Shattered Shield

For Want of a Book

 

 

After playing their part in pacifying the city of Admundfort, our heroes took a short rest. Johan and Cromwell, none too happy with being trapped in a city full of plaque carriers and idiotic bureaucrats, decided to journey to new lands in search of coin and adventure while the rest of the party (Balder, Evan and Mikal) stayed behind. Rovis called them together to give them their new assignment.

            The priest ran a hand through his thinning hair. "I'm sorry to see Cromwell and Johan go-"

            Balder jumped in. "Ack! Those two only wanted coin and nothing else. I'm glad to see the back of them!"

            "Never the less, they will be missed, even if they do no care for such things. However, we have a more pressing matter at hand. As I mentioned earlier, I found evidence that the Marhauss family fled to the City of Greyhawk, which means that they took whatever clues leading to a copy of the Tome of Time (also known as Algernon's Book) with them. My duties here prevent me from going back at this moment, but my colleague, Veni Jerrison, a fellow priest of Pelor, may be of some help. Take this letter to him, with my seal. I'm sure that he will do whatever he can to help you. If you manage to secure the tome, take it Aespartas of Verbobonc. He is a sage who has studied the history of the events surrounding the life and times of Algernon. He will be very helpful as well."

            The three companions reached the city by way of the river Selintan. After asking for some directions, they managed to reach the edge of the Foreign Quarter and the chapel of Pelor. Inside the met with Jerrison and two of his cohorts; the acolyte of Pelor Gregor Corvinius and a young half-elven Paladin of the faith, Tristan. They agreed to search for any traces of the Marhauss family. Their investigations lead to a strange late night visit by a trio of men. They claimed that they could contact the family for a price. If Gregor and Tristan agreed to journey to the nearby hamlet of Diamond Lake and clear an abandoned mine of some unwanted guests he would contact the family on their behalf. Gregor, who learned of the devious ways of the city the hard way (by being born in the city of thieves no less), manage to convince them that he would do as they ask but that he need to meet this surviving relative of the Marhauss family.

 

The meeting took place in the Artisans Quarter where in Gregor demanded proof that this man possessed the book he was looking for. Proof came by way of an etching of a symbol purported to be on the cover of the book. Further investigations revealed that this symbol was genuine. Once that was established, Gregor contacted the rest of the group and informed them of the situation.

They promptly set off for Diamond Lake. The village looked worse for wear after the events of the Age of Worms, when a black dragon by the name of Ilthane attacked it in search of a wizard by the name of Allustan. Yet, the town was on the mend, if slowly. The group asked around and found that one Johan Smenk, who claimed to be the mine's supervisor. He described that a tribe of "lizard like folk, with yipping voices" had taken over the mine. His arrogant manner put off Balder, who thought better of smacking the young overseer back a notch or two.

The group spent the night in the Feral Dog, a shabby inn of sorts, full of barely employed laborers downing the local water down swill. A fellow there took a shine to Balder when he offered to buy him a drink.

"Sure I know Smenk. I knew his father too. The pup is as mangy as the dog that sired him. Old Balabar used to run this town, whether the Mayor or the militia captain thought different. His son is trying to muscle in, but the mines are infested with all manner of creatures, mostly the orcs who used to work them. They won't for him, so Coppernight is his only option. Of course, if someone could clean the place up maybe we could get back to work."

"So what do you know of the mine," Balder asked.

"Not much I'm afraid. I worked keeping the wagons fit; you know to clear the slurry and stuff. Good thing too, no work for me underground. No offense friend dwarf. Old Dourstone had some grand plans for that mine, but then a dragon landed on top of us and well, you can guess the rest."

The next day the companions marched toward the mine. On the entrance, they met with a large party of kobolds, who demanded they pay the privilege to leave. Evan tried to negotiate with them but to no avail. A fight ensued which the companions won handedly. On interrogating the leader, they discovered that the kobolds worked for a powerful creature described as "like us, but big, black and with wings".

"A black dragon," Evan said.

"Please, a dragon, here?" Gregor said. "I doubt he could barely fit though the main entrance. The group continued into the mind, where they encountered more kobolds. The little creatures fought with remarkable cunning and persistence, even when faced with powerful adventurers that had killed many of their number. The group discovered the identity of the kobold "god". Evan was right; a dragon whelp had intimidated the kobolds into worshiping him as a god. While Evan words stole the heart of the yipping mongrels, it had no effect on the arrogant creature that attacked him with a blast of corrosive acid.

"OUR GOD FIGHTS! OUR GOD FIGHTS!" shrieked the diminutive folk, who surrounded Evan and took him down in with repetitive strikes of their blades. The rest of the party rallied and concentrated their attacks on the wyrm. Tristan summoned he might of his patron and smote the beast. Seeing their tormentor felled forced the kobolds to cease fighting. With Evan as interpreter, Gregor convinced the kobolds to leave the mine, thus accomplishing their mission without further bloodshed. Their leader offered a medallion to Tristan, who declined it; Mikal on the other hand had no compulsion against taking his just reward.

Several days later, the party returned to the city, where in they contacted the man who claimed to posses the book. The man kept his end of the bargain and presented them with a leather bound book with Algernon's sigil on its face. They took it to Aespertas, who promptly set out to study it. Now they await the results.

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