The Champions of Elon continued to sail south from the Talenth Forest and a few days after Theren Strongdraw came aboard, the Chaytan rounded the southeastern most parts of Brind-Amor and sailed near the Elden Forest.
Emerging from the morning fog was an immense of an object anyone had ever seen. A statue, some 100-feet tall when it is completed stood on the shore with a handful of workers scrambling around it. It was a statue of a man with great flowing robes, his arms outstretched in a loving embrace. An icon to Ao, the one and only god.
The humans on shore seemed friendly and helped guide the Chaytan into the small dock. The excited villagers spoke, “Praise to Ao”, “May Ao walk with you”, " and All wisdom in Ao". After they asked about the strange sails on the Chaytan (with a nice and simple demonstration from Theren), the citizens formally welcomed to new comers to the Holy City of Southwatch and told them to seek out Divine Dermenian at the Temple.
As the Champions set out to the large temple in the center of town, they came across a strange individual. At first it seemed like this person was wearing a strange form of dwarven armor, yet unseen by their eyes. But as they neared they saw the face was a solid piece of metal with two all-greens eyes that lack iris or pupils. This creature was working near the fountain, organizing stacks of boxes. Curious, the Champions approached. The creature nodded, and replied, “By all that is holy. You must be new to this location, where are you from?” It asked.
The Champions replied and a short conversation began. The creature bore an emblem with strange writing above where his heart would be. When asked about it, he replied that was his designation, saying that it is Triton 714.
Someone asked Triton 714 where he came from and the creature stopped and thought about it before replying, “By all that it holy.”
The Champions moved on to find Divine Dermenian and he was much more insightful with knowledge.
“We used to be a barbaric tribe from the mountain range far away. We stumbled through the darkness, eeking out a meager existence. We had no concept of self awareness, and certainly no real purpose in life. All of this changed when the First Divine led us here to the Holy Lands of Southwatch. It was here that our forefathers met the Emissary of Ao, known as Triton 714. He provided our people with the foundation of our beliefs, our core values, our very existence. The Sacred Writings of Ao were taken from his words. He is a messenger of Ao, provided by him to educate and assist our people towards enlightenment.”
The Divine invited the champions to stay as long as they would like, but it only took a couple of days until they saw all that there is to see on the Holy City. Their lives are dominated by prayer, work on the statue, and the simple day-to-day struggles of life. When it came time for the Champions to leave, Divine Dermenian spoke with them one last time.
“We are sadden to hear of your departure. Our people do not venture from our borders often and I believe Ao brought you here for a reason, to spread the word. I would humbly ask that you allow Acolyte Gallus to join you as you make your return home. We would be happy to include copies of the Sacred Writings of Ao as a gift from our people to yours, in hopes that you too can find enlightenment as we have.”
The Champions, along with the Acolyte Gallus and a stack of the Sacred Writings of Ao, boarded the Chaytan and sailed west. For their efforts here, the Champions Unlocked Knowledge of Clerics as a playable class in the future.
The Chaytan sailed up a river big enough for it to fit, that was aptly named Ao’s Watch River until they reached the foothills of the Hilthe Mountains. From here they got out on foot and continued the trek into the mountains.
It was not long before a dwarven patrol came by and mistook them for members of the Broken Tusks. As the Champions were able to convince them they were from another land, the dwarves eventually believed them but demanded they pay the Merchant King’s toll of 3 gold pieces each.
The Champions misunderstood at first and gave them 18 gold pieces, three for each of them. The dwarven captain shook his head and pointed to the other nine dwarves on patrol and demanded three gold pieces for each dwarf. Once 30 gold pieces were handed over, the captain offered to give them directions for another five. Fed up with the shakedown, the Champions elected to venture off on their own. However, Theren was able to pick up their trail which led to the dwarven village of Dhim Vold.
Immediately upon setting foot in Dhim Vold, the champions were besieged by merchants and vendors, telling them not to pay the full prices in the capital, pay a fraction of costs here. And while the prices looked slightly better than they prices from the Balnar Stonecutter in Nigrum Ursus, they did carry with them a tax of 27%, pushing them much higher. Forgoing an expensive stay in am Inn, the Champions camped outside of town and made a push for the capital the following day.
Dhom Kharn-Thorrim was an impressive display of strong stone and the fine craftsmanship of the dwarven people. The guards gave them little trouble as they entered, outside of a sneering question of, “Broken Tusks? Are you hungry? Here to finally surrender?”
While the outer walls of Dhom Kharn-Thorrim were impressive, there was not much to see inside the walls outside of a huge open area leading into the heart of the Hilthe Mountains where the actual dwarven city is.
The Champions became the first of their kind to see a second Pillar, this one located near the mountain entrance to the dwarven city. It was heavily guarded and no one was allowed near it save for a couple of dwarven scholars who were studying it. Doakiln was later able to look at it a little closer since he has knowledge of the Pillar in the Jayt Valley.
The Champions caught the eye of a well dressed dwarf speaking to several aids. He seemed troubled by what they had to tell him but that changed as he saw the Champions. He came over and was introduced as the Merchant King Thordal Bronzebeard, ruler of Hilthe Mountain Dwarves.
“You are obviously not from the Broken Tusks tribe, otherwise you would have never of made it in here. I have an idea, how would you like to make some gold? I have a job that is perfect for you. The Broken Tusks tribe has stolen a religious artifact from our halls and when by daughter Jabella Bronzebeard went to negotiate with the honor less humans, they kidnapped her! The Broken Tusks are holed up at their end of the valley. Very difficult to get to and easy to defend. But you are human. You could easily gain entrance to the Broken Tusks land and take back what was stolen from us.”
The Champions agreed to look into this and negotiated a price of 100 gp each and two suits of they newly crafted platemail armor. A few more details came from one of his aids. The missing artifact is called the Amulet of the Heavens. Jabella and a handful of guards went to talk to the Broken Tusks and have not been heard from in three weeks. The Broken Tusks live two valleys over, past a winding and very narrow pass through the mountains.
The following day the Champions set off for the Broken Tusks lands. They passed through an area called the High Valley where the dwarves use to heard cattle and grow crops of its citizens.
The dwarves were not exaggerating when they said the Broken Tusks are difficult to reach. The narrow mountain pass forces people to walk single file and it spills out into a small area just in front of the main gate. Guards of the Broken Tusks called down to the Champions to hand over their backpacks for inspection. They did and they could hear the guards rummaging through them. Once they were allowed in the saw an handful of starving people devouring what food they had in the backpacks.
The Broken Tusks were very weak, and most everyone they came across was suffering from starvation. No guards checked them again and the Champions were able to walk right into the Chief’s hut, where they saw Skielren and Jabella Bronzebeard standing at a map both lamenting the fact that they “should have made a push weeks ago.”
“The Voss Hobgoblins have invaded the lands east of here. The has not only pinned the Broken Tusks people to this small area near the main gate, but it has preventing them from getting to their cattle and crops in the Hyx Valley. My father, the Merchant King, refuses to help, but the Broken Tusks have suffered far too long and more and more of them die each day. The Broken Tusks stole the Amulet of the Heavens hoping to broker a deal with my people, but my father will not budge. Currently we are too weak and injured to mount a counter attack against the Voss Hobgoblins.”
The Champions offered to help if they could first return the Amulet to the Merchant King. Jabella shook her head, “The Voss Hobgoblins have it.”
Taking a deep breath, the Champions entered the Hyx Valley in order to wipe out the Voss Hobgoblin threat and recover the Amulet of the Heavens. The first thing they ran into was a handful of injured Broken Tusks who were recently attacked by a “giant, one-eyed beast” who took several of their kind to a nearby cave.
The Champions rose to the challenge and after healing them up a little, they entered the cyclops cave, the center of which was dominated by a deep chasm. And as they started to sneak across, one of the captured people spoke out, alerting the cyclops and the fight was on. But as soon as it started, it ended with the Champions prevailing once again.
Those that were freed were able to tell the Champions of the Voss camp on the other side of the river, but warned that they had several guards that needed to be dealt with first on this side of the river. A plan was hatched and Illyria silently moved into position. Well, she didn’t do a great job but she did see a previously before unseen guard. The surprise attack was on, but they were unable to stop them before one of them raised the alarm.
That made the camp attack a little harder, but the champions answered the call and wiped out the leadership of the Voss Hobgoblins from the Hyx Valley and recover the Amulet of the Heavens.
The Broken Tusks were grateful to have their lands back, Jabella was happy to have helped save them, and the Merchant King got their artifact back. The Merchant King gave them a free pass throughout the Hilthe Mountains that would prevent the patrols from extortion. He also spoke of the possibility of a large scale purchase of armor if the need ever arose.
From here the Champions returned to the Great Sea and sailed west. As they passed the great Galadinthar Forest, several members of the Chaytan reported a song being stuck in their heads. A beautiful song of love and honor. After a few days the song become more of a plea, a call to battle. The Champions debarked onto land and entered the forest. They found a mix of elves and humans, led by the female elf whose voice was in their heads, Selussa Alealylth.
“You must be honorable creatures to have heard my songs. You answered our prayers and have come to right a horrible wrong. My lover, Takkar, has been captured by foul and vicious creatures named Tiemeth and Mersoth. They heard the beauty of his voice and took him away from us. We have a plan to ambush them in their own lair. We are going to sneak in and set up a trap for them. Currently they were spotted near Takkar’s village of Rothia just moments ago. Will you join us?”
The Champions did and the entire group moved out and entered the green dragon lair of Tiemeth and Mersoth. The Galadinthar Warriors and wizards, along with the Champions of Elon, spread out and waiting. Selussa began to sing a most beautiful song and sure enough, the young green dragons were summoned. Once they were in, the cave entrance was sealed shut and the fight was on.
It was a long and drawn out fight, spanning the entire chamber. Tiemeth and Mersoth looked for every opportunity to engulf as many people as they could with their poisonous breath.
The champions did a great job of concentrating their fire on one target at a time and brought Tiemeth down. Mersoth rallied for a moment, but he too was killed.
The story continues in Homeward Bound.