From Bitter Searching of the Heart

The skies are gray and dim. There is a sense of a thunderstorm building and it reflects in the populace and everyone rushes head down in the streets. A runner approaches us and gives us a sealed scroll. It is from High Guardian Miekauf Nactrune and he demands our presence at the Tower of Vigilance in the Temple District at noon today.

As we approach the tower we can see it stands above the nearby buildings as a square keep. Four large eyes carved from stone point out in the cardinal directions watching over the entire city. We are ushered into a private study to meet with the High Guardian. After small talk he launches into the reason he needs our help. Deverin Stark , a well-known paladin, was leading the line of battle against the undead uprising. This was personally difficult on him as he saw other units fall under the mass of zombies. He got through that day, saving many lives, but being forced to hold his own line while not allowed to help the other soldiers haunted him. He knew that it was best to follow his orders but it began a downward spiral.

Stark recieved consuling and all the help the clerics could offer, but he sunk deeper into depression. He had recurring nightmares of a shining diamond on a black cloth. The brighter the diamond shined the more its light was taken by the cloth. Suddenly a hammer crashes down and shatters the diamond, extinguishing the light – save for a pair of eyes. The priests of Galavant divined for the truth and received this message.

One threat to the Jewel of Raia has ended, but another shall come. In that time of need, Deverin Stark shall play a critical role in her defense. Without him Amthydor shall surely fall. The city’s future hinges upon his recover. Heed the words of Lord Vigilance well, for if Deverin Stark falls, so shall the city. He must seek the path of duty once more, though what form the path may take, he must discover for himself.

We have brought this knowledge to the Quorum of Faith , the Diamond Legion , and the Lord Monarch . All agree it is clear that Stark’s recovery is the highest priority. It has been decided he will undertake a pilgrimage to a monastery and the sacred shrine of Galvandt located in the Delambir Mountains southwest of the city. We are to meet Stark at the South Gate within the hour. During this pilgrimage Stark will be following the lift of a cloistered monastic – we will be responsible to protect him on his journey.

We meet two people at the South Gate. There is a cloaked man in shining plate armor bearing the symbol of Galavant. Although his armor and clothing is superbly maintained the man himself is clearly broken. We leave the city with Stark shuffling behind us. Shuk and Kurgan stand beside Stark and try to being a conversation with him several times to no avail. After a few hours the earth begins to tremor as Ulig , the giant that tends the river gate , is coming towards the city. He stops and speaks to us for a bit, but has not been to the mountains and so can only tell us that there is nothing up the road that would threaten our pilgrimage.

Near nightfall we reach the Farmers Rest a well-lit and welcoming tavern. We try several different approaches to break Stark from his depression or at least getting him to hold a conversation longer than a single sentence. Eventually we turn in for the evening.

In the morning we have breakfast and then head to the mountains. In the foothills we come across a blind old man on the footpath complaining of being attacked by tree roots. We help him back on his way, but he can tell us little of what is on the path ahead.

As we near the monastery we come across a gravely injured fawn. Jenestra calls upon the healing of Brianna to save the creature. During her examination she finds two puncture marks. The healing gets the fawn back on its feet and then Jenestra wild shapes into a deer and speaks to the creature. The deer remembers being hunted by a two-legs. It was frozen in fear when it looked into the eyes of the two-legs. It remembers the two-leg coming up[ and biting him. When Jenestra tells us the fawn’s story Stark perks up just enough to tell us that it must be a vampire.

Making a quick circuit we find the vampire’s track. Near nightfall we find a shallow grave. With night fast approaching we dig him up and stake the body, decapitate it, and burn the parts in separate fires. We are left with questions. He was dressed as a poor worker in ratty clothes.

We reach the mountain path and hear at least two elves arguing somewhere in front of us. As we round the bend we see a campfire with five elves resting and partaking of a meal. Each of the elves represent one of the major nearby elven culture. They invite us to join them in their evening meal. They are long-time companions that get together once a year to remember their adventures of years past and current happenings. Riania Lylla a Mistwood elf seems to be leader of the group. She is an excellent storyteller and enjoys hearing our own tales of Amthydor.

As the conversation winds down Riania asks us to help them solve a question with our simple “non-elven” outlook on life. She talks of children, apprentices, and masters. Who should be held responsible should the child or apprentice takes their learning and does wrong with it. What if someone steals knowledge – assuming such things can be stolen. We do manage to sway one of the elves, but the others seem unconvinced. In fact, Riania seems the most militant against all of the “lesser” races.

In the morning we leave the camp and by just after noon we reach the monastery. There is a beautiful garden well maintained by the followers of Galavandt. As we reach the gate we are met by Brother Apslion. We turn over Lt. Stark with the Brother, who welcomes us to stay for the night.

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