Long Shadows

Getting it Straight

Everything you know is wrong.

Adrie dreams that a woman (“the Keeper”) wants Adrie to meet her. Adrie wakes Pipa and Rathro , and they set off in the direction Adrie senses is right. Not far into the woods is a copse of trees; within stands a female elf, and a male elf stands behind her shoulder. After interrogations it is determined that the female elf is the woman in Adrie’s vision. She states that she is “the Keeper of all things important.” The enigmatic elf gives Adrie a cryptic message, saying that she must travel immediately in search of “something,” and that she “will know what to do” when she finds it. She won’t disclose any further details.

Adrie, Pipa and Rathro leave the copse and head south on the road. After midday they see some a pillar of smoke ahead. Upon closer inspection they spot the smoldering remains of a large building, and the industrious movements of figures in black cloaks. Many carry hammers, wreckage, and black bags. Rathro mounts Pipa ’s broad shoulders while Pipa casts a spell to clothe all three in black robes. (Pipa and Rathro appear as one cultist.) They approach, and Adrie asks how she can help. While most ignore her, one figure in a silver belt comes forward and asks for the name of the temple they are from. Rathro tries to intimidate the man with uncooperative answers, but fails. Patiently the man repeats his question, but Adrie replies that they do not remember. He demands to know if they know the Priestess; Rathro says that they do know her; does HE know the Priestess? The man tells him (and subsequently, Pipa ) that he should leave.

The group retreats; soon Adrie returns, inquiring about the Keeper. The man returns to her suspiciously, and asks to know what her connection is to the Keeper. Adrie, abandoning deception, describes their journey to this place and their motives. [Through this conversation you realize that the Keeper is an enemy of the robed men. As Adrie reveals more, the man gathers more cultists to surround her.] He asks Adrie to come deeper into the wreckage with him, and admits that her chances of living are slim to none. Trying to buy time, Adrie demands why he can’t kill her on the spot? The delay works; Pipa and Rathro successfully sneak-attack from behind. Rathro goes berserk and slaughters four men with Shuriken. Pipa casts an illusionary sound around the side of the building, and the leader sends some men in pursuit. Then Pipa casts Jump on the rouge, and Rathro sails through the air to Adrie’s side. She is still surrounded, and the men bombard her with attacks. Rathro beheads a man; the head lands on the ground and its hood comes off, revealing a human face. Pipa kills a man with Magic Missile. The leader yells a command word and something like a bronze football flies up into the air, flashes, and flies off down the road. Rathro “suplexes” a cultist. The cultists cannot seem to damage the rouge, but Adrie is taking big damage. The leader shouts again; a gust of wind bowls over the party, knocking Rathro off his feet because he is not a tough dwarf like Pipa. Adrie cannot seem to escape the ring of attacks, though Pipa attempts to remove the obstructions with a Flaming Orb attack. The leader retaliates with an acid attack on Pipa . The cultists turn on Rathro and Pipa .

The leader is again visible; he is holding a staff glowing blue at the end and a black bag that appears to be full of something. Adrie heals the party. Rathro continues to do damage, while the cultists’ attacks are ineffective. The leader shouts, and all the cultists pull out sharp knives. Pipa casts a mage hand to take the leader’s bag. Before a tug-of-war ensues, Pipa be-spells the man using Sleep; he is fully struck by the spell; the bag and the staff fall out of his hand and he collapses. The magical hand pulls the bag away. The cultists appear disoriented but continue to battle with Adrie and Rathro . Blood-thristy Rathro taunts his opponents with the head of one dead man. The three remaining cultists flee. Rathro runs after them. Meanwhile, Pipa inspects the bag; there is another bronze “football,” and the gem bombs from the city. The cultist Adrie chases turns around the corner, she peeks and sees red glowing ground, but nobody there. Rathro kills his cultists; combat ends.

Rathro removes the leader’s silver belt and ties it Rambo-style around his forehead. Pipa snaps his staff in half; red glowing light flares out and the man snaps up and onto his knees with great agitation. Rathro head butts him; Pipa takes the rope and hog-ties his feet and hands together. His hood comes off; he looks like a normal human of about 40. They interrogate him. They find out that he “worked under the Priestess,” and as it turns out, the other brilliant people in their party burnt down the building. The man is uncooperative and condescending. He speaks of himself as an architect , but Adrie recognizes him as the Blacksmith from the city. When asked about the mission of the cultists, he replies that they are “Architects” and that he has given them answers already, but they are deaf and stupid. They take him (to interrogate later) and begin walking towards the road; they spot the male elf; he is shaking his head, No. Confused and irritated, the group resolves to return to inspect the building site and find the “something” the Keeper mentioned. They go to the red spot on the ground and decide that they must get underground. They ask the man where the entrance is but he says that he won’t tell them, because he doesn’t want the rest of his friends to die. They try to make peace and reach an agreement, but he doesn’t accept. Pipa senses that there is magic in the area of the stone floor; she realizes that the stone is an illusion to guard a wooden trapdoor, with a gem at its center. Rathro removes the gem and opens the trapdoor. There is a ladder, and two vertical pipes going down two walls glow brightly to illuminate the passage. Adrie heals the architect and stays above ground, while Rathro and Pipa venture quietly down the ladder and see a wooden door; along all the walls are horizontal versions of the white pipes. Through the door is a hallway, along the walls are the pipes, and about every ten feet there is an even bigger, brighter, white disk on the wall. There is a passage to the left, right, and straight ahead. Down the right and left are doors with symbols of a historic organization; there are warding spells on each.

Above ground, the captive asks Adrie what her friends are doing she tells him. He shouts a magic word. Rathro , in the center passage, hears the shout and bolts out into the main room just in time, because each white disk transforms into a wall that cuts the passage into sections. The long hallway is now blocked off, but the left and right hallways are still accessible. Rathro and Pipa return to Adrie . The architect says “If you promise to leave, I will tell you what’s going on downstairs.” Rathro unties the architect and gives him back his belt. The architect says that everything that had to do with the attack on the city was the Priestess’s fault, because she is a liar and a betrayer; apparently the Priestess betrayed the Hero (her motive was unclear). The Hero once had a band of adventurers, known as “the Stone Guards” who fought evil. The Priestess was his righthand man, but she, as well as Red, Deepwell, the Watcher (the male elf) and the Keeper split from the party. Only Hangman, Whisper, Shiver and Rattlecage remained faithful, and today only Whisper and Shiver are known to be on the architect s’ side. Also, the Hero never COMPLETELY died, and the architect s’ job is to give the Hero a new body. The architect s built the complex tomb of the Hero, and “the Caretaker” of the tomb was a title passed down to the most esteemed architect through the ages. The architect s build the red gems, “Sheeks”, and they “made possible what happened” in the city. The reason the architect s exist is to move the Thrallbreaker. The architect HATES the Priestess!

He says that the vampire is coming down this road tonight, in pursuit of the Thrallbreaker and with the intention of killing everything that lives, and the best thing to do is stay out of the way. The architect states that now that the vampire is out, everybody will die unless the Hero is brought back. The architect ’s best advice is too find the party and tell them to stop trying to stop the “Builders,” because they have been trying to stop what is good. They can use the “bronze football” or Messenger to find their party. The architect says they should go to Ensidia, and he will try to tell the Caretaker not to kill them, and perhaps allow them to aid the architects in the battle against the Priestess and her fellow betrayers (though he does not think the party’s efforts will be worth anything).

The party returns to the road, where they see the two elves; the Watcher looks particularly disappointed. They hear an extremely loud wolf howl, and start jogging away. Over time more howls join, and it is apparent that there are large and regular wolves on the sides of the road. The group finds the farmhouse where the rest of the party is camped out, and joins them. A Messenger arrives moments later; is glows an odd green color and is scratched up; the picture shows the Keeper and the Watcher surrounded by huge wolves, then flickers out!

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Bailey

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