An excerpt from the journal of Targanis (days reckoned from the disappearance of his parents)
Day Eighty-Seven: A Beginning
I arrived in Andurien on the first day of the Feast of Deliverance. A large city, originally of Dwarven construction, but since co-opted and expanded by the humans. Preparations for the day’s festival events gave the place an unusual air – hard to get a read on what passes as normal on a day like today. But today, I expect to see what the fates have in store for me – I should finally get to meet this Matthias that the Lirathyn-tai spoke of and deliver the missive that weighs in my pack. The journey has been unsatisfying, a long time at sea and a longer time through a land neither challenging, nor beautiful.
I stride into the Pharos Mercantile Company and ask to see Matthias. Despite seeing few other Eladrin while in Callembrel, the clerk barely notices my appearance, takes my letter, and waves me into a quiet chamber beyond – where I am to await Matthias’ arrival. It becomes clearer that the unusual is commonplace here – waiting in the room is a collection of beings, such as I’ve never seen. A self-important human, lounges with a look of casual danger about him. A stolid dwarf warrior searches for – something – in a bare stone wall. Another human warrior, clad in plate, paces about with a malevolence barely contained by rigid military discipline. I nod to those present, but realize that none are Matthias, so I settle in by the fire and begin my vigil. A short time later, a female Tiefling walks in – every bit as exotic as I imagined from the histories I’ve read. She seems upset, almost daring those of us in the room to say something about her. Mercifully, before things get awkward, Matthias arrives from the back room.
He’s rather unassuming by even human standards, but he does have an air of casual confidence about him. He welcomes us and introduces us to each other. The cocky youngster is named Quinn. The brutish human is one Gaetus Faire – perhaps related to the Faire’s of the Daeras Empire? The dwarf is named Tordek, Matthias claims he’s no ordinary dwarf but a Battlemind – I struggle to try to recall mention of such in Larthyn-tai’s annals. The teifling is Cekaraka a warlock (binder?). I am introduced as Targanis. We are told that we have been watched and studied by his group – the Sentinels – and that we’ve been asked here because they have seen great potential in us. He asks us to look into the disappearance of Gabriel, the rightful Lord of the nearby Valley of Moray . It’s several years after the passing of Lord Gareth, and his son Lord Gabriel’s indifference to his domain has led to little notice being made concerning his recent disappearance in the townships of Isabel’s Rest and Shepard’s Glen. Now however, the Sentinels are slightly concerned about the recent increases in raids in the area. He says there are rumors that the Moray’s seat in the valley has been claimed by “The Beasts” in Gabriel’s absence. The towns seem to be more interested in exercising their new freedoms than investigating the manor. As provisional Sentinel’s, he requests we look into the matter for them and bring some stability to the region, and if the situation presents itself, bring the wayward Gabriel back to Anduriel where perhaps the Sentinels can impress upon him the responsibilities of his hereditary position.
Mattias offers us mounts to reach the valley, and urges us to embark on the mission with little delay. However, he cautions us that with the celebration in town, we’re unlikely to get the required assistance before dawn. He also mentions that a Halfling and Dragonborn are running late, but may catch up and join with us before we’re through. We are encouraged to enjoy the celebration before we depart in the morning. Quinn seems only too happy to depart and take in the sights, he urges Cekaraka to accompany him – she considers for a moment, then agrees. The lure of ale leads to Tordek and Gaetus departing shortly thereafter. Alone in the chamber, I resolve to see if I can find some of the settings for the ancient battles from the annals. By the time I get to the door, Cekaraka and Tordek are claiming that there’s something wrong outside.
With their warning, I notice that the paraders underneath their over-large demon-costumes are not human – and two are so large as to be …. Ogres! As I begin to assess the battleground – positively cluttered with civilians – I hear a belligerent oath, followed by a pillar of fire engulfing one of the paraders in the back. Chaos reigns as the Ogres and goblins reveal themselves and the civilians begin panicking. An Ogre and hobgoblin move over to attack Cekaraka, Quinn calmly drops a goblin with his crossbow. I rush over to face a goblin – they move much faster than I expected, having read about them in numerous battles – and give some encouragement to Cekaraka as she stares down that beast. Tordek and Cekaraka seem to have pin-pointed the leader of the group, who appears to be using a magical device to control the Ogres. I’m noticing things faster than I can react much of the time; my suggestions to others appear to work better than my own attempts. We drop the leader, which appears to cause his bracers to break and the collars on the Ogres to explode. I finally see a slipstream in the feywild I can use and lay into an Ogre – I catch him off-guard, but his skin is much tougher than I was expecting. Nevertheless with my companions we drop both Ogres. Next thing I realize, the last hobgoblin and goblin realize that without the Ogres their situation is hopeless and they flee. Quinn nearly catches the fleeing goblin with a bolt and Gaetus, Cekaraka, and I manage to chase down the hobgoblin before he gets too far. Victory is ours!
Unfortunately, before we can catch our breath, another group of goblinoids charges us – what sort of a city is this?. Tired as we were from defeating the Ogres, these foes provide a challenge despite being outnumbered five to four. Two orc warriors take advantage of a coordinated maneuver to flank our front line and go after Cekaraka and myself. Coordinated fire allows our crew to dispatch them both, but at a cost – Quinn drops along with them. Having pulverized the orc in front of me, Gaetus bellows his challenge to the hobgoblin commander – demanding his surrender. With his front line vanquished, and being outnumbered now four to two, he wisely accepts the terms. I inform the archer before me that he would be wise to surrender as well. He was too far taken by bloodlust and instead delivered a solid blow to my side – strangely, in doing so he screamed as if it was he who had been hurt. In any event, my attacks served to distract his attentions such that my companions were able to dispatch him, forthwith.
Our immediate attempts to revive Quinn met with little success, so we carried him back to the Pharos Mercantile Company along with our prisoner. I went in search of assistance – but found the place largely deserted. Fortunately, Tordek managed to revive Quinn while I was gone. Gaetus took to interrogating the prisoner. His manner was a bit unorthodox, but seemingly quite effective. If he is to be believed – and Tordek seemed to think that he ought to be – numerous bands of goblinoids (and demons?!?) were unleashed into the city, soley to sow confusion, murder, and mayhem. We are told their immediate commander, a human (?) named “The Imp” created a gateway into the city itself, approximately 15 minutes from here. The Imp supposedly works for “The Dark Lord”. From a military standpoint the invasion force is far too small to cause significant damage to a city of this size – even bypassing the walls with a gateway, and even with an unassuming populace distracted by the Feast of Deliverance. I am left to surmise that there must be a secondary thrust to the attack that the prisoner is unaware of (making his sacrificial assault a pure diversion) or that the Dark Lord wants to announce his arrival to the area by disrupting the celebration – hinting that the success being celebrated has some personal meaning to him or his plans – and his resources vast enough that the involved resources are inconsequential.
We are left to ponder: Do we try and track down the rumored demons? Should we hunt out (and try to close?) the gateway? Gaetus claims to have family somewhere nearby. It is somewhat odd that we’ve not seen any sign of the city guard. Could there have been many different gateways – spread throughout the city? No offence to my new companions, but I’m skeptical of our ability to thwart this invasion without assistance. Certainly more intelligence needs to be gathered to make effective plans.