Your adventures started by taking on a job from an old employer involving the capture of some kobolds. Having accomplished that mission, you were heading back to meet the employer at the Inn of the Lost Sparrow in the city of Absalom when you overheard a woman being beaten in an alleyway. After rescuing her, you find out that she is in fact the old man who hired you, and that the old man persona is her favorite disguise. Berillindra Foxheart is a disciple of the goddess Sivhana, and Sivhana has used Berillindra as a medium to deliver instructions for an important task.
Willing to prove yourselves and assist, you traveled to the docks of Absalom in order to stop a shipment of mysterious ore called astracite; supposedly having come from the bottom of the sea. A battle broke out with those carrying the valuable cargo; the fight was deadly on both sides. Having proved yourselves dedicated to the tasks asked of you by Berillindra, you all entered a deep trance where you had a vision of a woman—maybe an elf?—veiled with seven multicolored sheer cloths. A desperate plea settled among your thoughts—do not let the ancient resurgence of Theomancy resurface. Experience and wisdom flooded your souls. You emerged from the dream-like state personally enhanced and more powerful than you could have imagined possible. Surely this goddess is sincere and giving. The cost of failure must be steep for such a direct divine intervention.
Ready to begin such a massive undertaking—you begin where all good adventures begin; by asking the bartender what he knows! Tomcek (pronounced TOM-check) Bombadil, a portly human, is the keep at the Inn of the Lost Sparrow. He knows much of what goes on inside the Merchant’s Quarter, and is a personal friend of Berillindra. Tomcek sets you on the path of locating one of his top informants, Sven Bloodshield, for more information on the shipments of astracite.
Bloodshield is an eccentric half dwarf, half elf (unbelievingly, at least that’s what he appears to be). He’s an illusionist, like Foxheart, and utilizes his powers to adjust the appeareance of his quarters. His homestead constantly changes, you come to find out. Bloodshield keeps his interests mobile, however, he’s currently holed up in the Wise Quarter. He gives the party information regarding caravans of wagons that leave the city at night and race north with supernatural speed.
Meanwhile, Ug, the selfless Paladin in your party, has set up a soup kitchen in the distraught section of Absalom known as The Puddles. A faithless, drunk friar named Friar Jacobson has been given managerial status over the soup kitchen. What’s more, Ug has given a poor family, the Scotts, 500gp to run the soup kitchen. It’s most dutifully run by the Scotts’ only son, Henry.
The trip northwards out of the city to investigate the mysterious caravans brought the party to revel in the sight of the glorious and intimidating Kortos Mountains. Quickly the party learned that the caravans were being escorted by earth elementals. After an initial battle with a caravan, the party succeeded in recovering some chunk of the raw ore which contains the astracite. That ore was placed in a bank safe-deposit box.
Knowing that whoever or whatever has been buying up this ore must reside in the Kortos Mountains, and that this person/thing is now missing a shipment, the party split up in order to avoid detection. However, realizing that the wagon driver who was killed in the previous battle more than likely had information on where the ore was going, the dwarven cleric Ivan Thunderbeard, set out on his own in order to cast Speak with Dead on the corpse of the driver. His plan to be stealthy did not succeed, as Ivan did not know that earth elementals have an ability called tremorsense that allows them to “see” anything that is on the ground, and since the party’s victory over the previous wagon, the security had been stepped up a bit. Ivan Dismissed one of the elementals outright, but was unable to do so to the next two. Air Walk provided a nice defense for Ivan, who was holding his own until Ttef Abob, the half-orc ranger, appeared from the south. Ttef was one of the first party members to go rooting around Absalom on his own a few days prior and had not been seen since.
With another arrival on Ttef’s heels, the dwarven crossbowmen Garrick helped to even the odds. The wagon got away but not without sustaining heavy casualties from an Air Walking dwarven artillery unit. Ivan cast Speak with Dead on the corpse of the wagon driver from the first encounter and learned of a riddle that all wagon drivers are given:
A riddle is powerful where a key works naught,
Because unlocking one’s mind can never be bought.
As a map is useless without a mind to interpret
The three answers of this key will go to one who deserves it:
The maw of the rhino is docile and tame,
Yet three points to its north are deadly by name.
To anger a Gold, one must wish to die,
Yet to appease a Gold is to light up the sky.
Strike once, strike twice, strike thrice to show
The realm of the Gold in the valley below.
The corpse’s final words were that of a mysterious “Mapmaker” who gave him a map along with the riddle. Unfortunately this map was never found. Assuming that the Mapmaker then can help out the party just as he/she helped the wagon driver, a search for this mapmaker began.
Reconvening in Absalom, the party took different tacks: the dwarven druid, Wjotek (pronounced WO-tek), turned into a shark and swam to the southern continent where he explored Osirion, the Ancient-Egyptian-like kingdom. Unsuccessful there, he flew, in the form of a bird, back to Absalom.
Ivan spent time making a shiny new piece of armor. Ask him about it.
Finally, Wjotek tracked down the actual name of a mage called The Mapmaker who resides within the ancient school of magic, the Arcanamirium. Reuniting with Ivan, both entered the Arcanamirium, guided by the attendant shield golem. The school is arcane magic at its best. Led down an unnerving hall that actually spiraled like a screw, Wjotek and Ivan entered a large room that contained a massive glass sphere. The sphere was illuminated with different maps of the world, only to dissipate with a flash of gold light that outlined the contours of the lands themselves, and reconfigured into a different map in a liquid movement of cartographic awe.
A door appeared in the sphere, and the two adventures stepped inside a beautiful study room, with dark wood bookshelves on either side. A halfling sat behind a large carved and inlaid desk. The halfling known as The Mapmaker is a wise mage known as Baldwin Alec. He gives Ivan and Wjotek a map of the Kortos Mountains for a fee—the same map that he draws all of the patrons who come to him with that riddle. The map is magical. Baldwin also lets it known—through casual conversation and an assumption on his part that Ivan and Wjotek know their employer based on the fact that they have the riddle—that the person in the Kortos Mountains who has requested Baldwin’s help in drawing the maps is named Marganis. The Mapmaker doesn’t seem to be in collusion with this Marganis, but rather simply performing a service that he’s obviously been handsomely paid for.
Now with a general understanding of where to go, Ivan and Wjotek headed into the mountains, but not before the ran into Berillindra Foxheart, who had been missing for months. Berillindra warned the duo that werewolves were in the mountains, and she herself had been infected with the disease of lycanthropy. Ivan Thunderhead took Berillindra to one of the largest churches of Torag in the city of Absalom; with its mountainous spires and crenellations, the church is nearly a citadel. Ivan spoke with some of the higher echelons in the clergy and told them of the happenings to the north. They cured Berillindra and gave Ivan access to the church’s armory where he was lent a silvered warhammer. The warhammer is lent with a cost of tithing to the church.
Berillindra tells Wjotek and Ivan that the werewolves seem to be working together with a large army of orcs that have made a home in the Kortos Mountains. Also, a vicious Cyclops was spotted in the area, which is extremely off because a Cyclops has never been reported on the Isle of Kortos.
Wjotek and Ivan headed north into the mountains where they witnessed, from afar, the Cyclops destroy a contingent of orcs. While they were viewing the carnage, a centaur stepped out from the foliage and introduced himself as Kalis. Kalis asked their business in the valley and, although generally friendly, was rather curt as most centaurs are. He told Ivan and Wjotek that the fey would be keeping an eye on the travelers, but also gave them a warning to stay out of the Cyclops’ way. The centaurs have not solved the mysetery of the caravan wagons that have been winding their way through the vales of the Kortos Mountains, but many of their scouts have followed them.
Shortly after the meeting with Kalis, Ivan and Wjotek were set on by four werewolves in the forest. They quickly dispatched these, but have not yet discerned why werewolves have sided with orcs.