Kevin Vastavel & Cathy Naulaerts
Chapter 1 - The Prophecy of Jergal
5 Ches 1372DR
It was on this dark day that Grace Faylne arrived in the picturesque city of Everlund. Everlund - a beautiful, walled city who’s buildings are constructed mainly of stone and timber, showing clear influence of both elf and dwarf architectural. Buildings are arranged in discrete sections separated by beautiful gardens, trees, bowers, hedges and flowerbeds. It is clear that, despite everything, the city remained one with nature. That dream, a few days ago, had terrified Grace very much. When a nice inhabitant told her that an inn had burned down, she hurried to Randolph’s (the sheriff) office to get all information there was about the matter.
The atmosphere in the waiting room was very tense. Except for Grace there were 4 other people in the small room. A gnomish girl was filing her nails. A bald, tattooed elf was looking at the door, waiting impatiently for the sheriff to arrive. A second elf was leaning back in his chair and yawning. And at the other end of the room a dingy, shaggy dwarf was staring aimlessly. After a while they were all called into the office by Grak, the sheriff’s deputy, a very stupid half Orc. Apparently he had misunderstood Randolph’s orders and instead of letting everyone in separately, he had let in the entire group. A bit annoyed by Grak’s stupidity, the Sheriff invited everyone to sit down while taking a sip of his glass of red wine.
Grace told the sheriff that she was looking for her fiancé, Dorn, and that she suspected that he was present at the inn “The Bear” the night it burned down. The sheriff confirmed that people had lost their lives in the fire and that some of the bodies had not been identified yet. He gave her the address of Malark, the undertaker, who was storing the bodies, and suggested she went there to see if Dorn’s body was there. The little gnome was called Emnarii Nickelbick. She had been living in Everlund for quite some time now and performed in the local inns. She told the sheriff that she had seen a suspicious individual near “The Bear” just before the fire started. Unfortunately, she could not give a proper description of this individual because he was hooded. At that moment the dwarf banged his fist on the table. “It’s all good and well what you have seen, but I am looking for my friend Turikborsjt who has been missing now for many days. This is far more important than what you have seen on the night of the fire, which I think was an accident after all” The sheriff tried to calm the dwarf, called Guormundr, down, but it took him quite some time.
The bald elf with a little, silver tail at the back of his head, Iskar, wanted to know if Randolph had more information about Bassus, the son of his friends. He had been missing for 5 days now. Unfortunately, Randolph had made no progress in the case of the missing people. The second elf, Evaryan Silmarel, listened very carefully to what Iskar and Guormundr had to say. For some reason he was also interested in the case of the missing people, but he didn’t want to say why. It soon became very clear that the sheriff, with all his good intentions, could not handle the case. He seemed to be more occupied with the fact that the treants, commanded by Turlang, came closer to town. This fact worried the sheriff and that’s why he asked the five of them to look into the case. He would pay them 5 silver pieces a day and if they solved the case they would receive 10 silver pieces as a bonus. They all agreed with this arrangement and by using her charms, Grace managed to persuade the others to go and have a look at the remains of the burnt down tavern first. Guormundr was the only one who didn’t agree but, although moaning and complaining, he went with them anyway. Grak escorted them to the tavern but oddly enough it did not look like it had burnt down. After concentrating for a while (Guormundr needed a very long while) they could see through the illusion that was cast on the remains of the inn. Grak told them that mages had cast this illusion so that the remains would not disturb the view.
Once inside the slum, it became very clear that it was not as safe as they thought. Evaryan was a bit too enthusiastic and fell through the wooden floor. He ended up in the basement. Guormundr almost fell with him but could avoid falling down by jumping away. Fortunately for Evaryan, his fall was broken by some old bags. He did get a very nasty cut on his upper thigh but Iskar could easily heal it. The party found their first clue in this basement. There was a strange mark on the wall and underneath someone wrote: Realize that the cycles of life are mirrored by the cycles of fate: Be prepared to pay the price or reap the reward for the actions of your past or your future”. The party did not know the meaning of the mark or the text, so they went outside as soon as Emnarii copied everything on a piece of paper. Once outside, Iskar spoke to a local tree but the only thing it could say was that a hooded man with a big nose passed by on the night of the fire. Guormundr just laughed when he saw Iskar speak to a tree, not realising that the man was one of Sylvanus' druids.
fter this unusual conversation they all went to see Malark, the undertaker. They found him in the local temple, dedicated to Kelemvor, the god of the dead. Malark was an elderly, skinny man with white hair and a big white moustache. He had a very serene and calm expression on his face and when you spoke to him his voice inspired confidence. Malark and Father Drake (the head Priest of Kelemvor) accompanied the party to the morgue where 2 unknown bodies were kept. They were let in by the 2 men and there he was, Grace's beloved Dorn. Although his face was heavily burnt, Grace could still recognize his handsome face. Malark wanted to know what she wanted to do with the body and she decided to have him cremated. Then she would take some of his ashes with her and bring it home. He deserved to be brought home.
That night, Evaryan and Guormundr paid a visit to Cornelius the rat catcher. He was a very ill-mannered and filthy man who spent most of his days in the sewers of Everlund. Turikborsjt, Guormundr’s friend had just started working for Cornelius only a few days before he disappeared. Guormundr knew that Turikborsjt had disappeared on his way home from work so he decided to get some info from Cornelius. They didn't have much luck though because the man was very reluctant to say anything. He only said that Turikborsjt had left his house and went to the 'Rusty Axe"; a local tavern for dwarves. In the mean time, Iskar went to a temple dedicated to Mielikki to show the priests the strange mark, but they could not explain what it meant. Grace ... well she stayed in her room in the inn. She grieved about her fiancées death. The next morning everyone decided to go his own way. Guormundr thought it had to be a good plan to gather information in the local pubs and inns. But except the bottom of several jugs of beer, he did not find anything. Still he had a very awkward encounter when walking back to his friends. He saw a strange man walking across the Bell Market; he was chastising himself and rambling about some old, apocalyptic prophecy. Something about 4 ways of dying that would make up a fifth way ... and something about the 4 elements reuniting to reveal the power of the 5th death. Poor Guormundr, he couldn't make head or tail. Evaryan who was staying in “Lost Glory”, decided to question Rasputin, the gnomish owner of the inn. There were rumors that the innkeeper could not be trusted. People said that he allowed gambling and that he is a big man in the world of prostitution. Could he have something to do with this mysterious fire? After all his business was not running like it should. Evaryan decided to question Rasputin as subtle as he could ... it cost him 3 gold pieces … and all he got were a few names of missing people. A very expensive price for very little information.
Iskar went back to Kelemvor's temple. After a long and philosophic conversation he found out that the mark on the wall was a symbol for Jergal, one of the previous gods of death who is currently serving as seneschal for Kelemvor. With his well trained eyes, he also noticed a loose tile. He suspected that it could be pushed down to reveal the entrance to a hidden room. Could this be Jergal's old temple the priest was speaking about? He decided not to say anything for the moment. Father Drake also mentioned that there was an old, demented priest who was devoted to Jergal. Maybe Iskar could come back in the evening and they could all go to see the man. Grace and the gnome Emnarrii had the most luck. In the local library they looked through all the books about religion. They found the mysterious mark in a chapter about Jergal. In a book they read how Jergal became fed up with being a god of death and gave his portfolio to 3 mortals. These mortals were Bhaal, Bane and Myrkul. Myrkul inherited the portfolio of death. During the Times of troubles, Myrkul died and Cyric, a mortal from Zhentil Keep, became the new god of death and although Jergal disliked his new master he stayed at his side to help him. After a while Cyric lost his portfolio to Kelemvor Lyonsbane. And again Jergal remained loyal to the new god of death. Grace and Emnarii realized they were on to something.
That evening, when the merchants were closing up their shops, the five of them gathered on the Bell Market to discuss everything. Grace realized afterwards that this was not the best choice, because anyone who wanted to eavesdrop could do so without being noticed. They were still there when Cornelius, the rat catcher, found them. He suddenly became very interested in the search for Turikborsjt. Cornelius gave them more insight about what had happened on the day Turikborsjt disappeared. It was also very clear that Cornelius hated rats. He kept going on and on about the plague that had infested the city a few hundred years ago. The house where the first case of the Black Death was found still existed. A black cross was painted on the front door, a constant reminder, and warning for the disease. Very late that evening the party returned to Father Drake, so they could visit the demented friar Septus. The man, all skin and bones, with hollow cheeks and small eyes was bedridden and was rambling. He told them that there are 4 known ways to die: “old age, disease, accident and violence. But it was said there was a 5th way: oblivion. Septus tried to explain what it was but the others could not make sense of what he was saying. So Iskar decided to trust father Drake. He asked for permission to investigate the hidden room under the temple which he believed was the old temple of Jergal. Father Drake was a bit reluctant but they managed to persuade the old man. He promised them they could return the next evening. In the mean time it had become rather late so the party decided to go back to their accommodation. Evaryan went back to his room in the “Lost Glory” and found a threatening letter under his door. It said he could better stay out of other peoples business.
The next morning, after a well-deserved night's rest, the party met again on the Bell's Market. While they were making their way through the different stalls, they ran into the odd man that Guormundr met the day before, the weird doomsday prophet. He didn't give much new information but kept going on and on about some disaster that was approaching rapidly. Elements that, once together, would create oblivion and something about an old prophecy made by a priest of Jergal. He also said something about an old house where the second death had struck many years ago. The party couldn’t help but wonder if he spoke about the small house where the first case of the plague was discovered, so many generations ago. They tried to find out more but it was no use. The man was just completely daft.
Once they arrived in the Sheriff’s office they informed him about their progress. Randolph was impressed but unfortunately he had no new facts to add. Guormundr suddenly remembered the old rambling man and what he was saying about the old house with the black cross, and he asked permission to enter it. Permission was granted. Once inside the old shack it became clear it was entirely empty. Iskar managed to find a hidden hatch in the basement that appeared to lead to an underground space. With all their strength the party managed to break open the hatch to reveal a secret passage to the sewers. The scent drifting to their noses was repulsive. At this moment Grace started screaming as just below them they could see the remains of about 6 people. Iskar quickly investigated the remains and could tell they had been lying in the water for about 10 days. The cause of death was clear … they had been drowned. Iskar could still smell a strange scent coming from the victim’s mouths. It was the scent of the perfumed holy water of Kelemvor. The greater part of the party suspected that they could find an entrance to the old Temple of Jergal by following the sewers and after a quick consultation they decided to explore the sewer system. Making their way through the dirty and smelly corridors they ran into a pack of gigantic rats. The battle was tough and everyone but especially Guormundr suffered many injuries. Fortunately Iskar had plenty of healing spells ready. Something the party appreciated a lot as the thought of disease and infections kept going to everyone’s minds.
After the encounter the group decided to leave the sewers and inform the sheriff about the bodies they had found. Undertaker Malark, Grak, some city guards and also some priests of Kelemvor came to pick up the bodies. And once the formalities were done the party decided to go back to their rooms to take a refreshing bath. Guormundr could not even wait to get to his room and just jumped in the Rauvin River that runs through the city. Of course this caught the attention of many town-dwellers who watched the dwarf taking his cold bath with amusement. And although the water was freezing cold Guormundr bathed for another 20 minutes. After taking a hot bath Iskar went to the Sheriff’s office to get a list of all the missing persons. At sundown the party decided to go back to Kelemvor’s temple and after getting permission from Father Drake Iskar removed the loose tile to reveal a secret passage to an ancient temple. When investigating the room, they found piece of parchment with “Jergal’s prophecy” (see appendix 1) written on it. On the altar they found a ring with the symbol of the god Cyric on it. “How did this end up here? How can a ring, of someone who only became a god a few years ago, end up here, in an ancient temple dedicated to Jergal?” This was going through Grace’s mind when she put the ring away, her hands trembling. They spoke to Father Drake about it but he also could not explain why the ring was there. Fortunately he was able to provide a list of people who knew about the entrance. In the meantime the party would seal the entrance again but only after they spread some sand just inside the entrance. That way the footmarks of anyone who entered the secret temple would become visible. Emnarii, who had been trying to train a spider, left the little creature in the room. Iskar would than be able to speak to the animal when they came back.
By the time they left the temple it was dark outside. When on the way to their lodging they suddenly heard a woman scream. Without thinking Guormundr pulled his “spiked chain” and charged into the narrow alley where the sound was loudest. He saw a young, blonde woman lying on the ground with a tall man standing over her … ready to dishonor her body. Iskar cast a “light” spell on the post behind the man hoping to confuse him.
At the same time about 5 heavily armed men charged from the surrounding houses and attacked the party. Emnarii fell immediately when one of the attackers hit her on the head with the flat side of his short sword. A sniper fired upon them with arrows but they could not see where he was hiding. Only when the “lady in distress” ran to Iskar for help it became clear that the party was ambushed. Because once Iskar had caught her in his arms, she stabbed him with her dagger. Without making a sound the druid sunk down.
Guormundr, who was raging like a barbarian finished the woman off immediately. In the mean time Grace was trying to get rid of the attackers by using her magic abilities, while Evaryan was trying to protect her. And although a few attackers were already eliminated, the party still had a rough time. At a certain moment Evaryan heard one of the attackers wonder why Rasputin had not warned them about the party being so tough. At that moment the city guard finally arrived and the remaining villains took to their heels. The city guard could catch all of them except the sniper. One of the villains was found asleep because of Grace’s well aimed sleep spell. Guormundr, who got out of his rage had apparently used too much of his power and he felt consciousness. Only Grace and Evaryan were still standing and were only just in time to administer first aid to their comrades. Once this was done, they asked the city guards to bring their wounded friends to Kelemvor’s temple. In the meantime they would question one of their attackers. They spoke to the least wounded villain and found out that Rasputin had offered a big reward to the ones who could finish the party off. After the interrogation the city guard cleared the alley and prepared to bring their prisoners to the city jail. Grace also asked the guards to tail Rasputin and keep them updated about his whereabouts. Then they went to the temple, to join their wounded friends. The investigation was put on hold, until everyone had healed.
It was the 9th of Ches when everyone had healed enough to continue the investigation. The first thing they checked was the secret passage to the hidden temple. It seemed as if no one had been there because the sand was still undisturbed. Unfortunately Emnarii’s spider was missing. A few minutes later Malark entered with some important news. He found out that Rasputin had bought a large supply of Holy Water, with the intention to bless his inn, and although it seemed a strange thing to do, Malark had not asked any questions. The party was very happy with the news so they decided to pay the innkeeper a little visit after the pub was closed. Emnarii suggested she would try to seduce the gnome and try to get more info that way. After a copious meal of wild boar flambé with mushrooms they took off to Rasputin’s inn. While Emnarii entered, her companions took cover. If anything went wrong they were ready to intervene. But Emnarii’s plan failed. Rasputin could not keep his hands to himself and soon Emnarii had to scream for help. Guormundr who heard her scream first crashed through the door. Rasputin tried to run away but Grace had already caught him with a sleep spell. Evaryan and the dwarf tied him up and woke him up with a few well placed slaps on the face. To everyone’s astonishment the innkeeper started to cry. He kept saying he had nothing to do with the case. The moment they said he was hiring the murderers he had been working in his inn. He would never harm anyone and swore he had never instructed anyone to do this.
The party decided to call for the city guard and have Rasputin locked up. They didn’t want to leave the inn unattended so they waited for Rasputin’s helper, a young man called Yarne. He would take care of the inn. While they were waiting they searched the inn thoroughly. At the top floor there were only bedrooms and when you listened to the sounds coming from behind the doors you could tell there were not many people sleeping. The party decided not to disturb the prostitutes and their clients. Emnarii found a quiet room and could not control her curiosity. She tried to break into the locked room but while she was doing that Evaryan snarled that there was nothing to see in that room. It appeared to be his room and he did not stand curious people in there. Iskar and Guormundr discovered a special room for those who preferred the more rough work. They were not able to find anything else in the building. When Yarne arrived he confirmed Rasputin’s story. The night of the assault he had been working as normal. Yarne also told Iskar that he had known his missing friend, Bassus, very well and that he often went to a nearby old battlefield to reflect on things. Many doubts and questions raised in the adventurers heads. Hopefully a good night’s rest would help.
The next morning the party gathered at the Sheriff’s office. He led them to the cellblock where Rasputin was held. Before they entered one of the guards told them that they had used a truth spell on all the prisoners and both the assassin and Rasputin were telling the truth. Guormundr was totally confused now. He just stood there, scratching his scalp.
When the party questioned Rasputin and the assassin they both stuck to their story. Rasputin kept denying that he had anything to do with the assault and the assassin kept saying Rasputin was the one who gave the assignment. The party also found out that the sniper’s name was Alex and that he had probably left the city because he failed his mission.
Back outside they met the old rambling man again. He was preaching to about 10 people about disaster approaching. That moment the sky went dark. People could hear fluttering everywhere. Something was approaching fast. People panicked and ran away and then all hell broke loose. Hundreds of black ravens attacked the old man. He screamed, kicked and struck out left and right but the birds did not mind him and continued attacking him. One of them succeeded in removing one of the poor man’s eyes and although they tried, all help came too late. The man died in Evaryan's arms. Once the man was dead the birds left and flew away. Soon it looked as if nothing ever happened and the party remained alone with the body of a dead man. About half an hour after the mysterious attack they ran into Cornelius. He told them he had seen something horrible in the sewers and was afraid to go any further. He asked them to come with him. They agreed and followed the man into the pipes and after a long walk through many corridors they finally saw a hole in one of the walls.
Emnarii looked first and all she could see were some strange devices. Devices you would find in a torture chamber. In the middle of the room she could see a puddle and next to it a table with some clothes on top. Just when they were about to enter Cornelius moved backwards and pressed a hidden stone. A heavy gate fell down locking up everyone but Guormundr. The rat-catcher tried to run but the dwarf chased him and with little effort he managed to overpower him. Cornelius just managed to say he was told to do this by “The master” before he was knocked unconscious by the angry dwarf. Guormundr carried the rat-catcher back to his friends. Fortunately he was able to free his friends by breaking down the fence and the surrounding wall rather quickly. Once inside the torture chamber they were attacked by the puddle. It appeared to be some sort of slimy stuff. Guormundr, who was still holding the rat-catcher put a step backwards and threw the rat catcher in the puddle. Horrified the party saw the man dissolve slowly. Fortunately for them they were able to destroy the puddle rather easy. They quickly searched the rest of the room and the clothes but were not able to find any clues. Then they hurried back to the surface, which they could easily find thanks to Iskar. They didn’t even see any rats on the way up.
After some refreshments the party went to the sheriff for an update. He was really interested in their stories. Once he heard them refer to the old battlefield next to the city he told them about a few children who had found some disturbed ground there. Maybe this had something to do with the investigation. The party decided to go to the battlefield the next day. They would spend the night in the rat-catcher’s house and hope “The master” would come round. The next morning nothing had happened and the friends decided to split up. Iskar, Grace and Emnarii would go to the Kelemvor temple while Guormundr and Evaryan would stay in the house in case “The Master” would show up. When the city guards came to the house to seal it, Evaryan persuaded them to hold it of for another day. Once Iskar, Grace and Emnarii arrived in the temple they decided to check the entrance to the hidden room. But again the sand was untouched. At that moment Iskar suggested they would spend the following night in the room. Emnarii and Grace thought this was a good idea. In the meantime the 3 adventurers decided to have a look at the old battlefield and the disturbed soil.
They started digging and soon they found more bodies that were buried there not so long ago. One of them was Bassus, Iskar’s missing friend. Emnarii started screaming when she saw 1 of the bodies get up. The creature looked at her with an empty gaze. It hit the little gnome with all its strength and floored her. Iskar immediately attacked with his scimitar while Grace started casting every spell she could think of. Several times they managed to knock out the creature but it always got up again. Then, suddenly, Grace realized that the creature could only be hurt by magic. She shouted to Iskar that he had to use magic to harm the creature and indeed, by using magic they managed to kill the creature once and for all. Iskar was really drained after the last fight and not able to heal Emnarii so they took her back to the city into the Evergreen hall of Mielikki. Grace and Iskar agreed that Kelemvor’s temple had become too dangerous for their little friend.
While Iskar went to tell Bassus’ parents the sad news Grace went to pick up Evaryan and Guormundr. The duo was still waiting at the house and had not seen anything out of the ordinary. Evaryan insisted on staying in the house so only Guormundr and Grace returned to the temple where they met Iskar. They allowed the priests to lock them in the secret room and after receiving a few torched the door were closed. The only light they had was coming from the torches and the room looked very spooky because of it. To make the time go faster Iskar and Grace installed themselves on one of the benches and tried to sleep. Guormundr decided to guard the others, just in case. Hours had gone by when Guormundr heard a sound in the front of the temple. He woke up Grace and Iskar and together they hid behind some benches. To their big surprise a part of the wall slid aside and someone entered the room. When the person came closer they could see it was a chained dwarf. Guormundr recognized him; it was his best friend Turikborsjt. He was about to run to his friend to free him when he saw someone else enter the room. This man wore a purple cloak and his face was hidden under a cap.
Guormundr roared and stormed forwards. But the mysterious man grabbed Turikborsjt and held a dagger against his throat. He told the 3 heroes to surrender or he would kill the dwarf. Grace thought the voice of the man sounded very familiar but she could not remember where she had heard it before. When the man removed his cap Guormundr could only stare at him. The mysterious man was Malark, the undertaker. With a satisfied look on his face he told the heroes that he was a follower of Cyric and that he was here to complete the last ritual of Oblivion. Convinced that he had already won he continued his story. He had prepared all the murders very meticulously. The fire at the inn, the bodies on the battlefield, the bodies in the sewers below the plague house, the old man pecked to death by the ravens, it was all his work. He beamed when he told the 3 heroes how he had changed his appearance into Rasputin’s to give the assassins their assignment. Malark was convinced he was unleashing immense powers once he had completed the last ritual. Powers he would master so he could gather power and get respect and favors from Cyric himself.
It soon became clear that Malark was going to finish his ritual and when he put Turikborsjt on the altar a little silver orb shot out of Grace’s hand. Malark, who was just about to stab Turikborsjt with his knife, was hit in the chest and dropped the knife, while screaming of pain. He only just missed Turikborsjt’s throat. This was the sign for Guormundr to attack, he roared loud and charged with his spiked chain ready. He managed to hit Malark and the priest realized he had no chance. With a simple flick of his hand he became invisible. Guormundr just kept swinging the chain hoping he would catch the culprit but it was no use. Fortunately Grace was able to see his footprints in the sand in front of the door and while Iskar tried to heal Turikborsjt the Aasimar and the dwarf started chasing the priest. They followed him through the hole in the wall and ended up in the sewers and a few feet away they could see another body on the ground. It was Hassan Ibn Motktar, the Calashite priest of Kelemvor.
Guormundr, who still wanted to take revenge for his wounded friend, ignored the man and ran further down the sewers, not knowing where he had gone to. Grace on the other hand tried to help the poor priest. The man grabbed her arm and begged her to help him. Although Grace wanted to help she tried to explain she did not have time and that Iskar was near and he could go to him for healing.
Hassan did not want to let go and suddenly his appearance changed. It was Malark who had done his shape shifting trick again. He hit Grace on the head and she fell on the floor. Unconscious. As soon as she fell, Malark started running in the opposite direction. Fortunately Guormundr had heard what had happened and he turned around. He wanted to chase Malark but did not want to leave his friend while she was not able to defend herself. He thought about it but decided to stay with Grace. He could hear Malark running and shout that he would take revenge. The evil priest was furious because the adventurers had managed to stop him from executing his plan. All his work was wasted.
When Grace regained consciousness he was long gone. They returned to the temple and decided to go to Emnarii, Evaryan, the sheriff and Grak and tell them about what happened. Although Malark was still running free, the sheriff paid everyone in the party 7 gold pieces and 5 silver pieces. Rasputin was released from prison and Turikborsjt told them the story about how he was captured. Apparently he had followed the rat-catcher into the sewers to exterminate the gigantic rats. At a certain moment he had discovered some bodies and he informed Cornelius about it. They decided to go to the sheriff and on the way out Cornelius had offered him a drink. The dwarf accepted the drink without realizing it was mixed with a sleeping potion. When he woke up he found himself tied up in some torture chamber. When all formalities were done the party took Turikborsjt to Rasputin’s inn to celebrate the end of this adventure. Rasputin, who was really happy about his name being cleared, offered them a free month in his inn. An offer they all gladly accepted, except Emnarii who decided to stay in another inn. Iskar, who was still really upset about the recent events decided to leave the city and go to the woods to meditate.
(See Appendix 1)
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