Visenya Wargbane, was NOT having fun. With the commencement of the Gathering’s official start date – her master, Kalthas Griffonbane had her spending her time up to her elbows in Beholder eyeballs and Wyven stingers, talking to hoary old wizards with halitosis, wart encrusted alchemists, and cross eyed hedge healers dickering over the freshness of monster remains.
The firstl break from the monotony and boredom, was a brief encounter with a young elf, who caught her eye, and approached – only to very brazenly make off with a Basilisk fang (one that Visenya had had to be un-petrified after helping to recover). Visenya did not waste a moment, and immediately bolted after the thief. Her quick reflexes allowed her to easily weave through the crowd, vaulting over a gnome, and under a passing centaur, before following the thief down a narrow alley between two tents. About half way through the alley, she came across a trip-wire, concealed along the way. Realizing that her target had clearly anticipated pursuit – the apprentice Monster Hunter decided it was too dangerous to continue pursuit any further and returned to the booth. To her surprise, Kalthas actually complimented her on having the wisdom not to pursue a target that clearly wanted to be chased.
On her lunch break, Visenya went to locate Grelnik Nickerwick and see if she could find out more about joining him on an expedition to one of the ancient cities – but to her disappointment, found that he had been missing since Goran Steelheart Scourge of Hyland and his men had left the island. Beginning to wonder if her luck would ever turn, she went back to work counting the six remaining days of her apprentice ship as six too many.
That afternoon, all the nine hells broke loose in the market place, as the whole world tilted 30 degrees. Visenya managed to rescue an old halfing matron and her two grandchildren from certain death beneath a rolling cart, before being left by her master to mind the store while he aided in rounding up escaped monsters.
The next day, the strange young elf male that had stolen the fang returned. Business had been non-existent in the wake of the catastrophe, and many were even leaving the Gathering. Visenya didn’t really care – at least all she had to do was guard the stuff now – not try and sell it. The brazen thief approached in plain sight with the pilfered tooth out in plain sight. He placed it on top of a barrel and begged for forgiveness – stating he’d only wanted her attention and that the only thing that had waited at the end of the chase was a romantic meal. Visenya wasn’t buying it – but she didn’t shoot him on the spot either, so the elf introduced himself as Tamron Gale. He stated that the ‘obstacle’ Visenya had run into had been a test of skill – and that he was impressed with her looks, her moves, and her intelligence in not following him further. He wanted to make the little test up to her and advised that he had acquired papers that would grant them access to the ruins of the ancient city beneath the island – and wanted her to come with him and help recover any artifacts they might come across. He also pointed out the bounty on Goran Steelheart and offered to share it with her should they be able to claim it. Visenya didn’t agree until he offered to pay her 250 gold – 125 up front.
The two proceeded into the tunnels – with the Gatewardens either buying Tamron’s paperwork, or not caring if two foolish young elves wanted to commit suicide in the tunnels beneath the city. They explored a short while – Visenya falling pray to the brown mold that had incapacitated Rennard “Underfoot” Redhill earlier, and badly frost bitten Oskar Dankil, suffering severe frostbite and near hypothermia. Eventually, they met up with her friends from the Gravity Games, and joined forces to hunt down Goran.
Oskar’s study of the contents of the kits that were found with the symbol of The Heart revealed that one of the vials in each was a Cure Major Wounds Ointment, while Nero’s study of the ‘server’ uncovered the way to work the ancient knowledge repository. With these new tools, the group quickly began to explore the rest of the complex, eventually figuring out how to pump the water out of the submerged levels and explore the previously inaccessible sections of the building.
Within, they finally found Goran Steelheart waiting for them. The ‘Scourge of Hyland’ explained that he had something he wanted to the group to see before it came to a fight. Most of the group hesitantly agreed to hear him out – but Rennard dashed past him to find the missing gnome. While Goran explained that it was not he that was the true evil – but the Druid Council who was keeping everyone from the truth, Rennard found the gnome trying to open two huge doors that he claimed led to the Axiom of Eldergates – the central hub that connected to all 100 worlds of the Elder Empire. Realizing the potential danger of such a discovery, Rennard promptly incapacitated the elderly scholar, and deposited him out of the way.
When the group agreed to let Goran show them whatever it was he wanted them to see – Rennard attacked the barbarian cheiftain from ambush. A savage fight ensued, with the seven party members ganging up against the lone barbarian. Kyrian Stone fell to a savage double attack before Goran was finally laid low by one of Visenya’s arrows.
With his final breath, Goran Steelheart advised the group, “You…wiill see! I…was telling the truth…”
With Goran’s fall, Rennard quickly grabbed the inert gnome and dashed for the exit while everyone was distracted.
With the two little people gone – the rest of the party discussed whether they should open the doors or not. Finally, curiosity won out, and Nero opened the doors with magic.
Within – the party found all 100 Eldergates – apparently intact, if inert.
Immediately a figure materialized before them. It appeared to be Anselm, whom most had met in the Council of Nations – but the being somehow seemed much taller, and more menacing.
Anselm told the group, that they had become aware of information that could not be allowed to get back to the rest of the world. The Druids had worked for Centuries to keep these gates hidden, and it would not do to have the characters return with what they now knew. He gave them a choice – to go through one of the gates, or to have their memory erased.
Oskar complained that they had sacrificed much, including the life of a friend, to save thousands from the threat of Goran Steelheart – and this seemed a poor compensation – to be banished.
Anselm agreed – and resurrected Kyrian Stone, restoring him to perfect health in spite of the massive damage that had been done by Goran’s steel through his neck and head.
When the group asked what about the threat that the gnome, Grelnik Nickerwick posed – Anselm agreed, and summoned he and Rennard with his magic.
Anselm compensated the group with a chest of treasure (as yet unopened) and after some discussion – the group agreed to travel to the Dwarf homeworld of Hearthome to attempt to save Oskar’s people from the Orcs that enslaved them.