Between the time when the oceans drank the Pride of Kings, and the rise of the Philosophers of Many Splendors, there was an age undreamed of. Undreamed of, for mortals cannot fathom its chaos, its riotous magnitude, the impossibility of the changes it forged in blood and iron. This was the age of flame and desolation, the age of change and rebirth and restoration, the age of sadness and joy. Unto this came the heroes of legend: Kos, the Burdened Slayer; Feora Who Shapes the World; Xangretor, the Knower of the Secret Names; Miles, the Thief of Virtue; Caedmon, She who Sang the Song to End All Worlds. It is I, their chronicler, who alone can tell thee of their saga. Let me tell you the story of how the world ended, and was born anew between the darkness and the light! Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!
Know that it is the 1677th year of the common calendar, measured since the fall of Netheril. Know that our tale begins in that part of the world known as the Hook, a place of kingdoms and republics and fallen empires. It is late spring, three months after riots swept the city of Anderstaat, three months after the Vorlanders burned the temples of the old gods and proclaimed their faith to Nehoman, a new and mysterious deity. Our story begins here, when the tempers of kings are stretched tenser than springs, when dark things lurk in dreams and men dream of night.
KOS EBONHOOF was but a newly-made paladin when he was sent on his first mission for the Faith of Kord. He was ordered to go to Anderstaat, the capitol of the Republic of Vorlandt, and to investigate rumors that the Faith of Kord is being oppressed. At the same time, FEORA, a young sorceress from the village of Kos Fael in the Aldharim mountains, also came to Anderstaat seeking Maren, a friend of hers who took something precious from the village and fled with it. Both Kos and Feora meet outside a small chapel of Kord in the slums of Anderstaat, and as they enter it, they find that the city guards are arresting the priests. Kos and Feora leap to their aid, and after dispatching the guards, they find that Marin staggered into the chapel of Kord a few days ago, but that he was then taken away not fifteen minutes ago. Kos and Feora band together and attack a nearby guardhouse, where they find that Marin was moved on elsewhere, but they do find what he stole: a small black gem that appears to pulse with darkness. They also find letters, detailing that the gem is to be taken to a man named Kalarel, who is a necromancer and who requires the gem to complete some ritual or other. Kos and Feora escape, locate and attack Kalarel’s stronghold. He defeats them easily, and they are imprisoned. Remarkably, the gem is not taken from them.
The next morning, Kos and Feora are brought before Prince Bregon, along with XANGRETOR, a half-elf cleric of Ioun, arrested for trying to help rebuild the temple of Ioun which was burnt down in riots three months ago. Bregon delivers the three an ultimatum: he has poisoned them with a poison that will kill them in twenty-one days. If they killing King Damien, ruler of the nearby Kingdom of Airren, and bring Bregon proof of his death, Bregon will give them the antidote to the poison. Their equipment is returned to them, and they set out. They decide, once out of the city, that they will warn King Damien and hope that the Arcane Collegium, which resides within Airren, can provide them with an antidote.
After a few days of travel, our heroes reach the Barony of Finndo, located on the border between Vorlandt and Airren. They discover that the people of the Barony are being oppressed by their leader, that there have been a rash of recent disappearances, and that the villagers, lead by the retired dwarven adventurer Frandor Falconstone, are preparing to rebel against the baron. Our heroes, after trouncing two of Baron Finndo’s patrols, make plans to storm the castle through old caves, and once inside, to open the gate and let the commoners into the castle. Afterwards, they will hold the castle until troops from Airren can arrive to secure the castle.
This plan proceeds apace. During their battle in the castle, our heroes are joined by CAEDMON, a tiefling bard hired by Airren to assist the commoners. She joins the party, and with her aid they open the gate and then assault the tower of the keep, where Baron Finndo resides. They fight their way up to the top, and find that Baron Finndo appears to be in league with some infernal power. His knights are half-transformed into fiends, and he has Tar Devils in his service. In addition, the party hears mention of a power called Nehoman, who seems to be worshipped as a god by these people. Nevertheless, the party defeats Finndo’s knights, and then Finndo himself.
II. Dark Portals and Darker Deeds
The party reaches Orrodi, and manages to get to the king. He agrees to help them, and Archmagister Carric, the head of the Arcane Collegium, goes to create an antidote for them. In the night, Feora and Xangretor awake to find dark tendrils of energy leeching out of their bodies. They follow them to the king’s chambers, where they discover that the tendrils are powering portals, and that a number of devils and humans have come through these portals and have butchered the king and his personal guard. After dispatching the enemies and dispelling the portals, the party conferences with Carric and Tassamere. They learn that there are two primary tasks ahead of them. Firstly, they must locate the origin point of the portals, and see if they can find anything there. Secondly, they must ensure that whoever succeeds Damien as king will be the right man for the job, and be able to lead Airren effectively in war against Vorlandt.
After locating and interrogating a warlock, the party determines that the portals originated in an abandoned monastery of Baphomet called the Well of Demons. They set out for it, and explore it. During the course of their exploration, they come across MILES, a rogue who was part of the last party of adventurers to explore to monastery. He joins them, and almost immediately proves himself by killing a dragon. The party captures a tiefling named Maldrick who was responsible for opening the portals, and they are deeply troubled by the presence of demons and devils working together in Maldrick’s service.
Upon returning to the city, our heroes throw themselves into the machinations of politics. They eventually ensure that Cedric Atholl is crowned the new king. During Atholl’s coronation, the city is attacked by an army of horrible monsters, led by a man who claims to know Carric. The party leaps to the city’s defense, striking out for the temple of Bahamut, which has come under assault by a large portion of the army. Once they have fought their way to the chamber under the temple’s spire, they find Kalarel, trying to enact some kind of terrible ritual using an artifact, the Sword of the Morning. During the ensuing fight with Kalarel, Miles is thrown into a pillar of dark energy and vanishes. Kalarel is not slain, but flees, and the invasion of the city is repulsed.
III. The Spire of the Dragon
The party sets out in pursuit of Kalarel, having been informed by Archmagister Carric that the necromancer is bound for the Spire of the Dragon, an ancient temple to Bahamut perched atop the tallest peak of the Snowy Tooth Mountains. Carric believes that Kalarel wants to use the Sword of the Morning and the Spire to create a permanent portal between the material world and the Nine Hells, thus allowing armies of devils and demons to invade easily.
In the course of their journey, the party finds that sleeper agents sworn to Nehoman have already infiltrated the countryside, and appear to be working to allow more infernal creatures to invade this world. Our heroes save a village from this fate, and press on, past a recently mobilized horde of orcs, apparently led by a mindflayer. During their journey up into the higher parts of the mountains, the party is joined by AERONWY, an elven monk. They find the evidence of Kalarel’s progress, as well as a crashed astral skiff that was abandoned in the mountains some years ago. After clearing out a nearby monastery and closing another incipient portal to the Shadowfell, our heroes prepared to venture onwards, to the Spire of the Dragon!