The Fallen Lands of Westerness

Into the Willowmire
The heroes seek out the black wyrm Nagendrix.

Cragbeard remained with Anarus Kavrum to help search for an entrance into the Sunspire – the coastline is riddled with rocky caverns, one of which they hoped would lead into the tower.

The rest of the party ventured into the Willomire, to seek the ruins of Trokare and (hopefully) gain further insight from the black dragon Nagendrix.

The party was first accosted by local fauna (Sporeback Toads and Swamprattlers). After dealing with the hungry wildlife, the heroes discovered an ancient corpse that the toads seemed to have brought to their lair, but found distasteful. Upon the corpse was an iron-bound book of beaten lead pages. Emblazoned on the book’s cover was a strange symbol – an obsidian wave crashing over a bronze sun. The book turned out to be a prayer book / ritual text for the Cult of Raj. From the text, the cult seems to be focused on summoning a being called Arashan, “The Endless Tide” which, according to the book, will sweep away the false face of the world revealing the “blind truth hidden by the mundane world” and allow those devoted to the Cult of Raj to reach enlightenment.

The party then encountered and treated with a group of lizardfolk – the lizardfolk were lead by a priest of the black dragon, Ignathik – who luckily spoke goblin, making it possible for Grigorg to converse with him. The lizardfolk were being besieged by the same undead against whom the party had fought and agreed to lead the heroes to their home in the ruins of Trokare, hoping to gain allies to turn back the undead invaders. On the way there, the heroes participated in battle against the undead and won a great deal of respect from the lizardfolk.

Once to the ruins the heroes were lead to Nagendrix, who explained his own plight to them – he had been sorely wounded in his battle at the Sunspire (with what he called some sort of Demon) and his wounds were infecting him with the undead plague that was raising corpses in service to whatever dark power was controlling the Sunspire. Nagendrix dared not reveal this to his lizardfolk, as their faith in him would be shaken and they would likely falter in their battles with the undead. Nagendrix was in the process of concocting an antidote to his affliction and needed a special ingredient to stave off undeath.

Nagendrix asked the party to travel to the sunken Temple of Sarnath and fill a crystal flagon from the Wellspring of Ulros in the caverns beneath the temple. He promised them rewards from his hoard of treasure for this service. The party agreed and set off at once (there was supposed to be another skill challenge here, but we were running short on time – suffice it to say the journey was difficult, too difficult for any of the lizardfolk to have accomplished). The party secured the glowing water from under the temple – learning in the process that the water was infused with radiant energy which revitalized them (restored their healing surges).

Leaving the temple, the party was ambushed by an undead party – the mummified corpse leading the undead called itself Lictus Al-Mahere and appeared to be adorned with symbols of the Cult of Raj. Lictus offered to allow the heroes to go in peace if they abandoned their quest for Nagendrix. Violence followed quickly thereafter, and the heroes vanquished Lictus and his followers. The party agreed to take an extended rest after this, leaving the fate of Nagendrix uncertain.

Offscreen Action

Back at the Sunspire, Cragbeard and the ghost of Anarus Kavrum searched deep into the caverns surrounding the Sunspire, and did indeed discover an entrance. The glowing portal was guarded by phantoms and wards which the two, with help summoned by Kavrum, overcame with great difficulty. With an entrance secured, Cragbeard retraced his path to the surface and set out to find his friends.

Luckily, the party had left word with the lizardfolk to look out for Cragbeard should he follow them, along with a letter to explain the situation to their friend. While following his friends trail, Cragbeard was approached by a lizardfolk patrol lead by the priest Ignathik, who managed to parlay with the dwarf and show him the letter. Cragbeard agreed to accompany the lizardfolk to rejoin his companions.

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An Ill Arrival
The heroes arrive in Westerness under unexpected circumstances.

The party was en-route to the city of Dalinir aboard the merchant ship Adderline. An unexpected storm arose and the captain of the Adderline (Capt. Beval Trousk) noted that the ancient lighthouse known as the Sunspire, a ruin from bygone ages, was not visible when it was expected it to be. Soon, the crew spotted another ship wrecked upon the shore – from which the heroes could hear terrified screams for help and high-pitched death-wails. The Adderline could not approach the shore very closely, due to the storm and the rocky coastline.

The heroes, being heroic (or bored, or railroaded into action… whatever) approached the storm-wracked shore in a dinghy piloted by one of the Adderline’s crew (Maghra) and found the survivors of the wreck under attack by a small horde of undead. One of the undead soldiers appeared to be capable of raising the recently deceased as his zombie minions. The heroes saved most of the crew of the wreck, which Maghra transported back to the Adderline, promising to return for the heroes (the dinghy could not carry everyone in a single trip). Sadly, Maghra was swept under the waves as she returned, leaving the heroes to destroy the remaining undead.

Captain Trousk, from the deck of the Adderline, tried to signal to the heroes something – perhaps indicating that he would await them further down the coast, or that he would return for them – it was difficult to understand.

Once the undead were dealt with, the heroes elected to investigate the nearby Sunspire, which was now aglow with a vile green radiance, and which also seemed to be the hub around which the strange storm was rotating. High up the tower, nearly lost in the storming sky and the green glimmer of the tower itself, a battle seemed to be waged – something with huge black wings swooped about the tower, battering at an unseen foe. With a roar of pain, the black-winged thing seemed to retreat, and soon the storm abated.

At the base of the tower the heroes found what appeared to be a specter – some ghostly being was hammering against the Sunspire, trying unsuccessfully to gain entry. The ghost introduced himself as Anarus Kavrum, high magister of Trokare. He became enraged when he got a close look at Sapphire (Eddie’s character) – claiming the order she belonged to was to blame for the loss of Trokare. The heroes found themselves battling against Kavrum and his ghostly brothers.

Kavrum relented once his allies began to fall to the heroes, and called for peace. He explained some of the details surrounding the fall of Trokare, a ritual to summon aid from “Beyond the realms of men and Gods” which was interrupted by interlopers from the Shadows of Rath. The botched ritual seemed to cause the planar conjunction which brought ruin to all the lands of Westerness and left Trokare sunken beneath a new-formed swamp. Since that fateful day, Kavrum has been cursed to wander the swamp in an insubstantial and undying state, caretaker of a ruined nation, heir to the dead (and un-dead) of Trokare.

Kavrum explained that this very night something had changed – a power had invaded the Sunspire and perverted its arcane energies – locking him out of the tower and raising the storm. Whatever happened also brought the attention of Nagendrix, a black dragon that lairs in the ruins of Trokare and is worshiped by the lizardfolk of the Willowmire – the dragon approached the top of the tower and seemed to be driven off after a fight.

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