The Stain and the Shadow

The House on the Heath
Adventure Two

The heroes were sent to resolve a political dispute between the elves and the dwarves that had spilled over onto the local human population. When they arrived at the town of Breedham, they discovered an active industrial town caught between the aggression of the elves and the taxes and tyrannies of the dwarf who had moved into the local lord’s manor.

Investigating the dwarf, the heroes found themselves welcomed by the unhinged Dargrim, and put to work as guards against the elves. Things were quiet until night fell, and Beadyface was slaughtered by a pair of skinned creatures.

The rest of the heroes gathered in Dargrim’s study, where they plotted their desperate last stand. They were shepherded into the hall of the Brazen Horn, a cage built to resist elven intercession. But the enemies that faced them were not elves – they were spiders with dark markings on their carapaces. The battle was swift and bloody, and suddenly Dargrim and his allied shadows attacked the heroes in an act of betrayal.

The heroes were defeated, but their elven allies arrived in time to save several lives, though Quinn was killed and Acacia permanently blinded. Now, the plot thickens as the survivors chase another lead.

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The Museum of Curiosities
Adventure One

The heroes were asked to meet Chief Curator Vaksin of the Crossings New School Museum, mere hours after returning from their fight with Shavaat. The Dwarf, their director, insinuated that time was of the essence due to a potentially lingering presence that haunted the museum before a group of nobles was due to arrive and donate heavily to local magical research.

Upon arrival, the heroes spent some time in conversation with Vaksin, and then investigated the scene of a grisly murder. Curator Long, a heavyset older man, had been forced into a stone sarcophagus and left to suffocate, unable to lift the lid on his own.

Vaksin suspected a missing curator named de Maar, head of the natural history exhibit. Before the characters could uncover more about her, they were attacked by a dark force that deactivated the museum’s clockwork docent and spirited a groundskeeper away.

Suddenly, they were set upon by undead exhibits, shambling from their glass displays! They slew the monsters and began a thorough search of the premises, turning up a variety of useful magical items and, eventually, a path deep into the ruins beneath Crossings. These ruins were housed in an ancient cavern, and in the center of the cavern grew a fossilizing tree. Out of the tree stepped the Twin, a dryad whose dead counterpart still clung to her.

The heroes fought the Twin and claimed the treasures of the deep caves, including a winking iron death mask from Kalasar of old.

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Adventure Zero
Beginnings

Press-ganged into a ragged battalion of the Imperial Army, the heroes are sent on a ‘training mission’ to recover two recruiters lost near the forest village of Drake’s Ford, only two days’ walk from Crossings.

Their journey was largely uneventful, with only a short stop at the Bell and Berry and a fortune-telling by a strange traveling tinker to break up the monotony of the march. (Though certain members of the unit did find the Bell’s chickens delectable.)

Upon arrival, though, things seemed to be…off. An investigation of a burned-out blacksmith’s shop revealed an embroidered handkerchief (KT) and a small wooden box, trapped with a needle, containing a cut piece of tin with the letters -AT on it. Upon opening the box, though, a swarm of cockroaches engulfed the heroes, forcing them to flee.

Meanwhile, a visit to the church’s records library turned perilous when twin rattlers emerged from a pile of scrolls to snap at the investigators. When Magnus attempted to stop the rattlers with an incantation he found, fire burst all around him, igniting the library. Though this killed one snake and frightened the other away, it also destroyed a huge source of information that the heroes had been using for their research. The only book they retrieved was an old manual distributed by priests of the New God: Demons That Afflict The Faithful.

They reunite in the tavern, battered but alive. The night seemed uneventful for those who stayed at the tavern, but for Magnus, Sparrow, and Beadyface, it was anything but. Each out for his own purposes, the three reunited upon seeing a strange loping figure bite the head off of a chicken. They confronted the beast and killed it, only to find that it was in fact an old man, withered and dressed in rags.

They covered up the sequelae of their violence, and returned to the tavern. The next day, they were told by the serving woman to look for one of the soldiers they were seeking on the south end of town, in the orchards. They found Farthingale there, but the portly soldier claimed to have lived in Drake’s Ford all his life.

It was then that the heroes realized that the night in Drake’s Ford had robbed them of crucial memories. They hurried back to town, investigated the creche, and were directed to the church, where a shocking interruption derailed their investigation.

Upon touching a box of wrought-iron holy symbols, Acacia was forcefully snapped into her true form, that of a changeling. Un hinged by this, she ran to the forest while Beadyface and Quinn carried on the investigation.

Discovering through gave robbery that the dead blacksmith was the serving girl’s husband, Quinn and Beadyface confronted the woman, accusing her of summoning a demon. She claimed that Market Day was soon and left them.

Suddenly, their memories wiped clean of the intervening time, the heroes awoke to find that the demonic celebration had begun, and some of their own had been participating in it. They hurried to confront Kestrel, who laughed and threw herself on Acacia’s blade.

Realizing what needed to be done, the heroes reunited the amulet and used Shavaat’s true name to cast out the demon, and sealed it away by inscribing the name permanently where none would forget it.

Upon returning to Crossings, they found that their military unit had been transferred to the control of a clockwork warrior, a mage of the Tower Arcane, and, most peculiar of all, a well-dressed dwarf with gentlemanly tastes…

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