Lands of Mystery
Stirring Up Trouble
The heroes leave Dragonport, crossing the Steamwash on the voyage to Wyvernwatch. They discuss the rivalry between Wyvernwatch and its neighbor city Crossing on the ship, under the northern lights.
Wyvernwatch and Crossing were founded by two brothers ages ago, and their family lines ruled the cities as royalty. At some time in history, the king of Crossing went mad, and the merchants rose up and took power from him. Since then, Crossing has been ruled by a council of merchants and Wyvernwatch is still a monarchy.
Arriving in Wyvernwatch, the group sees the iron wyvern statues standing guard over the city. A strong nobility means strong knights who defend the area, including their neighbor city. Wyvernwatch resents Crossing for controlling the land trade in the area while taking advantage of their protection.
Travelling to Crossing on the Frostwash, they learn that the city values their personal freedoms highly and resents Wyvernwatch trying to dominate them. The merchants see no reason to surrender authority to the king of Wyvernwatch and have an army of mercenaries to defend the city if necessary.
Seeing no clear solution to the rivalry between the cities, the group decides to try to unite them against a common enemy. They don’t know what that might be yet, but they think they can stir up something in the ruins of Tylfaniss or Nak’Chakal. They begin spreading rumors in the cities of danger, hoping to take advantage of the situation later.
But political troubles aren’t the only thing they face. While in Crossing, they are attacked by crazed men with spitting drakes. Interrogating a survivor by dangling him over the freezing water of the port, he tells them that they were sent to kill Gigantor by a man named Zachariah.
Gigantor remembers Zachariah from his training in ice magic. Zachariah showed more promise than most in their small group, but was obsessed with the ice demons and one day disappeared. The group decides to take the long route to the ruins of Nak’Chakal, since the ruins of the ice demon fortress seems like the best way to find him.
The trek around the base of the Demonspire is short but difficult, the land very rocky and barren. They arrive at the ruins near nightfall, finding a strange vessel at the beach, a small longboat carved with runes of protection. Using the craft as a focus would allow a user with the right ritual to travel underwater, protected from cold and allowed to breathe. This would explain how Zachariah beat them to the ruins—he traveled through the underwater channel between the Frostwash and the Steamwash.
The ruins themselves are fallen towers of glass and crystal, once connected by ice bridges. The group spots a large crystal door in the side of the dead volcano, but the path there is a field of ruined crystal and rubble. And hiding in the wreckage are several orcs. The group leaps into the fiercest battle they have faced so far. The orcs are bestial savages, taking joy the carnage ignoring their worst wounds. Thrail and Heyzeus both drop in the battle, but are not mortally wounded. A strange ice spirit joins in the fray, summoned by an unseen shaman, most likely Zachariah. When the spirit is torn apart by a vicious attack they hear a scream from behind the crystal doors.
Taking just a few minutes to catch their breath and bind wounds, the group prepares to head into the depths of the icy fortress.