After sorting out the confusion in Trimm and appeasing the blue Dragon Man from the north, the party has been betrayed by Aladra, the elven witch they freed from Trimm’s sinister Mayor, killed the Wild Company and a large Green Dragon, retrieved the black bottle map of the pirate lord R’gyrh il’Mordan, and uncovered hidden demonic forces within Ravania’s King’s Men. Just warming up, of course, as we prepare for our next adventure.
In D’Falius, however, we not only befriended the innkeeper by allowing him to hire our grey elf companion Typhos as a “masked minstrel” for his inn, The Rolled Oat, but also discovered that the armorer’s apprentice, a dwarf named Scowler, had plans for us as well. After quickly passing his many tests to see if were were indeed the Company that the Stone Prophecies had told him would come, Scowler — or Bardak Blackhand — pledged his allegiance to our small fighting band and encouraged us to leave our posts as King’s Emissaries and become the Stone Company instead, dedicated to seeking out the eight Dragonorbs that would, when collected, form the Ward against Demons in the dark days to come.
Following Bardak on the road to Hammerfast, deep within Redpeak along the snowed-under Trade Road, we found that we had been pushed to our limits. First, we needed to help the people of Wintershield push off a large bandit force to the east. Then we discovered and fought the zombie-ogres of the Weeping Skull Tribe, converted by necrotic magic to serve the forces of the Underdark. Soon after we stumbled into the nearly-eradicated garrison at Two Roads, where only one Dwarf survived. A host of what he called “stuffed men” were approaching through the drifts, devilish automatons that exploded in martial combat, potentially killing anyone adjacent to them when they went off.
With strategy, luck, and some help from Sharra Silverleaf, Ferdin Fellhelm, and Xert One-Shot, we defeated these minions along with the bandits who had let them loose from their prison in Vor Rukoth, the necrotic City of Rubies. Sharra, who had bravely set out from Hammerfast despite a night hag’s curse that withered her in the outdoors, had discovered the truth: Serlek the bandit had accepted treasure and power from the devils of the city in exchange for murdering the giant protecting the seal that protected Redpeak from the evil city. That seal now compromised, however, the ruler of Vor Rukoth, Lady Najala, could soon send in her tiefling and undead hordes into our world. Our mission was clear: find the original Fire Opal/Dragonorb or one of Najala’s Stars (massive rubies) and return it to the portal to seal it tight once more.
Quickly scrambling to find the so-called Dungeon of the Fire Opal — the Dwarven name for the series of tunnels that the bandits used as a base — we bartered our way in with the new bandit chief and discovered the portal leading into Vor Rukoth. Thanks to Mabruk and Lockheed, the ruby “key” to the door itself was quickly overcome and we took our first intrepid steps into the devilish city. We even had one new ally — Ferdrin Fellhelm — who eagerly sought to accompany us despite his failure to act quickly during the battle with the bandit Serlek. With Xert accompanying Sharra back to Hammerfast with one of our levitation disks as an aid, Ferdrin was a welcome addition not only for his sword, but for his talent as a healer.
Ferdrin, however, would not last long. Almost immediately upon entering the city, a host of skeletal warriors led by a Skull Lord tried to bar our way. We defeated their assault, but lost Ferdrin to their vampiric ways. Now, even as we prepare to pillage the dead and scout the area around us, a tall, grey woman in black leather armor is seen watching our progress. Who is she — and what does she want? Tune in next time.