A Garden of War

Master of Lore

Campaign: A Garden of War

MasterofLore.jpg

The First Sword of Summer’s Descent

  • In the earliest hours of the First Sword, deep beneath the Sea Lord’s Keep, Rohmanar led the party through passages and stairs until finally reaching his library and study. The Royal Loremaster promptly asked his apprentices to leave and locked the door behind him.
  • First the loremaster asked for a closer look at the cube Cahal had shown him at the estate. Rohmanar seemed to know, or at least guess, that it was not wise to touch the device or even get too close. He kept his distance yet examined the cube with great curiosity. He then drilled the party on where they had found the cube and under what circumstances.
  • He then went to his shelves of books, and though there were thousands of volumes he seemed to have them all cataloged in his mind; he knew exactly where the books were that he sought. Out came three texts: Known Histories of the Age of Wyrmrule by Heburon the Ancient The World Before Darkness by the Felora Far-Seer, and Songs of Yore: A compilation of ancient bardic songs and tales. The loremaster opened each ancient text with great care, as the pages were several millennia old. In the three separate books, he found three separate depictions, all seeming to be sketches of the cube the party now had before them. Rohmanar began to explain the examples.

    • First from Known Histories of the Age of Wyrmrule, Heburon wrote of King Ulfar’s Conquest (190 A.W.) According to Rohmanar this is the first time the cube is seen in history. Indeed, for “history” as we know it now started only a century before.
    • Second, from The World Before Darkness, Felora Far-Seer wrote of the fall of Azilion, City of Pearls(140 A.W), and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it. A sketch of the cube eerily similar to the sketches found in Brokenbridges asylum adorned the page.
    • Lastly, from Songs of Yore: A compilation of ancient bardic songs and tales came a ballad of heroism and sacrifice; when Lipherien Raistrike, Hero of Three-Peeks and Heir of the Arborial Throne gave up her crown to sail the cube across the sea to never be heard from again. (5 A.W.)

  • And so Rohmanar impressed on the party just how dangerous an artifact they had stumbled upon. It had been present at the fall of civilizations many times over. The texts match the party’s understanding of the cube and it’s powers, its ability to devour souls, and drive people to fear and madness. The wizard agreed that it needed to be dealt with, and with utmost haste.
  • Next the loremaster asked about the “dark caster” whom the party had attracted as a nemesis, and the individual who brought the cube from the sands of time into the current age. The group told of his name and likeness – Denegroth the Dread – he had introduced himself as. Upon hearing this name Rohmanar sought another tome. Though the book the he retrieved appeared plain and nondescript at first, a wiggle of the loremasters finger revealed hidden information on the cover and within the book’s pages. The plain cover of the book now bore a symbol of crossed keys, it’s page’s ink replaced with glowing arcane text revealing the secrets within. Rohmanar turned the pages with reverence until finally coming upon what he sought. And so he read aloud a brief passage: “Denegroth Foregrove, graduate of Deppenwhorl Academy, Ring-touched mage, was interred into the Order of the Crossed Keys in 950 A.E.” … his voice trailed off as he skimmed to the bottom of the page. “His final mission was in 973 when he was sent into The Scar to investigate the slaughter of several of the nomadic tribes living within. He was never heard from again.”
  • The loremaster realized that for any of this to matter, a great many explanations were in order. First Rohmanar told the party that he was a senior member of a secret society, The Order of the Crossed Keys. While many pursue knowledge and the power it imparts, the Crossed Keys recognizes that some knowledge is too dangerous for man to wield; and so they protect ancient secrets, artifacts, and fonts of power who’s exploit bring ruin to all. They are enemies to the avarice that turns the hearts of men. The Order had existed in secret for nearly a millennia, and Denegroth had been a member over 200 years earlier! Rohmanar supposed that he had stumbled on the cube two centuries ago and was conquered by its evil. The most ancient and powerful artifacts of the world are said to impart a sort of immortality to the wielder. It is possible that Denegroth was essentially kept from aging for all those years, until loosing it in his defeat at Irador during the Goblin War two decades ago. Now that the cube had been found, it calls to him once more, and he will desire its power above all else. It is not safe, nor will be until its power can be removed and the bond can be broken between them.
  • So the group discussed for some while how to go about destorying the cube, or at the very least removing it’s power and rendering it dormant. Taranath, Sarien, and Rohmanar theorized for some time, and after reading more on Lipherien Rainstrike’s battle against the cube, began to form a plan. According to an interpretation of Songs of Yore, Rainstrike had “Sang the damned from their cage” and had “bent the bars by their own request”. At this the Loremaster examined closer the runes along the cube’s surface. Rohmanar was shocked to realize that the phrases along the cube’s surfaces were it’s activation words! Lipherian had spoke the activation words to open the “cage” and release the spirits within. The party was excited with this revelation until Rohmanar explained that he didn’t know all of the activation words, for the Old Tongue was a language yet to be fully translated. Though Rohmanar was the highest authority on the dialect, even he didn’t fully comprehend it. A weight of doubt came over the group once again as their goal seemed to keep moving further away. The loremaster broke the silence, and revealed perhaps the most incredible secret of all to the party of heroes.

    * Rohmanar explained that there was one more in this world who knew the Old Tongue greater than him. He referred to her as his “mentor” in the matter. He said that he met her two decades ago, when the loremaster was but a page of the Crown-Prince Cassio (Armento); when his lord’s party ventured far and wide gaining favor and fortune, and winning the hearts of all who would live in the king-to-be’s lands. The Prince’s band had sought a bloodthirsty and ancient wrym who’d turned the newly forming Creeping Isles into it’s roost, and the lands surrounding into it’s feeding ground. So Rohmanar and his prince dove into the heart of the volcano and faced the Reaver of Riker’s Narrow. There in the depths they did face a beast the likes of which none of them had ever seen. It’s power overwhelmed the party, incapacitating the prince and leaving Rohmanar helpless. In a moment of desperation and an attempt to protect his prince, the loremaster spoke the Old Tongue word for “mercy” and the great wrym froze in its place. At the time the world knew very few of the words of the ancients, and the loremaster knew fewer still, though he plead for his life and the life of his prince the best he could… and the dragon listened! Yet not only did it heed the wizards words, but spoke too then with a voice like an avalanche, the wounded wyrm growled out the word for “peace”. Rohmanar was allowed to retreat from the dragon’s den with his prince who had been knocked out cold in the encounter. Rohmanar tended his wounds and probed the prince’s mind, stealing his memories of the fight with the dragon so when he awoke it was as with amnesia. So Rohmanar told the prince the tale that would become Cassio’s legend, when he slew the great wyrm but was nearly killed when it crushed him in it’s death throes, taking the cavern down atop it. In reality Rohmanar had placated the dragon with words, dragged the prince from the cavern, collapsed its entrance, and fabricated a tale in it’s place. Rohmanar did this of course not out of selfishness, but in wanting to protect this great and ancient secret he had stumbled upon; a living cypher to unlock the mysteries of the past. It was through finding this secret and seeking to protect it that Rohmanar came to join the Order of the Crossed Keys.
  • The wizard has spent the last two decades meticulously deciphering the Old Tongue though still holds much of the knowledge back from his peers for the fear of what might be unearthed from it. Each year during the spring (when dragons wake from hibernation to ravage the lands), Rohmanar had taken secret missions to the isles where he and other Crossed Key members delivered livestock, gold, magical items and jewels – all the things dragons covet and crave – to placate the ancient one who lived beneath the volcano.
  • What the loremaster proposed next was insanity, but so was much of what had transpired that night. He said they would need to travel north to the Creeping Isles, unveil the great arcane illusions the loremaster had woven to hide the entrance, then delve into the heart of the mountain to, in a foreign language, convince an elder wyrm to read the passages on the side of an ancient doomsday device. This would need to be done without Rohmanar’s presence, for he would be needed in the city while the current catastrophe unfolds. Even then, they would only have one piece of the puzzle – the activation word.
  • Next they would need to find a place to open a gate to the spirit realm and siphon the souls from the cube. It would need to be a place of great magical power such as a convergence of lay lines. Cahal explained that his druid-masters were attuned to the lay lines and may be able to aid in this.
  • With all of this information shared, Rohmanar then took the group to the royal coffers, where they loaded bags of previous gems and ancient coins to be taken north to the mountain. The wizard had been raiding the coffers for years, though their wealth was greatly diminished from the days of the Empire, there was still “plenty of treasure to spare” in the loremaster’s words.
  • To the party he gave several books, including Songs of Yore, Lay Lines Theories, and most valuable and previous of all, a copy of every word of the Old Tongue that had been translated to date. This final volume wasn’t bound in a book, but was a collection of scrolls scribed by the loremaster himself. He gave the scrolls warily, warning that they were “perhaps as powerful as great-a-threat as the cube itself”, asking them to burn the scrolls once their task was done (for he still had the master copy).
  • Though Rohmanar was bereaved to not be accompanying the group, he eluded to powerful friends, and fellows of the Crossed Keys whom he may be able to send with the party, should he be able to contact them on such short notice.
  • As dawn finally broke over the Brineshell, Rohmanar led the treasure laden party through secret corridors and hidden halls deep beneath the castle at the top of the city. Depressed capstones and tilted books opened doors and lowered lifts until the group reached the Royal Escape – the route down which the king himself would flee if the castle were raised. After what seemed like miles of utter darkness the group existed onto Topside streets. Rohmanar pointed out the direction to the wall from which they planned to jump, and with reverence looked over the heroes once more, and wished them well on their quest. The group followed the wizards directions and after several more minutes rounded a corner to see the great outer-wall of the Brineshell before them. Between them and the wall however, stood a trio of Judges, the one at it’s center wore the Eyes of Oldar, and was the same judge they had snuck past the previous night on entering the city. Behind the judges a score of city guards stood ready to fight.
  • The central judge stepped forward and with a booming voice, addressed the party. “Halt imposters, Oldar demands it of you! You are wanted for the crimes of Forgery, Deceiving a judge, Impersonating a Noble, and Trespassing! Moreover you are suspected of Sabotaging the city’s water supply, for the pain and mutilation of hundreds within the city, and for the murder of countless Topside residents! Now lay down your arms and hand over the weapon or part with your lives to be judged accordingly!”
Creature Name CR XP # XP
Rohmanar’s Secrets Revealed! 10,000
Subtotal 10,000 / 6
Total 1,666xp

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