DM’s Note: I’m going back and adding updates now that more players are on the site!
Agitha, Redwind, Random, and Kerethil exited the mine entrance and found themselves in “present time” LLorkh. From their vantage on the hillside, they could see a crowd gathered in the city square. The party decided to avoid any crowds and made their way towards the Smoking Toad so that Curovar might tell them more about their newly acquired crystal.
Slinking through the streets, the party were greeted by a crowd of goodfolk fleeing towards them! In the distance, a patrol of hobgoblins were stomping through the streets, chasing something. The party stood their ground and discovered that the hobgoblins were chasing a pair of halflings. The party assaulted the hobgoblins, helping the diminutive duo escape. The halflings introduced themselves as Mae and Ham, a married couple who were also traveling acrobats. It seems that their showmanship (and message of personal freedom) were not welcomed by Llorkh’s new hobgoblin lords. The halflings followed the group to Curovar’s seeking safe shelter and a quiet moment to plan their next move.
After the fight, the party realized that Redwind, the shifter, was gone. Always quiet and mysterious, they wished him luck on whatever endeavor had called him, and pressed on.
Curovar examined the party’s new crystal and explained what it was: an ancient device that could perpetuate magical effects, and perhaps empower them. He explained how the crystal could be used as a focus for a ritual, and that the ritual would last for as long a the caster wished it, as long as the crystal remained intact. The crystal, it seems, was worth quite a bit of coin and would be desired by many an organization.
Kerethil also took the opportunity to have Curovar examine the Onyx skull. Curovar confirmed the party’s fears: the skull was an evil device designed to summon and control the undead. Thinking that it might help the party confront the hobgoblins, Kerethil experimented with the skull. He grasped it in both hands and made contact with several spirits in the area, attempting to communicate. The communion did not last long, however, as the skull could detect that Kerethil’s soul was no black, and it caused him great pain to wield it. Kerethil collapsed under the strain and ceded that Curovar could take the skull and seal it back in its original chamber.
The party now turned their attention to dealing with the hobgoblins. Mae and Ham decided to help, as they could not stand to leave a city under evil occupation. After much discussion the plan was hatched.
The first step involved freeing the captured soldiers and guards from the city jail. Not expecting an attack, the party broke into the jail and killed the hobgoblin guards. While the jailboss remained in the dungeon below and refused to surface and fight, Kerethil tricked him up by calling out in goblin that “it was all clear”.
Fifty prisoners were left alive and starving in the dungeons below. The party freed them and clued them in their plan. Of course, with Agitha praying to Pelor for healing and Random giving encouraging words, the freed soldiers were ready to fight. Amongst the prisoners, two strangers were huddled.
Brother and sister, Armas and Arden, were two shifters from the east. The party realized that they were of the same tribe as Redwind, but the siblings new nothing of him or his sudden disappearance. The siblings had left their tribe for their own reasons, and now wandered the country side looking for adventure and experiences. Arden was accompanied by a faithful wolf from the northern mountains. Alert and protective, Aura never left his master’s side.
Seeking revenge, Armas and Arden joined the party for the final assault on the hobgoblins. The party had previously learned that most of the hobgoblins sheltered in three different inns that they had commandeered as barracks. The plan was to send the freed soldiers to surround the inns, block the entrances with heavy carts, and then burn the structures to the ground. The soldiers eagerly agreed to do their part. Kerethil volunteered to lead a contingent to one of the inns, while Curovar was coordinating the attacks on the other two.
While the soldiers and Kerethil went on their way, the rest of the party climbed the central hill back to the manor house. The party had previous killed the manor’s previous owner, the tyrannical dwarf lord, only to return and kill Vesuvius on the same night that he’d claimed the manor for himself. Now the home to the hobgoblin commander and his body guards, the manor would be the site of a third and final battle.
At the appointed time, three blazing fires erupted below in the city. The manor doors flew open and several hobgoblin and bugbear guards marched into the city to investigate. The party entered through the backdoor, searching for the hobgoblin warlord.
Several minutes of searching led the party to follow a trail of battle and dead guards. It seems that a battle was already underway, and the trail of death led down into the cellar. The party descended and found the hobgoblin warlord and his bugbear bodyguards in a struggle against a host of incorporeal undead! The party heard one of the spirits hiss “Where is the skull! Give us the skull!”
It seemed that Kerethil’s contact with the spirits was successful, but since now Curovar had hidden the skull with magic, the undead were searching the city for it… starting with the giant manor in the middle. The party launched into the cellar, weapons flashing. Both hobgoblin, bugbear, and spirits fell under their blades. After a long and twisting battle, the party was victorious.
Later reports indicated that the fires were successful and killed most of the hobgoblins. The freed soldiers were able to handle the counter attacks, and many of the hobgoblins fled the city into the night. Llorkh was free once again.
Without a lord to lead them, the people of Llorkh were awoke the next day to confusion. With the party’s help, the town quickly elected a counsel of guild leaders to serve as a government, with the wizard Curovar serving as a tie-breaking vote on the counsel. The party, which now included the halfings and the shifters, stayed in Llorkh for a few weeks to rest, recuperate, and finish some minor missions of their own.
Kerethil had vanished into the city. The party looked for him, but got the impression that he didn’t want to be found.
Ham and Mae made sure that the new counsel government got up and running.
Agitha, founded a new temple to Pelor next to the manor on top of the hill. She found within the city a devout man with no family to serve as her priest. She trained him in the tenants of the faith, and with construction well underway, the city of Llorkh had a new guiding presence.
Where to next? The party was feeling the tingles of wanderlust, and with questions remaining about their new source crystal and two shifter guides to lead them, they decided to head east. Through the pass of the Gray Peak mountains, their intentions were to skirt the Netheril empire and travel through the Dales to the Moonsea. Rumors of old treasure and oppressed people were enough to head them on their way.