With Jessika, werewolves, knights, and bandits all still heavy on their minds, the heroes were now presented with another problem. There seemed to be some kind of unnatural plague overtaking the town of Standing Stone. It seemed strange even to me that nightmares had become contagious. Foul play was afoot, and likely something deeply entwined with dark magic. The party decided to ask Huergar Medinsk what he knew of the dream disease, being the medical expert of the town. Huergar seemed amazed that the heroes were not affected, as it seemed to have spread to everyone else in town. He told them that the disease seemed to have originated from the Cartographer, Dairun Keldson, after he returned from some ruins in the High Forest with the mysterious sword that had the word Xammux written on it in ancient runes. He said that Dairun had been wandering off at night, sleep walking, and had returned with Redthorne Brambles on him. This narrowed their search down to a very specific part of High Forest. They decided to ask the Immor if they had more information about ruins in the area.
They consulted an Immor elder, though she seemed at first unwilling to give up much information other than directions to the location of the ruin. After some prodding and clever words from Reynardine the elder told them that the area is cursed and evil. The Immor avoid it, it is unnatural and turns the ground and the plants around it black with plague. Undaunted by there warnings, the group of young adventurers prepared to travel to the Blackwood to try to find out how to lift the mysterious curse of Xammux that had befallen the town.
The traveling was hard. Rain poured down upon them, and rivers flooded washing away some of their gear. It was as if the sky itself was trying to drown them. The finally made it to the Blackwood and saw first hand the corruption that had earned the area its name. Everything seemed unnatural, even the stone that made up the ruins was not anything from the nearby mountains and the foliage growing upon them was not native to the area. And there was a strange screeching clacking sound coming from the nearby woods. Something seemed to be talking, arguing even, but the adventurers pressed on unaware of the dangers around the corner. They found a raised platform with a large basin of water and town small indentation on runed stone pavers in front of it. But the goblins found them.
Jumping out of the treeline, the goblins attacked. They found Vic by himself and he took several arrows, almost falling before Valentine charged across the battlefield to his aid, shouting a barbarian warcry. Mo and Harry met the goblin flank and began making quick work of goblin warriors with the deadly combination of axe and fist. Rey stood atop the platform raining down arcane magic to support his friends until he was met with the arrows of the deadly precise goblin archers. The heroes grouped back together and with some struggle finished off the goblin archers. On the body of the leader of the crazed berzerking goblins they found an amulet. On it was inscribed "Xam." Searching the nearby area, the party found the bodies of the goblin's prey, and in it a magic shield and an amulet that read "Mux." Mogrein placed the amulets in the slots next to the basin and heard the rumbling of some giant mechanism. The basin gave way to a staircase descending into the depths below.
Before the party could react, water began to swell up from the staircase with a life of its own. Water elementals swarmed around the stout human, and began to try and overwhelm him and drown him. Mo managed to withstand their assault due to his superhuman fortitude, and his allies rushed to his aid. With barbarian war cries, shadowy magics, deadly backstabs, and forceful fists, the party began to make quick work of the elementals. As the living waves struck back, they overwhelmed Rey and Vic, forcing them to the ground in an attempt to drown them. But their allies were able to defeat the elementals and save them.
The group decided to camp for the night outside of the temple. A foreboding storm raged throughout the night as the party got a fitful sleep, worried about what might face them in the morning to come.
Sir Fayn Fatesinger of the Knights Hospitaler
Servant of the Lady of the Tower