The troubling string of kidnappings in Korthos Village took an unexpected turn this week when novice adventurer Byron Scoutsword decided to take matters into his own hands and investigate with a mind to get to the bottom of it. A mind made of livewood, that is.
Scoutsword is one of the warforged – fully self-aware living constructs. Identifying himself as male, Scoutsword refers to his adventuring profession as “barbarian” and by his own admission planned to strong-arm a solution to the kidnapping epidemic.
“There ain’t many problems in this world that can’t be solved by a two-handed greatsword,” Scoutsword said before adding “RAWR!”
Rage loudly and carry a big stick – barbarian motto.
Following a possible lead offered by local resident Kaja Bauerdatter, whose father operates the village’s inn, Scoutsword’s quest began at the Heyton’s Family Crypt. The mouldy structure houses generations of the village’s premier Heyton family, long held in esteem for defending against invaders and bandits.
“I swear to Siberys, there’s unholy wailing comin’ from Heyton’s Family Crypt,” Bauerdatter said. “No one wants to check it out, for fear of the sahuagin and their croonies. But what could they want with Heyton’s crypt?”
Heyton’s Family Crypt, Korthos Village
The crypt is maintained by Jacoby Drexelhand, a gloomy fellow whose scarred face suggests a life of hardship on the formerly tropical island. Standing guard inside the stone chamber, Drexelhand recently closed and locked the gate that leads from the entrance further inside. According to him, this was for the protection of the villagers. Many on the island fear that some hidden menace will emerge from the deeper chambers. The gate is meant to keep the threat contained.
“The only safe people in Korthos are those who have joined the Cult of the Devourer,” Drexelhand said. “In a month, there will be nothing left but cultists in Korthos.”
Jacoby Drexelhand, crypt keeper
Ignoring his warnings, Scoutsword demanded entrance to the lower crypts. Drexelhand was all too willing to comply. Whether or not he was simply intimidated by the imposing warforged and his large lightning-sheathed blade is unknown. He did seem hasty to grant access to the adventurer despite the great possibility of danger.
Not far into the crypt, Scoutsword’s suspicions were confirmed. Two cultists were in the process of defiling a sarcophagus. Under the direction of a red-robed cult leader, a subordinate carefully removed the desiccated corpse within. Without giving them a chance to explain, Scoutsword bellowed out a warcry and leapt down a short flight of stairs to attack them. Within seconds, both cultists lay dead, and Scoutsword rummaged through their robes for loose change.
“Cursor was red,” Scoutsword said. No further explanation was given.
Scattered throughout the crypt were the burial chambers of Heyton ancestors, three in total. Within each, a sahuagin necromancer guarded by animated skeletons performed rituals that made zombies of the village’s revered figureheads. In similar fashion, Scoutsword rushed to engage each one in turn. Unfortunately, he only able to stop one of the three necromancers from raising the corpses as undead abominations. Amazingly, one of the reanimated monsters croaked out a few words before the unholy energies left his frame.
“The cult took me, made me one of them,” the shell-of-a-man formerly known as Kragwulf Heyton said. “Now you’ve killed me and freed me.”
In each of the three ritual chambers, the sahuagin had constructed a crude altar to their dark deity upon which to perform the ceremony. Scoutsword smashed each one to pieces. In the rubble of each were found strange crests emblazoned with images of bats, snakes, and octopi.
Down a side corridor, Scoutsword discovered the remains of a cultist that appear to have been badly burned with acid. The body, crumpled and laying half submerged before a small dais upon which a chest was placed, made Scoutsword suspicious. Exercising caution, he approached the chest slowly. His suspicion proved warranted when a hidden mechanism in the wall released a spray of deadly acid – a trap. Fortunately, the chest was unlocked and there was a small amount of treasure inside. Such is the life of an adventurer.
With three crests in hand, Scoutsword returned to a hallway passed earlier that was blocked by a magical barrier. On the wall next to the arcane shield were three sockets. It did not take a wizard to deduce the purpose of the crests. Even Scoutsword quickly realized the correlation between the two and placed each one in the corresponding socket. Immediately upon placing the final crest, the magical barrier dissipated.
True to form, Scoutsword rushed ahead full of rage. Inside the final chamber, another sahuagin necromancer attempted to raise a deceased Heyton family member, this time aided by both human cultists, as well as several skeletons and zombies. All quickly fell to the barbarian’s battle lust.
Satisfied that whatever threat was posed within this crypt had ended, Scoutsword made his way back to the surface, leaving this reporter to inform Bauerdatter of the goings-on. Quite relieved, Bauerdatter offered a minor magical trinket as a reward for the assistance, refusing to take no for an answer.