I will not kill them.” The mind flayer said as he stepped to the side and the orb showed two figures in chains standing against a cold brick wall. Darellaand Amarellagasped as they realized, much to their confusion, that those two figures were their supposedly deceased parents.
“Yes, as I had thought. Now this list consists of names and locations, when you find it; bring it to the next location on the list. I will be waiting for you. Take the crystal ball with you, I will have need to contact you.”
“Lies upon lies, underspawn,” scoffed Amalyn, “When one deception fails you hide behind another to bend us to your will. I will not fall prey to your trickery.”
“Oh, Amalyn,” the Illithid’s tendrils drew up on themselves in a repulsive mockery of a smile, “You are so much like your mother.”
With a final laugh the Illithid faded from view and the orb returned to its original glassy luster.The party gathered up the orb, and searched the tower for The List. They left the tower, now with a Shield Guardian, a Darkskull, and The List at their disposal. They also found the key to this house, and decided they would make this wizard’s tower their new headquarters. There was also magical chest that they found within the castle. Which contained an odd surprise.
When they left the tower, they went to the fountain in the middle of town where they were told to meet Sir Jeffers. They waited for hours and he never showed.