After nearly a year of planning and growth, the Castle at Stone Hill was completed. All of the rulers came back into the capital at the same time in order to host a festival for the masses – to show their appreciation for the hard work and to wind down the year.
During this time, the ruling council made plans for their expansion, and shared what they had been working on for the past year. The highest priorities were set at putting in a logging camp where the old bandit hide out was, as well as expanding towards the Temple of Elhonna and establishing another colony. It is based on this plan that Harik will direct the expansion of the country itself.
Myrd shared his findings about some mysterious beast attacking and mutilating animals in the eastern plains outside of the country. It was decided to investigate this phenomenon as it could be a threat to the nation.
While out on the eastern plains, in the middle of the night, a strange apparition of a huge warg glowing with blue fire appeared. It cornered Myrd and begin to howl and bark – but Myrd was able to understand it’s words. It claimed it was a harbinger of an awoken god and that it was pleased at the work that had been done. With those words it threw itself upon Myrd, causing pain and damage, but also imprinted it’s essence into the dagger itself – which now shows no sign of the power of Elhonna. Myra also had visions during this fight of a massive battle between wargs and other creatures against the Dwarves on these plains – with the creatures spilling out from the east across the mountains and overtaking the nearby barrows where Dwarven heroes were laid to rest.
The party returned to Stone Hill to find their way to the priest in residence who attempted to remove the curse. While he tried, the power of the curse was beyond his abilities. His only suggestion was to find the old hag who lived near the Tuskwater Lake – The Old Beldame. She was reclusive and cantankerous, but has been known for helping on occasion.
The party also at this time commissioned some boats for the exploration of the remainder of the Tuskwater as well as Lake Candlemere. Knowing this might take several weeks they began their southern exploration.
Finding the hut of Beldame was not difficult – it was the only structure for miles along the waters edge. Smoke curled lazily out of a small chimney of the mud hut, which was surrounded by a low fence. The party called out before entering and were able to convince the old hag to let them in her yard – but only after they rang her bell 3 times. This apparently showed the scarecrow in her yard that they were friendly and not a target for attacks.
It was quickly determined that the power of the dagger had grown too great for the old sorceress. Things turned sour quickly afterwards during discussions of colonizing the area and relocating her to another place. She sent the party away in anger and slammed her door shut.
Moving further west the party encountered what appeared to be a druid tending to his animal companion – a puma who had been caught in a trappers net. The druid tried to get the party to come closer and help cut away the animal – but turned hostile after Myrd attempted to discuss with him in Druidic – which the impostor did not know. A quick battle ensued, with the strange man being killed and the puma being captured. Searching his corpse and tracking him to his home revealed that this was likely the brother of Bokken the Hermit who had killed their mother and escaped deep into the woods. This madman had apparently been killing off trappers and hunters in the deeper woods for years – as evidenced by the large pile of bones and trinkets in his home. Securing an amulet of the two brothers and their mother – the party moved on.
Moving southward back along the edge of Lake Candlemere the party had their first glimpse of the ruined tower. At night there were clear lights illuminating the open windows of the ruins – bright white lights that were clearly not natural. These must be the ghosts and apparitions that travelers spoke of. Knowing they would still prefer to have boats available they returned north towards Stone Hill to pick them up.
Before they could move across the river itself they encountered a wizard named Artay – whom Keri had already had contact with. Artay had been sent to the tower with surveying equipment both magical and mundane in order to state the curiosity of his master Keveus. The party decided that they must reach the tower first – as it was still in unclaimed territory. Myrd rushed to get the boats finished and set upon the water while the rest of the party ‘helped’ Artay get his wagon unstuck. Keri was given a single use Chime of Opening as long as they promised to let him have first exploration rights.
Quickly moving back to the city and the boats – the party spent a full day and night rowing towards Candlemere Tower and beat Artay to the shore. Finding the entire surface covered with thick and noxious weeds and brambles, the party took their time moving into the base of the tower itself. Upon approaching a sense of unease and even panic overcame the party until they crossed the threshold of the outer tower. However – the tower was not without guardians. Two will o’ wisps appeared – one in each doorway – and assaulted the party. A tense battle was fought with the fast and dangerous creatures, and eventually the way into the inner tower was cleared.
The tower seemed to be of Dwarven construction, but overlaid with runes and carvings that were clearly Sylvan. Inside the main tower itself was only a single staircase that led deep into the earth.
Following it down over 600 feet, the party came to a chamber with a large iron door – similar to the one found in the old temple. Using the magical key they opened it up and encountered a wondrous sight.
A huge spherical chamber with a secondary sphere suspended by carved basalt was all that was visible. The carvings seemed to be a mixture of vines and stalactites holding this black stone sphere in the center of the chamber. A long platform and staircase led into the inner sphere, and a lightly glowing green gem was held suspended from the ceiling.
In an attempt to get closer and see what this was Keri moved forward with his unseen servant scouting. Upon entering the rear of the inner chamber, strange magic was activated. The rest of the party saw the gem erupt with a green bolt of energy into the inner sphere, and Keri saw what appeared to be a gate open in the back. His servant was utterly destroyed, and the concussive wave of energy caused damage to everyone nearby.
At this point the party left the chamber and asked Myra to speak with her ancestors to see what could be going on. During this meditation, Artay appeared with his two workers. A short discussion erupted between the parties until Myra returned from her trance.
She had not much to offer other than that this was a joint venture between the Dwarves and other creatures, but the Dwarves had removed their portion – an anvil – and taken it to a fortress in the west.
Further experimentation occurred, and with Artay’s help it was determined that there was a potent magical item known as a Sphere of Annihilation in the ceiling of the inner chamber. Keri was also able to see runes of making (in Dwarven) and unmaking (in Sylvan) in the floor of the inner chamber. Frightened by the dangerous magic, Artay fled with his workers before any further work was done.
Thinking this might be an opportunity for them to unmake the cursed dagger the party devised plan to try and throw it into the sphere.
Orchestrated by Keri – the plan was to throw the dagger into the Sphere by the way of another unseen servant. The dagger itself seemed to resist this and instead fell into the back portion of the chamber – causing the gem to erupt once more.
Instead of a blast of concussive force this time a blinding light appeared in the chamber – and two giant glowing eyes opened in the brightness above the dagger. They looked malevolently outwards at those in the chamber and then vanished. The dagger itself was nowhere to be seen – and Myrd felt the weight of the curse disappear.
The party is still deep under ground and must make plans for their return to Stone Hill and further exploration.