The First Work

The End of an Era

On returning to Fallcrest, Irisil walks off without a word. The companions…what name?...go off in search of Markelhay—they get their reward, but Markelhay does not believe the story of the dragon. He seems defensive. He is still holding something back.

The companions go to Nimozaran. He thanks them for the knowledge that the dragon’s greed for gold was driving the ever bolder kobolds to attack larger targets in a more systematic way…He tells you that the Kalarel is an ancient title, given to Orcus’ chief priest…the right hand of shadow. With this hand, Orcus touches the world. With this hand, Orcus seeks to undo the bonds that hold him beyond the rift in the Shadowfell. The Kalarel is not as powerful as an Exarch, but he is entrusted with the most delicate of the arcane rites. He says that killing the Kalarel might buy enough time for the Immaterial Council to put into place the safeguards necessary to seal the rift once and for all. Maya stays after the others leave and asks why she had been sent to Markelhay…Nimozaran says that he was unsure of Markelhay’s motivations…the source of his hesitation in the face of a clearly organized threat to Fallcrest. Now, he thinks it was certain knowledge of a dragon, and fear that stayed his hand, but he is not sure.

The companions find their way to the Blue Moon Alehouse, where they encounter Teldorthan Ironhews, a dwarven armorer who tells them that the dragon hide was his, and rewards them handsomely for it. He also suggests that they might seek out the dwarves in the hills if they really seek to know what happened at the battle that ended the Bloodspear war, or they could talk to Sergeant Murgeddin, the old battle-scarred dwarf who fought in it and who now commands the Wizard’s gate. He also promises to give them a fair price for any other piece of dragon hide they come across.

Murgeddin warms to them quickly after a few rounds, and his story of the Battle is equal measure boast and lamentation. He claims he saw the Lord Warden’s grandfather turn and run in the final battle-the battle that broke the power of the nothern Orc horde, but also the spine of Fallcrest…the town has been some ninety years in dying. He claims he saw the Lord Warden run into the mouth of the limestone caves that riddle the bluff that cuts through the town. The caves closest to the light have served as the burial place of Fallcrest’s human citizens for time out of mind-the other races having other burial practices. When Richard asks if the Lord Warden had his sword at the time, Murgeddin says yes. The two handed greatsword Moonbane was made in the manner of the weapons of the First Men, older even than the Nerathian Empire. It is bronze and incised with strange symbols. Murgeddin says the Markelhays have not been the same since it was lost.

The companions retire to the Silver Unicorn to rest. They are decided on obtaining a cart and the tools required to return and harvest their dragon hide on the morrow.

Meanwhile Irisil learns: Orcus is known as the Demon Lord of Undeath, the Demon Prince of the Undead, or the Blood Lord. He is worshipped by the undead and the living that do not fear undeath. Orcus desires destruction, like all demons, but he has set his sights higher, aiming at the gods themselves. In particular, Orcus hungers for the death of the Raven Queen. he wishes to usurp her control over death and the souls of the dead. Orcus rules one of the many layers of the Abyss. His realm, the presumptuously named Thanatos, is a dark landscape of death shrouded by grey clouds and often obscured by fog. Light filters weakly through the clouds and mists, illuminating the realm like a moonlit night. Dead forests filled with twisted black weirwood and ironbark trees and stony, windswept moors dominate the landscape. Bleak mountains struggle to rise into the black sky, and dead cities and meager villages crouch here and there as though in fear. It is a landscape of crypts and ashes. The tombs stand even on rooftops, and headstones jut from the eaves of buildings like gargoyles. The undead roam freely here, and no living thing survives long away from the holdfasts. “Everlost…”

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