A cart being led by two horses would hardly draw much attention throughout the farmlands that extend beyond the great walls of Sloan. Even a cart with the shine and composure of Shallowmane, the great school of magic in the nation’s center, would look no different than any farm vehicle by the end of the two day journey through the terrain of the Outskirts. When such a cart arrived at its destination to Fairweather Fields, the only person not surprised by the passengers was Marcus Fairweather himself. Fairweather warmly greeted the handsomely dressed gentleman as he stepped out of the cart.
The cleric accompanying the man wore insignia on her shield and armor representing her worship of Chaos and the Sun—a dichotomy that puzzled Fairweather when he first noticed.
Fairweather quickly ushered the pair into his mild home and introduced Spud, Eoghan, and Grom; three of the many young people of half-decent he has taken into his care over the years. The cleric introduced herself as Georgette, but the gentleman skipped the pleasantries and drove straight to the matter that brought him here.
“Shaft I presume,” he stated, addressing the half-elf. Eoghan nodded in acknowledgement. “As I understand you are quite adept at tracking the ratfolk who sometimes dwell in the area.” The was greeted by another nod. “Recently there has been an influx in their activity in the urban areas of Sloan as well. There are many people who would like this problem to go away. There seems to be something nearby that has caught their attention and I would like very much if you would investigate the matter. Georgette here will accompany you should you need any healing. She’s not to bad with a mace either if I do say so myself.
“Spud, Grom, this could prove to be dangerous should Shaft encounter a lair of these ratlings. That is why I have asked you here today as well. i will also be sure you are compensated for your time, and for anything you may find that is of interest to the officials I represent.”
With that the party was formed to find and eliminate the ratfolk problem moving into the area. it was not difficult for Shaft to follow the trail the ratfolk left behind. He and the half-orc Grom were able to find a scouting party resting deep in the woods. The fight was quick. Before it ended, the large Oread Spud called on his years wrastling pigs to hogtie one of the furry little monsters. After gathering all of the intelligence the rat would offer, Grom dispatched the remaining enemy. The four adventurers continued on until they found the cave the ratfolk had made into a home.
Shortly upon entering the man-made cave, Georgette and Grom were able to identify the desecrated holy symbols as those of Heronious. The desecration was clearly the work of someone paying tribute to the deity’s half brother, Hextor. it wasn’t long before the party came across a small gathering of the ratfolk. This time the rats had time to react to the intruders in the lair; however, this mattered not. As the first rushed forward to assault Spud he deftly sliced him in half with his fauchard. The others suffered a similar fate as they charged the intruders.
When the party advanced to what must have once been a holy throne room, the ratfolk behind the doors had time to prepare. Fighting off the last of the ratfolk did not prove as easy as their other fights. Blood was shed on both sides of the melee; yet, the four again emerged victorious.
When the last of the ratfolk fell, Grom and Shaft searched what once must have been a throne room. A secret room was hidden behind the throne and had clearly become the lair of the chieftain who led this band of ratfolk. Another hidden door was found along the side wall of the stone room. This one appeared to have no traffic from the ratfolk. Whatever the last occupant of this room may have been was of a far more malevolent nature. Embedded deep in the rock floor of the hexagonal secret room was a shrine to Hextor, the god of tyranny. Despite the general tolerance of Hextorian worship in Sloan, someone, or something, went to great lengths to keep this place a secret. When putting their heads together, Grom, Shaft and Georgette came to the conclusion that an imp was using this place to shift between the planes.
Maybe the scroll found by Grom could provide insight into what the imp was doing. The scroll seemed to be magically protected and featured only a series of complex mathematical equations that were of no use to adventures.
That is not to say it was of no use at all. Back at Fairweather Fields, Fairweather and the man from the city waited for the party’s return. The man from the city inquired as to anything of interest that may have been found, but seemingly took Grom at his word that they left with only a few gold pieces and a potion or two.