Location: Star's End Monastery, Patricus' farm hold, and surroundings
Date: Fall, 1332 Avard
Brother Cadwhol of the Star's End monastery to Samis had individually tested and vetted each member of the new Procurators already, before assigning them together on a new assignment. Brother Cadwhol assigned Banner Paladin of Samis Madresh to be the groups official leader. Madresh was a black dragonborne, a powerful warrior, and gifted with a touch of the arcane. His breath weapon heritage from his dragon creators was the ability to spit acid that could digest wood and even metal.
The nominal leader of the group in civilized lands was the Lady Stonda. She was a tall, lithe, regal woman with noble bearing and striking appearance. She was a trained diplomat, able to defend herself with staves and spears, and could also both read and speak directly to the minds of those around her.
The dragonborne paladin Madresh pretended to be her bodyguard. Bolstering the fascade was a squire for Madresh and a husband for the Lady Stonda – at least in appearance. The squire was, in reality, a serial killing thief of a halfling that responded to Madresh well enough to serve. The husband was an arcane sword mage who wielded fire and ice, delving into abyssal and celestial powers equally.
They spoke together for a bit, creating a cover story for their work with the monastery. Lady Stonda and her husband claimed to be looking for land to purchase in the vicinity of Takanal, located perhaps a day's right to the east of the monastery. Their story had them being from Boulderdash – which, ironically enough, was where the Procurators were based out of – at least, on paper. Any investigation, Brother Cadwhol hoped, would lead people to Arnold Walker in Boulderdash. Master Walker paid the taxes on the Procurators Adventuring Guild, which could not possibly be linked to the Star's End Monastery. Or so the thinking went.
There were no pressing issues for the Procurators, and so Brother Cadwhol assigned them to investigate a local legend he had become aware of only months before. A copy of a tome of a tale-collector from Kur Maeth known as Seriale spoke of 'a ring of some seven or eight bluestones located perhaps a mile apart, easily seen across the glen; and in the heart of the ring was a mound; the locals used the stones to sing during each autumnal prime; their ancestor's spirit would speak to them, and advise them'. The monks knew of a bluestone some eighteen feet tall and fifteen feet wide just an hour's east of the monastery. Given the events of the War of the Undead, Brother Cadwhol thought it expedient to investigate the mound and see if it represented a threat to the monastery and its mission.
The location of the known bluestone was given to the Procurators, as well as the nearest farm hold. The locals at the farm hold, led by a man named Patricus, were familiar with the area and were thought to know the locations of the other bluestones.
The team split up to assure their chances of success. Morion obtained the aid of the monastery's chirugeon, Sister Becca, and obtained healing poultices and salves. Madresh investigated the library to obtain additional clues. Stonda interviewed several elderly monks, and then procured arms to trade with the farm holders on their advice.
Setting out on a windy day, the team investigated the known bluestone, before going to visit the farm holders. They were met by Patricus' senior son Robeth and later by Patricus himself. Stonda's offer of trade for the weapons, combined with their story, bought them acceptance into Patricus' farm hold. They stayed the night, dealing with the horrid scream of night cats, and learning from the farm holders how to keep the dreaded beasts at bay with nightsbane leaf extract. Batri, ever the thief, stole a golden ring with an emerald cabochon from Patricus' strong box.
Robeth showed them where and how to ring all eight stones the next day, although one was on its side and could not ring appropriately. All of the bluestones seemed to point slightly off of center, and the team found the mound – a half stone door sealing it off from the outside world. The team retreated to the farm hold for another evening's thoughts, and then set out for the monastery on the morn.
At the monastery, after speaking with the monks, they received a ritual that would mimic the sound of the stones if one was rung appropriately. Madresh's research indicated the necessary song, about the fall of autumn leaves. The team returned to the mound without the farm holders' knowledge, and then used the ritual to open the door.
Undead poured out of the mound's door, led from behind by a skeleton in red-and-gold leaf mail that matched the inscriptions on the bluestones. Dark bolts, phantoms, terror, skeletons that reassembled from parts, and a whirlwind of fall leaves assaulted the team. Morion took the worst of it, though he was saved by the salves from Sister Becca and quick thinking from Stonda. Teamwork eventually paid off, and when the Autumn Lord Lestelestiyevzh was slain, the rest of the undead soon followed.
Inside the mound, there were scattered bits of gold and silver, and two completely intact tapestries depicting battles and writings that were old even when the Autumn Lord was laid to rest, the first time.
DM's Notes: As these were all new characters, and Sam was new to Fourth Edition (4E), it took a bit to get started. We also had some slow spots familiarizing ourselves with the new characters, checking on powers, and exploring the group's cohesion. Paul had some awful rolls during combat, and Danny seemed intent on murder and mayhem (which went against the whole 'bring no attention to thy employers' bit); despite that, it looked like everyone had fun. We ran almost until two AM, but it was worth it to put these guys trough the paces together.
If you want to hear the famous bluestones of Stonehenge ring: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2515159/Why-Stonehenge-prehistoric-centre-rock-music-Stones-sound-like-bells-drums-gongs-played.html
Reference: Campaign IX
Stonda was pleased to befriend Patricus and the rest of his farm hold, relying on kind words and gifts rather than threats and swords. There may be a time when she pays the farm hold another visit. She also has a special reverence for the High Priestess of the Star's End Monastery. In her first battle in the monastery's employ Stonda realized her value as an augmenter of battle: healing the wounded, positioning her allies, and decreasing the defenses of her enemies. She also learned that members of her party cannot always be trusted, which only makes deeper the longing for her childhood companion and confidant from her days in her Lord Father's castle.