Just moments ago, the Defenders of Nubereg fulfilled their quest and found Comptess Nubereg.
In the course of their journey, they now found themselves once again an ancient temple, and once again mired in the affairs of Orbs of Dragonkind. the Comptess, insisting they call her Etaine, was more than happy to help the group figure out the reason Nubereg was attacked, if first they would help her find the relic she sought.
First she needed to be caught up to speed. A year had passed since she departed from Denhagen with the historian Lemisk. She figured out quickly Lemisk was no scholar, more likely a spy from one of the eastern nations. Ekern, Thenes, one of those. Curiosity compelled her to help Lemisk to find this location, though she knew he would probably try to kill her eventually anyway.
Ironically, they never got to that point. Etaine, Lemisk and his retinue had refused the “protection” of a trade company’s armed guard, and within a day they were ambushed by a gang of trolls and kobolds, led by a nasty two-headed troll.
Etaine escaped with just the clothes on her back and discovered the shrine. She was trying to figure out her next action when the cockatrices set upon her. The group were happy to reunite her with her possessions, found in the trolls’ loot.
Etaine was especially fascinated with Fossil. Many times in her youth she had explored the ruins north of Nubereg. She recognized the warforged as one of the “statues” that stood vigil over the old temple. She dabbled a bit into the history of the ruins, but she had no notes with her, and the rest of her research remained at her home in Denhagen. She would be happy to help them decipher the riddle of who and why the orb was stolen, but first she needed their help to find the relic of this temple.
With Damien and Aki taking the front, many traps were found and disarmed. As they delved deeper, the group realized the temple was once above ground, and some sort of natural calamity cause the temple and a druid’s grove to fall deep underground.
The collapsed grove smelled of decay the belied simple rotting plants. Sir Henry sensed a palpable evil in the place. Some divining showed an overpowering aura of unholy negative energies throughout. Keeping alert, the group pressed onward.
Among the ruins was the trunk of a long-fallen tree, covered with mould and mushrooms. As they drew closer, the tree rose up. An undead treant – Sha’Riven named it mortuviridi, a great blasphemy against nature.
The mortuviridi animated other fallen trees to join the attacks. Etaine and Aki were both taken out of the fight, infected with a blight of undead mushrooms.
With a liberal dose of evil smiting and alchemical fire, the trees were laid to rest. Henry and Sha’Riven drove out the unholy fungus, and for the second time in a day Comptess Nubereg was in the heroes’ debt.
Some searching followed after a moment to collect themselves. A magical effect known as a necrotic miasma. It sapped energy from living material (plant included, it seemed), and that which died in the area would rise as undead. Etaine and Henry both knew of a place called the Barren which it was said the dead rose. The temple seemed to suffer the same effect.
The group continued, eager to find their goal and be done with the temple.
More undead plants slowed their descent, but finally the group reached what must have once been a sacred stone circle before whatever befell the area struck.
The remains of a berobed skeleton, surrounded by a score of broken warforged lay beside an altar. Upon the altar lay the Brass orb of Dragonkind.
The group was on guard, however, seeing as though the trees were undead, the bodies before then were likely to rise as well. The wizardly corpse rose first, followed by the warforged.
The undead wizard let out a hellish screech as she was destroyed. As she crumbled to dust, the other animated dead too fell. Soon, the necrotic miasma dissipated as well.
Fossil touched the Orb, and he was hit with another vision, like the one in Nubereg.
This time, the last images of the previous holder of the Orb replayed.
The defeat of a God…
The Orbs casts to the corners of the known world…
The Archdruidess who took possession of the Brass Orb housed it in a sacred grove, surrounded by the full force of Nature to defend and hid the artifact. As well, animated soldiers, their lifeforce granted by the Orbs themselves.
The ageless priestess stood vigil over the Orb, until one day, the necromancer’s armies descended upon the grove.
The druidess fought them off as long as she could, the warforged joining her. The necromancer was destroyed, but with her death she cursed the grove, and killed the druidess and collapsed the whole temple upon itself.
Fossil recovered from his trance, and the Heroes of Nubereg made their way out of the haunted place.
Now the task at hand was to determine who sought these Orbs, and why. The first stop was the village of Nonce. From there, back to Denhagen, and finally home to Nubereg.