In a prequel adventure, this story takes place in Tyr, not long after the overthrow of sorcerer-king Kalak but a number of months before the famed Shomway gladiator event. King Tithian is still wrestling with his new position and the other powerful groups of the region are trying to take advantage of the power vacuum.
An archer in the Skirmish Guard overhears some merchants in a bar discussing the trafficing of arcane reagents. A member of the Veiled Alliance, he decides to break into the Wavir merchant house where the logs of these sales are kept and discovers that the merchant Heron Wavir is highly involved in the trafficking. The archer passes on this information to his archery unit’s commander, Kanis – who is also secretly his superior in a Veiled Alliance cell. Kanis passes the information on to Cyrix Ulbane, a Templar and also an associate of Kanis’ from the rebellion. Both of them had assisted the Deposers of Kalak – rebels who had directly removed Kalak. The arcane reagents makes Cyrix suspicios that Heron has connections to The True, a secret group trying to preserve Kalak’s dictatorship.
Crashing the Party
Cyrix quickly makes arrangements to confront Heron at a meeting of merchants that he is hosting at his mansion in Tyr’s noble district. She contacts another associate, a tiefling merchant sorcerer named Elodie, to infiltrate the the meeting with her and Kanis. After entering the mansion and scoping out the festivities, Cyrix heads upstairs to change costume and pose as a guard. Heron makes his appearance and is overseen meeting with the merchant Devon, and they secretly exchange items upon parting.
After discussing strategy, Elodie is introduced to Heron and Kanis heads outside. Elodie discusses the sale of precious metals while Kanis scales the building to the second floor, where Cyrix is now acting as a guard outside the room. Kanis slips into an adjacent room after struggling with the locked window, while Elodie lures Heron upstairs. They successfully trap him in the room and confront him about being part of The True, upon which he transforms into a giant ugly brain-thing.
A battle ensues and the beast is defeated, turning back into the charred body of Heron. A shade then shoots out of his eyes in a black spray and Cyrix yells for everyone, including the crowd that has now amassed outside the room, to duck and cover their eyes. After many moments pass, Cyrix says it should be safe and everyone looks to find that a boy down the hallway, Jonathan Shom is now possessed, his eyes pitch black. Cyrix shoves her way through the crowd, and grabs the boy, pushing his mother aside, and they all escape to a safe house elsewhere in the city.
The boy now in their possession, Cyrix reveals that the shade is likely connected to Kalak in some way, and will be able to regain power inside the boy within a few days. Shades cannot be killed conventionally – killing the boy would just let the shade escape to the next nearby victim. The group decides that they must figure out a way to destroy the shade inside the boy, or at least transport it far away from the city, where there would be less potential hosts for it. Cyrix reveals that she had heard of another shade slain recently through the use of an inversion lens combined with powerful arcane magic, but the results of this tactic was unpredictable.
Not long ago, Elodie had appraised the item of a fellow merchant, Rokash Vordon. It was a pouch that contained a rare strange material – white sand – that Cyrix said has been used to banish magic. Kanis, secretly a member of the Veiled Alliance, heads back to examine the Wavir merchant logs to document the individuals involved in the sale of arcane reagents and to see if there are any more clues to help get rid of the shade.
Elodie discovers that Rokash has left town and is now a day’s journey away, at an encampment near the Vordon Iron Mines. The group heads out to find Rokash, the possessed boy in-tow, and meets him under a guise: Elodie introduces Cyrix as an interested buyer of the pouch. They discover that the pouch was found by a slave in the iron mines: an area well-guarded where only Vordon and their slaves may enter. After some negotiation, they arrange a deal: Rokash will help the group infiltrate the mines in exchange for a third of what they find and 1000 gold. For their cover, Cyrix will sell Elodie into slavery to join the miners (signing all documents as proof), while Cyrix and Kanis will be supplied with guard uniforms. They all make their way up to the mines – Elodie now sold into slavery, Cyrix and Kanis under the cover as new guards “reassigned from Altaruk” and the shade-boy nicely hidden, tucked inside Cyrix’s backpack.
Once inside the mines, they free the slave who originally found the pouch and head further into the dark tunnels to retrace his steps, hearing an explosion and voices further in the darkness. They notice some meaning eyes in the blackness but head onward. They eventually encounter a strange, rippling substance where a tunnel ventures upward. It is almost like as if a pond were flipped upside down, with light emminating from it. Others are hesitant but Elodie peaks her head up inside, finding a beautiful and lush version of the mountain range they are in. There is vegetation, a blue sky, and snow-capped peaks. Yet beyond a mile of her vision, this reality seems to fade away. Before Elodie has time to appreciate the view, she gets smacked with magic and falls back into the mine tunnel, hearing a voice say “leave this place!” on her way out of the portal. Cyrix reminds everyone of the fabled Eladrin race who were able to carve out pockets of the “old world” and preserve it in secret locations like this one.
They also find footprints near the portal and decide to follow them, leaving the Eladrin eden be. Heading down a different tunnel, back in the direction the mine’s entrance, they encounter a battle just before reaching the outside. At the entrance is Rokash and Vordon guards fighting their way in. On their way out are a number of human and dwarven thugs who seem to be under the command of the merchant Devon who is now wielding powerful arcane magic. The adventurers attack Devon’s crew from behind and Devon quickly turns her attention to them. Cyrix leads the charge and takes on many of the thugs while Kanis fires his arrows from the rear. A number of combatants near the entrance are set aflame from Elodie’s arcane magic and Kanis’ firestorm arrow. Though powerful, Devon is finally obliterated by a series of Elodie’s powerful blasts.
As the rest of Devon’s minions surrender, Elodie quickly searches the body of Devon to find a powerful glass sword in a sheath similar in material to the pouch holding the white sand. She hands it to Cyrix but Rokash and his remaining guards quickly interrupt with a ultimatum: hand over Elodie as Vordon’s legal slave or a single force of arcane magic would obliterate the glass sword. Cyrix is very conflicted but knows the sword is their only chance to destroy the shade. Eloide is handed over as a slave and Cyrix rushes over to the boy and slits his throat with the glass sword: the shade is destroyed. The Vordon leave with Eloide in their possession and Cyrix promises revenge!