Kronk was still feeling the effects of Evil Taint Contagion which the temple of Pelor was unable to cure; his feet curling and turning inwards painfully, slowing him down. The party tried solving this puzzle but lacked the skills to do so, until stupendous use of diplomacy and gold was tried. Tordek drank heavily and expensively with Delvar Dragonslayer, a semi-retired dwarwen adventurer who suggested the sage Iccarus Irascius may help – he helped him and his friends identify a few odd trinkets from a dragon hoard.
On Delvar’s advice Tordek brought the best food and wine the best inn in town had to offer when going to see Iccarus (conveniently Delvar and Tordek was already drinking the best dwarwen ales the same inn had to offer – paid for with Tordek’s gold). Flattery, food, and diplomacy carried the day, and Iccarus agreed to help solve the intriguing puzzle which had stumped the entire temple of Pelor. While Kronk stayed at the temple “for his own protection” Iccarus questioned Tordek and Thorgrim (and continued eating the best food and wine the town had to offer).
The spreading of evil with physical symptoms in an almost contagion like manner is similar to little known events after the Skymountain Cataclysm some 300 years ago, and may have ultimately triggered the decline of the Kingdom of Keoland. Iccarus is happy to (insists on) explain after a “short” history lesson.
Skymountain Cataclysm: 300 or so years ago a fiery sky-mountain travelled across the northern sky and fell to the north, causing great fear, hitting hard enough to shake the very earth. The Skymountain hit the mountains north of Dim Forrest, creating the Valley of the Mage, but some believe smaller pieces fell further south. The shifting of the land also created and enlarged the Rushmore swamp, forcing the kings of Grand Marsh to abandon their ancestral home. This was followed by the 3 Year Winter causing much suffering hunger and death, and the 7 Years of Difficulties as Keoland was wreaked by the civil war when nobles fought for The Rainbow Throne of the empire. Some say this heralded the decline of Keoland – certainly the fortunes of Keoland and it’s nobles has been poor ever since. In the dark days that followed, the old noble houses of Bissel and Grand March felt betrayed by lack of support during The Difficulties. Wanting to leave the empire they revolted. Bissel succeed in leaving the empire (mainly because it was perceived as more trouble to defend than it was worth). Grand March was less fortunate and faced harsh reprisals becoming a Satrapcy rather than province of the empire with much of the nobility replaced by southern nobles who saw Grand March as a source of tax money, but not a place to live or govern well.
What only a few of the wisest sages know is that the emperor and his family started showing signs of great depravity, evil, and bizarre physical symptoms. When similar isolated events happened all over the south where black pieces of the Skymountain allegedly had fallen, rumours started that the magnificent “black crystal heart” jewelry that Ket had offered as wedding present to the emperor was fashioned from the heart of the Skymontain, that it was a piece of “solid evil given form”. No one knows what became of the black crystal heart during the civil war.
Iccarus hypothesize the obsidian dagger found by the party in the sunken keep in Rushmore is a piece of the Skymountain, and the cause of Kronk’s problems.
Despite Kronk’s reluctance to be parted with the dagger, the priests of Pelor performs a test – dropping the dagger into a vat of holy water, which immediately stats to steam and boil. The vat and dagger is quickly moved to the vaults of the temple for safe keeping, with mutterings of “embryonic evil artifact” from a quickly silenced priest. Again several priests cast various high level spells on Kronk, and to everybody’s relief the physical symptoms of evil tainted contagion disappear.
Except for a desire to see and hold the dagger one last time Kronk seems no worse for his brush with Evil. The temple of Pelor suggest that some time and distance between Kronk and the dagger would be wise, and suggests he leave town.
After 2 weeks of uneventful travel, just as they approach the village of Millborne in Haranshire the party is attacked by brigands. Some farmers the party just passed on road runs towards them for protection – or so it seemed. When reaching party they attack the party, trying to kill Tordek and knock Thorgrim unconscious while the brigands at the forest edge and Kronk discusses their differences with cold steel.
After Action Report
Kronk cured of Taint but misses his dagger. The black obsidian dagger is now in the care of the temple of Pelor in Hochoch.
On way to deliver magic reactants to the wizard Tauster in Thurmaster in the Haranshire the party is attacked by brigands just as the near the village of Millborne in Harenshire
1,386 xp total, Kronk, Thorgrim, and Tordek get 693 xp each.
- Skill challenge to cure Kronk 600 xp
- 1 human Guard @350 xp captured (Carlanis)
- 3 human bandits @125 = 375 xp
- 2 human rabble @ 31 = 61 xp
- -270 GP used on ale, food, and hiring a sage to solve skill challenge
- bandits equipment (bows swords leather chain etc) : 50-70 gp of goods (diplomacy to turn to cash)
(5 Journal entries in characters voice gets you pick of magic item @ level)