Dark Heart

The Mercenary Camp of Dura

*These words were taken from the journal of Leonora D’Cannith, The Keymaster and One of the Emissaries of Light.

Unable to stand long in surprise, the others and I quickly attunded ourselves to the key, placing the foreign device to the portal where the dark one had just vanished through just a moment ago. The black and purple energy swirled around the key Algernon grasped and quickly surrounded the party. I remember the swirls moving around us, encircling us in a snare of a familiar magic. We were about to be transported to the Land of Shadow: the plane known as Dura. The swirly stopped suddenly, frozen and then the strands began to glow and blinded us with a burning white light. The feeling of traveling felt much different than our portals created by Voren Earthmane; the travel felt more foreign and I felt a twinge of fear as strange voices echoed in the distance. Luckily, the trip didn’t last long.

Upon first laying my eyes on the dreary landscape of Dura, I felt incredibly excited about being able to witness all the books of information and stories of journeys into this plane, which I had read in my lifetime, unfold. The others weren’t nearly as excited except for Legion whose eyes wear set on the horizon, his focus so great I could not tell if he were devising his next plan of action or trying to remember if he had once visited this place. That look I have come to know all to well. Our sense heightened, looking out for the one who stole the key in an unfamiliar land, we kept our weapons at the ready and followed the trail towards a bustling village in the distant.

We had just crossed over the hill and were descending onto the village when a voice yelled at us from the guard post. We watched in alarm as two heavily armed figures approached us. Apparently we had stumbled onto a mercenary camp. And without having to raise a weapon, we were led through with a warning to not wander from camp—or else it would raise suspicions. And the half-orc guard made sure to point out that the guards of the camp were keen on attacking first, and asking questions later. The camp was small: only holding anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 wanderers, mercenaries, shop keepers, guards and slaves. The place had four distinctive sections: a barracks, a market (filled with shops and bars), a training grounds and a slave district. But the camp was dwarfed by the large volcano in the distance, one that was obviously active as every hour the ground rumbled and shook and a spit of lava exited its top. A little closer to the village was an equally tall and ominous tower. images from the journal below

I greatly enjoyed the camp and its diversity (apart from the overall sleaziness of the crowd). There were humans, half orcs, halflings, goblins and about every race from under the sun. The markets were filled with devices and weird arcane artifacts and weapons of which I greatly wanted to stop and study, even bring home to tinker with; but ‘I must remain focused’ is what I kept telling myself. Stay on target.

Finding the dark one that ran off with our portal key was quickly taken off of our priority list when walking amongst the crowd, we spotted those twisted, metallic dragonish humanoids that we had fought with on many occasions in Sharn. This would be the place to start to find and question Modra.

We all followed our own expertise and split up to the different parts of the camp. Algernon took to the taverns, Legion traveled to the markets, Ash planned to talk with relaxed mercenaries in their barracks, while I wandered over to the training grounds. I set up in one of the rows of people practicing their archery and talked with a half-elf wearing a deep scar on his left cheek. I barely remember our conversation after I left; being too relaxed, I accidentally lit off flaming bolt that lit the training dummy on fire. Judging how the slave muttered some curse words and set out cleaning up the ashes after my mishap, he was accustomed to such behavior.

We met back at The Dragon’s Claw and pooled our information together. Unfortunately, no one we talked to had seen Modra for a couple weeks, but he was not held in as high regard as he once was around the camp or from his boss, Sarshon. Apparently, as told by a drunk to Algie, Modra had taken a deal that Sarshon had turned down, which made him most unpopular with the mercenaries wishing to stay on Sarshon’s ‘good’ side. We have focused our efforts to find Modra and halt trafficking of these problems and mercenaries into our world, whether we have to kill Modra or find a way to close the portal. The scope keeps growing and I only hope we can start finding answers soon. Dura is quickly losing its charm.

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