This is a long one. I hope you enjoy it, though 🙂
Well, they did it. They found the Welandar royal family’s secret library. 40 Game Nights ago – nearly 2 years ago…
Bran, Fang, and Theren set out to figure out what it meant to be part of Mentari’s Secret. They had been chosen by some mysterious power to stop what appeared to be the end of the Kingdom of Welandar… maybe the world. This Mentari’s Secret, they discover over time, is a secret order of people who barely understand that helping the Welandar family continue to stay on the throne maintains a very secret pact that prevents an evil order known as the Dark Tide from reaching the kingdom and destroying it. They also learn that the history of the kingdom as they know it is a well created ruse.
They each began this journey by waking from a nightmare and finding a sigil embedded like a tattoo on their left hand. Then shortly after this they hear of the king’s death. King Borus Welandar V was murdered in his sleep by a mysterious entity. The king had no heir to put on the throne and maintain the Welandar family rule. In short order the group is persuaded by an agent of Mentari’s Secret to begin searching for the part they are to play in all of this. As they journey to the north from their small hometown looking for information, the agents of the Dark Tide begin trying to find “The Chosen” and put a stop to them.
They find Mert, an old sage, who they save from orcs that serve The Dark Tide. Mert has limited “clarity” about the truth of the Kingdom’s history and its ruling family. She also has some limited knowledge about Mentari’s Secret. She tells Fang, Theren, and Bran that they have been chosen to help either restore the pact in some form or find another way to prevent the Dark Tide from reaching this world and destroying the Kingdom of Welandar… or worse. Mert tells them to seek out the secret Welandar family library. It is there that the true history of the Welandar family and their kingdom is kept. She strongly suspects that the information there will explain more about Mentari’s Secret and what will need to be done to prevent The Dark Tide from achieving their goal.
The group decides that the secret library must be somewhere very near where the Welandar family’s seat of power is located, Welandar Castle on Royal Island in the heart of Welandar City. Aware that they are being pursued at every turn, they begin a dangerous journey to the capital city in hopes of finding a way onto Royal Island so they can search for the secret library.
As they make their way across the Kingdom of Welandar, they quickly discover that the pact of Mentari’s Secret must be breaking down. Agents of the Dark Tide are being guided by an evil power named Erebus. They have access to something called Dark Energy. Dark Energy corrupts all that is imbued with it, especially living beings and undead. The group encounters many examples of corrupted beings and enhanced undead as they try to make their way back to Welandar City. The only help they have is Theren’s twisted eldritch senses. He can sense Dark Energy when it is at high enough levels of concentration. Erebus tries many times to end the group.
Bran’s combat prowess, Theren’s eldritch warlock abilities, and Fang’s charisma and druidic abilities pay off time and again. Along with the help of Lysandra of South Haven and then Hildeguard Snowfall (after Lysandra’s fall), the group reaches Welandar City alive, and quickly discovers that not only is Erebus’ power growing, but he is also causing trouble in the capital city.
As the group gets more “connected” in Welandar City, more adventure finds them. In the undercity they fight wraiths and otyughs to rescue an “adopted” boy of their benefactor, Lily. Without her, they would not have had a safe place to stay away from prying eyes of the city.
They also get limited access to Royal Island. The Dark Tide makes its presence known at Lady Felza’s estate on the island, and it’s up to the group to put a stop to Felza’s long-dead ancestors as they rise from their graves. In her good graces, they now have a connection to try and exploit as they try to find a way to stay on Royal Island so they can locate the Welandar family library.
A few more twists and turns finds the group making use of their connection to Lady Felza, but not as they thought they would. Instead, it is her handmaiden, Pribi, that has approached them to ask if they will find her Lady Felza. She has gone missing. The final push onto Royal Island begins when they agree to help Pribi.
Pribi sneaks them onto Lord Cromlond’s estate where they are forced to convince him not to notify the authorities. Fortune comes to the group as they convince Lord Cromlond of their intentions to try and save the kingdom from The Dark Tide and maybe Subere’k along the way. He, in turn, provides them a connection to a captain of the royal guard and long-time friend of the late King Borus.
Now they must convince Captain Victor Grig that they are there to find out who killed the king and put a stop to The Dark Tide IF they can find the secret Welandar family library. A comparison of notes about the goings on of the city and some of the things that Grig and the group have seen recently convinces Grig that he must help the group find this secret library, so long as they are willing to help stop Lord Subere’k as well. Grig reveals to the group that Lord Subere’k is probably a psychopath and is power hungry to a fault. This information, along with a few other details, makes the group suspicious about who Subere’k might actually be.
Grig gets the group into the castle under the pretense that they are investigators gathering more evidence to find the king’s killer. Given his authority, it is not difficult for Grig to make this happen, but care must be taken not to arouse suspicion of any of the royal guard. Grig knows that some of them have been corrupted/turned by Subere’k, and they will not hesitate to let him know of Grig’s duplicity.
During their search through the castle, Bran, Fang, Hilly, and Theren find a secret room that has been turned into a torture chamber. Further investigation by Bran and Fang reveals that it is Subere’k that has been making use of this “hobby” room.
In an even riskier move, Bran and Fang make their way into where Subere’k has begun living in the castle. Fortunately, Subere’k is not there, so they search his chambers. They find his secret journal which reveals the ravings of a lunatic and some odd entries that point to a connection between Subere’k and Erebus – the man that has been working to bring The Dark Tide into the kingdom. They have never seen Erebus…
More searching and a close encounter with a royal guard that might be loyal to Subere’k leads to trusting that Grig wants justice for his dead king. The group watch as Grig kills the guard himself to make sure that the guard cannot reveal the group’s presence in the castle.
The group finds King Borus’ personal shrine to Mentari. An excellent investigation reveals a secret exit from the small room that leads to a storeroom. From there, they find secret access to the castle dungeon. The known access had been collapsed. Given how they arrived in the dungeon, the group is now convinced that the secret library is somewhere in or near the dungeon.
Now in the dungeon, the group is determined to find the secret library. But first, they have to deal with some baddies that have been given places to “live” in the dungeon. The jail cells contain various modified undead and Krell – likely experiments of Erebus. They all appear to have been enhanced with Dark Energy (Theren points out that the dungeon reeks of Dark Energy).
In what was once the warden’s quarters, a Mezzoloth has taken up residence. It is unhappy about the group’s intrusion. Fortunately, the group has learned a few things since their encounter with a Mezzoloth in South Haven, and they take it down with only minor wounds.
As they continue to search the dungeon, the group finds a hidden treasure room. Fang’s Bag of Holding comes in quite handy as a nice sum of coinage is scooped up and put in the magic bag for safekeeping. A few potions and small items are added to the inventory as well.
Then as they are taking a closer look at the “inmates” and starting to take advantage of the fact that these creatures are behind bars, a door at the end of the jail hall opens. A goblin pokes its head out to see who is walking around “his” jail. Being the cowardly, sneaky little bastard he is, the goblin panics, slams the door shut, and pulls one of several levers on the wall of this small room.
Fortunately for Hilly, Theren, Fang, and Bran, only a couple of the doors open at once (and not the entire block). But a wild fight ensues as Dark Zombies get loose and go after the group. Once again, the group avoids death with well-placed strikes and spells.
Now having some idea that they are looking for a secret door like the one where they found the treasure, they go to the warden’s now empty quarters to search. Good fortune is with them now that they have dispatched the threats. They take their time and find what they are looking for – a hidden door.
They enter a narrow passage that spirals down. As they are making their descent, a couple members of the group think they hear a voice… maybe chanting? They complete the descent and follow the corridor to an intersection. Down to hallways, they see closed doors. Down on, however, they definitely hear chanting now and see flickering light. Theren comments that the Dark Energy is extraordinarily strong here.
Knowing they should avoid the ominous chanting and the likely source of much Dark Energy, Hilly, Theren, Fang, and Bran go toward the chanting. They discover something out of a nightmare. A room splattered in blood and bodily fluids with what appears to be a summoning circle in the center. On either side of the circle are two raised platforms each containing an odd humanoid-like writhing body. Between the “top” of the circle and the statue of some sort of devil or demon stands Erebus – who happens to look like Subere’k. He is deep in concentration and the source of the chanting.
Theren recognizes some of the words being spoken and lets the group know that Erebus is gathering Dark Energy to imbue the bodies. He is making some sort of creatures of a most infernal nature. Theren, trusting his instincts about alien magics, says Erebus must be stopped before completing the ritual or something terrible will be released into their world.
The group springs into action. Fang calls upon his druid magic, Theren, his eldritch powers, and Hilly, her faith in Nira while Bran prepares to attack Erebus directly. They don’t know if they can defeat Erebus, but they know they must try to, at least, disrupt the ritual no matter the cost.
The skills in magic and combat they have learned in their adventures manifest in a spectacular display of power. They pummel Erebus with everything they have hoping to break his concentration – and maybe even kill him. But it is apparent that he, too, has much power. It’s a close race as Erebus’ voice reaches a crescendo in his chanting and the group presses their assault.
Then maybe a bit of good luck happens… just the right combination of attacks at just the right moment… Erebus gets hurt and falters in his chanting. His concentration breaks, and he panics. Just as the group thinks Erebus has surely completed the ritual, the bodies on the platforms quit moving and Erebus cries out, eyes wide with fear. The massive amount of Dark Energy now swirling in the circle without purpose seeks release.
Apparently, Erebus is not the master of all this evil. The statue of the devil begins to move. It rages at Erebus for his failure and grabs him. At the same moment, the Dark Energy bursts in all directions from the circle like a shockwave. It blinds the group as it passes through them… such horrible power. They are certain they are all about to die.
As Theren, Hilly, Bran, and Fang get up from being knocked to the ground, they notice that the room has been scorched clean of… everything. There is nothing left but the stone walls, floor, and ceiling. There is no blood, no platforms or statue, and no Erebus. The only sign that the room had a purpose are some faint scratches on the floor where the circle had probably been drawn over and over again as part of whatever evil rituals Subere’k/Erebus had been performing.
They hope Erebus is dead, but they don’t know. All they can do now is be happy that they stopped this ritual and put a significant interruption in whatever Erebus’ plans were.
Continuing the search of this lower secret area of the dungeon they soon discover what must be the entrance to an important area. After some debate about how to proceed, it is Theren’s determination to see the end of this search that “springs the trap”.
Actually, Theren finds ALL of the traps and… well… springs a few of them, too. A long narrow corridor of varying traps – all potentially deadly – leaves a rather shaken group of adventurers standing before the entrance of a small room filled with shelves. On those shelves are journals and scrolls containing information related to the Welandar family since they arrived where the kingdom now thrives.
The group spends many hours pouring over the information held in this secret library. They discover what the pact that is Mentari’s Secret is about. They discover that the Welandar family and the people that settled this area were not from this world. They left behind a world devastated by a horde of demons and devils – and army of The Dark Tide. They learn that the first King of Welandar, Markus, had a brother, Stefan that caused the need for their people to flee. It was Stefan who ran afoul of The Dark Tide and brought the horde to his world.
Markus and his brother fought the horde as best they could, but escape was their only chance of survival. So, Stefan sacrificed himself to the devil that led the horde in order to help form a pact that would allow Markus and the remaining people of their world to find another world where they could survive and star anew.
Mentari, The Creator, saw this sacrifice and the plight of these people. The god “stepped in” to prevent Markus and his people from getting a “bad deal”. The pact that was formed gave refuge to Markus and his people on a secret world created by Mentari. So long as Markus and his progeny remained leader of these people, the pact would remain intact, preventing The Dark Tide from finding the secret world and destroying Markus and those that would establish the new Kingdom of Welandar on that secret world.
The order of Mentari’s Secret was formed to help the Welandar family stay on the throne throughout the generations and thus, maintaining the pact. Unfortunately, King Borus had not apparently produced an heir before his death, breaking the pact. Now it is up to The Chosen of Mentari’s Secret to find a way to restore the pact or stop The Dark Tide.
The remainder of studying yielded the possibility that a bastard child of King Borus might have been born. So, the next step is to find out if that child exists, and if so, find a way to put him/her on the throne of Welandar. If not, then the group is going to have to find a way to stop The Dark Tide…
Chapter 1 ends here.
We’ll be starting Chapter 2 soon. The group is still into it and want to continue the story…
As always, if you like what you’ve read here, let me know by clicking that like button. It’s very much appreciated. If you have a thought, comment, or question, by all means drop, me a line. I love getting feedback. A dialogue is always better than a monologue.
Type to you later…