The party woke up in Altopia and got up to get breakfast which turned out to be eggs and pancakes. They didn’t normally serve pancakes in this inn, but since it was so close to the town’s annual fountain festival, they wanted breakfast to be special. No sooner had they seated themselves to dig it than an unhappy looking dwarf kicked in the door and eyeballed the room menacingly.
“I hear there are some adventurer’s staying in this inn, you five from the look of it” Guard Captain Rokgi Finn pointed at the table where Araliss and Aodhgagan were seated with the others. “I’m gonna need you to come with me, we need your help and we’ll pay handsomely for it” then, looking around the room again “I’ll also need eight volunteers for conscripted guard duty.” In a few minutes the party was assembled in another unhappy dwarf’s office. This one had a family resemblance to the first, but his hand was freshly bandaged.
“My name is Hadrok Finn, we have a problem of a somewhat sensitive nature here so we’d like to hire you folks to take care of it instead of having our own folk exposed to such things. You see, they’re just not trained for this kind of… disturbance. So if you’re willing, can I get your word you’ll speak of this to no man?”
“You have my word by Pelor!” Alezar said immediately and overzealously. Shortly the others swore similar oaths and Hadrok opened the door behind him to reveal yet a third dwarf, bound and gagged in a chair, his eyes empty and white. The party was immediately overcome with a sense that this creature, and he should be called that, was missing whatever had once made him a person. His being robed in the manner of an acolyte of Moradin seemed a mockery of the faith at best.
It seemed that the acolyte had been found wandering and had attacked, wounding Hadrok. With the festival so near, they did not want to alert the town to the taint at the temple. But everything sane and good in this acolyte had gone, and they wanted a group prepared for such atrocities to go investigate, so the party agreed and headed out only to be confronted by a third Finn brother.
“My good sirs, I have heard what my brothers have tasked you with and I have a simple request. The fountain for our festival was being crafted by the monks at the temple, if you are able to retrieve the fountain I will reward you myself. We need the festival to go forward for morale’s sake in these dark times. If you are unable, I will understand, I am sure this job will not be an easy one. I wish you luck.”
Then the party immediately down the road and at the first left began their trek through the woods to the temple. Shortly, the party saw a group of monks gathered in a circle in a clearing. Aodhgagan already had a plan of attack ready.
“Lynna, Araliss and Malik, sneak around in the woods to get an advantageous position, Alezar and I will try to talk sense into them. At the first sign of trouble, attack.” A few moments later he and Alezar walked forward slowly towards the monks, who upon closer inspection were huddled around the corpse of what must have once been a small child.
“Hail and well met good monks” Alezar shouted waving at them.
“WRYYYYYYYYYYYYY”, the priest turned around and screamed. At which point Aodghagan and Alezar charged into what was to become the fray.
Meanwhile Lynna jumped out from the woods on the right of the clearing only to come face to face with a dog foaming at the mouth. Then Araliss and Malik jumped out from the woods on the left side of the clearing and discovered a second rabid dog in hiding.
Muttering arcane words under his breath Malik summoned an astral wasp to harry the dog. The dog ran yelping from it straight into ‘the fray’ where it stopped for a moment to howl at Alezar, knocking Alezar to the ground unconscious. Aodhgagan, furious at his comrade’s untimely nap drove his greatsword up to the hilt into the still screaming priest as he yelled some inspiring words at Alezar, who opened his eyes and took stock of the situation.
On the edges of the battle, Lynna was being shot at by three of the monks who were armed with bows. Araliss and Malik were cursing and summoning causing much hysteria amongst the remaining deranged monks. By the time Alezar stood up and slew the crazed dog who had felled him, the battle was all but over. Aodhgagan blew up the second dog when it tried to bite him while Lynna and Malik finished off the remaining monks with crossbow bolts and fiery explosions.
Only a sole acolyte remained, lying unconscious in the middle of the clearing. Lynna bound his hands and feet, but there was still some disagreement over what to do with him. Upon touching the body to move it, Aodhgagan felt a prescence still raging inside the acolyte, and while Alezar thought there was still a chance he could be saved, he was arguing the losing side and during the debate Malik strode over to the posessed monk’s body and shot a single magic missile leaving only a splatter of blood where a head had once been and a moot point where a disagreement had once been.
The interior of the temple was in total disarray. Pews were overturned, the altar was out of alignment, and yelling could be heard through a locked door on the right-hand side of the room. While Aodhgagan and Alezar attempted to open the door to get to the yelling Lynna opened the lock on the far side of the room, looked inside and timidly said “Hello…”
A cry went up from behind the newly opened door and the party sprung into action. Malik hurled blasts of fire through the door and Araliss cut at the ravenous foes with his longsword, teleporting into the room after the first enemy fell.
One of the frothing brutes teleported to directly in front of Malik and started to attack him, but Alezar and Aodhgagan charged to his rescue. As soon as Alezar and Aodhgagan showed up, Lynna left to open more doors and they took stock of their tactical situation. It was bad. Araliss was cut off from the rest of the party trading swordblows with the psychopathic ex-monks while Alezar and Aodhgagan fought desperately to hold the door against them.
On the other side of the room, Lynna unlocked the door the others had tried to open earlier and opened it only to find a badly savaged dwarf who yelled “Stay back monster!”
“I’m not a monster” contested Lynna.
“Don’t come any closer”, Lynna leaned out of the doorway to shoot at a madman and glanced back at the dwarf reassuringly.
At the doorway, a mad priest heaved Alezar bodily into the doorframe only to be dispatched by Malik’s magic missile. In the room beyond Araliss dispatched the last two enemies with his longsword.
Lynna, still opening doors discovered something notably less wholesome than an injured dwarf behind door number two. An Elf and a Human (a married couple Malik later informed them) were gutted and mutilated. One was split stem to stern laid out on what had been a reading table, and the other was pinned to an interior door by a faintly glowing sword. After trying the third door and finding it blocked, Lynna steeled her resolve and opened the interior door with the corpse pinned to it. Behind it were two fey children sobbing in the corner. After a well intentioned but wholly failed series of attempts to console the mentally scarred children, the injured dwarf, recently splinted, hobbled into the room to comfort them in their grief.
Over in the battleground Araliss studied the statues of Moradin and looked through an open door into the next room where aside from a pile of crates there was only one thing of importance.
A staircase headed down…