Having arrived in the town of Winkburgh, the team begins to unravel the mystery of what happened to the Duke. How does his disappearance connect to the Ashen Mage, and what clues will it reveal about the location of the next Warden?
It started as a simple dungeon run…
That brought 5 neophyte adventurers together - adventurers who have since learned that the world is anything but simple. Down in that dungeon they found the Secret Keeper’s Amulet, an artifact of immense chaos magic, which grants you, the Watchers of the Time Stream, power to affect the fates of our heroes with forces of good and evil.
And since coming into contact with the amulet, the team has been on a quest to rescue the 5 Wardens of Ain, giant elemental protectors of the land who have gone missing. An association of wizards called the Natural Order has been tracking the whereabouts of these Wardens, and their members have helped our heroes free two of them so far, the Storm Warden - from a castle in the sky - and the Inferno Warden - from the grip of a Kraken at the bottom of the ocean.
In the aftermath of that undersea battle, the team found themselves stranded on a sprawling island of scrap. A floating junkyard city, and the home of the Salvagemanders, small, industrious amphibians who clean garbage from the sea and repurpose it into art and architecture. The Salvagemanders saved Lily’s mother and sisters from certain death on the ocean, and welcomed the team into their homes, offering them shelter and comfort. They also gave them a strange substance made from a poisonous clam, which conjured curious visions for those who could stomach the potent potion.
As the Salvagemanders plucked and sorted debris from the ocean, they came across some of the wreckage of the Tardy Plunder, the ship that Siv, Fahima, James, Uggo, and Lily rode into the Deep Reef, and sank to the bottom of those dangerous waters. It is also where their Natural Order contact Claudiette placed a magical Glyph of Warding, containing a portal spell, ready to transport them to the location of their choosing. As the Salvagemanders pulled more and more splintered shards of that glyph out of the water, the team realized they could reconstitute it and trigger the magical portal - if they could find all the pieces.
Lily gave a stirring oration to the assembled masses of Salvagemanders, inspiring them to abandon their usual posts on the island and help the team find segments of the glyph among the scrap. While the creatures were busily searching, Siv and Uggo snuck away and attempted to pry open one of the poisonous clams from the Salvagemanders’ garden to retrieve the shiny treasure they were told was inside. But one catastrophic die roll later, Siv lay injured from the acid-dripping clam, and Uggo unleashed his rage, smashing open the shell with his mighty maul.
When the Salvagemander king saw the destruction Uggo had wrought, he ordered the team off of the island, casting out the castaways, just as the final piece of the Glyph provided the team means to depart.
Through the portal, the heroes found themselves on the outskirts of Winkburgh, a town built at the intersection point of multiple well-worn trade routes. Historically, a hub of inter-realm commerce, Winkburgh was a ghost of its former self. With the Duke nowhere to be seen, and the townsguard pulled back to surround the Duke’s residence, the town had fallen into lawlessness.
Upon arrival, the team immediately came into contact with a rough gang of Achaieriders calling themselves The Flock, and narrowly avoided a violent confrontation only after Siv paid them off, to the tune of 250 gold.
The Flock had been harassing a wizard of the Natural Order named Cornelia the Clean, who agreed to hide Lily’s mother and sisters while the team entered Winkburgh in search of someone named Preet, said to be the Duke’s right hand man.
At a local tavern called The Wink and the Smile, they encountered a surly bartender who, in exchange for 1,500 gold, agreed to arrange secure transportation for the Dumblestuck family to the coast.
As we ended last week, the team made it to the Duke’s residence and asked one of the numerous guards on the premises if they could speak to Preet. Soon, the door opened, and a tall, pale man beckoned them inside.