There are thousands upon thousands of delicate, white roses that surround the outer edges of the brick, rock and mortar fortress that is the home of the Brotherhood of the Scarlet Rose. The aroma of these beautiful flowers fills the air with a very pleasant scent. The architecture is magnificent, ancient, with archways and doorways of carved stone. In the middle of this splendor is a great domed building with a curling spire on the top.
All around are jagged mountains capped in white, and below are the congested and tangling trees of the Cursed Woods. The vantage point from the plateau here is incredible. It is all quite a magnificent sight.
Maurice, Alex, Kazier, Methos, Jinx, Alric, Dril gaze in silent wonder at the incredible things they are seeing. Though they have all seen and done a lot they are still left in awe at the magnificence of this place. It is the gently swaying roses in the mountain breeze that is most hypnotic and enchanting.
Standing before them is Teider, wearing elegant white plate armor gazing with narrowed eyes at the people before him. "Once every one hundred years we hold a sacred ritual. Tonight you will be our guests."
Buzzing up into the air Alric looks over to the armored man. "Take us to your leader."
With a motion of his hand Teider turns, indicating towards a magnificently crafted arch. "Right this way. Innikus will want to see you."
Following him they pass by dozens of warrior practicing with weapons in advanced forms of martial combat. None of them glance at the people coming in, these strangers. All seem to be deeply concentrating on honing their lethal skills. Within a stone's throw are still the endless hedges of white roses, almost blurring together when they sway and shift. A gigantic white tiled pool is passed by, it's waters a sparkling blue.
Turning slightly Teider looks back. "I am sorry for misleading you. I needed to see if you were worthy to talk to Innikus. I had been sent to observe your actions and to not interfere. You proved to be very determined and you are all quite worthy to meet our leader."
Jinx brushes some of the soft roses as they move by them. Taking a deep breath she closes her green eyes, savoring the aroma that permeates the air. "These are beautiful. So many roses, all white. Why are there no red ones here?" she asks.
"Red blood from Averness is where we get our name from," replies Teider saying nothing more.
Going within the great domed building they are guided to a small and simple room. There is a desk with some papers scattered across it with an old man wearing plain robes sitting on the other side. He stands, his eyes bright and intelligent, a friendly smile at the edges of his mouth. "Greetings. I am Innikus."
What follows is a quick discussion of what is happening in Draman Del. The leader of the Brotherhood is aware of what is transpiring out in the rest of the world as well who everyone is. He is told of the impending barbarian attack on the great city and what might happen if it would fall. In less than an hour all that needs to be said has been spoken. Innikus slowly sits back down, steepling his thin fingers together in contemplation.
"I will have a decision for you in the morning. When the ceremony is complete I will have an answer. Please, feel free to roam around the monastary, see the sights. I remember how I felt when I saw this place for the first time long ago. Go where you wish, but do not go to the chapel of Averness or you will be killed."
Teider guides the group to their rooms. Jinx and Alex are given their own room room and everyone else is put into another. They are simple but very functional.
Both Alex and Jinx freshen up while Maurice walks about doing some heavy thinking. He looks at the people here, practicing their skills wearing their white armor. There are very few young here. Most are older, more skilled, instructing and guiding the next generation.
The architecture here is quite spectacular and it reminds him of a bit of the cave of the mad hermit where he had gotten the blade of Averness. There are also the endless roses, filling the air with their delicate scent. It is quite a view.
Alric buzzes up to Maurice, flittering around, in a cheerful mood. All the flowers here remind him of his pleasant times with Talia Glittergold.
Maurice just shrugs, his thought now very dark. "Things could go bad for us. Very soon we could all be dead. We should try to enjoy this."
"My, aren't we cheery?" says Alric, a bit surprised at his friend's gloomy outlook.
Slowly the big orc turns around and there is a very strange look in his eyes. "Last night I came to remember things I had forgotten. I have something I need to tell you," he glances at the entire group. "I am not Maurice leChavilier. He was my friend, and he died a long time ago. My name is Gashnak."
Through the early morning and afternoon he tells his comrades about himself. He was born in Brudic and was raised by his adoptive elven parents. His blood parents had died in one of Corvel's crusades against Kilmoor and their allies took in their child when they perished. As he grew up he had made friends with Maurice and Earil-Gania, two elves. They were inseperable. Eventually they joined the Forest Wardens. In doing this his two closest friends were killed in battle by marauding goblins. That loss broke him and he became reborn as the lost Maurice..
"I am still the same person," he says without much conviction. "Just my name has changed."
Jinx puts a hand on his shoulder, looking deeply into his eyes trying to comfort him. "I knew you weren't an elf all along you know."
Gashnak walks over to Alex the red-haired elven warrior seems a bit pensive now. "Are you all right with this?" he asks. His emotions are a bit chaotic now and he is doing his best to keep them contained.
She smiles back at him, looking into a face that no longer quite has that hyperkinetic merriment to it. "As long as you haven't changed too much."
As the day continues Dril practices using his double-headed axe, getting some of those training here to help him. At one point he throws the axe through the air and incredibly it returns to him. "Very nice," says the ill-tempered sprig.
That evening the group goes with Teider for dinner with those at the monastary. There are many tables in a great, stone hall with banners lining the walls. The place is lit with hundreds of candles. Over a hundred templars are here with Innikus sitting at the head of it all. Younger men and women serve up the excellent meal made of lamb, vegetables, and of course wine.
Gashnak sighs and begins digging into the meat. Since he is no longer so elven he decides to try and make up for eating so much leafy stuff.
There is a lot of talking going on and the group is asks where they are from. Mostly pleasant chatter. The highlight of the night comes when Gashnak shows them the bloodsword, impressing all, even Innikus, that they have gathered such ancient weapons.
Returning to their rooms they rest, some more peacefully than others. In the morning Innikus will have his answer, and they will hold the ceremony they haven't had in a very long time. Exhausted all get as much sleep as they can, wondering what the daylight might bring.
In the morning everyone wakes feeling good. They have no aches or pains and the scar on their chests has faded almost totally. Following Teider they go out and see all the templars are lined up, evenly spaced, dressed in full battle regalia. Innikus is there too, in his bright, white armor. On the surface of the very large pool are thousands upon thousands of rose petals floating in the water. All of them are white.
The group stands alert and at attention, waiting to see what will happen next. Innikus steps forward, looking across at his comrades. In a strong, commanding voice, he speaks to his people. "We've been asked to go to battle for Corvel and Draman Del. What is the will of Averness?" He raises his sword to the blue sky above and cries out: "Averness guide us!"
Without hesitation he marches into the great pool, his armor pulling him down. Soon he vanishes from sight, down beneath the covering surface of white. Then like machines all the templars do the same, and in precise step they follow Innikus into the pool. Eventually all of them disappear from sight.
A very tense few moments pass and then from the opposite side Innikus comes rising up, the water rolling off his armor, sword still in hand. However his armor has now become the color of blood. The white petals turn red and began to sink and the templars come marching out, re-taking their positions. All of them have had their armor transformed to red.
Alric sees this and smiles widely. "It's looking good!"
Innikus comes before the group. "We will fight this battle. We will fight like demons."
Two hours later they begin marching out from the monastary, prepared to battle in the name of Averness. Down at the base of the mountain, Tova is not there to greet them. No surprise really, the superstitious barbarian had seen and done quite a bit.
"I just hope he got to where ever he needed to go," says Methos.
Into the Cursed Woods marches the Brotherhood of the Scarlet Rose, a very spectacular sight. The trained warriors march in perfect step, all very disciplined, ready for almost anything. At their head is Innikus.
Getting to the dwarven village it is found to be destroyed. The huts are smouldering, bloody bodies are strewn all about. All of them, even Araman, is counted among the dead. They died fighting, with red blood on their axes and spears, gobliln headcatchers laying here and there. The attack happend just hours before.
Anger and loss stirs within each of the group as they find body after body. Young, old, all of them brutally murdered. These are people they had fought to protect, people they had grown to know. But it looks wrong, for though there are goblin headcatchers here and there, all the bodies still have their heads. That and the blood on their weapons is the wrong color, for goblin blood is black.
Underneath the rubble comes a moan and Dril notices some movement. Hoping for a survivor Gashnak tosses the wooden beams away uncovering a bloodied and very dirty looking human. The man looks up with fear in his eyes and tries feebly to move away, seeing the hulking orc before him.
"Who are you?" command Dril.
The human puts a hand to his blood crusted forehead and winces. "Who are you?" he asks in return.
"I asked first." The sprig has his hand go to the hilt of his axe, prepared for anything that might go wrong.
"I am Wilford Wenholdtz." The human stands up, dressed in studded leather armor, with dark brown hair and a thin blade at his side. He seems a bit shaken and looks about, seeing all the carnage and the marching warriors in red armor.
"What are you doing here?"
"Uh, I was here with some mercenaries from Draman Del to check out the village. The people here were working with the Zenith tribes. At least that is what they told us." His eyes go across all the bodies and a look of disgust and regret comes to his face. "But they were just dwarves here, old people and kids. They just started attacking. There are no Zenith here. I tried to stop one of them and I think I was hit. I don't remember much after that.. In fact I don't remember anything."
Buzzing over Alric lands on Jinx's shoulder. "They just started attacking, without any reason?" He and others look at Wilford with accusing stares.
"Yes. They just started killing. That wasn't why I was here." Wilford's head aches horribly but it is nothing compared to the regret and shame he feels at not having been able to help the dwarves here. "It all happend so fast."
Grinding his teeth some Gashnak finds himself getting quite angry. "How many were with you? Who was your leader?"
"There were a dozen of us and the men who led us were named Leden and Vraden."
Jinx comes over to him and puts a hand to his forehead. "Be still," she says soothingly. Using her powers she heals his minor injuries, and Wilford's throbbing headache fades away. When Jinx does this everyone knows that the man must be all right, for she always has a sense of such things.
Wilford looks to Jinx, realizing what she has done. He smiles and bows courteously to her, still a bit unsteady. "Thank you my lady."
She returns the smile and laughs a bit at his courtly manners. "I am Jinx."
The goblins, as foul as they are, didn't do this attack. The headcatchers were placed here to try and shift suspicion onto those local monsters to cover their foul deed. Searching about there are no survivors at all.
Teider comes over, resplendent in his crimson armor. Wilford is somewhat amazed by what he is seeing, so many warriors in red. "Why were you here? What was this mission for?"
"I had been told that the people here were allied with the Zenith. But anyone could tell you that wasn't true. I heard Draman Del's call for help and I went there and joined up with a group of mercenaries. I went there to fight evil and protect the innocent, not slaughter the helpless. Though I have only fought personal duels in the past I thought my sword arm my be of help."
Getting his hands dirty, Gashnak and many of the Brotherhood digs the graves for the dwarves. Their bodies are placed into them one by one, with care and respect. When it is done Jinx says a prayer for them, hoping they will all be at peace.
Sadly Gashnak shakes his head. "We were going to take them out of here, to a new life somewhere else. Now we are burying them."
"Why would anyone do such a thing?" asks Jinx.
"Well, we can ask them later the ones who did this. I will not stop until I have them." There is a coldness to Gashnak's tone, very different from how he had been before.
They wind their way through the tangles of the Cursed Woods. March, eat, sleep, march, eat sleep. Four days pass by on this intense and hard march, passing through Brudic. With an army of red soldiers, nothing bothers them on the way as they travel on towards Draman Del.
On the journey Alex begins to see that Maurice, or Gashnak, is keeping a distance from her. He still smiles and is friendly, but it is not the same. He does seem to have changed.
It is dusk when they arrive. At Draman Del they see that people are streaming out of the city by the wagon load. Civilians, children, the majority of the population is leaving. There is a much smaller segment returning to the city with food and supplies. A grayish-yellow haze hangs over the city.
As they approach the people stop and stare, gazing in wonder at the spectacular sight of the red warriors. At their front marches the small band that had gone out to find them. Hundreds of people turn their heads, eyes the fear in them diminishing somewhat by seeing this powerful force.
Greeting them, a bit amazed himself, is Captain Frotes. "Very impressive. The red priests have arrived."
Stepping up to him is Innikus. "Take me to Lord Ashen."
Guards come up and escort the warriors to quarters and guide Innikus to Lord Ashen. As they head into the city the overwhelming sense of despair that is here begins to change. With the legendary Brotherhood of the Scarlet Rose fighting with them they have a chance against the massive force coming to destroy them.
The group stays with Captain Frotes and tell him what happend, Teider stays as well. Frotes explains that the Zenith tribes are very close, their campfires are just outside the city. There will soon be a war council and one is needed to represent the group. Gashnak will do it. Frotes is a little surprised by this, for he knew of the orc's madness but that now seems to have changed.
Frotes looks to them and nods. You have done well, very impressive. You will be my special team, for specific missions and tasks."
"Great," says Methos, ready for some more action.
"I need to let you know that the Wild Pony, Tova's bar, was burned down last night. There were no bodies. Somebody took their dislike of the Akrindorians a bit too far, but we haven't had time to investigate. The enemy is literally outside our walls right now."
"What of Dondre? Tova's girlfriend?" asks Gashnak.
"She hasn't been seen either."
Kazier arrives, trying to be impressive coming out of the shadows. It is good to see him again. They have some quick discussions. Ganam is still researching, the dragon armor isn't ready because the tailor needs measurements, and Dreznat has left, he doesn't know where she has gone.
The group goes to Borem the armorer at the 6th wall and Wilford heads out to search for Ledan and Vraden, his honor demands it. The armorer Borem measures everyone, hoping to get us breastplates of dragon armor very soon.
While this is going on Kazier crafts up a longsword, making it specifically to his liking. They then all head over to the Blue Eagle to rest and clean up. The horses are attended to and Dril takes care of his warg. The food here is much nicer than the fare they have had marching through the Cursed Woods. Their mood is tense, for all know that a great battle is looming on the horizon. They are determined not to let Draman Del fall.
A shout comes through the city: "He's here! Death Shadow has arrived! The living legend!"
Hearing this everyone goes out to see this man, wondering what he looks like in the flesh. He is seen riding in on a great stallion, both it and the rider are wearing spectacular black armor. A great sword, Soulmower, is across his back. Though he is old with gray hair he carries himself with pride and does so quite well. His presence has a very positive effect on morale.
People cheer him on, crowding around him. He is very personable, speaking and shaking hands with all who come his way. A very noble warrior. Guards, in awe of him, usher him into the fort after he is done moving through the ecstatic groups.
After this bit of excitement, Wilford comes back. He is unfamiliar with the city and had no luck finding the villains who killed the dwarves.
Methos looks at his drink and yawns. "You all go out, I'll stay here in case anything happens." The dark haired man stretches out his arms, obviously quite tired from the past few days strenuous activities.
First the group goes and sees Ganam at the library to tell him what happend. He looks tired, haggard, books all about. Introductions are made and Ganam is pleased to see everyone again. Jinx tell him in detail of what happend on their journey to get to the Red Priests.
In the library it is noticed that there is an odd mosaic on the floor, very similar to one they had seen at the monastary. To get a better look at it Alric morphs into a cat, but can really see it no better and has a desire to chase mice now. However he does notice that there is a very slight seam around it.
Looking at it intensely, Gashnak finds two moon symbols here, the symbols of General Rang. He was the wizard, the friend of Gadrath who had battled Marg here long ago. With his fingers he slides the symbols together and the mosaic rotates 180 degrees and a 'click' is heard. Part of a nearby wall opens up, revealilng a compartment with a book inside. Ganam comes over and checks the book out.
"It looks like a diary," he says. He reads it over some and it seems to be the diary of General Rang. It appears as though Draman Del was built on the ruins of an even older city. From what he reads there seems like there might be a secret lab at the 3rd wall, in one of the oldest parts of Draman Del.
"Whatever might be there it could help save the city," says Ganam. "I think it best you go investigate."
Leaving Jinx with Ganam, everyone else gears up to go on this strange search. Several want to go and find those who slew the dwarves, but realize that helping the city survive should be their current priority. Still, if they run into Ledan or Vraden along the way they won't hesitate to deal with them.
They go down the dark, nearly empty, cobblestone streets. People are huddled inside, those that venture out seem to have a sense of desperation to them. Even with the Brotherhood of the Scarlet Rose and Death Shadow coming to Draman Del, the enemy outside is almost beyond belief.
Going to the 3rd tier of the ancient city they look around for a sign, anything, to find that secret cache that Ganam believes might be here. Kazier's keen eyesight finds nothing unusual. However they see a bar called "The Old Book Inn " which looks promising.
Inside it is a seedy place with many nefarious looking individuals about. Rumors and whispers are here and there and the serving wenches are busy bringing out food and drinks. Suspicious eyes gaze at them as our heroes move into the run-down establishment.
Strutting, Wilford movies about, showing himself off to everyone. It draws the people's attention to the thin, pale man. While this is going on Kazier and Dril ask questions about certain mercenaries who might have made a trip to the Cursed Woods recently. The people are unfriendly and mind their drinks. "Nobody knows nuthin," says one unshaven patron.
To one side Dril sees someone giving Wilford the eye who whisper darkly amongst themselves before slinking out through a side door. Sitting atop Dril's shoulder is Alric, his arms wrapped around his tiny knees, his wings flittering irregularly. He senses something here, something magical.
Stealthfully they move out behind the group that had left, following them through shadowy winding streets. They slink past the smouldering ruins of the "Wild Pony" and go into another bar, this one located at the 7th wall. From the outside it seems to be a busy place, similar to "The Old Book Inn".
Out of the corner of her eye, Alex sees something moving in the darkness. "Maurice look out!" she yells.
A dark garbed figure smashes into Gashnak, knocking him on his back. More start emerging as well from the alley ways, these carrying blades in their hands. From all sides come these attackers, circling the group out in the street.
Swiftly Alex draws her twin swords and does a double slash across one, sending him spinning, holding his guts in his hands.
Kazier, Wilford, Dril, and Gashnak all engage their foes. Soon the dead start piling up, falling here and there beneath the axes, knives and blades of our intrepid adventurers. Most of them seem to be trying to get at and kill Wilford. The duellist has two on him and takes a slash across his chest but parries the attacks with a rapid flourish of his rapier.
Above, Alric flies high, a halo of sparkling blue light around his tiny form. The pixie works his magics but something goes terribly, terribly wrong. The spell backfires and he sends out a wave of utter FEAR towards all his companions and enemies. In terror Kazier, Wilford, Gashnak and Alex go running away screaming into the night. Only Dril and the pixie are not effected by this critical magical failure.
Among the dead is a sole survivor who is taken prisoner by Dril and tied up. The others who had attacked have also run off. A few minutes pass as Dril gazes sternly at Alric, knowing full well what has happend.
Raising his arms into the air Alric tries to feebly smile. "It wasn't me, it was Methos!" The pixie does his best to look and act innocent.
"Methos ain't here," replies the surly sprig.
Since the FEAR effect was so awful, the group returns to the Blue Eagle to clean up their soiled trousers. Alex decides to stay there, along with Methos. She has had enough of this insanity for one evening.
Half an hour later they meet back up with Dril and Alric, who have dragged the prisoner over to the ruins of the Wild Pony. Alric keeps away and above his comrades, wondering if they might be holding a grudge against him for his catastrophic, magical mishap. For the most part they just ignore him, concentrating on getting information out of the prisoner.
The man is rather uncooperative, refusing to speak initially. Dril takes out one of his knives and makes ready to start cutting on fingers when Alric morphs himself into a large, shaggy bear. When he starts nuzzling the man's head with his fangs he yelps and starts talking rapidly.
"My name is Jack! I was paid by Leden to kill the dwarves there! It was only a job! Leden is at "The 8th Wall" bar! Please don't kill me!" The panicked man looks up at Wilford and snarls. "You are such a coward! If you hadn't lost your nerve none of this would be happening!"
Brutally Wilford kicks the man in the ribs. Hard. It knocks the wind out of him and he keeps his mouth shut.
Gashnak hauls the man up, putting him over his shoulder. He carries him all the way down to the bar that Jack described. With a boot, the big orc kicks the doors open and goes striding into the crowded establishment. Instantly people jump up, startled, hands going for weapons. Flexing his arms he tosses Jack onto the floor getting their attention even more.
"Where's Leden?" he roars.
"Not here, orkboy." Says a grizzled customer.
With a very unpleasant grin, Gashnak goes over to the man. "Say that to my face." Not waiting for a reply, he headbutts the fellow, knocking him out across a table. One tries to take a punch at Gashnak, but the big orc blocks and then drives his fist into the bridge of his nose.
Rapily things look like they might be getting out of hand. Alric weaves a spell that power stuns a lot of them, knocking them back to their chairs or sending them sprawling to the floor. At this many back away, fearful to carry the conflict on any farther.
"Please leave," says the shaken bartender. "Leden and Vraden are not here. They work for Bandigel. Please don't do any more damage."
Wilford goes over to the bound Jack, who looks up at him with wide eyes filled with fear. The duellist draws out his sword, points it at the prone man. Jack closes his eyes, preparing himself for the worst. With a flick of his blade Wilford cuts the man's bonds.
"You aren't worth killing."
They leave the bar, heading out to the networks of steets and alleys that makes up the great city. Going to the outer wall they look out into the darkness. There are hundreds and hundreds of flickering camp fires, with thousands of more Akrindorian warriors nearby. The entire horizon is covered with these fires, and when the dawn comes there will be battle.
"That's a lot of people," says Kazier, his hand on the hilt of his newly forged blade.
Dril's eye, the one that had been damaged and replaced with the crystal, suddenly itches quite badly. "Yep. That'll be a bunch of killin."
"We've got work to do," says Gashnak gruffly. "We'll deal with Leden and Vraden later"
Going on they find a large marble statue of an ancient warrior. It is of General Rangh. They examine it in detail. At the base is written: "To the Fearless Rangh, the Steel General. The hero's sundown will never meet the night."
Getting Ganam and Jinx they decide to go back to The Old Book Inn. Alric had sensed something there and it is worth checking out. Though late at night it is still open. Jinx looks around, feeling what the pixie had earlier felt.
"There." Jinx points to a book at the wall, set up in a small shrine.
The owner of the place introduces himself. "I am Bulthav, I run this place. It is the oldest building still standing in Draman Del."
"I would like to see the book," says Jinx.
"Can't allow that. I found it here, long time ago. That is why I call this place The Old Book Inn. It is priceless." It is apparent that he is trying to make some extra money out of all of this.
Reaching into his pockets Kazier takes out a pouch of gold. "Here, there is a hundred geld here. It should be enough to let us check the book out for a bit."
The man sighs happily. "All right. But only for half an hour!"
Taking the book over to a table, everyone crowds around. Jinx and Ganam sit and look it over. On the cover is the symbol of Rangh. Carefully Jinx opens it up. Ganam traslates a few pagesand is perplexed. "Its just a book on herbs & spices!"
Alric casts some magic on the tome to identify what is magical about it. The center pages has magical writing on them saying: "The hero's of Sundown will never meet the night, and in the darkest night the other hero's shall not sleep if others awaken them." Once read the words of the entire book vanish, much to the annoyance of Bulthav.
"What does that mean?" wonders Kazier.
Ganam shakes his head. "Could be anything. Maybe Rangh isn't dead. I don't know.
"You've destroyed my book!" fumes Bulthav.
Alric grins at him. "No we didn't. It's still there!"
"It's ruined!" He balls his hands into fists.
"Where did ya find this?" asks Dril, looking up at the very unhappy man.
"I'm not telling you anything else until I am properly compensated for my loss!"
Many thoughts go through Gashnak's mind, many involving cutting and blood. Instead he goes and gets Captain Frotes and brings him back to the bar. On the trip he is told of what is going on, what they are hoping to find, and of the uncooperation of the proprietor of this little place.
Captain Frotes strides in, looks at Bulthav. "Show them where you found the book or I'll throw your ass out to the Akrindorians!"
Hearing that, Bulthav immediately helps, showing them a place in his back kitchen where he had located the book. "It was in a nook in the wall over here, behind this oven."
Alric flies over to the small opening and tries to pry it open even wider with his hands. He gets shocked quite badly, knocking him backwards through the air to be caught by Jinx. "Yikes!"
"There is something down there," says Jinx. "I can sense it. Something magical."
Gashnak moves up and starts bashing at the stone wall with his hands. His fingers get ripped and bloodied but he soon tears out a significant amount of rock, revealing a black passageway leading down beyond. It is filled with cobwebs and the air that comes out is very stale and unhealthy.
Moving up Kazier casts a spell of his own, sending a blast of wind downwards, blowing all the cobwebs and accompanying clutter out of the way.
"What's down there is mine, right?" says Bulthav anxiously.
Frotes turns and glares at him, causing him to quail and step back.
Getting a few torches they head on down that very old passage. Everyone has to duck down since it is not very big. They move down into a large room with a big stone table in it's center. There are runes carved upon it. On the sides are empty shelves and some odd bottles. Certainly this place has not seen light in hundreds of years. It is from the distant past of Draman Del.
At a far part of the room is another, smaller table. Upon it is a very detailed model of the city from long, long ago. There is a sketch of the statue of General Rangh on parchment nearby. It is a very good representation of what the city must have once looked like.
Going to the table Ganam looks down at it, and upon it is the image of a sword. He puts a finger to his chin, studying it at length. He looks back to the parchment, to the model of the city, and then back to the stone table.
"I think we need to look at that statue of the steel general again."
Frotes seems a bit in awe of all this. "Okay, we'll do it. I'll send for guards to seal off the area. Who knows what might be there."
Returning to the large statue goes the entire group. Soldiers begin to cordon off the area as they gaze up at the marble carving of Rangh. Alric flies upwards and casts a spell to identify magic from it. When that happens something is triggered.
There is a distant grumbling sound and the statue jolts just an inch or so. Kazier and Gashnak move up and push on it, sliding the extremely heavy work backwards. Beneath it is a hole in the ground with unintelligible words carved into stone and a very familiar set of seven symbols, in a circle, with sword symbol in the middle. Its the same symbols as the "test" grove of the Scarlet Brotherhood, except, the center sword seems to be a slot or keyhole.
"ER THAK NACHS HOZER BRINDAH DAKDEH AS GADRATH"
"What the hell does that mean?" gripes Dril.
Ganam, being fluent in many of the ancient tongues. "It reads: 'In the Darkest Hour bring Gadrath's servant here."
All wonder as to it's meaning . . . .
TO BE CONTINUED . . . .
Chronicled by Ken Paynter aka...Maurice leChevalier
Back to Session 21, Forward to Session 23