The Church of Iomedae, intrigued by the possibility that some remnant of the paladins left behind in Tsar by the Army of Light might still survive thousands of years later, resigned itself to the fact that the previous adventurers they had sent had either died or otherwise succumbed to some great evil. The Church has sent a new party of more experienced heroes to investigate the ancient ruin of Orcus.
Their diviner, Dio, begins their story. (-GM)
4th day of Sarenith, 4717 AR
The first thing one might notice about The Camp was the smell. Not the pure, putrid odor of rot, but a more subtle, complex, dry smell that leaves you wondering. A smell that makes you nervous, a smell that makes you look over your shoulder or lock your door. The next thing one may notice is the inhabitants of this “town.” They peer through rotten curtains and cracks and doors. Their greedy, shining eyes peer out at you with a wicked desire, instilling a sense of wrongness, a sense that all is not as it seems in this pathetic excuse for a town. Finally, the last thing one may notice is the Usurer himself. His rat-like eyes glint out at you with a sheen of avarice. His thoughts are occupied with any situation that could result in the smallest bit of profit for himself. He concerns himself with nothing else, for in his mind there is nothing more important in life. Overall, one may conclude that The Camp is a sad, disgusting mockery of modern civilization. No one in their right mind would want to go within 50 miles of the place; it is simply that repulsive.
However, our group cannot be rightly called within their right mind. Our company is composed of a Paladin, Alucard, a wizard, Dio, a gunslinger, Neptune, and an Armored behemoth of a man, Nonek. We have come together united by our mutual goal of reaching the city of Tsar. We arrived together at the camp at mid-day, and were greeted by the Usurer. He peered at us through shrunken eyes. “Good day sirs, Welcome to my fine city. If you would like to purchase anything, you must exchange your gold for bits. The current rate of exchange is, lets say, five gold per bit.” He smiled as he crowed this to us, eyes alight with dreams of wealth.
“Sorry to disappoint, scum, but we do not deal with weasels. Good riddance.” I proclaimed. He sneered at us and scurried away, knowing that he would not win this battle nor convince us otherwise.
We headed to the outskirts of town, content to waste the day and head to Tsar tomorrow. However, that night we heard an ominous noise which awoke the more perceptive members of the party. An odd creaking came from out of the gloom. “Who’s there?” The noble paladin bellowed, but to no response. Louder and louder the noise grew, until we could finally see a hunched figure in the distance. Pushing a cart and bundled in rags, the creature moved closer. Searching my mind, I remembered tales of strange figures coming out of the night and offering knowledge at a price. “Buy? Buy?” The mass of rags spoke, shuddering slowly and holding out a quivering hand. Upon his hand was a set of false teeth. We paid the man 50 gold for the object, and he spoke unto us this, “Sleep not in the city or to darkness awake. Not light to the eye but to the soul at stake.”
The next morning we headed out from The Camp and ventured towards the city. We knew of a large dragon that was said to vomit upon travelers before swallowing them whole. However, we believed that the vile beast would pose little threat to a group as adept as ourselves. Overall, when we did face the beast, the fight was anticlimactic. It flew away constantly, and just spat over and over. It died how it lived: Pathetic and alone.
Finally we arrived. The colossal structure loomed over us, intense and ancient. What lay within was unknown to all. The giant doors to the city seemed to lean over us, awing the party with their massive size. We entered through those doors, but not before some scouting was done. We discovered that there were groups of undead on the ramparts above and to our sides, and we decided that they needed to be dealt with. The bird took us up, and the battle began.
– Dio (Zack)
Alucard, ifrit paladin 11
Dio, elven diviner 11
Neptune, undine techslinger 11
Nonek, human armor-master fighter 11