It started as a simple dungeon run…
A simple dungeon run for a simpler time. A time before Siv, Fahima, James, Uggo, and Lily had to bear witness to perverse terrors born of blood and darkness. Before they had to muster the courage to seek out those terrors and face them head on in combat. Before they were heroes.
But their simple path was forever changed the day they discovered the Secret Keeper’s Amulet. The mighty relic that grants you, the Watchers of the Time Stream, the ability to break through into their reality, to empower them - or to challenge them. The amulet also holds the key to understanding the lost history of Ain, and the hidden memories of the Wardens, the legendary protectors of the Realms, who have recently been captured and held, exposing Ain to as-yet unknown dangers.
The abduction of the Wardens seems to be connected to a powerful wizard named Kalkata Theed, the Ashen Mage. The team found evidence of her involvement when they searched her spelltower inside the town of Winkburgh. There, they discovered notes describing methods of restraining the Wardens, advanced new spells derived from the Wardens’ own abilities, and a telescope, pointing them to a possible location of another Warden, inside the volcano known as Skyscorcher Peak. They also found a journal written by Theed’s assistant, Vargen, with references to dark experimentation.
For their heroic deeds in Winkburgh, the team was awarded a custom vardo, pulled by a team of huge, flightless birds called Achaierai. But on the way out of town, their caravan was ambushed on the road by a group of angry highwaymen. Even as they dispatched that threat, another emerged from the treeline. A pack of hideous, mutated wolves, powerful and ferocious, leapt at them with bloodlust in their eyes. Lily’s hypnotic pattern managed to detain most of the pack, but a single, ravenous beast sank its teeth into one of their Achaierai before transforming itself into a snarling humanoid hybrid - a werewolf!
Escaping to safety, the team eventually made camp for the night, but were surprised to discover they had been followed. Another werewolf, injured and weak, stood in the light of their campfire and begged for their help. Her name was Xenalka and she described how her pack, led by a lycan named Trass had been seduced by promises of power and ascendancy by the wizard, Vargen. She said that she and her brother, Leonid were changed by Vargen. He forced them to hunt, to steal blood and bring it to him where he resided in a mysterious section of the forest called The Alabaster Woods. She said that in doing so, in following Vargen’s dark plans, they were coiled in blood, bound by dark magic and doomed to lose themselves to the hunger. She asked them to sever the coil, save her brother, and vanquish Vargen once and for all.
The team decided to trust Xenalka, with Fahima feeling particularly… warm… towards her, and made plans to travel to the Alabaster Wood the next day. Everyone bedded down, Lily and Fahima taking first watch and having a heart-to-heart on the nature of... haircuts - but the night’s calm was broken as the Achaierai that had been bitten began to turn.
As it started growing fangs and fur - grotesquely morphing into some sort of were-chaierai, Xenalka leapt into action, attempting to calm the thrashing creature, to guide it with her experience through the transformation. Even so, it looked as though the team would have to make a terrible decision. Risk their safety or put the animal down. That was when Fahima, empowered by the incredible magic of the amulet, stepped forward and rewrote her Snare spell into something new, something extraordinary, something that Spared the life of the creature and left Xenalka in awe of Fahima’s abilities.
The next morning, they all set out for the Alabaster Wood, hiding the vardo and the Achaierai in nearby brush. They waited until dusk, spied the wolfpack leaving to hunt, then made their way to the edge of the treeline. As they ventured deeper into the forest, a dark red latticework radiated out from the trees, weaving a spindly, ichorous web on the ground beneath them. Each footfall soaked and sticky with blood. Then they arrived. Pearly white trees, thin and dense, circled a blood-red clearing. Standing in the center, pulsating and writhing, was thei r quarry: an amorphous, crimson figure, a swirling, roiling creature of gore. Dripping, oozing, living blood, flanked by a pair of heaving, snarling werewolves.