Journal and History
Our adventure started with our heroes, for various and sundry reasons, joining in the search for the Philosopher’s Stone. The quest began in the legendary but much reduced capital of the ancient human empire, Fallcrest, now little more than a provincial village surrounded by the ruins of its former glory.
There they participated in the ritual called The Seeking, performed by the leader of the town Lord Mayor Randolf and the High Priest of Pelor, Father Ezekiel. The ritual gave all Seekers for the Stone the right to keep it in their possession as long as they brought it back to its ancestral home and did not use it against her. In return, the finder would be permitted to use it as they saw fit.
The adventurers followed their first clues to the village of Blackroot, a hardscrabble town of orcs, halforcs, and humans in the middle of a desolate swamp. They were met with a hostile and suspicious reception, though without violence. Most of the villagers seemed reluctant to talk with outsiders, and focused on tending their paddies in silence, with the exception of the village reeve Toraash’Dorrm.
Toraash pointed the adventurers to Harrison’s cottage and left them to investigate, too busy to deal with ignorant outsiders. The adventurers noticed some hostility and suspicion from the reeve, but as the leader of an insular community his reaction was understandable. Harrison’s cottage appeared to have been voluntarily abandoned, but close inspection by the party revealed evidence of foul play and a clever cover up. One of the chairs in the cottage had been shattered and reassembled, and a hastily-covered blood stain under a rug led the party to seek around the village for more clues.
Unfortunately the villagers proved even more reticent to discuss possible violence, with one notable instance:
his teeth and tusks, but his eyes are still sharp. “It’s the Harvest,”
he mutters. “Sowing the new crop. This night, with three moons
in the sky and darkness below. If you know what’s good for you,
you’ll be out of here before it comes for you, too.”
With that cryptic comment the gnarled old orc refused to talk any more and left them to their search.
The Cavern in the Swamp
Using Frey’s and Esry’s superior tracking abilities to follow the blood trail and Geran’s detection of a powerful arcane nexus nearby, the party arrived at the entrance to a hidden cavern guarded by two orc wardens. Their attempts to bluff their way through failed spectacularly and revealed two more humans waiting in ambush in the trees. Just as the party was about to overpower the humans one of the wardens opened his mouth and unleashed a literal tongue lashing: a thick, ropey muscle began whipping about and striking with venemous snaps. Slaying the monstrosity revealed it had arcane symbols depicting an evil eye and glass daggers, and that the muscle had life beyond its owners. Fearing for their friend and suspecting that something sinister was taking place, the party exterminated the tongueworm and plunged into the rocky cavern.