Proceeding with the adventures of the Hammers of the Dawn company, while they climb the Mountains of Eternal Fire.
Day 1, Solar Month, 757 years since the Fall of the Gods, beginning of summer
The army left Baer’s Tower for the Eye of the West. The Hammers of Dawn (our heroes) marched behind the Sentinels (the city guard). Together with them marched other adventurers companies: the Circle of El’dar and the Knights of the Mug; both inexperienced groups. Ahead went the Daughters of the Unicorn – ashkatani (amazons) mercenaries from the far western nation of Cimeris –, the evangelist adventurers of the Gotêintor’s Avengers and the fey wanderers of the Emerald Champions. Scouting the Road Marshal’s army was the mission of the vanyr barbarians of the Red Wolves. The dwarven renegades of the Erased Rune guarded the rear. Finally, far ahead – beyond the scouts – marched alone the dwarves of the Stonefists. They refused to take part of an army that accepted “exiled bastards”. As true citizens of Karn (the greatest dwarf nation of Aldar) the Stonefists followed the Khanardon – a divine-inspired (and extremely long) code of honor and warfare.
Besides light earthquakes – common at the Mountains of Eternal Fire – and the roaring of some unseen draconic beast, the first day of the march went without incidents. Heian and the Red Wolves found the dismembered bodies of goblinoid scouting parties, together with a rune from the heroes of the Company of the Black Lantern. The first resting spot of the army was a small plateau surrounded by strange natural pillars called “The Three Giants”. There’re no sign of the Stonefists.
While the army prepared to camp, the Hammers were consulted by the Knights of the Mug. Their leaders – the human fighter Heltz and the half-elf sorcerer Darius – heard about the Hammers’ discovery of an aldarian temple below the village of Silvery Palms and wanted information about a magic item that they found some months ago: a small metallic pyramid whose surface seem to be made of solidified mercury (the same type of alloy used in the aldarian temple doors discovered).
Before further investigations could be made, the young vanyr archer Beolrus (from the Red Wolves) informed the party that he found tracks left by the Stonefists and suspected that the dwarves were in trouble. In fact, Beolrus also found an improvised dwarven grave close to the Giants. Karnite dwarves only made impromptu graves when pressed by close combat – the act of burying fallen comrades was considered sacrosanct by the Kharnadon.
The Hammers went after their allies, together with Beolrus, his sister Beltia – an ash wizard from Vanidrad –, and a druid from the Circle of El’dar called Cadimus Beren. Following the trail they’re ambushed by goblinoids, but the ensuing battle proved easy. Interrogating the survivors, they learned that the goblinoids were actually hunting a strange beast that was causing great causalities among the tribes – apparently some living legacy of the War of the Dark Banners.
Short after this encounter, they heard sounds of battle and, following it, found both goblinoids and dwarves fighting a giant and deformed cat-like creature. The monster itself was tough and the goblinoids took the opportunity to attack the adventurers. Heian heavily wounded the beast but only escaped death due to the intervention of the blind monk Nogard. The Stonefists, once reunited with the Hammers of the Dawn, informed them that the cavern where they sought refuge from the beast was actually its lair – there were a small treasure therein from its past victims.
Back to the army camp, at night, the Hammers helped the Knights of Mug with the investigation of the mysterious mercurial pyramid. Heian and Garet managed to activate the small artifact after a few minutes handling it. Each of the pyramid’s face opened, revealing a small crystal octahedron grafted on its metal surface. By touching the crystal, Heian was teleported to strange chamber, whose walls seemed to be made of transparent steel. Beyond it shone strange and alien starts. The chamber had the form of a tetrahedron and floated on the dark void. The elf saw that one of the chamber’s walls possessed a diamond-shaped mirror. Looking through it, the fey saw the giant faces of his worried companions.
A sound at his back startled the wizard. He noted that he wasn’t alone. Inside the strange chamber was a human duelist called Farduf. He was resting over some pillows at one of the room’s corners; a crystal ball at his side. Farduf explained that he was a member of the Knights of Mug, trapped inside the artifact for what appear to be an eternity – nor hungry or fatigued could touch him while in the room. Heian studied the crystal ball and managed to use his magic to get Farduf out, but the fey himself remained trapped. Outside, the Hammers meet Farduf, who learned that his imprisonment in the artifact lasted almost three months. Feeling cheated, the aasimar Hilguen almost started a battle with the Knights of the Mug – the paladin felt that his group was used. After all heads cooled down, more mages – including the warbard Mellius himself – came to help. At the end of this eldritch conclave, Heian was rescued with the help of Ordo, the wizard that followed the ashkatanis (Ordo was the only men among of the mercenary group or, as they Hammers put it, “the luckiest man” in the army).
While these events took place, the camp was assaulted by undead shadows, sent by the Master of the Goblinoid Horde. The attack was quickly repelled when Hilguen discovered the shadows’ origin in an iron ball, hidden at the camp’s border.
On the following day, the army was again attacked – this time by a big red drake. The beast was fended off only by the joining efforts of Hilguen’s Divine Spark and lots of dwarven ammunition. During the battle, many dwarves from the Erased Rune were saved by Nogard, quickly becoming friends with the hian monk.
The rest of the day went without further delays, the last rays of the Twin Suns revealing the high spire of the Eye of the West – the lighthouse-fortress sought by the army. Precisely at this point, just a few hundred meters from the safety of the iron gates, the army was hit by rains of goblinoid arrows, followed by a barbarian charge. The Horde sprung from nowhere, as if by magic, rising from the surrounding hills and crags, which melted before the heroes’ eyes.