Contest of Wills
- The year 1370 DR is coming to a close.
- Waukeen has been released from her prison to resume her place in the heavens.
- Mithral Hall is besieged by King Obould Many-Arrows with the aid of Gerti Orelsdottr and her army of frost giants as well as the two-headed troll Proffit, whom has successfully routed the frontier town of Nesmé with his army of trolls. The whole of the Silver Marches is in upheaval.
- Dark Arrow Keep has been renewed in the northern reaches of the Spine of the World.
- Dagna Waybeard, dwarven general from Mithral Hall, was killed by trolls when he tried to protect refugees from destroyed Nesmé.
- Dagnabbit, the son of dwarven general Dagna Waybeard, the lead military commander of Mithral Hall’s armed forces, dead during the Battle of Shallows.
- The Church of Bane from Mintar has captured the town of Kzelter in Tethyr, and is threatening also the nearby countries of Amn and Calimshan.
- The Church of Dugmaren establishes a temple called the Athenaeum of Philosophy in Silverymoon to ensure a dwarven contribution to the collected knowledge of the new nation of Luruar.
- Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun has recently abandoned the Harpers to Waterdeep, forming the Moonstars.
- Among all these happenings, there are whispers of a Drow army marching the Underdark and a greater power on the verge of rebirth.
Each of you, never before meeting another, have at least one thing in common: you have been approached by a slim man with blazing dark eyes and chalk-white skin. Amidst his sarcastic and duplicitous rambling, he hands you a letter sealed with purple wax, a skull imprinted therein, and your name exquisitely scrawled in deep red ink on the face. When your gaze rises from examining the parcel, the man is gone.
The contents of the letter are simple and forthright: the text instructs you to meet at Beldabar’s Rest in Yartar. A room has been provided for you. Others will be joining you.
For some unknown reason, you’re compelled to follow the instructions.
The beautiful elf maiden at the front desk offers the inn’s services and asks your name for the registry. Once your name is given, her face pales and she hurriedly ushers you across the busy circular common room and down to the end of a corridor of empty rooms and leaves you at the final door.
It is apparent that you are not the first to arrive as both light and hushed voices flow from the semi-open door. You enter and all eyes turn to you, expectant and curious, though fall again as you uncomfortably take a seat around the circular table. You survey the others and realize, by the number of chairs around it, that you were not the first to arrive and neither are you the last.
The minutes drag by like hours until you catch the distinct sound of heavily-armoured footsteps closing from down the hall. The door swings wide and in steps a menacing man in black full plate with a heavy shield strapped to his back, the darkness of the equipment drastically contrasts his almost ghostly pale skin – two others stand outside in the hallway, equipped in very much the same way though with longswords wrapped in black cloth strapped to their sides.
Welcome. I trust all summoned are present, he says haughtily, the tone in his voice having a callous yet oddly trustworthy demeanor to it. I am Malarn. You have been called here today because my Master would have you recover a series of items that are of much importance to him. The reward is great should you succeed. Should you not wish to accept this mission, you may leave now… Malarn pauses and after a beat, three of the other adventurers around the table stand and make their way out the door, muttering things to the tune of “creepy bastard” and “suspicious blighter.”
Very well, he continues, closing the door behind him. First, you are tasked with finding a particular item of interest. This item is an orb of iron and is in the possession of an Orcish chieftain in the North. It was acquired by him after having been thoughtlessly fired from a Gnomish war machine during the siege of Keeper’s Dale. You must follow the River Surbrin north, infiltrate enemy lines and recover the orb. Malarn takes a moment to let the information sink in before continuing. I recommend you leave immediately, this final statement coming pertly before he turns his back, opens the door and strides through, closing it again behind him, leaving the group to discuss.
After a short debate and decision, the newly formed party exits the room to find the three other adventurers brutally slaughtered not half-way down the hall. Apparently, opposing this “Malarn” and whomever he works for seems a poor choice…