The adventure began with immediate excitement. With great haste, the bard, Alabaster Slade, attempted to seek a council with Lord Arund. Running to the market, he intimidated an effeminate elf, and purchased fine silk clothing at a great discount. Returning to the manor, he charmed his way past the guards, but found little aid inside.
Meanwhile, Bartok Grimtooth made acquaintances at the bar, buying drinks for all and throwing out the neighborhood pest, a gnome named Gery. He found very little information in his chats with the locals, but did make mighty fine first impression on the people of Cheystead.
Before leaving Lord Arund’s manor, Alabster attempted to detect nearby magic, only to find himself overwhelmed by a dark force from the east. He thought little of it at the time, and continued on to the Tavern to play music for the townspeople, much to their enjoyment. One poor soul found himself unable to smile, and regardless of the efforts by our heroes, he remained in a state of sadness.
Deciding that they might have more use for that pesky gnome, the heroes ask around to find out where he lives. They approach a lonely home in the far corner of the town, and with a mighty fist Bartok forces the door in. Gery, understandably panicked, goes into a fit of madness, but quickly comes out of it when he sees the beautiful gnome twins, Tejam and Majet. Our heroes now have his undivided attention, and he joins the party.
Heeding the call of the wanted poster, the heroes travel to the Farline trading post, where Bartok let out an intimidating roar to gather the collective attention of the merchants. After searching through a chest of fake jewelry for a replica that may pass as Arund’s necklace, they set up in the shops, posing as merchants.
11 PM passed, and no bandits were seen. The night was getting late, the adventurers cast a magic alarm around themselves and all dozed off to sleep.
Bartok awoke with a roar, finding an arrow lodged into his foot. The ferocious sound awoke the party, and they prepared for battle. Bartok hobbled over to the cowardly bandit, and with a mighty swing reduced him to nothing more than a chunky red stain. Upon seeing this, one of the two bandit leaders instantly turned tail and fled, while the other charged into battle. Meanwhile, Alabaster attempted to disarm the other bandit with his whip, but to no avail. Majet, however managed to successfully pelt him with a ray of frost, chilling him to the bone. The other bandit dropped his weapons and threw up his hands, surrendering to our heroes. They quickly tied him up and went to help the others.
The leader was not yet finished, though. He confronted Bartok, and managed to land a solid blow with his enchanted dagger. Bartok, clinging to life, quickly launched a powerful fist into the face of the bandit leader, and then collapsed. With all the other threats taken care of, the rest of the party surrounded the bandit leader, and Tejam sent a bolt straight into his thigh, causing him to cry out in pain and pass out. He, too, was tied up.
With the the threat averted, the heroes peacefully fell back to sleep.
The next morning they interrogated the bandit leader and asked him where they were keeping all of the things they had stolen from the trading post. He directed them to a cave where they found almost all of the stolen goods and a small pile of gold. Upon further interrogation, they also found a golden ring encrusted with rubies.
Returning all of the goods to the trading post, they then spoke to a strange gypsy that was selling a unique device; a apparatus for breathing underwater. It looked like a large barrel, but with hasty actions the gypsy revealed a series of tubes inside that were connected to a metallic tank. Shocked by the initial price, the heroes gave the gypsy the golden ring they discovered in the cave and paid 10 gold instead.
Upon returning to town, they stumbled across an elf in The Rusty Spear offering a tour of the local wildlife. Alabaster was more than a little suspicious of his intent, but as far as the heroes could tell he was being honest. They paid him a gold to wait a day, and said they would return the next morning.
After a great argument, the party decided to pursue Arund’s missing necklace, leaving the Skum threat for later. After a bit of critical thinking, the heroes determined the general location of the necklace to be inside one of the modest homes of the slightly wealthy. Knocking door to door posing as a chimney sweeper, Alabaster attempted to gain entry into various homes, but failed because of his hyperbolic statements. It wasn’t until the fourth house that they found results. Sensing fear and cowardice in a man hiding behind his door, Alabaster violently pried it open with a crowbar to see what the man was hiding. After chasing him through the home, he cornered the emaciated man in the pantry, and caused him to pass out. Leaving him there, the heroes took a bag of grain and a collection of vegetables. However, they began to find themselves feeling a little sick.
Meanwhile, Bartok was trying to catch a rabbit in the fields to drop down someone’s chimney. Hearing the commotion and seeing a guard running to an open house, he went in to investigate and found the frail man lying in his pantry. He immediately hoisted the man over his shoulder and carried him to the church of truth, finding a treasure trove of knowledge and good will. The church took the man to the infirmary, and Bartok tried to stir up a distraction to keep the guards away from his companions.
The guard chased the other heroes through the forest, but thanks to their small size and great skill, they managed to avoid him. The bard played a gentle lullaby that dazed and confused the guard, and after a while they managed to escape the forest. Feeling increasingly sick, Alabaster left the bag of grain in the forest. Surprisingly, he began to feel better.
Putting two and two together, they sent Alabaster back into the forest to get the grain. Determining that he couldn’t carry it, he poured it out on to the ground and saw a glimmering necklace drop out. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that it met Lord Arund’s description almost perfectly, but that it was darker than he anticipated, and emitted a strange glow.
Upon returning to his companions, they all began to feel sick once again. They observed that Majet seemed to tolerate the sickness the best. Majet noticed the dark magic on the necklace and grasped it, trying to potentially deactivate it, believing that it may have recently been cursed. A surge of power shot out from around the necklace, and Majet fell to the ground.
Tejam, immediately panicking as any sister would, ran to her and tried to pry it from her hands, but even in unconsciousness she held it as tight as possible, and the proximity to the necklace caused Tejam to become physically ill. Alabaster quickly ran to the market and purchased a silver box. Upon returning, he managed to successfully pry the necklace from her hands, but she remained unconscious. They put the necklace in the box and ran to the church of the Dragon for help, but the head priest turned her away because of the dark magic that surrounded her still. Sprinting across town, Alabaster then took Majet’s limp body to the church of truth, but they were completely clueless as to her condition. They promised to help in any way they could, and took Majet to the infirmary. The rest of the party spent the afternoon in the library looking for answers, but found only vague clues.
One book, however, had something worth looking at. It listed a collection of 12 known necromantic artifacts from during the war, and among them was Arund’s necklace. According to the book, 9 out of the 12 artifacts were destroyed during or after the war, and only three remain. The scholars noted this and continued to study.
Alabaster decided to go to the Rusty Spear to perform later that evening. Just as he began, however, an extremely drunk dwarf stood up on to the bar and began waving around a wand, exclaiming that it was enchanted with fireball. No one had seen anything like that in 15 years, and quite a few patrons broke out in laughter. He demanded money and continued to shout nearly unintelligibly until Alabaster threw a flare in his face, blinding him. The surprising aggression caused the dwarf to set off the wand, and true to his word, a massive fireball shot into the ceiling. While the guards all rushed to go get water and the people evacuated, Alabaster smacked the dwarf with his sap, and knocked him out cold.
The fire continued to rage as the guards began to return. Being the bard that he was, Alabaster began to play an encouraging song once again to rally the people into helping the guards instead of running away. It didn’t take much longer for the fire to be out, leaving a massive scorch mark on the ceiling. Alabaster put out his hat and continued to play, and made quite a fine coin that day.