Session 1 - The party was traveling from a decimated Norsicar village they were working out of to one of their trade partner villages of the Vedine tribes in the Great Waste. They arrived at the Vedine village to find it had also been attacked by dark-clad desert warriors that appeared in the night, disappearing just as quickly afterwards. Searching discovered the enemy tracks simply stop in the desert not far from the village as if they were there and then just not there.
Word was given of another village with more defensible walls about 3 days march to the west by the Vedine Matriarch and part of the group went out to advance scout the way between while the rest remained behind to help protect the ragtag people still left and pack supplies.
The advance group arrived at the village of Paramya to find it breached and sacked, only 3 survivors remaining and one about to leave for safer places. One of the survivors was a madman suspected to be a plant of the enemy, but interrogating him got the party no coherent information and one member lost part of an ear when he pressed the crazy man for information (who then fled the village for the desert while screaming wildly). One man remained who claimed to survive the attack by hiding and told a tale of dark-clothed desert warriors appearing from the night and disappearing as quickly as they came. He also knows of the swamplands north up the river and how the locals believe they are holy land.
The rest of the group arrived a few days later with the remaining villagers. The decision was made by the Matriarch to shore up the walls and stay in the place.
In the middle of the night a man appeared in the desert near a sentry, calling for aid as a creature of pure darkness coalesced near him. After a pitched fight, the creature was sent back to whomever summoned it in defeat and the man, Richard, High Magos of Delphius, plead for aid before passing out from exhaustion and his wounds. Wasting no time, he was taken into the village and care was begun for him. Of note on his tattered robes was a patch of an eagle with a stylized Eye of Horus.
The first session ended here.
Session 2 picked up on the next morning. Richard awoke from his harrowing experience and when questioned told his tale of being an agent of the Eagles’ Nest, an organization devoted to supporting free trade between any and all kingdoms. He explained a mysterious person calling him or herself the ‘Master’ has been slowly and methodically gathering power in the western portion of the Sundered Shield Mountains, enlisting the more warlike tribes of desert people and other mercenaries as well as monsters to make quick strategic strikes while he masses his armies for all out invasion of Norsicar and Brunn.
The master itself ruled from some dread place in the Bogs of Mourn in an ancient Temple of Death built by a lost, ancient civilization. He pleaded with the adventurers to aid him in his task to defeat or weaken the Master by striking at him in the Temple itself. The rest of his group were destroyed by the creature in darkness that was driven off the previous night and he was in need of those that could protect him and see the deed done should he fall.
The group agreed and Richard produced a map of the Great Waste, detailing caravan paths through the desert. He revealed a caravan would be passing near the north side of the swamps that were upriver in 4 days time and the trip would take at least 3 if they couldn’t find a guide through the swamplands. The group eventually hired out the coward villager (since he owned the only boat and claimed the ‘unholy land’ was mere rubbish since he’s been in and around the swamps for years.
Making ready to leave the next morning, a wizard riding a wyvern swooped in and dropped 3 trolls into the water around the barge. The wizard then hasted the trolls and blasted the group. In the fray the Wyvern got polymorphed and hit the water, while the magic-user got lightning bolted while in the water and fried. The trolls took some punishment and dealt as well as they got until they were felled. Working quickly, the group patched up and made off. Poling the barge by day using the Cleric’s golem, the barge got stuck near evening. Three giant crabs surfaced, attacking the barge. After a hard-hitting fight they were defeated, but more damage was inflicted as well. Rok, one of the Rangers in the group, jumped into the murky salt water to retrieve one of the giant crabs for dinner and he was surprised and consequently mauled to death by a giant alligator laying in wait for just such an opportunity. His body retrieved and the alligator driven off, they continued north into the swamp until there was no river left to barge through. Exploring with the cowardly guide in the lead, the group spied a hut off the beaten path and decided to investigate, leaving the guide to wait for them.
Searching the clearing, the group tried to leave again only to find breaking through the thick reeds and saw grass brought them back to the clearing with the hut. They entered the hut only to find it bare except for a Forged Man laying under a blanket who has been trapped here as well for a long time…
Session 2 ended here.