Dark Heart

The Chase!

20 Ollarune, 998 YK

The brave adventurers follow the trail of the mist beast to a mysterious apartment, heavily seeped in eldritch energies. Slowly and quietly entering the building, they see goblin guardians roaming the hall.

“What should we do?” Ash whispers to his companions.

“I don’t know. What do you think?” Leonora replies.

Legion looks about, his hand slowly lowering to his blade.

“Would you stop that!” Algernon whispers harshly. He smiles, filled with confidence. “Don’t worry. Stay close to me. I know exactly what to do.”

The group slowly inches forward. “Stay close!” Algernon whispers. They inched closer to the goblin guardians. “Do exactly what I say.” They inch closer. “Stay close. Steady. Ready..!”

A noise breaks the silence. Before anybody can take the chance to observe Legion deftly trip on a rug, Algernon shouts, “Get them!” A blast of lightning shoots across the room, charring a goblin. Legion runs forward, engaging the other goblin, blade in hand.

Down the hall, a door opens. A gruff, sinister half-orc, responding to the commotion, looks out into the greater hall. He draws his weapon and charges forward, shouting over the din: “Our base is under attack!” Soon, the entire group is caught in the maelstrom as two cat women emerge from the nearby room. The battle proceeds, fierce and bloody. Legion and Lenora give chase around the corner while Ash and Algernon continue the fight by the entryway. Blade and claw clash as thunderous magical energy crackles across the chamber.

After brief moments, the battle ends in triumph. Ash, returning to humanoid form, takes a deep breath. “I love the smell of victory.”

Algernon and Leonora look at Ash, puzzled.

“It smells like… like…”

Legion pulls his sword from a freshly slain carcass.

“Like victory. Yeah, that’s right. Victory!” Ash smiles, proudly.

Legion sheaths his sword. “We must hurry.”

With only a short moments rest, the party proceeds up stairs to the purported source of the arcane power. As they enter, the air reeks of magic and power. A strange, mutated beast works feverishly at the controls of some peculiar contraption. “More! I need more! Quickly! MORE POWER!”

Two men run about the room, working at eldritch devices in the four corners of the chamber, a panicked look on their face. “We’re exceeding the tolerance! We need to shut it down.”

The monstrous creature turns its tentacled maw towards one of them. “MORE!” It cackles in delight as energy dances about the room.

The heroes slowly ascend the stairs to the top, glancing around the room. Ash looks at the machines. “This doesn’t look good, guys.”

Leonora ponders the machines for a moment. “Whatever they’re meant to do, it seems as if they are feeding back. It’s like…”

”... they’re primed to explode,” Algernon finishes.

Legion looks sternly at the mutant beast. “I see only one obvious solution.” He draws his blade out, readying it as magical energy charges through it.

Algernon nods. “I agree. This clearly calls for a certain amount of linguistic legerdemain.” He steps forward, making his presence known to the chamber.

“Yes, umm, hello. I am Algernon Moncrief D’Lyrandar, representative of House Lyrandar. I politely ask that you immediately return to whatever dimension, plane, or associated parallel world that you may come from, respectfully. Otherwise my comrades may be forced to dispatch you.”

The mutant beast turns to Algernon. “You dare to address… me?” It hisses. “I shall destroy you and feast on your flesh, trembling little man! Prepare to meet oblivion!”

The two servants about the room, consumed with fear, charge forward, half in defense of their work and half in fear.

Legion sighs. “Not what I meant,” as he charges the beast head on, his sword cloaked in winter’s touch. As he does, Ash runs to the eldritch mechanisms, attempting to disarm them as battle ensues and energy jumps across the room.

Algernon, disappointed, continues. “Perhaps you misunderstood my last request as I may have wrapped it too carefully with charm and flair. You have been given a single chance to retreat at this time. If you do not, we will most assuredly destroy you. So, I invite you to decide.”

As the words pass his lips, a bolt of unstable energy rockets across the chamber, barely missing Leonora. The two servant men, witness to the terrifying consequences of their actions, quickly turn and flee down the stairs. The beast shakes its head, hissing. “Fools! You know not what you have done! This world shall all be swallowed into darkness!”

Legion engages the beast, fighting off its tentacled maw with his blade and quick footing. Ash, successful in disarming one of the eldritch batteries, quickly turns to the other three as Leonora provides cover fire. Algernon turns his talents to the destruction of the mutant beast.

The battle rages on, with Ash carefully disarming the arcane apparatus as the rest of the team fights off the tentacled monstrosity. Finally, just as Ash successfully deactivates the last of the machines, Legion strikes the monster with a fierce blow as Algernon suffuses the beast with thunderous energy.

“Noooooooooo!” it shrieks as it falls. Algernon runs to the beast, kicking it strongly in the chest.

“Tell us, monster! What are you doing here? What was your purpose?”

The tentacled monster shakes its head. “I will tell you nothing, pathetic worm.”

Legion shakes his head, stepping forward.

“Nothing! I will tell you nothing!” it hisses again.

As it continues to writhe on the floor, the glint of steel flashes across the chamber. With a quick motion, Legion sheaths his blade as the monster’s head rolls away from its body.

Algernon, with a look of surprise, looks up at Legion. “That was unnecessary, wasn’t it?”

Legion shakes his head. “No.”

Upon investigating the remains of the Eldritch Machine, Leonora comes to the conclusion that the machine’s purpose was indeed nothing else than a massive, destructive, build-up of arcane energy that would of resulted in an explosion devastating enough to destroy Dalannan Tower, if not several towers surrounding it as well. Upon searching the rest of the townhome after the battle the group finds little clue as to the identity or purpose of the group responsible for the machine, until Ash’s keen senses discern what might be a clue: a scrap of paper with a mysterious heraldic crest of a Beholder and the word “Tarkanan” on one side, and a cryptic note on the other:

23 Ollarune. 3rd Midday Watch. Crow’s Nest. Send Garet.

As the group continued searching the apartment, a contingent of the Sharn watch arrived.

“What is going on here?” the Watch Sergeant asked.

“It appears we’ve just saved the city from a devastating explosion,” Algernon replied. “We deactivated a machine upstairs after fighting off it’s guardians,” Algernon explained, gesturing to the dispatched bodies lying around the apartment.

“Check it out,” the Watch Sergeant dispatched two subordinates to investigate. Looking around at the bodies the Sergeant muttered, “Red Jackals! What is this filth doing in the city!” Addressing the heroes the Sergeant inquired, “Why don’t you tell me everything that happened here. Start at the beginning.”

As the heroes relate their tale, the Watch Sergeant jots down notes as the other members of the watch search the apartment. “Hmmm, your story seems to check out, but I’m sure my captain will want to ask more questions. Why don’t you let me know where you’ll be staying, so we can contact you if necessary?” After brief debate, the heroes decide that it might be a good idea to lay low, and Ash suggests that they can find rooms at the inn where he is staying on the other side of town…

Four Years Later...

20 Ollarune, 998 YK

The four years passed quickly. Despite treaties made and old rivalries quickly extinguished, the adventure had only just begun for the four travelers:

The spirited Algernon Moncrief D’Lyrandar came to see life’s sometimes unpredictable mortality. He continued working jobs in Zilargo, but made a personal vow to enjoy life to its fullest.

Ash returned to the Eldeen Reaches, hoping to leave the horrors he witnessed at the ruined tower behind him. He returned to the farm to find his family slaughtered by roving marauders of the Carrion Tribes. Looking to avenge their deaths, Ash began scouring the Demon Wastes, looking for the killers, and revenge.

With her family and friends dead, Leonora D’Cannith fell into a void, lost all motivation to invent or pursue more arcane studies. She stayed in Zilargo in an enclave of House Cannith; but after a year of being pestered by inquisitive gnomes about what she witnessed outside of Cyre, she packed up for the bustling city of Sharn. There she hoped to discover what occurred in Cyre. All she had was the dying words of that Emerald Claw witch, “It’s too late. No one can escape the forgehold now”.

Legion also found his way to this City of Towers pursuing the best intellectuals who would be best suited to tell him who he was and where he came from. An aging priest of the Silver Flame, Mazrim Tain told him the story of the creation of the world: the existence of the three progenitor dragons; how Siberys became the sky and heavens, and Eberron trapped Khyber in her body which became the world, and Khyber the dark underworld. But still, Eberron couldn’t keep Khyber’s evil contained; the powerful demons from Khyber’s heart emerged and ruled Eberron for untold Eons. To combat the the Demon Overlords, the Dragons allied with the Couatls from Siberys, who sacrificed themselves to bind the Demon Overlords in eternal prisons. At this time, several Couatls infused their immortal essence in mortal beings to create the Deva, a race which would stand guard over and defend the prisons of the Overlords from those servants of theirs which couldn’t be bound, the Rakshasas and others.

And after their individual journeys, each adventurer found themselves reunited in Sharn, attending the 4th remembrance of the Day of Mourning at the request of Bren ir’Gadden.

The four travelers came to the ceremony held at Cyre Tower in Sharn. In attendance were a handful Cyran veterans and other guests wishing to share in remembering the Day of Mourning. Only a few minutes upon their arrival, a mysterious cloud of grey mist seeped from out of the kitchen and into the room.

Legionwas the first to charge, drawing his out his sword, ready for destroying whatever evil manifestation was concealed. Leonoraquickly summoned her arcane companion, sending it towards the cloud. Whirring and buzzing, the machine lifted the veil of mist. The intruder was now clearly in view and revealed to be a mysterious Mourning Haunt. As all the guests fled, a lithe swordsman emerged from the crowd and attacked the monster, taking advantage of its preoccupation with Legion. Ash and Algernon ran to the edge of the balcony and begin giving cover fire to help the other guests escape. One guest, however, didn’t run away, but instead mysteriously ran to the balcony too with his eyes wide and wearing a curious smile. He murmured, “Fascinating. Wow. So interesting.”, while eying the monster. It was Ash’s resounding animal growl as he shifted in a wolf that startled the man to sense. He quickly ran down to the first level.

The monster seemed like an illusion as when Legion swung at him, he quickly vanished and reappeared a few feet away. Unfortunately the grey mist was very real: four guests had already fallen to the poisonous fumes and the heroes were also affected. The poison rendered those closets to the monster frozen and weekend with this silent killer; but they increased their determination to extinguish the beast before another person was harmed.

As abruptly as it had appeared, upon defeat the grey mist and monster dissolved into mist leaving nothing but the echo of the prophecy the travelers recognized years before:

“Five on the brink of desolation face the shadow’s roar…”

As the voice faded, the man from the balcony emerged to examine the vanishing misy. The curious scholar introduced himself as Gydd Nephret, a scholar at Morgrave University, and invited the party to look him up at the University, but quickly fled in excitement mumbling something about attending other business.

Thanks to the keen senses of Ash, the group found a trail of fur leading across nearby rooftops. Legion and Ash took the rooftops, repelling down the steep levels with rope being careful not to plummet from the mile high buildings. Leonora and Algernon took to the streets following the trail. After a couple wrong turns, the pair eventually met up with Legion and Ash at a skybridge connecting Cyre tower to Dalannan tower. Legion approached two humans loitering at the entrance, asking them if they had seen the creature pass this way. They claimed to have seen a mysterious cloud climb the tower from lower depths and head to Cyre tower.

They followed the trail of the Mourning Haunt down Dalannan tower until they reached the lower wards of the city. The trail led the group to the door of an innocuous townhome near the bottom of the tower, a place all the more mysterious for the unmistakable waves of arcane energy radiating from within…

The Mark of Prophecy

20 Ollarune, 994 YK

The Last War has been raging across Khorvaire for nearly a century. On the edge of a major battle, four strangers approach a ruined tower for different reasons…

Algernon d’Lyrandar, a one time airship pilot and sorcerer of House Lyrandar, while spending some time between jobs in Zilargo, was hired by a gnome of House Sivis, one Joranndar d’Sivis, to investigate a ruined tower on the Darguun/Cyre border for some sign of the Draconic Prophecy and report back…

Ash, a druid of the Eldeen Reaches who signed up as a mercenary scout for the armies of the five nations and finds himself working with the forces of Breland as they invade Cyre. His unit commander asks him to track down a commanding officer who was kidnapped from camp in the night, and the trail leads straight for a ruined tower overlooking the battle…

Legion, a deva, reincarnates in a narrow valley in some rugged hills. After searching some nearby bodies of what appear to have been skirmishing scout parties, he notices a ruined tower on a ridgeline to the south, to which he feels a strange pull…

Leonora d’Cannith, an artificer of house Cannith from the Cyran city of Eston, has been fighting with Cyran troops repelling a joint Breland/Thrane invasion when she is dispatched to investigate rumors of Emerald Claw operatives in the area, a group of humans and undead that appear to be heading toward a ruined tower on the edge of the battlefield…

The ruined tower, which appeared uninhabited from a distance, turned out to be infested with several Kruthik hatchlings, which attacked the four as they investigated the tower. The tower was also inhabited by two strange short, squat monsters with four arms, two mouths, and no necks apiece. The creatures appeared almost as if some twisted creator had tried to fuse two different goblins together in a single body. These Dolgrim (as they are known), armed with clubs and crossbows, attacked the four as they entered the tower while carrying on running conversations with themselves and each other (the two creatures had four mouths between them). The dolgrim put up stiff resistance, and managed to knock out Ash and Legion before the fight was through, though Leonora’s quick actions and skill at healing kept both alive, as Algernon and Leonora finally contrived the Dolgrims’ demise.

During the battle, Ash discovered Lord Major Bren ir’Gadden and his aide Aric Blacktree imprisoned within the tower. Upon investigating after the battle, the group found both chained to the wall, Aric atop a glowing Prophecy Mark, a sign of the Draconic Prophecy. As Ash set about freeing the Lord Major and his aide, Algernon recorded the prophecy mark with a special dragonshard he had been given for the purpose, and Legion studied it, feeling it may be somehow connected with his destiny.

The group’s respite was brief however, as a few minutes later the sky to the east erupted into orange flame and thunder and wind swept across the land. Alarmed by the ominous events, the group made haste to leave only to find their way out of the tower blocked by a group of Zombies and three humans, two soldiers and a necromancer bearing the insignia of the Order of the Emerald Claw. With Bren ir’Gadden’s assistance however, the group managed to make short work of the Zombies and their human masters as the Mourning continued to envelop the nation of Cyre. As the group was preparing to flee from a swiftly advancing tide of grey mist, all were able to breathe a sigh of relief as the mist stopped as abruptly as it appeared, ending as a solid wall a mere few hundred yards east of the ruined tower.

Since they had captured Mallora, the necromancer leading the Emerald Claw group, Leonora took the time to interrogate her. Leonora didn’t get much information from the agent, who preferred death to dishonor and called upon necrotic energies to end her own life, but not before gloating about having struck a House Cannith facility before meeting her untimely demise.

In the aftermath of the events at the tower, the group, along with Bren ir’Gadden and Aric Blacktree, made their way back to the Brelish outpost of Kennrun to the north, and from there each went their separate ways…

Along the way though, Legion had time to decipher the Prophecy Mark that Algernon had recorded in the dragonshard, which spoke in lines of cryptic verse:

Five on the brink of desolation face the Shadow’s Roar.

Four stand together, emissaries of Light.

The Shadow waits in darkness, casting wide his web.

The Traveler stands between, holding Fate’s threads.


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