We begin our story in the year 998YK, a mere four years since the end of the Last War which waged across the continent for the last hundred years. In the wake of the cataclysm that rendered Cyre into a shattered wasteland, the warring countries of the land have lain down their weapons and agreed to a tentative peace. But memories are long, and deep resentments will test the limits of this peace to endure.
On the road from New Cyre toward the small town of Oakhurst, two figures—a man and a dragonborn—travel together. The late-autumn sun beats down on them harshly and unseasonably hot, yet the pair travel quickly and with purpose. A desperate plea for help from an old friend had reached them in New Cyre, and they now make all haste to answer that call.
The man is Quinton Greymane, a tall, older male human in his mid 40’s, dressed practically as someone who clearly is at home in the woods and on the road. He talks amicably with his compatriot but is clearly always scanning his surroundings for potential threats. His companion is Garl Auraspeaker , a blue-scaled dragonborn dressed in thick chainmail that clanks as he walks down the road. It’s hard to hear as he laughs jovially at one of his own jokes. The pair have been traveling this road for the last two days, which have been thankfully drama-free. Though both have been retired from the adventuring life for nearly a dozen years, they make all haste traveling to the small town of Oakhurst to answer the call of an old friend.
It is late afternoon as they crest a small hill to spy two figures under attack from a group of strange, plant-like creatures. From the shouts that reach their ears, it is clear that their help is needed quickly. Racing down the hill, they enter the fray.
Garl Auraspeaker: Hey, looks like you all need a hand there. Mind if we join you?
Without waiting for a reply, Garl charges in and swings his mace at the nearest creature. However, the creature dodges away from the blow, and the attack misses.
Garl Auraspeaker: Blasted quick little buggers!
Quinton Greymane: Ha, that’s what you get for trying to show off.
Between Garl, Quinton, and the two folks under attack, they manage to turn the tide of battle, and smash the creatures to kindling, though not without taking a few wounds. As they catch their breath from the combat’s exertions, Quinton and Garl meet their new allies. The taller of the two turns out to be a warforged by the name of Civic, who’s dark, gnarled oak and metal body is marred by deep white scars across his face and chest. The smaller figure is a young goblin girl name Gishkaa, who seems to hide much of her body in the shadows of her armor and dark clothing. Strange white scars mark what can be seen of her forehead.
Civic (CIV-III): Quite fortuitous that you happened along when you did, gentleman. I don’t think we would have fared well without your aid.
The goblin snaps a short rebuke at the warforged in the goblin tongue.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yeah, nasty little buggers here.
Civic (CIV-III): I’ve never seen their like before.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well doesn’t make a difference to us, always glad to help.
Quinton Greymane: The name’s Quinton Greymane and my companion here is Garl Auraspeaker
Civic introduces himself and Gishka to their new friends.
Civic (CIV-III): We should probably head out. There may be more in the area and I’d like to reach Oakhurst before nightfall. I’m looking forward to sleeping in a bed again.
Quinton Greymane: Oh, you’re heading to Oakhurst then?
Civic (CIV-III): Indeed we are. I have some research to do in the area and young Gishkaa here is keeping me company on the trip.
Quinton Greymane: Coincidentally that’s where we’re heading ourselves. What do you say we travel there together?
Garl Auraspeaker: Yeah, safer to travel together with all this rabble about.
Gathering their gear, the new companions return to the road and continue on toward Oakhurst, chatting among themselves as they travel.
Quinton Greymane: Well, how did you two cross paths? It doesn’t sound like you’ve known each other long.
Civic (CIV-III): I’m friends with a distant relative of hers. A druid who once saved my life. She’s… well, she owns her own story I guess…
Garl Auraspeaker: Hmm? Sounds like a bit of a tale there… or perhaps a… tail? Har har har!
Civic (CIV-III) looks blankly at Garl for a moment and then lets out a loud guffaw.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’m a city goblin and lived with a group of Kalashtar for a time, but now I’m trying to reconnect with my father’s family.
As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, the group crests a small hill to see Oakhurst a short distance away. Quinton blows out a deep sigh of relief.
Quinton Greymane: Phew, glad we finally made it here!
Garl Auraspeaker: Ha, what’s the matter old man? Too tired for a little walk like that?
Quinton Greymane: Psh, you’re breathing harder than me there, you scaled scallywag!
As the descend the hill, they notice that Civic is leaking a copious amount of green gas from several small wounds.
Garl Auraspeaker: Ah damn, I forgot to heal you, getting swept up in everything.
Quinton Greymane: Ha, memory going there? Who’s getting old now?
Garl places a hand on the warforged’s shoulder, mutters a short prayer, and watches as several of Civic’s wounds knit themselves together.
Civic (CIV-III): Hmm, oh that’s fine, I was just walking it off… oh, that feels much better. Thank you.
Garl Auraspeaker: Welcome, friend. Unlike some people who are now not getting healed.
Quinton Greymane smirks, looking unimpressed at the dragonborn’s threat.
The party enters the town proper, and are directed to the Ol’ Boar Inn and Tavern by a passing townie. The arrive at the central part of the small town to find that the inn is a modest though homey looking establishment, with warm light flickering in the windows and the soft notes of a lute emanating from the open door. Just before they enter, a young girl falls from her perch atop a barrel situated in the alley aside the inn. Clearly embarrassed, she scrambles to her feet and disappears into the alley.
Entering the inn, they are directed to take a seat at the nearby empty table by the inn’s proprietor, Garon, a portly, balding man well into his 50’s. The group orders a round of ales as they sit, which is quickly brought over as Garon offers them a serving of the night’s food offerings. As they place their orders, the same young girl they saw take a tumble outside bursts through the front door. Spying them at their table, she makes a beeline to them.
Up close, the girl is seen to really be a halfling woman, though slightly taller than most halflings in the area. She wears a sleeveless top, her surprisingly muscular arms showing fair skin that’s been kissed by the sun. Freckles litter her shoulders and even the bridge of her nose. Her dark green eyes are wild with determination as she brushes her shoulder length auburn locks from her eyes and tucks it behind her ear.
Halfling Woman: A young boy told me a group of adventurers had come into town looking for the inn. You seem to be well equipped, and you four have that look about you… are you here on a quest?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (looks around excitedly): Adventurers?
Civic (pats Gishkaa’s arm): She means us.
Quinton Greymane: I suppose you could say that we are on a quest.
Garl Auraspeaker: A quest? Ha, more like an errand. I bet Kerowyn is going to ask us to take out her trash or carry some slightly heavy boxes.
Quinton Greymane: Shhhh. Don’t make us look bad in front of the new people. You should make it seem like it’s really important. Besides she sounded like things were really serious in that letter.
Garl Auraspeaker shrugs.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (nods slowly): I have a quest, (taking another big drink of her ale) But I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you.
Civic (CIV-III): I’m just here to do some research at some nearby ruins
Halfling Woman: By ruins do you mean the citadel??
Civic (CIV-III): Why yes I do.
Quinton Greymane: Oh, so that’s why y’all are here?
Civic (CIV-III): Quite fascinating from what I’ve read. They were built long ago…hmm oh, well that’s why I am here.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (belches loudly): Not me! Got to find rival goblins see what’s going on with them. Maybe find where magic fruit comes from.
Halfling Woman: I have need to go to the citadel, but no one in town will accompany me. I have been waiting for adventurers or swords for hire to come to town in hopes that I could travel to the citadel.
Civic (CIV-III): Well, I need to go there anyway. So I don’t mind accompanying you.
At this, the halfling woman enthusiastically shakes Civic’s hand, introducing herself as Fenora Finnley as she takes a seat at the table.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Why do you need help going there?
Fenora Finnley: My reasons are my own. There is something in the citadel that my family needs. I just wish to have some swords at my side when entering the citadel.
Quinton Greymane: Alright. Well… anyone know anything about this place? I only know a little bit about the place, just something I heard in passing a while ago. I have a sneaking suspicion that somehow why we’re here is also tied up in this thing.
They are interrupted by a patron at the nearest table clearing his throat.
Tavern Patron: Couldn’t help overhearing you lot. You’re not thinking to be going to the Sunless Citadel, are ye?
Garl Auraspeaker: Probably. Done dumber things in the past. Though don’t know what’s wrong with this place.
Quinton Greymane: Well, it being called the “Sunless” doesn’t sound particularly homey.
Tavern Patron: Well, wasn’t always called such. Mind if I join ye?
Quinton Greymane motions for him to take a seat.
Tavern Patron: Thank ye kindly. Name’s Mason… Mason Chanoc. Nice to meet you.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: (grumbling) Why don’t we just invite the whole town…
Garl Auraspeaker: Ha, does seem that it’s getting a bit crowded.
Quinton Greymane: (ignoring them) So it seems like you know a bit about this place.
Mason: Aye, I do. Now, wasn’t always called the Sunless Citadel, mind you. The citadel’s been a ruin for Host knows how long, one of the relics from the age when the goblins occupied the entirety of Khorvaire. I know for certain that it was used as a a way point for Cyran espionage runs during the War. Then came the Day of Mourning.
Quinton Greymane: Take it, the citadel didn’t fair well during that, then.
Mason pauses, the memory of that catastrophe clouding his face.
Mason: I was visiting my sister in Sharn when it happened, but from what I hear tell, when Cyre was swallowed up by whatever cataclysm hit that land, it ripped open rifts along along the border between Cyre and Breland. The Citadel got swallowed up by a massive rift, and fell about a hundred or so feet in. No light gets in there now, ergo Sunless.
Garl Auraspeaker: Sounds delightful.
Civic (CIV-III): Quite remarkable that it was built well enough to weather such an event
Quinton Greymane: Good point.
Mason: ‘Course, ever since the Mourning happened, and that cursed mist sprung up, all sorts of nasty creatures have been appearing. The cattle herders won’t graze their stock too far afield from the town proper these days. Not since Emmet Greely was found dead about three weeks ago, bleeding out from dozens and dozens of these needle-like wounds all over his body and face. Worst part about that is no one can’t figure out what did it.
Fenora Finnley looks down at her lap at the thought of Emmet’s death.
Civic (CIV-III): We were attacked by tree-like creatures as we came into town.
Quinton Greymane: Yeah, but it didn’t seem like they had any way to make lots of tiny holes, I don’t think.
Mason: Really now? Can’t say I know what that could be.
Garon returns to check on the table, and sees that Mason has joined them.
Garon: Everything good? Mason, I hope you’re not bothering my customers now.
Mason: Nah, Garon, was just tellin’ this lot about the Citadel. Apparently Fenora’s convinced them to bring her out there.
Garon blinks in surprise as Fenora smiles up at him.
Quinton Greymane: Well, we haven’t agreed to it exactly, but well it’s not like we can turn down a request for help.
Garl Auraspeaker: You mean a request from a woman, hah!
Quinton Greymane: (turning red) I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Garl Auraspeaker: (chuckles) Some things never change.
Fenora Finnley blushes.
Civic (CIV-III): I was planning to head that way already. Somewhat glad everyone is going now. I wasn’t expecting it to be dangerous when I started this trek.
Garl Auraspeaker: (sighs) Alright, so we’re doing the dumb thing?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat nods
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Mhmm
Garl Auraspeaker: So what nonsense lives in this citadel anyway? Undead? Demons?
Fenora Finnley: Goblins…..lots of goblins.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well, well, well…
Garon: I don’t know much about the place, myself. With the inn and all, no time for adventures and the like. But I do recall there was someone that came through here—gods, must be near a dozen or more years ago—asking about the Citadel. Think the name was Bellon…Belkat… no, Belak! That’s it! Really odd sort. Traveling alone, and carried around this large frog he called a pet. Thought he was very strange at the time. Frog notwithstanding.
Mason: Oh, right! I remember that guy! Yeah, he was an odd one, for sure.
Quinton Greymane: A frog you say?
Civic (CIV-III): Sounds like it may have been a wizard of some sort with a familiar.
Garl Auraspeaker: Spellcaster, you think?
Quinton Greymane: (nodding): Seems likely.
Garon: I don’t know. What I do know is that if you’re intending to go there, better prepare yourselves proper. That last folks who went there, the Hucrele kids and that knight character… they still ain’t returned, and it’s been well over a month now. Just sayin’…
Garon collects their empty plates and mugs and hurries off to the kitchen. Meanwhile, Fenora’s head has been excitedly swiveling as the conversation ensues, enthralled by the strangers’ knowledge of magic and wizards. Gishkaa, well into her cups by now, curls up out of sight on her chair, hugging her traveling pack and lightly snoring. Quinton and Garl exchange a look of concern.
Quinton Greymane: Hucrele, you say?
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, guess we know what Kerowyn wants us to look into now.
Mason: Yeah, Kerowyn’s kids. Why, you know ‘em?
Quinton Greymane: We’re old friends of her and her husband. She sent us a letter a week ago asking us to get here as soon as possible to help with an emergency.
Garl Auraspeaker: Don’t sound good that’s for sure.
Quinton Greymane: No old friend it doesn’t, a month down there? It’ll be a long shot to get them out of there alive.
Mason: Poor thing’s been out of her mind with worry. She’s tried to get some of the city militia to travel there and look into it, but they have refused her several times. Something about the fact that they’d been warned to stay away from the citadel, and that their resources couldn’t be pulled for a search party. It’s nonsense really, but no one else has stepped up. Truth is, they ain’t wrong. Lotta weirdness to the south of late. Rogue gobs in the area causin’ all sort of mischief, from what I heard.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well, we love agreeing to do suicidal things. So have no fear. Problem solved.
Fenora eyes the dragonborn skeptically.
Civic (CIV-III): The situation sounds urgent and dire. I’d say we should go immediately, but it is probably wiser to wait until morning and get some rest before heading out.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yeah gonna need a good night’s rest before we run into that place.
Fenora Finnley: I should head home and gather my things. Is there anything you suggest I bring?
Civic (CIV-III): Maybe 10 pitons, a rope, some weapons.
Fenora Finnley: I can do that. I’ll meet you here in the tavern at dawn then.
Fenora Finnley jumps up and runs out the tavern doors.
Garl Auraspeaker: Might not be a bad idea to supply up as well.
Mason: (standing up form the table) Well, lads, if’n you thinking to enter the citadel, I wish you luck. Hoping you don’t end up being the next tale I tell to warn folks off trying to go in that cursed place.
Mason moves off, slightly staggering as he walks away. Garon returns to the table to collect payment for the meal’s bill.
Garon: So will you be staying with us this evening?
Civic (CIV-III) nods
Quinton Greymane: Seems like it.
Civic (CIV-III): Yes, do you have any rooms available?
Garon: Wonderful. I have a couple rooms available right now. They’re not much, but if you don’t mind bunking together, you should be comfortable enough.
Quinton Greymane: That’ll do.
Civic (CIV-III): Works for me. How much for a night?
Garon: It’ll be 5 silver for the night. If you plan to stay the week, it’ll be 3 gold. Payable up front, of course.
Garon smiles warmly.
Civic (CIV-III): Hmm, well, let’s see here.. Where did that silver go…ah ha. Here you are sir.
Garon accepts the silver.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well Quint you covered the drinks, guess I’ll get the rooms this time.
Quinton Greymane: That’s why you’re the best old buddy.
Garon: Excellent. If you like, I can show you to your rooms now.
Garon leads the group up to a pair of simple, yet comfortable rooms on the second floor of the inn. The party beds down for the night, processing all the details they’d just received about the site of their next big adventure…