The “Chicks in Chainmail” rescued a curious Eladrin named Tette from a group of bandits and kidnappers. Tette explained that the kidnappers (who got away with Winsla Tustin’s daughter, Carly), were forcing wizards to perform ancient, incomplete rituals in attempts to find ways to complete the rituals and unleash their ancient powers.
The Chicks witnessed one wizard finish his attempt in front of them as they battled to rescue those in chains. His attempt was incorrect, and the ritual backfired, taking his life.
Tette explained to the Chicks that she believed she figured out how to complete one of the rituals. It looked like a ritual that will impart knowledge to the participants, and she believed it would help them understand what is going on and what the kidnappers may be after.
As she steped the Chicks through the ritual, she took a small purple gem from one of the tables in the dungeon and it began to glow brightly. The world then blurred around them. They fell into a deep sleep…
You are four dwarves in the Dwarven city of Faubersil. It is the largest Dwarven city in the Undercities; over a million dwarves call it home and pledge their allegiance to the city.
You are members of the Silverstone Arch Academy, a guild devoted to magical study and the betterment of the Faubersil community. The Silverstone Arch and the University of the Violet Fungus (also in Faubersil) are considered the greatest guilds of magical study in all of Ryndaria for their time. People of all races from all over Ryndaria come to Faubersil to study and learn magic with and under the dwarven academies of Faubersil.
You four are highly distinguished Masters of the Silverstone Arch Academy. You are a part of Kundit Fauberhand’s inner circle. Kundit is a member of the Dwarven Clan Fauberhand, the founding clan of Faubersil. He is the head of the Silverstone Arch, and the most renowned Wizard in all of Ryndaria.
You find yourselves in his personal study, seated comfortably in large, soft chairs, circled around a low table. Kundit speaks:
“As you know, my friends, there has recently been a disturbance in the mines below. While digging deeper into the earth, some miners stumbled into an existing tunnel structure. The first dwarves to scout out the new tunnels never returned.”
“Since then, dwarves that have ventured near the new tunnels have started acting strangely. One of the foremen murdered three of his workers in a dispute over a missing pick axe. Other miners have complained of headaches and nightmares.”
“We’ve tried sealing off the new passage, but the problems have persisted in the mines, and we believe they are spreading. Just yesterday, a woman in the upper mines, just below the city proper, started hearing strange voices and nearly killed herself.”
“I have been trying to figure out what is going on, but have been unsuccessful locating the cause of the problem from up here. I need your help to find the source of this before the city is infected by insanity…”
Kundit’s voice fades away as the room begins to blur…
A new room comes into focus. You are in a hospital of some kind. Dwarven and elvish priests are attending to a badly injured Kundit on a table in front of you. His face is swolen, he is bleeding from many wounds, and his left leg is twisted and limp (the bone obviously shattered).
Laying on the table, he looks to the side at the dwarf swordmage and says, “Rangrim, my friend. I am sorry I did not heed your advice. I let my curiosity get the best of me before we were fully prepared. I went down, deep into the tunnels below, thinking I could stay magically hidden.”
“There is a terrible creature down there, though I do not know exactly what it is. I know that it is alive, not dead, and that it was able to find its way into my mind. It knew my thoughts, Rangrim!”
“We have been studying this new phenomenom of psionic power only a short time. I had no defense against what this thing was able to do. It’s minions were quickly upon me, creatures of all types. Even some of our missing dwarves attacked me at the creature’s command. It would not let me move, would not let me defend myself. It laughed in my head as I was beaten. I do not know how I was able to escape, but somehow, my mind fought hard enough to teleport back here.”
“The priests say I will live. We must stop this thing, whatever it is, and soon…”
Kundit’s voice again fades and the room blurs…
Once again, the world comes into focus and you are back in the Silverstone Arch, in a large war room. Several other distinguished looking dwarves are in the room with you. There are even a couple elves and a human in the room.
Kundit looks much less a dwarf than he once did. The right side of his jaw is badly scarred, and his beard will not grow there any longer. His left leg is in some sort of brace, and he limps when he walks, forced to use a staff to support himself. His eyes droop, with large dark rolls of skin beneath them. He looks as if he has not slept in days, or weeks.
“The creature, whatever it is, knows we will be hunting it. It seems to have kept some sort of link with my mind, and I am unable to block it out. It haunts my dreams, and attempts to blur my thoughts. I believe that by either pure luck, or perhaps distance and some of my magical warding, it is unable to truly consume me. "
“Hallenon, " Kundit points at a slender elf to your right, who nods, “has been studying psionics with us for several months, and has given me a few techniques that I believe are helping keep the beast at bay. He and several others created a magical gem, worn on the forhead that we believe will help our people ward off any minor psionic effects in and around the tunnels.”
“You are all here to go over our plans to infiltrate the tunnels below. We have no choice but to go after the creature directly. The chaos of the lower mines has only continued to increase over the month since this all began. Some of our lost bretheren have even started coming back up and raiding mining camps, dragging off those they don’t outright kill.”
A gruff, old dwarf steps toward the middle of the room. His hair has fully greyed, though he keeps it well groomed. The wrinkles of age mask any battle scars. He is adorned in shining red chainmail, though he wears no helmet. He carries a shield with the emblem of the City and a warhammer with a shining red head on his back.
The old dwarf begins to explain, “The city military will lead the assault on the tunnels. We believe that the minds of our brothers and sisters below have been truly lost to maddness,” his words begin to shake as he continues, “and we will have no choice but to relieve them of their misery. It will be up to you magic users to use the distraction of battle to infiltrate and find this thing, flush it out, and destroy it.”
“Don’t worry Toragh, the Silverstone Arch and Violet Fungus are both sending our best Masters and students,” Kundit assures, limping forward. “We will not fail you.”
As the meeting breaks up, Kundit asks you to stay back to talk. The elf, Hallenon hangs around as well.
“Hallenon and I have been studying this psionic energy as best we can from where we are, but there is still so much to learn. What if we could capture the power of this creature for further study? The possibilities in our research our endless if we could harness this thing’s abilities.”
“My friends, I need your help. I have a favor to ask of you. It is in the best interests of our research, and the academy that we capture the beast instead of killing it. We’ve only just begun to understand psychic power, and this thing’s raw natural ability could lead to just the kind of breakthrough we’ve been looking for.”
“You all know the risks associated with the ritual for capturing the soul of a creature into rosantium,” Kundit holds a bar of shining red-silver metal, also called Crimson. “If we can sufficiently surround the creature and complete the ritual, it’s soul, its very essense, will be captured in this artifact. With this new artifact we will be able learn all it knows. A whole new school of study will come from this, and we will be there at its creation.”
“We’ve be trying all routes available to go down and find out whatever it is and where it is located. Several of our wizards sent familiers, summoned creatures and other magical scrying spells down into the tunnels. None have returned, and we do not have a clear picture of what it is. But we think we know approximately where it is.”
“Several familiars approached a large cavern deep and directly below the city, but we lost contact with them as they entered the cavern. That is where you will need to make your way.”
Kundit then reviewed the ritual with the dwarves before sending them on their way into the tunnels.
- Each person holds a Crimson wand enchanted for the job.
- The ritual users must surround the heart and head of the creature on at least 3 sides
- For 4 rounds, at least 3 of the wands must be used as minor actions in order to take wear down and capture the creature.
- Wands have a range of 20ft
After your meeting with Kundit, he teleports you as far as he is able. You are in the tunnels below the city. You can already hear the sounds of battle in the tunnels around you. The tunnels are dark. The section you are in seems completely abandoned.
As soon as you touch down, your head begins to throb. You are invaded by various thoughts and voices.
- “This battle isn’t worth the cost. We should have just resealed the tunnels.”
- “What if our bretheren aren’t fully lost? Can we really cut them down? What does that say about us?”
- “What if my companions have already been overwhelmed and are waiting for the right moment to strike me down?”
The journey through the tunnels was relatively quiet, through battle was heard echoing faintly off the walls.
The dwarves encountered a pair of dwarven miners along the path. Their minds were assaulted, and they hesitated in their attacks against the miners, whose minds were already lost. The miners charged and attacked the arcane users. The battle was short as the miners fell. They could sense the taunts of the creature below.
Soon after, the dwarves encountered a couple of militia members fighting a group of bird-like humanoids known as corbies. Corbies were known to the dwarves of Faubersil, though rare. This group was obviously driven mad by the beast below and being used for his purposes.
Kundit’s team joined the battle, saving the dwarven militia members, but the warriors were unable to hold off the psychic assault and quickly turned on the magic users. There was no choice but to cut them down.
Eventually, the team made it to a tunnel that opened into a large cavern. They could see the large shape of a creature in the cavern ahead. The beast spoke to them.
“I know you are there. I can feel your minds. I know what you plan. Sadly, you will be my slaves, along with your entire weak little city. You should not have woken me.”
The dwarves moved in, attempting to be rid of the beast quickly. The cavern was huge, at least 100ft wide and long. The tunnel they came down opened onto a ledge 30ft above the cavern floor, with a narrow path in each direction: up to the left, down to the floor on the right.
The creature was before them: a massive, ancient purple dragon. It’s head was down, tucked under one of its giant wings. Though the creature looked asleep, its mind attacks assured the dwarves that it was very much awake, and very dangerous.
As the battle commenced, groups of creatures entered the tunnel. Mind flayers, more corbies, giant insects, dwarven miners and others. They came to the call of their master, attempting to keep the dwarves from their goal.
The dwarves fought hard, using all of the tricks years of study and adventure had brought to them. Rangrim grew to a great size to confront the creatures on the floor below. Others helped to pick off mind flayers and corbies attacking from above. All the while, the dwarves attempted to surround the creature and complete the ritual that would capture its soul.
The great body of the dragon continued to awake as the dwarves worked the ritual. It flapped its wings and raked its claws outward. As the ritual neared completion, the ancient wyrm was able to lift its head and cover the entire cavern in its purple breath, which bit into the minds of the dwarves. Still they held on, as they completed the ritual.
The dragon let out a final deafening roar as its soul left its now lifeless body. Any creatures still alive screamed out in pain and fell dead to the ground.
As the ritualists recovered, the dwarven military made its way into the cavern. Seeing the creature dead, they cheered Kundit’s friends, not knowing what they had down.
As a final vision, the Chicks saw Rangrim present the Crimson forged item which contained the dragon’s soul to Kundit. Kundit smiled at his friends as he took the item.
The world blurred…
The Chicks awoke several hours after beginning their own ritual. They had witnessed the story, though they did not fully understand what it would mean for them in the future.
They prepared to go after Carly and her kidnappers in the tunnels below the keep.