Part 1: End of the Party
Hazan Razorscale??! The same dragonborn in commanded of the relief force from Ironspur that left the Monastery of St. Wynfrith to burn? A ghost, a very bad ghost, from the past had appeared again. The party sat in stunned silence as Viscount Istvan and his entourage said their peace and left.
The celebration banquet slowly fizzled to an end. Lord Protector Markelhay quietly exited the room without so much as a word, drunken revellers sought happier places to carouse, and those that were more sober drifted away and pondered the implications of the night’s events. Always very distant, the hand of the king in Helgabal now seemed very close indeed.
Part 2: Karnak’s News
The party soon left the evening’s revellry, each deep in their own thoughts, and made their way back to their rooms at the Fallcrest Inn. On the way, Karnak made an unexpected detour to the House of the Sun, the former temple of Torm and Ilmater that had been abandoned shortly after the orcish invasions nearly a century ago. There, Karnak revealed that he had decided to end his adventuring days and stay in Fallcrest to establish a new temple of Kelemvor in the old structure. A financial partnership between he and Lord Protector Markelhay was making it possible and the obvious trouble Fallcrest was having with the undead clearly indicated the need for Kelemvor’s attentions. In addition, Sharat had agreed to tend to a shrine to Oghma that would be located in the same building, bringing the presence of the god of knowledge to Fallcrest for the first time. The other party members, though shocked by the news, congratulated the two and the rest of the evening was spent exploring the abandoned temple and its grounds. Karnak offered up the empty dormatories of the old temple as a new home for the party, allowing them to move out of the nearly permanent home at the Fallcrest Inn, which was cause for more celebration!
The next day, after the hangovers wore off, the party set about cleaning up the long abandoned dormatories next door to the temple and a few days later, moved in. Repair work on the temple began right away, as a pack of masons, carpenters, metalsmiths, and laborers arrived to begin the remodel of the neglected temple.
Part 3: The Dragoons Move In
Meanwhile, the presence of Viscount Istvan’s Royal Dragoons was being felt around the town. While Karnak and Sharat busied themselves getting the repairs to the temple started, the rest of the party spent their time about town, watching the town watchmen steadily being replaced by soldiers in the blue and white tabards of King Frostmantle. Royal troops appeared at the town gates, on street corners, and walking beat in Low Town. Theros went to observe the encampment of the Royal Guard battalion and saw them digging in deep, building earthworks and cutting trees for log structures, turning the field that was home to the Swiftwater halflings only a few days ago into a muddy military camp. Clearly the Dragoons were settling in for a long stay in Fallcrest. When he met a few of the halflings, including Thannigan Swiftwater, they said that most of the Swiftwater families were heading south, leaving Fallcrest for more pleasent places down river.
A few members of the party attempted to contact Lord Protector Markelhay as well, hoping for an audience or at least some information on what was transpiring. But despite their best efforts, Markelhay was unavailable, busy with the arrival of Viscount Istvan and his troops.
Part 4: Karnak Heads Out
After about a week of being busy around town, the party had finished moving from the Fallcrest Inn and into their new rooms in the temple dormatory. One evening over tankards of ale, Karnak informed the party of his need to take the wagon and make a trip to Tellerth, the largest town on the western verge of the Dunwood. There was an ironworker there that he needed to commision some work from for the new temple and he expected to be gone for at least a week, perhaps two, while Sharat continued to organize and run the temple remodelling work. The next morning, goodbyes were said and Karnak rode out of town under the watchful gaze of the Royal Dragoon guards stationed at the city’s River Gate.
Part 5: The Temple is Overrun!
In the wee hours of the morning on the third night after Karnak departed for Tellerth, a frantic knock came on the door of the temple dormatory. Rassimohn was the first to respond—his lifetime as a soldier, vagabond, criminal, and cutthroat making him a light sleeper. At the door was a townswoman, draped in a heavy shawl against the night chill and her face a mask of worry. “My husband Andrei, sir, my husband is a worker at the temple.”, and at this she pointed at the temple that stood dark and quiet in the moonlight just a short ways down the road, “He’s a mason, sir, and he hasn’t come home tonight. I was worried, so I came from Low Town to find him and when I came to the temple… It. It’s wrong, sir. I’m worried. Something is wrong with the temple. Can you help?” With these words, tears ran down the woman’s face.
By this time, the others had arrived at the door and heard the woman’s story. With curt nods, they went to gather their gear while Sharat calmed the worried woman. When they were ready, they left the woman safe at the dormatory building and went to investigate the temple. The streets were quiet and things seemed in order until they came to the massive ironbound oaken doors of the temple. The queer, detatched sensation emanating from within clearly indicated something was wrong. The heavy hoar-frost and frigid cold coming off the doors was all it took for the party to recognize the presence of the Shadowfell. Something was indeed amiss in the Temple of the Sun.
Bursting through the doors, the party found the sanctuary bathed in pools of moonlight. There, bathed in the light and surrounded by glittering clouds of ice and frost, shuffled two frozen, walking corpses, entrails and flesh hanging from their bones. The undead! Defiling the new temple of Kelemvor?! The party rushed to the attack!
|2 Chillborn Zombies
|3 Devourer Initiates
As the chittering, howling, screeching osteopede finally fell dead in a heap of bone, ichor, and blood, the party approached the wide steps leading down to the crypts beneath the temple. A pulsating, thrumming aura of unease emanated up from below. Elestrynna pursed her lips and spoke,
“I believe it’s a portal – likely one that leads to the Shadowfell – but it is unstable. It’s, how do I put it? Decaying. If I’m correct, it’s collapsing.”
Wiping the ichor from their weapons, the party descended the steps and entered the crypts below the temple. The wrought iron gates that once sealed the tombs were battered open, but the chain and lock lay intact on the ground, as if they had been taken off before the gates were damaged. Beyond the gates, a crumbled wall in the crypt exposed a tunnel leading into the network of catacombs beneath the city. A sickly emerald green glow emanated from the opening, pulsating in sync with the waves of unease that surrounded everything. As the party advanced, they noticed a crowbar lying partially buried in the rubble of the collapse, looking as though it had been used to break down the wall and create the opening. Did somebody open this passageway intentionally?