I was sitting in Shamrock Inn when Camil suddenly entered the inn. Earlier that day, I had sold him a new armor and a sword he had lost. After sitting there for a while with him, I told him that I was growing tired of this town and saw no future for myself in here. I had desided that I should try to find myself a better future somewhere else as there was little left for me here after I lost Irdana. I asked him to accompany me on my journey and he gladly accepted my offer.
Soon a stranger entered the inn. He was wearing a black robe, and was carrying a large sack on his back. For some reason he reminded me of someone I had seen long time ago. Especially the necklace he was wearing seemed strangely familiar. I heard him order the cheapest food and drink, and thought that maybe I should talk to the stranger. I didn’t want to make him look poor, so I ordered the same food and drink for me and Camil and invited the stranger to come sit on our table. He accepted my invitation and soon joined us. His clothes and long blond hair seemed very dirty, and it was obvious that he must have had travelled quite a while.
The stranger introduced himself as Grzegorz, and I finally started to realize who he was. I remembered the small kid I had to look after 15 years ago. I had never seen him, nor his sister Neera, after that day. Their master had taken them away with him and never returned. I asked few implying quostions, but Grzegorz didn’t admit that he knew anything about that insident nor a sister called Neera. However, I was quite confident that he was the same Grzegorz I had met long time ago.
Grzegorz told us that he was looking for an old sage living in Clydewell, and wanted to meet him. I told him that I could show him to the sages home. As I left, I asked Camil to go fetch Branden, and bring him to the inn as I had planned to ask him to accompany me on my journey as well. After taking Grzegorz to the old sage’s house, I returned to the Inn to meet Camil and Branden. Branden told me that he would accompany me on my journey as he had little intentions on becoming a hunter like his family. As usual, I wasn’t quite sure if Branden was actually happy for me inviting him to join me. He didn’t really show much enthusiasm when I asked but that’s just the way he is.
Almost as soon as Branden had told me that he would accompany me, a cousin of mine came looking for me, and told me that my brother Marl mac Dorwynn had something he needed to talk to me, and that he wanted me to bring my friends with me. After finishing our drinks, we set out to meet Marl mac Dorwynn and ask what he wanted from us.
As usual, Marl mac Dorwynn seemed very busy and stressed and explained that our family was in an awkward situation. He told us that due to an old agreement our family was bound to return a favor to the noble family of mac Loinsigh, and if we could not do so, we might lose our whole fortune. He explained that the mac Loinsigh’s had asked for us to find one of their sons, called Canlyn mac Loinsigh, who had gone missing. Canlyn mac Loinsigh was the son of Arabus magh Loinsigh, the elder of their family. He had left the town a week ago with three strangers heading east. We told Marl mac Dorwynn that we would look into it.
After we left home we gathered at the Shamrock Inn to prepare for our search for Canlyn mac Loinsigh. At the inn there was a local guard attaching a poster on the inn wall that promised 300 silver pieces to the person who returned Canlyn mac Loinsigh home. After the guard left, we modified the text on the poster to say that Canlyn mac Loinsigh went west rather than east. For the whole time Grzegorz stared us from his table with curious eyes.
An hour or two passed as we went on our own businesses and tried to gather information. Information on the eastern wilds were scarse. Rooney mac Thòmais, the owner of the Shamrock Inn, told us that he had a second cousin living in the east and there was as rumor that a tower or a ruin lied somewhere in the wilds one or two days travel away. Branden‘s parents had little to tell because those wilds weren’t very good hunting grounds. That was pretty much all we found out so we decided to travel east and investigate the area.
As we began travelling we ran into a suspicious travelling merchant called Garth mac Reid. After a while we ran into Grzegorz who was also travelling east. I suspect that he had seen the poster in the inn before we switched the directions in it. I asked him to join us and to put his large sack on the back of my mule so he could travel lighter. Grzegorz gladly joined us, although he didn’t put the large sack he was carrying on the mule, but his much smaller backpack. It seemed as if he didn’t want to part with the bag. The rest of the day went as we marched east. As the day started to fade, we set a camp on a common camping place used by other travellers. Branden investigated the surroundings and found strange tracks that came from faraway and ended just a hundred or so feet away from the camping place. Just as if someone had scouted the camping place from a distance. Thereof we decided to keep watch during the night.
I took the first watch and decided to work out. I had not been to the forge for days and my muscles were aching from the lack of exercise. Nothing else happened during my watch and I decided to wake up Branden. I had just fallen asleep, when Branden came to wake us all up. He had heard loud noices coming from the forest, and now that we all were awake, we could hear the noice coming closer. I hastily donned my armor and prepared for whatever was coming at us.
As I stood there, the camp fire lighting the camping ground behind me, I saw a figure running towards me. It was a man obviously running for his life. He tried to shout something but was hit by an arrow that pierced his back. As he stumbled to the ground before me, I quickly cast a spell to staunch the bleeding wound in his back. As I stood up from the wounded man, I saw four men approaching us. They were armed with swords and bows and looked shabbily clothed. One of the men, apparently their leader, stepped forward.
“We wish no harm to you, just hand us that man. We are working for the baron and that man is wanted for various crimes.”
I saw his friends grin as he told that they were working for the baron and he wasn’t very convincing himself either. A common bandit, I though, and decided to question him.
“If you’re working for the baron you must have some kind of licence to show me. A warrant or a mandate perhaps?”
“Err.. No I don’t have that… There’s a bounty on the head of that man for the crimes he has done against the baron. We’re just doin’ the baron’s work, you see?”
“Well, then maybe I’ll just have to take that bounty for myself if that is true.”
Obviously, my response wasn’t the answer he was looking for, as he cursed and raised his sword against me. His attack was cut short as I enlarged myself and landed my hammer on his head cracking his skull. In a flash the bandits attacked us, but were quickly defeated when Camil joined me and Branden backed us up with his precise bow. I think Grzegorz tried to sling rocks at the bandits, but I’m not sure if he even did that, as I had little time to keep an eye on him.
After the bandits were killed, I healed the injured man and woke him up. At first he was startled, but I managed to calm him down. He told us that his name was Airlys and that he had escaped the bandits. He and his companions were investigating an old ruin, a days walk from here, when they were ambushed by these bandits. The other men were either killed or captured. He told us that Canlyn mac Loinsigh was one of the men travelling with him. The others were Murlen, a friend of his, and Roe, an older mercenary from Knighton who had hired the rest of the group. Canlyn mac Loinsigh admitted that it was his cowardice that had saved him. He had ran as soon as they were ambushed, leaving his friend alone. He had seen Roe’s head crack when a large stone had been droppen on his head from above. The rest, he thought, had been prisoned by the bandits.
We decided to let Airlys go. I gave him a food ration and a sword from one of he dead bandits and showed him the way to Clydewell. I told him that we would investigate the ruins and try to free his friend. Airlys then hastily began to walk back to Clydewell. We resumed our rest and decided to search Canlyn mac Loinsigh from the ruins.
We wasted little time as we packed our camp in the morning and resumed our journey towards the ruin. On our way we saw the hill with a large oak tree, where Rooney mac Thòmais’s second cousin was supposed to live, but we decided to continue towards the ruins.
As the day began to turn in to evening and the sun disappeared behind the horizon, we arrived to the ruins. From a distance we saw the silhouette of an old keep on a hill. We decided to approach the keep carefully. Branden scouted the surroundings of the hill and returned to tell us that there was a cave on the opposite side of the hill where the hill ended in steep cliffs. We then tried to approach the keep by the road that led to it’s gates, but as we closed we noticed that there were multiple human silhouettes guarding the keep walls. As we saw that this route would probably lead us to an ambush similar that had occured to Canlyn mac Loinsigh and his companions, we decided to investigate the cave behind the hill.
As we circled around the hill, Branden went to scout the cave more closely. The cave’s opening was guarded by two bandits hiding within the bushes near the cave. As there were only two guards here opposed to the multiple ones waiting on the keep walls, I decided that we would try to break in through this entrance. I told Branden to take a good position and ready his bow and began approaching the guards with Camil by my side. Grzegorz creeped somewhere behind us.
When the bandits guarding the entrance saw us, one of them began running immediately. He was obviously trying to alert his comrades inside the keep. I quickly charged the other guard and silenced him with my hammer. The running bandit was shot down by Branden’s arrow. We took the bandits down so quickly that I was quite sure no-one heard anything on the keep. We covered our tracks and hid the dead bandits behind some trees. Then we entered the cave.
The cave seemed to be a natural cave formation. A narrow passage went forward. As we ventured deeper, we heard strange chitter coming from all around us. The walls were covered in small holes roughly the size of a fist. Just as we were about to wonder the holes, a large beetle with a light producing bulb hanging on its beak sprung out of one the holes. The beetle seemed to look at us as if it was wondering who was going there. As soon as it had sprung out it crawled back into it’s hole. As the beetle seemed quite harmless, we continued deeper. The chittering sound began to get stronger as we continued and soon we found the source. A large centipede, roughly six feet long and two feet thick, was crawling on the cave floor. As the centipede saw us it began to approach us with not-so-good intentions. Me and Camil prepared ourselves for the beast and Branden began shooting arrows on it. As me and Camil hacked the centipede to pieces another one crawled out of a crack on the ceiling. It surprised Camil and hit him on his leg. A numbing feeling spread through Camil leg as the centipede’s poison worked it’s way to his bloodstream. That centipede was soon cut down as my hammer crushed it’s head in to pieces.
Luckily, the centipede’s poison wasn’t very potent so Camil‘s numb leg returned normal in a few moments. We continued further until the passage divided in to two different ways. We heard loud chitter coming from the left and decided to go right first. As we ventured right we arrived to a wooden door that was attached to the cave wall. The door was closet and probably barred from the other side. The door hinges weren’t very sturdily attached so we managed to lift the door of it’s hinges with little effort. The doorway led to a room that was clearly crafted by humans. We entered the room, returned the door back to it’s hinges and barred it closed.
The room we entered had two doors – one leading forward and one leading left. The door on the left was a heavy iron door with a sturdy lock on it. It was obvious that we had no change to break that door open. The sturdy wooden door made of Everoak, that led forward, was open. As I keened my senses to the flows of Arcana near me, I sensed an exceptionally strong power radiating somewhere behind the iron door. A smaller, yet wider, magical field seemed to radiate from the cave we had came. I was quite sure that magical field came from the left passage we didn’t explore.
We decided that we would look in to the cave after we had rescued Canlyn mac Loinsigh, and so we continued forward. The door led to a room with two doors leading forward and a table. Sitting over the table were four bandits. As I rushed in to the room and saw the bandits, I decided to use our element of surprise and guided my hammer straight in to the face of one of the bandits. As the bandit’s lifeless body crashed to the ground, the other bandits tried to attack us. The battle was quickly won, and one of the bandits surrendered as he saw his friends hacked to the ground.
We interrogated the bandit and discovered that their leader, Broch, was residing in his private quarters behind the right door leading forward. The other door leading forward, he said, lead to the stairs leading up. He told us that he had just joined the bandit group and it belonged to a notorious bandit league led by a great bandit leader called Ramsey. The name brought back memories of the grissly event we had faced together 15 years ago. We led the bandit to the room with the iron door and tied him up. We said that he should stay quiet because there were horrible creatures behind the door leading to the cave. After that we continued towards Broch’s room.
As we opened the right door, we came in to a hallway. On the hallway there was a single door to the right and at the end of the hallway. We heard strange mumbling behind the door to the right. We barged in and saw a big-bellied torturer hitting a tied man. In the room there was also a dead body lying on the floor. I greeted the torturer with my hammer and killed him with a single blow. We immediately freed the tied man and questioned him who he was and who was the dead man. To our dissappointment the man told us that his name was Murlen and the dead man was Canlyn mac Loinsigh. I cursed in my mind that Arabus magh Loinsigh would not like this. We lead Murlen back to the room with the iron door and told him to guard the tied bandit. We questioned Murlen whether he knew anything about the motives of these bandits. He knew little but he told us that the bandits had tortured and interrogated them a lot. They had kept asking the same questions from them. Who were they working for? How old were they? What were they after? The strangest thing was that Murlen felt that they already knew all the answers he had told. When the bandits thought Murlen was unconscious, he overheard them talking about something that was locked away in the dungeon. Apparently they had strict orders not to approach it before “all marks” we’re dealt with. After bandaging Murlen we entered the door in the end of the hallway.
This door lead to Broch’s room. In there there was Broch, a large bandit leader wearing a thick hide armor, and another bandit talking to each other. I quickly landed a mighty blow on Broch and after that Camil finished him with his sword. The lone bandit was quickly dispatched too. I was almost dissappointed of how easy it was. Broch was taken completely by surprise and had no chance against me and Camil.
We tried to search for evidence on the possible motives of the bandits but found little. A mysterious key was found from a drawer in the room that apparently belonged to the iron door. It seemed that some papers had been burned in the room. As we searched the room, Branden scouted the other door leading forward from the room with the table. He discovered that there indeed was a staircase leading up after a hallway with prison cells. We decided that we should investigate the strange magical aura behind the iron door and returned to the door.
The key fitted the lock on the door and it opened. A narrow hallway led forward and turned right after a while. On the hallway floor lied a couple of old skeletons dressed in antique Ellysian armor. The hallway ended in to a similar iron door that was not locked. We opened it and saw a large room with a pedestal in the middle of the room and more Ellysian skeletons on the floor. On the pedestal rested a small stone. Camil desided to enter the room first and we proceeded cautiously. The room seemed like a place where there might be traps but there were none. Instead as we approached the pedestal we saw the skeletons rise up and attack us. Me and Camil were inside the room with five skeletons encircling us. One of the skeletons seemed like a leader and saluted us with an Ellysian battle greeting. Also the skeletons in the hallway rised up behind Branden and Grzegorz.
As Camil fended of the skeletons, I channelled positive energy to damage the undead and one by one they collapsed to the ground. To my surprise I noticed Grzegorz cast spells. He used necromantic black magic to control one of the skeletons and commanded it to attack another skeleton. A necromancer, I thought and wondered whether this was the reason Grzegorz had not revealed us that he was the same person we had met 15 years ago. After a while of vigorous combat we managed to defeat the skeletons. Their leader was destroyed by a magical orb cast by Grzegorz.
We took the Mysterious Stone from the pedestal, left the chamber and decided that it was best for us to leave. The captured bandit and Murlen carried Canlyn mac Loinsigh’s body as we re-entered the cave. Curious of the magical aura that was radiating from the passage we had left unexplored we ventured to see what was the source of this magical aura. As we went further in to the passage we arrived in to a larger chamber with a huge centipede waiting for us. This centipede was twice as big as the ones we had met earlier. In the chamber there was a deposit of Ether Shards. The beast was quickly slain as me and Camil flanked it and Branden supported us with his bow.
After the centipede was killed we harvested the Ether Shards. Grzegorz knew quite a lot about them and he told us of all the uses they had. All in all we managed to get five minor shards from the deposit. After that we left the cave to travel back to Clydewell. On the way we released the bandit we had captured as I had promised him we would. We rested a few miles from the keep
The day was spent marching back to Clydewell. Nothing out of the ordinary happened.
We arrived back to Clydewell and returned Canlyn mac Loinsigh‘s body to his family. Arabus magh Loinsigh was devastated as he found his only son dead. As we had not returned Canlyn mac Loinsigh back alive, we only reseaved half of the reward from the mac Loinsighs’s. My brother Marl mac Dorwynn was relieved as the favor was returned. He rewarded my friends with few extra silvers to show his gratitude.
The rest of the day was spent resting and re-stocking on daily necessities – I could swear I heard Branden curse Garth for his high prices. The town seemed as quiet as always. Somebody said the thane’s sister was to visit the town tomorrow. While we were gulfing down a couple of well deserved ales at the Shamrock Inn we were interrupted by a man who introduced himself as Cadarn mac Istorn, a scholar of Ellysian history. Word of our expedition to the ruins had already spread and he was most interested of our findings and if we had come across any Ellysian artifacts. Apparently he is staying at the inn with a few fellow travellers.
According to Grzegorz the strange stone we found was emitting a strong magical aura. As we had no idea of it’s effects I decided to to quickly make a small lead lined case which should isolate the aura.
We decided to rest and meet again next morning. Our first adventure together was behind us and we didn’t know what we would do next. The name of the bandit leader Ramsey haunted my mind as I realized that the man who was responsible for the deaths of so many friends and relatives was somewhere near us again. What where his motives? Broch was obeying his commands and he had interrogated Canlyn mac Loinsigh’s mercenary group. Why had he asked about their age? Why was that important? For some strange reason I felt that all of this linked back to that day 15 years ago and that it was us, that Ramsey was so keen to locate. Had we seen something beyond our comprehension, when we witnessed him murdering that old woman and how did this all link to this Mysterious Stone the bandits were obviously guarding.
Troubled about all these questions I decided to find the answer to at least one thing puzzling my mind. I went to visit Hagen mac Blàr and asked him whether Grzegorz had anything to do with the old wizard who had visited Clydewell 15 years ago with two small childs. Hagen mac Blàr told me that indeed Grzegorz had visited him to ask of his master. This was the last evidence that proved to me that Grzegorz was the man I thought he was.