After the events of Trial and Fire the party found themseleves with no home and little camaraderie. After weeks in the woods the strain became enough for all to scatter in their own directions.
Within days those who left would always find their way back no matter how hard they attempted to stray. It soon became apparent that the Key which Xander held had touched them all and somehow bound the team for better or worse.
Soon after they found a small hamlet on the outskirts of the border-lands. A place with no name where everyone keeps to themselves and has a healthy fear of the Dakron Empire. Over the course a the winter, the party became regular sights and had even taken residence in a small cabin on the edge of the woods.
While the party attempted to find a new order in their lives and find the root of their magical infliction, they drank. Some drank far more than others. It soon became clear to both the party and the locals that Xander had hit bottom. While sobering up they were approached by a few of the residents and asked to aid them rid the area of a curse that has burned their crops and ate their herds as well as the Sheppards. Based on the descriptions given by the town folk Dysian stated that the most probable cause was a Dragon. The town members stated that if the party could get rid of the dragon, then they would be granted a parcel of land as well as any other treasures they found on the way. After much debate (and a drafting of life insurance policies) the party departed to where they felt the Dragon nested.
A few days trek later the party found what was once a road before the Hollowing which gave them an easy path up unto the hills where the smoke rising from a distant tower betrayed their target’s location. When they got within a mile it was clear that the beast was resting in the ruins of a keep. The party left their horses and as they were planning their investigation, they heard the sound of wings and saw a dark shadow soar over head. With the creature on the move, the party saw their chance to investigate the lair and decide on the best means of dealing with such a dangerous foe.
When they made it to the Keep, they were shocked at what they found in the bailey. Bones were charred and strewn about. They walls were black with soot but on them one could faintly make out the crest of the House of Paarthunax and where once stood a mighty gate to the main hall was noth but rubble opening into what was clearly the Dragon’s nest. The party edged their way in and were greeted by a great pile of metal. Gold and silver as well as rusted steel and melted bronze. Yew was quick to search the pile with Xander, They found some treasure as well as several items that appeard to have a magical purpose. While this may not have been the main home, it is clear that the keep was once of value to Xander’s clan. Yew and Temur also noted that others had been here in the previous few months and that they made their way to a magically sealed door on the floor of the great hall. A door inscribed with the same runes they found in the Old Places.
In the library Dysian, Rill, and Xander found a mostly ash and mildew. Stacks of old tome left as nothing but rot. They also found three great chests that looked to be intact. Two of them, when opened, contained nothing but shipping and trade logs. The third however held gilded tomes from before the Hollowing and a scroll case sealed in arcane marks.
Yew found the smiths forge and also that anything of use had long since rusted away. She yelled back, loudly, to the party.
Temur-Bayar, in an act of both skill and cunning, fell through the floor of the stairs. As he fell, the stairs followed until he was burried behind a wall of thunderous debris.
As the party merged on the scene of Temur-Bayar emerging from the rubble, they were greeted by the sound of the Dragon returning home to roost.
Moving quickly the party made their way to a side chamber along the main hall where a small window opened to the outside. Yew easily fit through as Rill was almost roasted alive in an attempt to meet the beast head on. Temur-Bayar attempted to open the window wider to allow the party to get through while Xander assisted her by casting grease on the cracks in the wall and Dysian created the faint sounds of a goat to distract the dragon and buy the team more time.
Temur-Bayar was able to push out the stones and open the way. Rill, and Dysian made it through with out incident but it was clear that the dragon was not to be dissuaded. In an effort to further hold the creature at bay, Yew cast out into the woods and asked that nature aid her friends. With her request a bull charged out from the underbrush with a dead set goal of defeating the dragon! Needless to say this did not go well for the animal, but it acted valiantly and allowed the rest of the party to escape out to the courtyard.
The thrill of the escape was short lived as the dragon consumed the cow in a matter of moments and then took to the air long enough to corner Xander and Dysian as they prepared to make their stand against the dragon in the courtyard.
Summoning all his will, channeling the anger and frustration of his families fallen nobility, Xander exploded in magical energy and demanded the beast depart. The creature was stunned and for a moment paused before a fear came into it’s eyes and it took to the sky.
Once the party re-gained their composure they ventured back into keep to investigate the door and discover who had been using the keep.
They examined the door and saw that the passage seemed to respond to the key which Xander held. The door opened and the party ventured downward into what used to be a crypt, but had been changed it now looked to be some sort of dark temple. The team dealt with traps and evil otherworldly monsters as they went further into the desecrated tomb.
They finally came to a door with odd blue light emanating from underneath and the sound of heavy steel foot-falls. The party burst open to door to find the temple center. In the middle of the room stood a dark idol. A twisted figure clothed in a hood, with sharp claws and tentacles protruding from the face. The foot falls came from what looked to be a living suit of armor, a metal man that paced ceaselessly around the statue.
As soon as he saw the statue, Rill’s eyes glazed over and he fell to the ground. For a moment he seemed lost to the world around him until his eyes flared open and dove forward into the room, ignoring the golem and diving headlong into the idol.
The rest of the party was none too sure how to handle the situation, but decided the best tact would be to destroy the golem. Once that was done, and the statue was dust, they found a small library filled with histories and tomes of this dark order.