For the past year the Rolborian Church of Berwickshire has had an interest in the ruins of the ancient city of Feracartha nestled in the green heart of Feracuna Forest. Father Telgast, a researcher with particular interest in the city, has worked hard alongside builders and other craftsmen to erect a tower to overlook the great flesh and bone wall surrounding the city. But his mind has never been the same since his last excursion into the city and when he vanishes from the “care” of the church, they try not to become too alarmed. But he has drawn a tower over every surface, even the pages in his prayer book; a dark tower that haunts his waking dreams.
With a priest of their brotherhood missing and likely to be attempting another excursion beyond the wall of flesh and bone, the church approaches a group of adventurers for aid.
The church hired members of the adventuring community to take a precious piece of equipment to the building site, asking that also that they seek out Father Telgast for his own safety. The woods of Feracuna have become darker and wilder in recent months and if any damage came to the lenses packed in the box, they would be useless to the Rolborians and their studies. The adventurers who answered the hiring were:
- Ranger Finn of the Scouts Guild;
- Guildsman Krom Goodfellow of the Physicians Guild;
- Master Albrecht Crow of the School of Enchantment; Junior Guildsman Bedect of the Guild of Mages;
- High Father Andre of Rolbor;
Setting out from Carlech the adventurers made their way into the Feracuna Forest heading towards the old elven city. They cross paths with an elf of Frigg One-Eye’s clan, the open blue eye tattooed on his forehead. He greets them, recognising several from their recent visit to Frigg’s camp and brings them a warning – dark elves have been seen in the Forest and they are not welcome, and Sparrowhawk’s elves are causing trouble. A rival gang, with an unjust claim over kingship of the ancient city, have been attacking members of Frigg’s clan. But the Gods will be with them, for Frigg has the righteous claim and soon he will crush the red painted elves under his boot and teach Sparrowhawk a lesson. He warns the adventurers to be wary, for the dark elves care not for elves or men, and Sparrowhawk’s men (with a red hawk on the cheek) are not known to think before they attack. Forewarned, the adventurers continued on.
Before long they had been ambushed by Sparrowhawk’s elves; before they stumbled upon a Cyclops having a tasty magic snack – on a fae Cobbler. The Cobbler was known to the group and cried out for help. By bartering with the creature with power and magical matters they were able to free the Cobbler from becoming the Cyclop’s all-you-can-eat buffet. Once he had dusted himself off the Cobbler Niklaus turned to Andre and asked him for his hammer back. Andre refused, explaining that he had been trying to get a hammer made for his father. After some thought, the Cobbler offers to help, telling the party of a powerful spring nearby that would be helpful to quench the hammer as it was made. He gave them a bottle to take to the spring and sent them on their way.
As they travelled further into the Forest they came upon the dark elves which were angry that more of the unworthy dared trespass on their Matriarch’s holdings and attacked them. Fighting their way down to the spring they set about gathering water from the source – pure and rich water that rose up crisp and cold from the bedrock and was laced with power from the ancient city. The Enchanter would have loved to have studied it more, except the party were under attack by dark elves and demons and were in no mood to permit a scholarly investigation.
As they continued on their way looking for the tower to be rid of their delicate burden, a figure approached them on the path – an elven woman in black robes with a bandage over the eyes. Andre, Albrecht and Krom had met this woman before when she had placed a doom upon them all and Finwe and Andre politely greeted her although they dreaded to know what more she had to say of their fates. To Andre she warned him of the three threads of destiny: that either he, the one he cares for or the one who hunts this individual will die and it will be his choice. But she lessened this grim fate with a kind word – one who can help would come soon and he would know of it when the time came. To Albrecht she gave only a warning of a darkness in his shadow which made her voice shake. Krom refused any fortune reading and whilst she warned the other mage of power and – is that blood on your hands? – it was Finn who interested her the most. She could not see Finn’s futures and she offered her hands to the half-elf who took them eagerly in search of knowledge of her father. But with seers it is never what it seems and Finn’s eyes were opened to visions of many futures and possibilities and the knowledge made her writhe in agony. After answering some questions when Finn was once more herself the woman vanished like smoke, leaving no trace of her existence behind.
More dark elves ambushed the party before they came upon a woman fleeing a trio of dark elves. Her face was masked with leaves, her hair tangled with them and she wore a forest garb which seemed a little out of sorts for the chill weather. After they fended off her pursuers it became clear she was not a human but a dryad forced from her grove by the agony of her tree roots being set aflame by careless fires. Seems the dark elves had chosen to make camp beneath the ancient tree’s boughs and had paid no thought to how far she might reach underground. Valiantly they went to her aid, too late for her werewolf protector lying slain in the leaf litter, but the dryad was able to return to her tree. Grateful to the party she spoke with Finn and Andre of some of her memories and offered Andre a branch taken living from herself in gratitude, telling them she had seen someone walking alone through the woods but putting it into their timescale was difficult for her. The only hint she could give was that it had been in the new season when the far reaching whispers of the wood began to quieten for winter. But the tower of stone drawn from the ground was nearby. Uplifted by this news of the wandering Father, the group continued on.
NIklaus met them in a nearby grove and Albrech, Niklaus and Andre set about finishing the hammer that was to be Niklaus’s gift, leaving the others to defend them from the occasional dark elf raiding party. Sometimes they were just lone dark elves, sometimes they were in the company of mages or demons, but they were fought off and their boots taken to adorn the grove’s shoe tree by Finn. But, through concentrated effort, applied magic, purest metal, the gifted branch and a good dousing in the water from the spring a serviceable Cobbler’s hammer was fashioned and traded with the Cobbler for the ownership of the hammer that Andre had become quite fond off. Delighted with his new hammer the Cobbler was off and Andre felt a sense of peaceful ownership come about him as the hammer accepted its new bearer.
But their journey was not over – they had to deliver the telescope lenses! As they approached the tower they nearly collided with a Rolborian kindred who had been working at the Tower. He told them that all the builders at the tower had been killed by a mage with metal men. The horror had badly shaken him and he refused to take them to the tower, intent of getting away back to the shrine at Carlech and the safety of proper city walls where elves aren’t out to kill you. Alarmed the adventurers pressed on, hoping that Father Telgast was safe and that the builder had merely had a bad dream.
How wrong they were. As they approached they heard the familiar sound of Father Telgast and his reedy voice intoning a ritual as he walked a circle around the base of the stone tower. Marked on its walls were white symbols, a pair of metal men stood sentry upon the path and watching over all this was an elven woman in a white shift and dark blue cloak. She turned her gaze on them and looked away disdainfully. They asked her what was going on as Father Telgast walked another circle and she told them it was none of their concern. But of course it was – rituals without explanations are always the concern of adventurers. Albrecht, examining her automata, enquired as to their purpose and she offered to give them a demonstration as the party distracted Telgast from his ritual. With a clap of her hands the pair of automata awoke and lunged at the party, Albrecht shattering one weapon as it narrowly missed him. Telgast was knocked out, the mage shrugged off blows and the party scattered as the second automata wounded the physician. The mage awoke Telgast and set him back upon the ritual as the party dealt with the weapon wielding automata only for the mage to summon another from out of the woodland.
Eventually the party were able to distract the disdainful mage from focusing on Telgast when it became clear that all she wanted was to use him to move the tower from the edge of the city into the heart of Feracartha itself. All she claimed to wish for was to return the city to its former glory as the only “true heir” to the throne of that ancient civilisation. Whilst Albrecht engaged her in talk the rest of the party took Telgast away. However, when she realised she had been tricked Albrecht was the only target for her wrath. Wounding him she feared away the closest allies, lashing out at those who had dared to interfere. Finn became the next target for her magic though when Krom insulted her he felt the lash of her power. Drained of her reserves the mage attempted to leave the scene but Finn distracted her from her spell by trying to open her chest with her hatchet,s to no avail. Furious the mage called upon the power of the orb she had been carrying in her hand and stepped through a doorway, leaving the adventurers to pick up their wounded and return to Carlech with disturbing news of what had happened.
But it seems that there are many of elven kind who have had dreams of dominion over the ancient ruins. What could it all mean? Only time will tell.