Characters: Pierre, Remo, Ginger, Ailon, Simon, Vicar Horace, Tol, Jortan, Candara
Candara notices one evening that the stars are in an interesting pattern. Many stars, including several bright stars, from all over the sky are beginning to move toward the comet. Also, the comet seems to be shrinking now instead of growing. It still is heading toward a part of the sky that foretells great death and destruction throughout the world, but the "end" of the world does not seem to be foretold in the sky anymore.
Ginger has a dream in which she is standing on a barren plain with swirling storm clouds overhead. The wind whips at her cloaks and she can feel the tension in the air like a storm is about to break. In the distance, she hears a call. The voice is calling her name and she feel compelled to follow. As she begins walking, she begins to hear thunder and the wind picks up. Her way gets harder and harder as the wind picks up speed and the thunder tries to drown out the voice but she struggles on. After a while she sees someone else struggling along. They too are dressed as Ginger is with a visible holy symbol. They help each other on against the growing gale. Ahead they find another person crawling along, together the 3 struggle on. On and on, they go gathering more and more fellow travelers. No matter how loud the thunder or strong the wind, the voice keeps calling them all on. They top a rise and see below a glowing light emanating from a person standing amidst a sea of people. They all struggle forward into gathering the throng. The person in the center of the sea of people turns to look straight into Ginger's eyes. She recognizes the person as Priestess Mina, the new leader of the local temple sent to Jasper to ready the followers for the rising evil. She says in a quite but clear voice, "Ginger, come to me. Jihad!"
After her dream, Ginger goes to see Priestess Mina and learns that she has called a Holy War against this evil that the heavens prophesy. Priestess Mina says:
Over the past months, I have been praying to Dwalin for guidance. Last night I had a dream that I was standing on a hill. The land around me was filled with flowers, gardens, crops, and livestock for a far as the eye can see. On the next hill was a hooded and cloaked figure wearing the holy symbol of Al-Rashid, the sworn enemy of Dwalin.
The figure turned toward me and began to laugh. It raised a hammer and struck an anvil standing before it. The loud peal of the hammer shook the ground and the ground around the anvil split and the anvil sank into the ground. From the crack come a host of rats that poured out and formed a living sea of vermin circling the robed figure. The figure drops the hammer and picked up an ornate staff. It then gestured for the rats to devour all the countryside and they begin to spread.
Suddenly, a new sound came. There was a distant sound ringing from the ground beneath my feet. At this sound, the rats stopped and sniffed the air. Then they begin swarming toward me ignoring the gestures of the figure to control them. With nowhere to go, I called to Dwalin for deliverance and looked to the skies. Off in the distance, I saw a lone dove flying toward me. Then I saw a hawk and then an eagle and then a swallow till the skies were filled with birds flocking to me from near and far. The birds gathered around me and turned to face the wall of vermin heading for me.
At this point I was awoken by my aids. Each had come to me as if I had called them. The time of doubt is over; the time for actions is upon us. Dwalin has called for a Jihad, a Holy War, to defeat the forces of Al-Rashid. Since that time, followers of Dwalin have been flocking to me from around town.
I want each of you Paladins to take a lead in training this gathering army. Each of you will be in charge of a unit once we have gathered the forces together."
That same evening, Vicar Horace is visited by Morag who come back in town. He meets Horace in his room has brought along an acolyte for Horace. Her name is Tara and she is a lovely, 16-year-old, temple servant in training. She has pledged service to Nani and must serve a higher-level priest to complete her training. Morag, knowing Horace didn't have an acolyte, chose her for him.
In Nani's order, it is common for the temples to be 'manned' by mostly attractive women acolytes. It is felt that they add to the feeling of Love that Nani is goddess over. Even though Horace doesn't have a temple yet, Morag feels that Horace's tent church should be manned by women like Tara. She has been trained in all the standard service orders and is excited to be your Horace's servant. She falls on her knees and pledges to do her best to serve Horace and Nani. For the first time in a long while, Horace is speechless.
The next morning, Priestess Mina comes to speak with Remo and to ask for his order's assistance. She feels that a great battle will occur in Jasper before year end and is sure there will be a great need for healing from all orders and faiths. She asks that your order prepare for massive numbers of healing. Remo agrees.
Simon learns from Pablo that every blacksmith and many laborers in town have been hired for a special job out of town. Pablo needs a garrison of men to escort the workers to their job. He wants Simon to lead this group. Get the men together and leave Monday morning with some other party that is going to the same work site (Pierre's group).
At the meeting with the party, all these events are discussed and a the party begins planning how they will rescue Luna. Pierre remembers a scroll that he once used while working in the mine that might help with the rescue mission. The spell involves taking two matching cups, bowls, or other small vessels, and casting a spell on them. Then the two vessels will pass sound between the two. The spell lasts till one of the vessels is broken and will work over a long range. There is no way to turn the spell off and sound travels between the vessels all the time. This spell was used to set up communication lines between the surface and deep in the mine. Material components include the vessels, which become charmed, and a length of string, twine, wire, or rope, which is destroyed in the casting of the spell. The length of string determines the communications distance supported. The vessels can be further apart than the communication distance but they hiss continuously when they are.
He knows that there are a number of those scroll's stored in the Mage's Storeroom in the mine. He needs to visit the storeroom as a part of his mission here in Jasper for you K'tala's work. The plan is for Pierre to steal one of the scrolls while obtaining other items.
The party decides to build the devices and let Pierre take one cup into the castle. The rest will wait outside the castle and communicate with him once a day at 8:00 PM. Otherwise, both will keep the cups filled with cotton and wrapped in blankets. They decide to use tin cups since they can be easily destroyed but will not break if dropped. They also decide on 5 miles of twine giving them a good communication distance.
After his shopping trip, Pierre returns to the castle with one devices along with the rest of the party who are taking part in Simon's mission to escort the blacksmiths. At camp along the way, a funny 'bird' sound is heard in the distance. It sounds like someone mimicking a bird sound rather than an actual bird. The party decides to just keep a good watch but not investigate. In the morning, Ailon goes for a morning stroll near where the bird sound came from and finds signs of a campsite and a small fire.
The rest of the trip goes without incident and the party delivers the blacksmiths and mages to K'tala's fortress without any problems. They spend the night in the area and check out the communications devices which are working well.
In the morning, the party heads back toward Jasper but quickly leaves the road and find a sheltered place to hide. That evening, the talk with Pierre who says that the blacksmiths are welding suits of plate armor together so they will stand on their own but the arms and legs can still move. The mages are placing devices in the helms of the armor and reading a scroll which causes 'eyes' on the 'heads' to light up. Pierre tells that he did 100 of these suits today and there could be as many as 100 mages in the castle!
Later that night, the 'bird' sound is heard again. This time, Simon decides to go see who it is. He finds
a group of dwarves sitting around a small fire eating. Simon walks toward the dwarves but they just turn and
look. One of the dwarves jesters toward the food as if he is to join them. Simon asks if any of them speak
common and to his great pleasure, one of them answers "I speak little."
Simon introduces himself and the dwarf replies, "I is Jed." Simon learns that this bird call is a
call to all friends to join and eat. The rest of the party joins and the humans and dwarves share their
Simon introduces himself and the dwarf replies, "I is Jed." Simon learns that this bird call is a call to all friends to join and eat. The rest of the party joins and the humans and dwarves share their food.
They learn that the dwarves have long lived in these hills, have been persecuted by K'tala and his guards so they mostly stay hidden. They are against K'tala and know of the prophesy. They ask of the party would like to spend the evening in a cave near here. The party agrees and they move their camp to where the dwarves are staying.
Simon tells the dwarves that they want to rescue a friend (she who wields the Maul of Dwalin) from K'tala's castle. The dwarves tell them of a tunnel that leads into the dungeons of the castle that the men do not know about. The tunnel leads through some 'broken' areas that the men think are blocked but the dwarves know a way through.
When they communicate with Pierre, they learn that he has found Luna as well as a human and a dwarf in cells in the dungeon. Performing an errand to retrieve more scrolls, Pierre discovered a stairwell that lead downward. Risking discovery, he crept down the stairs and found several cells containing Luna and the other two captives.
The plan is to rescue Luna early in the morning using the tunnel the dwarves know of. Pierre, feeling increasingly nervous working at the castle, decides that he wants to leave as well so he will bring along his spell book. The party will wait for Pierre to notify them when the coast is clear.
The next morning after knowing that the party is in position, Pierre goes to work. He volunteers to
go and get more scrolls and makes for the dungeon. He sees that Luna and the others are still sleeping. To
avoid having the guards sneak up on him, he takes the keys and locks the hall gate behind him. Pierre makes
his way down and soon makes contact with the party. They return to Luna's cell and enter.
Luna is under some kind of spell which makes her almost a zombie. She follows orders like "pick up your anvil"
and "come with me" but does not seem to recognize anybody or have any will. The other two captives are
Kez and B'jan, Na'tan's cousin.
Luna is under some kind of spell which makes her almost a zombie. She follows orders like "pick up your anvil" and "come with me" but does not seem to recognize anybody or have any will. The other two captives are Kez and B'jan, Na'tan's cousin.They are under the same kind of spell and B'jan has a broken leg. The captives are led down to the storeroom and out the cave. Pierre locks all the gates to the guards will have trouble figuring out how the prisoners escaped.
Getting the zombie-like captives through the dangerous broken cave areas take a long time but they manage to make there ways to the cave. Before the leave for Japser, the party asks the dwarves to help them defeat K'tala. They agree to meet in an abandoned copper mine outside Jasper. The party then moves carefully back to Jasper. They enter after dark and head straight for the temple of Dwalin in hopes that the priests there can aid the ex-prisoners.