Underworld Chronicle - Part 4

Midwinter, March 28th - April 27th 1045TA - Gathering Billings' Reagents.

After a few days R&R, Billings tells them of their next task. They take a shopping list to a dwarven alchemist near the town of Ironbridge to the north. They set of reaching the town in about 5 days. They discover the location of the alchemist's abode and head off. When they arrive they discover that the tower has been attacked by a band of were-rats. They clear out the ratmen but all but two of the dwarves have been killed.

The survivors are unable to complete Billings' order so they ask the party to head north into Tanglewood Forest and retrieve the final few ingredients : a bear's gall bladder, two vials of Ironwood sap and two bunches of Elsperana moss.

They head back to Ironbridge and hire a guide and hitch a lift north on a barge. They are accompanied by a paladin of Phaedra who has also hired the guide. After a few days travel, the get off the barge deep in the forest. They travel inland and set up camp. While the woodsman searches for food the rest prepare camp.

As the guide disappears into the woods the paladin draws and confronts the party. She tells them that she has been sent by the church in Midwinter to stop the party. She tells them that Billings is an evil man and is trying to summon an ancient evil to Gwelith that will destroy the world.

As the conversation drags on it soon becomes apparent that the Paladin's information is sketchy at best and she is unable to convince the party to turn against billings. The paladin then resorts to arms and attacks the party, aided by the guide who has snuck back to camp. After a close run fight, they kill the guide and the paladin.

Stunned by events the party debate what to do next. Dog favours a return to Midwinter where they should kill Billings . Amrod and Crow feel that nothing has changed and that they should carry on with their tasks. Alex proposes that they should complete the task and ask Billings for a cut of the action. Ted can't decide what to have for breakfast.

After much debate they head of into the forest to complete the dwarf's shopping list. They trek to a hilly area where they track and kill a huge bear. Following that they head further into the forest where they find many clumps of Elsperana and, having fought off an attack by goblins, tapped an ironwood tree for its sap.

After collecting all of the reagents they return to the river and board a passing barge. They return to Ironbridge without incident and deliver their goods to the alchemists. With the completed package in their hands they return to Midwinter, still debating what to do.

Midwinter, April 27th 1045TA - Falling Foul of Phaedra.

They enter Midwinter and return to their tower, deciding to confront Billings with their problems. They find the tower deserted and when they reach their living quarters they hear the footsteps and sounds of armed men on the floors above and below them.

Dog waits in the corridor to see what transpires and soon sees soldiers bearing the symbol of Phaedra flooding into their level. He fires his crossbow at them and ducks back into their living quarters. Crow casts fly and flees out of the nearest window, followed by Dog and Amrod. Alex turns himself invisible but Ted, with no escape mechanisms of his own, realises he must surrender.

Paladins burst into their rooms calling for their surrender and Ted complies. He soon finds himself being frog-marched out of the tower and into a waiting prison-wagon. Still invisible, Alex tails the paladins and the captive Ted outside, waiting for the paladins to turn their backs so he can steal the wagon and rescue Ted.

Over the course of the afternoon Alex, Ted, Amrod and Crow drift back to the Shadow Guild HQ. There is no sign of Dogstwo and they are unsure if he survived or not. Not long after they are reunited, they are summoned to a meeting with the Guildmaster. They discover that Billings is alive and well and after escaping an attack by the church of Phaedra has sought refuge in the Guild HQ.

The party explain to Billings the events of the last few days and their questions over the involvement of the Phaedran church. Billings explains that he has been working for the Shadow Guild all this time. Somehow, one of the other gangs has discovered that the Guild have been preparing something and have fed false information to the church in order to stall his work.

The Guildmaster explains that they have been searching for a cache of hidden Annan magical artefacts that they need to boost the Guild's firepower. When the artefacts have been secured, the Guild wants to begin to expand it's influence and return to Guild to it's former glory. As newcomers, the party were chosen to help Billings because they were unknown on the street and less likely to draw attention.

With the return of the party, Billings can complete the process of creating the Black Glass and pin-pointing the location of the hidden cache. Then the party will be called upon again to help Billings secure the cache and ensure the Guild's future.

Midwinter and Beyond, May 1045TA - Expedition into the Unknown.

Shortly afterwards Dogstwo is hunted down and returned to the guild by some other guild members.

While the party wait for Billings to complete his work, four other guild-members are sent on a job to recover some books from the local Traveller's Guild office. They break in and secure the books and deliver them to Billings . The books contain notes on the use of the ancient Sammat transport network.

Billings concludes his work on the Black Glass and scrys the location of the cache. He gathers together the party and they set off north to the closest Sammat obelisk. Over the next few days the party make a series of ‘jumps' heading a south-easterly direction. Eventually they appear on the outskirts of a vast forest.

They reluctantly enter the forbidding looking forest. Billings seems to know where he is going and the others follow him. They soon find that they are being trailed by wolves, but Billings does not seem to be worried and presses on regardless.

After several days travel they arrive at an ancient, overgrown stone building. Through the tough vines and ivy that cover the exterior they can see crumbling frescoes and carvings depicting strange wolf-like creatures. Despite the parties misgivings, Billings seems unperturbed by the structure and seeks to gain entry via the massive doors at the front of the structure.

Breaking the strange seal on the door, Billings enters the building. It consists of one large room with a central aisle leading to a huge throne. Depressions either side of the aisle are filled with mist and a strange growls and whimpers can be heard. On the throne, surrounded by a soft blue glow, sits a nightmarish creature, a wolf-like humanoid easily 15' tall. Seemingly unconcerned by the interior of the building, Billings walks towards the throne.

Billings begins some sort of spell and the blue glow disppears from around the creature. A conversation ensues between Billings and the wolf-man in an unknown language. Alex uses casts Tongues and Glibness spells to listen in on the conversation. The wolf-man is called Eldred, an ancient being who has been locked away in this place for millennia. Billings is trying to get Eldred to end his slumber and rejoin the waking world. He tells Eldred that Satterass has awoken and it is time that the Fallen were awoken. Alex tries to intervene, lying to Eldred and telling him that Billings seeks to steal his power for himself.

Infuriated by Alex's words, Billings attacks him and slays Alex with a spell. The party attacks Billings and Eldred. One by one Eldred kills Ted, Dog, Amrod and Crow. He then turns on Billings, tearing him into two pieces. Eldred stops and summons forth hundreds of other, smaller wolf-like beings from the mist covered pits. These are the Eldren.

Flanked by the Eldren, Eldred leaves the building and enters the world again.

The End.

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