Star of Khar'ta
The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
- A speck of blue-green light appeared in the sky above Wehnimer's Landing, twinkling periodically throughout the night for over a week. Eventually, the light grew in size and fell from the sky, creating a giant crater along the Coastal Cliffs near town and sending quakes throughout the area. Local adventures rushed to the site of the crater, where they found a gnome crawling out of the broken earth, carrying a glowing green crystal orb. The gnome, a resident of Grawood farm named Murley, claimed to have seen the light fall from the sky and curiosity drove him into the crater. Soon, Mayor Walkar arrived along with some militia guards, who confiscated the orb from Murley, declaring it should be examined by the town's arch mage and museum curator.
- After much examination and research, the museum curator Glethad, and the arch mage Pherantyr, determined that the orb that fell from the sky was an ancient historical relic, that held many meanings to a handful of different cultures. The elves believed the item to be called the Eye of Ta'Ashrim, possessing the souls of fallen Ashrim who were entrapped during the final days of the war against the Faendryl. The humans of the coastal territories within the Turamzzyrian Empire called it the Gale Stone, believing its powers once destroyed the island of Kezmon. The krolvin called it the Star of Khar'ta, believing it was part of the essence of their sea god, and an omen for their conquests. The artifact was then put up on display in Wehnimer's museum, where a number of protective wards were established by the arch mage Pherantyr. Only the mage or the curator possessed the knowledge to deactivate the runes.
- Mayor Walkar informs the town that Murley, the gnome who originally discovered the artifact, was given compensation for his "donation" to the museum and was said to be returning to Grawood farm.
- The Argent Mirror of Ta'Illistim, hearing reports of the relic being discovered, dispatched an envoy of scholars and members of her Sapphire Guard, led by the Loremaster Caylio to Wehnimer's Landing to examine the artifact. She stated that if the relic was indeed discovered to be the Eye of Ta'Ashrim, that it should be handed over to the Elven Houses.
- A ship, the Dirty Knave, docks in Wehnimer's Landing, flying the banners of Seareach and Brisker's Cove. Its captain is Thanden, an ex-pirate who was once handed over to the Turamzzyrian Empire by Mayor Walkar for being an imperial fugitive. Somewhere along the way, Thanden claimed to have been reformed and now worked as a merchant out of Brisker's Cove, merely showing up for business. Not wishing to upset alliances within the Empire, Mayor Walkar allowed Thanden to remain in town, but warned him that no trouble would be tolerated.
- Loremaster Caylio and his Illistim scholar envoy arrived in Wehnimer's Landing and were set up with quarters by the town's officials. They were freely allowed to examine and study the artifact inside the museum, while both members of the Wehnimer's militia, and the Sapphire Guard provided security at all times.
- The merchant Juramis arrived in Wehnimer's Landing, offering aid to Mayor Walkar and the townspeople. He set about trying to gather information regarding Thanden and his mysterious benefactor, and how he came to going from a fugitive pirate to a merchant captain.
- Reports came in that krolvin warships were seen a few days away from Wehnimer's Landing.
- Murley, the gnome who discover the orb, was spotted in the Landing museum, his eyes glowing green and seemingly crazy, obsessed with the artifact and demanding it be returned to him. He was later seen abducted by a cloaked figure, and his body found hours later in the museum's basement, his hands cut off. Glethad, the museum curator, informed the adventurer's that whoever killed Murley believed that by cutting off his hands, it would sever the bond he had formed with the artifact.
- Some of Thanden's crew were spotted drinking heavily and being abrasive around town. When Thanden was confronted by local adventurers about the possibility of him wanting the orb, he said he'd never want such a powerful trinket, as it only welcomed trouble to follow.
- Row boats appear along the Black Sands near Wehnimer's Landing, as a number of krolvin scouts make their way to town, before being quickly defeated. Over the next week, war ships, carracks and galleons arrive on the beach as waves of krolvin invade the Black Sands and occasionally making their way to Wehnimer's. Each time the krolvin invasions are beaten back, and their ships along the beaches destroyed.
- The Illistim scholars conclude that the relic is indeed what they call the Eye of Ta'Ashrim and Loremaster Caylio prepares a report that is dispatched to the Argent Mirror, for further instruction. That same night, a new wave of war ships arrive on the beach and hordes of krolvin invade the town, fighting towards the direction of the museum. During the chaos, a few adventurers decided to stay with the green orb to protect it, but soon found themselves trapped upstairs by a wall of fire, unable to get help as cloaked figures appeared and killed them. Within the smoke from the fire, the cloaked figures returned with Glethad and forced him to de-activate the runes protecting the orb. Once he did, the mysterious figures stole the orb and kidnapped the curator.
- After the orb went missing, Mayor Walkar was unsure of who was responsible, between the krolvin, the ex-pirate, and the elves. The mayor ordered Caylio and the Illistim scholars and guards arrested until they can be interrogated regarding the theft. The mayor also learned a member of the Sapphire Guard had already left town, en route to Illistim with a message to the Mirror. Local heroes came to the mayor's aid and tracked down the soldier on the Glatoph, subduing him before the militia arrived to drag him back to town.
- The adventurer's sought out the docks for Thanden, but his ship had set sail right after the orb went missing. The town officials sent a few ships in pursuit, and warned their allies that he would be considered a fugitive and wanted for questioning.
- Days later, another wave of krolvin warships reached the Black Sands, and they concentrated their efforts along the beach and also within town, dividing the Landing's defenders. Eventually waves of krolvin made their way into town and stormed the city's prison, slaughtering the members of the Sapphire Guard that were being held, and captured the scholars, taking them back to their ships, presumably for questioning regarding the orb's whereabouts. Fortunately, Loremaster Caylio was held in a separate location from his envoy, and was unable to be located by the krolvin.
- The Argent Mirror of Ta'Illistim released a scathing declaration against Mayor Walkar, discussing her anger over the capture of her envoy, which led to some of them being killed or abducted by krolvin. She demanded Caylio's freedom and repair of their uneasy alliance.
- Caylio was released from imprisonment, and immediately set home for Ta'Illistim. The next day, the bodies of the elven scholars that the krolvin kidnapped washed up on shore near Wehnimer's Landing, no longer needed by their captors. That same day, Mayor Walkar sent an apology to the Argent Mirror, in hopes of maintaining their alliance, despite his mistakes.
- The arch mage Pherantyr created crystal obelisks along the Black Sands near Wehnimer's Landing, each imbued with magical energy that would help defend against the krolvin warships if they returned.
- Mayor Walkar announced that he believes Thanden may have headed for Teras, since the Empire's lore on the relic states it may be of dwarven origin. As such, the krolvin may also be chasing him.
- Juramis was able to gather some information about Thanden, that he had been pardoned and hired by a wealthy noble in Brisker's Cove to retrieve the artifact. His information came at a cost though, as someone did not appreciate his investigation and set fire to all of his warehouses, property, and many of his ships. Using his remaining ship, Juramis set off for Teras to warn the Isle that krolvin and Thanden may be coming.
- Days later, Thanden arrived on Teras, his ship pulling into the West Docks. He claimed to be on the island for business, and letting his men enjoy some of their great dwarven ales.
- While on Teras, a number of dwarven workers around town were abducted.
- Juramis was attacked on Teras by bandits, presumably hired by Thanden's benefactor who wished to silence him. Juramis also informed the heroes that it was rumored that Thanden was supposed to return to Brisker's Cove, but never did, in fact keeping the orb away from even his own master, hoping to somehow use it himself.
- Eventually the krolvin fleet arrived on Teras Isle, their war ships sailing up to the Greymist beach. For days, waves of krolvin swarmed the Greymist, and many times breached the town of Kharam-Dzu, searching for their artifact, the Star of Khar'ta.
- With the krolvin presence now on the island, Thanden's crew revealed their true intentions and the "captain's" pirates began raids on the town, abducting dwarven adventurers and trying to extract blood from them. While local heroes investigated Thanden's ship, they heard a loud thud from below the cargo hold, which was sealed off by a locked hatch. After days of suffering raids from the pirates, and their feras weapons, the heroes were able to break open the hatch, rescuing the Landing museum curator, Glethad. Thanden's ship, the Dirty Knave, had been set on fire by the heroes and its mysterious combustible supplies within the cargo bay caused the vessel to finally explode into a fiery inferno.
- It was then revealed that Thanden had been pardoned by a prominent figure in Seareach and hired to travel to Wehnimer's Landing to steal the green orb. After he had stolen it, the pirate did not return to the Empire, but instead decided to try to activate the orb's powers himself, using dwarven blood, and then take ownership of the item. Glethad, the curator, even said that dwarven blood would not likely activate the artifact, as it was some kind of sentient creation that thrived on chaos.
- The krolvin invasions began to grow in size on Teras, as wave after wave flooded the streets of Kharam-Dzu. With his crew dead and his ship destroyed, Thanden ran out of time, unable to properly gain control of the orb. He tried desperately to flee before the krolvin found him, but he was cornered in the center of town by the local heroes, who killed him, a ranger named Hoy dealing the final blow. Amidst the chaos, krolvin warriors snatched up Thanden's corpse and dragged it off.
- The heroes then proceeded to the Greymist beach, destroying more krolvin ships, but many of their vessels sailed away. A short time later, Thanden's corpse was found outside the gates of Kharam'Dzu, his body savagely mutilated, and his hands torn off. The krolvin fleet had left Teras Isle, their destination unknown.
- Days later, Glethad arrived in the center of Kharam-Dzu, having spent the last few days resting and healing. He thanked the local adventurers for their help in his rescue, and warned that due to the krolvin's belief about the Star of Khar'ta, that they would likely return to Wehnimer's Landing, seeing the town as an omen for their next great conquest. Glethad then set back for Wehnimer's Landing, to pass the same warning to the town's mayor.
- The heroes and defenders of Wehnimer's Landing prepare for the possibility of an attack from the krolvin, now in possession of the Star of Khar'ta.
- Snow begins to fall in Wehnimer's Landing and its surroundings, soon accompanied by arctic cold rains. It is believed the Star of Khar'ta is being used to weaken the town and create a more hospitable environment for the krolvins before they invaded. In addition, crops suffered in nearby farms, hindering the town's supplies while ships and merchants began to turn away from Wehnimer's, unable to safely brave the raging storm growing in Darkstone Bay.
- Pherantyr created a magical talisman that was handed out to many local townspeople and defenders, its powers being able to inform the wearer when the Star of Khar'ta was near. While it provided no additional defenses against the krolvin, just the forewarning of Krentuk's arrival was an added benefit.
- The white obelisks along the Black Sands, that Pherantyr had created to help defend against krolvin along the beach, were soon neutralized and encased in magical ice.
- Days later, icy fog rolled across the town from Darkstone Bay as the sky was darkened by storm clouds. The forms of krolvin galleons appeared from out of the mist, sailing up to the North Dock as well as the Black Sands outside of town. A part of Krentuk's armada had arrived, and the war had finally begun.
- Not being content to remain on the defense, many heroes and local defenders found themselves braving the icy temperate of Darkstone Bay by swimming up to the main krolvin ships, often boarding them to help fight against the krolvin. The four common ships boarded were Lalk Renqua (The Blue Skin), D'ton Criga (The Fester Thorn), Pritzkra Burzka (The Dark Corpse) and V'Koort Etka (The Sea Pig).
- The town began to see the effects of the arctic weather, as many buildings in town, including the Moot Hall and Bank, were nearly concealed in frost and ice. From time to time, chunks of bluish-green ice would fall from the storm clouds, shaping into elementals once they hit the ground and tore paths of devastation through the town. On a number of occasions, large walls of ice would form outside of prominent shops and even both town gates, making it more difficult to escape town as krolvin armies flooded the streets.
- For many days, local militiamen were found encased in ice all over town. It took the work of many town heroes and defenders to safely break them out.
- The war continued in the streets of Wehnimer's for many weeks, as new waves of krolvin warships would arrive at the docks, and the presence of the blue-skinned creatures constant in many pockets of the town. The very streets became dangerous, as war galleys fired flaming catapults into the town, or fired off ballista bolts. Even the weather had grown dangerous, many suffering from cold snaps, lightning bolts from above, even back-breaking wind.
- Heroes continued to form groups on a nightly basis to help defend the town, Mayor Walkar and Juramis sometimes among them. One evening, they encountered a powerful shaman who arrived on the North Docks and had summoned a giant arctic crab that proved quite difficult to kill, but in the end was defeated, along with the shaman. The war continued to rage on, with no end of krolvin ships in sight.
- Krentuk himself, the warlord of the krolvin and now dubbed the Czag'Herndrok, or starbringer, would often arrive in town, displaying the might of the Star of Khar'ta. He became almost impossible to hit, as the orb created a wall of air around him, that would deflect strikes back on his attackers. In addition, the orb was used to hurl people through the air, scattering them about, or unleashing a torrent of green elemental energy to blast his opponents.
- Many townspeople soon found themselves captives of the krolvin, as for many weeks the krolvin would track down people in town, throw nets over them and drag them off to the slave pens in one of their ships. Many heroes eventually escaped the depths of the ship prisons, but countless other townspeople were not so fortunate.
- New waves of krolvin began to arrive in town, many of them stronger and more powerful than those before. Stormcrows, bloodmasters, and slashers spread destruction throughout the city whenever they would arrive, often requiring many heroes to band together just to dispatch a few of them. Eventually the arrival of zealots and legionnaires, fiercely dedicated to Khar'ta arrived as well, many of their eyes even glowing green. It had become apparent that the orb had begun to transform both Krentuk and many of his followers, consuming them with blind zealotry.
- A cloaked, hunched over figure drew people's attention to the narrow alley be Tykel's weapon shop. When many heroes and defenders arrived, the figure revealed himself to be a half-krolvin named Falzcrow, whose father was the Bloodfist Kragnack, and just happened to be Krentuk's brother. Falzcrow informed the heroes that he wished to arrange a meeting between them and Kragnack, and that his father had wished to help them against Krentuk, but of course to his own gain. The heroes agreed to meet, and Kragnack met them in the stronghold of the Drakes Vanguard, where Falzcrow had to translate for his father. Kragnack explained that Krentuk's expansion was folly, and that not all the krolvin on Glaoveln blindly followed him and his orb, and that he would gladly attack Krentuk's stronghold on their home island, which would likely divert or even divide some of his forces. In exchange, Kragnack demanded weapons to help his attack, and also that the town's leaders safely escort his son away from the town, as he would be killed by Krentuk if he was discovered. Kragnack and Falzcrow left, giving the heroes a day to contact their leader and discuss any terms.
- The next day, the heroes explained the situation to Mayor Walkar, who agreed he would meet with Kragnack, but he would not be offering any weapons. But he would ensure protection for his son. With another translator present, the half-krolvin Gondain, the mayor and a number of heroes met with Kragnack and Falzcrow. The mayor explained that he would ensure Falzcrow's safety, but provide no weapons to Kragnack, and that anyone who did would be punished, despite many people present arguing that they'd offer up weapons to help. Soon after, town guards arrived and apprehended Falzcrow, roughly taking him away. The mayor then warned Kragnack that Falzcrow would remain in his protection to ensure the attack on Krentuk's stronghold happened, and that it was not some ploy to trick them. If the attack was successful, Falzcrow would be released back to his father. Many grew angry with Walkar, declaring Wehnimer's was not about taking hostages to get their way. The mayor said he had to do what needed to be done to ensure the town's protection and stormed off.
- One night, a small umber-shrouded ship was seen moving through Darkstone Bay, narrowly avoiding krolvin warships as it arrived near the shore outside of town. The ship was named The Fall of the West, captained by the halfling pirate Parlay, who was once a member of the Spitfire crew. Parlay claimed he had no choice but to stop nearby because of the storms, but he was more than happy to help where he could against the krolvin.
- The next night, Captain Parlay led a group of heroes back into Darkstone Bay where they were able to locate and board Krentuk's flagship, the Gzadmor gno Prozd (The Pain of Night.) There the heroes were met with a number of krolvin slashers, bloodmasters, stormcrows, and even some Khar'ta zealots. Krentuk himself appeared, using the Star of Khar'ta to kill nearly everyone on the ship. The heroes eventually returned to life, many rescuing each other as they all made their way safely back to town. Days later, Parlay's ship suffered some damage and had to return to the shore outside of town, but promised to help in the next battle.
- Reports came in that the Bloodfist Kragnack's attack against Krentuk's stronghold on Glaoveln was successful. The stronghold was left almost defenseless, so the assault was won over night. When word reached Krentuk's fleet, many of them set sail back for home, most of them claiming new allegiance to Kragnack and abandoning the war against Wehnimer's Landing. It was rumored that Kragnack was still equipped with weapons, despite the mayor's stern warning of treason. As a result of Kragnack dividing his brother's forces, Krentuk's presence began to weaken in the Landing.
- Slender, cloaked figures began appearing in town, moving among the shadows and sometimes seen killing some of the krolvin invaders. Onyx rose clasps were seen on their cloaks, indicating they were likely Nalfein. Days later, a Nalfein named Zyndur appeared in the center of town, seeking Mayor Walkar. The mayor and a number of local defenders met with the elf, who offered his people's help against their enemies, because they were all equipped with krolvinbane longswords. In exchange for helping the Landing, Zyndur asked that if Krentuk is killed, that the artifact be given over to him. Mayor Walkar conferred with the heroes present, who were mostly wary of any deal with Zyndur, but in the end Walkar agreed to hand the relic over to the Nalfein, in exchange for their help. But in addition, the mayor demanded some krolvinbane weapons for those present. Many accepted the black-bladed longswords, but some refused, wishing not to wield any kind of weapon forged using blood magic. Zyndur warned Walkar that he knew the nature of humans, and that if he intended to not carry through on his end of the bargain, there would be a price to pay.
- The archmage Pherantyr announced a break through with the talismans he had created. He was able to manipulate some of the Star of Khar'ta's energy in the area and infuse the items with a magical immunity. Those wearing the talismans were still vulnerable to the harsh weather, but no longer could Krentuk attack them with lightning or use the wind to hurl them about. Because of the recent development of the talisman's powers, and many people now equipped with krolvinbane weapons, Mayor Walkar announced his intentions to soon launch an assault on Krentuk's ship.
- A day later, Mayor Walkar summoned the town's defenders to his office, where he told them that he intended to lead them all into Darkstone Bay to destroy some of the krolvin's main ships. Over a year ago, Grishom Stone once provided crimson orbs to a disgruntled militiaman named Vaurus, who used them throughout town and caused them to explode, killing large crowds of people. After Grishom was killed, much of his property was confiscated, and due to someone's suggestion, Walkar went looking for any leftover crimson orbs. Having found some, Walkar had the archmage Pherantyr tweak them slightly to effect only the krolvin. So the mayor handed out an orb to every hero present and they made their way out into Darkstone Bay, soon boarding the Lalk Renqua. They battled a number of krolvin before using some of the spheres to destroy parts of the ship, setting it on fire. They escaped just in time as the Lalk Renqua erupted in flames, eventually sinking. Having some crimson orbs leftover, the heroes made their way to the V'koort Etka, where they fought more krolvin before finally burning and sinking the ship. The mayor informed those present that because of their victories, the pirate Parlay would now have an easier time sailing his ship to attack Krentuk, and that the final assault would happen the next night.
- The next evening, over one hundred adventurer's made their way to Parlay's ship, the Fall of the West, outside of town. Captain Parlay had them board the ship and he set sail into Darkstone Bay, avoiding krolvin ships and navigating through the raging storm to finally reach Krentuk's flagship, the Gzadmor gno Prozd. Parlay informed the heroes that once they boarded Krentuk's ship, he would have to turn his own ship around and return to town, as the storm was getting too bad for him to remain. The defenders bravely pressed on, boarding Krentuk's ship and fighting a number of krolvin that swarmed along the deck. All around the boat, the storm assaulted them, waves crashing about as the heroes locked in combat with the krolvin. A handful of Nalfein swordsmen also appeared on the ship, but most of them were killed by the krolvin. All during the fighting, they could see the glow of the Star of Khar'ta nearby and hear the mocking laughter and barking of Krentuk. Soon, the Czag'Herndrok himself was lured out onto the deck, where the heroes surrounded him and unleashed an onslaught of spells and other attacks. The krolvin warlord was killed a number of times, but each time the Star of Khar'ta's powers resurrected him. Finally, realizing their normal spells and weapons were useless, the heroes unsheathed their krolvinbane weapons and moved in, unaffected by the orb's powers. Vividarium struck the final blow, cutting down Krentuk with the black-bladed longsword. Krentuk's corpse twitched violently on the ground, his eyes growing cold and black as the green orb burned away his fingers and hands, rising up into the sky above the ship. The Star of Khar'ta expanded quickly in size, as the clouds above began to shrink inward towards it. The waves of Darkstone Bay grew in size and the entire sky turned into a wild tempest of ice, rain and wind. The heroes tried to escape the ship, but soon the wind rushed over them, pinning them helplessly to the upper deck. The green orb had grown massive in size, viewable from all areas in and around Wehnimer's Landing. Moments later, the orb exploded in a blast of brilliant light, tearing every krolvin ship in the bay, including the Gzadmor gno Prozd and dragging the heroes underwater. The defenders found themselves trapped in the murkiness of Darkstone Bay, struggling as the waters tossed them about. Minutes later, everyone found themselves pulled from the waters and washed up on shore in a variety of locations along the bay. Everyone bore witness to the stormy skies quickly subsiding as a torrent of green specks of light showered down from the sky like emerald rain, presumably the remains of the Star of Khar'ta.
- A few days later, Parlay's ship returned to Wehnimer's, arriving at the North Dock, looking battered and in desperate need of repair. Captain Parlay informed the heroes that his crew would be staying in town for a month, as they repair the ship and he lets his men rest and enjoy themselves. In addition, he intends to sell some wares and do some merchant work during the upcoming Frontier Days festival.
- Mayor Walkar met many heroes outside of Moot Hall, where he thanked them all for their tireless efforts in defending the town and its people. He expressed his appreciation for all of the blood and sweat spilled, and for every single spell and blade used to protect Wehnimer's Landing. It was said that Falzcrow, the half-krolvin son of Kragnack would be released and would likely be escorted to Icemule, where he desired to go. The mayor also informed everyone that the museum curator Glethad was also freed from his self-requested confinement, now that the Star of Khar'ta was gone and presumably its hold over him as well. The curator was said to be resting at the time and would likely have more to share on the artifact and his experience in the near future. The mayor then apologized to everyone for his questionable behavior lately, and that despite whether people always agreed with him, every action he took was in the town's best interest. He then explained briefly that in the battle against Grishom Stone, he almost died if not for the intervention of the villain Elithain Cross, who kept him alive with the magical crimson breastplate he now wears. Many asked Walkar if the armor would ever make it so he was not in control of his own actions, to which he politely sidestepped answering. It was then Zyndur, the Nalfein elf showed up and had a few curt remarks to make. While the relic had been destroyed, Zyndur reminded those present that it was his krolvinbane weapons that ensured their victory and in essence saved their town. He then told Mayor Walkar that he would call upon him someday for a favor, and if his demand was not met, then he would extract a price, a cost that the mayor had no desire to discuss openly. Zyndur then slipped back into the shadows. Mayor Walkar once more thanked everyone for their efforts and help and all rejoiced as much of the ice around town finally began to melt away.
Kenstrom 10:51, 23 August 2013 (EDT)