Thirteenth Cataclysm

Blood & Lightning
The Legend Begins

This story begins with the group (consisting of Miri the Tiefling Fighter, “Sir” Gares Noleg the Aasimar Barbarian, Norn Steelfist the Dwarven Cleric, Kawil the Cloaked the Elven Rogue, and Wizholm Glyphweaver the Gnome Wizard) all signed onto a caravan which was delivering supplies to Boltstrike Pillar, one of the Dragon Empire’s most valuable magical research centers. Signed on for various reasons, ranging from mercenary to historical, the group banded together when a group of Goblin bandits, led by an infamous Goblin sorcerer, attempted to rob the caravan. The ensuing battle saw the goblins dead (and the King’s bounty hunter, Noleg, the richer for taking the head of said sorcerer), although some of the goblins rising as zombies indicated that maybe the bandits weren’t working on their own.

After the ambush, the group made it to Boltstrike Pillar, where they met Hyrum Chuckman, Captain of the Guard, and Brother Stonehammer, a priest of Steelfist, a great Dwarven Hero. While Gares made his way to the Pillar’s scrying chamber to call in the bounty, the rest of the group informed Captain Chuckman about the bandits they had faced. This caused the Captain pause, since he said that the tower’s magical defenses should have alerted the guard to the presence of a new bandit group in the area.

Two members of the group, Norn and Wizholm, were at the tower to retrieve Glaezentorg, the personal axe of Steelfist himself which had become corrupted by some unknown malignant magic. However, since the axe had been in the tower for so long, some of the cursed magic had become attuned to the Tower’s aura, and the wizards in the tower needed time to disentangle the cursed axe’s magic from the Pillar’s with a ritual. They, along with the Kawil, Miri, and Gares, agreed to Captain Chuckman’s request that they set off traps in the nearby ruin of Greenstand (the traps being set because Greenstand was so often used as a base by various bandit groups). Well, after negotiating a generous fee, of course.

The group followed a hidden undergound passage to Greenstand. The first thing wrong they sensed was the smell of burning flesh. The wizard sent his owl to scout ahead; it reported back that the traps had already been set off and that there was something odd about the site. The group headed up to find the goblin bandits massacred, along with several dead Lizardlings that didn’t look like they fit in with the bandit’s Lich King-inspired appearance. Several large gashes in the ruin indicated to the group that what they were facing was more than just mere bandits; a dragon was going to be their enemy.

The group raced back to Boltstrike Pillar, just in time to see a massive blue dragon blast the tower’s magic defenses down with its lightning breath. It also was carrying several lizardlings on its back, which leaped onto the top of the tower to begin a fell ritual, no doubt involving Glaezentorg. Before the dragon could do any more damage to the Pillar, Captain Chuckman threw a ruined piece of the tower at the dragon’s wing, crippling it and causing the dragon to crash onto the ground below.

The group now had a choice to make, and decided that stopping the ritual was more important since the dragon wasn’t going anywhere. They raced to the top of the tower, although during their ascent, they could see that the guards had turned on each other due to the bloodthirsty curse of Glaezentorg. When the reach the top, they found most of the tower’s wizards had been killed as part of the ritual. The lizardlings, however, were not the ones conducting the ritual; that fell upon the bloody hands of Brother Stonehammer!

Stonehammer, apparently disgusted with the declining dwarven culture, had made some kind of dark pact with the Three to magnify the axe’s curse. Before he could finish the ritual, however, Wizholm, enraged that one of his favorite professors had been one of the wizards killed, managed to call upon his most powerful magic and melted Stonehammer with a bolt of acid. The lizardlings began to fight with the group, although they were no match for them, several being hurled off the edge of the tower.

In the middle of the fight, however, out of the puddle of acid erupted a draconic-looking figure. Glaezentorg’s bloody curse had suffused the body of Stonehammer, bringing him back to life and mutating his body to match his new allegiance. The mutated Stonehammer fought with Norn, with Kawil helping to bring him down too. The battle ended when Norn summoned the spirits of his heroic ancestors, who hurt Stonehammer enough that he decided to flee rather than continue to fight a losing battle. He swore to the Steelfist heir that he would see him again, though.

At the battle’s end, the group managed to find a severely injured by still alive Captain Chuckman, who reminded the group that the dragon was still at the base of the tower. Wizholm cast a feather fall spell on the group, and they all leapt off the tower to face off against their final foe. The dragon laughed at the group as they approached, telling them that no matter how the battle went, the Three had won the day now that the curse of Glaezentorg was under their control (albeit in an unexpected way).

As epic music began to play, the battle began. Norn, now wielding an un-cursed Glaezentorg, and Miri pressed the advantage, making sure the dragon had nowhere to turn to. Wizholm unleashed magical might while Gares hurled javelins with the force of thunderbolts. And Kawil managed to teleport onto the dragon’s back, stabbing the wounded beast in the eyes and leaving it vulnerable for Steelfist to once again summon the spirits of his heroic ancestors to finish it off.

Although the group had managed to kill the dragon and drive off Stonehammer, the Three had still wrought destruction upon Boltstrike Pillar, which was closed down due to most of the researchers there being killed. What the Three will do with the anthropomorphized curse of an ancient Dwarven weapon is anyone’s guess, but it surely cannot be good…


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