'The Scourge of the Underdark' Campaign

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 Episode 13: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 1993-12-12 
The Marriage of Tempus & Tamarina... (Member Submission!) 
The day had finally come for Tempus, Son of Aggravelenon. The mighty priest had faced orc warlords, vampire-necromancers, fiends, the Lords of Doom, and even the Black One of the Vale, but none of these threats, yea, even all of them put together, inspired as much fear as the ordeal he was going to go through today.

Today, he was getting married.

Had it been but a simple ceremony, he could have faced it easily. The ceremony was far from being simple, however. King Archbold had declared the day a national holiday, so that anyone who was invited could attend. Special dispensation had been given to Tanamier to return from the Almorian front to attend the wedding of his priest-brother, and as many members of the original Scourge of the Underdark were also invited to attend. Some could not, however, and it was of these that Tempus thought of now.

Dhel, Prannik, Gorath, Caelynn, Tarax, Cyndr, Elric, Sylhm, Erronion... how many people had entered his life only to have violence claim them soon afterwards? He had to admit to himself that irrevocable death had come close many times to claiming him as well. How could he, in all honesty, make a vow of lifelong commitment when that life might be cut short by a marauding fiend the very next day? His life would constantly be in danger; the power of Agravelenon's Son must not be held in check, and his role as foremost priest of the warrior-god was far too important to give up. Yet, his love for Tamarina was also strong, surviving several lifetimes until the destruction of Strahd von Zarovich revealed their true identities to each other, a fact Tempus was still uncomfortable with.

There was also his unborn child to think of. Inkaneesta had been very forceful on that point, and he could not really disagree. Not that he wanted to. The image of a proud, strapping lad fighting alongside him against the undead forces of Duke Szeffrin was not unpleasant. What was unpleasant, however, was the idea that one of the Duke's demons would be responsible for the death of that son. Surely his lifestyle would contribute to his son or daughter desiring all the perils and dangers that come with the life of an adventurer.

In other words, Tempus was afraid his life would change.

He just didn't know if it was for the better or worse.

The Gifted One wandered the halls of his magically constructed fortress, reflecting as he always did that if he had had to design and construct it himself, it would never have been erected. Fortunately, the Deck of Many Things had taken care of that. A new thought came to him now: I can't even get a temple to my god raised because I spend my time 'adventuring'; how am I going to raise a son?

It was still a few hours before dawn when Tempus wandered into the kitchen for some warm ale. He continued to ponder his situation as the tepid liquid went down his throat. A conversation he had with Ambrose Gregor of Geoff came to mind. The paladin had spoken with him about his own family situation, having to leave behind his family to fight for their safety and freedom, with his wife and children uncertain of his fate. Hadn't it been difficult to concentrate on the task at hand with the welfare of his family constantly on his mind? No, Ambrose had replied. Knowing I was fighting for my family made me fight all the harder. Just don't tell His Grace Owen...

It made a weird sort of sense, Tempus had to admit.

Maybe it's just the suit I have to wear that I'm reacting to, thought the hero.

Yeah.

He turned to leave the kitchens when a voice called to him from the shadows. It was familiar in many ways, yet he could not place it. Was it someone he had met many years ago, or just months? He couldn't be sure...

"Hello, my brother," whispered the voice, with just a hint of menace.

Tempus was confused. "Tanamier?" he responded. The warrior-mage general was the only one who referred to him that way, and yet this voice didn't sound like Tanamier's...

"No. Not Tanamier. Someone much closer to you than a mere theological connection. Do you not recognize me? Of course not. Why should you? When you stole the only thing that mattered to me and flaunted it in my face, you didn't recognize what you were doing to me then, so why should you now?"

"I'm sorry, but I'm not following you. I don't know what you're talking about. Who are you?"

A pair of red eyes glowed in response. "I am your brother, Sergei." The figure emerged from the shadows and revealed it self to be Strahd, the vampire lord defeated by the Scourge all those months ago. "Come, let us lock in brotherly embrace!" shouted the creature as it leapt at Tempus.

The warrior-priest dodged beneath one of the heavy oaken tables and rolled to the other side, coming up with a butcher's knife in his hand for defense. Strahd laughed mockingly and leapt at Tempus again. The priest swung the knife truly, but it merely passed through the dread vampire while the evil creature's fist slammed into the side of his head, sending him sprawling across the floor.

Tempus was stunned from the blow, but was also weakened by the incredible link the vampire had with the Negative Material Plane. The resultant energy loss had left him almost five years older than he had been. Summoning his courage, he called upon his deity to grant him the power to destroy the night creature, and turned to face it, arms outstretched, ready to release the power as he had done so many times in the past.

Nothing.

Strahd chuckled in a low voice. "No one is going to help you this time, Sergei. Your accursed blade is nowhere to be found, and your god has abandoned you! The Powers That Be rarely look well upon infanticide!"

"NO!" cried Tempus. "I did what I had to do! They were about to free a terribly evil artifact! They had to be stopped at any cost!"

Strahd paused. "Any cost? The life of an innocent child? What a father you will make!" With that, the vampire threw a cutting knife where it hit Tempus in the shoulder, causing blood to gush from the wound.

I should have been able to dodge that! He's right! I killed a child! A little girl! How could I do that!?

"Because you are selfish, Sergei. You always have been. How did you amass so much power so quickly? Have you never wondered? Because you do it at the expense of others, Sergei. Who knows how many of your adventuring companions would be alive today had you thought better of your actions? If you had been more generous with dweomered items? If you had bothered to put others before yourself? You couldn't even save Tatyanna. You were too busy in revelry with others to be with her. You bring destruction and death through your actions wherever you go, and now Death has demanded your soul as payment!"

The vampire leapt at Tempus again, and this time he could not dodge. The vampire-lord gripped him by the throat with both hands, sucking his life-energy out with his very touch. Tempus tugged at the creature's hands, but could not break its grip.

"How could you proceed with this, thinking it was fair? That you were perhaps owed this? I was the one who had the responsibilities! I was the one who sacrificed! I was the one who did everything! You! You were a pretty boy who had everything handed to him on a silver platter and a golden spoon in your mouth!" the vampire raged. "How can you claim you love her? You have no ability to appreciate what that means!"

"That's not true!" screamed Tempus. "I've seen death! I've seen tragedy! Sadness! I know exactly what I have, and I won't let you take it away from me!" He broke free from Strahd's grip and backed away to the wall, but felt several cold hands hold him fast with unnatural strength.

Strahd composed himself. "Yes, you have seen sadness and death," he said with unnatural calm.

"One should always bear witness to the fruits of one's acts of destruction. Allow me to introduce you to the people who hold you as we speak. The one to your right is Thaddeus Fronticliff, and to your left is his wife, Marta. The small child is his eldest son, Luke, while the hardly formed child gripping your ankle is their unborn child that Marta was pregnant with at the time of their demise."

Tempus struggled uselessly against the hold of the zombies. "I don't understand! I killed no such people!"

Strahd smiled, fully revealing his fangs. "Ahhh, but you did. Through your actions they, and scores like them, were summarily executed and raised in their current forms. Or had you forgotten the slave farm that was killed in retaliation for what you had done? They had plans in life, Sergei, not unlike those you naively dream of regarding yourself, Tatyanna, and the bastard child she carries. They had their plans cut short; what makes you deserving of yours?"

Tears formed in Tempus' eyes. "We had no idea that would happen. We were trying to free a country; how could we predict that?"

"I didn't know? That is the summation of your defense? Ahhhh, Sergei, I truly expected better. And Tatyanna certainly deserves better than the dullard you've become. I am truly the better man now. If the playing field were equal, I'm certain she would choose me."

Terror surged within Tempus' heart. "What do you mean 'equal playing field?'"

"I think you know, Sergei. Fear not, in respect for the brotherly love we shared all those lifetimes ago, I shall be gentle."

Tempus screamed, for he knew what was coming, but the zombies still held him fast. Strahd bent over his shoulder wound and pressed his mouth against it. Tempus wailed in rage and frustration, but could do nothing as Strahd drank deeply of his blood. Memories flooded his brain, of striking the killing blow against the shadow dragon, the battle against the Grand Savant of the Aboleth, and blasting Strahd with his Sunblade. Finally, the memory of Tamarina, recognizing her at last for who she was, the lost love of his life that he had been chasing through countless incarnations, and the love that resulted in his unborn child, mere days away from entering the world he had fought so hard to right.

"NO!" he screamed. "I've beaten you once, and by the gods, I'll do it again!" He threw the zombies aside effortlessly and punched Strahd across the face, surprising the vampire.

"You arrogant, strutting fool! Did you really think I would let you enjoy this day? She's mine! I cannot die until she dies with me! There is nothing you can do about that!" Strahd paused. "And soon you will be in no position to resist me. The change is already occurring within you; I will squash your will completely when you are my vampiric minion."

"No, you won't Strahd," responded Tempus. "You really don't know what you're dealing with here. I am no longer your weaker, younger brother, as in previous lifetimes. I am Tempus, Son of Aggravelenon the Aggressor, and the most powerful Gifted One of the world! My god has not abandoned me! He stands by me through my failures because his Chosen One has always sought to redeem himself, and there is no better redemption than annihilating evil!"

Tempus gave a mighty yell as he extended his right hand and called down the power of his god. A magnificent bolt of flame roared down and completely incinerated the vampire, leaving nothing but ashes in a small pile.

"My Lord Tempus, what is it?! Are you under attack?" asked J'afrock as he burst into Tempus' bedchamber, battle axe in hand.

Tempus looked around him. He lay in his bed, sheets tussled and twisted, soaked with his sweat. A dream, he thought. It made sense. He had been apprehensive about the nightmares Tamarina had been receiving, so it was only logical that Strahd, the one he supposed was sending those nightmares, appeared in his dream. And of course, there were other reasons.

"I'm all right, my friend and loyal servant," said Tempus. "I was merely having one last battle before embarking upon the greatest decision of my life."

J'afrock cocked an eyebrow. "With whom were you battling?"

"Myself. It seems I had unresolved issues with my past that needed dealing with."

"And have you dealt with them?"

"I believe so."

J'afrock took on a serious look. "That is good. One cannot escape one's past. Indeed, that is rarely the wise thing to do, since it would prevent one from learning from one's experiences. But it is good that you do not let the past hold sway over you."

Tempus smiled. His half-orc companion always managed to surprise him. While many who had adventured with J'afrock respected his great strength and battle prowess, it was a very few that managed to benefit from his unique wisdom. Tempus felt privileged to be amongst that select few. Of course, this was one area where J'afrock was something of an expert, since his own past included being genetically engineered by the Scarlet Brotherhood as well as being right-hand man for the despot of the Pomarj, Turrosh Mak. "Will you be returning to sleep then?" asked J'afrock.

"No, I don't think so. The wedding is only eight hours away, and I still have to properly attire myself," said Tempus, gazing apprehensively at his wedding costume laid over his dresser. J'afrock looked in the same direction with the same expression. "Eight hours? We may not have enough time..."

Tempus smiled for the first time that day...

Tempus was not smiling as he waited by the altar.

Tanamier stood next to him, looking equally uncomfortable. The half-elf had shaved for the occasion (probably at the insistence of Inkaneesta, thought Tempus), and seemed to also be having trouble with his wedding outfit.

"That's what we get for spending our time running around in plate armor," whispered Tempus. "We can't even dress like normal, civilized people without difficulty."

Tanamier was about to respond, but a quick glare from Inkaneesta silenced him faster than any spell. He therefore merely nodded his head in agreement.

Tempus smirked and looked around the church. King Archbold had certainly not wasted any money setting up the celebration. It used to be a temple to Heironeous, but was now decorated with symbols of Agravelenon, Parthen, and Hierophylia. There was a mass of people gathered, many of whom Tempus didn't really know, at least by name. After all the invitations had been returned, Archbold had let it be known that any leftover space would be open to the public. Tempus had saved many lives, and so many were anxious to see their hero get married.

And they're all looking at me, thought the priest as he waited for his bride-to-be to walk through the golden doors. I bet they're saying that I look much shorter up close, or that my muscles don't quite bulge like the bards sing, and 'Where's that electrical energy that's supposed to be crackling all about him?' Sorry to disappoint you all, but underneath all the legends and lore, I'm really just an ordinary man who finds himself in extraordinary situations. This train of thought led him back to a conversation he had with his elven vassal, Tiemel, only a few hours ago...

He had gone to visit Tiemel in his chambers in order to finalize certain aspects of the wedding reception that the elven warrrior had declared himself the chief of. Tiemel had gotten a bit of a fan following himself; normally beautiful by elven standards, the Deck of Many Things had greatly increased his natural charisma and he had begun giving swordsmanship lessons in Rel Mord. More than one comely female had stopped by to gaze appreciatively at the shirtless swashbuckler as he fought and defeated a dozen warriors in mock duel under a hot sun. While Tiemel claimed it was all beneath his notice, Tempus was sure there would be more than one elven tune to which his vassal could show off to tonight.

"Ah! My lord, so good of you to come. I was just opening a package sent to me by that dear, adorable undergnome holy woman you introduced me to," said Tiemel as Tempus walked through his door.

Tempus nodded and looked around cautiously.

The elf smiled. "Don't worry, I'm quite alone this morning. Really, the way you all exaggerate so much..."

"Well, there was that time when I went to fetch you at your fencing arena and you were..."

"I was doing my exercises, as I had specifically told you. Now, if we're quite done with that, let's see what Her Holy Priestess sent me."

Tiemel opened the elaborately wrapped package to behold a beautifully crafted set of armour. Supple, light, and obviously made to fit the form of himself, Tiemel held the suit up against him. It was a blend of subtle, yet powerful colors, like a sky at sunset.

"Isn't it excellent, my lord? What a superb job she's done! I couldn't have asked for better!"

Tempus examined the armour. "Is this the hide of that cloud dragon you defeated?"

"The very same."

Tempus smiled at his friend. "You know, you're really the only one I know who could engage a cloud dragon in its own element and win. At least, you're the only one I know who's crazy enough."

Tiemel winked mischievously at his lord. "When you find yourself in a crazy situation, sometimes crazy is the only appropriate response on one's part."

"What do you mean?"

Tiemel sat on the edge of his bed and looked directly at Tempus, completely serious now. "What I mean is, we make it a point to place ourselves in situations that are, quite frankly, insane. Is it sane to willingly enter an undead-filled cavern system so that we can purposely engage a bunch of wizards who can literally turn off our souls of with a mere gesture? To engage a demonic being from Gehenna who can sever limbs with single swipes of its blade? Of course not! And yet, no one has to convince us to do these things; we volunteer! This is the very essence of defying reason. And yet we do it. Because we have to. We are mortals who seek out unjust extraordinary situations and then do what we have to do."

Tempus smiled. "Which is go insane."

"Precisely."

"I see. Well, it's not exactly like receiving guidance from the Holy Canon in Veluna, but your words have helped a little bit, and for that I thank you. Will you be wearing your armour this evening?"

"It is attractive enough, isn't it?"

"Yes. In fact, I was thinking that we could all do the same, since I believe we should be at our most comfortable."

Tiemel silenced him with a glare. "You are joking, aren't you? Your wisdom may be above reproach in theological and warfare matters, my lord, but you are quite the dullard when it comes to wedding etiquette, if I may say so."

So I'm discovering, thought Tempus as he left the room.

Obviously, I should have spoken to Tanamier instead of Tiemel, thought Tempus as he again watched Tanamier struggling with his collar.

"How am I supposed to say anything when I can hardly breathe!" whispered Tanamier in a harsh voice to his priest-brother.

"Don't look at me, I didn't choose these outfits," replied the groom-to-be. "I'm not exactly breathing easy myself, you know."

"What I know is that the last time I felt this way, we had engaged the Necromancers of Skahlehn in their Greyhawk stronghold and that bastard Andrade Mirrius had us all suffocating in exactly this fashion!"

"Tanamier..."

"In fact, I think the material component was this exact brand of collar..." "Are you allowed to say 'bastard' in a temple?" whispered Tempus, trying to calm his friend.

Tanamier shrugged. "I'm the highest ranking priest of Parthen in the Flanaess, to my knowledge. Who's going to discipline me?"

"Me, for one," said Inkaneesta in a tight voice through smiling teeth. "The two of you are causing a spectacle. If you can keep your composure in the Cursed Caverns of Sorrow, you can do it through a wedding ceremony."

I don't know, thought Tempus. Right now, destroying undead sounds a lot easier than getting through this thing. Tempus looked at Inkaneesta and Tanamier, who were trying to avoid eye contact. Still, it's got to be harder for them. He thought back to a scene he had witnessed mere hours ago...

While he had been waiting to greet him when he arrived from the Almorian front, Tempus hadn't really gotten a chance to speak with Tanamier at length. He desperately needed to do so now, before events left them too busy. However, as he approached Tanamier's quarters, he heard another voice from within. Feeling sheepish, he stayed outside and listened.

"It remains very difficult," said a bone-weary Tanamier as he unpacked his belongings. "Duke Szeffrin organizes a few raids to test us, but it's so hard to anticipate, since the raiding groups invariably contain demons who can teleport far behind our lines and disrupt things. I really think the only thing keeping Szeffrin from sweeping into Nyrond is our lack of resources. We're just not worth it."

"They call him the 'Iron Duke'. They say his skin is as difficult to penetrate as a golem's of the same name. Is it true?" spoke Inkaneesta. Tanamier shrugged. "Who can say? None have engaged him to test the theory, though I would dearly love to take a crack at it."

Inkaneesta went pale. "You would? They also say that, in addition to being the finest military mind ever produced by the Great Kingdom, he has killed over a thousand men in personal combat. Would you still rush forward to meet him?"

Tanamier had not yet looked up. "Yes, I would."

"I suppose that would keep you from your other responsibilities. How comforting to know that engaging the animus-duke is preferable to dealing with me."

"Now what is that supposed to mean?" said Tanamier, finally making eye contact.

"It means that you have been avoiding me for close to a year now. That ever since you brought me back from the icy lands I used to call home, you've taught me how to consciously control my gifts and that's it."

"That's not true at all! We've seen each other on many occasions, and I'm not avoiding you."

"I hardly call bringing in fallen comrades to have their life-force restored 'seeing each other!' I've been very useful to the lot of you, haven't I? Any time there's a serious injury, bring them to Inkaneesta! Well, there's a person beneath the magic, which I believe you all have forgotten!"

Tanamier cast his eyes downward. "I haven't forgotten," he whispered.

"Oh, no? When His Majesty asked you to go to the Almorian Front to take charge of his forces there, you didn't even consult me! You just packed as quickly as you could and off you went! I suppose I should feel lucky that you bothered to say goodbye to me. Did you think I'd have no opinion on the matter? Or is it that my opinion doesn't matter? I've seen how you all look at Tempus with pity in your eyes. 'We won't be able to count on him anymore,' you say, and you lament him being 'tied down' to Tamarina. Well, let me tell you something: Tempus is about to become the richest man of all of you, and I can guarantee you his fighting spirit will be even more powerful, not less so."

Tanamier was still looking down. "That's not true. I'm very aware of how lucky he is."

Inkaneesta's face softened, along with her voice. "You could be that lucky too, you know. I love you. I've loved you from the moment I touched your soul to bring you back to me after the battle with the ice dragon. Every time you're off to a new battle, I'm afraid something will happen to you and send you to a place that I won't be able to bring you back from."

Inkaneesta fought back her tears; her barbarian heritage still made her reluctant to show her emotions, no matter how powerful. "It's just that it's so difficult. Heirophylia represents love and marriage, and I'm her foremost priestess: single and in love with someone who doesn't return it."

Tanamier made a noise like a groan. When he looked up, his eyes were misted over. "No. You can't possibly think that. Cast a spell. Look into my heart. Surely your goddess allows you to do so. See for yourself my true feelings for you."

"Then why? Why the distance?"

Tanamier got up and walked over to Inkaneesta. He took her hand and knelt down before her. "I know it can be difficult. I know how hard it is to do things that go against the grain of your Power. Your not being married..."

"To you."

Tanamier smiled. "`To me' cannot be easy. But Parthen is the Knight Protector, and I am his foremost priest on Oerth. It's my sworn duty to fulfill that role, and anything that causes me to waver from that has to be... well..."

Inkaneesta looked away. "Avoided?"

"Taken into careful consideration, at any rate. You know how our clerical powers work. A waver in faith by not doing the actions prescribed by our god can mean a lack of ability. The more faith we have, the better our spellcasting ability. That's why you've been able to become so powerful so quickly; once you found out just who this mysterious Power was that was behind your gifts, your faith was like a meteor. The same applies to me. If I waver, though, it could mean hundreds of deaths. That's why I went without hesitation to the Almorian front: where else would Parthen's Knight Protector go?" He hesitated. "Still, that's not even the real reason."

"Really, what is?" replied Inkaneesta, her voice quivering with choked back tears.

Tanamier gripped her lightly by the shoulders and turned her gently around to face him. He looked her full in her emerald eyes with his own blue orbs and brushed away a rogue tear that had begun streaming down her face. "You've had the dream, haven't you? Don't answer, I know you have. You know how painful it was for Parthen to abandon Hierophylia that day, don't you? I carry my god's pain in my heart, and it becomes an open wound every time I see you. I know it's the same for you. I know it. It's like there's this impenetrable cloud of melancholy and sadness that surrounds us and corrupts every interaction we have. But, as bad as that is, how incredibly painful, it would be so much the worse if I, Tanamier, would have to do that to you. I couldn't live. I would sooner face Szeffrin's endless hordes then inflict that kind of pain upon you Inkaneesta."

Inkaneesta managed a small smile. "You may just get your wish," she said, crying openly now.

Tanamier grinned in return. "The dream is clearly a warning. We have to learn from the mistake our gods made. There has to be a time when our faiths are not at odds with each other; at any other time we risk our marriage becoming a failure. I couldn't bear it, not when I love you so much. I could fail at anything else, but to fail that..."

"I understand. I really think I do. And maybe that's why, in spite of my unmarriedness, Hierophylia has still seen fit to grant my prayers. Moreover, maybe it means there may yet be a time for us."

"I know it. I know it. And when it comes, not even Szeffrin's endless hordes will keep me from your side."

Tempus left before he intruded upon the inevitable embrace.

Isn't that even more reason to not get married? thought Tempus. After all, if Parthen's faith requires action on the part of his priests, Aggravelenon's certainly does that and then some. And at least Inkaneesta is a priestess in her own right; Tamarina is... ordinary. Well, no. Far from ordinary, but not gifted with power like we are. Is what I'm doing fair to her? Will she be married only to be made a widow? Maybe it's not too late. Maybe I can get out of here right now. He turned and saw Riyan looking straight at him. The half-elven ranger seemed to be reading his mind and his face read 'Be strong!'. He remembered his companion's words from before...

Tempus had been circulating the grounds outside when he came upon Tiemel arbitrating an archery contest between Larian Erroshel and his ranger brother, Riyan.

"Well struck, Larian!" said Tiemel as the priest of Correlon Larethian struck his sixth consecutive bullseye. "My dear Riyan, I think you're going to have a hard time keeping up. After all, Holy Larian's god is the maker of the bow, and we both know you can't beat the gods," said Tiemel as he winked at Tempus.

Tempus smiled. He took a great bow from the rack and fit an arrow to the string. After a brief moment of concentration, he let the arrow fly. It sped towards the target and promptly split Larian's arrow right down the middle.

"You're right," he said, smiling and winking at Larian. "You can't."

Riyan shook the warrior-priest's hand. "Well shot, Tempus. Every time I think I've got you figured out, you surprise me. Is there anything you can't do?"

Tempus laughed. "Go through with this afternoon, maybe!" After the laughter had quieted down, he continued, "But seriously, I'm beginning to wonder if I even have a right to do this. I can't give up being who I am: a priest of a warrior-god. Wherever there's conflict, I have to be there. Doesn't sound like I'll be giving Tamarina much of a home life, does it?"

"On the other hand, that will cause conflict, and then your god will order you home!" said Tiemel, to the laughter of his three companions. "The alternative is," he continued, "to retire and live out the rest of your days at home."

Tempus was stunned. "I... I hadn't thought of that."

"And you shouldn't," said Riyan forcefully. "Larian, why don't you continue this contest with Tiemel while Tempus and I have a little chat."

Larian looked serious, knowing exactly what his brother was going to do. "Certainly. Tiemel, prepare for a trouncing."

Riyan nodded and walked off to the gardens with Tempus.

"Before I joined your struggle against the Lords of Doom, I was part of the scouting contingent for Duke Owen's Free Geoffite Army," began Riyan. "I was also very much in love with a girl named Zina. She was a simple farming girl, brought up with strong family values and a heart of gold. We were planning on getting married as you are now, and we faced the same issues. I decided that I had to choose between being in the military and being a husband; I saw the two as being in conflict somehow. When the Lords of Doom began their offensive, my scouting team didn't give us the advance warning we needed and this allowed the bugbear shock troops to get within our defenses where they inflicted mass casualties... my fiance was one of them."

"But, surely you don't blame yourself. After all, you're only one man; who's to say you would have made a difference..."

Riyan nodded, staring off in the distance. "On the other hand, who's to say I wouldn't have? The point is, I refused to be true to myself, and tragedy followed. This isn't to say that the same will happen to you, but Tamarina loves you for who you are, so why become someone else?"

"You don't think I could last as a homebody?"

Riyan grinned. "No offense, Tempus, but I think you'd go stir crazy doing anything other than what you do. Tamarina would probably hurry you off to battle herself before long. Besides, when you hit sixty human years you won't be able to trounce around in plate armour any more, so you'd better get your fun now."

"I suppose you have a point," said Tempus with a smile.

Be true to myself.

Sounds easy enough.

So... what's the truth?

Is the truth that I shoulder some of the greatest responsibility for restoring Good to the Flanaess and that nothing stands in my way, or is the truth that I have loved this woman since gods-know-when and that nothing stands in the way of that? How can I know? How can...

The doors opened.

And Tempus knew.

He knew this more certainly and clearly than anything else in the universe. All doubts and uncertainties fled him at the very instant that the doors at the end of the aisle opened and he saw his bride-to-be.

Only one thought remained:

This is the most beautiful woman in the world coming to me to become my wife.

Tamarina started down the aisle with King Archbold of Nyrond on her left. She was draped in white and silver and gold, with golden faerie dust glittering and floating in her wake, much to the annoyance of the king who was, it went without saying, no longer used to such things. The dress was a gift from Ghiselinn, Royal Archmage in semi-retirement, who now stared with unabashed awe along with everyone else at the pair who walked down the aisle to meet Inkaneesta, Tanamier, and Tempus.

Nirifel Mendarin, the bard who had taken to recording the adventures of the Scourge for posterity, had begun playing the harpsichord as soon as Tamarina began her approach. The beautiful sounds of the instrument echoed and rebounded crystal-clearly throughout the temple, surely the result of a spell the bard had cast beforehand. However, when the time came for Duke Owen's daughter, Rhianna, to begin singing, she suffered a massive coughing fit. Tears formed in the young girl's eyes as she struggled to regain her composure. Just then, a fit-looking elderly man stepped forward and comforted the young princess, putting her aside. He then began singing an incredibly ancient Flan song of marriage approach. Nirifel was astonished, but quickly adapted her playing to accommodate that of the singer who was captivating everyone with his powerful, commanding, yet entrancing voice. Needless to say, everyone had looks of surprise on their faces, but the beauty of the music and song caused them to forget and simply concentrate on the moment at hand. Tamarina and King Archbold continued their approach to the three Gifted Ones. Tempus had decided early on he would maintain a solemn, serious look but found he could not suppress the smile coming to his face as his beloved approached. She smiled in return and then looked at Inkaneesta, who gave her a smile and nod of approval.

Archbold took his arm out from under Tamarina's and placed her hand into Tempus'. He then beamed a smile at the two of them and took his seat in the front. Tanamier stepped forward and wrapped a silken sash around the lovers' hands, then stepped back. Inkaneesta addressed the crowd:

"Friends, relatives, countrymen, guests, and those looking for hope: Welcome. You are truly blessed this day to witness the union of souls between Tempus, Son of Agravelenon, and Tamarina Gregor, not simply because one should always consider oneself lucky to witness a union of love, but because through this ceremony, you are truly in the presence of the gods once again.

"Yes, it is true. In the past year, you have seen and heard of miraculous doings: the injured are healed, the dead rise, the blind can see and the demons are cast out. These miracles have been excellent in restoring your faith after the past few years, but it is only now, in this relatively small moment of peace, that you will truly see the work of the gods before you: Two people will make a vow of eternal loyalty, fidelity, and love to each other in this public place and in front of the gods after centuries of unsuccessfully pursuing each other. This is the true miracle of the gods; not a wound that stops bleeding, but a merging of two spirits in unselfish love. It is an action of the gods, done proactively, and not in reaction to some calamity. We cannot simply look to the gods only in our hours of need, but also in our hours of joy and happiness, for look what they can do! Death has tried many times to claim the two of them, and yet here they stand! United in their love and devotion to each other; and my friends, that is more powerful than any demon or undead horror that has ever walked the face of Oerth."

The old man who had taken up Rhianna's singing duties stood and openly applauded Inkaneesta's words, completely uncaring that he was the only one doing so. "My dear," he began, "you have put into words the secret magical formula that is the key to our existence in such dark times. You would all do well to listen!" he said, addressing the crowd at large.

"Our time of darkness has not yet passed completely, and yea, will not pass unless we remember this young woman's words spoken here today. For the greatest tragedy Evil can accomplish is to make us forget how to love." He then turned to the wedding couple and said, "Tempus, you've had your doubts, and no on can blame you, considering what life throws at you on a daily basis, but consider this: You are about to become more powerful than any being you've yet encountered, through the love this young woman has for you. Tamarina, you are about to accept a certain responsibility yourself, for what concerns Tempus now concerns you.

You are the secret power behind this man; you must always remember this role and do what you can to aid and help him, for he will need your strength and resilience more than his good sword-arm. Finally, I thank the both of you, for providing hope and faith to a world sorely lacking both." He then turned with a flourish and headed out the great double doors, leaving everyone in the temple astonished. Ventrius went to look and came back with a perplexed face.

"Well?" demanded King Archbold.

Ventrius was flushed. "He met up with another man who was rather... peculiar."

"Peculiar how?" asked Prince Sewarndt.

"He was dressed all in blue and had... blue skin."

"Blue skin?" asked Sewarndt.

"Yes," replied Ventrius. "Then they began skipping along the cobblestones until they... just faded out of sight."

"How odd," muttered Ghiselinn.

"Odd, perhaps," said Tanamier. "But it was clearly a blessing of some sort, and we should take it as such." He looked at his priest-brother and smiled. "And perhaps we should get on with the ceremony as well."

Tempus smiled first and Tanamier and then at Tamarina, which caused his smile to widen. "Yes, we should..."

The ceremony had continued without further interruption. Princess Rhianna redeemed herself by singing the exiting song, another ancient Flan tune, better than she had ever sung any song before. As the wedding couple exited, the wizards in attendance conjured flowers of all kinds to rain down in an incredible display of colour. There were masses of people waiting as they left the temple and a wild cheer went up as soon as the crowds caught sight of the wedding couple. People good-naturedly crowded around Tempus and Tamarina, giving them their blessings and well-wishes, and provided a sort of escort back to the royal palace where the wedding reception awaited them.

Tempus looked around the great hall at all the people gathered; it was almost a biography of his life since he became Aggravelenon's Son: King Archbold and his sons Llynwerd and Sewarndt; Archmage Ghiselinn; the Grey Seer; Darafeyen, the Rockseer elf wizard; Carmeneren, the svirfneblin priestess; the old wizard Tauster and his former apprentice, Jelenneth; Stephen Van Richten, the vampire hunter; King Lolgoff of the Ice Barbarians and his entourage; Prince Melf Brightblade and his bladesinger lieutenant, Tinthalas Kaiyne; Kieran Jalucian of the Guild of Wizardry in Greyhawk with his (rumoured) paramour Jallarzi Sallavarian of the Circle of Eight; Tigran Gellner of the City Watch of the same city; Griffith Adarian, the melancholy druid; the Archmages Bigby, Otto, and Drawmij; and his former adventuring companions Akira Jetai-Ryi, S'thiss the dark elf, and the paladin Sir Graymore. So many people whose lives he had touched in some manner; he mentally relived the scenarios in which he had met them as the first course of the meal was served. And he was sure he would meet many more before his adventures were through.

He scanned the hall again. Field General Younard was speaking with Tanamier and Inkaneesta; the old man had a real liking for Tanamier, which was lucky, since technically Tanamier had replaced him as commander of the troops at the Almorian front, though only technically, since Archbold and Royal General Basmajeen gave the orders there. Younard had been aware of the incompetence of these latter two since the beginning of the wars, but could not bring himself to act against his king. With the arrival of Tanamier, his spirit seemed rekindled; Tanamier knew that Younard wanted to participate in at least one last great military campaign before he retired.

Prince Melf Brightflame was speaking with Gelleflair Entrell, an elven war wizard known throughout Nyrond as something of a sage due to the many contacts he has. Tempus had earlier tried to speak to the prince, but the subject of Caelynn Silverleaf came up and the prince rather coldly informed Tempus that that was a subject he no longer spoke about. Whether this was because he still held Caelynn in contempt or was feeling responsible for the bladesinger's apparent suicide, Tempus couldn't be sure.

Tempus was sure that the Archmage Drawmij was feeling guilty about the death of the beautiful dark elf, Tyslin San. The handsome wizard sat alone in the corner, drinking Celene honeynectar, while his companion Otto was still perusing the sweetmeat table. Drawmij had attended the wedding out of courtesy, but little else. Never a social person to begin with, this party could not be going well for the archmage, though he showed a reluctance to leave, as people who are depressed are wont to do.

Otto had stacked his plate high with all sorts of edibles, and was now speaking with the much more reclusive and puritanical Bigby. Otto, while having never met any of the Scourge like his two colleagues, had come anyway for three reasons: 1) He never missed a good party; 2) Archbold rather liked the idea of having three powerful mages he could court under friendly circumstances; and 3) He intended to speak with Tanamier and Younard. It was a well-known secret that Otto was a native of Almor, and that he had barely escaped with his life when Szeffrin and his massive army were cementing their hold on the land. Otto, having employed adventurers before like many of his colleagues in the Circle of Five, clearly wanted the Scourge to strike out at some of Szeffrin's important citadels, such as Millenium, or even Onyxgate or Bloodcrystal.

Prince Sewarndt was chatting by the fireplace with Ghiselinn and his lord, Duke Arnon Oberend of Hendrenn Halgood. Sewarndt was a former apprentice of Ghiselinn, and Ghiselinn now resided in Oberend's city, feeling too powerless to continue to advise Archbold. It was known around court that this had caused some tension between the two wizards, and that the prince would periodically try to get Ghiselinn to reverse his decision, since the king now relied almost solely upon The Grey Seer, to the discomfort of both his sons. Ghiselinn, however, while remaining polite, would always turn his former student down.

Akira, S'thiss and Sir Graymore were speaking with Jelenneth and her former tutor, Tauster. Tempus reflected that this young woman was the reason that the Scourge of the Underdark had come together in the first place, and that they consequently owed her much. She was an extremely powerful wizard now, though appeared to be handling it poorly, since she often complained of headaches and ni.phpares, and would sometimes awaken somewhere without knowing how she got there. Tauster assured her it was a result of trafficking with the creatures of the planes for information, but the three heroes seemed unsure. There seemed to be some sort of bond between Jelenneth and Graymore, perhaps because they both lost their fathers, thought Tempus. Graymore had never found his father in the passages of the Underdark, and Jelenneth's father was dead, slain by whomever was now masquerading as Darius Carman.

The dancing and festivities continued long into the night, dominated by elven music (big surprise considering who's in charge, thought Tempus) and speeches and political conversation. It truly bespoke Nyrond's poor state of affairs to see King Archbold courting Duke Owen of Geoff for aid; the Duke had just recently regained partial control of his lands, and was in no position to offer help anywhere. Still, he listened politely.

When the last song ended, Tiemel went over to the orchestra to give them whispered instructions. Clumsily at first, though picking it up as they went along, the musicians began to play a strange but beautiful tune. Tempus could only presume it was another elven tune, and since it was a slow dance, took Tamarina's hand at started for the dance floor. But then he noticed that Tiemel, who had obviously requested the music, was not yet dancing, but waited with Princess Rhianna (who had been his partner for several dances), for something to happen. Likewise with Prince Melf, who had his arm around the waist of Darafeyen. The music was both haunting and uplifting, but seemed to be missing something, and a feeling of anticipation had settled down upon the crowd. Tempus looked to where Tiemel was gazing. Drawmij was still in his dark corner, his wineglass still in his hand, staring at the tablecloth. He seemed to recognize the song and locked eyes with Tiemel. Tempus thought for a horrible moment that he would disintegrate Tiemel on the spot. Instead, the mage got up from his seat and reached deeply into his magical bag. He withdrew a beautiful, ornate, and very old elven harp. He stood by the orchestra and began playing. At first, it was so light and delicate that it seemed he was not, in fact, playing. As the song went on though, it became more pronounced. The missing element from the song was now present, and Tempus knew he had never heard anything so beautiful. He began dancing with Tamarina, and other couples now joined the dancefloor. Before dancing with the fiery redhead Rhianna, Tiemel nodded once at Drawmij, who flickered his eyes in return. The elven warrior had now apologized for his behaviour in their last encounter in a fashion most elven. Tempus shook his head, knowing he would never understand elves completely.

Tempus spied Ventrius speaking with the druid of Greyhawk, Griffith Adarian. They had met Adarian when hunting the Necromancers of Skahlehn in Greyhawk City; he was melancholy then, and seemed worse now. Ventrius on the other hand, was now a strapping young man, full of confidence and energy. Which he would need, if he were to take the forests of the Duchy of Ulek back from the Shadow Circle and their drow "allies." Why they were speaking elven, Tempus couldn't guess. Perhaps Ventrius had been spending too much time with his new allies, Legolaas and Arthua.

Having purposely been given the heaviest oak table, King Lolglof and his entourage were doing their best to drain Nyrond's ale supply all on their own. Rowdy and carousing, Tempus couldn't suppress a smile when looking upon them. Wild and chaotic, they still possessed a strange sense of honour, and that was what brought them here today, since Inkaneesta had been one of their own, and they would not miss her performing this holy ceremony. Only a matter of time before Archbold gets around to them, thought Tempus as an arm-wrestling contest at the barbarians' table was about to spill out of control.

It had seemed the party would never end, but like all good things it had to. Tempus was on the balcony, staring out at the rising sun when his wife came to join him. "Reconsidering, my beloved?" she asked.

Tempus took her into his arms and, considering his inner struggles preceding this event, replied with much conviction, "No." He kissed her full on the lips, a kiss that would have lasted forever, had there not been a violent interruption.

"Ohhhh," said Tamarina, grimacing. "It would seem our son or daughter is annoyed that he or she missed out on the festivities. That was a mighty kick."

"Indeed," said Tempus as he placed his hand on his wife's rounded belly, smiling. "It is a fine warrior you have got in there," he said proudly. "My progeny will surely eclipse even Agravelenon's Son in deeds of daring and valour."

"Yes, he will," said a familiar voice. Melting out of the shadows was a figure dressed in deepest black, providing the illusion of a disembodied head and hands. Blondish and youthful-looking with delicate hands, the Shadow-Mage stepped forward to the newlyweds. "My sincerest congratulations to you both. You have come a long way to get to this point."

Tempus instinctively took a defensive position in front of Tamarina. "What is it you want?" "Only to provide you with my own wedding gift, mighty Tempus. Do not worry, I am not offended that I was not invited; I did not leave you an address to send the invitation. Nevertheless, I have a gift to bestow to you. Through your association with the monk Griften, you are aware of the powers of the mind."

"Griften is no longer amongst us," interrupted Tempus.

"But he is amongst others, whose company is much less enjoyable. Nevertheless, you are aware of how, through these gifts, one mind may speak to another. My dear, this is for you," the Shadow-Mage said as he handed a small box wrapped in reflective black paper to Tamarina. He then turned to Tempus and gave him a similar package. Exchanging glances, the newlywed couple opened them gingerly, with the mysterious wizard smiling at them both. Inside each package was half a locket, carved out of onyx and polished expertly. The form was that of half a heart. They both looked to the Shadow-Mage.

"Put them on," he instructed.

Not sensing any malice from the sorceror, Tempus and Tamarina did as instructed. Instantly, Tamarina's face magically appeared upon Tempus' locket, and the reverse happened for Tamarina. A slight wave of dizziness swept over both of them, but when it passed, every thought the one had, the other received. It was a closeness and intimacy like they had never felt before. Moreover, the memories and emotions they had felt throughout all their past lives were now accessible; the feeling was almost overwhelming.

Looking up with his eyes wet, Tempus whispered, "Thank you."

"It is my pleasure," he responded simply. He had turned to go, but Tamarina called out to him.

"Wait! You said 'he'. We're about to have a boy?! How do you know?"

The Shadow-Mage smiled. "Yes, you are going to have a son. I would explain how I know, but I sense the arrival of one whose presence I would find... uncomfortable, so I must take my leave. Farewell." With that, he disappeared into the shadows again, though he was gone and not merely hiding, Tempus was sure.

"I don't understand. Who is coming?" asked Tamarina of her husband. As if to answer her question, a bright flash of pale blue light erupted upon the balcony, opening what Tempus recognized as a gate. Through it stepped the astral deva, Callimar. As always, Tempus felt humbled in the presence of the beautiful bronze-skinned, white-haired aasimon, who now glided down upon the balcony with his feathery wings, to land next to Tempus and Tamrina. When he spoke, it was as he always did, full of charisma and very persuasive.

"The immortal god is proud of his mortal son. It bespeaks well of thee, Tempus, to have done so great a deed as you have done today. Agravelenon could not have chosen better for his first, and most powerful, Gifted One. On my own, I am proud and pleased to have made your acquaintance, mortal. The joining of two souls such as you have done today is something even we aasimon cannot do and therefore recognize the value of. As my own gift to thee, I am once more in your service for three tasks. As before, you have merely to chant the summoning mantra thrice, and I will battle on your side as before.

Fare thee well." With that, the angelic being soared off towards the coming sunrise.

Tamarina was in utter shock at the encounter, with tears flowing unnoticed down her face, her mouth agape and her eyes fixed upon the sunrise to where Callimar had flown.

Tempus surmised that she may have stayed that way forever, but then something even more pressing happened.

Tamarina gave a sudden cry of pain and doubled over, grasping at her husband's doublet with the strength of a strom giant. "Tempus! It's coming! It's coming!"

Tempus knelt down beside her, confused. "What?! What is it, beloved?"

"You can read my thoughts, you dolt! It's our son! I'm going to give birth to our son!"

"You're entering labour?" said Tempus, incredulously.

"Yes!! Now get me some help!"

Panicked, Tempus began chanting, "Come Callimar, for our need is great..."

"NO!" cried Tamarina. "Run and get Inkaneesta, you fool! Unless you want your son born on a stone balcony!"

Nodding foolishly, Tempus ran through the halls to Inkaneesta's chamber. Without knocking, he burst in, surprising both Inkaneesta and Tanamier.

"Inkaneesta! I need your help, Tamarina is... Tanamier? Well, well, brother, when did this.."

"Tempus! What about Tamarina? Is she all right?"

Tempus was shocked back into reality. "Tamarina! She's giving birth! On the balcony!" Inkaneesta grabbed her holy symbol and started out the door. Glaring at Tempus, Tanamier did likewise, leaving Agravelenon's son standing alone, dumbfounded in the bedchamber.

"My son is about to be born. My son..."

Laughing with hysteria that only the happiest of people have, Tempus ran to join his wife and friends.

The End
 Episode 12: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign
 1993-01-01 
 Return of the Necromancers 
The Scourge then discovered that the Necromancers of Skahlehn were operating within Greyhawk. Wishing to avenge earlier manipulations, the Scourge set out to destroy them once and for all. Several adventures came from this, including stopping Mandraka the Living Vampire from assassinating various former priests; destroying Sarzec the Broken; uncovering Old Mother Grub's bordello of vampires, and defeating three Vrock tanar'ri. A new alliance was also formed; Elric Sith, spellfilcher from Nesselentiss, joined the group. In addition, Caelynn finally met Prince Melf Brightflame, though was angrily rebuked by the Knight of Luna for having delivered the plans for the Tower of Domination to Celene.

Prince Brightflame described how Yolande's advisors immediately began plans to see if such a device could be erected in order to control "neighbours who are not totally sympathetic to Celene's views". The double effect of realizing the grave error he had made and the angry dismissal by one he considered a hero had a debilitating effect upon Caelynn, which would haunt him until his last days.

The Scourge also met an old beggar going by the unlikely name of Sucro, who displayed great knowledge of events going on in the Flanaess and possessed strength unimaginable, though he was clearly insane. They also renewed their contact with Jelenneth, whom they had freed from her prison in the Underdark. She was now studying sorcery at the prestigious University of Magical Arts in Greyhawk, and exhibited magical talents far beyond what her experience would allow, though she complained of frequent headaches.

Unfortunately, an encounter between S'Thiss, Caelynn and Mandraka ended very poorly for the heroes, with Mandraka defeating both of them and returning to the Necromancers' hideout with Caelynn's body. The Necromancers then offered a trade: Caelynn in exchange for a piece of Tanamier's flesh from which they could clone him, having already cloned the other members of the Scourge of the Underdark. Elric Sith, not wishing to see Tanamier cloned, replaced the flesh sample with a fake without telling anyone.

At the meeting, all was proceeding well, until a group of professional criminals known as The Shapechangers attacked, attempting to abduct the unconscious Caelynn. Though the Scourge drove them off, the Shapechangers were essentially unharmed. The Scourge then attempted to track down the Shapechangers, meeting the informant "Ratter" in the process, in an adventure that culminated in a great battle within their warehouse headquarters. Only their leader, Clannair Blackshadow, escaped. The Scourge discovered that Pallistren had engaged the Shapechangers for Caelynn's capture, though for what purpose they were not sure. They confronted the Pit Fiend in the Gold Dragon Inn, and while Tanamier used his power to dispel the fiend back to where he came from, it was not before the inn was consumed by hellfire.

Returning to the problem of the Necromancers of Skahlehn, the heroes tracked down and defeated the aforementioned Vrock, meeting and allying with Prannik the fire elementalist, in the process. The heroes soon tracked the Necromancers down to their secret lair beneath the sewers on Greyhawk. A great battle ensued, where the Necromancers Garyne Shroudrender and Xanthi Lamman were destroyed, though the leader Andrade Mirrius, Pizentios, and Mandraka escaped. Prannik was killed in battle with an earth elemental, and he was last scryed being dragged by Pizentios within the Citadel of Bones. Prince Melf and his Knights of Luna, acting upon information provided by the Scourge, burned down Old Mother Grubb's bordello. During the aftermath, Ventrius was approached by Dextar Forestguard, former hierophant druid; and Senji Tul-Marin, Master of the North Wind, to complete his training to fulfill his destiny as the one who would eradicate the Shadow Circle.

The Scourge returned to Nyrond, with the exceptions of Caelynn and Elric, who was met by a former business acquaintance known only as "Passing Shadow". A thief par excellence from Elric's past, she passed on to him an item known as an Ebony Skull, saying that the people she stole it from were chasing her and that they could not regain the item. Elric agreed to hold on to it for her until she would reclaim it at a later, safer, date.

Caelynn Silverleaf quickly rejoined the Scourge, though he had been through some changes. He was now garbed all in black and had shaved his beautiful silver hair, leaving only a ponytail. He now called himself "Caelynn the Avenger," seeking to make up for his mistakes in the past. While Tanamier questioned his sanity somewhat, he welcomed him back. Brother Griften also soon rejoined the Scourge in Nyrond. The monk had been tracking his sister Xenoria Insaith, who he had tragically discovered was now a Necromancer of Skahlehn, to the kingdom of Nyrond, where she stole away her brother Darin. Griften, believing his brother was under his sister's magical influence, sought to retrieve him and asked the Scourge to help. The heroes tracked her down to an old, abandoned keep, and found out her plans: She had herself been tracking Tryiok, King of the Death Knights. The Scourge actually caught sight of the Saint of Evil near the keep, where he appeared to be searching for something. After the death knight had left, Xenoria and Darin appeared and also searched the ruins. Griften chose to confront his sister with the rest of the Scourge. She revealed to them that she planned Tryiok's destruction, and that Darin was an integral part of those plans. She also explained that Tryiok was, in addition to all his other powers, a powerful priest of Thasmudyan, the Ghoul Lord and Undead Master. It was her duty as a reverer of Skahlehn to destroy him. This did not satiate Griften, and the situation became more tense, so Xenoria teleported away with Darin.

The Scourge chose to investigate the ruins. They found themselves embroiled in a battle that repeated itself every night: Undead bandits (wights) attacking the tower defended by undead knights (skeleton warriors). The battle went poorly for the heroes, with Griften's fear of the undead creatures causing him to flee and Caelynn's madness causing him to incinerate himself with a fireball while wearing a necklace of missiles. Griften regained his composure and returned to deal with the remaining undead alongside Tempus. At the battle's end, there was nothing left of Caelynn to resurrect; the bladesinger's death wish had been granted.
 Episode 11: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign
 1992-01-01 
 The Ring of Five 
However, the heroes discovered more Scarlet Brotherhood activity which led them to uncover the secret Dragon Cult. The cult seemed to view the new religion of Parthen as a threat, and was making plans to destroy them. Tracking the Cult to its lair, the Scourge destroyed two dracoliches and many cultists, crippling its operations in Nyrond. Amongst the treasure, they discovered a note which indicated that the archmage Bigby was going to be kidnapped in his tower in Mitrik. Teleporting there, the heroes engaged in battle with several yugoloths, and defeated the arcanaloth Zender to gain possession of the Prison of Zagyg, in which Bigby was trapped. They then traveled to the Free City of Greyhawk, where Bigby could contact the rest of the Circle of Eight.

It was revealed that the daemons were serving Rary the Traitor, and that Rary was a member of the Ring of Five, which also included the dimensionalist Leomund (whom Griften had met in the universe containing the Doorways to Infinities); Serten of Rel Astra; Jaran Krimeaha>, Mage of the Vale; and a final unknown wizard, who is rumored to have replaced Tuerny the Mercilessa>. Bigby explained that the Ring of Five play a deadly game called the "Magician's End Venture," where each member tries to be responsible for the deaths of as many archmages as possible. Bigby deduced that Rary had chosen him in retaliation for his interference in the battle on the day of the signing of the Pact of Greyhawk. At this point, Brother Griften left the group, wishing to further explore the Ba'atan'nari Codex and further develop his mental powers. Ventrius remained, however.
 Episode 9: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign
 1990-01-01 
 The Fading Land of Barovia 
Months passed, as Tanamier settled in the kingdom of Nyrond. Having approached King Archbold, Tanamier showed him proof of his clerical abilities, inspiring Archbold to have a temple to Parthen, Tanamier's god, built in the capital city of Rel Mord.

A letter from Baalshezidek, high potentate of the Necromancers of Skahlehn disrupted this peaceful time. It claimed that a lord of one of the so-called "fading lands", another renegade necromancer, had been terrorizing a local family. Baalshezidek requested that the Scourge destroy this renegade on behalf of the innocent family... and because Pizentios had administered the deadly Exuulde Wine to Caelynn and Gorath, which could kill them with a command word even from afar.

Journeying to this faded land, The Scourge entered the land of Strahd Von Zarovich, Lord of Barovia and member in good standing of the Necromancers of Skahlehn, bringing with them Tamarina, the reincarnation of Tatyanna, Strahd's lost love. There, they met Tarax, a necromancer who used the dark magicks to hunt vampires, and he joined the group. Unfortunately for Strahd, it was revealed that Tempus was, in fact, a reincarnation of Sergei, Tatyanna's husband. In a series of climatic battles throughout Strahd's castle and dungeons, the Scourge defeated the vampire lord, and Tempus and Tamarina had their identities revealed to themselves.

Unfortunately, Gorath perished in battle with a banshee, while Tarax was ironically turned into a vampire by Strahd himself.
 Episode 8: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 1989-01-01 
The Sunless Sea... (Member Submission!) 
Descending further into the Underdark then almost any before them, the Scourge of the Underdark discovered a vast underground cavern, which was the home to the Sunless Sea and the perpetrators of the evil they had been combating:

The Aboleth.

Through their adventures in the caves and islands that surrounded the Sunless Sea, the Scourge discovered that the aboleth were constructing a massive Tower of Domination, which would allow the ancient race to dominate all creatures of the Underdark. It was a massive undertaking that had attracted attention from many individuals.

The adventures of the Scourge in the adjoining islands and caves were numerous, but several are particularly noteworthy. The first was the discovery of the island belonging to the enchantress Szandur. While not allied with the aboleth, Szandur was able to piece together how the aboleth were constructing the Tower of Domination, which required the fusing together of several different magicks. Upon her defeat, Caelynn would take possession of these plans, a move that would eventually lead to his downfall.

During this time, the Scourge also encountered a powerful wizard going by the name of Pallistren who also seemed interested in the goings-on of the aboleth city of Great Shaboath. They would be shocked to discover Pallistren's true nature. They soon also discovered a powerful tribe of fire giants and defeated them, earning them the wrath of Surtur, their god.

At one point the Scourge discovered Sunkenhome, a makeshift undersea chamber. In it, were the Necromancers of Skahlehn, a group that would plague the Scourge for years to come. When an attempted parley went awry, Caelynn attacked, causing a grand melee between the Scourge and the Necromancers. The battle ended with one necromancer dead, and Griften slain at the hands of the leader, Pizentios, though he was later revived. Talks resumed as it was obvious they would only again fight to a draw. It was revealed that a renegade necromancer of their group, Eldranna, was working for the aboleth in the Tower of Necromancy. Pizentios suggested they team up to destroy her and the tower, a suggestion the Scourge reluctantly agreed to.

Of perhaps most import, however, would be their adventure on the Isle of Shadows. Unbeknownst to the Scourge, the Isle was the home for a powerful temple to the dread god Tharizdun. Furthermore, they were unaware that one of the ancient Suel priests of He-Whose-Name-Cannot-Be-Spoken was guarding it in the form of a greater mummy. The mummy lured the heroes into battle near a great obsidian altar. After a fantastic battle in which they destroyed an arcanaloth the mummy had gated in, Brother Griften psionically detonated the altar, to discover a crystal globe filled with dark shadows. Suddenly, a member of the Scarlet Brotherhood appeared behind them and telekinetically grabbed the sphere, then teleported to safety. Within moments, a great and thunderous cry of "Freedom!" issued forth from the cavern and the Isle of Shadows sank beneath the waves. As the heroes paddled back to shore, Griften knew he had succeeded in helping loosen the bonds that bind Tharizdun...

When the time came for the attack upon Great Shaboath, the Scourge of the Underdark had to face the fact that they could not handle it alone. Aljayera, leader of The Rockseer Elves, had already begun sending his people off to the surface, and so could not offer his people to help, though Darafeyen, the Rockseer wizard the Scourge had met, suggested finding other allies.

The first group of potential allies came in the form of bizarre amazon-like warrior-women, who claimed they were there to avenge themselves upon Pallistren. Convinced they were on the same side, the Scourge of the Underdark mounted their first guerilla raid upon Pallistren's quarters. Confronting him, Pallistren polymorphed back into his true form of a Pit Fiend, with his entourage likewise reverting to their true devilish form. As is customary with the Scourge, a great battle ensued, with Pallistren's forces being destroyed, and the greater devil himself having to flee for safety. Tragedy was far from over, however. As they looted Pallistren's lair, S'Thiss triggered a trap which changed him into a lemure, and then gated him to the Nine Hells. Stunned at the loss of their companion, the remaining heroes almost overlooked an iron flask that contained Callimar, an astral deva. The Scourge freed the angel, who then quickly retrieved S'Thiss from Baator. Something was obviously wrong with the dark elf, though he refused to speak of it. During the confusion, the warrior-women teleported away, but not before revealing themselves as tanar'ri and thanking the heroes for their cooperation...

The Scourge decided to attack the Tower of Necromancy first, in accordance with their plans with Pizentios. Fighting up through several levels of undead, elementals, and golems, the heroes attacked and killed Eldranna, and cut off the power of the tower to the main Tower of Domination. Pizentios appeared, demanding the body of Eldranna, which the heroes reluctantly agreed to. Both groups then left, fearful of the aboleth's response.

While resting near their Daern's Instant Fortress on the shores of the Sunless Sea, the Scourge were attacked by The Raveners, a mercenary group that had willingly joined the aboleth in their cause. At the end of the battle, the Raveners lay dead except for the half-elf assassin Wode, who escaped into the Sunless Sea's murky waters. The bodies of the Raveners were later snatched up by the Necromancers of Skahlehn, to be used for their own purposes.

The Scourge of the Underdark mounted another successful raid upon Great Shaboath, causing damage to the Tower of Alteration. They were ambushed again, near the teleportational 'flux point' they had been using to get within the aboleth city. The Grand Savant caused summoned monsters to appear in their midst, injuring them gravely. After this episode, the Scourge realized they might need other allies to make their subsequent attacks successful.

Enter the renegade illithids, led by their priest, Ipshizeen. The Scourge encountered these mind flayers after investigating a side cavern they had stumbled upon. The illithids defeated the Scourge, but rather than destroy them, had them agree to a contract to jointly attack Great Shaboath, despite the arguments of Akira.

With their newfound "allies", the Scourge attacked again, destroying the Tower of Summoning. Disaster struck as they attempted their escape, however. Caelynn was destroyed by two Ixzan wizards, while Brother Griften's escape attempt saw him blasted across the Sunless Sea to an unexplored shore on the other side. Aljayera, in his last act of kindness for those that had helped bring his people to the surface, raised Caelynn from the dead using the power of a Wish spell.

Meanwhile, Brother Griften encountered an unusual being of a different sort. A strange man who wielded immense psionic powers and could manipulate the shadows introduced himself only as the "shadow-mage". He greeted the rest of the Scourge who had joined Griften, mentioned that Fandruzsch had been his ally, and then coated the tower that contained the "flux point" the heroes had been using with a veil of non-detection. Encouraging them in their task, he vanished, though would be heard from again.

The attack upon the Tower of Domination by the The Scourge of the Underdark is best summed up by the bard Nirifel Mendarin, in her work, The Final Scourging of the Blood Queen, as recounted to her by Tanamier, Tempus, and Brother Griften:

The heroes stood slackjawed for a few brief moments, shocked at the savagery and bloodlust exhibited by Gorath as he engaged the summoned trolls in berserk fury, hammer in one hand and axe in the other. There would be no withdrawal for the battlerager this day.
Or for any of us, thought Tanamier as he quickly took stock of the situation again.

Caelynn had already fallen at the hands of the iron golems, pulped into something almost unrecognizable. Again Tanamier cursed himself for leaving him and Gorath alone in their battle, but he knew that the Grand Savant was the creature that had to be dealt with. Spell Breaker cloaked the half-elf in a sphere of anti-magic which permitted the Gifted One to strike at the aboleth.

Akira and Tempus stood firm against the onslaught of Ju-Ju zombies that surrounded them. The undead were relentless in their assault and held the heroes back. Akira's blade still cut cleanly through the blue-grey flesh of the zombies while Tempus' mighty Sun Blade burned the creatures whenever it struck them, evening the odds against the overwhelming numbers.

S'thiss, the deadly dark elf, had once again struck out on his own in this battle after creating the initial wall of fire that had decimated the bulk of the aboleth's servants. His blades danced a deadly arc through the zombies who could not appreciate the grace with which their undead lives were being taken away.

Brother Griften, after originally teleporting Tanamier and Gorath to within striking distance of the Grand Savant, found himself in dire straits indeed. Caught between two great walls of fire, he faced down the commandant of the kuo-toa forces within Great Shaboath. The kuo-toa captain wielded a great curved sword with jagged notches in the blade, and he wielded it with great skill. Griften could not afford to allow himself to be distracted in this combat, and so psionically closed certain portions of his mind, allowing his finely honed combat instincts to take over.

Seeing the peril that Gorath was in, and knowing that the berzerker was oblivious to it, Akira dropped back and allowed the zombie to lunge directly at him. When the undead creatures hands were only inches away from ending his life, the jetai-ryu plunged his deadly katana forward, eviscerating the animated corpse. Tumbling to the side, he dodged another zombie and then sprinted down the narrow corridor that existed between the two walls of flame. He somersaulted over the kuo-toa captain and landed amidst the gigantic trolls. The trolls immediately recoiled from Akira, the circle of protection bestowed upon him by Tanamier driving the trolls back.

One less thing for me to deal with, thank the lost gods, thought Tanamier grimly. Now I can deal with this giant fish with a clear conscience! Suddenly, the wall of fire erected by S'thiss' wand disappeared, revealing several more zombies and three magic-resistant derro savants. The blasted thing's dispelled the flames, realized Tanamier. I'll have to teach it not to ignore me when I'm within swordreach!

But Tanamier's blade never cut into the mighty aboleth, for the Grand Savant relocated itself to the far end of the room psionically before Tanamier could strike. Several of the trolls looked Tanamier's way and started to advance upon him, no doubt controlled by the aboleth.

Tanamier cancelled the anti-magic shell surrounding him, which reinstated the previous dweomer that accelerated his actions. Easily outdistancing the trolls, Tanamier fell back and chanted his studied words of magic, enveloping the derro savants within a globe of darkness.

That should buy us a few moments, he thought as he surveyed his companions. The rest of the Scourge were battling valiantly against the odds, but things were turning against them. The kuo-toa captain's lieutenant had joined the fray against Griften, making an opening the captain took advantage of. The giant fish-man's sword plunged deep into Griften's side. The monk immediately began working on controlling the pain, but was being driven back by the kuo-toa duo.

Tempus continued to slash and burn the ju-ju zombies that surrounded him, forming a barrier of undead corpses between him and the Grand Savant. S'thiss threw off the last of the zombies and leaped at the Grand Savant, a wild look in his eyes. His blades whirled around the aboleth, causing sparks to fly every time they struck, whittling away the aboleth's protective magic. Akira voluntarily lowered the circle of protection, his katana having cut into each of the trolls. It was wasted effort, since all it did was commence their fantastic regeneration process, but he could not afford to ignore even one of them, for they would rip him to shreds given the slightest opening. Meanwhile, he had to beware Gorath who was battling so savagely that he could have knocked over Akira with his hammer and not even noticed.

Tanamier was about to once more deal with the derro when he saw one of S'thiss' blades cut into the Grand Savant, causing a gout of acidic liquid to spurt all over the crazed drow.

"It's defenses are down! Concentrate all attacks at the aboleth! I'll call for reinforcements!" shouted Tanamier. With that the half-elf started chanting, 'Come Callimar, for our need is great...'

Responding to the Gifted One's commands, Akira parried the lead troll, then tumbled to the side and to his feet in one motion. The nimble mind-warrior then sprinted across the great hall towards the aboleth.

Brother Griften's robes had been soaked through with his own blood, turning them scarlet. Scarlet... images of the Isle of Shadows started to haunt his mind, throwing his concentration off. The Captain, sensing an opening, lunged forward with his massive blade. But Griften refocused, and sidestepped, catching the blade by the flat under his arm. With one manoeuvre, he kicked the Captain's head back, stunning the giant kuo-toa. He then ducked under the trident of the lieutenant and punched through a link in the fish-man's armour, killing the beast instantly.

Tempus knew he had to aid his companions, so he withdrew, allowing the ju-ju zombies to surround him. Suddenly, a brilliant flash of white light exploded from him as he invoked the power of his armour. The zombies that had all gathered around him burnt to ashes, as once again Tempus seemed to be overwritten by the image of a powerful barbarian warrior.
Gorath, in his berserk state, did not notice that the limbs of the trolls he had severed were still acting of their own accord. Two severed claws grabbed his legs, pulling him down. The rest of the trolls tore into him; the derro armour that had so often protected him now crumpled like paper without its enchantment against the fury and strength of the trolls.

Seeing his companion go down almost broke Tanamier's concentration, but he managed to complete the last chant of summoning. A blue-white gate opened near the aboleth, and through it came Callimar. The bronze-skinned deva flew on feathery wings, and wielded a gigantic mace in both hands. He joined S'thiss in the fray, who had recovered from the acid blast from the aboleth.

The derro, acting upon telepathic commands from their master, dropped back and blasted at Tempus, three powerful bolts of lightning knocking the hero back. Only his armour saved him.

In the meantime, S'thiss and Callimar had driven the aboleth back with their blows, the drow still ignoring the acidic gouts as his blades cut into the creature. Akira had almost reached them, and Griften was not far behind, pausing only long enough to stun the derro. Tempus got up, charred and burned, but he still charged the aboleth. Tanamier cast another spell, confusing the derro by entrapping them in a cloud of noxious fumes.

Suddenly, disaster struck. The aboleth reared back and began casting its terrible Horrid Wilting spell. Recognizing the gravity, Akira launched himself at the Savant, but stumbled over some discarded zombie corpses, his katana skittering from his hands. Tempus had not yet reached them, and S'thiss and Callimar were recovering from acid blasts. Griften ran up to the aboleth and struck twice, but there was no power behind his blows, so weak as he was from his injuries. Uninterrupted in its spellcasting, the aboleth finished its spell! Callimar, Tempus, and Akira collapsed to the ground, the moisture sucked right from their bodies. Both Tempus and Akira lost consciousness, and only S'thiss' innate drow resistance to magic saved his life.

Tanamier started charging forward, grimly knowing he wouldn't reach the aboleth before it cast another spell and that he was therefore throwing his life away, But if I am going to die, I'll lie beside my companions!

Before he could make his sacrifice however, S'thiss woke up and with a maniacal yell plunged his sword deep into the head of the Savant, and ripped his sword right through its skull.

Within the Savant, it looked as though some great maggot were trying to escape from inside as the aboleth went into its death throes. Suddenly, the beast exploded, releasing from within the magic and treasures it had swallowed to make itself powerful. It began to rain jewels, gold, and magic items within the great hall.

Callimar recovered and started reviving the fallen heroes, starting with Caelynn. The others quickly pocketed what they could, and then followed Griften's lead back out the gateway across the dimensional bridge to Darlakanand's laboratory. Once there, they felt the tower shaking.

Akira ran to a window. "It's the entire city! It's chaos and madness out there! Everything is attacking each other!" he yelled.

"The death of the Savant must have shaken the city," said Caelynn, leaning heavily upon Callimar. "The island's must be sinking!"

"Sinking..." repeated Tanamier. Suddenly, he yelled, "The slaves! I have only enough magic for one teleportational jump!"

Griften stepped forward, clutching his bloodied stomach. "I have just enough psionic energy to get us there, but after that it will have to be up to you, my friend."

"That's all I ask, Brother Griften," responded Tanamier.

Tempus was looking around frantically. "Where's S'thiss? We've left him behind!"

"No, we haven't," coughed Gorath. The dwarf's battle-madness had passed, and he was leaning upon his hammer for support. "The bloody drow found a magic ring from within the belly of that giant fish and used it to blink himself away, having a good laugh about it all the time!"

"I knew it!" cried Tempus. "I told you to watch that one, Tanamier! Now, he's..."

"We have no time for this!" shouted Tanamier. "The lost gods willing, Griften and I will meet you back at the flux point in the giants' cavern. Griften!"

Tanamier and Griften appeared in the slave pen with a sudden pop. This part of the city had already given way to the waters of the Sunless Sea, and was flooding quickly.

"Griften! I need you to prop me up above the water so that I can incant the spell!" shouted Tanamier. The monk dived below the water and hoisted the plate-armoured mage on his shoulders. But the gravity of his wounds was great, and he faltered, not keeping his ally above water level.

"Griften! I need you! There are kuo-toa trying to break in and some of these slaves may have already drowned! Damn you! Don't let me down now!"

The monk called upon the last of his psionic energy, focusing on his legs, giving them just enough strength to allow Tanamier to teleport them away. Just enough strength...

With a flash of light and a crash of water, Tanamier, Griften and the freed slaves burst into the fire giant cavern. Several of the slaves had lost consciousness, others were suffering from grave injuries.

"We're spent, Tanamier," said Tempus. "We couldn't possibly even begin to alleviate their suffering now. Most of them will have died by the time we regain our strength. What do you want to do?"

Tanamier grimly took out the black crystal sphere and rod that he had secreted in his collapsible fortress. He walked forward at threw it amidst the slaves, where it broke and the inky blackness that was within seeped out. Everyone it touched turned into blackness itself, until there was a giant black cloud before him. The half-elf then activated the rod, sucking in the black cloud until not a trace of it was left.

"That was the device the shadow mage from the opposite shore gave us," said Caelynn. "I honestly didn't think you'd ever use such magic."

"There was no choice."

"No choice then to trap them in that form? Using dark magic? Is that the human in you talking?"

"No. It's the man in me talking."

Akira broke up the argument. "Look, my friends."

A giant stalactite broke from the cavern ceiling and struck Great Shaboath in the centre. The squeals and cries from the aboleth could be heard from the shore, as well as the sounds of battle as the myriad creatures within all fought each other in a desperate attempt to escape the sinking city. Finally, Great Shaboath sunk beneath the cold, dark waters beneath the Sunless Sea, never to be seen again...

The companions had travelled for several days in the Underdark after the fall of Great Shaboath, making the long trek to the surface. Callimar had long ago wished them well and gone on his way. Their journey was undisturbed, with creatures giving them a wide berth. It was on the fifth day when they spotted their first campfire up ahead.

"The monk and I will investigate this," said Caelynn. "My cloak and boots yet retain their function. We will take them unawares and determine if they are friend or foe."

The pair snuck up and hid behind a large rock outcropping. There were only two men. One was a giant warrior in bronze plate mail bristling with weapons. He had a well-trimmed red beard and used the skull of a dragon as his helm. The other was a smaller, younger man. He was also obviously a warrior, wearing field plate mail and his shield had a golden ankh on it. He had blond hair and penetrating blue eyes.

"Stop your skulking and join us at the fire!" roared the red-haired fighter. "All this sneaking around is bloody impolite!"

Caelynn and Griften revealed themselves, the elflord wielding a keen mithral blade he had acquired at the climax of the struggle with the Grand Savant.

"Put your sword away, or I'll make you swallow it sideways," said the giant.

"We're not here to hurt you," spoke the smaller man softly. "We just wanted to meet you in person. Please get the others."

When the others arrived, Tanamier addressed the pair. "We have a long road ahead of us. If you truly do not mean us harm, then say your piece and allow us to be on our way."

"Hmph. Good choice, brother. I'll bet he's fun at parties too," said the giant to his companion.

The smaller man was just smiling. "Please, sit and join us. We have more than enough food for everyone, and I'm sure you're all hungry." And it was true. Suddenly, the entire Scourge of the Underdark was hungry. They each sat and began gorging themselves. Tanamier would not take his eyes off the smaller man, although the rest of the Scourge had no distrust. Indeed, Tempus and the giant were talking and joking as though they had been old friends.

Caelynn sensed what was going on and addressed the smaller man. "You seem to know us quite well. If I didn't know better, I'd say you've been watching us the entire time. But of course, such is impossible, for that would mean...mean..."

"My name is Parthen the Protector. My brother is Agravelenon the Aggressor. You are correct in your hypothesis, Caelynn Bladesinger."

Caelynn was merely staring slack-jawed at the young warrior in front of him.

"Come, come. I am not one of your Powers, and your behaviour is rather undignified. Please compose yourself."

"Perhaps," stammered Caelynn. "Perhaps you can tell me certain things, things about my own gods..."

Time itself froze as Parthen considered the request. When he had apparently decided, only he and Caelynn could move. "You wonder at the nature of your deities. You wonder why Vecna the Terrible did not even acknowledge them when he attacked the lost gods of this plane. I suppose it was too much of a blow to the elven ego. Very well. I shall tell you.

"After your world was new, the gods created the different races to populate the earth. Humans they made in their own image, but their creativity and imagination resulted in the demihumans, of which elves are a part. While all races initially worshipped them, time passed and racist thought began to emerge. Demihumans would sometimes refuse to worship the `human' gods, and clerics amongst those races lost their calling. It was soon deemed inappropriate by the gods that these races not have Powers of their own. Thus, in their graciousness, the gods elevated certain heroes from each race to become gods themselves. Now, with each race having its own pantheon, order was restored to Oerth. It was for this that Vecna ignored the demihuman Powers; being `artificial' Powers as it were, they were beneath his notuce,though certainly as powerful as their human counterparts after millenia of worship."

Caelynn sat back, shocked, as action resumed around him. The heroes had finished their meal and were getting ready to go. As they stood up to leave, Parthen spoke. "We would like to have a moment alone with Tempus and Tanamier before you depart." Both heroes looked suspicious but stayed behind as the rest of the scourge started up the caverns and waited some distance away.

Suddenly, there was a giant flash of light from where the four were talking. The companions raced back to the campsite to discover Tempus weeping on his knees, and Tanamier on one knee, his eyes also wet. Akira walked forward and put his hand on Tanamier's shoulder. "Is everything all right?" he asked.

Tanamier took a moment to respond. Finally, he said, "I do not wish to cheapen the experience with words, but... I have seen his face, and it is good."

"It is good."

The leaves that were bright green when they had first entered the caverns below had now turned yellow, red and orange, and were already starting to fall away from the trees. A cool, autumn wind greeted them as they emerged from the abandoned keep used by Ranchefus and his slavers. The forest was silent with the exception of their hushed voices.

Caelynn made his goodbyes and then used his magic to teleport back to the court at Celene, anxious to return to his homeland and report on his expedition. No one could fault him for his eagerness to leave; it had been hard on the nature-loving elf to be so long beneath the earth.

Brother Griften was the next to leave, explaining that his order needed to know of the activities of the Scarlet Brotherhood as soon as possible. It was also obvious that this had been his first major excursion away from his monastery and that he needed to regain his bearings.

Akira cited similar reasons when he made his departure. The jetai-ryu felt he had much to atone for, including his semi-alliance with the illithids and his disquieting encounter with Callimar. He set off to find a port city and from there a ship that would take him back to his homeland.

Gorath knew were his responsibilities were; the Pricipality of Ulek was besieged by Turrosh Mak and his army from the Pomarj, and from the few remaining Dark Elves from the overrun Nesselentiss. He needed to return to his people right away.

"Probably win the war all by himself", thought Tanamier as he watched the dwarf stride away. He turned to look at Tempus, who was looking at him expectantly.

"And what of us, Tanamier? What shall we do?" asked Tempus. That they would still be together seemed natural to Tanamier. There was a bond between them now, an awareness they both had that could not be explained.

"Well, there are many places in the world that could use a warrior and his knight-protector,"said Tanamier. "Never mind a warrior who can raise the dead and a knight-protector who is a mage in addition!" Tanamier looked at his friend closely and extended his hand. "More importantly, there are people who need something to believe in again."

Tempus grasped Tanamier's hand firmly. "All right, then. We shall provide it."
 Episode 7: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 1988-01-01 
Journey into the Underdark... (Member Submission!) 
The original Scourge of the Underdark consisted of five individuals: Dhel, an elf hailing from Nesselentiss, who was reputed to be a member of the guild of stalkers; Tanamier, a half-elf also from the elven nation in the Duchy of Ulek, who was blessed with clerical powers in addition to being a fledgling wizard; Akira, a psionic warrior from the Jetai-Ryu order found in faraway Nippon; Kith Forester, a half-elven ranger also gifted with druidical abilities, and S'Thiss, a renegade dark elf. The group met in the country of The Yeomanry, near the villages of Milbourne and Thurmaster, located in the county of Haranshire. A failed kidnapping attempt brought the group together.

In Milbourne, the group encountered the mayor, Darius Carman, whose daughter Jelenneth, had been kidnapped. Jelenneth was a novice wizard studying with a tutor in Thurmaster, named Tauster.

The heroes were hired by Carmen to find his daughter. Through their investigations, they met the ranger Kuiper, the druid Oleanne (who would later be killed by drow hunters with their Shadow Circle druid leader), and the swanmay Shiraz. They soon discovered a plot to kidnap any being exhibiting magical gifts. Two such groups of evildoers were performing these kidnappings, apparently independent of each other. After defeating both groups, the Gifted One Tempus joined the group, and the heroes discovered the conspiracy soon led to the caverns of the Bloodskull Orcs, just beneath the surface. The soon-to-be Scourge routed the orcs in a series of pitched battles. At the end of the last battle, a svirfneblin priestess, Carmeneren, appeared to the heroes.

Carmeneren wanted to dissuade the heroes from venturing any further to investigate the conspiracy. She soon relented, but only after the heroes proved themselves in trials in the Underdark. Many adventures ensued, including meeting the dwarf berzerker Gorath, but two are worthy of special mention: the defeat of the Shadow Dragon Fandruzsch, and the conclusion of that battle, the discovery of the caverns of the Rockseer elves, who would play a greater role later on.

Kith Forester was the first to leave the group, feeling guilty about not confronting the Shadow Circle druids that he had seen on the surface. The remaining heroes pressed on, destroying an underground temple to the Tannar'ri Lord Juiblex, two tribes of Quaggoth and Hook Horrors, and a pack of Grell, with Dhel suffering serious injuries. However, after a battle with a beholder, the heroes found themselves too far from the deep gnome city to return to recuperate, and so Tanamier cast a Rope Trick spell, to hide while the heroes regained their strength.

It was an ill-fated move...

Forgetting that they carried a Leomund's Desirable Residence, an extra-dimensional magic item, the heroes entered the extra-dimensional space of the spell. A massive rift opened between the Prime Material and Astral planes, sucking the heroes into the Astral Plane. Tragedy followed, as they were noticed by the rulers of the Astral Plane, the Githyanki. In a ferocious battle, Dhel was destroyed and the heroes badly wounded, as the Githyanki mountain-fortress loomed in front of them. Then, through a stroke of luck or fate, a mysterious group of monk-like beings gated into the Astral plane and returned the heroes to the Prime Material just as another Githyanki party was about to arrive. The heroes later learned these beings to be called "The Order of the Lotus Flower". All this was at the beset of S'Thiss, who apparently had contacted them, though could not speak of them afterwards, apparently due to a mental block.

The heroes resumed their quest, and soon came upon Caelynn Silverleaf, a bladesinger who was the leader of an expedition investigating a drow party, but of which he was the only survivor. Rather than return to the surface in shame, the grey elf joined the band of heroes in order to discover who the conspirators were, suspecting the dark elves he had been hunting.

Caelynn was wrong, however. They discovered that it was, apparently, the kuo-toa, behind the kidnappings, and tracked them down to the City of the Glass Pool. They also discovered a paladin going by the name of Sir Darius Graymore. Sir Graymore informed them that he and his father had been bodyguards for a group of magi and had been attacked and brought down here. While Graymore had escaped the clutches of the kuo-toa, his father had not been so lucky. Graymore informed them of several inconsistencies within the City of the Glass Pool. For one, illithids were present, though they were usually mortal enemies of the fish-men; secondly, derro were also present, and the degenerate dwarf-race were also notorious for getting along with nobody. The heroes quickly determined that the illithids were administering potions of domination to the other two races, which gave them control over them, and had a side-effect of giving them a fish-like stench.

As they decided what to do, they also encountered a renegade group of derro, who had refused to team up with their contemporaries. Reaching an uneasy alliance with them, the Scourge of the Underdark mounted their attack upon the City of the Glass Pool. In an epic that is too lengthy to recount here, the heroes smashed the City of the Glass Pool with all its kuo-toa, derro, illithid, and ixzan inhabitants, while freeing the slaves present. Unfortunately, Graymore's father was not amongst them. The paladin determined that he had been taken further below, as the City of the Glass Pool contained a secret passage that was obviously a route to whomever was at the heart of the evil plot.

Other matters had to be taken care of. Caelynn Silverleaf led an expedition of Rockseer elves to the outskirts of Celene, his homeland, for what turned out to be a joyous reunion. They also met Brother Griften Insaith, a monk from the monastery of the Yellow Rose, here to investigate reported Scarlet Brotherhood activity. The most peculiar event was when the Scourge went to inform Darius Carman of their (lack of) progress in finding his daughter. Carman displayed only casual interest, which led the suspicious Tanamier to cast detect evil upon him.

The results were staggering.

The Gifted One left his meeting with Carman with a debilitating headache from the results of his detection spell. The Scourge set to arguing amongst themselves about a plan of action. Graymore favored an immediate confrontation with Carman; others suggested finding out about who had stolen their riches from the local bank, while others saw a need for urgent return to the Underdark. The latter side won, with the result that Graymore left the group to raise a force against Carman. Brother Griften, however, joined the group.
 Episode 6: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 2009-09-13 
The History of Brother Griften... (Member Submission!) 
Griften is middle child of three born to simple farming parents on the outskirts of Rel-Mord in the nation of Nyrond.

Griften was raised in this loving family and wanted for nothing, enjoying mischiefs and explorations with his siblings and the other children in their farming community. His parents' farm was small like many, but they had a small barn, tiny stables and two fields for their crop; all surrounding the small house where his parents still live to this day.

Griften's younger brother Darin was by far the most mischevious of the three, and Griften's contribution to the family chaos was tame by comparison; but their parents would certainly not have called either of their trouble-making sons responsible! Griften's older sister, Xenoria was the disciplinarian of the three; often charged with looking after her younger brothers when their parents were working on the farm or travelling to Rel-Mord. Xenoria was quite a bit older than her brothers; a decade having passed between her birth and Griften's.

When they last saw each-other, Griften's younger brother Darin, was continuing to work on their father's farm, content to work all day, drink all night, and more than happy to harass the ladies about town only to be scolded by his mother for a lack of responsibility.

Griften's sister's whereabouts remains a touchy subject at family gatherings. Seldom spoken of anymore, Griften's older sister Xenoria left home when Griften was still a boy. Just seventeen when she left, Griften's relationship with his older was one of great kinship; an unspoken understanding that they shared something beyond parentage; that amidst the normalcy of their surroundings, there was more to both of them than their parents cared to admit.

Griften recalls now that Xenoria recognized in him the budding power of his mind long before it was apparent even to Griften; she encouraged him to try moving objects without touching them and setting straw on fire without a tinderbox. Griften knows now that Xenoria herself was not without her secrets, and this would come to haunt Griften years later. When he first witnessed Xenoria's strange hobby, he was still a young boy and magic was still a story people told and a carnival trick at the annual fair. But soon Griften and Darin learned that their sister was more than just an imaginative girl 'playing pretend', she was already speaking the words of magic!

This, Griften thought, was the source of the tension that caused a rift in the family; Mother and Father had always been supportive of all their children's interests. Griften had bothered his father for months to teach him tricks with the staff before his father finally relented, and Darin had quit his archery lessons about seven times. What Griften first thought to be his parent's general disapproval of his sister's 'useless passtime' soon came to be understood as horror at the nature of her gift, and not the gift itself. Griften's parents never spoke of it to him.

Griften's memories of all that led to Xenoria leaving are few and clouded. He was just too young, and Darin was younger still. Griften still can only recall fragments and scenes, but they are filled with his parents pleading with his sister, arguing, yelling and great sadness. Griften was only ten when Xenoria finally left, but Griften's burgeoning gift allowed him to burn her image into his mind; he would never forget her.

It was Griften's father, Ammon who next saw in his son the growing power inside him. Perhaps learning from the Xenoria, Griften's parents welcomed and encouraged his growing power and made it part of their daily lives; even finding usefulness in it when Griften was able to control them. The last thing Griften's parents wanted was to lose another child from the same mistakes. Griften, in a way, owes much to his older sister for this.

As a young man, Griften had many jobs in town. Besides helping his father on the farm, Griften would take some of his extra time and work for merchants and stable-keepers for extra money. One of his more frequent jobs was to be the assistant shop-keeper for a man named Renoit. Renoit was a middle-aged man, quite a convincing salesperson when he wanted to be. He had no family that Griften knew of, and he came and went from town to town every year as he saw opportunity to trade with traveling caravans or spend some time in neighbouring towns and cities across Nyrond. Renoit was such a good salesman that he used to brag that he could sell anything to anyone.

One day, without any warning, Renoit told Griften that he would be leaving his shop for six days and that he wanted Griften to look after the store while he was away. Renoit said he would travel east to meet a very reputable pottery maker who would sell him beautiful potteries that he could in turn sell at the shop. Renoit told Griften that this trip was very important and that he would pay Griften twice his normal pay if he would stay and work while he was gone. Griften agreed.

Two days after Renoit had left, a man came to the shop asking if he could speak to Renoit. The man was tall, several inches taller than Griften, and he was clad in beautiful green and brown woven silk robes, and he had a hood drawn over his head. His face was fair, with prominent, high cheekbones and a broad smile, and he talked with an accent that Griften recognized as being Elven. He asked where Renoit had gone, but Griften could only tell him that he had traveled east. The man politely thanked Griften, tossed several gold coins on the counter, and turned and walked into the bustling midday crowd.

On the seventh day of Renoit's trip, Griften still had no word. He desperately wanted to return to his work at the farm. He did not like trying to sell people things they did not want, let alone need. He wondered why Renoit was in the business of selling things, what pleasure he got out of it. Griften reminded himself what an excellent entrepreneur Renoit was, and that he love his store more than anything else. Griften decided to stay on a few more days.

On the tenth day, Renoit had still not returned. No word had been sent, but Griften could not ignore his responsibilities at home with his father any longer. After two weeks of tending to Renoit's shop, Griften reluctantly closed the shop and put the keys in his room at home. Without any idea what happened to his friend, Griften always expected Renoit to casually walk back onto the farm and ask for the keys to his shop.

Renoit never returned.

As Griften became a teenager, his psionic power became undeniable; even a hindrance. Griften's father knew that he could not teach his son anything Griften didn't already know about his power, and so it was decided to find suitable instruction for what could no longer be denied; a destiny beyond the farms of Rel-Mord.

Having heard of a monastic order called 'The Brotherhood of the Yellow Rose', Griften's parents decided to seek them out. Entrusting Darin to a neighbouring family during their trip, Griften travelled with his parents further north than they had ever been, deep into The Rakers. Wild, barren and unwelcoming, they were led by caravan to a small village at the foot of a rise in the mountain range that disappeared far into the low clouds. It was there that they were greeted by monks who apparently resided there in the village, acting as 'gatekeepers' for those just like Griften and his parents; some curious, some desperate, and some with less honourable intentions.

They stayed in this small village three days before they were called to a tiny wooden house in the center of the village. There, Griften and his parents were introduced to more monks, all wearing the tell-tale yellow sashes. Griften recalls keenly being asked to demonstrate his gift, and it was shortly thereafter that Griften was invited to say goodbye to his parents; for the monks had decided.

It was a tearful goodbye; as any thirteen-year-old would fear the unknown so different from their home. Griften's parents assured him that he would see them again soon, and that this was the best thing for him. These words, however, rang empty in Griften's ears.

When finally brought to the Temple of the Yellow Rose; Griften marvelled at everything around him. He learned very quickly that the rigors he complained of working on the farm at home paled in comparison to the discipline and work ethic of his new teachers. Griften found a focus and a willpower he didn't know existed within him. Griften learned very quickly that an extra-ordinary mental being must be balanced well with a healthy body.

Griften remained in the secluded community of the Temple of the Yellow Rose for the next many years. In fact, no one came and went as Griften could tell. Many of his monkly-brothers had gifts such as him, some were martial in their focus, some psionic, some both. The degree to which Griften's gift could grow was limitless, but it was the contstant practice, experience and proper use that separated the strong from the weak. Griften was determined to succeed.

Not long into his eighteenth year, Griften began to have a recurring dream. It plagued him at no regular schedule, with no warning and no apparent reason. Some nights Griften slept peacefully, his dreams filled with peaceful memories of home and the comraderie of the brotherhood, but some nights Griften stared awake long into the night, trying to stay awake for fear that those dreams would turn into nightmares.

In this strange dream, Griften was surrounded by a thick fog so dense that he could not see his own feet. His skin shivered as the fog wafted over him and there was no noise, but this silence was unnatural. It was as if everything was being quiet, waiting quietly in anticipation for something to happen. He could see and feel very little but the cold, hard ground beneath him.

Griften had a sense of fear and urgency though he knew not why. Amidst the dead calm that the fog seemed to lay over him like a smothering blanket, a low, harsh whisper started very faintly, muttering words not loud enough for him to hear.

The whisper came not from one place, and not from his mind, but from all around him at the same time. In such a vaccuum of sound, even as a whisper it was enough to want to cover his ears. From his studies of ancient language, from all of his readings, Griften had never heard such horrible language; it was ugly and distasteful. It filled him with terror, though he did not know why. The unintelligible chatter seemed almost familiar, but Griften could never know whether it was because it was a recurring dream, or for some other reason

Then, as quickly as it had begun, it faded away and disappeared into the horrible fog, and Griften was left alone again in the cold vaccuum of darkness.

Griften shivered in his beg again as he returned mercifully to the oblivion of dreamless sleep.

After his induction into The Brotherhood of the Yellow Rose, the dreams plagued Brother Griften no more.

On the eve of having destroyed the altar in the temple of Tharizdun on the Isle of Shadows, Brother Griften had again for the first time that dream from years ago. Unable to wake himself using the powers of his mind, Brother Griften relived again the uncharacteristic terror that seeped through his bones and into his soul. He heard the same, unintelligible whispering, and this time, very clearly there were more words. He listened with some reluctance, almost afraid of what he might hear. He singled out the extra wording, and could hear clearly amidst the heavy silence: "Freeeeee.... freeee at laaast. You have my thanksss..... you will be rewaaaaardedddd..... freeeeee.... freeee at laaast. You have my thanksss..... you will be rewaaaaardedddd.....". This Brother Griften only heard twice, and then again the haunting whisper that gave him a sense of ominous foreboding.

When he awoke, Griften stared into the darkness of the Sunless Sea with wide-eyed horror. What had he done!? Those words, all this time... is that what they meant? What language was this?! How could he have had those dreams so many years ago, before all of this happened?!

Griften chose not to mention his latest dream to his companions. He wanted to keep it a secret lest he become even more of a burden and a suspicion when other matters more immediately should be dealt with. The towers of Great Sh'abboath loomed over Brother Griften as he returned to the cold, lifeless halls of troubled sleep.
 Episode 5: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 2008-11-14 
The History of Ashreal Groves'kin... (Member Submission!) 
I am Ashreal Groves'kin, druid, protector of the wild. I am nature's balance. My father, Sir Devon Fairheart, was a great knight and master of a beautiful Castle (Glastone Keep) which ruled the surrounding lands of "Glastone" near the city of Trigold in the Kingdome of Nyrond. My father was renowned for being a fair and humble lord of the lands, as his father was before him. He would often take me for long journeys through the countryside and on the Riverboats of the gypsies. My father's benevolence became so well-known among gypsies that the entire gypsy population of the nearby lands came at some point or another to live in his lands.

One day, when I was 8 years old, when we were enjoying some gypsy tunes on our favorite Riverboat, "The Sneering Serpent", we were set upon by Orcs, Trolls, and vile humans. The Gypsies fought bravely (swashbuckler's, rogues, thieves, wizards) but we were vastly outnumbered and our enemies lit the boat on fire (What I discovered later is that there was evil sorcery involved). My father knew he could not jump into the water to escape. He was fully armored. He died on that boat.

I managed to escape and fled back to the castle. When I returned, the castle was under siege by an enormous army of orcs, trolls, and goblins. As I understand now from that army's advances, they were following instruction from their General (Allabane Falsewing - A High Level Fighter - Evil Cleric) to overtake the castle which guarded the Glastone Ruby Mines. What I don't understand is why they wanted the mines so badly. The mines were almost completely drained of all their precious gems. There is nothing left in them, and yet they send hundreds of slaves into the mines, even to this day. The Castle was also overtaken and my family was killed. (2 older sisters Krista, Megan and a baby brother - Jerel, and my mother) and all of its inhabitants (120 people).

I stayed in the woods, surviving off the roots and berries that my gypsy friends had taught me to eat. I hunted as well. It was months until another boat drifted down the river. It was the gypsy ship, "the Sinking Skully", one of the largest ships to pass through my father's lands. On the stern of the ship I saw the captain's mate of the Sneering Serpent - Brutus Deckond. He had somehow survived the attack and found his cousin's ship!!! He was so overjoyed to see me. He had retrieved my father's armor and his rings from the wreckage of the ship and kept them locked away. He was planning on selling them once he had discovered that all the Fairhearts had died. But when he saw me, he told me he would safeguard the armor until I was old enough.

I lived on the Riverboat, learning some of the skills of my fellow gypsies. It was Brutus' other cousin who most intrigued me. He was a fair-skinned, short man with angular features. His name was Silver (8th level Ranger). He would always tell me he was the product of interbreeding. Silver never liked sailing on the Riverboat, so he would go on hunting excursions along the river, hunting small bands of human fighters patrolling for Allabane (who was residing in Glastone Keep). Silver's skill with a bow was unbelievable. He could kill a man standing 30 feet away, in pure darkness. He once felled three men before they could even draw their swords.

It was on his hunting excursions that I felt most alive, most happy being in the wild. He taught me the ways of the wild. Moving peacefully through the woods, reading the signs of nature. The most valuable lessons he taught me were the ways of animals. He could calm a raging beast by whispering softly to it. The way he handled horses was also unlike any other person I had ever seen. Horses fell madly in love with him and birds would often circle in close to perch on his shoulders. He taught me so much. We had a strange kinship together and I began to hunt the vile creatures that made up the army that killed my family, getting a fervent satisfaction from watching them die.

Four times a year, we would travel deep into the woods to visit one of Silver's friends. He was a powerful druid who lived in a sacred Grove of trees. He was the most enchanting and frightening person I had ever seen. They called him Dextar ForestGuard. He was like an animal himself. What he wore was thin hide, bones in his hair and many feathers. The skin of his face was tattooed with the image of a wolf. He was very kind and friendly to me once he saw my kinship with the wood. He taught me some of the lore and magic of his kind. I became an even fiercer defender of the woods and my love for the sacred Grove and all creatures grew until I found myself spending the greater portion of the year with Dextar. In time, I learned to be so one with the wood, I took on one of its forms. The bear came to me in a dream. It spoke some foreign tongue in my ear and when I repeated these words in the waking state I changed into a bear, brown, strong and powerful, and it was the most vivid, brilliant memory I have of my entire life. To be in my bear form is a strange and awesome ecstasy that I cannot convey adequately in the human tongue. Dextar told me I had graduated to the status of 'Forest Friend' and he tattooed my face with the image of the bear.

Through the years that followed, Silver would visit from time to time, often with the urgency of having found a band of Allabane's minions and requiring my help to dispose of them. I would always do so gladly and my skill with the Elohnna's power of Nature ever increased.

I am not a knight as my father was. My name, Ashreal Groves'kin is rather a nickname that my gypsy brother's and sisters call me. Ashreal means 'He who rose out of the ashes'. They were amazed that I survived the fires of the ship that claimed my father's life. That experiences scarred me for life and left a deep mark upon me. I have always had a strange relationship with fire. As my skills in nature's magic increased, I found a deep pleasure in wielding the fire magicks and I do so with great ease and relish.

The gypsies have often marveled at how gentle and kind I have remained despite their knowledge that I also possess a seething rage inside of me which comes out readily when I am near my foes. I still love to be with the gypsies and take as many opportunities as I can, as few as they are, to leave my duties to the land to be with them. On one such trip we made our way into the great city of Rel Mord to buy supplies for the ship.

It was then that I met Herenkar. A dire bear the likes of which I had rarely seen.

He was hauling stones across the courtyard to repair some fallen walls for the local lord. He was overworked and underfed. His companion, Macy, a black bear, was even more severely malnourished and completely miserable from her terrible work for her human master, curse his soul. Herenkar saw me before I saw him. He strayed from his normal route and came right up to me, ignoring that abominable human's lashes. The charm spell that he was under must have not been very powerful, because he began to disobey the slave driver's whips and to be drawn toward my nature's aura.

Herenkar placed a paw on my shoulder and I felt an instant bond with him. When he saw his love reciprocated, his eyes lit up and his face was animated, probably for the first time in his life, with a comical innocence that made me understand that he was to be my companion. I beat the human that enslaved them to a pulp and left the city with Macy and Herenkar. Macy died three days later, despite all the healing I attempted to give her. Herenkar recovered perfectly and remains my loyal companion and never leaves my side. He is very intelligent and awakened in many ways that is unusual for a bear. He has taught me much about animals and I know that Ehlonna created him for me as a companion. The Gypsy women tell me that he is the incarnation of the soul of my father. I don't know.

That is my story - Attikin Fairheart, son of Sir Devin Fairheart, and now I am known as Ashreal Groves'kin, he who rose out of the fire and defender of the woods of Glastone lands, friend of the gypsy and all who are friends of the woods, adversary of the hated Allabane and all his orcs, trolls and humans servants. I shall retake my father's Castle and reclaim the lands if it is the last thing I ever do. Herenkar says if it is the last thing he does as well. I know he means it.
 Episode 4: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 1999-05-15 
The History of Sir Graymore... (Member Submission!) 
Graymore was born in Chendyl, in the Furyondy. His family was poor, victims of the aftershocks of the Greyhawk Wars. Graymore lived his childhood years almost entirely without his father, Bremen. It seemed as though Darius' father wanted to have little to do with him at all, as he was rarely around, and when he did return home to visit, it was only for a short period of time. Later in life, Bremen would say in his own defense that it was merely "a matter of duty" that kept him away from his wife and son for so many years.

When Graymore was a very young man his father began to visit home and stay for increasing periods of time, as his son's company became more and more pleasant for conversation and physical activity. Eventually, Bremen gave up the mercenary life of adventure he had been leading to pay what bills he could and over the years slowly became accustomed to the life he led in Chendyl with his family. Bremen soon found himself leading an almost normal life, and became a devout worshipper of the god Pelor; his wife was already a religious woman and attended services regularly at the temple.

Darius grew up learning use of the sword as his father would teach him, but very quickly outgrew his father in both skill and size, and continued his training with the larger bastard sword. The priesthood for Pelor was prominent in the city, and his father's church-going habits rubbed off on him. Soon Graymore was attending services with or without his parents, going every day and very quickly became an altar server, and remained so throughout his childhood.

However, as he blossomed into a strong, sturdy young man, his skill grew and so did his involvement with the church. Graymore loved his life, the stringent schedule he kept with the services, work for his father, and the training he could afford in his spare time. He seriously considered becoming a priest, but his love of swordplay was overpowering, and as a young boy, his love of books was no match for the love of his blade.

A year or two after Graymore's decision to abstain from priestly studies, he discovered one of the high priests of Pelor practicing 'evil and dark things with dead bodies' in the basement of the temple one evening when no one was supposed to be in the temple. Darius was simply there to sweep the floor of the temple before mass...

So horrified was Darius when he saw this, he made no mention of it that day, and wandered the streets in anonymous contemplation about the horrors of what he saw. Disoriented, betrayed and completely infuriated, Darius knew too soon what he had to do. He reported it to the authorities and other priests of the temple, and sequestered himself in his room at home. For days his parents were worried. But Graymore would not speak of the source of his distress. No doubt the church had handled the problem quietly to avoid a disruption of the normal life led here in Chendyl. When Graymore's seclusion coincided with services, Graymore's father became quite upset, but Graymore had lost his faith, and wanted nothing to do with his father or the church he so loved... so he began a new life; one without direction.

Years passed, and while Graymore fought through his 'betrayal', he remained scarred and took service in the city guard. As another job, he would protect dignitaries and escort those who feared for their lives or had something valuable to protect. His sturdy sword-arm and peaceful wisdom made Graymore both a pleasant traveling companion and a fearless protector. He had not attended services at the temple of Pelor or any other place of worship in years, and had accustomed himself to its' absence.

Soon enough, Graymore's iron-clad dependency and high moral standing showed him to be a lawful, loyal and admirable figure in the city. His parents were proud, and he visited them often, helping them with anything he could by doing work his father could no longer, or simply spending time with his mother.
 Episode 3: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 1113-01-19 
The History of Tanamier Half-Elven... (Member Submission!) 
Unofficial leader of The Scourge, High Priest and Chosen One of Parthen the Protector, Tanamier's responsibility has always outweighed his heart's true desire. He now commands Nyrond's Last Stand Army on the Almorian border against Duke Szeffrin.

Tanamier Half Elven hails from the elven city of Nesselentiss, in the Duchy of Ulek. His mother, Realimya, was a war wizard for the city, while his father had apparently been a priest of a human god; Tanamier has only vague memories of him.

Early on in life Tanamier had apprenticed himself to his mother, learning the ways of magic with the aim of becoming a war wizard later on. Lacking the natural grace available to his full-blooded elven brethren, Tanamier made up for it by learning to spellcast while wearing heavy armor. He also learned to use a variety of weapons; all in all, he had the makings of a fine war wizard. In addition, good fortune always seemed to fall upon patrols that were accompanied by the half-elf.

Tanamier was just a recently graduated war wizard when House Norquar's humanoid armies attacked with their Shadow Circle leaders. Desperately trying to provide assistance during the battle, Tanamier was briefly separated from his mother. Fighting his way through orcs, goblins and bugbears, he caught sight of her just as she was brought down by a Shadow Druid's magic.

Devastated, Tanamier's mind barely registered events when he was swept up in the exodus from Nesselentis, so distraught was he over witnessing the death of his mother with whom he was so close. As they were escaping, a strange thing happened: Tanamier's band was set upon by a group of bugbears. Tanamier wished that his fellow elves would fight well enough to allow them to escape... and each warrior seemed to be granted an extra burst of energy, just enough to allow them to defeat the goblinoids. When he went to tend to one of his companion's wounds, Tanamier was astonished to realize he had magically healed his companion's injury. Tanamier now recalls this as the first time he had acted as Parthen's emissary.

Tanamier soon left on his own afterwards, trying to discover the nature of his mysterious powers. It was during these self-discovery travels that he met with the original members of the Scourge of the Underdark.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Tanamier has become almost something of a figure of myth in the Flanaess, a situation he is not exactly comfortable with. While he realizes that people appreciate his efforts, he is somewhat uncomfortable with the hero-worship he has received; it goes against his practical, down-to-earth nature. Tanamier's intellect and wisdom are his greatest traits when dealing with any foe or problem; he is usually able to acutely pick out the best course of action in most situations with a level head.

When dealing with great evil, however, Tanamier's vengeful side comes out. The other members of the Scourge of the Underdark still remember with shock how Tanamier dealt with the derro slavers that had sided with the aboleth when he discovered how they cruelly they had treated their slaves. Trapping them in a pit with the use of a Dig spell, he then burned them alive with greek fire. Fortunately, this dark side to Tanamier's personality rarely shows itself. Instead, his innate heroism, without seeking the spotlight, is always in the forefront. Tanamier is always the first to think about how a particular course of action will affect innocents and bystanders; he will always willingly sacrifice his own safety for that of the defenseless, and indeed, his own party members.

However, as the high priest of Parthen the Protector, Tanamier is at his best when using his magic to strengthen and safeguard his comrades in accordance with the mandate of his god. There have been many times when the day has been one through the subtle use of Tanamier's magic and prayers. Still, when it seems no one else is able, Tanamier is able to rush to the forefront, dealing with the enemy face-to-face in an efficient and deadly manner... as the pit fiend Pallistren can attest to.

Tanamier is a man who feels the burden of his responsibilities, and yet his strength of character is more than enough for him to handle them and make the tough decisions that only he can. He is held in the highest esteem by all who have met him, even by such persons as Bigby, King Archbold, Prince Lynwerd and even the Necromancers of Skahlehn. Tanamier's no-nonsense approach to things makes him an arguably more respected figure than his priestly brother Tempus.

There is only one person who has the ability to make Tanamier feel ill-at-ease, and that is Inkaneesta. The beautiful barbarian priestess and half-elf are very much in love but keep each other at arm's length each due to their responsibilities. Tanamier is longing for the day when he can make Inkaneesta his and live the quiet, normal, peaceful life has always dreamed of. He is grooming Crysus, whom he almost considers a son, to take his place one day so that his dream may be accomplished.
 Episode 2: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 1113-01-21 
The History of Tempus of Agravelenon... (Member Submission!) 
Chosen One and High Priest of Agravelenon, Tempus has been an integral part of the Scourge since the Underdark. Through marriage, the birth of his son, and exile from his homeland, he strives to bring the message of his god to the people in harsh times.

Tempus led the party with his Oerthly brother, Tanamier for a number of years. The two share a bond that goes beyond mortal comprehension, empowered by deities making themselves know in the Flanaess only now.

He has faced seemingly every danger the world has to offer, and still maintains a steadfast faith in Agravelenon, God of Warriors and Destruction. From fledgling warrior/cleric, Tempus has amassed a circle of friends that command the most powerful magiks in the world. From political powers to mysterious mages, from criminals and vagabonds to his royal allies, Tempus is indeed powerful, even without the aid of his deity.

He has faced every danger the world has from his days investigating the City of the Glass Pool, Tempus has strived to bring goodness and peace to the world in which he lives. Lonely, hard and dedicated, Tempus found comfort in the company of Tanamier, a fledgling wizard who also commanded similar priestly abilities. Tempus and Tanamier, joined by Dhel and S'Thiss, a renegade Dark Elf, found a common purpose together and so began a tale that has woven itself through the taverns of the entire Flanaess.

In their adventures, others such as Brother Griften and Kith Forrester joined Tempus, banding together and forming the most powerful force of good, The Scourge of the Underdark and to this day, tales snake their way into every conversation about the heroic band of adventurers. Their exploits help to shape the world in which good battles evil in every town, and their example brings hope to the hearts of those who have nothing to call their own.

Of all that Tempus, Chosen of Agravelenon has accomplished, one things stands atop them all as the defining achievement of his life... the rescue and retribution of his long-lost love, Tamarina.

For centuries, these two entwined souls have endured amidst chaos in the hope of finding everlasting peace and contentment once again. From the mists of Ravenloft and with the help of the rest of The Scourge, Tempus vanquished the ancient vampire Strahd with a powerful swing of his mighty Sunblade. From that point on, Tempus & Tamarina finally knew the love and peace they had sought for so many years.

And since then, their lives have grown more and more complete. With the birth of their first child, Tempus has found the inner peace he did not know before. Their life together in Rel Mord is fraught with the danger that Tempus welcomes, and the priesthood of Agravelenon draws more and more followers each month.

Here is a picture of the magical lockets bestowed upon Tempus & Tamarina by the mysterious Shadow Mage as a wedding gift. It allows for an apparent empathic link between those that share the two lockets across miles, across planes and through the trying times that the couple will endure. Surely there is something else to the motivations that this enigmatic figure has shown such generosity...

If there is one thing that Tempus may boast, if not the undying love his wife holds for him when he is away, it is the undying loyalty his companions have for the priest warrior.
 Episode 1: The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign - 2008-10-17 
The History of Caelynn Silverleaf... (Member Submission!) 
Born on the fourth day of spring in beautiful Celene, Caelynn, son of Jaenys and Erryn, was immediately noted to be different from other elves. He was a large baby, with piercing eyes of crystal blue, and had the proud bearing of a royal prince. His parents held him aloft in the shining sun with pride.

Raised as a poet and scholar, Caelynn learned the classic history of the Grey elves and embraced it fiercely. He often wondered why the other elves in the land seemed to dislike his race but at that time he put it down to their envy. His father, Jaenys, was the Minister of Agriculture for the city and as such was considered a minor nobleman. His mother was a teacher at the elementary school of wizardry, a place where young elves would begin to learn about magic and how to manipulate it. Caelynn had one sister, Ellenis, who was his elder by fifty years. Rumored to be among the most beautiful in the city, she had married an elder son of the Minister of Special Defense, the branch of the Celene Military, which commanded the awesome brigade of bladesingers.

Ellenis and Caelynn were very close, as is normal among elves. She saw in him the potential to be a great asset to his father's political future as he was tall, strong and impressive in his appearance. He found politics boring, however, and secretly dreamt of becoming an adventurer roaming the lands outside the forest while gaining magic and power vanquishing the enemies of the elves. This ambition led him to storm out of a cabinet meeting against his father's wishes one fateful evening, not realizing it would change his life...

His father had been opposing a bill, which denied other races, including other elves, from access to the eastern edge of the forest for agricultural expansion. Jaenys had a majority of the cabinet members' votes but the night of the secret ballot, he unexpectedly dropped his opposition to the bill after a private meeting with his wife. Caelynn could not understand what would make his father stand down like that, as he was always a proud and honorable elf and he failed to see the pain in his father's eyes when he spoke harsh words to him before storming out. To this day, only his parents (as well as certain others) know the truth [here you may insert what you want as the secret that was used to blackmail his father into backing down, I was thinking that maybe Caelynn had a different father, hence his strength and height, when his mother was visiting at another Grey elf city. They never told him but someone found out and used it against Jaenys.

The next day Caelynn applied to the Academy of Bladesingers and moved to his own quarters near the Academy. His relationship with his parents was shaken although it soon returned to normal after Caelynn immersed himself in his training and forgot about the world of politics. For the first time, Caelynn felt in his element. Always chided by his family for being so tall and strong, he now became the fiercest warrior, a whirlwind of shining silver with his sword. As is normal training for bladesingers, he spent half of his time training magically; learning offensive spells to best aid his fighting prowess. On border patrols, he was noted to be courageous, cunning and fearsome. Among the bladesingers in his unit, who had taken to calling him Orcsbane after he almost single-handedly destroyed a unit of twenty orcs and their leader, he became the unofficial leader and spokesman. However, the bladesingers are highly hierarchical and the fast rise of this brash young bladesinger was found to be unacceptable to many of the senior officers.

Caelynn was nevertheless promoted to lieutenant after only twenty years in the service. His conquests were numerous and his future was very bright. Unfortunately, as is Caelynn's way, he was very outspoken at briefings and officer's meetings and he vociferously disagreed to many aspects of Grey elf society. Believing in reaching out to extend the Grey elf power base and even to ally with the other elves (whom he was very curious about actually) to destroy all evil in the land, he often found himself disagreeing with his orders. On one occasion, he discovered an evil drow encampment located near the edge of Grey Elf lands. Very disturbed by this, he reported it to his superiors although he already knew what his orders would be: continue to observe the encampment and under no circumstances attack them unless they enter Grey Elf Land. By this time, the war against Elvandar was well known and Caelynn bristled as his people stood by and watched as another beautiful elven city fell to the foul black elves. After hearing of the fall of Elvandar, he secretly led his unit to the encampment and laid waste to it. The battle fought was a hard one and Caelynn lost three of his twenty men although the drow only numbered ten. He came to realize that there were very many powerful enemies out there and orcs and goblins were simply fodder.

When he returned from the raid, he was severely reprimanded for his actions and there was talk of a court martial. However, public opinion seemed to be wavering as the people learned of Caelynn Silverleaf and his beliefs. Thus, instead of a court martial, the decision was to send Caelynn on an expedition outside the borders of Celene with any members of his unit who chose to go with him. He realized this was a way to get rid of him but the prospect of leaving the city and seeing the rest of the world was too great and he chose to leave. All of his remaining unit accompanied him.

As soon as he and his men left the forest, they were waylaid by a large force of drow. Half of his unit was lost in the ambush and the rest, including him, were taken prisoner and taken into the underdark. He learned over the next weeks that the magic using prisoners were to be sent further down with human mercenaries while the others were simply kept by the dark elves to be taken to their city to be enslaved, tortured or killed. His moment of escape came when his simple-minded human captors stopped to rest on their first night. He magically unlocked his wooden cell and then aimed a weak, thin arm at the captors' tent. A moment later it was engulfed by a ball of brilliant white flame that burnt them to cinders. After freeing the other prisoners, he sent his remaining men back up to the city to report the news. Fearful and also curious as to the stories he had been hearing about what was happening in the city of the Glass Pool and beyond, he decided to venture on. It was a few days later that he met the rest of the Scourge of the Underdark; Gorath, Tempus, Tanamier, Akira, Griften and S'Thiss.