Greater quests have had lesser starts, but not many.
All it took was the right bribe to the right councilman to start the world on its path to salvation. For his thirty pieces of silver, the councilman would allow access to one of the most important senators in the city, which of course meant in the country too. For his treason, he would be tasked to figure out the location of The Passage of Jewels, for reasons deemed too important for a councilman to know.
An so, formerly known as Councilman Throne, Dake was forced to return to the path of an earlier life and hit the road. The only clue he found about The Passage of Jewels was its assumed location in a massive mountain range near the city of Tyr.
Finding himself once again amidst the taverns of the towns, Dake turned to his training in speaking to earn some coin along the way. It also was a great way to hear loose talk, which finally led him to the Loremaster of Tyr, SteveChet. After a long conversation, Dake realized that while the location was close at hand, traversing the dangerous Faces of Stone range was best faced with men of great skill and ambition.
After asking around Tyr (a city ripe with adventurers due to the approved and sanctioned treasure hunting in the caverns and dungeons nearby), Dake was told of a recently returned party that had seen some trouble and had decided to take some time and venture different paths. Two members still remained in Tyr, and with a skill set complimentary to his own, Dake decided to make his pitch. For a man used to the moans and complaints of an electorate, persuading two unemployed adventurers to do just that was a bit too easy a task.
And with that, one of the great quests of this age began. The cast of characters so far:
Dake – Former Bard turned former Councilman with a secret chained to his waist
Diogenese – A Ranger of amazing perception but perhaps over-stated aim
Gibus Melodic – A Dwarf Runepriest with a crisis of faith and identity
Three days later, the party found themselves deep within a random assortment of twisting tunnels, led forth by the simple direction from SteveChet, “Keep walking straight.”
Coming to an abrupt end, Dio immediately spotted a door, so well hidden it had failed to be discovered in the last 1,000 years. With the aid of Dake, Dio brushed aside the concealing rock to reveal a shimmering black semi-opaque door. After a brief discussion, the party opened the door, only to see it seal behind them. The perceptive Dio reached into his pocket in a moment of frightful forgetfullness and found a note with the words, “Beware the Shades of Light.” Conjecture and discussion led to the party to conclude that whatever the “Shades of Light” were, they could handle it.
The party found themselves in a chamber with only dresser, bed, writing desk, and a partially de-composed body. After the underqualified dwarf declared it to be around six months dead, the band looked at the diary. Seeing a writing they had never seen before, they decided the best course of option was to put it away for another day.
A search of the cupboard led to Dio’s discovery of an old uniform of military decoration, but no one knew to what government it belonged. After an exhaustive search, Dake decided to pull the book back out, only to defile it with the signature used to sign so many council measures in his past life. Once more, Dake returned it to his pack, only to pull the book out and search through it in a moment of divine inspiration. The last words of the book were written in the common tongue, in a script both delicate and powerful and signed by an unknown noble.
Another thorough inspection of the room led to a door, perfectly defined and perfectly hidden in the random rock patterned wall. Dake realized that some doors needed to be pushed rather than pulled, and with that, the party had found The Passage of Jewels.
The party was awestruck at the sight in front of them. The brilliance of light, coupled with their recent lack of rest, led the group to stay the night in the small chamber with a partially de-composed dead guy of uknown origin or background.
After an extended rest, the party felt ready to tackle the 2,000 plus glowing “steps” that made up The Passage of Jewels. The descent took nearly all day and ended abruptly into a hallway of curious design. The first thirty feet was enveloped in a dark fog that would have been oppressive if it weren’t for the bright, white shining light that eminated from somewhere further down the way. Deciding discretion was the worst part of valor, the party charged headfirst into the darkness, only to discover that they were in a bright hall, lit by some unknown source, reflected off the hundreds and hundres of armor and weapons that ardorned the walls.
The adventurers had only a few seconds to process this information before Dio noticed a flickering shadow out of the corner of his eye. This shadow, amongst all the light, may have raised awareness in one of the adventurers heads, but that fact is lost to history as they barely had a chance to respond to the ambush. Within 24 seconds, every party member had hit the ground, the victim of a well placed dart.
Dake, Dio, and the Gibus awoke to find themselves stripped of everything (including their dignity) with their hands bound by rope. Finding themselves captives with Drow guards, the party was told to lead a train of prisoners and guards through a series of tunnels in an attempt to explore some newly formed tunnels. When the prisoners finally reached the tunnel opening, the trio was told to adventure forth and return when something of value was found. In only a moment, despite his vulnerabilty, Dake employed his masterful tongue and secured the release of their bindings to aid in their discovery.
The gang trouped down nearly 700 feet of a large, unnatural tunnel before it turned abruptly to the right. The tunnel immediately opened into a large cavern, filled with over two hundred dwarves in battle armor, a tiefling and elf being tended to in a corner, a commanding black human in cleric garb and the giant-sized aura of a halflingPesci.
Overcoming their intial shock, the gang was told of Jamaal and Pesci’s adventures to rid themselves of the curse picked up on their last adventure and how they came to find another entrance to the UnderDark and happened across a Dwarven warparty of the Tuaga Clan. After joining forces to free Brim Dox Guld and Tir Sadi from a Drow torture camp, Jammal, Pesci, the dwarven warparty leader, Roggi Knight-Beard and the rest of the dwarven army decided to join forces and attack a much larger prison further toward the core.
A short converstion, which probably could have been shorter, later, Dake had convinced the Drow guards that something of value was found down the tunnel, leading the guards into a massacre. Much drink and joyous celebration later, plans were made for the future.
Jamaal Schmone and Pesci would continue to follow Jamaal’s destiny as the Freer of People, the Great Liberator. Gibus Melodic, intrigued at the possibilities of arcane knowledge in the UnderDark decided to stay with the Tuaga clan to assist and explore. Brim Dox Guld was still suffering from the after effects of a most brutal and violating torture and the Tuagi warparty agreed to take him into their care until such time he was able to get back on his hooves. A small group of Dwarves would deliver him to the adventuring party as soon as they could.
Roggi Knight-Beard, in search of a more mobile and powerful group to join to help defeat the forces of evil, gathered up the remaining adventurers for a trip through the core to the otherside of the world, where a Tuagi oupost had not been heard of for some time.
The Party now:
Dake – A Human Bard with untapped persuasive skills
Dio – An Elven Ranger in need of a scope for his bow
Tir Sadi – An Elven Avenger of many actions and few words
Roggi Knight-Beard – A Dwarven Knight of might, not height
A week after parting ways with the Dwarves, the party came face to blur with the scariest sight they had ever seen. A full fifteen minutes after watching the world’s scariest creature tunnel its way through the solid rock of T’ra Penitus, the party was badly shaken as it continued in the opposite direction from the Tarrasque, only to come face to face with a Drow scout party, also escaping the rampaging beast.
The first pitched battle between Good & Evil occured in a large Tarrasque-shaped cavern, where the party members faced an equal number of Drow warriors. The battle was over in short order as Tir Sadi was able to overcome his opponent and start assisting others. Dio continued his missing ways, as Dake got his first taste of action as a former councilman, unleashing his vicious chain attack on his Drow opponent. After a slow start the party was able to defeat all foes, necessitating a thorough search, clean-up and of course…rest.
With rest and renewed vigor, the gang set out to travel towards the Tuagi outpost of D’einburgh, of which there has been no word for some time.
With that, I end this chapter of their lives, to be picked up when I have something more important to write than the three S’s that compose their standard day of travel through the barren tunnels of T’ra Penitus.
-Ocin the Recorder
Year 1,000 of the Sixth Age of the Third Watch