Echoes of Ragnarok II
Main Quest Log
December 3, 1016
As was the habit by now, a missive from Ulric of the Jomsvikings reached the heroes of the Realms, once again beseeching them for their aid in fixing the broken worlds of Norlund and rekindling the holy war of Ragnarok. Following the trail of the Fire Jotun that they fought at Himmelberget, Urlic had turned the sights of his mystics upon Muspelheim, their lands of origin, with the thought that it might be the source of whatever enemies are standing in the way of the heroes' aims. When Urlic met the adventurers to inform them of his findings and begin their excursion into the domain of fire, he had with him a grizzled old dwarf named Baern who was familiar with Muspelheim, an emissary sent by the recently crowned King Wéland to help guide the heroes on their journey.
Ulric had learned that the ruler of Muspelheim, Surtr, had been killed but not by the Black Death that ravaged so many of the peoples of Norlund. His death had occurred much more recently. Thankfully, Fire Jotun cannot be killed eternally so long as they are in their own domain, and given that Surtr's flames were destined to be those that burned the world in Ragnarok, returning him to life was not only possible, it was urgent. To give new life to the Flame Lord, his ashes would need to be collected and thrown into the eldritch pyre so that he could be reborn from its energy. Baern had managed, through his contacts, to acquire an urn that held some of those very ashes, but he also knew there were five more that the adventurers would have to locate. So across the Vanfrost they traveled to the world of flame.
Muspelheim is not a place where mortals can survive for long, but using magical totems the heroes were able to create a zone of safety within the fiery domain. For the most part they all had to stay together as they moved these totems along with them, but they also found they could craft magical jewelry from charms to make them immune to the environment. As time went on through the day they found different sorts of charms as well as recipes to make other varieties of jewelry to empower them. As they progressed through the canyons of onyx and fire, the adventurers found themselves at battle with red, horned creatures, devils of Norlun who were called the faenfolk. These demons opposed them at every turn alongside the occasional fire jotun as well. Slowly but surely, however, the heroes made their way forward.
Soon they came to a large cavern that had in the center one of the urns that they sought. It was, however, irretrievable under a dome of unbreakable class. Around the room a jotun marched, tethered to a board covered with many shaped holes. Meanwhile, strange lizards lurked in the corridors, protecting their nests and their clutches of eggs. These salamanders were mighty foes and their skin was so tough that weapons broke across their hides. The heroes, however, were well prepared and were able to defeat many of these monsters with magic or arrows. As they cracked open the eggs in each nest they found a colored goo that was needed to fill in the board pulled by the Jotun. It was only after they were each covered that a mechanism was triggered and the urn was recovered from the pedestal in the center of the room.
Afterwards the heroes entered another cavern, again with an urn in the center under a glass dome. This time there were flames lit around the sides of the room and three unlit candles surrounding the urn on the center pedestal. With the burning flames sat a pile of strange sticks that would spark with bright light when they were lit, but only for a short time. What is more, the sparking flame was so unnaturally heavy that a person holding a lit stick could not move their feet. The heroes, through trial and error, learned that they had to create a cascade of flame from the candles around the sides of the room to the candles in the center. Forming long chains of people they passed the flame from one to the other by lighting the sparking sticks off of one another across the vast cavern, igniting the flames in the center all at once. As they each flickered to life, the dome in the center clicked open and the adventurers recovered the urn.
After winding their way through several other passages, fighting faenfolk, jotun, and salamanders along the way, the heroes found themselves in a sparse forest, with logs and boards in piles on the ground along with a stack of unarmed traps. Baern noted that they had found themselves in the Dark Forest, a place where trees unaffected by Muspelheim's fires were able to grow. Baern warned the questing party that lately the wooded land had become the territory of a seemingly endless horde of undead - a strange type of creature to be be found in the world of flame. In the center, near the piles of wood, was another urn on a pedestal, this one accompanied by a scale with a great weight on one side. Baern advised that the heroes had the best chance of survival in these hostile lands if they used the building materials they could scavenge to build a fortification and arm some traps.
Just as the final boards were being placed in the walls of their fortress, the undead came pouring out of the surrounding landscape. They threw themselves at the walls of the fortification, using boulders to try and tear open avenues of attack, but the heroes rebuffed them each time and quickly rebuilt everything that was broken. Even when a fire jotun joined the fray the massive damage that he inflicted on the walls was easily set to right. Heroes were manning the traps, they were repairing structural damage, and they were slaughtering each undead that approached, pulling off each of them a bone chip that they placed on the scale near the urn. It took many warriors killing many skeletons to do it, but eventually the scale was balanced between the bone chips and the weight, and the dome covering the urn clicked open. The undead retreated in failure.
The day had grown long, at this point, and Baern, who was not an adventurer by nature, was unable to go much longer without provisions. Serendipitously enough, as the questing party left the Dark Forest, Baern's sharp nose caught the scent of food cooking on the nearby mountain. Following the dwarf, the heroes of the Realms climbed the steep mountainside and found themselves staring into the lair of a dragonesque creature who was clearly engaged in cooking a large meal. Unexpectedly hospitable, the dragon, who called himself Ember, welcomed the heroes to him home and bade them to eat. As they filled themselves with the provided meal, Ember explained that Surtr, the lord of Muspelheim, was killed by his own brother and his retainers to try and usurp the rule of the realm for their own. They had formed an army with the help of the mysterious faenfolk and all together they sought to prevent the battle of Ragnarok from occurring. They would much rather say alive and stay in command of the land of flame.
Ember, however, gave the heroes a great boon. Not only was one of the urns in his possession, which he readily handed over to the adventurers, he also explained to them that in order for Surtr to be returned to life, not only his ashes, but also the pieces of the obsidian crown now worn by his brother must be all together joined in the eldritch fire that would rebirth the lord of flame. There was only one more urn that must be found before the heroes could achieve this goal.
Leaving Ember's lair the heroes found themselves atop a volcano that appeared to have been dormant for some time. Next to the mouth sat a strange goblet atop a pedestal and efforts to figure out why it was there revealed that it was a receptacle for fire-water, a substance known to activate volcanoes and force them to erupt. As the adventurers explored further they soon found themselves beset on all sides by strange snake people who were trying to impede their progress. Strangely enough, searching the dead bodies of these snakes revealed odd gems. The reason why became obvious as the heroes made it far back into the snake people's lair. They found a pool of lava water and in it a large number of eggs. A quick investigation showed that once exposed to a gem, an egg would immediately hatch into a small froglike creature, the food source for the snakes. These frogs, however, could also be used to transport the fire-water to the waiting goblet, and using them one frog at a time the heroes filled the goblet to full and dumped it in the volcano. The ensuing eruption ejected not only lava, but the final urn as well.
With the urns collected, Baern led the heroes to the seat of Surtr's power where the magical fire to bring him new life burned. In the highest parts of the palace was his brother, bearing the obsidian crown and commanding an army of faenfolk to attack the adventurers. Around the fire, salamanders wearing colored pendants wandered between six colored crystals on pedestals that matched the colors of the urns. By luring the salamanders to the correct crystals in the correct pattern the fire in the center of the room would change color. As the flame changed to the color of each urn, the vessel of ashes was thrown inside. Meanwhile, the heroes fight tooth and nail against Surtr's brother, and each time they were able to stun him they suffered incredible losses braving his terrible fists and fiery visage. But they were also, one by one, able to tear away the pieces of the crown from his head. When at last the last piece was removed from him, and he lay defeated on the ground, they were able to finish the ritual to give Surtr new life by throwing the shards of the crown into the fire.
Suddenly a bright red light shone from the central fire. A voice boomed out. Surtur was in the process of being reborn but first he bellowed a warning to the adventurers. That any mortal that looked upon his true form would have their soul incinerated. With those words of caution the heroes of the Realms made haste back to the awaiting Vanfrost. They had been successful on their mission and one more broken part of Norlund had been made whole. But perhaps this latest adventure had created more questions than it had answered.