Beyond Bale Keep

Episodes 8-9: The Grey and the Dark
**An Ancient Evil Rises**

Episode #8: New Friends, New Enemies
The party is brought together again by Xant, this time by his disappearance. A reunited Quincy and Link head off in search of their old friend, deep into the forests in search of The Grey, the legendary elves of The Tangles. With their newfound compatriots Wade and Deyst in tow, the adventurers make contact with the Grey king, only to become ensnared in a sudden attack by horrid, flying beasts called Balicanths. In the ensuing battle, the king’s son is kidnapped. Worse, Link is lost, eviscerated by an untimely shot, and a pair of the wild beasts. With no way of resurrecting their friend, and little time to grieve, the party reluctantly takes up the secret charge of the Elven king to rescue his son from a beast called The Mordanth, an ages old enemy of the Grey held prisoner behind a weakening barrier. Gromm is reunited with Quincy and, together with the roguish Deyst (who evidently has the blood of kings in him?), they head into the wood to find the enigmatic (and chaotic) Kanen Set.

Episode #9: Darkness, Debts and Death
The adventurers make their way to the cabin of Set, where they meet the surly ranger and his amiable friend, the wizard Ethan Easter. Driven by friendship and debt, the group makes its way to the central barrier, a stone-portal leading to a deep chasm where Balicanths roam in droves. After a rocky descent, during which Set crashes to the ground from a dangling rope, the party is attacked by Balicanths. Ethan Easter arrives, with Warren in tow. Bad news from the Gimli mines: an earthquake has shaken he mountain to its roots. Gromm’s family looks to be in danger. Easter delivers Gromm and Quincy to the surface world, where they set out for the mines.

Meanwhile, Set, Deyst and Warren are confronted with a lake of acid, dotted with enormous (and evidently acid-immune) toadstools. An impatient Set mistimes a mighty leap, and plunges into the acidy abyss. He frame is boiled to nothing in seconds. The more cautious members of the party make their way across via an ingenious combination of rope and grapnel work. They retrieve the protected, magical moonstone from the acid water, and make the other shore, avoiding the Balicanths. The come upon a passageway lit in an eerie, red light, the great and possibly dangerous unknown ahead of them.

Episodes 6-7: Ermlinger Creek (and after)
**A City is Founded**

Episode #6: Ermlinger Creek
There is little time to celebrate the victory over Breddith. There is no time to mourn (or bury) lost compatriots T’enlev and Luritz. As the keep crashes around them, the survivors of Bale Keep instantly travel to the site of the final battle of the Dozelmarian/Malforian War. They have returned with an incalculably powerful item – a mystical orb given them by Foenseth herself. The warrior-band fights its way down to the banks of the slim rivulet of Ermlinger Creek, where link places the Orb in the waters. The full power of the river goddess herself is revealed, as the creek expands into a huge torrent of raging water, swallowing up or dispersing the huge Malforian army. The war is over. Now heroes of great renown, the party looks forward to the days of peace ahead. Yet, though they scatter and go their separate ways, fate finds a way to bring them back together.

Episode #7: An Uneasy Interlude
Five years pass from the ending of the war. The settlement of Foursquare emerges on the banks of what is now called Reyetta’s Rill. The magic of the river goddess permanently expanded the tiny creek, and a rapidly expanding boomtown has emerged. Dozelmarians, Malforians, Chaaran dwarves and Clockwork Gnomes fill the streets. It is a time of prosperity and enterprise. Yet there are disturbing portents. Cleric Quincy encounters a dark beast while exploring the Dimvale. Dimitriy Xant, now a Captain, has been stricken ill. A party of Autumn Wards, from the White City, has traveled to the outskirts of Tanglewood. Rumors of strange activity beneath the fair city flood the boroughs. Perhaps peace is simply an illusion…

Episodes 1-5: Bale Keep
**Heroes Emerge**

Episode #1: Into the Woods
With the war between the Republic of Dozelmair and the Dread Lands of Malforia hanging in the balance, a common foot soldier, Corporal Dimitri Xant, is recruited by his commander, Lord Eltron Goldtone, to lead a small troupe on a desperate mission to recover an ancient artifact the Dozelmarians hope will turn the tide in their favor. After a brief meeting with Goldstone and the enigmatic General Sybaris, Xant drafts a party of adventurers to travel to Bale Keep to retrieve a legendary “item of power” from the long-abandoned, ever-shunned Bale Keep. Bound together by signing an enchanted scroll, each sports a magical, blue tattoo on their right, inner forearm. The role call for the Bale Keep expedition:

Xant (Paladin)
Warren the Young (Mage)
Gromminique Ruptor (Dwarf Fighter)
Link (Ranger, brother of T.J.))
T.J. (Rogue, brother of Link)
Quincy (Cleric of Croitia, the God of Storms)
T’enlev (Illusionist)

Ranger Link leads the crew through the Tangles to the ancient edifice, where curses are said to abound. What exactly they are seeking, they have no idea, only that there is said to be a “godlike device.” With that in mind, they depart civilization, and plunge into the jungle.

Episode #2: Brotherhoods Forged and Torn
After a miserable, wet trek through the dense jungle, the party locates the keep ruins, where it ambushes and subdues a party of White Hand Orks. They befriend an enigmatic wizard, Calvus, who has arrived at the Keep “for study and scholarship.” While holing up for the night to avoid “Hoppers” (raptor-like creatures) and other sundry beasts (which descend on the bound Orks, who are subsequently slaughtered en masse), T.J., a greedy rogue in search of treasure, slips out a window (unbeknownst to the party) and walks right into the lair of a lurker. The party quickly realizes something is amiss, but by the time they locate and drive off the smothering creature, the hapless thief is dead. In the chamber they find what drew T.J.‘s attention — a brilliant, clear crystal containing what appears to be some sort of reddish liquid frozen in its center. Clearly magical, but its nature unknown, the party pockets the fist-sized gem for the time being, then returns to the above ground barracks that forms their current HQ. On the morn, all offer their sentiments over their partner’s burning corpse. The Keep proper awaits, the entray way an ornate door built right into the side of the cliff looming over the ruined battlements. As the party prepares to enter, a new partner arrives, a beastmaster named Loyd, whose origins and motivations are,as yet, unknown. The lone survivor of the Ork slaughter, a stupid, but willing Ork retainer christened Luritz, also joins the group, swearing fealty to the Paladin.

Episode #3: Deadly Portals
Confronted with something of a puzzle of a door, the party’s observations of the strange, glowing, glass Orbs dotting its exterior come to an abrupt end, as The party engages swarms of deadly vermin, thanks to the impulsive actions of just-recruited retainer Luritz. Gromminique yanks Warren out of the fire and plunges him into a puddle. After some bickering and embarrassment, the party gains entrance to the main chamber, where strange, great magics reside.

Episode #4: Deadly Portals, part 2
Once inside the keep, the enigmatic mage’s plans are revealed. The wizard and beastmaster turn on the party, with help from a “possessed” T’enlev. The mage and his minions are violently dispatched, and T’enlev freed from his mystical bondage. In the interim, Dimitriy Xant is treated to a vision of the keep’s past, thanks to the sad spirit of the last cleric of Bale Keep. The party sets about solving the puzzles of the keep, when cleric Quincy, overcome with typical curiosity, discovers — and uses — a teleporter. Fearing for Quincy’s safety, members of the party follow, all save Link, who explores the upper levels alone.

Episode #5: Rings and (Great, Big) Things
The teleported party members are transported to the lower chamber of the keep, where a glowing portal has opened, revealing an aspect of Breddith, Goddess of Pestilence and Disease. An unconscious Quincy is next to her, encased in spiders’ web. The vile creature absorbs an evidently willing T’enlev, revealing its seemingly unstoppable, evil power. But Blue Defender Warren makes the beast corporeal, using a strange set of bracers recovered from the mage. He is transported into the beast, where a cosmic battle is enjoined with the absorbed ‘Tenlev. Meanwhile, on the prime material plane, the battle begins. Empowered by divine strength, Corporal Xant plunges ahead, his faithful companion Gromminique beside him.

As the two warriors take on the beast, Link discovers the secret library of the cleric of Bale Keep, a place out of phase with reality. The priest’s manuscripts reveal the deadly secret of Bale – nothing more than a prison for Breddith’s aspect, which is expected to soon rise. Someone must bring the long dead defenders to life to confront the beast below…
The battle rages on beneath the keep. Xant strikes with righteous, god-like strength, while Gromminique’s swings his great axe (soon to be known as “Necksplitter”). Link bursts in the room, bringing with him the ghostly warriors of Bale to aid the party. The battle between good and evil hangs in the balance – Warren’s enchantment is fading. Soon, the aspect will be untouchable by normal means.

In typical heroic fashion, the heroes bring down the beast, dismissing its foul presence for good…or so they believe.


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