After meeting at the crossroads just east of Fallcrest, Graith, Crocuta and Malturnus undertook a task from Lady Esme Parthenor: travel into the Witchlight Fens and retrieve a mysterious stone from the Temple of the Eternal Guardian. They found the Temple ruined and abandoned, but soon found themselves attacked from within and besieged from without by legions of undead!
They met at the crossroads, beneath the gibbet tree – Graith, grizzled former Imperial border guard; Crocuta, the savage gnoll on a quest for his tribe; and Malturnus, the mysterious telepath hidden beneath wrappings and bandages.
The gibbet tree was decorated with cages holding peasants strung up for lack of payment of rack rent to the self-styled Lord Armos Kamroth, with his Stormcrow mercenaries lazily guarding the iron structure. After Graith “released” one of the peasants from bondage with a clothyard shaft, the trio managed to intimidate the Stormcrows into releasing the rest of the prisoners. “Lord Kamroth won’t be pleased,” one of the mercenaries warned darkly.
Having heard that Lady Esme Parthenor, wife of Lord Warden Faren Parthenor of Fallcrest, had summoned all sworn swords, knights errant and courageous wanderers to the court of the Moonstone Keep, Graith, Crocuta, and Malturnus ended up in the trade city ready for whatever task Lady Esme might set them. A stop in the Nentir Inn resulted in a fraught confrontation with Serim Suldazar, a tiefling from Mar Khemeth far to the South. “You may call on me at Lord Kamroth’s estate,” Suldazar informed them tensely.
Soon after, in the audience chamber of Moonstone Keep, Lady Esme laid out their task: to travel to the Temple of the Eternal Guardian deep in the Witchlight Fens and retrieve a mysterious stone reported to be found by the temple’s monks nearly a century ago. The Temple had been built at the site of a legendary battle where the forces of the Empire triumphed over savage hordes.
The stone was reputed to have strange powers over life and death, and Lady Esme is desperate to use those powers to save her husband, who has fallen desperately ill with a mysterious ailment. Among the chaos following the withdrawal of the Imperial Legions from the Nentir Vale, letters from the monks reporting the discovery of the stone went unnoticed by the then-Lord Warden of Fallcrest. Nothing has been heard from the monks since – whether the Brotherhood still exists is unknown. Lady Esme had dispatched several knights to contact the Brothers and retrieve the stone, though after several weeks they have not returned.
Acting decisively, Graith, Crocuta and Malturnus set out for the Witchlight Fens and the Temple of the Eternal Guardian. After an uneventful trip, they arrived late in the day to find the towering temple rising out of the mists of the bogs, the guardian fire atop the spire unlit. A survey of the ruined temple revealed few signs of recent habitation, but toppled statues and crude, leering wooden idols pointed to some horrible change in the monks’ loyalties. A trapdoor led down to a rectory, where the trio found the corpse of a monk and the bodies of three knights of Fallcrest – who promptly came alive to savage the adventurers! After dispatching the undead, the trio retrieved the rumored shard – glowing with a strange purple light – from the corpse of the monk, determining that it radiated strong necromantic magic, would grow more powerful as night fell, and could animate the dead.
Malturnus used his rare telepathic abilities to view the last minutes of the monk’s life – seeing a dark ritual gone wrong – and some remains found atop the spire – seeing the victim devoured inch by inch by the monk found below in the rectory.
As the light faded from the sky, the trio found themselves besieged in the temple by a veritable army of undead rising from the peaty bogs!