“It is done” Brutus proclaimed as he, Bal-Darok (Dylan), Niloc (Colin), Feros (Stuart) and Rozzo (James) arrived beaten and exhausted at the Moon Hills Inn. Miri gazed upon them and it was clear they had survived the onslaught of battle. Brutus had lost an eye, complimenting his acidic burns across his face. Bal-Darok had an accompanying injury: an intimidating scar stretched across his face.
As they collected their thoughts and rested their wounds, Brutus requested that the bar-maiden Miri gather all those mighty adventurers who had stayed within the inn. After many hours of searching, she returned with Malachite (Ami), Jesus (Brett), Festoon (Chris), Farin (Corey), Delorah (Lauren) and Steeb (Steve). Shortly after, four other shadowy adventurers entered the inn as well, mostly unfamiliar to all but Malachite. They solemnly introduced themselves as Remi (Alicia), Penela (Ashley), Embercloak (Matt) and Pigeonhorn (Pat).
With a gathering of all like-minded adventurers (at least in the sense of seeking glory), Brutus confirmed the direness of world’s situation: the end of the world as they know it is upon them all. The Black Dragon Queen known as Tiamat, the World Eater, seeks escape from the Nine Hells to enter the living world. Furthermore, it appears the Black Legion, an army and cult dedicated to her revival, is alive and well.
“As we reached the end of the Moon Hills Labyrinth, we came across a dark ritual. Four elder kobolds were summoning a Black Dragon, child of Tiamat, through a portal from the Nine Hells. A red scaled Dragonborn legionnaire defended this ritual with his life. Through Bal-Darok’s daring bravery that nearly cost him his life and Rozzo’s clever use of his Crown of Madness, the legionnaire was defeated and the ritual was prevented, banishing that Dragon back into Tiamat’s realm”.
Brutus continued in a more serious tone, “But the worst may still be upon us. The legionnaire confirmed that Talimar, the bronze Dragonborn and Warlock of Tiamat, still lives – or rather, has been returned from the dead”. Itching his one remaining mutton chop, Brutus continued “A Death Knight, they called him. Raised as undead – possibly by a Lich – to fulfil the duty he failed to achieve in life. Perhaps he seeks revenge … or perhaps he seeks to see Tiamat’s reign over this world. Whichever it is, I am confident Talimar will be watching us, checking our every move”.
Clearing his throat with a cough of smoke, Rozzo spoke beyond his twirling moustache “I believe Talimar was said to be residing within the Misty Rock?”
Brutus nodded, “We ought to head west to investigate. Whether that takes us to Westfurt, it is no matter. Black Dragons are at home within the marshlands, and it seems likely their presence there will be most strong”. Behind them, Niloc gave a devilish grin at the opportunity to venture into the marshes.
“But before we speak any further, I have a question for Feros. I couldn’t help but notice that you found a particular fragment of glowing chalk?” asked Brutus.
Brutus gestured to Feros to hand him a large fragment of the chalk to identify, offering Feros 50 gold pieces for his cooperation. After reading aloud a scroll of Identify, Brutus spoke: “Ah, yes. I recognize this chalk. Atremus often spoke of its significance. It is the Chalk of Doors”.
“If I recall, rumours claim this magical chalk was chipped from a rock fragment in the Astral Sea. If one carefully sketches a hearth enclosed within a door and rests upon it for a night, it is said to become your dimensional home. Once one has marked their home, they can return to this home from anywhere in the world! Yes! They claim that if you sketch another door upon a solid surface, you can step into that door and return to your home within a second!”
Brutus grinned, “Magnificent really. I could put one beside my bed, roll into it and retrieve a fresh keg from the cellar within a moment!”
“There seems to be enough for everyone, Feros. Why don’t we break it into pieces and share it with all whom we trust?”
(The Chalk of Doors: During a long rest, you can mark one location at a time as your home. You can then spend 10 minutes drawing a door on a surface to instantly step back to your marked location from anywhere in the world.)
“Speaking of whom we trust …” Brutus continued with a triumphant voice, “And judging by our past successes over the Legion of the Black Dragon, I think we ought to band together. No, better yet – we ought to found an Order! A Guild! A Gang? Some sort of association. Its pretty clear that we and all those before me can form an effective force to do good – or at the very least, to do no harm. Through our combined efforts, perhaps we could save this world after all? We could prevent Tiamat’s rise”.
Brutus looked upon the 14 adventurers with deep pride and respect, “Well friends? What do you say? If you’re up to the task, I could offer to all of you a permanent room at the Moon Hills Inn as our mutual headquarters. We could use the Chalk of Doors to mark this inn as our first hearth. It can be our stage, and the world, our audience! Shall we give them a show, lads!?”
Brutus smiled and whispered to himself, “A fitting day to found an Order in my Inn … on my birthday!”
It was then, on the 10th day of Leaffal that the question was posed: should the adventurers form an Order upon the Moon Hills Inn? To band together as guardians – or destroyers of Winterspire? And if so, what should this Order be called? These are questions only these 14 adventurers could decide …