"I shall always remember it as if it were but yesterday. The kingdom of Cosdol, the place of my birth and the home I have known all of my days, was beset by adversity. It was 1043 Y.K. and a great tsunami had washed over the eastern shore of the Voldor Bay, wreaking havoc in its wake. Thousands died in that terrible tragedy, and thousands more were left with nothing but ruined homes and waterlogged corpses. Refugees flocked to the capital city of Cosolen, seeking succor.
Initially, these poor souls were met with open arms and offered charity. However, as their numbers grew by order of magnitude, they soon exceeded the ability of even the capital to house and support them. The city’s officials began to turn them away, encouraging them to seek aid in other parts of the realm, but still they came… even the passage of a year’s time did not cease their arrival. The ruling elite debated the matter endlessly, but could reach no consensus.
It was during this time, that Prince Sevlen – being a kind and chivalrous man, and sympathetic to the plight of the refugees – reluctantly permitted the creation of a shanty town outside the city’s walls that became colloquially known as Eastpeg. The conditions were squalid, and food was scarce. Thieves and scoundrels were said to roam the muddy paths between tents and arguments over scraps of land were commonplace. There were brawls, assaults, and occasionally, even murders.
The honorable city watchmen bore the brunt of these burdens. Where they once policed a genteel citizenry, they now were forced into the role of hated minions of the establishment and compelled to engage in argumentative confrontations with the increasingly numerous and often cantankerous (if not outright violent) throngs of refugees. Further stressing them, the economic despair inculcated a criminal element hitherto unknown in Cosolen.
Amidst these hardships, reports from those settlements remaining in the lands east of the Voldor Bay were both numerous and alarming. Wild beasts roamed the ruins of villages and towns; villains unchecked by the order of civilization grew more bold; disappearances and missing persons were recorded throughout the region; and finally, humanoid war bands were mobilizing at the edges of civilized lands, and raided the outskirts with near impunity.
Indeed by every estimation, the well being of the kingdom hung by the finest of threads. Chaos loomed on a dark horizon, and uncertainty pulled at the strings of every heart. More so than at any time since, new heroes were needed to assist the overwhelmed defenders of peace and tranquility."
Written by: Glandal Volren, 1070 Y.K.
In the aftermath of the disastrous Voldor Bay tidal wave, Cosolen – capital of the Kingdom of Cosdol has become the makeshift home of thousands of citizens displaced by the devastation. Despite the passage of a year’s time, refugees continue to flock to the city, far exceeding its ability to house and support them. Urged by the city’s ruling elite to seek aid in other parts of the realm, the destitute mass of humanity has instead established a massive, ever-growing shantytown that has come to be known as Eastpeg. While a generous harvest has thus far provided some measure of relief to the increased need of food, the sheer number of refugees heavily burdens the economy.
Amidst this hardship, reports from the remaining settlements of the Voldor Bay region have poured into the capital. Wild beasts have been spotted exploring the ruins of villages and towns; villains unchecked by the Crown’s reduced patrols grow increasingly more bold; disappearances have been recorded across the area; and humanoid raiders are mobilizing at the edges of civilized lands. Chaos threatens and fear is taking hold. With the well-being of the kingdom hanging by a thread, new heroes are needed to assist the overwhelmed defenders of peace.
Diaday, First of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
With support from prominent members of the religious community of Cosolen, Headmaster Glandal Volren of the Cosolen Military Academy has procured a commission to appoint investigators on the Crown’s behalf to aid a small town in need of assistance. The party comes together as one of the volunteer teams seeking to be chosen for the task. But they must first prove themselves by besting their competition in a series of challenges designed to determine who possesses the necessary skills and dedication for the assignment.
Given the remainder of the day and the night to prepare and rest, each member of the party makes ready in their own way. While his companions make themselves comfortable, Stoat uses his time to visit a contact out in the city proper – the alchemist Plenthal Levnis – to continue his training in the craft of poison making.
Pelsday, Second of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
The party assembles under the watchful eye of the High-Elf priestess Zelaena Onaeriel – one team amongst four – to face their first test, dubbed the “Tankard Challenge”. With tankards of ale depicting the suspects of a fictitious murder mystery, the party must ‘unmask the killer’ by avoiding the poisoned drink in a toast with dire consequences for failure.
The tense moment following the toast quickly passes as the group learns their choice was indeed the correct one. But where to go now? The murderer’s tankard proves to hold more than poisoned ale, and a strange key leads the party on a search of the Academy grounds to find its matching lock. Persistent investigation pays off and the magic of the key is soon uncovered. The door is found but proves to be both stubborn and dangerous in its own right.
Meliantan Daheriel finds himself petrified with but a single touch of the door’s handle, forcing the remainder of the group to take extra precaution (and in the case of Brendolm Minel – reconsider participation in the challenges). Gram Swiftaxe attempts a complex application of force using rope and makeshift pulley, but is unable to open the door. In the end, the group gains entry via a rear window and removes both magically sealed door and frame for good measure.
Inside, an illusion hides the true condition of the room, and its wounded occupant. Maldus Randorian and the recovered Meliantan are able to see the room for what it really is, and help their friends look past the false landscape presented by the spell. The wounded man, Jiffar speaks of the villains who ransacked the room and kidnapped his roommate Jaren.
Having now completed the second challenge by discovering the identity of the kidnapped victim and the location where he is held, the party readies itself for the final test…a daring rescue mission from the training area known as “The Fort”.