Borderlands Campaign, Part VIII: Bug Trouble
As you have more time to examine the temple’s ancient carvings, scrolls, and tablets, and ponder what you have witnessed in the past few days, you piece together clues to the temple’s history. The giants who built this place discovered a magic crystal, the Eye of Naarash. They used its power to overpower their enemies and uncover arcane secrets, learning too late that the demon Naarash was imprisoned within – corrupting their plans and nourishing himself upon their hate and violence. The giants closed the temple and sealed it’s gate with magic, abandoning the town around it. Only a few years ago, some goblin adventurers breached the magical defenses and made their way into the temple. Learning of its power, they reactivated the Eye of Naarash and reawakened the demon. From there, they formed the Hand of Naarash cult, which grew with every village they raided. Naarash permitted only the strongest to lead the cult, so five times since its founding, the reigning leader was vanquished, and his killer became the new Voice of Naarash. This cycle ended with Jaryn defeating Larkazh, and you defeating Jaryn. The temple is still tainted by evil, and many goblins survived, though they were scattered and demoralized by the ruin of their cult.
Among the survivors of the cult, you find Harold, a skilled spearman, Josun, an experienced woodsman, and Donovan, a mysterious half-elf warlock (played by Davis). They help organize some of the other survivors, and accompany you as the dwarf Glasur takes you back downriver to the Adamant Falls citadel. There, Kaegon the dragonborn centurion, and Sir Pikeford celebrate the news of your victory over the demon, and the collapse of the cult. They tell you how they and the few remaining fighters were able to hold off a great siege by the goblin army and their human thralls, until the army broke as Naarash was slain.
Some of the refugees tell you that they tried to return to their farms, but found it infested with vicious bugs that attack them and destroy their crops. You went to investigate and were attacked by swarms of ravenous ankheg larva. Some well-placed blasts of magical fire took care of most of them, but your extermination work was interrupted as a ferocious bug nearly as big as a house burst from the ground and attacked. Despite being bitten and poisoned repeatedly, you were able to fight off all the horrible insects before the big one was able to drag Lorun back to its lair to be devoured. You finished off the main nesting mound, and earned the gratitude of the farmers (plus an old mule and an offer of betrothal to a farmer’s teenage daughter).
Satisfied with your good deed, you made your way back to Grayhollow. With Josun as a guide, some familiar landmarks, and helpful villagers, you travel through the borderlands and reach your destination. The villages you pass are still in poor shape from being raided, but the peasants are starting to return. Red autumn leaves fall from the trees, signaling that the first days of winter are not far off.
The refugees who choked the streets of Grayhollow when you left (just over one moon ago) are now gone. Life is beginning to return to normal in this small town. You break the news of Jaryn’s death to Sister Emesha, leaving out his turn to the dark side. She welcomes news of the cult’s downfall, but is too heartbroken to celebrate. She also relates that Lord Galan of Grayhollow has done little to help his subjects as they suffer under the raiders. He hordes food and protects himself within his keep while the peasants go hungry.Lucien and Alethea research the arcane writings they recovered to learn secrets never intended for mortal man, including how to summon a familiar spirit and bind it to a skull .