The last few days have been a stark reminder of why you left the Silver Shields. Not that you needed the reminder.
To their credit, they seem to know their own limitations. Some of them look at you with disguised awe, at the fact that you actually stood up to their incompetency and left; it’s as though they all secretly agree you made the right decision.
In any event, they remain very helpful. The Redfangs seem to be completely dispersed. Whatever members you didn’t destroy in your raid on their warehouse have probably been absorbed into other organizations, or left Eldolan entirely. Going through their affairs, you notice several mentions of a ‘Syndicate,’ which your new friends tell you is the name of an organization causing problems in their hometown of Hildebrande, only a few days travel away. Whatever this organization is, it can’t possibly last long considering it competes with the Prince’s own network…unless this was some sort of weird double-bluff by the Prince? Thinking about those machinations was likely to induce a headache, so you put those thoughts aside and made your other inquiries.
The Silver Shields had virtually no leads on either Garados or Landon. The former, it seems, escaped to the docks and stowed away on a ship, disguised as some merchant or other. The latter seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. It made you wonder…did someone else deal with Landon in a more permanent way? Was interrogating Landon now going to require some necromantic ritual? We would see…
You wanted to make a few stops in Eldolan while Moz and Legion did…whatever it was they were doing. First, you stopped in on Elsa Whiterose’s shelter in the Commons area. She was grateful to see you, and made sure to tell you that she mentioned your name to some of the higher-ups in the Priestess’s organization. She mentioned you should visit The Cathedral in Santa Cora when you got the chance.
You felt good about the case for Elsa’s shelter, especially when she informed you that the stipend for it was raised after the activities of the Seekers in Eldolan. That feeling was erased after visiting Odessa in the Dead Vaults. She explained that, after it was revealed that it was no guarantee that the specific rituals to thwart the Lich King being performed, two Cenotaph Dragons took it upon themselves to take residence in the Vaults and ensure the rites were being performed. When she saw the quizzical look on your face, she explained how there is a sect of white dragons that, motivated by the Lich King’s transforming the White into a dracolich, have now taken steps to limit the One-Eyed Lord’s power as much as possible. The Dead Vaults were hardly the only cemetery to have such dragons enforcing things, but it was known that the presence of the dragons often brought different problems of their own…
Getting Malice Sureshot on your side has proven to be useful indeed. Your curiosity got the better of you and you checked out the hotel that Malice said she got for you…and you regretted not going. The digs were lavish and very expensive. It was a lost opportunity for some excessive comfort during an otherwise comfortless time. You stayed in places like this all the time whenever you operated as a diplomat…but it’s been a while since you did that.
Oh, well. It was time to get to work. Before the afternoon was out, you had gotten the information you needed; your reputation in the Prince’s network here in Eldolan must have increased, thank you Ms. Sureshot. As for the information itself, you had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it meant you definitely had another chance at slitting Garados’ throat. On the other hand, his destination meant he obviously had plans for you and his friends, and even more obviously had a few cards up his sleeve.
After thinking about it for a few moments, you smiled. You were happy for the chance, and the necromancer was giving it to you. You tossed the ship manifesto to the ground and took off back to your friends; the wind blew the crumpled paper about…the paper that indicated the ship Garados boarded was headed for Hildebrande.
Tests. More tests. And still more tests. Even an ostensibly immortal being could have its patience pushed to the point of no return by the antics and voice of Moz ‘the Magnificent.’
There was no denying the gnome’s talent, however. Beneath the annoying exterior was a mind that was just right for examining the nature of the outer planes and other dimensions. The gnome was also very hospitable; you had complete access to the wizard’s library, and most of the tomes were interesting. Some of the theories about inter-dimensional travel were standard: portals, specific spells, and so on. Some were new to you, however: one theory described something called ‘The Dreamscape;’ apparently one could enter ‘The Dreamscape’ (whatever that was), find someone who was dreaming in another dimension, enter their dreams, and when they awaken, you would be with them in their dimension. It seemed like poppycock, frankly.
The data Moz claimed to be getting would take him some time to analyze, but he assured you it would be a top priority. The really only truly frustrating event happened when Moz brought you to one of the Archmage’s Magic Detection Centres. A fancy name for what amounted to a small shed with a large, smooth, rune-encrusted rock in the center. Moz insisted that it would be helpful in finding what Legion was looking for. Skeptical, you stepped forward, placed your hands on the stone, and concentrated. You saw a vision of what you were looking for, but it wasn’t it one place. Again, you saw it underground, and moving…but this time, you were certain it was not in the possession of a particular individual. What did this mean? Was it moving on its own? And at such a high speed, if what you were detecting was correct?
The others would all be waiting at Moz’s tower. You hoped. With or without them, you were going, that much was clear.
You remembered the look on Therilsa’s face. Normally well groomed with a cold beauty, the half-elf had been red-faced, disheveled and frantic. Naturally you had asked what you could do; she spun on her heel to look at you as if to see you for the first time. An idea seemed to strike her, and she smiled briefly before giving you your instructions.
You continued to run. You had no idea if it was necessary; maybe you had hours, maybe you had days, but Therilsa seemed to think time was if the essence. Reports had reached her that a force loyal to the Diabolist had been seen near the town of Harrowdale. The size and nature of the force was unknown, but Therilsa seemed certain that it would be potent. When you asked why, she mentioned that Harrowdale, while unremarkable in most aspects, was actually the hiding place for an artifact of the Golden Order: the skull of Sidabras, a gold dragon hero from a previous age. In all the years since, the skull has been rumoured to possess mystical (if unreliable) qualities. If the Diabolist’s forces were near, it may be because they had found the skull. Therilsa wasn’t taking any chances, and so asked if you and your friends would head there immediately to ascertain the level of threat. You had heard stories of the Skull of Sidabras…you agreed immediately.
All of you…
The threat level was high, as it turned out.
It has been almost three weeks since you arrived at Harrowdale. When you first arrived, everything was as normal for the otherwise unremarkable town. For several days, you stayed amongst the townsfolk, making acquaintances, being part of life there…but no obvious threat had emerged. You wondered if the intel had been wrong; not the first time that would happen, especially with an organization that relied on dreams as much as the Golden Order did.
Things changed when the refugees started arriving. They came with stories of demonically-possessed trolls, pillaging the nearby countryside, burning everything and taking no prisoners. Their leader was said to be a particular fearsome troll named Marrowbreath, just a whirlwind of destruction.
Soon, Harrowdale was under siege by Marrowbreath’s forces. With few to no heroes of their own, the residents of Harrowdale looked to you to lead the defenses during the siege. You have done your best to repel the troll’s forces, but you aren’t sure how long you can hold out…