I regret to inform you that we will be delayed from returning to Khan Hall following our delivery of Khan’s finest Stoutrock Ale.
It all started with the arrival of a new band of adventurers in Woodsong as we were peddling our wares. As is customary, we broke out in celebration as the band arrived in town and set everything in motion to celebrate their journey onward to Arcarost. As many do not return from this journey, it is best that their heroism is commemorated now while they are still around. So that their last few days in the realm of the living are as happy as we can make them. If they do turn out to be successful in conquering those cursed ruins, it will truly be a joyous occasion.
These were however the most remarkable band of adventurers. Their leader Wilby, a halfling, rides upon a mighty warhorse that would strike fear in any warrior that sees it. Their bard is a half-orc named Henk with the most beautiful voice and positive temperament to match. They are joined by a sibling duo of a brother sorcerer and sister wizard, named Anzo and Zora. Finally they are complimented by the warrior Barreris and the ranger Landerr. All six are marked with a strange tattoo featuring an encircled triangle. This band soon grabbed the attention of many of the Woodsong residents, including Miri, who usually does not concerns herself with these celebrations, and our good friend Nissa, who had just returned from a foraging expedition.
We celebrated until late in the evening in the Broken Tower inn after a rousing speech by the lord mayor Brayden. There was singing, dancing and drinking of the finest casks of Stoutrock. Thorin attempted to woe the fair wizardess Zora, but alas she proved resilient to his stout charm. Soon we were singing our favorite Dwarven ballads and toasting the warriors of old. The celebration was however rudely interrupted by an infestation of a score of dismembered hands animated by foul necromantic magics. We alongside with the adventuring band made quick work of them. I had hoped to capture one for further study within a mug, but it proved a too dangerous foe for Thorin who was holding said mug. And so we were forced to dispatch the last of the monstrous appendages. Some valiant detective work by Miri lead us to uncover that the source of the undead hands was none other than the Woodsong cemetery. Following the proper rites, the hands were reinterred in the cemetery. More so Miri informed us that she found a camp site previously used by the adverting band that was now infused with necromantic energy! She suspected Wilby and his gang of evil doings, but I corrected her that no such lovely group would ever align themselves with such dark forces.
However the surprises of the evening were not over yet. As we returned to the inn, we discovered a theft had taken place! A magic staff crowned with a red gem was stolen from Anzo the sorcerer. The adventuring band were in disarray as the red gem was key in their expedition, allowing them access to a sealed vault reported to hold many treasures. My brother and I immediately volunteered our service to recover the lost artefact. We searched the inn high and low, yet did not find any trace of the staff. We retired for the evening in the common room, hoping that the next day would shed more light on the situation.
The next morning with our early brew and hearty Dwarven breakfast, we were told that the staff had been mysteriously recovered. Even after the dark secrets we uncovered about this accursed item, we still do not known what caused its disappearance and reappearance. We bid the adventuring band farewell and sent them on their way with a cask of Khan’s finest Stoutrock. However before we could enjoy our breakfast, we noticed Miri running through town, raising the alarm. More undead had been spotted on their way to Woodsong. Thorin and I offered up our hammers in defense of the town that has been so hospitable on many occasions. Following Miri, we set off accompanied by Nissa and Fierna, the mysterious thiefling and long-term resident of the Broken Tower inn. We soon discovered the foul beasts. This time the undead were no more than ancient bones held together by foul magics. We quickly dispatched them and followed their tracks back to an ancient cemetery from whence they spawned. There we found a set of ghouls lying in ambush. They cried out in Celestial about their master wanting ’it’ back. I took on the brunt of the ghoul assault as my allies dispatched them from afar.
Again there was a new set of tracks to follow. Miri soon got to work and we traced back the ghouls to their origin. They led us to the burial mounds to the south-east of Woodsong. These mounds date back to the time of Arcarost and housed valiant Tower Guard from the olden days. In the center of the mounds, we found a final undead creature. A Tower Guard cleric of Lugh called Naeres brought back by the same foul magic that had been harassing us this past day. He proclaimed that he was driven to find a flame crystal stolen from the Vaultkeeper. An ancient curse had been triggered upon the theft of this artefact. He accused us of aiding in its theft as he could smell the crystal’s influence upon us. This seemed like a grand coincidence as his description of the crystal matched that of the gem embedded in Anzo’s staff, the very same staff that was stolen the previous evening! It seemed obvious that a thief was afoot, stealing these various gems. Naeres urged us to return the crystal as it is a key to the Vault of the Creation holding back vicious foes of lore. When we repeated that we did not possess the crystal, Naeres sprung an attack on us. He summoned the spirits from the old Tower Guard and knocked me off my feet. Luckily Thorin’s healing magic got me right back up and into the fray. It was a battle worthy of song and drink as we drove back the cursed cleric. With his last undead breath he proclaimed that the curse was broken for now, but that the master would find us.
As we set back to Woodsong, we puzzled upon what had transpired. Miri suggested that the cursed flame crystal and Anzo’s red gem may be one and the same. She also implied that the adventuring band may have been the thieves that originally stole the crystal from the Vaultkeeper. This seemed unlikely to me as adventures are a force of good within our world. However the implication that their red gem may be the same crystal cannot be dismissed as it too was reported to open a vault. It may very well be that the band of adventures may be on a path to unwittingly unleash great evil upon the world. Indeed as we thought upon our findings we realised that the common tattoo shared by the adventures is the symbol for the vault.
Thus while the undead curse may now be broken, the situation has put me and my brother ill at ease. We have therefore decided to remain in the Woodsong area for now, until we are confident that the danger has passed. It may even be that we will have to journey into the forsaken city of Arcarost in the future to prevent the arrival of great evil. I have therefore taken the liberty of drafting this letter to explain to you, Father, what may have transpired to your sons. Should we meet our end, know that our quest was a noble one to protect all that is good and joyous in this world.
Love to Mother,