Everything had been looking good in Leymos. You’d found the impoverished Ser Armory who had immediate access to High Town but had gambled himself into poverty, so lacked the funds to maintain himself there. On the back of the recent money you’d come into you set him up as your front and found a small house at the top of the cliff, posing as his new body guards and advisers, working for him to pay off a debt. And against all the odds it was working. Armory convinced people that you were legitimate, and also dangerous, and suddenly much more beneficial work started coming your way. Most of it was easy and relatively well paid, and now Ironhelm’s guards in low town and even the goblin king’s men were willing to pay you respect – afterall you had the status of a noble on your side.
But the problem was Armory was a gambler… and the Duke still hadn’t forgotten about his daughter. In your calmer moments you are now able to begrudgingly respect how well Armory played it. His dalliance with a favourite whore turned out to be a contact with the Duke. And the Duke had the resources to set up a proper ambush. You saw it coming, but only just in time. And with the best of the Duke’s men, led by the ruthless killer Gilesh, backed up by a contingent of Ironhelm’s guards (you can still picture the smirk on the dwarf’s face now) you had no choice… you ran. You left behind the wealth you still had hidden in the warehouse and all of the investments that are officially in Armory’s name.
You got out before the Duke’s men realised, but it didn’t take them long. And the tracker they had with them was good… damned good. The ambush you set up hurt them and gave you some space, but not a lot. And the tricks you came up with at best gained you time. That was until you discovered an abandoned tower. While Rinn and Hannibal tried to fortify the place to hold off the Duke’s men and Sariel ransacked the rest of the tower for whatever she could find, Berian scoured the remains of the wizard’s study for anything that might help… and found a half completed teleportation ritual.
You couldn’t figure out exactly where it went but it was at least on this plane of existence, and everything indicated it was to another wizard’s tower. And while the ritual was complicated and more advanced than you would normally have been comfortable with, the circumstances seemed opportune. Beri started the ritual, following the instructions as best he could… hoping that he was reading the spidery scrawl of the notes correctly. But it took time… more than you had hoped.
When Gilesh and the Duke’s men arrived Beri alone was chanting in the tower. Despite your best attempts to hold them off they soon made it to the base of the tower, but had a harder time getting in. The tactical retreat up the three floors to the study was thrown into disarray when Beri shouted for help… Sariel left the others to help with the ritual. Hannibal and Rinn worked closely together, concentrating on staying alive, attacking only when the opportunity presented it, and with the help of the obstacles they had put in their way. Four of the Duke’s best men didn’t make it up the tower, including two you would never have dreamt of facing before.
But still they pushed you back, until the fight was at the door of the study itself. Rinn was firmly planted in the middle of the doorway, refusing to move when Beri finally yelled for everyone to jump into the arcane vortex. After Sariel led the way it took Hannibal to grab the warrior and hurl him into the circle to get him to move. Hannibal followed leaving Beri just enough time to smirk at Gilesh before stepping through the portal and closing it behind him.
It was only then that you sensed something was wrong. The arcane energies should have been more organized, but the pattern of the flows was in chaos. Something must have gone wrong with the ritual, but you still have no idea what.
You landed hard on wet rocky ground, alone, in the rain and the dark. It took several hours for you all to reassemble and by then you were cold, wet and exhausted, either from the fight or the ritual. For the first time in weeks you felt you actually had enough time to use the instant campsite you took from the goblin Bodrack. It was a full day later before all of you were rested enough to move on.
You were in mountains that none of you recognised, but after the storm broke you found a trail, with recent tracks heading up hill. Figuring your best chance for information lay with finding people you followed them, and half a day later you caught up to the caravan. They were heading for the Hall of Seven Pillars, which turned out to be an unusual trading post in the ruins of an ancient Minotaur city, where surface dwellers could trade with residents of the Underdark, it sounded like your sort of place.