Avlis Campaign 5, Part 1
This is Avlis Canon Material
The discovery and dissemination of Runic Magic has been in full swing since Lolobe the Tyeduan leader of the Benteak-Kune clan of Tyedu led his band down into the Underdark to recover the objects needed to rekindle the art, and received his lessons from a mysterious Mikonator mentor.
Soon after his return to the Benteak-Kune, Lolobe was joined by Laramith to repair and rebuild from the damage caused by the Demon Lord armies as they scoured the land looking for clues to casting spells using runes that draw on the Prime Nature for their magic instead of one of the Vortices of Magic that are commonly known around Negaria. Using the Scroll of Damar Binder, which lists all of the known runes of power, the two men began teaching disciples on the surface. Meanwhile, their evil counterpart Dhazeel the Spawn of Alifanitax returned to his underworld home and fled his liege lord, Tru’av’kazh by making his way to the Western Underdark. There he reunited with his old friend, a young adomkuro lad named Evin Binder of The Burning Page and broke the amazing news to Evin that the dreams of the Binder family and their Burning Page organization have finally been fulfilled: the secrets of Runic Magic have been unlocked.
Though Dhazeel did not possess the Scroll of Damar Binder, he did learn all of the runes during his time with the Mikonator and quickly set himself to copying them to other scrolls, which were then kept as closely guarded secrets by The Binders. Evin Binder and another adomkuro associate member of The Death Runes, Yarlan Wayforth, became quick studies in the runes and grew rapidly in power. Their main work for the next decade was the creation of a new wing of The Burning Page comprised of Saemilists able to cast runic magic. This new wing became known as The Glyph Bringers.
In these early years, the teaching and training of new Saemilists proceeded more or less independently between the surface pupils of Lolobe and Laramith and the Underdark acolytes of The Burning Page. Occasionally, there were cordial communications between the two groups, but their intersection would not occur for some time.
The adventures in this campaign begin in a small Ferrell hamlet named Sundry Home, just west of Port Eridanus. A young halfling named Bik "Bonkers" Bockwerth and his avid friend, Maher Fenton the Druid of Dru'El are enjoying their time in a tavern when they get approached by two local figures, the mysterious halfling Lana Hewl and her Cleric of Berryn friend, the halfling Jobil Harrington.
Bik and Maher became friends during Bik's wandering of the countryside. Having been separated from his family as a child, he lived off the land and took sustenance where he could to survive. Maher was a new initiate who found him one evening in the rain and gave him shelter, and the two traveled together ever since, sharing their love of living off the land and helping passerby. Lana and Jobil were local figures in Sundry Home. After returning from an unknown journey several months back, Lana was marked by several strange tattoos and scars of tattoos that made her somewhat of a spectacle around the hamlet. Jobil was the acolyte of the village's spiritual guides. The two of them spotted Bik and Maher and enlisted their help with some local problems with bandits just outside the village.
After defeating the bandits and recapturing all of the prisoners they took, Bik, Maher, Jobil, and Lana became something like heroes to the bucolic settlement's people. The four of them also became fast friends.
Shortly after their successes around the village, the crew heard about some orc violence down in the southern part of Ferrell, and area called Southland Breach. Bik's early childhood memories swirled with images of orcs killing his loved ones and razing his farm. He was not sure where that farm was located or who those people were anymore, but the presence of orcs in Southland Breach nearly sent him into an instant rage. The gang decided to do something about it. They geared up and ventured forth to confront the invaders.
Near the end of their ride south, almost all the way to where Lake Eridanus touches the country's southern border, they found an abandoned village. The destruction there occurred long ago, and the adventurers wiped out a few groups of straggling orc invaders before they were able to get to exploring the ruins. That night, the seemingly abandoned village proved to be haunted, and the ghosts walking around the area told the tale of a nearby cave where the orcs always came from to start their raids. On one particular raid, soon after the villagers figured out the location of the cave, the invaders wiped them all out, except for two cousins: Lana Hewl and Bookers Bockwerth.
Bik "Bonkers" Bockwerth realized his identity and memories of the village of his childhood came flooding back to him. Taking his original name back gave him the strength to grieve with Lana, but the two swore revenge on the orcs who destroyed their lives.
It was that moment where Yarlan "Yar" Wayforth, Lana's Saemilist mentor decided to show himself. In his wanderings, he had been making his way up to check on Lana and hopefully take on more students when he came upon their business with the orcs around the abandoned village. He explained to them that the nearby cave was an entrance to The Underdark, and that it served as a clandestine trade route between the surface and the kingdoms below. The orcs of Dubunat and Brekan, but mostly Dubunat, used the entrance quite often, so long as they could make their way in and out of Port Eridanus without attracting attention. From there, the goods could be shipped to nearly anywhere on the surface of Negaria.
Yar went on to explain that the land directly beneath them was ruled by Demon Lord Ternus, a half-orc monstrosity of planar descent who was bent on becoming immortal and eventually divine, like some of the other more powerful Demon Lords of The Underdark were. The orcs coming up from the surface, in all probability had connections to or at least consent from Ternus, and it was almost a certainty that Ternus was the one who ordered the destruction of Bookers' and Lana's village all those years ago. If there was a legitimate target for their revenge, Demon Lord Ternus was probably it.
Finally, Yar warned the group that if this was their quest, they would need a lot of time to prepare. Taking down a Demon Lord was not trivial. He was willing to help them do so if they agreed to be of service to him eventually when the time came. He would see to it that they became powerful enough to defeat Ternus, and then he would ask them to use that power at some point in the future, for his gain. Given that his mission was to spread the practice of runic magic, Bookers and his friends decided it was worth the risk and they accepted.
It was time for them to start their journey to the Underdark
The descent to The Underdark took days of walking down a wide spiraling cavern etched with carriage marks from the passage of small caravans as late as just a few days before. Travelers called it "The Ferrell Cavernway". Bookers and company learned their first lessons on the dangers of traversing the caves as they encountered another orc caravan on its way up, as well as some of the local wildlife, both natural and unnatural. Along the way, there were even some cases of stray undead and devils that had escaped the grasps of their masters, which Yar said was a common occurrence down there.
As they reached the bottom of The Ferrell Cavernway, the group entered the village of Lurstock, the outpost of Ternus's forces tasked with guarding the entrance to the surface. After taking some much-needed time to adjust to the lighting and the food, Yar announced to the crew that he would be taking them to a temporary home in the court of Lord Solwark Verint in the city of Batumawberk, a short way to the west of Lurstock. There, Yar expects them to perform admirably for Lord Verint and rise in the ranks of his household while gaining the skills and power they need to survive in The Underdark. At some point in the future, when he feels they are ready, Yar promised to retrieve the group and take them to the next leg on their journey.
After the announcement, the group geared up and set out for Batumawberk.
Lord Solwark Verint, an adomkuro vassal to Lord Gerinald Stonesmelter (a kharakuro), receives the ragged group of surface dwellers into his court on the request of Yar Wayforth. His stipulation to them is that they prove themselves by following his instructions to the letter and performing any task he gives. Reluctantly, Bookers, Maher, Jobil, and Lana agree.
As soon as they do so, Lord Verint informs them that The Forsaken Waif Guild has shaken down the local blacksmith, Dharbak the kharakuro who is currently paying Lord Verint protection money. He wants to send a message to this rogue's guild and tells the group to hang out near the blacksmith’s stall and wait for trouble…. Then eliminate it.
The group made its way to the stalls as ordered and took in the sites of Batumawberk along the way. Without much difficulty, they spotted several thugs from The Forsaken Waif Guild and eliminated them. Dharbak gave his thanks and asked it be relayed to Lord Verint as well.
After coming back to Lord Verint's compound, he thanked them personally and awarded them greater standing in his house. At that point, he received an urgent message from an emissary of Ternus. The message said that all worship of deities other than Ternus is now illegal, and vassals are commanded to eliminate all shrines and temples to foreign deities in their realms.