The Six Blades tavern in Prosser was packed on this evening, with dozens of farmers and townsfolk crowding around every table. The intense midsummer heat and the lack of rain for weeks or months had driven the people to water themselves with the tavern’s well-known ale.
Two tables, however, were occupied by strangers, faces unfamiliar to the local regulars. At one table, a human in extravagant, gold-trimmed plate mail with an ornate longsword strapped to his hip sat talking to perhaps the only stranger sight in the tavern, a minotaur in scale mail and flowing robes. The human’s golden locks twitched as he laughed, though his companions visage remained serious. At the table beside them, two girls sat talking quietly. Both looked similar physically, but that was the end of these sister’s resemblance. One smiled as she talked, looking around at everyone else, while the other tried to hide herself from attention.
Noticing the smiling girl looking in his direction, the golden-haired youth looked back and smiled, introducing himself. “Hello ladies, I am Prince Qual of Undalia. I’m sure you’re very excited to meet me. Might I buy you a drink?” At this arrogance, his companion Markus shook his head, but the girls took him up on their offer. Over several rounds, the four got to know each other rather well, the talkative introducing herself as Lucia and her sister as Krysta. A strange friendship was born between two men of some means and two poor orphans.
As they talked, a man stood upon the bar and called for attention. Recognizing the man as Kerwyn, famous fighter and leader of the Six Blades themselves, Lucia elbowed the prince to get his attention. Kerwyn announced that sundown was imminent and those who didn’t wish to spend the night in the tavern would have to leave. Going to the bar, the four new companions asked the reason for this. It seemed several people had been the victims of strange attacks on the roads south of Prosser and thus the town had implemented a curfew. The four chose to stay, Lucia playing music for a discounted room, and at the end of the night were again visited by Kerwyn and another member of the Blades, Delliya Starsinger, the group’s rogue. Together, the retired adventurers discussed some disturbing news with the younger generation. It seems that a group of adventurers had set out several weeks prior to discover the cause of the attacks. The four new companions vowed to look into the matter if they could talk to the local nobles the next morning.
As it happened, they got the opportunity, as the next day was the midsummer festival. Playing for the crowd, Lucia earn several gold coins and the respect of many town elders. Discussing the missing adventurers, they learned that one was Sir Braford, a paladin and the son of a local minor noble.
When they had scarcely agreed to go on this mission, a new sound echoed across the festival. Primitive bagpipes heralded an approaching cadre of goblins. Every midsummer festival for several years, the goblins had entered town with a magical fruit claimed to heal all diseases. This fruit they auctioned to the townsfolk. This year, the goblin emissary shocked the crowd with a hugely inflated price of 50 gold pieces, but the four heroes put together their money to bid (and win) the item. With that excitement over with, the goblins left, and in their wake a tall, thin half-elf moved to talk to the four companions. Durnn, a bard and another member of the Six Blades, approached them with a proposition – that the heroes find where the goblins obtained this fruit and see if it could be cultivated by the town itself. Agreeing to this (the goblins had come from the same area as the strange attacks in the Brown Hills), the
After heading south, they arrive in Hillwatch late in the afternoon. Making a plan, they borrowed a cart and donkey from the casketmaker, leaving gold as a deposit. The next morning, Krysta hid herself in the wagon while the others walked alongside. It was not long before they were made aware of the exact nature of the attacks. Eight small creatures seemingly made of black twigs charged the companions. Krysta, hidden in the wagon, was able to take out two with her crossbow while Qual brought his sword against others. Lucia, meanwhile, brought down one with arcane powers while Markus brought holy fire down to burn the remaining ones to ash.
Moving on, they finally arrived at a large crevasse in the earth, the supposed epicenter of the strange attacks. Tying the donkey and cart to a dead tree (one of many in this dessicated landscape), and began their descent to the ledge 15 feet below. As they arrived, several large rats and two demonic looking rodents climbed over the edge of the various precipices. The heroes again made short work of these rodents, cleaving, burning, and crushing them before throwing their corpses tossing them into the gully below. They climbed down the long series of narrow ledges and sharp drops and finally arrived before the doors of a long-forgotten citadel temple. Deftly picking the lock, Lucia threw open the door. The three remaining companions lined up behind her, lighting sunrods as the went, bringing light into the Sunless Citadel for what could have been the first time in centuries…