Unfortunately, the cleric and archer had to log out for the night and could not join everyone for the next leg of the adventure. The remaining players returned to Watch-Captain Nesh and presented him with evidence of their success in destroying the wight. Captain Nesh recognized the scalpel used by the murderous doctor so many years ago and judged their tale to be true. He had their names recorded as allowed to pass through the wards of the city and gave them a letter to deliver to the palace for their audience with the king.
As they had a few hours to spare before their scheduled audience, they went to Xandrite Mages Guild to have some items identified. While there, they learned that this is not the original home of the Mages Guild, but it is all that is left after Mortis Citadel was destroyed.
They arrived at the palace for their audience with the king and were led to the throne room. King Feyed Risosaseletil introduced himself and asked them to have lunch with him. He thanked them for their service to his city and asked they perform another service for him.
As they ate, he began his tale by pointing out a window. The spectacular view showed the Western Ward and the countryside beyond the walls of the city. Two roads branched out away from the gates. One led down the coastline and the other led to a wooded area. Beyond those woods, lay a torn and burnt out husk of what appeared to be the other half of the once healthy forest. Beyond that desolated area, a citadel embedded itself into the side of the mountain.
‘It happened three years ago,’ the king began, ’My daughter attended Mortis Citadel as all nobility of Xandrite attend. Late one evening, emergency fires appeared along the top of the citadel walls. Magic messages were sent to us alerting us to demonic forces assaulting the citadel. Within hours, the army had mobilized and marched towards the citadel to save them.
‘About halfway through the forest, we were met with severe resistance from an army of grotesque demonic creatures. Some stood over ten feet tall and all had faces straight out of some twisted nightmare of a lunatic.’
The king set down his goblet of wine and noticed his hand trembling at the memory. He continued, ’We battled them on the field that day, the strength of human flesh against consuming darkness, and we faced defeat. With our defeat, the demons would overrun the walls of Xandrite and from there, they would have access to the rest of the world.
‘The leader of the Xandrite Mages Guild came to me with a desperate plan which would see us winning the day, but at a terrible cost. We enacted his plan and a great wall of ice was formed by the guild mages, temporarily cutting off both armies from each other. Xandrite’s army formed a hasty retreat, while the Guild Master prepared to cast his final spell.
’He stood against the Ice Wall as it began to crumble, while his acolytes stood in the center of the forest building up energy. All at once the ground shook with the force of lumbering giants and blasts of radiance burst forth from the acolytes, striking against the wall of ice, melting it instantly and flinging the creatures back against the mountainside.
’At that same moment, the Guild Leader set off his spell and an energy wall appeared in from the staff in from of him. It expanded rapidly outward until it encased the army where they lay and turned the Guild Leader to stone. The army was trapped and sealed within, however, the school remained within the barrier and vulnerable to the creatures.
‘We assumed that everyone was lost, but yesterday a magic message was sent to me from my daughter saying that she was still alive, but trapped. It is possible that she is still alive if she had her shield guardian with her when the citadel fell.’
The king picked up his wine glass again and took a long drink. ‘Is my daughter still alive? I don’t know. That is what I need you to learn and rescue her if you can. In return for this favor, you can name your price. You will also be given free access to the portal spire outside the palace which you kind uses to travel between worlds.’
The party set out immediately for the citadel. They were joined at this time by a wizard player in their guild. At the entrance to the forest, they encountered a sign which read, “Azreth’s Folly – Turn Back”. They decided to press on and encountered some giant toads who mistook the party for flies and tried to eat them. The group quickly learned the advantages of having your healer logged into the game as a couple of them almost went down.
They rested briefly before moving onward and soon heard the sounds of a struggle ahead. They came upon the scene of a battle being waged between a small group of players and frog-like humanoids and giant frogs. The other players had done well in the struggle, but the numbers had just begun to overwhelm them. With the aid of our heroes, the creatures were easily dispatched.
The new players introduced themselves as the 5 Dragons. The group consisted of a large warrior, Panzer; a healer, Father; another warrior, Athena; a mage, Snowfire; and a rogue, Peacemaker. After a brief conversation, the Five Dragons felt it would be better for them to press on to Xandrite and stay out of Mortis Citadel. They bid our heroes farewell and went on their way.
A short time later, the party found themselves standing at the statue of the Guild Master the king had mentioned earlier. On his chest rested a softly, glowing amulet. A plaque underneath the statue read, “May Azreth forever stand watch over his folly and hold back the darkness.”
The party ended the evening standing at the base of the path leading up to the citadel, not knowing what horrors might be waiting for them when they return…