It started as a simple dungeon run…
And that was not so long ago. But now, as Siv, Fahima, James, Uggo, and Lily ride directly into a war zone, it is hard to imagine those simpler days… before. Before meeting one another, before finding the Secret Keeper’s Amulet, before an epic quest was thrust upon them. Before… their lives involved you, the Watchers of the Time Stream. You, who send chaos to them from beyond the barrier between realities, through that powerful amulet. Influencing their fates, helping to shape their stories.
For centuries, their world has been protected by enormous sentinels, watching over the realms. Wardens, who oversaw a lasting peace in Ain. But peace is unraveling. And the Wardens are missing. Our team has so far tracked down two of these mighty elemental titans, and freed them from diabolical prisons, above and below the surface of the world. At least one of those prisons seems to be connected to a powerful spellcaster by the name of Kalkata Theed, the Ashen Mage. Searching her tower in the city of Winkburgh, the team found clues pointing them to Skyscorcher Peak, a volcano in the Nelrim Mountains, where they believe another Warden will be found.
But the only way in to Skyscorcher Peak is through the Dwarven stronghold of Dalto Thum, a city built into the mountains. A city that also happens to be engaged in an ongoing conflict with the Orcs of Ook Duun over claims to the mountain’s resources. As an Orc of Thorn, Uggo is all too aware of the decades-long enmity between Orcs and Dwarves, but now it seems those skirmishes threaten to explode into all-out war.
So into a war zone they go, traveling north along the old trade route from Winkburgh to Dalto Thum, pulled in their custom vardo by 15-foot tall Achaierai birds. Along the way, as the path bent toward the glittering Golden River, they heard shouts of distress echoing up from the rushing current. Investigating, they found two dwarves caught in the raging rapids, under attack from enormous horseflies. Using the amulet’s magic and their own cunning, the team swatted the flies and convinced the dwarves, terrified by the mere sight of Uggo the Orc, to trust them long enough to accept help out of the water.
It turns out, the wet, sputtering, half-drowned pair were on the run from Dalto Thum. Describing themselves as conscientious objectors, the young dwarves had decided to flee rather than be conscripted into the army. Homrian, whose grandfather Perlo was one of the Idle Elders of Dalto Thum - a group of ancient dwarves who actually lived during the fabled Aureate Age - and Donk, an orphan whose entire family was killed by Orcs, had abandoned their unit, and spent several nights covered in dirt and dung, hiding from frightening beasts they described as “even larger than Worgs”.
They recounted a series of deadly battles in the mountain pass that bridged the Dwarven and Orcish lands - battles that seemed to be escalating, with Orcish armies advancing ever closer to the stronghold itself. Armies that flew banners of both Ook Duun and Thorn, despite long standing animus between the two tribes.
They said that Ruzer Forebrand, the King of Dalto Thum’s Cragborn Clan, was determined to defeat the Orcs, and was concentrating all of the city’s resources and efforts on the war.
When the team asked the dwarves to help them get in to Dalto Thum and find Dondo Karigina, the Paladin they had been told to seek out, Homrian and Donk explained that, as deserters, they would be just as unwelcome there as Uggo. A return to the city would put them in grave danger as well. But when the team spoke of the Wardens, saying that not only were they real, but that they had seen them up close, Donk’s position changed. His late father had told him stories of the Wardens when he was a boy, and Donk viewed it as a sign. He vowed to help The Heroes of Bingle and their cause, even if it risked his own life.
As we ended last week, the sun was setting on our five adventurers, joined by Homrian and Donk in the vardo, mere hours journey from certain conflict. Determined but unsure of what might await… at Dalto Thum.