Day 7, Solar Month, 757 years since the Fall of the Gods, early summer
Returning from the noble djinn’s demesne at the Elemental Courts , the Hammers of the Dawn felt defeated. Of his three allies, kidnapped by the half-elf sorcerer Mask, only one was saved – the Road Marshal Garamus. The Warbard Mellius and the half-orc Karanuk still were prisoners of Shzamias’ Wall of Living Statues.
Back to Eye of the West – the fortified lighthouse over the eastern borders of the Mountains of Eternal Fire – the Hammers were rewarded by Garamus and dismissed to rest and recover from their last ordeals. Hilguen in particular didn’t accepted Karanuk’s loss; the aasimar paladin vowed to find a way to save his friend.
At that same day, Garet, who had lost his left hand to Kalikuja, the Three-Headed Crocodile, found a new one among the dwarven mercenaries of the Erased Rune. Garet bought a technomagic hand made from primordium with a technomage from that outfit. Heian, still trapped in goblin-form, sent a message back to the town of Baer’s Tower, asking for a arcanists able to lift the curse. To have the message delivered with urgency, Heian entered in a debt with a mysterious pale-skinned and tattooed human warrior, of name Kharj, owner of a black-feathered gryphon and capable of keeping communication with the lowlands.
Day 8, Solar Month, 757 years since the Fall of the Gods, early summer
With the Twin Suns still rising in east, Garamus called for a war council. After hearing the news from the scouting parties – adventurers from the Gotêintor’s Avengers and the Red Wolves parties – it was discovered that the only thing that kept the bulk of the goblinoid horde at the mountains above was a mysterious ice labyrinth far ahead. The Red Wolves informed that the eldritch place was apparently inhabited by a demon, which eagerly devoured any goblin or undead that ventured inside those cold walls. Garamus suspected that the entire ice construct was a creation of Zaram, from the Company of the Black Lantern. The maze gave the heroes and the army a few days to plot their next move against the unknown master of the goblinoids.
Another pertinent subject of the meeting was the fact that the goblinoids were employing illusions to create more troops and thus disturb the march to the lighthouse. There were too many humanoids surrounding the keep during the desperate run for the gate but, after the battle, slightly more than 50 bodies were found around the place. Garamus feared that the same kind of magic deception could be used to gain entrance to the Eye.
After much debate, it was decided to double all the patrols at the walls and to include at least one spellcaster in each; a secure line of communication with Baer’s Tower was also essential. Both the Daughters of the Unicorn and the Erased Rune – the mercenary companies – were placed at the walls. The Red Wolves, being the only vanyrian* group, were still the army’s first scouts.
One final issue of the council was about the location of the Knights of the Mug. The younger adventuring party was the only group that still hasn’t returned from scouting the closer trails.
With the general orders given, Garamus tasked the Hammers – now his most trusted group – to return to the Scales (the mountain trails) and find the goblinoid track used to cross the region. Garamus suspected of a secret passage, maybe inside one of the caves explored by the Hammers.
Repacking, the group went directly to the Middle Scales – those trails at the same altitude of the Eye of the West. Their first challenge was a sudden encounter with giant ants; which severely wounded Drícia and forced the Hammers to leave the region before the entire local anthill was upon them. Fleeing the antes, the group went down to a heath full of thorns and bizarre leafless plants. This time they were ambushed by a bugbear scouting party; however, they found out that these barbarians were enemies of the horde – an independent tribe for local caves. Following their tracks, the Hammers found their lair – a small cave complex where the bugbears worshiped a “fire god” (a small and clever fire mephit).
The elemental creature called himself Spark and told the group that he was bound in the bugbear’s lair as a punishment for “accidentally” burning his last master’s grimoire. This event was during the War of Dark Banners and Spark suspected that the old wizard may not have survived. Sometime after the bounding a goblin adept found him and was easily “converted” by the fire mephit (although the pitiable creature was incapable of releasing him).
The party decided to free Spark and to present the small spirit as a gift to Beltia, the beautiful female vanyrian ashen wizard from the Red Wolves. Before this, Spark eagerly volunteered to become a servant to either the sorcerer-monk Nogard or the elf Heian (a proposal which greatly infuriated his familiar Valquir).
Talking with the mephit, the Hammers heard about a strange location ahead called the Stone Forest. Spark also speculated on the nature of the horde’s master. If the mephit could be trusted, the master of goblinoid was called Kiramaxus, a kundravian** name and most definitely a bad omen. The name also spelled ill memories, for both Hilguen and Drícia remember tales about a warlock with such name… and of his death at the War of Dark Banners.
Due to the dire news, Spark was sent back to lighthouse to deliver the same information to Ordo, the Daughters of the Unicorn’s male wizard. The Hammers began to climb again for the Middle and High Scales, still searching for the goblinoids’ secret passage.
*Vanyrians are a race of tall and pale humans from the cold wilderness of Vanidrad. They’re known for their survival skills, reckless fighting style (especially against giants), their branded ashen wizards and for being the only known atheist people in all 7th Moon (henceforth being also considered quite mad by most “civilized” countries).
**Kundravians are a race of humans from the Theocracy of Urkazon. Kundravians’ Witch Kings are famous warlocks, necromancers and summoners of entities from the netherworld of Farnax (demons and fallen celestials). They have dusky skin, are usually of gaunt features and somber aspect. In short words, kundravians are the 7th Moon’s stygians.