Miura Hammertone sent an official summons to five people living in Sanctum: Frozen Frostbeard, Mirren and Auriel No’Va, Ekemon, and Belster.
When they arrive, they see Miura (Lady Hammertone, Lady Mayor of Sanctum), and Milgurn II waiting for them in the audience chamber. The audience chamber is the throne room. Seated on the throne is Miura. By her left-hand side, standing, is Milgurn.
Miura introduces them to each other (she doesn’t know if anyone knows anyone else yet except for the twins) and tells them about their collective enterprise:
“I charge you with the task of saving this town from the horrible pox before it is too late. I know that each of you has performed tremendous service to this town over the years, and I call upon you now to go above and beyond the call of duty; I call on you to be heroes.
I cannot tell you how to save this town, only how to begin. Some of you may be familiar with the Witch of North Drekken: the old woman who has lived out on the Mire for as long as anyone can remember. Since my father founded this township, she has come once a year, every year. I know that the citizens believe her to be an old (if mystical) hermit who needs an occasional set of supplies she cannot make for herself, but I can assure you she is much more than that.
My father told me, before he passed on the sovereignty to me, something I have only told one other living soul, until this moment.” Miura takes a deep breath and looks to Milgurn, who returns the glance and nods. She continues, “What I am about to tell you underlies the very foundation of our society, and cannot be repeated to anyone save the Lord Mayor of Sanctum or the Clan-lord of the Ironroots. If you do not believe you are capable of keeping this secret, I ask that you leave now.”
Miura pauses for a moment, searching each face before her, before nodding and continuing: “No one knows exactly how my father banished the dragonkin from the South Drekken but him, but there was more to the story than my father’s single-handed influence.
My father made a deal with the Witch. In order to keep the peace, my father agreed to an exchange of gifts; in exchange for maintaining the peace, my father gave the Witch a gift every year, and she brought a gift to Castle Ardhome in return. When my father stepped down, this mantle of gift-giving passed to me. The expectation is that if the gifts should ever cease to be exchanged, something awful will befall Sanctum.”
She pauses, taking another deep breath.
“This year, the Witch has not appeared.”
“You can see what a predicament this leaves us in,” she goes on, “the law of my father stipulates that none should travel north of the Wall, but it seems that our gift exchange cannot take place if we do not go and find out why the Witch has not brought a gift this year. I must believe that this pox is a curse related to the Witch’s absence.
You must go into the Mire, through the Wall, and find the Witch’s hut. Discover what has befallen, and take her this gift from us.”
Miura holds out an iron amulet with a square pendant at the terminus, and waits for you to take it. [It is an Amulet of Resolution Neck 2 520 GP Adventurer’s Vault]
After Mirren takes it, she continues, “Find the Witch. Give her our gift. Offer her whatever she wants to lift this curse from our people. I dub you ‘Sanctum’s Hope,’ and I expect nothing less than success from you. Pelor’s light shine on you, and Kord’s great strength sustain you.”
As she finishes, Milgurn chimes in, “An’ Moradin’s hammer forge ye together.”
“Unless there are any questions,” Miura says, “you are dismissed.”
Minor Quest: Exchange the Gifts
Major Quest: Sanctum is not Safe
While you bring a ranger with you (Belster), he gets you hopelessly lost and it takes you much longer than anticipated to navigate the marsh.
Along the way, you encounter (and dispatch) four zombies and four wisp wraiths (they look like points of black light, but are the warped malicious souls that used to inhabit the bodies that are now zombies). You also encounter (and dispatch) two groups of three grave drakes (undead dragons that are slightly more intelligent than regular undead).
Finally, after fighting long and hard to get through the foothills, you arrive at the Witch’s Hut.
At the hut you discover a young boy who, after scaring the daylights out of everyone by being too-real-to-not-be-what-he-appears but clearly-not-as-he-appears, transforms into the Witch of the North Drekken.
The Witch informs you that:
- I am too weak to help you, just as I was too weak to come to Sanctum, but I can tell you how to lift the curse of the pox.
- Long ago I made a deal with two young men of honor: a dragon named Periclus (PAIR-ih-cluss]] and a human named Belaus. I can no longer fulfill my duties to these men. Though I wish to continue in my duty, I am too frail.
- You must fulfill my role to end the curse; the gifts are not for me but for the dragonkin to the north. Deliver the gift, bring their gift back to your lady, and return to me: we will need to end the curse permanently and I have work to do before then.
- The dragonkin live in the city of Kalgorashand are led by the dragonborn, Halkithor the Bold. He is distrustful of humans, but they are much wiser than you, and I prepared them for the day that I may no longer come by giving them instructions which would allow you to safely approach their city, and I have prepared a ritual scroll which will allow you to speak to him when you arrive.
- You will approach the city in single-file, with your hands on your heads. Whoever is going to cast the scroll and bear the gift must be at the head of the line. Do not speak until you are inside the gates of the city, and then only to whoever speaks to you.
Eventually, you bid the Witch adieu and set out to the north-west of the Mire where Kalgorash waits.
It isn’t long before you encounter a black dragon wyrmling and its hunting pack of drakes. This bloodthirsty crew sets on you like a pack of raptors, separating and eventually maiming the party badly. In the end, Frozen Frostbeard lies dead from his heroic effort to keep the party safe from harm. The dragon wyrmling escaped.
You find Kalgorash and follow the instructions. Dragonborn surround you, and Halkithor speaks to you. It appears that he is preparing to attack Sanctum. You are successful in convincing him to exchange gifts and barely successful in convincing him to not attack Sanctum.
On the way home to Sanctum, you encounter four more guard drakes and dispatch them.
You report everything back to Milgurn Ironroot II. He wants you to go return to the Witch to end the curse forever.
To replenish the party’s strength, Crag the goliath is sent to escort the party. As a friend to the dwarves of Sanctum, he is a trustworthy ally to the party.
Minor quest “Exchange Gifts” completed.
Major quest “Sanctum is Not Safe” is ongoing.
When you arrive at the Witch’s hut she has new information for you. She says:
- The source of power for the curse is not me, alone. I utilized an ancient druidic artifact known as the Monolith of Dura. It still stands in the north-east of the Mire. (She tells you how to reach it)
- The curse is unbreakable, but the power source for the curse is not. You must perform the ritual of balance on the obelisk; it is an ancient druidic ritual which will sap all of the magic from the artifact and render it inert, thereby breaking the curse.
- (She teaches Ekemon the ritual) The tools and components are all here for you. Take them.
- Expect resistance when you reach the Monolith. I was not the only one who could sense its power, and as my control wanes it will surely call to others.
- Find the Monolith, perform the ritual, and return to me. !Raspy breath! With my power waning, something far worse than starvation or a dragon army may soon threaten your precious city. But for now…I must sleep.
Minor Quest: Destroy the Obelisk
You attempt to follow the directions, but Belster is still an inconsistent tracker. What he does do is spot several groups of drakes and young dragons before they can ambush the party. After dispatching them, you arrive at the Obelisk.
Four dark wisps guard the ancient artifact. Only magic seems able to destroy them, but after a mighty sortie you gain the upper hand and claim the right to disenchant the stone tower. Ekemon performs the ritual and successful removes its magical power.
Upon close inspection of the stone-cold remains of the once-enchanted obelisk, the party locates a fine dusting of silvery powder. When you ever-so-carefully recover this powder and store it, it amounts to around 200gp worth of residuum!