Chapter One - Gold Digger

The Carthmounts is a region of various mountain ranges, forests, and a singular central lake. The well maintained road of the barony ends at a lonely tower allowing the sole guard posted here to see for miles. The band of heroes comes to a halt as the guard hails them from the tower above.

Guard: Welcome, his lordship’s raven brings word of your travels. I am Gemmer and this tower here is my post.

Reynhart: Well met, Gemmer. We cannot stay our business presses on.

Gemmer looks quite disappointed as he thought he was going to have the opportunity for intelligent company, “But… ah…”

Tomble: Ah… ‘dat dagren be der morrow as well.

Ashrian: The ride for us was rough, we could use a quick break. Maybe a couple of hours, what do you say Master Quellen?

Quellen: Aye, let us prepare ourselves a bit before we proceed. Perhaps Gemmer can tell us of the lands around us.

Elated Gemmer welcomes them into the tower, which has various garments scattered about and looks much more like a peasant’s hovel than a military post. Gemmer hastily fixes them a meal of beans and boar jerky which all but Quellen seem to enjoy quite heartily.

Gemmer: Oh yes I almost forgot, here take these by order of Baron Greigory.

Gemmer clambers down from one of the upper layers of the tower dragging a large burlap sack. The companions dig through the sack.

Reynhart: Here you go little one, it is a buckler for a soldier. It should guard you quite well for one your size.

Reynhart tosses a metal buckler to Tomble who straps it to his arm testing the weight. He smiles feeling very knightly.

Ashrian picks up a bag of glowing dust, “I know what this is. It can be very effective at distracting our foes.” She secures the ample pouch of flash powder to her belt.

Reynhart picks up an ivory medallion eyeing it curiously.

Gemmer: Oh that is made of petrified pegasus bone. It is said to bring good luck, you will need it to face the winged half-dragons in the Carths.
Reynhart shrugs and fastens it around his neck while seeing Quellen’s disinterest in the rather mundane supplies being acquired.

Gemmer: Master Quellen, I was once married to a fine lady of magic arts. I cannot use this here but if you can help protect these lands from what lay beyond it is yours.

Quellen pauses for a moment in sheer disbelief. “How is it… can this really…”

With sadness in his voice Gemmer stammers, “She was lady Viola Shatarth.”

Quellen: Your lady fought bravely in the last of the dragon wars. The whole of Terrinoth owe her a debt. She gave her life to honor us all. Thank you Gemmer, I will do my best to make you proud and honor her memory.

Quellen magically weaves the glowing purple rune into the inseam of his cloaks and it begins to glow even more brightly for a moment.

Things all wrapped up with Gemmer, they head out on a road that is barely visible and not oft traveled.

After a spell of uneventful travel a set of wagon trails veers violently off the main road, leading the band of heroes off course. But, that is the life of a hero. They followed the crooked wagon trails cautiously, hearing panicked cries for help in the distance.

Just as they emerge from a small canopy of trees, they are greeted by a gout of flame from above. Reynhart quickly sidesteps out of the way as Tomble ducks beneath the massive warrior. As the party gains composure they see the massive form of a red dragon soaring high in the skies above.

“Fools!” a bestial voice bellows from the sky. “You’d be well advised to mind your own business this day. My subjects won’t hesitate to display their loyalty to me should you interfere with my affairs…” With that, the great dragon spreads its wings and disappears over the trees.

The distant cries for help sounds again, “Hide the aurium! Don’t let her find Jorem’s discovery!”

Rushing toward the calls for help the heroes find themselves face to face with a pack of vicious barghests. The large beasts each resemble maddened wolves from the depths of some fiery hell.

Quellen waves his hand and an orb filled with magical energy is summoned to the battlefield and immediately sends a barely visible surge of energy into the biggest of the barghests setting it ablaze and leaving it nearly motionless.

Tomble grinning as normal spots a half buried container and greedily rushes over to sift through it. He hastily shoves the lid ajar and a toxic gas spews forth that is inhaled immediately. Luckily his body is strong enough to resist the toxin and he is able to recover a glowing red elixir from within.

Reynhart confidently strides forward with his massive sword and cleaves one of the foul creatures in two, “Die dog!”

Ashrian takes a central position amidst the party and utters to the spirits, “Clau Mysi”. A dense fog appears instantly and everything is hidden in a dense cloud of mist making it nearly impossible for the surging barghests and dragon above to target the heroes.

In the distance several screams can be heard, but with each passing moment fewer voices can be heard. Ashrian, “We must hurry; whoever they are, they are dying!”

The battle with the barghests continued to impede the progress to little gain. As the heroes slay the barghests new ones arrive. With each moment that passes they hear yet another scream in the distance. Ashrian frustrated with the barghests uses her elven speed to run as fast as she can toward the calls for help.

Just as Ashrian turns the bend she sees the corpses of several miners. Walking away from the corpses are several mutated creatures that Ashrian knows as flesh moulders. Moulders are wicked creatures with contorted features that wield powerful transmutation magicks.

Ashrian uses the spirits to carry her voice to the rest of the group whom she had left battling the barghests, “Whatever the dragon wants, the flesh moulders must have it now. Stop them!”

Quellen nods as if Ashrian were actually there and both the green rune in his hands and the purple rune sewn into his cloak begin to spark and glow brightly. He summons orbs as fast as he can that continuously burst with flame and power, dropping barghests two at a time.

While Quellen fights off the barghests with his powerful magic, Reynhart and Tomble attempt to face the flesh moulders. Alas, the dragon flies down from above and scorches the ground beneath their feet leaving them fighting amidst a pit of fire. They give it all they can to hold the flesh moulders back but eventually Reynhart is knocked out by an arcane blast from the flesh moulder carrying a shining gold ore.

With Reynhart knocked aside, that small amount of time is enough for the enemy to take advantage and burst through the blockade set up by the heroes. The moulder with the prize seizes the moment and dashes into the woods under the guard of the remainder of barghests that come endlessly.

Angered the heroes quickly dispatch the remaining moulders and barghests that stayed back to prevent them from giving a meaningful chase.

Quellen: Well, that could have gone better.

Reynhart’s hands make a fist as he slams one into the closest tree. “What in the hells did that dragon want way out here?”

Quellen: That ore is called aurium, it is as magnificent in look as any gold and is stronger than any steel.

Tomble: ‘Twas very shineeee!

Ashrian looking distraught strides up behind Tomble and places her delicate hand on his tiny shoulder, “It is time to mourn Tomble, innocents died today.”

Quietly and sorrowfully the companions dug four graves for the miners that had been working the nearby ore veins for the barony.

As they make their way back to the main road Ashrian begins conversation to get the group back to a focal point.

Ashrian: I did engage the dragon as I was trying to rush to the aid of the miners.

Quellen: You seem to be fine.

Ashrian: It was more interested in guarding the aurium, I managed to knock out one of its scales.

Ashrian holds up a glowing red scale, “I believe I can work with the spirits and call forth her fiery powers to aid us as well.”

Quellen: Good, where did your staff go?

Ashrian: She kind of ate it…

Tomble: Hope she chokes on it!

Everyone chuckles just a little as they gather their horses and set back toward the path deeper into the Carthmounts.

Links
Back to Prologue
Reynhart’s Journal
Chapter 2 – Rude Awakening

Chapter One - Gold Digger

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