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Po Quay, Wizard of Guildhall

Location: Foothills of the Forlorn Mountains

SUMMARY: Philosopher Po determines that the Haze will arrive on Friday Night of the Octis Market and sweep over the foothills of the Forlorn Mountains where the bones of many orcs lie. He determines the best time to disperse the Haze will be Saturday Night in an old cemetery full of orc bones. He discovers the two bridges in the area over the river are blocked by orcs, goblins, and ogres from the deadfort. Po knows of another way across. A Crystal Bridge from the Age of Life. The Guildsmen of Evermore will need to help Po repair the bridge if they are to stop the Necrotic Haze sweeping the land.

Philosopher Po walked along the treelined road with Dimitri Treeloi. Both men kept close to the foliage, creeping along carefully as if trying to avoid being seen. They moved more cautiously as the road slopped down toward the wild mountain stream. The rush of water could be heard clearly, drowning out the soft bird chirps from the thick woods around them.

They water came into view, both men slowed, peering through the autumn leaves. A dozen green skins lounged around a rickety wooden bridge just wide enough for a small cart to pass. Red battle standards adorned the bridge, proudly displaying the green orc fist on a red field of blood.

Despite Po’s attempts to examine the bridge without being seen, one of the orcs seemed to notice Po immediately. The orc gave a shout and the goblins quickly scrambled to their feet bows in hand. The ogres responded more slowly forming a ragged line.

“Who goes there?” the orc asked, loudly.

“Touchy, aren’t they?” Dimitri said, backing away.

Po held his position. “I am a Wizard of Guildhall. I want no trouble.”

“You cannot pass.” The orc drew his blade. “No Guildsman may enter the Forlorn Mountains without permission. You try. You die.”

“We don’t want any trouble,” Po assured the orc.

“Try and cross!” The orc encouraged.

As a group the orcs of the dread fort did not like the Guildsmen of Evermore and looked for reasons to kill them. The animosity had begun more than two decades ago after the Herald of Grotar was freed from his prison and then murdered by a Guildsman during a meeting of peace. The act had set in motion the chain of events that six years later resulted in the rise of Emperor Gorefang and the rebirth of the Orc Empire.

“I want no trouble,” Po repeated. “We will not cross.”

Po observed a dozen more orcs on the far side of the bridge forming into shield wall with ranks of ogres to their front and goblins archers on the river banks. The bridge could not be crossed, not even by an army of Guildsmen.

The orc motioned with his rusty blade. “Go then!”

Po turned away catching up to Dimitri who had hurried down the trail. The man paced angrily. “I want to see the cemetery, but they have both bridges under control. There is no way we can force through such a chokepoint, even if we got the charter sponsor to lend us troops. Only three of four people could fight at time. They battle could take days.”

“I concur,” Po agreed. “You will have to rely on the information I gathered when I visited the cemetery last week before Gorefang’s message to Lavassa forced the closing of the foothills. I traced the flows to the cemetery. Examined the stars, and took the readings, and I’m sure the ceremony must be performed at the heart of the haze which will be on the other side of this river.”

“How will the Guildsmen get to ceremony site.” Dimitri asked. “We cannot fight through those guards and trying to go around would take a day.”

“There might be a way,” Po said. “Follow me.”

Po led Dimitri off the path. They pushed through the thick woods and about an hour later they path crossed an old overgrown trail. Po knelt down to scrape the soil with the blade of his dagger.

“What are you looking for?” Dimitri asked.

Po poked the soil until his dagger hit something hard, then he moved aside the dirt revealing an ancient crystal cobblestone. “In the Age of Life this was a wide avenue, leading to a crystal bridge.”

The wizard stood and walked a distance down the road until he could hear the flowing river ahead. Then, he began searching along the path pushing through the bushes. “I found it! Help me.”

Po and Dimitri cleared away the brush to reveal a shattered crystal altar.

Dimitri brushed moss from the crystal. “I’ve seen device like this in Solace. The Guilds who visited there told me some of them still worked.”

Po nodded. “With the release of Fate and Time energies mana flows more freely. The ancient mana controlling devices are starting to function again. This one though needs to be repaired. The orcs destroyed this in the Age of Death. They hated everything that the Five built. The accomplishments of the Age of Life reminded the people of the world that had been lost.”

“Yes…. I remember these machines,” Dimitri gasped suddenly. “Not this one… but others like it… I see a memory… the panel controls the flow of energy. They open doors. Raise bridges… They had many devices like this in the Age of Life… I remember… I… I… no its gone. The memory is gone.”

Po laid a hand on his shoulder. “You are correct. Years ago, before he burned his notes and fled, Kendrick Kane told me about a bridge and the broken panel that controlled it. He wanted to excavate this site but never got around to it. And we are lucky he didn’t.”

Po lead Dimitri to the water’s edge and deep below the surface was a span of crystal. “The bridge is intact. If the Guildsmen of Evermore can repair the panel we can raise the bridge and cross here without having to fight the orcs.”

Dimitri nodded. “Are you sure the bridge will work. The panel looks well-smashed.”

“I will investigate.” Po said, returning to the panel. He was eager to see a part of the Age of Life restored to working order. “We will need to repair the circuits that conduct mana. Some gears have been broken as well. Of course, the control crystals are missing.”

Dimitri bent down and pick up a crystal. “Is this what you are looking for?”

“Exactly,” Po said. “The orcs usually broke up things and tossed away the pieces. If you found one crystal, there are likely more lying around. This can be repaired.”

Dimitri put the crystal in his pocket. “If the pieces can be found, the repair should be possible.”

“Rebuilding the control panel will just take time,” Po mused. “The Guildsmen will need to find the parts and use their skills to install them. The only difficulty will be the soulless undead rising up because of the haze. This whole area was within the city limits of the crystal city. Thousands were slaughtered here in those dark days of death.”


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