(To be fair, I came into the game around level 3. The other characters had been with each other for a little bit now, learning each other’s ins and outs. This was (is) my first time playing D&D, so it was all entirely new to me. I’m taking down the story because I’m proud of our DM and the story is pretty cool. Here it all goes.)
Marie sat in the rafters of a temple. She’d been there for a couple of days now, watching the lumbering priest who guarded it. He was as boring as he was old. Brewing tea and meditating seemed to be the only things he did besides clean the rotten vegetables and fruit off his door that some village boys had thrown. Thankfully, he wasn’t the one she was interested in. His temple was a means to an end. There was a group she was looking for, a group that just might help her change the fate of the world. Inevitably, be it days or years, they would end up exactly where she had.
She was running out of time, these people were her last hope. She’d heard rumors of a few of them before. A red skinned halfling ranging about with his heavily armored companion (strange news for the mostly human land of Ijaan) and of a barbaric dwarf that took nothing from no one (though, that wasn’t an uncommon trait for dwarves). But lately she’d heard news of them combining forces, becoming a group. Her hope was that their cause would be sympathetic to hers.
There was a commotion from outside and Marie wondered if it was the boys again. A gruff war cry told her it wasn’t. The priest looked in annoyance at the door, but did not move. Without warning, it buckled and fell inward. A dwarf carrying a great axe entered, followed by an infreed, a halfling, an old wizard, a druid, and a tall man arrayed in heavy armor. They had arrived.
“We could have knocked,” the infreed was berating the dwarf.
“This isn’t a social call,” the dwarf grunted in return, leveling his axe at the priest who now stood and faced the group calmly.
Marie furrowed her brows. This certainly seemed to be the party she was looking for. She worried that she’d misconstrued their intentions. They were supposed to be do-gooders with strong moral compasses. Why then were they threatening the priest? Marie tried to move in closer to hear the conversation better. As she did, her foot slipped on the railing and she nearly fell. The party glanced up but she managed to hide herself behind the rafters in time. No one saw her and they continued talking to the priest.
“Tamaryn, my name is Adalos,” the infreed said, his black hair whipping about his face like flames dancing in dry leaves, “you have been sending undead to plague the people of Kingsport. They have asked us to stop you. Now, I am a reasonable man, I just want to know why you did it and deal with this peacefully.”
Marie scoffed, the priest may be a bit odd but he was no necromancer. Tamaryn seemed equally miffed as he sat back down and poured another steaming cup of tea, “I have done no such thing,” he said, “that is all the work of a far more malevolent being.”
“Who?” the halfling piped up. She was quite small compared to the rest of the group, especially the tall, fully armored man she was standing next to.
“You seem to be aligned with him,” Tamaryn said, “that mayor is not all he seems to be. He wants something from my temple and has been spreading lies throughout the town in order to bring me ruin. You see, if I’m out of the way, there’s nothing stopping him from a total take over.”
“Can you prove this?” Adalos asked.
“Of course not, but I’m no necromancer so that should be a pretty good sign,” the priest replied.
“What does the mayor want?” the wizard asked, piping up for the first time. For some reason his face felt familiar to Marie, a memory triggered in the back of her mind that she couldn’t quite recall. Nothing. She drew a blank. She moved on.
“Something that belongs rightfully to you,” Tamaryn pointed a plump finger at the dwarf.
The dwarf grunted and shrugged, he definitely seemed disappointed that they weren’t going to fight anymore. It was the halflings curiosity that kept the conversation going, “What is it?” she asked, scooting closer to the tea.
“A weapon made for you, Bender,” Tamaryn answered, keeping his tea out of the reach of the halfling.
“I’ve got a weapon,” Bender, the dwarf, growled. He did not ask how the priest knew his name.
No one noticed why the infreed had grown silent, Marie saw it though. He was trembling and his eyes were slowly turning black. She’d seen it before. She knew what was happening. Yes, this was the party she’d been looking for and it was about to get very dangerous for everyone.
Adalos, now having lost his will, was being controlled by something outside himself. The other members of the group jumped back as he lashed out at Bender, who blocked his flailing hits with the broadside of his great axe. Now was as good a time as any, Marie had to stop him before he hurt anyone. With the skill from years of practice behind her, she slipped down from the rafters to tackled the infreed. She landed behind him, kicking his legs out from under him and then rolled to pin him down. He flailed, but she held on, keeping him down.
In this time, the wizard, druid, Bender, the armored man, and the halfling all moved in. Each went about their approach, unsure of what to do with a woman who just dropped down out of the ceiling. The armored man was some sort of cleric, he began trying to fix Adalos. The wizard and druid stood by, waiting to assist when they could. They didn’t want to risk hurting the party because of their attacks.
The halfling tried her best to knock out Adalos and only managed to have her rapier thrown across the room by his flailing limbs. Bender cared less about the infreed’s current state and more about the stranger who seemed to be attacking him. He lashed out at Marie, she nearly lost her hold on Adalos, but remained pinning him. Her right arm now bleeding severely, she tightened her grip on him. Again he tried to break free but could not.
The cleric finally came forward, trying to aid Marie, he laid his hand on Adalos but nothing happened. The halfling went to retrieve her weapon and Bender continued with his attacks against Marie. The wizard and Druid began flipping through tomes, trying to find something that would help. As quickly as it had begun, it ended. Adalos went limp in Marie’s arms and it seemed his spill was over.
Marie stood up and checked his eyes to see if he was being controlled. He was himself, fully awake and aware of what had just happened. His head in his hands, he sat on the floor while the cleric fussed over him like a mother hen.
“Who are you?” Bender bellowed.
Cautiously Marie raised her hands in defense, “I was just trying to help,” she said, “my name is Marie.”
“Marie,” the halfling repeated returning from fetching her weapon, “I’m Clary Haro. Pleased to meet ya!” She offered her tiny hand in greeting, Marie took it lightly while eyeing Bender warily. He still held his great axe threateningly.
“Are you hurt?” the cleric in his mighty armor asked. His voice was strangely high-pitched and nervous for someone of his stature and Marie couldn’t help but smile at the irony of it.
“My arm’s a bit damaged, but I’m fine otherwise,” she replied.
“How long were you in my rafters?” Tamaryn scoffed, he walked up to her curiosity overflowing. “Why are you here?” he asked.
“I’ve been here a while,” Marie replied, allowing the cleric to inspect and heal her wound. “I’m looking for someone,” she answered the second question.
“Your name is Marie?” the wizard asked. She nodded. “My name is Chrom, the elf druid is Diarus. Thank you for helping when you did.”
“And I’m Jim,” the armored man said, “who are you looking for?”
“An old acquaintance,” Marie muttered, “there’s may be something in Tamaryn’s temple to help find her.”
“In the temple?” Haro squeaked, noticing for the first time the large open doorway that allowed a view of the steps descending into the ground below.
“I was waiting for someone to come along with me,” Marie tried, it wasn’t entirely a lie, “it’s not exactly the safest place.”
“No, no, you’re right,” Tamaryn mused, “it was tricky before with all the traps and riddles, now it’s just impossible with how it’s been infected. Damned evil dwelling creteans have taken over down there.”
“Don’t get carried away now,” Chrom butted in, “we came here to do a job for the mayor, but it seems we’ve been mislead. We can’t just go back to town though and accuse their mayor of lying, we need to sort this out.”
“I agree,” Diarus said, “but while we’re here, we might as well see what’s lurking below. Perhaps it has something to do with the undead plaguing the town. We can’t just let darkness roam beneath this temple.”
“Maybe,” Tamaryn sighed, “it won’t be easy. I don’t even go down there anymore.”
“Is no one going to address what just happened?” Bender questioned, pointing at Marie and then Adalos.
“He can’t help it!” Jim piped up, standing protectively in front of Adalos.
“Why not?” Bender thundered.
“He’s cursed,” Jim said mournfully.
“Does it matter?” Marie asked, “It’s over with now, there’s no use fighting something we can’t fix or even understand.” Jim glanced at her hopefully, smiling with thanks. She did not smile back.
“No one asked you,” Bender growled, “you’re some stranger who, for all we know, might be the cause of all the undead pillaging the town.”
“I’m not,” Marie answered firmly, “listen, my work is a bit time sensitive and as much as I’d like help down there, I’d rather do it by myself than worry about someone putting an axe in my back because he has trust issues.”
Bender’s jaw clenched and Marie was sure he was going to strike her when Haro stood in between them, “Look, we don’t know for sure where the evil in the town’s coming from, but there is evil down there. That’s something we can bank on. It might not be the source, but who cares? It’s evil. We can take care of that. As for the new comer, it’s odd. But she helped us. That’s all that matters right now. I’m going down those stairs and everyone else should too.”
Bender huffed a bit, glaring at Marie, but seemed to calm down, “Fine,” he said. Without another word he turned and stood at the top of the stairs.
“Fair enough,” Tamaryn replied, “it won’t be easy down there. I’m sure you’ll figure it out, though. I’d go with you, but someone has to keep that fat man from invading my home. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”
“Marie,” Adalos had risen from his spot on the floor and now stood ashamedly in front of the group, “thank you for stopping me.”
“Anyone would have,” she replied, “now, there’s something in this temple and since our quests seem to align I think it best we carry on before anything else drastic happens.”
“I’m not going with you,” Adalos said firmly.
“Why on earth not?” Bender said angrily.
“I can’t trust myself around you,” he answered.
“Whatever,” Bender scoffed, it was odd that he didn’t want to fight. Instead, he began trekking down the stairs. Chrom, Haro, and Diarus all followed without another word. Jim waited a moment, undecided whether he would follow Adalos or continue on with the party
“Go with them,” Adalos told Jim, “I’m just need some time to myself. I’ll come back.” Jim still seemed unsure but went after Bender. Adalos and Marie remained for a moment more.
“You should come with us,” Marie said, “it’s over with for now. You’d be more useful to your group down there than sulking in the woods.”
“Thank you for helping me,” Adalos said, he turned and went out the door. Marie turned then, and followed down the steps. Wondering at what her new companions were truly like and what was in store for all of them.