When we last left our heroes…
Fate had conspired to bring four unlikely personages together in the small, frontier city of Furstdam. Llyreilen Moonchild, cast out of her Borean tribe for her mystical talents, and bereft of a teacher, practiced her healing arts at the city’s tiny, under-funded Temple of Atra. Gerk Wright, a young Foss exiled from his subterranean holdfast for as-yet-unrevealed indiscretions, sought in vain to find work amongst the city’s bigoted, Human inhabitants. Daggard Henrikson, itinerant alchemist, came following rumors of the disease that took both his young wife and, later, his career. Urial Misavich, a rogue swordsman, brought his terminally ill sister to the city in hopes of finding a cure for her condition, or at least earning enough coin to continue looking.
Within three weeks, the foursome, brought together by a confusing incident involving a bounty hunter in the city’s only decent inn, had discovered corruption, Diabolism, and ancient evil slumbering beneath the isolated town. The city’s lord, secretly a practicing Warlock, tried to have them killed for investigating too deeply into the conflict between the city’s inhabitants and the local Squealer tribe—a conflict which he had exacerbated for his own profit.
Having convinced the city guard, never mind the citizenry, of their noble intentions through their deeds, the foursome survived the fallout from the death of Lord Cavatt, only to be caught up in a series of plots hatched by others hoping to profit from his death and the resulting confusion. Elzaress, a mysterious sorceress, and her hulking Arktos companion, Rhastog, first kidknapped a captive drake from Cavatt’s wrecked laboratory, then assaulted the city with a swarm of gryphons in order to reclaim the bounty hunter, Khonis. A cryptic set of orders in the latter’s possession seemed to indicate that all three are working for a third party, using a signet in the shape of a horned and fanged, bat-winged skull. How droll.
Then a formerly sealed room beneath the ancient structure in which Cavatt performed his grisly experiments, opened by the cataclysmic destruction of his alchemical works, began to disgorge hideous, scorpion-like creatures from deep underground. The largest of these was capable of speech, and frighteningly intelligent—enough so to flee into the night rather than perish with its lesser fellows. Without the party’s assistance, it is very likely that the city guard would have been decimated fighting these monstrosities, further threatening peace in the city.
As if that weren’t enough, the gang war between a disgraced, former city official and the lord of its criminal underworld, threatened to shatter the peace and draw our heroes into a deadly battle for survival. Strangely enough, a clue dropped by the intelligent scorpion-monster led the heroes to a pair of Fair Folk, a Slyph and a Pech, who helped them discover that the leaders of both underworld factions were, in fact, the same person, manipulating the gang war from both ends for his ultimate benefit.
And so our heroes prepare to leave the City of Shadows considerably less shadowy than they found it. They have made lifelong friends in some few of the city’s nobles and officials, specifically the newly appointed ruler, an office now known as the heir-apparent to the city’s criminal underworld by convincing his associates that he had been magically counterfeiting the gold with which he pays them, but he also remains at large.. They have created a dialogue and the possibility of trade between Furstdam and the Squealer tribe, as well as the nearest Foss holdfast, all of which will greatly benefit the city in the months to come. They have no explanation for the actions of, but a great deal of personal enmity toward the meddling trio of Elzaress, Rhastog, and Khonis, who remain at large, and whose motives remain unknown. They have routed the
Personally, Rei has received a disturbing vision, implying that her ultimate destiny may lie with her people after all, rather than among outlanders. She believes that she must embrace the strange powers bestowed upon her in order to save her people from some as-yet-unknown fate.
Gerk, the poorly-rounded specialist craftsman, has learned more about fending for himself from his three new companions in the last three weeks than in the rest of his life. He has decided that he wishes to stick close by his new friends.
Urial has become aware that there is some strange connection between the ruins of Furstdam’s Old Keep, the monsters imprisoned beneath it, and the fey creatures who lent their magic to the final battle with Brint. The Slyph, Fexissa, has told him that the elder spirits surrounding the First Tree, deep within the Verdance may be able to discover the reason for her coma before it is too late. May the gods help anyone or anything that gets in his way…