By Jamey Martin
The Horrors of Hap
And so it was that the trio at last arrove in Hap, where Corwin quickly set to cleaning the smear to Tyros' name that he and the others had left during their last time through. While the new War Watcher, Kaylor Vilnus, thought Tyros' actions were severe enough to bring before the War Chancellor himself, the opinion of Silas and the townsfolk ultimately swayed him to let the matter rest.
With that taken care of, the lot of them retired to the Millery Inn where Silas related all that had transpired over the past 3 or so years ... for they had hardly been uneventful, as seems to be Hap's curse.
No sooner had Tyros passed through, back in 1369, than the dead began to rise from their graves. Thanks to a group of meddling kids however -- including Dawnpriest Handyllan, Yohann the Tyros-trained-warrior, Silas's wizardress daughter Sillania, the fighting brothers Jed and Jethro, as well as a couple of others -- the undead plague was tracked to a couple of local eccentrics and brought to an end. They had been engaged in some form of demon worship, and it was discovered that the symbols they wore were also found in a cavern system beneath Haptooth Hill ... where a great drawbridge spanned a great crevice to what appeared to be a great set of stone double doors carved with the symbol. As it turned out however, these double doors were no doors at all, but merely images of doors carved into the surrounding rock. Some folk whispered that Hector had brought this evil to Hap.
With the dead buried and staying that way once more, the local heroes heard of Fengle's Freehold, and travelled down there for a time. Upon their return however, it so happened that a band of grim and evil folk rode into the hamlet, led by a man calling himself Bry'th of Tiamat. He questioned into the fate of Drexle and his library, and when the folk told him little, he led his fellows up to Haptooth.
In the meantime, the Hapsters organized a party and went to confront that Cultists at Haptooth Hill. Needless to say perhaps, a pitched battle was fought, and a number of Hapsters were slain. When the survivors at last made it back to Hap, later that night, they told War Watcher Elphron of their fate, and that the CoT was hot on their heels. With the best warriors of the hamlet already dead or severely wounded, Elphron ordered riders to make for Essembra and the Abbey of the Sword, while he surrendered the remained of his force.
This turned out to be a grave error however, as the men were bound and crammed into the local jail, while the women were beaten and/or raped, and the cultists had the run of the town. When Yohann's father heard his wife's shrieks, amidst the chorus of others, he kicked up a fuss, and was poked with a spear for his troubles. He was dead by morning.
Come morning, the shrieks and cries had ceased, and the hamlet lay still. A couple of younger boys eventually snuck into the "jailhouse" and released the men, who sooner discovered the extent to which the hamlet and the woman folk had been abused. It was not pretty. But of it all the fate of Lathander's Openhand was perhaps the most horrific, for not only had it been vandalized and Mumfrey knocked senseless upon it's floor, but a dead boy lay beside him, while Cathalandra's corpse laid naked and violated upon the altar, and the Blood of Lathander was nowhere to be found.
A band of able bodied men, including Yohann, Handyllan, and Elphron, soon set out in pursuit of the dark riders, and found the Blood of Lathander soon enough, laying near a scorched pouch near the trails edge. It was returned to Hap, but the evildoers made good their escape. Moreover, while the Blood of Lathander healed and restored life to a number of the wounded and fallen, some were not so "fortunate" ... the Dawnpriestess Cathalandra amongst them.
Word of these events were sent to the Dawn Tower in Ordulin soon after, and they resolved to have the Blood of Lathander carried to Ordulin for it's own protection. Thus, a troop of Dawnwarriors and Lathanderite warriors (paladin vs. regular warrior that is nevertheless a staunch Lathanderite) were sent to the hamlet to collect the Blood. While en route, and for the duration of their stay however, a number of the Lathanderites had visions and received other omens that discouraged this course of action.
And so it was that this troop departed, only for a dozen to return late in the year, led by the Dawnlord Dorian Glimmerling. He submitted his service and that of his band to the wisdom of Dawnpriest Mumfrey and the protection of the Blood of Lathander.
Over the course of the winter, it once again came to pass that the folk of Hap were plagued by night-terrors, from which some folk woke up dead. In some cases, they woke up undead, as the dead began to walk once more. The Lathanderites were quick to take up arms against this evil, fighting back the undead and penetrating Haptooth Hill, where they found that the stone facade of double doors had opened to reveal a gate into another world, a dark and nightmarish world. Moreover, they learned that a self-styled "Witch-Queen" was at the heart of the recent troubles, and that this Witch-Queen was none other than Delleah.
And so a great battle was fought beneath Haptooth Hill which eventually drew in the Nameless Fiend, and culminated in Dorian sacrificing himself in order to free Delleah from the Fiend's hold and drive it back through the gate.
Thus was Delleah at last returned to Hap. And yet, she was not as she was before, and hardly did more than sit and stare off into some unseen distance. Beyond Dorian himself, Elphron had also fallen in the battle, and Dawnpriest Mumfrey as well. And so it was that Handyllan assumed the steward of the shrine, with the full support of the remaining Dawnwarriors, while the Kaylor was made the new War Watcher of Hap by summer of 70'.
As Melvarin heard these tales, what various folk had to say of this girl Delleah, and of what lay beyond the gate beneath Haptooth Hill, he began to realize that this Delleah was the same as the girl from his dreams....
Having recognized Delleah as the girl from his dreams, Melvarin related his dream to the gathered company. According to Dawnpriest Handyllan, what the Iriaebian saw must have been a part of Delleah's soul, perhaps her innocence and clearly, it was still trapped within the realm of the Fiend. Thus, why that part of her that was in Hap did little other than sit and stare.
And so it was that Melvarin, Tyros, and Corwin joined forces with a trio of Dawnwarriors, and passed through the gate beneath Haptooth Hill. The warrior from Iriaebor led the way, navigating the maze as though he had made the journey on a number of occasions, and despite some resistance from both the demonic and the damned, the band at last penetrated to the twisted castles dungeon and located Delleah in the torture chamber. To their surprise, they also found the Dawnpriestess Salleece.
Freeing the lasses, the band began to fight their way out of the dungeon and most certainly would have perished if Salleece had not guided them to a room filled with numerous dimensional portals, each standing open and revealing a variety of differing locales. Defeating the chamber guardians, the band frantically searched for a portal leading to Hap. In the process, Tyros stumbled upon a portal leading to a dungeon cell, in which huddled the whimpering form of Hector Sirus.
After a portal to Hap was at last found, Tyros told Corwin that, for some idiotic reason that he could not quite fathom, he intended to pass through the other portal and attempt a rescue of Hector. And so it was that Corwin wished his friend luck and bid him farewell.
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