Leaves of Sapphire

The Song of Thunder

No Rest for the Baron

The once jovial face of Baron Ruland du Sterne, beloved leader and father of Sternendorf, stared back at them only in faded portraits. He, along with countless townsfolk who served him, had been savagely murdered by a band of outsiders months ago.

The Baron and his Lady now rested within the ancient Riddermound, a family barrow northeast of the town. But whispers of terror began to snake through Sternendorf. Townsfolk who dared to visit the burial site to pay respects returned with chilling tales. Wildlings from the treacherous Midita Peaks were raiding the area, ambushing anyone who ventured near the Baron’s final resting place. The townsfolk were trapped, unable to leave without facing the threat.

As fear festered, a more unsettling rumor took root. Whispers spoke of the Baron and his Lady, their aggrieved spirits now restless and vengeful. They roamed the land, seeking retribution against their murderers, striking down any unfortunate soul who crossed their path.

Driven by a fierce loyalty to their friends and family, a group of townsfolk decided they could no longer stand idly by. They would confront the dangers plaguing their beloved Sternendorf, venturing into the unknown to claim peace for their town.

The Haunted Crypt

Descent into Darkness

The first wave of heroic townsfolk—Ben, Drum, Lyca, and Hank—embarked on their journey to the du Sterne family crypt at the Riddermound barrows. Upon arrival, they discovered signs of forced entry, the crypt’s entrance stone pushed aside, and the pungent scent of wildling excrement lingering in the air. Ben lowered a rope, allowing the party to descend into the crypt. All made it safely, save for Drum, whose massive frame caused the rope to snap, sending him plummeting to the ground below with a painful thud.

A Swarm of Bats

Before the party could fully explore the room, Ben’s eagerness led him to push open an ajar door. This action triggered a hidden trap, causing a massive cauldron wedged above the doorframe to topple over, releasing a swarm of surprised vampire bats that had been nesting within. The bats, though individually weak, proved formidable as a swarm. Our intrepid adventurers found themselves in a panic, struggling to defend against the bloodsucking flying rodents. Unable to fend off the vermin, they fled through the door Ben had opened.

The Guardroom and Lady Hilda’s Throne

The party found themselves in a small ceremonial guardroom, a rusty portcullis blocking their path to the next chamber. Beyond, they could see the mummified remains of Lady Hilda, seated regally upon a throne.

Grub the Wildling

As they explored the looted crypts, Ben discovered a sniveling wildling named Grub hiding behind a vandalized sarcophagus. Ben persuaded Grub not to flee, learning that he was part of a looting party sent by Maladuk. Grub’s warband had abandoned him when the spectre of the Baron awoke, stalking the halls and hunting them down one by one.

Lady Hilda’s Ghost

Ben convinced Grub to apologize before Lady Hilda’s mummified body. As they did so, her ghost emerged, warning everyone to leave. Grub fled in terror, while Ben and Lyca stayed behind to ask if they could help calm her spirit. Lady Hilda’s ghost revealed that the wildlings had stolen her husband’s family crown, and its return would bring them peace.

Bargaining with Grub

The party found Grub attempting to escape the crypt. They struck a bargain: his aid in exchange for his freedom. Grub offered them a set of keys for the portcullises he had found.

Pursuit and Confrontation

Upon reaching the outside, Grub immediately fled. Lyca attempted to slow him down with an arrow, hoping he would lead them to his warband. Their pursuit led them to a small band of wildlings camping in the open. The party engaged and swiftly defeated the wildlings, leaving only one alive to learn the location of Maladuk’s base—an abandoned dwarven mine known as Bothild’s Lode, further north.

The Depths of Bothild’s Lode

Gathering Allies

Realizing their limitations against an entire wildling warband, the heroic townsfolk returned to Sternendorf to enlist more combat-capable neighbors. Lyca, determined to resolve the Baron’s restless spirit, was joined by the knightly Wane, the huntress Stiro, and the bard Sound Wave.

Infiltrating the Abandoned Mine

After a full day’s journey to the base of Miditas Peak, the party stood before Bothild’s Lode, a long-abandoned mine. Observing movement at the entrance, they discovered ventilation holes in the rock face and opted to sneak in through one, finding themselves in a stable of sleeping wargs.

Warg Encounter

Their attempt to sneak past the wargs was foiled by Wane’s clanking armor, awakening a pair of adults. A brief but intense fight ensued, ending with the slaying of the hounds.

Confronting the Wildlings

The commotion alerted nearby wildlings, who were scrambling to prepare for battle as the party entered the main hall. Wane and Stiro’s intimidating presence caused most to flee, but Wane managed to capture one, dubbing him “Jonathan” and forcing him to divulge information about Maladuk’s whereabouts.

Perilous Descent

Using Jonathan as a shield, they ventured deeper into the flooded mines. Sound Wave’s misstep triggered a whirlpool, dragging the entire party through a watery tunnel before depositing them in an unfamiliar room.

The Puzzle Door

They encountered a door adorned with a portrait of a dwarven woman and runes reading “Honor, Wealth, Mother.” Recalling Bothild’s legacy, they solved the puzzle by pressing the symbols of an Axe, Apple, and Dwarven Woman while uttering the corresponding words.

Ancient Treasures and Traps

Inside, they navigated pressure plate traps, accidentally triggering one beneath an altar. They discovered a finely crafted battleaxe and armor within an upright sarcophagus.

Confronting Maladuk

Crawling through a nearby tunnel, they spied Maladuk and his lieutenants in a forge-like area. Jonathan seized the opportunity to warn Maladuk, initiating a fierce battle.

Victory Against the Warlord

Despite Maladuk’s formidable presence, clad in the bones of his enemies, Wane’s stalwart defense, coupled with Sound Wave’s disheartening melodies, allowed Stiro and Lyca to strike decisive blows. The party emerged victorious, having vanquished the wildling threat and bringing a measure of peace to the region.

The Baron’s Crown and the Skeletal Knight

The victorious party looted Maladuk’s body, retrieving the Baron’s family crown. With Jonathan once again their captive, they departed Bothild’s Lode, their mission accomplished but their journey far from over.

Returning to the Baron’s crypt at the Riddermound barrows, they summoned Lady Hilda’s ghost once more. As they presented the crown, her spectral form gestured towards it, then to the ground beyond the portcullis separating them. Lyca, understanding the unspoken request, reached through the iron bars and placed the crown on the cold stone floor beyond.

As Lady Hilda’s spirit retreated to her mummified body, an eerie silence fell over the crypt. Then, the stillness was shattered by the sound of metallic footsteps echoing from behind the door beyond her throne.

A skeletal knight, encased in full armor, emerged through the door as if it were mere mist. The figure bent down, grasping the crown with bony fingers and placing it atop its skull. Upon noticing Jonathan, the undead Baron raised its morningstar, poised to strike.

Wane, ever the diplomat, stepped forward. His words, carefully chosen, sought to reason with the Baron, pleading for leniency on behalf of the captive wildling. The skeletal knight paused, its empty eye sockets seeming to consider Wane’s appeal.

After a moment that stretched like eternity, the Baron turned, retreating to its eternal rest without a word. The party, their mission complete and tensions eased, prepared to return home for a well-earned rest.

Jonathan, however, found no such comfort. His fate now sealed as Wane’s slave, he faced a future far removed from his former life among the wildlings. As the group departed the crypt, the weight of their actions and the consequences for Jonathan hung heavy in the air, a stark reminder of the complex morality that often accompanied adventures.

The Heroes

Ben Dover : The town’s Human Merchant.

Drumfrochar Ashfield : A Giantkin Artisan and Blacksmith.

Lyca Canidae : A wolf-like Farangian Hunter.

Dr. Hank : A Farangian Scholar.

Stiro Anahera : A Safyrian Hunter.

Wane : A Human Knight.

Sound Wave : A Coretex Bard.

Baron’s Family

Baron Ruland du Sterne : Murdered by a band of outsiders months ago, the Baron was interred in his family crypt at the Riddermound. When Wildlings began looting his resting place, his wrathful form returns to wreak vengeance.

Lady Hilda : Murdered together with her husband, Lady Hilda was interred in front of the Baron’s resting place to watch over him. Her spectral form has returned to haunt the barrow ever since Wildlings began pillaging the family crypt.

Wildlings

Maladuk : Leader of a band of wildlings from the Miditas Peak. Green skinned and horribly mutated like the rest of his kin. He sent his warband to the lowlands to raid and pillage.

Grub : A wildling from Maladuk’s warband. Left behind in the Riddermound when the Baron’s vengeful avatar slaughtered the rest of his looting party.

Jonathan : A wildling the heroes found at Bothild’s Lode. Was captured by Wane after the rest of his comrades were scared away and became his prisoner.

Other Concepts

    • Mutant Wildlings – Many wildlings look like any other person from the Cities, other than the unfortunate circumstance of not living in civilization. But a few hail from lands so harsh where their kin have lived in for generations, that they no longer look remotely like their ancestors. Fey from the Miditas Peak sport greenish wrinkled skin, sharp teeth, and are often smaller and stockier.
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