Desperate to aid his comrades in their hour of peril, Ferram struck a deal with the mysterious wizard Abernathy the Great: instant transport to his friends’ location in the depths of of the Crippled Skulls’ cavernous lair in exchange for an unspecified favor to be redeemed at the time of the wizard’s choosing. Thus reunited, the party pushed deeper into the warren, cunning traps and monstrous adversaries equally unable to blunt the momentum of their heroic destiny. Through a subterranean jail containing a mad dwarf and and a magic amulet; past a quartet of skeletal marionettes and their goblin master; into a dark temple to a beastly god- our heroes pressed on, fear and doubt as ineffectual against their resolve as steel and magic against their physical armor.
Finally, the adventurers broke through to Vraklin’s inner sanctum. Their skills and bravery were truly tested as they faced not only the necromancer, but the final product of his dark experiments- the hideous abomination known as a sickled corpse. The air grew thick with the deadly shriek of Serpenthelm’s steel and the awesome hum of Avarron’s spells. Ferram’s fists blurred past the point of visibility as Praezbie channeled the full awesome power of his god. In the end, Vraklin lay unconscious on the stone floor beside his lifeless creation.
Emerging from the the warren, the battered and exhausted heroes were met with the startling sight of hundreds of hostile canine eyes. What seemed to be the entire Crippled Skulls clan of coblynau crowded around them, weapons pointed, mouths full of sharp teeth quivering in silent anticipation. Finally, after a seeming eternity, the crowd parted and single figure approached the party. King Rayfuss of the Crippled Skulls thanked the adventurers for liberating his people from Vraklin’s evil influence and demanded that he be turned over to the clan to face justice under their ancient laws. Our heroes had little choice but to comply. They set off on the road the Gafolweed, bearing the damaged sickled hand and the promise of a new era of peace between humans and coblynau.
Arriving in Gafolweed at mid morning, the adventurers were nearly lifted off the ground as a waiting crowd of townsfolk propelled them in a jubilant mass to the Honeybead tavern. The volume of the people’s cheers was rivaled only by the volume of the complimentary apple whiskey poured as the town celebrated their deliverance at the hands of the unlikely band of heroes.
That is, until a hush abruptly fell over the tavern. A distinguished looking gentleman of some years approached the party’s table, the silent respect of the crowd alerting our heroes to his importance. He introduced himself as Harris Mortimer, barrister and representative of the famed adventurer Marcellus Drake, and proceeded to unleash a series of shocking revelations.
Firstly, it seemed, Marcellus Drake was dead, having drowned in his bath the prior evening. A collective gasp arose from the townspeople at the news.
Secondly, Marcellus Drake had named heirs to his massive estate- our heroes, although none of them had ever met the deceased.
“Mind you, not specifically by name, as it is unlikely your paths ever crossed his,” Mortimer clarified. “ His exact words were to leave his worldly goods to ‘those of stout heart and sharp mind that endeavored to be more than the common man.’ Given your recent accomplishments, you seem to fit that description.”
Before the import of the fist two statements had even really registered, Mortimer delivered his third and final piece of improbable news: the inheritance was dependent on the completion of a specific task no later than midnight of that very night. This task was unknown even to him, being detailed in in a sealed codicil to be read at Marcellus’ mansion at dusk.
After giving directions and answering a few questions, Mortimer departed, leaving our stunned heroes to ponder a number of questions:
Who was this Marcellus Drake, and were they really the proper heirs to his estate?
Did this have any connection to their recent adventure with the Coblynau?
And would it ever be possible for them to have a quite drink in a backwoods tavern without destiny dumping a quest their laps?!?!