Book One: Ordered by Gods

Riddles for Answers
Cuthberta Menteselunday, Mentedakarday & Mentemoraday

An Account by Thalazzar

The fire crackled on the beach of Göesse as Thalazzar and his companions sorted through the days' adventures. Seated on a washed up log, Thalazzar watched as the fire's light danced on the evening mist coming in off Lake Dakar. Tiberio sat beside the wizard, strumming quietly as the group talked, trying to decide where they would go next.

At the troll cave they had discovered ominous things. They had found a malfunctioning magic gate and a large war cache hidden in a stone chamber that Domaldi had not found on his previous encounter at this cave. It looked probable that there were in fact several gates, created long ago in the Age of Giants that mysterious powers were using to stage attacks against the Federation. The weapons, gold, identity documents, and Kronos banking slips that were found seemed stored for use in a conflict. Thalazzar was entrusted with the documents for further study and also kept a fine dagger. Domaldi was given a magic sword found on the unfortunate hobgoblin. The only good sign was the corpse of a hobgoblin warrior, severed in half by the unstable magic of the portal. One could only conclude, however, that as magic gradually returned to normal, so to would the portals used by the Federation's enemies. The party had taken the gold and documents, leaving the arms to be dealt with by the Keepers.

Upon the party's return to Goesse, they were met by Arek of Moradin who had had adventures of his own during his separation from his companions. Arek had tracked down the hideout of the Monotheocratic Order agents only to find them dead. Having found an owl feather that could only have come from Tyconderoga, Tallim's escaped familiar, it was concluded that the agents who had planned to smuggle the war clockwork were the same agents who recently smuggled Tallim into the Order. The trail seemed to lead to the coastal city of Telemar, close to the Wall of the Righteous. Thalazzar suggested that after investigating the Saltwater Barrows the party's path should lead to that southern city.

Arek had also found documents and items that provided more riddles than answers. The agents had carried holy symbols of the Order's deity, copies of their sacred religious text, ceremonial narcotics and a strange leather disc. They also carried enchanted scrolls that Thalazzar had taken for further study.

The wizard had a great deal to study in fact. Besides the documents, scrolls, and sacred text, the leather disc bore an inscription with curious resemblance to Thalazzar's name - Thala Xevar. Seated around the fire, his companions debated its significance with the beggar going so far as to suggest a return to the Sss'Raast Temple where Arek had found it.

"This disc has a personal connection to me that I am not yet fully aware of" recounted the wizard. "Its magic is both familiar and foreign to me, given that it seems to originate in the Order, a place that I have never been."

The wizard leaned forward towards the fire as his companions turned their attention to him.

"My magic is limited by the recent troubles but even if I was as strong as I can be, there are things about my powers that remain a mystery - even to me."

"I will contemplate on this further," concluded Thalazzar, "for now we should focus on answering the riddle of the Dream of Horrors and that means finding Tallim. While it would have been better to question them, we are fortunate in a sense that the agents of the Order are dead as no one in Telemar will have yet heard of our quest."

Thalazzar had no answers to his companion's questions so they did not ask any. Instead, the conversation turned to the next day and the lengthy march to the Saltwater Barrows. There, perhaps, answers might finally be found to some of their questions.

Gremlins! Thalazzar could not contain his pleasure as the tiny devils swarmed over the hide of the enormous ogre amongst the Barrows. Their tiny claws grasping miniature weapons that stabbed over and over again like hornets defending their nest from a Land's Edge boar. He could not help ponder again the vast power behind the horde in the Dream of Horrors without a small amount of jealously. Protected by his own shimmering abjuration, Thalazzar held no fears that victory would eventually be theirs.

To his left, the gleaming Domaldi used his magic sword to lethal effect, felling a giant easily twice his size with one powerful stroke. "Ogre slayer, Keeper's son" - a fitting description as Tiberio sung an encouraging tune from behind. Close to the wizard was Frankie, the gnome's whirling mechanical contraption launching a torrent of iron bolts at their enemies. One by one, the beasts fell with only a few wounds spread amongst his companions.

When it was over, the spoils were theirs. The Barrows lay before them and another day's adventure lay ahead!

Anaccount by Inigo

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