Category:The Uncertain Times
Our story begins just after the time that the Den of Rot was opened under the Abbey in Phoenatos 5120 (August 2020).
There are two liches, both were members of the infamous Council of Ten. How they have survived until now is unknown, but both are missing their phylacteries.
Zeban was once a devout follower of the Blood God, Amasalen, although it has become more and more apparent he may be working only for himself now. Physically, he seems to appear as a crimson mist. He has no body we know of, seeming to seep into his victims and take control over their bodies while still alive. This seems to be temporary, as the bodies he inhabits degrade quickly. His discarded shells have been spotted multiple times, always withered and drained of blood, and screams have been witnessed as he took over his next victims. Zeban controls an undead army, which he created using the powers of an ancient text called the Tablet of Death. It is believed that this tablet was taken from the Den of Rot. At one time, he was in the body of Arnabas. Prangar claims that Zeban is more powerful than himself.
The other, Prangar, came to the town of Icemule Trace under false pretenses. Most people recognize him as Ellerel Barrowfoot, who was one of the candidates in the 5120 Icemule Mayoral race. Some time before this, Prangar possessed the body of Ellerel and assumed his position in life as a merchant of sorcerous reagents. After the theft of the Tablet of Death from the Abbey by Zeban, Ellerel revealed his true self to us. He claims to have no ill will towards Icemule Trace, and he only seeks a means to give himself a new body and start over on a life that he feels was stolen from him. He seems to desire redemption.
Tablet of Death
The Tablet of Death was at the Temple of Hope and was implicated in the creation of the Den of Rot and the corruption of the sisters into nedum vereri. It was stolen by Zeban and used to raise many undead. On numerous occasions, Zeban assaulted the town with his undead forces. With each attack, he seemed to be testing the town's strengths and weaknesses. After one such incursion, he even stated so himself. During this time, his forces ravaged and decimated a Half-Krolvin settlement to the west of Icemule. The town sent emissaries, and the refugees set up a camp outside of the West Gate in town. They expressed interest in becoming citizens of Icemule Trace, but the paperwork was conveniently misplaced by Councilman Reiphe. This seemed to work at first, but after another incursion by Zeban's army, the refugees took the brunt of this attack and demanded council with the town's "Chieftains." It was then decided by majority agreement that the Half-Krolvins would integrate as members of town. Their point of contact is Gorga.
Tablet of Life
After the theft of the Tablet of Death, the abbess Mellian, now restored to her former self thanks to the efforts of some courageous adventurers, informed adventurers that there is another tablet, the Tablet of Life. If these two tablets were to come together, the world would witness a power never before seen.
The Tablet of Life was picked up and recovered by Sorlu after adventurers traveled with Ellerel to an area north of town with standing stones that had previously been revealed by ice giant emissary Valfald. Mayor Talliver's disastrous trek north had revealed this important location. The Tablet seems to cause things to grow around it and at times music can be heard.
The Long Snow - A Village Up North
What is revealed is a village simply awesome in scope and size. An arch some fifty feet high stands over the entryway, and the houses and businesses are writ large, as if sized for individuals six or seven times the height of an average human. A halfling man, his face pocked with weeping sores and his eyes sunken as if rotting from within, stands beneath the archway. He is almost comically small given its scope, and he totters forward on legs that look to be on the verge of giving out. But he is not alone. Hundreds of halflings, their teeth filed to sharp points, any hints of sentience gone from their eyes, flank him. Nor are the halflings his only accompaniment. Creatures with raw bones and weeping flesh, their eyes like luminous pools, raise their antlered heads as singularly immense creatures pour forth from their homes to defend the village. Ellerel gives a frustrated flick of the wand, and the scene shifts. Dead lay everywhere, fed upon by ravens with no eyes and vast wingspans. The birds cast no shadow, but they look balefully upon the halfling man as he walks through the silent roads. "You cannot bar me from the temple. Angargreft will be mine, and with it, my ultimate champion," he says. Ellerel gives another twist of the wand, and a different halfling with the same hideous markings of spreading disease stands atop a vast edifice of ruddy stone. All around him are the sounds of battle, feral halflings and monstrously tall beings clashing with one another as he stands in a small area of calm, shielded by a blood-red barrier. He stands looking at the prone form of one of the vast giants, though this one has arms that end in blackened stone. He does not look dead, but the sleep that has claimed him looks unnaturally deep. The halfling holds a black Tablet aloft. In a rasping, weak voice, he says, "Now, Zerroth, let us see what we can make of you." Overhead is a terrible, ululating screech. You glimpse something winged and scaled, with a great reptilian head and flashing fangs.
Ellerel commented on the winged beast:
Ellerel says, "And then there was that... other thing. I've never seen its like. It was too large to be a wyvern." Ellerel says, "Although the tales of great wyrms in the snows are consistent enough that there may be some grain of truth..."
Going After Zeban
Zeban took over Bakarus and said:
Bakarus says, in a strangely mechanical voice, "I have no interest in vengeance against Icemule Trace. Everything that I need, I have where I am. Tell your Mayor Dabbings that. If you leave me be, then Icemule Trace remains safe."
Icemule Trace councilors then took stock of the people's wishes and made the decision to go after Zeban anyway. Several plans were bandied about including using the Firebird and traveling a northern trail. It was revealed the Firebird was broken by its captain Brashton and adventurers attempted to find ways to fix it. Hauptwhistle and Fiddlestix, troublesome gnomes involved in the Flight of the Manticore, were pressed into service. It was discovered that a powerful source of plinite may be required and Brashton elicitied Paidreg's help. Adventurers went north and assisted as Paidreg and Ellerel took down a mountainous elemental and created plinite.
Persons of Interest
- Brashton, the Captain of the Firebird
- Gorga the lean half-krolvin huntress
- Kadya the mysterious seer
- Mellian, the Forlorn Abbess
- Paidreg, former Lord Provost of Solhaven
- Prangar as Ellerel Barrowfoot
- Reiphe O'Mallory, Icemule Trace Councilor
- Talliver Dabbings, Mayor of Icemule Trace
- Valfald the Ice Giant Emissary from Black Cairns Clan
- Yonder Fitzbrink, reporter of the Coldwater Courier
- Zeban, formerly inhabiting Arnabas
- Zerroth, avatar of V'tull
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- ► Hinterwilds creatures (empty)