It has been mere days since you valiantly defended a Sanctorum of the Arcane hidden away in an ancient ruined city somewhere in the Hinterlands. Since that time, Yvgine’ and Master Ecor have been contacting other Sanctorum across Onara asking for assistance in this critical push against the Harvesters of Ymandragore and the machinations of the leader of the Ordainers, the traitor Lucius Orata.
The escaped Ymandragoran slave, Sevestia, has been invaluable in divulging important information on the inner workings of the Harvesters and their plots against the people of Onara. She has reluctantly given the leaders here information with the promise that it will be used to rescue her father from his millennia-long enslavement.
During this time, you have had the opportunity to continue your training and even stock up on some items that you feel you may need in the coming battle. A caravan of Yhing Hir traders has stopped at the Lost City of Balamshal following its seasonal route, offering up their wares for your perusal.
Finally, Y'vgine' calls you to join her in a planning meeting to finalize the plans of the attack. You enter the cold, metal chamber in the tallest of the ruined temples and find yourself joined by some of the greatest Arch-Mages of Onara along with a score or more seasoned adventurers in this endeavor, apparently trusted aides to these Masters of the Arcane. It is obvious that the issue before this council is serious indeed.
Master Ecor is addressing the assemblage. "I have been unable to make contact with Master Chivron. I fear he may have slipped too far to listen to reason. But I thank those of you who have made the journey.
"We have the unprecedented opportunity to strike at the very heart of the Harvesters and of Ymandragore itself. Though I disagree with the method, certain members of the Hawk faction have been unwittingly assisting a former member of our Order, the traitor Orata. Orata has been reveled to be the head of the Ymandragoran finger known as the Seekers of Ordained Knowledge.
"Through various despicable experiments, he has found a way to infect Sorcerers with a debilitating and deadly curse that acts much like a disease. He planned to use the boy, Cassicus val'Tensen to infect the whole of the Isle and arranged for the boy's Harvesting. He planned to use the chaos this would sow to stage his own insurrection against the Sorcerer-King and wrest power from his hands."
Looking contrite, Master Theron takes advantage of the pause in Master Ecor's speech. "Though we are sorry for the manner in which this has played out, this is a golden opportunity to strike at Ymandragore! The boy himself is resolved to see this through. He knows he will die regardless from this insidious curse and wishes to die for a reason, not hopeless and helpless in his bed."
"Then we trade one monster for another?" All eyes turn to the small man sitting upon an open-air litter. His ebony legs are frail and contorted in a manner that is painful even look at. Yet, for all this, his voice is clear and commanding. "At the very least the Sorcerer-King is contained upon his rocky perch by the ancient Myrantian Curse. Would we not be loosening a monster that could then strike with impunity across the land?"
Matching his steely gaze, Master Theron turns to the wizened Altherian Magus. "No. Now that we know of his plot, we will teach this Ordainer the folly of using the Hawks as his personal plaything. We will indeed set the boy’s curse upon Ymandragore, but if all goes well, Lucius Orata will not live to enjoy it.
"Sevestia has given us the information we need to strike at the Ordainers within their own base, hidden upon one of the many archipelagoes that surrounds the Isle of Tears. Her father has been upon the tiny island many times and can lead a strike team directly down Orata's throat."
Shaking his head ruefully, Master Ecor breaks in. "Though I fear that this may be folly, I have no choice but to believe that this may be our best chance for success. Here is what we have planned.
"Sevestia has given us the location of a gathering point for the Harvesters operating here in the Hinterlands and nearby nations. This base is well shielded from prying eyes as well as scrying spells. This particular gathering point has several escape tunnels strategically placed on the ground above that may allow us access to base below."
Gesturing towards the crippled Magus, Master Ecor continues. "Master Nevanbe' has procured enough blastpowder to destroy these tunnel entrances, ensuring that no Harvesters escape to warn their fellows. Thus the first order of business is to sneak down these tunnels and blow up the entrances. I have been informed that this can be done by placing the explosive at the base of the second set of wooden braces within the mouth of the tunnel.
"Each strike team will then proceed down into the base proper and make their way to the docking port
inside a natural cavern that opens up to the sea. We have contacted the Pearl Maidens and have secured their services in ensuring that no one but our own people escape out that way.
“As best as she can recall, the way to the cove is almost directly South of the escape tunnels. Keep on that course and you should be able to make your way to the docks with ease.
"Sevestia has told us that each Black Ship captain has a ring that commands those Infernals bound in the galley below. You must take the ring and command the demons to row to out to the Pearl Maidens’ waiting ship so that we may begin stage two of our assault."
Pausing, a mischievous little glint shines in Master Ecor's eyes. "Of course, should you come across any vital pieces of information or an opportunity to cause even more problems for the Ymandrakes, feel free. Just keep in mind that the primary objective is to capture that ship!"
The long trek from the Lost City of Balamshal to the southern coast of the Hinterlands has been arduous and taxing. Would that you were not carrying the sealed blast powder kegs. How easy it would have been for the Arch Mages to teleport you instantaneously to your destination. Had they done so however, the explosion would have destroyed the other half of the ruined city. Blast powder is highly unstable when
magically transported in quantities greater than a small bag full. Six other strike teams have accompanied you on this mission. Each tasked with the same goals:
Destroy the escape tunnels and commandeer a ship of the Black Fleet. You shake your head to yourself. You have still not decided whether this is an act of unparalleled bravery or an example of utmost stupidity.