The dwarf watched as the town of Queenia celebrated the capture of Elias Fenton and the exposure of those allied with the Cult of the Omniscient Serpent. Through cheerful dancing and festivities, the citizens discarded the gripping apprehension that had shrouded the town on account of the disappearances occurring during the previous weeks. The somber dwarf from the party responsible for the cult leader’s capture sat as a witness to the revelry as he slowly sipped his latest mug of the keg of Elven Stout he had claimed as his own. He was dressed in immaculate festival clothing with a pressed, crimson shirt and some fine black trousers held up by a fine, black brushed leather belt. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail, appearing freshly washed and his beard appeared recently trimmed. An attractive elven lass twirled away from her lively dance with Aragon, the party’s rugged warrior. Her curly golden hair bouncing playfully as she plopped down exhaustedly at the dwarf’s table (on which not a scrap of out-of-place food or spill of drink was present).
Laughing merrily, she shared with the dwarf as she continued tracking Aragon’s movements, “I can scarce keep up with your companion! Despite his size; he is light on his feet. Were his race not apparent, I would argue he were part elf.” She turned her lithe form away from the merriment and leaned over the table to address the dwarf, her chin resting on both her hands and elbows firmly set on the table in front of her. Her tipsiness was evident as he noticed her eyes struggling to focus, but her speech was clear as she inquired demurely, “I wonder if his prowess in dance stems from his expertise in battle? And whether he applies similar…tactics in romance.”
Throwing a calculated glance at Aragon, the well-groomed dwarf replied evenly, “With respect to his skills in combat, I may opine. As to love, I defer to you that adventure of discovery.”
Seizing the opening, the maiden swiftly retorted, “The Emporer willing, friend dwarf, I shall; but tell me first of his—your party’s heroics in liberating Queenia of this dreadful cult and in the recounting I will find resolution to my first question and insight to the latter.”
“I am called Brolorn. Be at ease. I will share of our exploits in the graveyard.” The maiden beamed and while she flowed around the table join him, Brolorn refilled his mug of stout. “We had been commissioned by a Senator in Rwendia to investigate the strange occurrences in Queenia and arrived at dusk a few days past. We ventured to make contact with the Senator’s first investigator by nightfall, but found nothing save an empty manor and his detailed notes. Movement from the near woods drew our attention…”
A chill wrapped the land that night as the party tracked the footsteps of the figure who spied upon their movements. His heavy boot prints enabled them to continue tracking his progress despite the deep woods and the darkness that enveloped them. Guided by the dual skills of the dwarf’s dark vision and the doctor’s attention to detail, the group followed the trail along the outskirts of the slumbering town and to the edge of the river that feeds it. Here the path was unclear, excepting that voiced by the Emperor’s Champion who petitioned a search of the local graveyard. Caution won against the resolute elf and an inn was sought to provide an atmosphere to study the notes and rest before dawn.
The scrawled passages found on the worn paper confirmed the elf’s suspicions that within the graveyard the troubles remained veiled in secrecy. A locked, secret door and a tomb’s name were recorded along with a startling warning signed only by “a friend”. The remnants of blood and the agent’s last entry spoke volumes of his unfortunate fate. Clarity now guided the obvious path forward and the group retired.
As the sun rose, so did the party with purpose and vigor. They sought the most direct route from town to the cemetery and found turmoil pervasive within the community as guardsmen scurried around. Erring in wavering from their given mission, an inquiry led to a revelation of false accusation of murder and a warm dispute. Desiring not to harm the local citizens, but firm in their unwavering pursuit to reach Queenia’s burial grounds, the warriors bravely fled.
The grounds displayed notice of new management more recently granted to the deceitful villain, Elias Fenton, with warning of prosecution. Unheeded, they entered the gated community of the dead, sought out the prescribed tomb while enduring an unbearable lecture on the history of the nobles from the noble elf. The door located, the code deciphered, and the party stoic, they hazarded the unknown depths that lied disconcertingly beneath the mausoleum. The shortest member led, followed by tallest, who’s toned muscles remained firm as he gripped the haft of his weapon. Behind followed those with elven blood and the mysterious, cloaked, adept companion.
The former agent’s map guided their exploration of the catacombs leading them unerringly into room after room filled with undead or evidence of recent atrocities. Skeletons of long perished keepers rose up to challenge the group, and fell to the might and magic of the dwarf, the perplexing sorcery of the census officer, and the potent concoctions of the doctor. The brave warrior expertly danced with the undead, drawing their attention while he skillfully feinted with his large, dangerous axe. However, in the subsequent chambers, the invisible monstrosities spewing from despoiled altars proved overwhelming to the dwarf; causing him to inexplicably quit the melee and flee in terror. The light-footed human warrior followed his fleeing companion in concern and shortly the remaining comrades were regrouping at the entrance of the tunnels.
Studying the design of the passageways scrawled in the notes, a new route was agreed upon and more caution observed. Tables riddled with fresh massacre were discovered and the unholy combination of small animal remains animated to block the way forward, but this assault resulted in only a minor inconvenience. As they delved deeper, the desecrated wraith of the former groundskeeper sought to leach the strength from the valiant elf, and may have succeeded did the astute doctor not intercede; bathing the room, and some of his companions, in deadly liquids that finally banished the undead ghost. The remaining rooms; however, held the greater contest. Elias Fenton and his tall, dark, and mysterious benefactor awaited the party’s arrival.
As one, the champions surged forward with the human literally enlarging as his companion innately enhanced his strength. Only the dark curse of fear by the vile leader of the cult prevented the brave warrior from unleashing his ferocity and leveling his foes with a fell sweep. The arrows flew true from the elf’s quiver, the census officer’s occult magic engulfed enemies, and the ifrit’s daggers swept warmly through the foe’s flesh. Elias’ skeletons fell, as did he and a malevolent chanting was perceived by the shortest of the group. Thinking their true quarry escaping, the dwarf blindly charged ahead, falling victim to a powerful spell from the dark cleric and a wicked wight. Life ebbing from body as his very soul felt consumed by the evil creature, his amazement was two-fold as his companions rushed forward to extract him from harm, fostering their own danger in the process. Ordering the undead life-drainer to remain as a distraction, the shadowy priest absconded from the fray; leaving the heroes to collect the defeated Fenton and cleanse the rest of the catacombs…
“… took some convincing of the guardsmen that Elias was the true perpetrator of the heinous acts bedeviling the town, but the evidence obtained was irreproachable. I believe the rest of the tale has circulated widely. We are flattered by this celebration held partly in our honor. We have found pleasure in crushing the atrocious deeds of the necromancer and promoting the safety of this spectacular town, Queenia! ” Brolorn raised his mug with the last of his stout as he closed his narration. The now, rather large collection of folk gathered to hear of the band’s exploits erupted in a hearty cheer. The music and dancing resumed with vigor renewed. The sober dwarf let a faint smile creep onto his bearded face as he noticed a familiar pretty elven damsel commence in more flirtations with Aragon as they twirled together to the tunes of merriment; her blond curls bouncing and teasing.
Finishing his Elven Stout, he launched into the obligatory handshaking and back-patting required by social customs as he retired from the festivities. He would need his rest and a clear head. Although this unhappy chapter may have concluded for Queenia, Brolorn knew he must prepare for his appointment with Elias Fenton at his interrogation tomorrow. The search continued for answers regarding the disappearance of Silanthenthe Elune.