Lenix Bluejay – A bard currently in the employ of the Knights of Marridam. Lenix has little memory of his early life and has been a traveler as long as he can remember.
Leonardo d’Atreia – Leonardo is the scion of a Castilian noble house. An impetuous youth he has been entrusted in the care of the Knights of Marridam by his great uncle the Patriarch of Leone.
Marial – A paladin in the Order of Knights of Marridam. One of the first to join the Order she was recruited from a trading family and has a knack of relating to people. Marial appears to be in her early twenties.
Rheanna – A druid currently in the employ of the Knights of Marridam. Rheanna originates from southern Castile where she has spent her early life practicing the, then, forbidden Druidic faith.
Ronald – A wizard currently in the employ of the Knights of Marridam. Ronald is a member of the College of Illumination and Lucid Transformations at the Leone Academy of Wizardry. He has a weasel named Angus as a familiar.
Samantha Underwood – A paladin in the Order of Knights of Marridam. Joining the Order shortly after Marial, Samantha is the daughter of Sir Bryce Underwood the then Nomambian ambassador to Carthasia who is now the Order’s ambassador to Nomambia. She is a skilled linguist and speaks Carthasian fluently. Samantha appears to be in her late teens
A Kidnapping in Jottenberg
Samantha is summoned to Daryl Baste’s office and told of the disappearance of her sister Alice in Jottenberg. Alice has been missing for two days and foul play is suspected.
The party teleports to the Jottenberg ambassadorial residence, Wyvern House. There they learn that Alice was last seen in the company of three friends at the Bell Square Markets. While her friends were entertained by a puppet show Alice went to buy some ribbons from a stall and was not seen again.
A ransom note arrives at Wyvern House demanding, in exchange for Alice, the large golden egg being held at the residence. The exchange is to take place in an alley behind the Sad Clown Tavern in a hours time. The note was delivered by a small dog wearing a frilly collar, and is in very poor diction.
The egg is believed to be that of a dragon and is in the care of Andrew the Loquacious. Andrew, a paladin in the Order, is of Jottenic decent and is an expert on the history of his people, and their association with dragons – some Jottenic nobles claim to be descendents of dragons.
The egg’s occupant appears to send a mental image to anyone touching its shell. This image is of a shield, bearing the Order’s crest, which hangs in the Hall of Wyvern House. This was the reason for the egg’s presence in the Embassy.
Communicating via mental images, Andrew ascertains that the egg needs water from the Eye of the Dragon, a well or pool of some kind, in order to hatch.
The party, using magic, create a replica egg from a boulder and bring this in a wagon to the alley. Under the cover of invisibility the party watch a number of clowns treat the wagon with suspicion before entering the Tavern. Finally two clowns approach the wagon. One of them removes his nose and throws it two the ground. The clowns place their hats over their faces as a cloud of noxious gas erupts. When this clears the clowns have gone but the egg remains – with “Fake Egg!” painted on it.
A new note arrives at Wyvern House, again delivered by the dog. The kidnapers are not happy with the deception. More instructions are to arrive the next day, however they say Alice will not enjoy the night.
An Evening at the Ball
That evening Leonardo escapes his guardians to attend a ball at the house of Baron Albert Van Cresen. There he discovers Alice’s three friends – the bright and sensible Janela MacTagart; the quiet and serious Daniel d’Urvile; and the pretty but ditsy Mare-Cherie Du Beau. He learns that Alice made the mistake of telling them of the egg. All three of the girls had, unfortunately, passed the secret on to others. Janela, had told her brother John, a member of the Knights Troubadour, who was also at the ball. Daniel had told her boyfriend Sir Garron Saint-Leven, a Knight Cavalier who was currently on duty at the palace. Mare-Cherie, a less than discreet girl, had told many others. Mare-Cherie said her brother Guiles, Alice’s fiancée, was also present when Alice told them of the egg.
Meanwhile Marial, Lenix, Ronald, and Rheana go to pay a visit on Guiles, who had been noticeably absent since the kidnapping. On the way Ronald breaks away from the rest and chases of down the street. He returns a few minutes later saying he thought he recognised a passer-by. Ronald appears distressed but says no more.
The party arrives at the Du Beau residence in a part of town that houses the upwardly mobile. It turns out that his own family has been keeping him prisoner in his room. His father had heard of the kidnapping and feared the scandal if his son should marry a ‘soiled’ woman. Questioning Guiles they learn of Alice’s indiscretion and of the Ball.
With Guiles in tow all three visit the Ball and spot Leonardo. They question the girls and Sir John the Cavalier who, like most of his Order, seemed a libertine and a fool. Lenix ‘invites’ Sir John to Wyvern House for further questioning. Marial and Rheana head to the palace to see Sir Garron the Cavalier. Leonardo is allowed to stay at the ball until midnight.
Lenix awakes in an alley with a sore head and the sound of running footsteps. Standing over him Sir John brandished a sword and shouting curses at fleeing figures. John informs Lenix that they have just been to the palace to visit Prince Richard, the king’s second son and the head of the Order of Knights Troubadour. On the way back they were attacked by a group of brigands and Lenix was struck from behind. John escorts Lenix, who can not remember the journey or the visit to the palace, back to Wyvern House.
At the Palace, Marial and Rheana arrive just as Sir Garron returns. He is a Lieutenant in the Queen’s Guard and has just finished his watch at the Abbey were her majesty is in residence. Sir Garron is a polite, conservative and serious man, much like his girlfriend Daniel. He offers to help in any way he can. The only person he has told of the egg is her majesty herself who in her exile craves stories from outside.
As promised, Leonardo leaves the ball at midnight. On the way to the embassy he encounters the little dog with the frilly collar that delivered the ransom notes. To his amazement the dog speaks. After a brief conversation he follows the dog to the Sad Clown Tavern which is now empty of patrons. Leonardo picks the lock and enters. However, he fails to spot the hidden trapdoor over a pit in the entranceway and falls in. The last thing he sees before the trapdoor closes over him is the smirk on the little dog’s face.
A Ransom is Made
The next day the non-appearance of Leonado causes some concern. An anonymous note delivered by a Guild Messenger tells of Leonardo’s visit to the Sad Clown Tavern. The party visits Sir Garron, as a representative of the local law, and requests his help in recovering Leonardo. Sir Garron and a troup of his men storm the Tavern, which is still empty, and recover Leonardo from the pit. He is covered in custard, which lines the bottom of the pit. Also rescued from the pit is a rather sorry individual called Blinkey. Blinky is an apprentice clown who fell in the pit the previous night – a Master Clown’s practical joke. Clowns believe one must suffer for one’s art, and Blinky is striving to be a good clown.
Back at Wyvern House a new ransom note has arrived – this one delivered via an arrow shot from horseback by a fast ridding man in black. The note demands that the egg be placed in a tent at Bell Square before sunset that evening.
The party devises two plans. The first plan one to duplicate the egg by polymorphing another animal, and then cast Permanency to protect the polymorph from dispel magic. A cockroach is chosen as the recipient as it is tough enough to survive the polymorph and dumb enough forget that it ever was a cockroach. The second plan is locate the Eye of the Dragon and use it’s waters to hatch the egg.
While half the party hire the services of a Guild Wizard to cast the spells to duplicate the egg (for a small fortune), the rest search the city for a possible site of the Eye of the Dragon. This seems an impossible task until Marial looks behind the shield in the Hall of Wyvern House. Here they find a circular plaque, made of lead that may one have been gilded, embedded in the wall. A rubbing reveals that the plaque is engraved with the family crest of the d’ Wyvern family – the former owners of the house. The crest is of Wyvern astride a circular wall, encircled by the family motto written in archaic Jottenic. Andrew studies this text – a fragment of a sentence, which could be translated as ‘Beware where you walk’, or possibly, ‘Look where I stand’.
Using a combination of engineering and magic, the plaque is removed to reveal a small tunnel ending a shaft. Above the shaft is found a warning written in Jottenic runes. The shaft is said to be the tomb of Hiedlegurd, protected by both a fierce guardian and a terrible curse.
Andrew explains that the Tale of Hiedlegurd and the Mountain King is an old Jottenic fairytale. Hiedlegurd is a beautiful enchantress who falls in love with a warrior. The warrior is on a quest to rid the land of a dragon, and Hiedlegurd uses her powers to enchant his sword. When the dragon is slain the grateful king gives the warrior half his mountain kingdom …and the hand of his daughter in magic. Hearing of his marriage Hiedlegurd is said to weep so bitterly that she filled a pool with her tears.
Rheanna is lowered on a rope to the bottom of the shaft. Here she discovers a large flat rock engraved with a spiral. In this rock sits an earthenware cup filled with small, rectangular chips of stone.
Marial, Lenix, Ronald, and Andrew join Rheanna at the bottom of the shaft. Ronald touches the rock and receives a vision. In this vision an Old woman speaks of her imminent death. She recounts of how she was once betrayed by one she loved and almost called down the most terrible of her people’s curses upon this land. Only her love of her unborn stayed her hand/
The old woman’s runes have told her that two groups of people will seek entry to her tomb: one group works in the interests of a descendent of hers; the others are impostors. As she does not know to which she is addressing, she has set a test. To gain safe entry to her crypt the runes in the cup must be placed on the spiral in the same position that they were cast three days after she died. If the party fails her curse will be enacted and an abomination will be unleashed upon the land
The party carefully ascends to consider their options. Andrew tells of the ancient Jottenic custom of casting runes for the dead three days after their internment in a burial mound. A small hole is left in the top of the mound for the spirit to escape. A vigil is kept for three days then the hole is sealed with a stone. On this stone is carved a spiral representing a life-line. The runes are then cast on this spiral to map out the life of the deceased. He surmises that the shaft must be a spirit hole for a very large burrow, the gate of which must be near by. The party searches the Embassy grounds to no avail. Rheanna even asks the stable rats who know nothing.
Having run out of time the party take the duplicate egg to bell square. There they find a tent with a sign proclaiming “Melfo the Magnificent, Magician Extraordinare”. Outside the tent, a large bruiser eyes the party suspiciously. The duplicate egg is deposited in the tent and the party return to Wyvern House to anxiously await the kidnaper’s decision. In a short time a Guild Messenger delivers a note containing an address. Proceeding rapidly to this address, the party find a vacant house. In the living room of the house the party discover a lead lined box containing a distraught Alice.
She had been imprisoned there for over a day.
Duels and Demons
Alice is returned to the embassy and reunited with her family. Ronald, Lenix, and Rheanna go to a tavern – The Cloven Orcupine. Lenix entrances the patrons with a ballad, one of his finest performances. A disparaging comment by a young nobleman causes an exchange of insults with the bard. The young noble challenges Lenix to a duel. As the challenged party, Lenix is able to set the terms. He chooses to fight then and there, using short swords, until vanquished. With his preferred weapon he quickly renders the young man unconscious.
The next day, a half-remembered memory of a book illustration causes Andrew to visit the library at his parent’s house in search of more information on Hiedlegurd. Ronald tags along. At the library discover another occupant, a Wizard Guild sage, who has paid Andrew’s father for the use of the library. He is quite pleasant, though declines to comment on the nature of his research citing client privilege. Ronald sends his familiar, Angus the weasel, to spy on the sage. Angus discovers to his dismay that the sage also has a familiar an owl. The two familiars eye each other with suspicion. When the owl goes to sleep Angus is able to note that the sage is reading much the same books as Andrew.
At the embassy Lenix , apprehensive about possible reprisals for last nights dual, sends a note to the young noble’s father. He apologises and offers a possible rematch on the young mans terms. The father accepts on behalf of his son. His terms are – the use of any melee weapon, armour, enhancing or healing enchantments. They are to fight that afternoon in a common of the outskirts of town until vanquished.
Samantha spends the day with her sister. Rheanna, on some druidic errand, is gone most of the morning.
Prince Richard arrives at the embassy with four other Troubadours. He has a letter from the king congratulating the Ambassador on the safe return of his daughter. Richard is also looking for John MacTagart who, with Blinky the clown, have been kept in ‘safe-keeping’ at the embassy. The prince, having heard of the bard’s performance at the tavern, invites Lenix to his apartment at palace that evening for music lessons. Lenix agrees. Richard also comments on the hole in the wall of the great hall and is told of Hiedlegurd’s test. He is of little help, but a parting comment about wishing the walls could speak gives the party an idea. Marial goes to the Cathedral to ask for help in casting a ‘Stone Tell’ spell to divine the casting of the runes. A bishop is to arrive at Wyvern House in the morning.
At the duel’s allotted hour, Lenix and the rest arrive at the common to find a crowd waiting. Leonardo spots a bookie and places a bet backing his friend. When the duel begins it soon becomes apparent that the young nobleman has been greatly enhanced by magic. After a few passes Lenix yields to his opponent. The noble is disappointed but declares satisfaction. Leonardo reluctantly coughs up his loosing bet to the bookmaker.
That evening Lenix, Rheanna, Marial, Ronald and Leonardo visit Prince Richard’s apartment for his music lesson. There, a band of Troubadours and their ‘ladies’ are merrymaking. They are much impressed by the bard’s playing who is asked to tune the Prince’s own mandolin in his quarter’s. The rest are concerned until Lenix returns looking ponderous but otherwise unharmed.
With the lesson over, the party retires to The Cloven Orcupine. At the tavern Marial does well at a jousting game, Leonardo less so. Marial, Rheanna, and Ronald retire early. Lenix and Leonardo spend the rest of the evening with new found lady friends whom they bring back to their rooms at the Embasy.
In the night Ronald and Marial are each attacked in their beds by a pair of demons. They are both injured before help arrives, Ronald to within a whisker of death. Rheanna, who drank a little too much that evening, slept through the whole thing.
The Eye of the Dragon
Comparing notes the next morning Lenix tells of how he awoke in the night to the ‘pop’ sound of a teleport and the smell of sulphur. That was just before he heard the sound of fighting from Ronald and Marial’s room. Samantha also noticed a smell when the fighting waked her. It was as if the demon’s searched several rooms before finding their victims. They also noted that the fiends seemed torn between attacking Ronald and his paladin rescuers, as if Ronald was their target but they found the paladins too tempting not to attack.
Ronald then reveals a little of his past. As a boy he was an apprentice to a wizard, named Jerregue, who went bad. This wizard’s favourite attack was to summon demons. Although the wizard was killed some years back, Ronald believes that Jerregue’s sprit now possesses the body of a woman. Ronald thought he saw an associate of the woman on the streets of Jottenburg a few days ago. If so Ronald fears Jeregue may have learnt of his whereabouts and, as Ronald was instrumental in the wizard’s death, he sent the demons as revenge.
While the party digest this news the bishop arrives to cast the ‘Stone Tell’. Seeing Ronald’s wounded state he restores him to full health. The bishop is lowered down the shaft and returns an hour latter with the order and placement of the rune stones. The party descends the shaft and Ronald places the rune as described by the bishop on the spiral. He is given a vision in which Hiedlegurd speaks to him:
“So you have passed the test – good for you. The runes suggest that you are my descendants, or act in their interests, so I will tell you this much. The impostors must therefore be gathered at the door to my crypt – trying to recompose my dirge no doubt, ha!
To enter the cave you must lift up the sprit stone – yes put your back into it child! But before doing that perhaps you might want spare a thought for the guardian of my poor bones.
(No, I will not tell you how to defeat it, it is there to test your metal. You want my treasure? Then prove you are worthy of it! )
Tell me, what do you think the impostors will do when they hear you fight the beast, hmm? Sit there and let you claim the goods, or kick the door in and to hell with the consequences!
The runes tell of one more twist – so think quickly if you want to save your hides and your precious land from my curse! Ho, Ho!"
The party lifts the rock to discover a smaller shaft beneath. Ronald casts a ‘fly’ spell, while Lenix casts an ‘Alter Self’ to assume a winged form. Together they fly down the shaft into a huge natural chamber. Using the stalactites for cover they scope the cave. There is a large pool underneath the shaft that covers chamber’s floor bar a long limestone ledge on one side. At one end of the ledge stands a large pair of wooden doors .At the other, what looks to be a life-size dragon roughly moulded in limestone. Around this glittering objects catch the light. They also spot the cave’s guardian, a large six-legged reptile, lurking in the shadows.
Lenix identifies the creature as a greater basilisk, a fearsome beast -poisonous of breath and claw, and worst of all, with a gaze that can turn to stone any that meet it. The good news was the creature is short sighted. The bad news was its keen sense of smell picks up the sent of strangers in its lair and it issues a bellowing challenge.
In an act of quick thinking Lenix makes for the door, hoping to open it before any on the other side do and thus unleash the curse. Ronald tries to distract the basilisk but to no avail. The beast charges the bard and he barely reaches the door before it does. Feeling its hot putrid breath on his back, he flings open the door surprising a group of armoured men on the other side. Lenix leaps above the door as the basilisk charges though scattering the men, allowing the bard to land and close the door again. He and Ronald use pitons to secure the portal as the rest of the party descend into the cavern via a rope.
The sound of fighting on the other side of the door continues for several minutes, then is replaced by the sound of picks working on a section of wall near the door. Fearful that any break-in might invoke the curse the pitons are removed and the door opened. The party confronts their opponents – a group of knights bearing the crests of Jottenic noble houses, and a number of Dwarf miners. Leading this group is Prince Edward, youngest of the king’s sons and third in line to the throne. The body of the basilisk lies nearby, as do a number of dead and petrified knights and dwarves. Lying on a small cart in the corridor beyond this group is the duplicate egg
Prince Edward claims that the land below the embassy belongs to the crown, the party begs to differ so the prince orders his knights to attack. Several knights are killed before Marial persuades the Jottens to retreat. The Edward must be carried kicking and screaming from the field by two of his knights. One of the knights remembers the fake egg and commands the dwarves to bring the cart. Lenix rushes the dwarves, who scatter at his approach. Several enemy knights also charge and again combat ensues. Lenix is soon backed up by his companions. Two more knights are killed before the rest are driven off. The duplicate egg is dragged into the chamber and the doors pitoned shut.
With the chamber secured the first egg is carefully lowed via rope into the chamber. As Andrew bathes the egg in the pool’s waters, the egg turns from a metallic gold to translucent amber. The egg cracks and a baby dragon emerges. Andrew and the hatchling continue to share a telepathic bond.
The party decides to place the second egg in the pool. Alice is invited down from upstairs to perform the hatching as a diversion from her ordeal. While this happens the cavern’s contents are investigated. The dragon shaped formation is found to be the remains of a dragon covered by years of limestone deposits. Surrounding the remains this are its horde – thousands of gold, silver and bronze coins, dozens of gems and bejewelled objects, several sets of armour and weapons, and a large anvil. The armour, weapons, a brazier, and the anvil are divined to have a magical aura. As Ronald reaches to examine the anvil, Lenix recalls a tale of a legendary Anvil of the Smith of the Gods, an artefact of considerable power. Ronald refrains from toughing the anvil and it is wrapped in cloth.
The second egg hatches and the hatchling develops a bond with Alice. As the party begins to excavate the treasure when water is noticed to be seeping under the crypt’s door. The flow of water is such that the cavern will fill over the course of a day, plenty of time to remove the treasure. After several hours of hard work the horde is excavated, with particular care paid when moving of the anvil.
The Sir Bryce, the ambassador, leaves for the palace to inform the King of the day’s events, and the king’s youngest son’s role in them. A guild wizard is summoned to the embassy to identify the magic items. The weapons and armour are examined and their enhancements pronounced. The brazier is found to have the enchantment of summoning fire elementals. When the wizard is shown the anvil he is initially struck speechless. It is indeed the long-lost Anvil of the Smith of the Gods.
The Anvil of the Smith of the Gods
Although the Anvil’s power is such it resists the oracular spells of the wizard, some of its properties are able to be divined. Its main enchantment is its ability to transfer the dwelomer from a magical item to a weapon or piece of armour. However, this requires fire and water of a special magical nature, and worst of all, may come at a terrible cost to the smith. Also, in order to perform this feat a special hammer is needed that was not present in the horde. In spite of all this the wizard expresses great interest in purchasing the anvil on the behalf of his guild. The rest of the day is spent counting and sorting coins, and having the gems and jewellery evaluated.
In the morning a company of dwarves arrive at the gate seeking an audience with the ambassador. Their leader and two of his men are allowed entry. The head dwarf seeks an account of the death of several of his men. They were in the employ of the Von Drackenfel’s, a Jottenic noble family, who claim the dwarves were murdered by solders of the Order. When the party told of their confrontation with the Jotten, and that they last saw the dwarves alive in their company, the Dwarf leader did not seem overly surprised. In a change of tack the Dwarf then asks the party if they perhaps discovered an anvil amongst the cavern’s treasures.
He tells of how in centuries past a dwarven kingdom was sacked by a dragon and an anvil of great spiritual significance was lost. Then, a few years ago at a dwarven coming of age ceremony, a hammer was presented to a young dwarf. An elder present noticed the hammer and gave a shocked exclamation. The hammer was that belonging to the long lost anvil. It had been given to the great-grandfather of the young dwarf for work done a Jottenburg, on the tomb of some noble woman. This ancestor, now dead, had been a young engineer at the time.
When the dwarves heard that engineers were being hired on the quiet to excavate under an old noble residence they put two and two together.
In short, they want their anvil back.
After some negotiation it was agreed that the Anvil should be returned to its original owners. However, in lieu a finders fee, the dwarves will allow the Order and its companions assess to their sacred anvil for no more than seven uses.
As it turns out the Order and the dwarves have entered into a profitable arrangement. The Order acts as agents for the dwarves’ fast magic item creation service, and the dwarves dispose of (and gather power from) evil items that the Order pays bounty money for.
And it is now a regular occurrence in Jottenberg that folk will pause to watch two young amber dragons take their daily exercise in the sky.
A few days later, Lady Angharad, Head of the Order of the Knights of Maridam, stopped at the Cloven Orcupine for libations following a visit to the Jottenberg Chapter. There she struck a conversation with a mercenary fighter who gave his name as ‘Dog Robert’. Recognising the moniker used by the Trobour the Wander she asked the God what he was doing in Jottenberg. He replied, “As chance would have it, Hiedlegurd’s curse was again avoided, but there was a good chance I could have got to see the Tarasque”