Having made it to the bottom of the Deep Reef, the team comes face-to-face with the Inferno Warden - and the terrifying creatures that have trapped it on the ocean floor. How will the Heroes of Bingle tackle their most titanic challenge yet? Can they free another of Aïn’s giant protectors?
It started as a simple dungeon run...
At least that is what the scroll, posted haphazardly on the signpost in Kipeltern said it would be. Siv RedThistle, Fahima Tadhg, James Quillis, Uggo the Orc, and Lily Dumblestuck, each looking for a new beginning, each inexperienced but intrepid, answered the call for adventure. They teamed up, following a fool into a dungeon, and emerged with a mysterious item trapped in crystal.
In attempting to identify the item, and free it from its crystal casing, they made contact with a mage known as Torvalt the Timid. Torvalt revealed to them that the item they discovered was one of the most powerful relics in the world. The Secret Keeper’s Amulet. A conduit of chaos, that allows you, the Watchers of the Time Stream, to rip through the fabric of realities and affect the world of Ain, with forces of Good and Evil, as your whims may determine. They soon discovered that Torvalt was part of a solemn order of wizards known as The Natural Order, whose members were spread across the realms of Ain attempting to track the locations of the great Wardens of legend. For generations, it is said, these 100-foot tall elemental titans protected Ain, ensuring the long peace that has persevered since the conclusion of the cataclysmic War of Ideas. But recently, the Wardens have disappeared, captured and imprisoned by an unknown force.
Torvalt persuaded the team to investigate a magical Lodestar, one of the ancient floating sanctuaries in the sky. Literally a tower resting on the clouds. Imprisoned there, chained inside the core of the structure, and being used as a battery for an army of mechanical creations, was the lightning-infused Storm Warden.
After the team battled their way up the tower, freed the Warden from its shackles, and brought it crashing back to solid ground, they learned the other great purpose of the Amulet. It connected them with the Warden, and transported them inside its mind, to witness and live out a secret memory hidden there. In that vision, they learned there were 5 Wardens in total, and each had once been a great Hero of the Aureate Age, who had chosen to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up their lives to become one of the mighty sentinels. As the Amulet Bearers, the quest to find and rescue the Wardens rested with our team. They became the only people in all of Ain who could unlock the secrets of the Wardens’ history, understand the danger that necessitated their existence - and determine whether that danger was returning to threaten Ain once again. They had to find the remaining Wardens. And so they set about gathering information and eventually made contact with another Wizard of the Natural Order - Claudiette Mormthallow, who brought them aboard a ship called The Tardy Plunder and told them that another Warden waited out at sea, in some of the most treacherous waters ever sailed - the Deep Reef. But before they could get to the Deep Reef, they learned that Lily’s island home of Bingle was under attack. They forced the ship to reverse course and return to Bingle, where they made their stand on the beach, beating back the vile creatures that emerged from the ocean to terrorize the island’s inhabitants.
In victory, they began to piece together a connection between Bingle’s horrors and their Warden quest. Bodies, first taken from Bingle’s graveyards, then harvested from the living themselves, were being pulled underwater. Lily’s own mother, Margrit, and several of her sisters, were among those mind-controlled and marched into the sea. Something was happening under the water. When the team learned that their next Warden target was not just in Deep Reef, but at the bottom of it, they made a plan to reach the ocean floor by sinking the ship. They secured an alternate vessel for the pirates of the Tardy Plunder, made a deal to ally themselves with a family of merfolk to defend them on the way down, then used the ship itself as a protective shell to plummet to the ocean floor.
Claudiette mustered every ounce of her magical abilities to hold a tiny section of the hull together as it dropped down through the murky depths of the Deep Reef. As it passed the creatures and plant life and jagged coral hazards that occupied this inhospitable crevice in the ocean, Claudiette strained and struggled to contain a pocket of air inside the broken steerage hold of the ship. She strained and struggled, and I’m pretty sure that’s when the DM’s eye exploded. But that’s neither here nor there.
When they hit the bottom, the team tied themselves together, and, using James’ Gift of the Depths to breathe underwater, left Claudiette to make their way toward a bio-luminescent shimmer in the distance. As they crested a rise in the ocean floor, they looked out and down over... this: a prison, not just for the Inferno Warden, grappled and restrained by an enormous tentacled beast, but also for Lily’s mother and sisters who still live, toiling and trapped inside an enormous bubble on the rocky, glowing sea floor