Wisteria Chronicles

Long Live the Queen

The High Queen is dead.

Rumor has already spread like wildfire by the time the party manages to escape the Cave of Souls and re-enter the surface world once more. They make camp on the northern bluffs for the night, tired and exhausted from their underground travels, now heavy another member: a strange Tiefling with the ability to transform into a large, bone-plated cat. Speaking with this man, who has yet to give them a proper name by which to call him, is difficult. He speaks only a strange form of Elven and Infernal, and knows nothing about the world from above, almost as though he were born in a time long ago, long since forgotten. Little small talk or conversation takes place on the first night, the group being too tired and hungry for much conversation. Instead, they set up a night watch and go to sleep.

Naturally, sleep doesn’t last long. Spiders. Many of them. They swarm the little camp, incapacitating Valdar for much of the battle. The Guardian—the cat-Tiefling—struggles to regain control of his old magic, leaving Arula and Lyle to deal with most of the combat. As skilled as they are, they too struggle to remain fierce as wave after wave of spiders crawl forth from the rotting, decaying forest to the south. Just when it seems as though they might very well be out-matched, a volley of arrows rains from the sky.

“My name is Volke, and you lot need to get out of here”. He’s a dark stranger, dressed in deep forest greens and brown leathers, with chestnut hair and warm green eyes. He leads the party deep into the forest, much to the dismay of Arula, to a small cottage that he’s built for himself, carefully camouflaged with sticks, leaves and vines. A hot meal and warm drinks await the party as Volke asks them their purpose and relates to them the news from the city. Much has happened in the single day that the party was gone.

The High Queen of Analeise is dead, slain in a supposed revolt in the city instigated by a group of underground nomadic Tieflings. The Church of Pelor doesn’t seem to have a direct involvement, though the three grave robbers that the party encountered in the Cave of Souls seems to be connected to High Priest Ordello. He’s been searching for rare and valuable objects. When this is mentioned, Arula turns her eyes to the Guardian, and notes that he took a scroll from one of his dead brothers in the Cave of Souls. The Guardian calls it “The Song of Aelhu” and reads it to them.

Silence permeates the room for a long moment, and when next Volke speaks it is to Lyle, in a strange, code-like language that the rest of the party can’t seem to understand. He tells him to go to the outskirts of Analeise, where there is a small tent city erected. Passage into the city is barred, but the man that Lyle is sent to seek should not be within the city walls. His name is Kendrin, and he will have information both about the goings-on in the city as well as about the nature of the strange scroll that The Guardian carries.

Game One: An Unlikely Beginning

The day opened in the ruined Capital City of Analeise on a dreary, rainy day. Kira, a local cleric of Kord, busied himself in the library searching for any information that could lead to the reversing of the Rot, though to no avail. His thoughts were interrupted as he noticed a large gathering of people just outside in the main square, where a Cleric of Pelor stood speaking to the crowd.

Among those in the crowd are Valdar, a human bowyer known for his craftsmanship within the city; Lyle, a halfling nomad; and Arula, a mysterious and distant half-elf of the wood who came into town only to have her bow fixed. High Priest Ordello has asked for any able bodied person to venture north, where a small cave is known to lay on the treeline. Word has it that fresh water runs freely in that place, and any person who brings back proof of it’s existence will receive fresh food and water for a week, as well as gold. Unfortunately the fear of the things that lurk in the woods is a powerful one, and so no man from the city will step up and take on the quest. In fact, the only people to speak up and offer their services are Valdar, Kira, Lyle and a grudging Arula. They agree to meet in the morning at the guard-house north of the city, and part ways to take care of their own errands and preparations.

Finding the cave the next day is a matter of simplicity. After receiving a map from one of the Clerics of Pelor, they follow it to the north where the cave is located. Expecting to find a large stony mouth of a cave, they are instead greeted by a large hole in the ground which, upon closer inspection, tunnels beneath the earth, sloping rather deeply and opening up into a wide—if not tall—passage. They follow the passage as it leads them further underground, pausing only to share their uneasiness when they find a mutated skeleton, before continuing on again. After a few long moments of walking, they find themselves in a large cavern, and find that they can hear the distinct sound of precious water. The group immediately sets to finding the source of this water, and soon discover that it comes from a narrow gap in the far wall, precisely at the point where wall and floor would meet. Stepping back to get a closer look, they realize that there is writing on the wall, and that there is a great carving of a rearing horse in the floor. This strange writing could pass for Elven, once upon a time, but… it might also have been something else entirely. Through closer inspection and guesswork, Lyle finds four points in the text where it repeats the same word and presses his hand upon it. Nothing happens. Kira steps forward, placing his hand on one of the points in tandem with Lyle and without warning the wall erupts with warm green light. At this point, Valdar and Arula step forward, awed by what they see and touch the remaining two spots. The wall begins to crumble from the top, and finally simply caves in, spilling rock and debris into the cavern.

When the moment passes and it seems that the threat of danger has passed, the group slowly moves forward to peer inside. They find a largely empty but perfectly round stone room. In the center of the room, on a small dais, is what looks like a sleeping creature, obviously made from stone. The far wall to the left is a long stone sarcophagus, and lining the walls of the room are empty stone shelves. While Valdar and Kira go to examine the sarcophagus, Arula studies the small fountain of clear, pristine water that surrounds the dais, and Lyle looks at the statue. After a long moment of searching, he gets the feeling that it… might… be looking at him, that there is a faint green glow in its eyes. Finding nothing, not even dust in the sarcophagus, Kiro and Valdar both return to the group, stepping forward to examine the water and trying to convince Lyle that the statue is not looking at him. It seems that Lyle is, at first, the only person to hear the soft, faint sound of crackling stone. And then again. And then again.

A hush falls over the party, and for a moment no one dares to even breathe. And then, they hear it too: the soft, faint sound of stone grinding against stone, snapping and then breaking. Looking to the statue, they see several long lines of cracks slowly spidering out and rippling down the statue’s body. Before any of them can remark about it, a great shudder runs though it causing the rest of the stone to shudder and crumble away, leaving behind a massive creature with the face of a lizard and the grace of a cat. It has bright green eyes and it stares at the party with fierce intensity. Lyle loses his nerve and shoots at it, but is shaking so badly that he misses and the bolt from his crossbow ricochets off the ceiling and bounces uselessly onto the ground. The creature snarls and speaks in a low, guttural language that barely sounds like Infernal, demanding to know who these people are and why they’re there. Valdar, speaking in at best broken Infernal, tells the creature of their names and asks for its own. It responds with a very long sort of name. After a moment, his attention is caught by the disruption of the sarcophagus that Kira had opened, and he bounds over to it, despair setting in to find that it is empty. Anger is the second emotion the creature feels as it turns fierce, angry eyes onto Kira.

“What did you do with him?!”


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