Editor’s note: Memory is a malleable and unreliable thing, subject to deceit. No warranty is made that this summary is complete or accurate. -K
Troubled by the ill wind befalling Perrenland and somber after the service to Karenin Weisspeer, we made our way through the city of Schwartzenbruin when we were approached by a messenger. He delivered us a letter from our patron, Hasten Weisspeer and waited for us to read it and give a reply. In it, Hasten wrote of his suspicions concerning the new voorman, Orgus Bildgear, and his suspected ties to the Old One. He told us about the Girdle of Dian, which protects all of Schwartzenbruin from demonic invasion by preventing all summoning magic from working. He instructed us to remove it away to keep it safe from an Iuzian scheme to steal it, and to bring it to his contact in nearby Klatsberg, where it could be returned for safekeeping back to the place it was made. He suggested that we start with his friend the druid Jan Apfel, who could help us gain access to the girdle. He also told us that we must tell no one of the letter and burn it after reading, only giving the reply “yes” or “no” to the messenger. We of course replied in the affirmative, and then gave the letter to Illene for memorization and destruction.
We proceeded to the druid’s grove and spoke with Jan to get access to the girdle. He was uncooperative at first, but with a gift from Kendrick of cheap wine, he eventually agreed to help us into the Castle of Dian, which held the girdle. We made our preparations and met him in the middle of the night in front of the castle, where he opened the door for us and then departed. Within, we found the Lundoak, fabled to reflect in its branches the condition of Perrenland, and it looked rather unwell. We were attacked from within by two hags, who nearly killed Illene, but were soon dispatched by us. We found a portal, and lacking any other course of action, we proceeded through.
On the other side, we found a place that where the colors were even more vivid than they usually are. It was a pleasant contrast with the Plane of Shadows. There were multiple paths available, and not knowing which way to continue, we chose one and soon came upon a small henge, with a gnome in residence. He seemed a friendly enough chap, and upon parting he advised that we really must go see the lake. Continuing along a different trail we came to a cave, within which we found a dead figure in a robe, who had recently been killed by arrows.
After thoroughly searching the caves, we eventually found the end, wherein was the very Schwartzenbruin, a legendary bear sharing the same name as the city. We had been drawn by cries for help, which apparently came from a man standing high up on the wall, who asked for our help in escaping the bear, while the bear in turn wanted our help in swatting the man. Illene was quick to aid the bear, granting the bear a vastly improved jumping skill from a spell, which allowed him to reach the man and finish him. We then learned that the bear was defending the girdle from a band who was trying to steal it, and that one had escaped through a portal to the girdle. We followed through in order to stop him.
On the other side, we found ourselves in a room with no doors except the portal, and a grey elf standing guard, with several sarcophagi nearby. It turned out that the brigand had been killed already, or at least soon would be dead, and we swiftly received a face full of fireball, courtesy of the elf. Finding the situation to be quite other than we had expected, Jarik and I employed the better part of valor and left through the portal once more. Kendrick and Gildon were not so prudent, however, suffering a bout of vacuousness that induced them to remain several more seconds, nearly killing Gildon in the process. Meanwhile, Illene discovered that the elf considered Illene an ally, since they shared the same race, and subsequently Illene made a show of aiding the elf in scaring away the intruders. Once alone, the elf fell catatonic.
We all returned to the room, and a quick search yielded the location of the belt. We began to discuss ways to sneak it out. I discovered I could not conceal it by the use of wild shape, and it became clear that Jarik and I would not be able to contribute to smuggling the belt. Further discussion of what to do with the incapacitated elf took a darker turn, and when Jarik discovered that he could not overcome Kendrick, we both decided to leave the others to deal with the belt. We headed through the portal and shortly afterward departed for the lake.
Illene and Kendrick decided not to kill the helpless elf, and instead took all his valuables. Then after making preparations, Kendrick stowed the belt in his bag and made a mad dash for the cave entrance. He got by the bear, and though he gave chase the bear could not catch him. Illene and Gildon followed soon after, but found themselves bottled up by the bear at the cave entrance. Eventually, they managed to get by and split off. Gildon ran and Illene hid in the woods.
At the lake, we found that the water was exceptionally clear, clean, and refreshing. There was nothing magical we could find about it, but when I swam in it I found that it made me feel more pure, like an ideal of myself. I told Jarik about this and he took a swim as well.
We found Kendrick in the woods and returned to the portal where we encountered Gildon making all speed for it, with the bear in hot pursuit. Gildon went through the portal first and we followed immediately after. He immediately had several arrows through him and almost died again. We came through the portal after and fought a group of foes waiting there to ambush us. Kendrick also found himself close to death, but we made quick work of the enemies and he was well. One of our enemies actually surrendered and with a little prodding revealed that he was sent as a servant of the Dark One in the case that Hasten failed, indicating that Hasten was likewise nefarious.
This was a troubling revelation, and more troubling still is its reconciliation with our own thoughts. For us to steal the belt away must be just as bad as for anyone else to steal it away, so really what were we doing? Hasten had never given us instruction by sending secret letters; he’d always sent for us to meet him in person. With his soul locked away for a while in a black soul gem, he could well have become corrupted somehow, and may not be the Hasten we once knew. With this in mind, we decided to camp overnight and then cast a Divination to gain further insight about what we should truly do.
The next morning we cast the Divination and received the clear answer that we must surely return it to the bear or else Perrenland is doomed. Jarik and I wanted to do so immediately, and Illene sided with us as well, but Kendrick wanted to go deliver it to Hasten’s contact. When we presented a united front against him however, he gave in, and I volunteered to return it to the bear, which I did with profuse apologies. I also told Illene about the lake and Illene took a swim there as well.
When we emerged from the castle, we were greeted by the guards, who arrested us in connection with the death of Karenin. We spoke to Orgus about that matter and were absolved of wrongdoing. He also told us of his own suspicions about Hasten, which agreed with ours added further evidence against him. We parted from Orgus and went into the city pondering the events that had occurred.
A great evil nearly befell Perrenland today due to our own foolishness. This knowledge has me shaken, and I must never allow the like to happen again. I shall trust my instincts, and those of Jarik, in always pursuing the right. May Obad-Hai and the other Perrenese gods be with us.
Editor’s note: This thing is way too long. Holy cow. I’m sorry for everything. -K
The next day you hear that in a ritual in the Grand Temple of the Old Kerk in Schwartzenbruin, the Voorman Orgus Bildgear, before the assembled Pfaltzgrafs and Grafs of Perrenland, has torn up the non-aggression pact with Iuz. Moreover, he has taken the shreds and burned them in the holy fires of retribution in the shrine of Vathris, declaring a war of Null Kopkris (“no mercy”).
Bildgear’s words were:
“A Voorman dead, a nation deceived, regicide will be avenged and Perrenand will make a stand against evil and tyranny. We can stand idle no more as the world falls around us. Perrenders, I declare a state of war, and I call upon the Pax to comply with its ancient oath.”
The Divination of Kelanen
“Woe be to you and the city you’re in,
Should the girdle be taken away from a bear;
The Schwartzenbruin’s guard is the best it can be,
The city, the girdle, are safe in its care.”
XP: 970 to Jarik, 1120 to Illene, Kendrick and Brottor
GP: 200 gp from random loot selling
- Keoghtom’s Ointment
- +2 Ring of Protection
- +1 Ring of Prot
- +2 Longsword
- +1 Longsword x2
- +2 Mithril Chain Shirt
- +2 Mighty +2 Str Composite Longbow
Yes, that is a lot of stuff. Make of that what you will.
Other: Illene, Jarik and Brottor Bathed in the Evergold