Key of Destiny; Episode 1
The elves are the race created by the good-aligned Gods of Light. Before they had a nation they consisted of fractured noble houses. The great leader Silvanos managed to unite all the houses and found a new elven nation in the great forests of southeastern Ansalon. Dragons already lived within the woods, and did not take kindly to this encroachment upon their homes. Thus began the First Dragon War. This battle lasted for 350 years before the 3 Gods of Magic (the moons Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari) intervened to help the elves by giving them the Dragon Orbs (known as Orbs of Dragonkind in other settings) to control the minds of the 5 species of chromatic dragons. The elves secured victory with these powerful artifacts, and founded the nation of Silvanesti.
Today 48 SC (431 AC)
The Solamnic knight Tyric and his companion Minotaur Jak have traveled over a year from Northern Ergoth with an artifact known as “The Key”. Entrusted with the artifact by Lord Commander Tasgall they are questing to solve the mystery of how to use the artifact to benefit the Solamnic Order. While camped one cold evening on the plains of Khur, a nomad snuck into camp and made off with the Key. The rogue Minatour noticed and yelled out a warning and followed the thief over the plains to town of Pashin.
Pashin has a MASSIVE Dark Knight presence. They now occupy the city and serve as its law enforcement in the eastern section. Basically, they’re the Evil knightly order of Dragonlance; the Solamnic Knights being the Good guys and the Steel Legionnaires the more “modern” cloak and dagger counterpart to the older two. When Takhisis (goddess of chromatic dragons and tyranny) was alive and kicking, the Dark Knights were known as the Knights of Takhisis and spiritual successors to the Dragonarmies. Now they’re the Knights of Neraka, majorly situated in said nation and dominated by secular mystics instead of clerics. What resistance exists against them in Pashin consists of the town’s rough and tumble sorts (it was a rather lawless town beforehand), Khur tribes (loosely based off of real-world Arabs) resentful of Nerakan tyranny, elven refugees, and the remnants of the Steel Legionnaires.
The Solamnic Knight Tyric caught up with Jak and pressed a local who was leaving the town into service. Mumbar, a down on his luck astrologer. They searched through the city, getting into fights with leppers, stumbling upon a murder (elf on elf violence), The minatour made his way to the Five Dragon Inn and secured lodging after indian trading (without consent) from a fellow guest things at the inn. This was shortly after he was attacked by a drunken ogre who he beat down and almost killed. (A dangerous city to be sure)Meanwhile, Tyric took a beating at the hands of three thugs who worked for a local crime lord named Blackbird when he attempted to stop them from collecting money from a courtesan who called herself “Dove”. She was kind enough to get help from a local stable boy who woke the knight and guided him to the Five Dragon Inn where he was reunited with his Minotaur friend and Mombar, who was taking his new “job” in stride…
The next day the group came upon a strange woman who yelled out some sort of prophecy
and then spontaneously combusted! The bystanders who watched this attempted to blame it on one of the Knights squires, but the patrolling Black Guard dismissed the incident as the woman was an elf, whom they view lesser than dogs.
Jak made his way to see Blackbird as an agent approached him at the Five Dragon Inn, and told him about an elven resistance below the town and asked him to make an offer of solidarity against the Knights of Neraka. At least until a decision was made by the Khan of Khur regarding what he was going to do about their presence in the town.
The hero’s went below the city, running into elven leppers, goblins thieves, a disgusting incident involving an obese ghast and his ankle biting ghouls. Finally they made it to the elven resistance hideout. There they met the leader, a woman named Shaylin and her right hand Naelathan Shadowdark (The players recognized him as the elf that killed the other elf in the ally and escaped. However, they did not press this issue)
The woman issued another prophecy and revealed she was responsible for taking the “Key of Quinari” and expressed her sorrow for taking it from the group. She knows they were indeed the people who should be carrying it. She told them she had seen the artifact in a vision in the dunes, a reference to the lands to the north of Pashin, the shattered ruins are Hurim, once an ancient temple to Paladine and the Gods of Light. In times past one of the priests betrayed the rest to a ruthless ogre horde, and since then the place is avoided by the Khurish people, but she knows little more than that.
The party then took the opportunity to rest and buy supplies from the elves and treat their wounds (although they don’t have much). The Knight Tyric lay with one of the sickly elven women and whispered sweet nothings into her ear after a long night in her tent, gone before she awoke…
Early in the morning the dark elf Naelathan escorted them out of town via a secret passageway into the badlands of Khur., The heroes’ journey continued as to the Key’s mystery truly begins.
Elven sickness: The disease afflicting the elves is named Sunblight, and it has stats. It infects an elven or half-elven victim with leprosy and bestows penalties in sunlight and permanent 1d3 Constitution drain every 3d4 weeks. A very slow death, indeed. What’s worst about it is that it’s airborne and does not manifest immediately, and it cannot be magically cured by a spell caster of less than 18th level. Fortunately for the PCs, neither of them (or their companions) are elven or half elves.
Prophecies So Far
PROPHECY & IMMOLATION: ON THE STREETS OF PASHIN, ON THE SOUTHWESTERN EDGE OF THE DESERTS OF KHUR.
You notice a small figure standing in the shadows of an alleyway looking out into the street. A gnarled hand clutches a heavy, black robe tight around the neck. The cowl of the robe is thrown back to reveal a face so gnarled by time an worry that it’s almost impossible to determine whether the figure is male or female, although the figure does appear to be human. Stringy white hair hangs around the human’s face and its pale eyes are completely white with cataracts, rendering it blind.
A stench assails the senses, that of decay and age. Most passersby are avoiding the figure in disgust. Some few throw coppers at the figures feet, thinking this blind old crone is another beggar in the streets.
Suddenly, those blind eyes turn your way and the figure lets out a shriek loud enough to rival a banshee’s. Throwing herself toward your groups feet, she collapses on the ground. Slowly, painfully pulling herself up, the crone gases up at you, her blind eyes open wide with a disturbing intensity. She reaches out, grabbing Grath’s leg with fingers like talons. With a low, deep moan her eyes roll back into her head and she begins to shudder as if in the grip of a fever. Words begin to pour from her lips in a low whispery hiss:
“The stars are set into motion, a plan both cunning and divine; beware of specters in the night, beware of unseen designs; the key you hold, others desire; protect yourself from obsession’s FIRE!” The last word is torn from the crone’s lips with a scream as she throws herself backward. Her body suddenly wreathed with blue-white flames that crackle and dance around her body before exploding outward, catching you in a backlash of ghostly-hued flames.
LEPER COLONY: IN THE TENT OF SHAYLIN MOONBORN, CLERIC OF MISHAKAL, SEWERS OF PASHIN.
You are wondering why you have been summoned here, are you not? Shaylin tilts her head, patiently waiting for your answer before she continues. “It is because I have seen…” Now a tiny furrow appears between her eyebrows. “I have been having dreams for the past few nights, dreams that are most disturbing and filled with dread, but the details of the dream escape me as smoke escapes the flame.” She sighs softly, looking down at the glowing fire for a few moments before continuing. “All I have been able to remember is that it involves you. All of you.” She looks up, piercing you with her gaze.
Suddenly, her eyes go distant, color draining from the two orbs until they seem a pure, solid white. Her voice falls in to a sing-song pattern as she murmurs,* “There is a pattern, you cannot see. Instead you must set your spirit free. Take the key to the shattered ruins, through the sands and over the dunes. Seek the answers in the sands of time, search your souls and find the sign.”*