Location: Deepwell, on the road, and the town of Orrin.
(another canned adventure because I could twist it to my purposes and I found it interesting.)
Skiritai still carries Vemal’Ka in his Bag of Holding. Influential people are starting to keep tabs on his whereabouts. Vania Ardent and Erith Zaub are commonly seen in proximity to wherever Skiritai is at. The party is at odds about what to do with the sword also. Rumors of Ganthol coming to get the sword and of Palidans from the Hold of Mazyur approaching make the discussions more heated.
Skiritai chooses to touch the sword. The swords speaks to him only “The power to smite your enemies.” The sword does not smoke in his hands as it did for Magoo.
Skiritai is confronted by an assassin, whom he manages to kill. He is badly wounded though, and retreats to a bar frequented by his friends for backup. His friends and him have a disagreement about his possession of the sword, however, Skiritai will not willingly relinquish it now.
Ganthol Argus asks to have the sword so that he might guard it. Skiritai refuses.
Word of palidans coming to Deepwell from the Hold of Mazyur and the near continual watchful eyes of Vania Ardent and Erith Zaub prompt the characters to leave Deepwell. The party leaves quickly and travels fast. They pass through Stonewall and Arrow Creek and then continue overland to Blackwell. At Blackwell they rejoin the road and journey to Parmount.
In Parmount they seek out the Heratic Guild of Mages (because Twylla knows the History of the Ravagers and thinks that she recognizes Vemal’Ka). The Guild is easy to find as they maintain their own defensive works within the bounds of the city (albeit small) and are commonly known to the populace. The concept of a Guild of Mages is unusual to the dwarves and elves. In the KoS dwarves have other guilds, but not groups of spell casters. The elves don’t really have organized groups of anything. Even their combatants are only loosely organized.
The players pay the guild 5gp for a days worth of research within the library. They are supervised by a guild member (sage librarian) because they are not members of the guild. Nicas/Gunter mentions to the librarian that the sword has been found and that some palidans have left the Hold of Mazyur in pursuit of it. He also says that it is his job to learn how to destroy it.
(Obviously, the librarian is interested about research into an item that holds so much meaning in the history of the guild. He passes this information onto his superiors. Though the librarian is a low level mage and unable to control scrying magic he can create Silent Images that allow his superiors greater ease (DC 10) when attempting to scry Nicas, Gunter, and Dorin. (This remains unknown to the adventurers))
The characters find a picture of the weapon that confirms that it is the one that Skiritai carries. They don’t find any more descriptions of its powers. They also find information about Saithnar, the warlord most renouned for defeating the Ravagers on a continual basis. His Kingdom was to the southeast of Parmount, in a land that is now heavily forested. His capital city was Carpanas. The characters find information about an old road that leads off into the forest. The road is in good condition and is currently used by the villages surrounding Parmount. However, it ends in a short wall (4’ tall) which is easily bypassed or climbed. Most characters find a path around the wall, but Gunter insists on jumping his horse over (finally succeeding on his third try). The party travels through the burn area (the edge of the forest area when Palef was destroyed.) and into the larger forest.
The road is in poor condition as it goes through the forest, but far into the woods the road shows signs of maintenance again. The woods are exceptionally quiet. Several small homesteads are seen, but they are all abandoned. Suddenly, the party hears hoofbeats from the road ahead. Horses travelling fast. The party watches as some frightened peasants approach, apparently fleeing from somone. Behind the peasants comes an armored knight at full gallop. The party moves to intercept the knight. The characters figure out that it is a ghost, but too late to save the peasants. The Horseman kills the peasants on the road. Skiritai turns the apparition. The undead knight takes one last look at Skiritai before it vanishes. Oddly, the peasants were in possession of an incredible amount of gold (for peasants anyway).
The party notices a small homestead not far away that actually seems to be inhabited. They meet and stay the night with Tarbie and Tanashu and bury the peasants there. Here they learn about the troubles facing the town of Orrin. It seems that they are under a double threat of elves and this spectral knight. Whenever anyone attempts to leave the town they are murdered by one or the other. Food is getting scarce as there is not much game left in the woods and people are too scared to do much farming. Dorin gives some of his rations to Tarbie and Tanasha. The players offer them the gold that the peasants were carrying, but they refuse.
The next morning the party travels on towards Orrin. They come to the town Chapel first and meet Henwen. Henwen seems a bit crazy and spends here time praying to the seven gods of the chapel. She moves from statue to statue spending time at each one. Her compulsive praying disturbs the characters. Her companion disturbs them also. It is a strange furry animal that none of them has seen before. Skiritai notices that the seven gods in the chapel are all gods of neutral alignment. Dorin and Koperfeld stay in the cemetary surrounding the chapel and look for names on headstones that they recognize. Searching for the burial place of Saithnar.
The players arrive in Orrin. The are two square borders of stones that surround the town. The outer stones are all guardian animals, the inner stones are guardian humans, and there are some central stones which are plinths. All of the stones are huge (think Stonehenge or Easter Island). Torgrim identifies the writing on the stones as being a protection blessing in Druidic. The townsfolk surround them when they enter asking for help. The Cuckoo (local bard) calms the crowd and talks to the players about the trouble with the grugach (wild elves). He tells them about his friends in town and during the conversation the mayor comes to meet them. The players tell the mayor about the peasants that were leaving town and give the gold to the mayor. The return of the gold elicits a sullen mood from all of the townsfold. The gold was to be used to buy food. The fact that the stewards did not succeed depresses them all.
The elves attempt to kill the mayor while the characters are talking. The arrow strikes the mayor with a deadly blow, but Skiritai grabs the mayor, pulls him to the ground, and casts a heal light wounds on him – saving his life. Torgrim and Gunter mount up and chase a retreating elf (an illusion, unknown to them) as it runs toward the forest. The invisible elf sneaks away. He is spotted by Skiritai because Vemal’Ka grants See Invisibility, although Skiritai does not know this. Skiritai attempts to point him out, but friends have no chance to see the invisible elf because they are too far away. Tully (the local fighter) comes racing out from the tower after the encounter. The players mock Tully for her tardiness.
The players talk to Dyson (the local sorceror) and learn the nature of the standing stones outside the town and of Saithnar’s tomb (and that Tully destroyed the tomb’s door warden – a wight). He tells them little about the red horse on the hill. The players decide to enter Saithnar’s tomb to discover what they can about the sword Vemal’Ka.
The guardian wights are easily destroyed and the traps have little effect. The adventurers contact Saithnar, but they do not fight him. They agree to leave his tomb if he answers their questions about Vemal’Ka. Saithnar tells them about the druid Dydd’s spells that changed the forest animals into humans to help him fight the Unholy Knights of Erythnul (the Ravagers). He tells them that Sarthorum was his second cousin. He tells them that he does not think the sword in inherently evil, because the wielder decides the sword’s purpose – not the sword. Dorin asks if he will take the sword. Saithnar says he will. Skiritai refuses. Saithnar provides them with a map of his domain and tells them of a greater library that he had in Carpanas. He has not left his tomb since he died though, so he does not know about the current condition of Carpanas. Saithnar is interred here in Orrin instead of Carpanas because this is his birthplace. The characters leave the tomb.