Emerging victorious in the battle with the kobolds, the Heroes of Hawksbridge found a book written in a strange language. Deciding to have it translated, they agreed to return to Hawksbridge. Crono felt it most closely resembled Draconic script, and as they made their way back to town, they pondered on who could decipher it for them.
Upon their return to the village, they made their way to the Sleeping Wizard Inn to talk to Dani and ask her advice. The beautiful innkeeper could only shrug her shapely shoulders. “If its Draconic, talk to Vhonarrys at the Grinning Dragon Inn. If its magic, maybe see if you can get that reclusive wizard to read it . . . what’s his name? Marthell? You know, the one who lives in that tower just to the west of town.”
The Heroes thanked Dani and left the inn, heading to the Grinning Dragon on the other side of the village. It took very little urging to convince Vhonarrys to translate the text. The burly dragonborn hunched over the book, reading it at the end of the bar.
“This looks like a child wrote it . . . you found it off kobolds? Guess that explains that.” The dragonborn read on in silence for a few short moments. “It looks like its a religious text of some sort. It describes in simple detail the veneration and rituals of the worship of a being referred to only as the ‘True Lord of the Earth.’ It describes this ‘True Lord’ as being very elemental, with lots of fire, lightning, thunder, burning acid, and freezing cold. If it didn’t repeatedly refer to the ‘True Lord’ as a he, I’d almost think they were talking about Tiamat.”
Vhonarrys reached below the bar to grab a pencil and a piece of paper. “There’s a note written in the back of the book as well. Sounds interesting, so I’ll write out the translation for you. But it says:
Vogran, (Who’s this guy? The guy you got this book from?)
Some foul dwarves have gotten too close to Podif’s Well. Eliminate them. And bring the hatchling (Hmm? That overgrown lizard you brought in here?). Just keep Malyx (Huh? Is that the name of the hatchling, or someone else?) safe. Amarindul’s (Ok, who’s this guy?) wrath will be great, should he be harmed.
—Tiirin (I guess he’s the boss?)”
The dragonborn innkeeper slid the book back to Stravo. “None of those names mean anything to me. Good luck finding out who or what they are.” The party thanked Vhonarrys for the help, leaving him a small stack of gold for his assistance.
The party decided to split, with Stravo and Crono heading west to visit the tower of the wizard, Marthell. Shivra had some unnamed business to attend to as well, something that would require her time for the next few days. The others would remain in town and take care of business there.
Stravo and Crono travelled to the wizard’s tower, which stood a good distance away from Hawksbridge. After a bit of waiting and negotiating with the wizard’s apprentice, the duo eventually met with Marthell. The wizard examined the scroll with great interest, but could recognize none of the names. He agreed to send off an inquiry to his colleagues in larger cities with more extensive libraries, but it would take some time and money to investigate this further. The bard and swordmage agreed to the wizard’s assistance and vowed to return in a week’s time or so.
Back at the village, Eth, Malroc, and Luak handled their mundane business, selling off their old gear and buying new potions and equipment. The goliath seemed particularly moody and distant and the elf and minotaur didn’t bother him. Upon Stravo and Crono’s return, he announced his decision to leave the group. The barbarian felt like a great deal of guilt and shame for needing to be raised from the dead. He felt like he needed some time and more training until he felt like he was worthy to stand beside them again, and so would travel alone for a while. When he felt stronger and worthy once again, he would await them here at the Sleeping Wizard Inn to rejoin them.
It was with a tinge of sadness and regret that the party made ready for their journey, now without their goliath friend. The mood was somber and grey, and although Stravo tried his best to cheer up his comrades, few smiles were to be found.
The party’s misgivings were well founded. At perhaps a day’s travel out from Hawksbridge, the group again encountered another group of orcish raiders, this one very well-equipped, accompanied by a powerful spellcaster and an elusive tiefling rogue. Without the might of their barbarian friend, the heroes had a very difficult battle ahead of them. The spellcaster proved difficult but the tiefling was downright lethal. He possessed a magic ability that let him teleport and become invisible for short periods of time, but enough to wreck havoc on the party. During the fight, the tiefling rogue was able to move past the party’s warriors and land a devastating blow on Eth. The elf druid, caught by surprise, barely had time to cry out before the enemy rogue pierced him through with a poisoned short sword. Shivra tried to come to the fallen druid’s defense, but the tiefling turned his poisoned sword on her as well, leaving her bloodied and extremely weakened. As they eliminated the rest of the enemies, the rest of the party was able to concentrate their attacks on the scoundrel tiefling and enact a brutal vengeance.
Though they emerged victorious, the battle had left them badly wounded and in need of rest, as well as in need of aid for their fallen comrade. Distraught and flustered, they gathered the body of their friend and turned back to the village of Hawksbridge.