The Ashen Kingdom

An Inevitable Betrayal

You don’t get your throat slit in the dead of night by the Forest. Your allies can do that all on their own.
—Final statement of Gregor Balus, political dissident

Notice for the King

My liege. If you are reading this, the expedition has failed and the stronghold has fallen. Perhaps it was never even completed.

We write you this message, collectively, so that there will be no confusion on what transpired today.

The night we arrive at the mountain, a ghost made his presence known to us. It seems that Amaranth the priest and Gillard the craftsman were dishonest in describing their previous visit. They survived the encounter with the witch revenant, but Edlan did not. This is only because they conspired to sacrifice Edlan to the Fire Lord in return for protection for the night. Their cowardice drove Edlan from the grave and he has been harrowing our party, killing and wounding many.

Edlan’s spirit demanded the death of either Gillard or Amaranth. It was decided instead to trap the spirit in a magical weapon, something that is only possible with the arrival of Harold.

A shelter for the night was constructed, and a simple altar built. By early morning, all was prepared to capture the ghost. At this time, however, a great flock of birds rose from the trees and dove upon us. The mages and priests expended all their magic repelling the creatures. With sunset only seconds away, it seemed we had survived the night.

It was then that Count Petras revealed his true loyalties. He used watermancy to attack the party, even sacrificing Champ to false gods in return for more power. We refused to be defeated however, and by collectively sacrificing everything that could be thrown onto the altar, the Count was defeated. Champ revealed himself to be a messenger of Ziztheth, and after helping to slay the Count, Champ was invaluable in hunting down the ghost and binding him to a silver dagger.

It is the second day since we came to this place. Gillard and the earth mage have many plans for our defenses and the mine. We have left this note in a chest, warded with the best magic and blessing we could manage.

Ziztheth willing, you will never read this.

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