By Jamey Martin
Back to the Ruins of the Lost
As already told, when the dark mage Hector returned to Ordulin from the House of Toil and Sweat he eventually sought out the Lazy Hermit Inn, where the inn keep Maximillian, aka Mad Max, put him back in touch with the CoT. Thus did Hector once again come into the company of Bry'th. He was also happy to see the tight-lipped Glistra and his fellow Cormyrean Airovistus, both of whom had apparently survived their ordeal out on the Eastern Shaar.
Before long, and just before the previously mentioned incident with Tyros, the mage was summoned to the luxurious estate of Drexle by the aged cult wizards new bodyguard, the hulking Krelshaw of Hillsfar. Following the incident with Tyros, Hector and the brute became fast friends, both seeming to revel in the idea of inflicting harm and suffering on others. Apparently, Drexle had purchased Krelshaw out of the arena in Hillsfar only 3 months back, and he had a reputation of being a fearless and formidable adversary.
In any event, making his way to the abode of his former mentor, Hector was greeted with comfort, fine wine, exotic munchies, and of course the elderly mages lotus pipe. At length, and after much small talk, Drexle began to touch upon more serious matters, and questioned Hector regarding his quest for the Necronomicon; as Bry'th had informed him that the Wheloonian had indeed discovered it. The two discussed the matter long into the night, with Hector telling all he had to tell, and admitting that the only reason he submitted to the dreaded tomes guardian was because to do otherwise would certainly have meant death or worse. Far from upbraiding the young mage, Drexle promised him the protection of the cult and awarded Hector with an expensive arm ring.
Within the week, after forming a relationship with a shapely, but modest looking serving wench at the Lazy Hermit named Jezebel, Hector was asked to accompany Drexle himself to the Ruin of the Lost. They would be accompanied by Bry'th, Glistra, Krelshaw, and numerous cult warriors, and would wrest the Necronomicon from the clutches of the Nameless Fiend, and retrieve the contract for Hector's soul. And so it was that the lot of them once again boarded the Waverider, under Captain Grusk, and made for Chondath where they would approach the Eastern Shaar via the overland trade routes.
Apparently, there had been some kind of falling out between the Church of Tiamat in Unther and the Cult of Tiamat in the west, regarding the latter's intentions with the Necronomicon. It was the Cult's goal to eventually reclaim the phylactery and remains of Sammaster the Prophet, resurrect and re-educate him regarding his true origins and destiny, and then have him use the power of the Necronomicon to once again bring the manifest power of the Chaos Queen into the mortal realm and fulfill the ancient prophecy of Maglas. The focus of the Church however was primarily centred on Unther and the surrounding regions, and it was very much against tampering with the Necronomicon.
And so it was that the cultists set out on the first leg of their long journey. While off the coast of Turmish it came to pass that Captain Grusk gathered the crew and announced that there was a traitor on board, offering him the chance to step forward like a man. And so it was that the crewman known as Valdrayn came forward to fearlessly curse the cult for it's intentions, proclaiming that, Lathander willing, word of their plans would soon reach a group of Harpers and Lathanderites in Cormyr. And no sooner had he spoken thusly than the ill-fated spy succumbed to the poison he had consumed but moments ago. Nevertheless, his corpse was brought below deck and interrogated by Bry'th, following which it was thrown overboard.
Leaving the Waverider behind in Arrabar, the troop of cultists eventually came to rest in Torsch, where, during their short stay, Hector caught a young boy of some 12 winters rummaging through his room at a local inn. When the lad failed to either flee or fight his way out of the room, he fell to his knees and begged the westerner not to report him to the authorities, that he would even become the mages slave if he showed mercy. This suited Hector well as he knew that before long autumn would be upon him and he would need to make an obligatory blood sacrifice to the Nameless Fiend and/or the mysterious elder powers it served. Thus did the dusky skinned lad, Hashu, become Hector's boy-servant.
Arriving at the city-state of Hardcastle, the troop did not linger long before hiring a couple of guides, from amongst the few, mostly outcast, Shaarites that could be found in the city, and then struck out for the Ruins of the Lost.
Though their journey was not uneventful, the cultists at last arrived in the vicinity of the crumbled ruin, where they set up a base camp. After a day of rest, Hector led Drexle, Bry'th, Glistra, Krelshaw, and a trio of cult warriors into the ruin, leaving the guides, a couple of warriors and Hashu behind to guard the camp.
And so, after dispatching the displacer beasts that still occupied the surface ruin, Hector retrieved the skull of Hrek, and then the troop penetrated down into the lair of the Nameless Fiend. As the last of them strode into the entry hall however, the great door slammed shut behind them and the shadowy Nameless Fiend appeared opposite them. It remained silent as Drexle demanded the Necronomicon in the name of Tiamat and her offspring Sammaster, and when the elderly mage at last finished it silently blasted him with magical energy. And so the battle was joined. And it raged ferociously until Krelshaw at last charged forward and split the Fiends shadowy skull. Far from killing it however, the Fiend merely broke apart into some dozen or so 1 foot tall figures in hooded robes. As these things recommenced the attack, their hoods fell back revealing each to be the spitting image of Hector.
While all of the lesser warriors fell in this battle, and all of the greater combatants bore their own share of wounds and pains, they at last prevailed over the Fiend and won entry in it's lair. The Necronomicon was quickly located and easily taken out of the ruin by Drexle and Glistra, while Bry'th, Hector, and Krelshaw continued to search the lair for the contract for Hector's soul. At last breaking into the scroll room, the Wheloonian quickly found the scroll from amidst a veritable sea of scrolls. No sooner had he found it however, then a telltale chill fell over the room, and a shadowy being in a flowing cloak appeared. Bry'th was overcome by supernatural fear and immediately fled at the sight of the Fiend, while Krelshaw and Hector stood paralysed with fear. The Nameless Fiend reminded Hector of the altar he must eventually build, of the sacrifices he must soon yield up to the Elder Ones, and then chided him for violating the sanctity of the scroll room, which the young mage well knew was off limits. The penalty for such a violation was suffering beyond reckoning, and yet the Fiend chose to spare Hector. Instead, since the Laws of the Elder Ones clearly demanded that someone must suffer, the Fiend turned to Krelshaw and conjured forth numerous hooked chains that tore into various points of the dark warriors massive frame, lifting him off his feet, and setting him to screaming anguish. Such were the brutes screeches of agony that Hector could scarcely believe that such sounds could come from a human throat ... let alone from so imposing a man as Krelshaw. And so the selfish young mage dropped the contract and fled, damned, from the ruin.
Back on the surface, the others sat pale of face as they marvelled at the shrieks of agony that arose from the depths of the ruin and echoed across the vast lonely grasslands. Following a grim night that seemed like it would never end, Drexle took the Necronomicon and began to teleport the core members of the cult, along with the young Hashu, back to Arrabar, where they were met by Captain Grusk and the Waverider.
The cultist spent a longer time in Arrabar than Hector would have either expected or preferred, for magic and it's use had long been frowned upon in the fractured land of Chondath. Nevertheless, Hector had been well rewarded by a very pleased Drexle for his service to the cult, and he came to pass much of his time teaching the urchin Hashu the common tongue of the west, as well as how to read and write. Despite himself, the intelligent youth began to grow upon him.
And so it was that, with fall growing near, Hector found himself an additional boy-servant to take along with them on the journey back to Sembia. And no sooner had the Waverider left the port of Arrabar, then Hector had it drop anchor while he rowed out to a small, barren rock with this new lad and Hashu. There, with young, impressionable Hashu as a witness to the fell act, Hector brained the new lad and then spilled his blood over the small cairn of rocks they had built.
Making their way back to the ship, the journey continued until, off the coast off the rocky coast of Turmish, the Waverider was intercepted by another ship carrying Arellius of Lathander, the Harper witch Sharanthra, and indeed an entire crew of do-gooders. Their leader, the Morninglord Cuthbert of Marsember, demanded the immediate and unconditional surrender of the Waverider, it's crew and cargo, and was thus lightning bolted by Drexle. Thus did the battle begin. And it raged for a goodly time, with Hector slaying Sharanthra, and in the end, the magical might of the cultists proved to be greater than the forces of goodness had anticipated. Luckily for them, the evildoers did not press their advantage, but chose instead to breakaway and flee, leaving them to contend with the fires raging aboard their own vessel.
Eventually, the Waverider put into port at Yhaunn and the cultists began to make their way back to Ordulin. By this time, hearts and tongues began to loosen, and many questions were asked of Hector regarding the Nameless Fiend, his contract and obligations with it, the powers it claimed to serve, and the damned mage answered to the best of his ability. In the end however, Bry'th brought an end to it all with an "encouraging" speech about the supremacy of Tiamat.
Upon his return to the Hub, Hector bought and furnished a home with his new found wealth, and had both Hashu and the wench Jezebel move in with him. She did not take to the lad as Hector had hoped, but he quickly put both of them in their place before beginning his studies under Drexle.
The content of And Dragons Shall Rule is the property and copyright of Jamey Martin, and is not to be published or redistributed without permission.
Return to the 'And Dragons Shall Rule' main page
Return to Campaign Logs