The sun was shining above Hawkstorm Keep, and the creatures of Frogmire Marsh buzzed all around as the Slime Knights trained in the walled off courtyard, but inside the small castle, the air itself seemed to be somber as Prince Algor and Toron prepared for a journey to the Lair of the Slime Elder Magi. After their encounter with Quazarec in Bakurados Bay, the two Slimes had plenty of time to talk on the return trip, and Toron had told Algor EVERYTHING…The darkness inside Algor, his questions about the Magi, and the strange Skeleton Idols. Algor had a lot of questions, but Toron had little answers so they decided to pay a visit to Magi.
Algor could hear the sound of Toron’s metal feet clanking on the stone floor as he approached his bedroom, and he chuckled a bit as the orange battle suit holding his old friend entered the doorway “ What? Are you just wearing that all time now Tor?” Algor said stuffing a few potions into his pack. Toron shrugged “ it’s got more storage…plus It’s just fun to be stronger than you for once, Al.” hoping the humor would brighten the mood at least a bit, but Algor’s face darkened as he looked down dejected “ I..I..cannot believe it Tor..” He said with a pause “you’ve finally gone senile old man….stronger than me? psssshhhhh” he added with a laugh. As the two old friends laughed Toron felt a sense of relief wash over him, and he was confident that Algor was strong enough to beat this evil infecting him.
The two Slimes went out to the courtyard towards the beast pens where Ziggy was napping peacefully on a large bed of soft dry Frogmire Moss. Algor whistled sharply and Ziggy was up like a bolt as the Slimes climbed on top of the large Slug. The Journey from the Marsh to the Magi’s Lair on the outskirts of Barrwood Forrest was only about three-quarters of a day’s trip on foot so with the speed of Land Slug it was barely over a few hours ride. By midday they had arrived, and to their surprise what had once been but a cave had been built up into a quaint cottage. As they dismounted Ziggy the three Magi appeared before them “ Ah Prince Algor, and Toron what a splendid honor. What may we do for you today, Friends?” one of the Magi asked them pleasantly. Algor looked at them “Well… Toron told me about the evil inside me, and I’ve got a lot of questions to ask you guys” he said pointing at all three of them. The Magi exchanged glances quickly “ Of course Prince, step inside, and we shall answer all your questions” they said in unison gesturing towards the door.
Inside the cottage, they sat at a large wooden table, and drinks and food appeared before their very eyes as they started talking. “Algor pounded his fist on the table “ WHY did you not tell me of this evil? Why send Toron on these clandestine operations on his own?” he asked loudly as the Magi tried to offer him a piece of meat drizzled in some kind of sauce. Putting down the tray of food one of the Magi responded “Algor, with the stress of the looming trouble on the planet, and all your other duties we thought it best to keep the burden of this knowledge off your chest until we had better plans to extract it from you” he said while hopping onto the chair to his left. Another of the Magi chimed in “Yes we had begun casting the magics that would bring the items needed to remove this evil from you to the surface” As the Magi said this Toron interjected “ Yes, and that brings us to our next question. These Skelton Idols we keep running into…what are they, and why do they keep showing up wherever YOU send us” the old Slime accusingly pointed at the Magi closest to him. The Magi looked at each other before one spoke up “ The magics we’ve used to bring these items that will help your friend has the side effects of bringing these items into contact with others of similar power, and since the artifacts we seek happen to be based in evil magic they attract other items of great evil like the idols” he said as another Magi added “ Yes, and it’s a good thing that they did because those Idols you see…They are some of the evilest items on the planet.” at this the third Magi spoke “you two know of the Great War that birthed the Covenant of Crowns, but what has been lost to antiquity of that great war is what happened to those who started it” as the Magi said this a book appeared out of thin air in front of him and floated over to Toron who grabbed it and started reading.
(From the Journal of Malbius Dondor Scribe of The Cazmeron Empire)
Generations ago a cabal of one hundred Generals plotted to conquer the entire Planet Jalldoon. Each of these generals brought an army of one thousand soldiers, and with the largest force ever assembled began eliminating Kings, Queens, Emperors, Sultans, and any other rulers spread out across the planet. As news traveled of this the unassociated royalty of Jalldoon banded together in what would become known as the Covenant of Crowns to smash down this force resulting in a Great War. Even one hundred Generals with one thousand soldiers each is no match for the combined armies of Jalldoon, and the plot was all in all put down rather quickly, but with many casualties on both sides. However, royalty is nothing if not terribly vindictive so merely defeating these Generals was not enough. Mages were called to curse the souls of these Generals, and ornate statues were created to house the crystallized cursed souls which would forever be in torment. Each of these one hundred statues were hidden throughout the planet with the full intention of being lost for all eternity. In reality though magic is never infallible, and these gems containing the cursed souls could be wielded by any ill-reputed magic user to conjure these generals and their armies in the form of fearsome Skeleton soldiers. Far more competent than your run of the mill shambling sack of bones these terrifying soldiers could make someone with bad intentions a very formidable force of minions. Possessing just one of these gems would increase the formidability of anyone, but if a person could acquire multiple gems they could be almost unstoppable with a force of wicked armored skeletons at their beck and call.
Toron sat in shock as he passed the book to Algor to read as he looked at the Magi “ We’ve all heard of the Great War, but why has this knowledge of the Idols not been known before now?” he asked them. One of the Magi turned towards Toron “ This journal itself is thousands of years old, and even it was written hundreds of years after the Great War. As time has passed the knowledge of the Idols has intentionally been lost to the ages to keep those of Evil intent from seeking out the gems to raise their own army” he said as another of the Magi too began to speak “ However many years ago an Evil Witch who had long studied the history of the planet began to assemble the Gems herself. The actions of this Witch soon caught the eyes of the Gods themselves, and she was banished to the North where the Gods have been sticking the direst threats to Jalldoon since time began. Her minions still live and continuously search for the power to break her from the North while also searching out the Gems from the Idols so she can command her armies to take control of all Jalldoon.” as he finished speaking the third Magi spoke “ Algor, with all you have on your plate preparing heroes to defend the planet, and this evil infecting you we tried to spare you the burden as we said, but now that you know it is imperative that we continue to procure these Gems so we can keep them from those who use them against us.” Algor thought for a second before speaking “the Gem we found at Hawkstorm…its in the Royal Vaults in Slime City. Shouldn’t you guys have it for safe keeping?” he asked the Magi. They seemed to think for a moment before one of them responded “No Algor, it is best if all the Gems are not in the same place, and in fact we were planning to split them up anyway so under the care of the Slimes is the best place for it” he said as he sipped from his goblet.
The Slimes and the Magi talked for hours until the summoning orb in Algor’s pack started humming, and with a few incantations a message from King Valdar was playing before them “My Son, There has been an emergency meeting of the Covenant called three days from now on Crown Isle. We must attend this meeting and will be using the Royal Airship to Travel to the Isle the day after tomorrow. I look forward to seeing you at the Palace son.” The message stopped, and The Slimes said their goodbyes to the Magi and took off towards Slime City on Ziggy. As they rode Toron suggested they stop by Karnok to see what they could learn about the Great War from the libraries there since they had nearly two days until they needed to leave for Crown Isle.
Arriving at the Imperial Palace of Karnok the Slimes were greeted by a group of Royal Guards who ushered them directly into the Emperor’s Throne Room. Rising from his throne Emperor Pullo greeted them warmly “Ahhh my Slime friends I see you received my message, and just in time for this Covenant meeting we have been summoned to as well” he said with a smile. Algor and Toron looked at each other with surprise “What message?” they asked in unison. Emperor Pullo frowned “Why not even Yesterday I sent messengers to bring you dire news” stroking his beard the Emperor of Karnok walked over to his Throne and sat down as he continued “ Baron Dracktholme was spotted by Merrick and his apprentice in the Jungles collecting some kind of sludge from the Ruins…” Algor stopped him “yeah, we know alllll about those ruins don’t we Tor?” he said clapping his friends back. Toron pulled his flask out of one of the many compartments on his Suit and tipped it into the mouthguard of the armor before responding “ Yeah we do, and anything the Baron is doing out there can’t be good that’s for sure, and coupled with the other evils we’ve been hearing about we’re going to have to be VERY careful” the old Slime said offering the flask to Emperor Pullo who rather discreetly took a quick swig before handing it back to Toron. Algor thought for a second “Plus Boshak is still out there with his band of thugs and monsters Tor, and you KNOW they’re being hidden by Dracktholme in the Dark Citadel…Something bad is brewing here, and we need to seriously be ready. Evil abounds on Jalldoon, and whatever this Emergency meeting is all about might be connected so let’s all keep our eyes open” as he said this Algor could feel a slight pull in the back of his mind. Now that he was aware of this evil inside him he could feel it now and then calling out to him pulling him towards the darkness. He had to fight it, he needed to be vigilant in monitoring this evil infecting his very being. Toron shook his friend “ Al? Al? you there?” which broke Algor’s revery “ yeah Tor, I’m here buddy just thinking… what did you say?” Toron let him go and shrugged “Like I was saying…the reason we’re here is to find some information about the Great War” he said to the Emperor who immediately flagged his assistant from across the large throne room.
The Emperor had called for the Imperial Lore Master. The Old man hobbled into the room slowly aided by an ornate cane. As he approached the Slimes he began to speak “Ahh Prince you seek information on the Great War? We have many writings of the war, but what may be of more use to you is the things we’ve found in the Lost Reliquary of Karnok that belonged to some of the greatest heroes of the War if you’d like to see them first?” at this Algor perked right up “you’ve got items from the great heroes themselves? Of course we want to look at those” he said to the Lore Master. They were brought to the Imperial Vaults where the Lore Master and his assistants had been diligently cataloging the wealth of items that had been unearthed in the Reliquary. The Lore Master pointed them to a corner on the side of the room that held all the items pertaining to that era of history.
After digging through boxes for a while they had found plenty of journals from heroes detailing things that happened during the war plenty of mentions of the Idols, but nothing that would really help them until they found a crate with a note attached which read “Bablov’s Kit”. After prying open the crate they found a book and a dusty bottle of wine as well as a hammer, a shield, and a stone pot leaning up against the box. Algor started flipping through the book, and he couldn’t believe his eyes. Bablov the Paladin was according to this book one of the people who created the seals that locked the souls of the Generals (and their soldiers) inside the gems the Idols held. As he read further he found the book contained a great many spells written down by Bablov himself, and even some spells that detailed how to safely destroy the gems if need be. The hammer and shield both contained enchantments that would be of great use to them as well, but as he turned another page a small piece of paper slipped out of the back of the book. Toron picked it up, and his eyes grew wide as he read it.
“To whom it may concern
You have found my Arcane Journal, and while it contains many spells you will undoubtedly find interesting it also contains something else of note. I Bablov Kalba have created a wine that has been celebrated throughout all of Jalldoon, and while I have taken steps to ensure that upon my death this wine will no longer be able to be produced I can’t bring myself to eradicate it fully. So included in my possessions (generously donated to J’naka Karnok, and his collection of artifacts) is a pot I’ve enchanted to imbue the spells my beloved Meven and I have used on the Gatonian Grapes grown by us to create our wine “La Gatos De La Vino Muerte” as well as a bottle of the original vintage to taste test against. On the reverse, you will find the instructions you or a wine lover in your life will need to recreate this stunning concoction for future generations if you so choose. May your glass always be full. – Bablov Kalba”
Toron looked at Algor “La Gatos De La Vino Muerte….I thought it was only a legend?” he said slowly looking at the bottle as he popped the ancient cork and took a sip. He was silent for a moment before speaking again “This… this is truly the best wine to ever pass my lips, Al.” he said passing the bottle to Algor who declined to try it. As Toron looked over the note he noticed an inscription scrawled on the bottom of the back side, and as he read it aloud a small compartment popped open on the binding of the book. As two small grape seeds fell onto the floor Toron snatched them up and put them in one of his pockets. Once they returned to Hawkstorm he’d set about growing these ancient Gatonian Grapes in the enchanted pot, but for now they had some new weapons and the spells needed to destroy the Gems contained in the Skeleton Idols. Algor grabbed the Hammer and Shield while Toron picked up the crate, book, pot, and the bottle of wine as they made their way back up to the Imperial Throne Room.
Algor and the Emperor spoke briefly and made plans for the Slimes to further comb through the items taken out of the Reliquary once they returned from the Covenant meeting. Emperor Pullo, Algor, and Toron walked outside where a Royal Carriage was waiting to take them to Slime City where they would board the Royal Slime Airship which would take them to Crown Isle. The Emperor and his entourage would be traveling with the Slimes so King Valdar and he could speak at length about the evils grouping together to destroy the planet, but as the carriage made its way to Slime City Prince Algor was lost in thought. Why had an emergency meeting of the Covenant been called? What was Baron Dracktholm up to? How would they remove this evil from his body? All he could hope was soon they’d have some answers.