Echoes of Ragnarok III
Main Quest Log
November 4, 1017
The time had come once again for Ulric of the Jomsvikings to pen a missive to the heroes of the Realms. Once again, through communing with the remaining gods, he and his people were able to learn of another wrong that need be righted in order to heal Norlund and begin Ragnarok as the legends foretold. The Jomsvikings had learned that the goddess Hel was under siege in her own domain, some of her generals having turned traitor and marshaled their armies together to oppose her. There could be little doubt that the force that opposed Ragnarok from occurring had somehow gained influence over parts of Helís army and had left her in a most dire position.
Responding well to their allyís summons, the heroes of the Realms met Ulric on the steps of Helheim where he instructed them as to their task. There was no way a small band of even the mightiest heroes could hope to defeat the entire army opposing Hel, but by going on a series of covert missions to places that were determined to be enemy staging grounds and sources of strength, smaller numbers of warriors could be effective in weakening this massive force and turning the overall tide of battle in the empress of the deadís favor. Briefed on the first of such operations, the adventurers hurried off to fulfil their duty.
As was to be expected, fighting their way through the barren hellscape was no easy task. The undead that opposed the heroes were strong and the heroes quickly learned that there was a miasma of dishonor that hung over all of them that made them weaker, restricted their access to spells and armor, and made taking every step a battle in and of itself. There were, however, methods to relieve those burdens. Killing the undead who opposed them allowed the heroes to gain honor which gave them the strength to slough off some of the restrictions put upon them by the environment. Also, some heroes began to gather small bones that they found on their adversaries and assemble them into powerful totems called fetishes which unlocked even greater powers.
It wasnít long until the heroes came up against a heavy door that they could not budge. There were letters and symbols scrawled across its stone face and it wasnít long until the adventurers realized that they had already found the tools they needed to open the way forward. The door would throw itself open if the correct notes were played, and they had found a set of hollow spines that, when struck, would emit those correct tones. As they progressed further and further through the caverns of Helheim more of these musical bones were found and the puzzles that locked the doors become more complex. The heroes also came across cloth dolls completely blank of any features, as well as clearly enchanted tools which could be used to decorate them. Through divination they learned that creating cloth replicas of themselves was the key to escaping Helís domain once their tasks there were done.
The adventurers soon came across a set of tunnels where the winds were so strong that they could not push themselves to walk against them. These winds of the dead would have stopped them in their tracks forever but for mysterious floor panels that seemed to somehow make those standing on them immune to the gusts. To make use of the few panels that existed, the heroes were forced to link arms, pulling themselves person by person from one panel to the next as they made it through the tunnels and out of the influence of the devastating gales.
Deep in one of the caverns, at the first enemy staging area, the heroes saw a pedestal and upon it a large goblet of dark liquid. It was somewhat clear that whatever lay in that vessel was a source of power for the enemy and as if to confirm that suspicion, the undead that opposed them seemed to be, more and more, covered with dark splotches and wielding more devastating abilities. Yet the goblet was locked down with ghostly chains and surrounded by scales filled with colored rocks. Nearby was a giant pit of sand in which great worms undulated. The heroes realized that from that sand pit they had to sift out colored rocks to balance the scales. While some battled the worms and kept them at bay, others dug through the dirt in order to find the gems that they needed. When all of the scales were balanced, the chain fell away and the heroes dashed the goblet of black liquid to the ground. Their first mission was a successful one.
When the heroes returned to their own staging area they found a missive waiting for them scrolled onto the walls of the cavern. They needed next to proceed to a bridge that lay over the chasm of lost souls and fight their way across that bridge past an endless horde of undead. Luckily the missive, left by another group of Helís operatives, contained the instructions for creating an ice spell that, when shaped into a missile, could be used to freeze the skeletons in place, activating switches that could open the way forward on the bridge. It was a long fight as the heroes slowly advanced, cutting down their enemies, timing their throws so that the undead would be stopped just as they activated the mechanisms. They did reach the end of the bridge eventually, however, and after doing so were able to empty the next goblet of dark liquid.
As the heroes returned to their staging area they found that the other covert team of Helís agents had left them both a meal to lift their spirits and a locked chest that surly contained something that they would desperately need. The heroes ate while they continued to work on their cloth replicas and tried to complete the complex musical puzzle that kept the chest locked.
Only one enemy staging area remained. The heroes fought their way through increasingly more powerful, increasingly darkened undead. Tunnel after tunnel and cavern after cavern, eventually they came to a place where ghostly apparitions bubbled out of pits at their feet. Instructed by yet another missive from Helís agents, the heroes knew that these souls of the damned would need to be moved to their final resting place and in doing so, the chain that was set around the last of the vessels of black ichor would be undone. Scooping up the soul material with hands and shields and cloaks the heroes brought the bubbling whiteness to a pit that lie on the other side of the room near the goblet. When finally the pit was full the chain fell away and the dark liquid was again disposed of.
Returning once again to their staging area, the heroes finally unlocked the chest left to them by Helís agents. From the missive locked inside they were told that in the deepest areas behind enemy lines there lay a secret lab. In this laboratory evil experiments were being done that resulted in the black liquid which gave the minions of the traitorous generals so much power. The agents of Hel were eliminated to all but a couple men in but in doing so were able to gather together the reagents necessary to ruin the experiments determine how to raize the laboratory to the ground. Armed with these reagents and the knowledge of what they had to do, the adventurers boldly fought their way forward until they found a room full of vials and flasks, benches and tables, bones and many, many containers of the black liquid they had seen all day. And something else. A giant tank and suspended within it some sort of creature.
It took a few moments for recognition to hit, and only a split second after that for the adventuring party to be struck by pure terror. Fixated in that tank, hooked up to wires and tubes and seemingly unable to move due to the dagger that impaled it, was a Bedlam Bois. The pieces fell into place quickly after that. Somehow the generals had been able to capture one of these horrible creatures alive and had suspended it in time in order to perform experiments on it. When the rest of ďthe black deathĒ disappeared from Norlund, this specimen did not, so frozen it was in stasis. The dark ichor that was fueling the army that stood against Hel was using the power of Bedlam to make itself a more fearsome adversary than anyone could have expected.
It was with righteous fury, then, that the heroes of the Realms followed the instructions written to them by Helís agents. They ruined each experiment with the correct reagents. They set fire to the different parts of the laboratory equipment in the correct order, and then they tore everything; every table and bench, every bone and every vial, apart with their bare hands, stomped it to dust beneath their heels, and made sure that nothing could ever be made with such horrible powers ever again. The Bois, having been released of its stasis with the destruction of the lab, faded into oblivion, leaving nothing behind.
And so the heroes had succeeded at their task. The armies that opposed Hel were in tatters and robbed of their power. Yet the task that still remained in front of them was to escape the domain of the very goddess that they had come there to aid. Fortunate that they had been preparing for that eventuality all along. As they walked to the place where they could escape Helheim through the branches of Yggdrasil the guardian of that doorway stood before them; the son of Fenrir. This gigantic demonic wolf was tasked with not letting a single soul slip by him, but he was easily fooled by the cloth doppelgangers that the heroes had worked so hard to construct. One by one, the adventurers diverted the monsterís attention with their dolls, and one by one they slipped away back home.