Prince Algor sat in silence. His room lit only by candles that cast a warm glow reflecting off the Prince’s slick skin. Astral communication was a new technique the Slime Elder Magi had taught him to keep in contact with them, and as Algor’s body sat safely in the tower of the Royal Castle of Slime City his astral form was conferring with the Magi and the Voice of the Gods. The drums of war had been beating louder and louder as Baron Dracktholm and Master Boshak grew their army larger by the day. The roads of Jalldoon were littered with raiding bandits, and fear was at an all-time high. The Voice had explained all this to Algor, but now the need for heroes was rising so action must be taken.
All were in agreement that a team must be assembled to protect the good citizens of the Planet from the evil facing them, and the Magi knew of the perfect place for this team to base their operations. The Magi made motes of light dance in the astral air as the trail was laid out for Algor to follow, and the Voice of the Gods promised Algor a gift to aid his quest as the connection was broken. Algor opened his eyes as he adjusted to being back in his body instead of floating in astral space, and he lingered just a moment before heading deep into the bowels of the Castle where Toron had built his laboratory. On the way down he passed his sister Ikari who smiled “Hey Al, whatcha doing?” the young Slime asked her older brother, and Algor smiled back as he replied “ Heading down to Toron’s lab, care to join me sis?” motioning for her to follow him. Down in the lab, the two slimes found Toron tinkering with one of Baron Dracktholm’s drones that had been shot down outside the city. A piercing alarm blared from the drone as Toron snipped a wire inside its round body, and it didn’t stop until Toron bashed the cpu to bits with a mallet. As the drone sparked and died on the work table Toron turned towards his friends “Hey guys….uhh these drones sure are hard to crack huh?” he asked tossing the mallet onto the bench next to him before adding “What’s up?” as he wheeled his stool away from the now smoking wreck of the drone which was being doused by TB36’s (the latest iteration of Toron’s Mechanical lab assistant) fire extinguisher attachment. Algor picked up a bubbling beaker of blue liquid and swished it around as he spoke, “The Magi and the Voice have requested we find a base for the team we need to assemble old friend, and the two of us must head to Frogmire Marsh to investigate a possible location first thing in the morning”. Toron frowned “Man, we JUST got back here two days ago after that incident in the jungle Al, cant a slime get a few days of rest?” he asked Algor, who laughed as he replied “Come on Tor, we’re setting up a base that I’m sure is going to need TONS of inventions and problems to be solved, you old grump…I KNOW you can’t resist a good tinkering ”. Before Toron could interject Ikari piped in “You two don’t think you’re leaving me here again to shoulder the full weight of the heirs to the Slime throne alone do you?” she asked as they all laughed.
The next morning as the three Slimes prepared everything they needed for the journey to Frogmire Marsh one of the King’s royal guard came running in “Prince Algor a crate awaits you at the front gate” he yelled as he caught his breath. Algor and Toron headed out to the gate to inspect this crate, and upon opening it they discovered a gleaming set of armor and a note that read “ Algor, wear this with pride as you defend our Planet”-The Voice of the Gods. Algor looked over the armor which included a helmet, armor, a tabard, and a wicked mace. As he put the armor on he could feel power emanating from it as Ikari made here way out to the courtyard of the castle “ WOW that armor looks great bro! Where’s mine?” she asked with a smile. As she said this the King himself made his way towards them “My dear, if you want some armor I shall have the Royal smiths create some for you” the King said as he hugged his daughter. The King looked over his children and his oldest friend Toron with a smile as he spoke again “ My children, I am so proud of the Slimes you have become, and I know your mother would be proud if she was here too” he said before adding “ be careful out there, and watch out for your sister Algor” with a slap to Algor’s back “don’t worry Dad, we’ll be fine” Algor said hugging his father as the three Slimes mounted Slugs and headed out to Barrwood Forest where they would start on he path to Frogmire Marsh. As they rode Ikari looked at Algor “Do you remember Mom Al?” she asked her brother as Algor looked wistful “yes I do Kari, and she was wonderful. She used to sing me to sleep with a strange song in some long dead language each night, and we spent many days before you were born exploring the world and identifying creatures… I miss her every day” he said to his sister as she looked sad before Toron piped in “ Your Mother was a great woman, and I personally hold out hope she will one day be returned to us” he said as the Slugs picked up speed and made talking impossible.
After an uneventful trip to the edge of Barrwood Forest the group dismounted their Slugs and continued on foot. As they made their way through the dark forest Ikari couldn’t help but think of the last time she was here searching for Algor when he had disappeared, and while it had been great having him back something had changed in him since he had returned from his ordeal in The Underworld. Her brother had become more violent, and he smiled a lot less these days. Ikari didn’t know what had really happened in that place as Algor never talked about it, but she hoped that soon he would be back to his old self. She was broken out of her thoughts by Toron’s voice “Ok guys, we’re approaching the edges of Frogmire let’s be careful here…you never know whats lurking in these waters” he said as he collapsed his spyglass and placed it back inside his body. The dark waters of Frogmire Marsh bubbled before the party as they slowly made their way across the floating sections of peat that would sustain their weight. As they made their way across a particularly deep pond Ikari took the lead, and as she hopped onto a section of peat a giant Crocoladon burst from the water snatching Ikari up in its jaws before submerging again under the black waters of the marsh. Algor yelled “NO!” and took his heroic form with Toron forming a spear before the floating peat beneath them sunk. Algor couldn’t see a thing in the black water but particles of plant matter floating inches in front of him. He swam furiously searching for his sister until he could no longer hold his breath. As he surfaced he heard a shout “come on you guys we have a mission to accomplish here, and we don’t have time for splashing” it was Ikari chiding them from the edge of the pond with the corpse of the Crocodalon next to her. After swimming to the shore Algor asked her what happened “ Come on bro, you think a silly Croc could kill me? I can handle myself, and it was easy I just turned into a blade inside its mouth…simple” She said with a smile.
After a long and slow slog through the swamp they saw their objective, a moss covered keep with two tall towers on either side grew out of the swamp. As they approached the gates they saw them secured by many chains and locks, and after much slashing, kicking, and pounding they had finally managed to get them open. Walking into the courtyard they looked around at the vine-covered walls, and overgrown plants creeping up everywhere. Toron spoke up “Why is it so quiet?” he asked noticing that not even birds or insects were chirping in this area of the swamp. Algor pulled an axe buried in a crumbling stone wall out and the entire wall collapsed with a loud crash, and suddenly the still air was broken by a strange clacking sound “uh oh…whats that?” Ikari asked as they grouped up looking around everywhere for the source of the sound. As the door to the interior burst open hundreds of skeletons poured out, and despite the ease at which they could be shattered their numbers were overwhelming to the Slimes, and as a club wielded by a hand of bones bounced off Algor’s helmet he shouted “ TO THE WALLS!” as they made their way up a set of stairs with the skeletons hot on their heels. Backed into a corner Toron pulled a small sphere from inside himself as he turned to Algor and said “take Ikari and jump over the wall!” as Algor picked his sister up and jumped over the wall landing safely in a cluster of ferns before looking back up at Toron “what are you doing Tor?” he yelled. Toron looked down with a smile “don’t worry about it buddy!” he said as he pushed a button on the sphere before jumping off the wall himself. Seconds later there was a bright flash followed by many thousands of bones being blasted into the air, and as they made their way back inside the courtyard Algor and Ikari were amazed to see every skeleton had been torn apart by whatever Toron had thrown at them. Algor looked at his friend “what WAS that?” he asked kicking a bone aside with his foot, and Toron’s face lit up in a huge smile “Just a little something I’ve been working on Al, its a simple contained force blast that was meant to subdue without killing, but you know…skeletons are barely held together so it kind of decimated them.” He replied to the stunned Algor and Ikari.
As they made their way inside (clearing out any remaining skeletons) they found the keep went down below ground several levels, and in the lowest level they found what appeared to be an excavation to build another level. in the middle of a tunnel they found a partially cleared monument that was a statue of a skeleton holding a glowing purple gem in its stone hands “dollars to batcakes that’s the reason for all the skeletons” Toron said as Algor pried it off the statue “well we better have this thing secured someplace safe then”Algor said tucking the gem into his belt. Exploring the rest of the keep they discovered plenty of rooms to house an army as well as a big eating hall, and a few armories stuffed with rusted and rotting weapons. Toron found a great place in one of the lower levels to set up his lab, and they talked about getting crews from Slime City and Karnok down to repair everything.
As they prepared to head back home to get help the glowing specter of one of the Slime Elder Magi appeared before them, and as he laid out the plans for the keep he suggested that Toron stay at the keep until their return to guard it. The Magi bid them farewell before disappearing in a flash. Algor looked at Toron “you going to be ok here by yourself buddy?” he asked, but Toron just waved him off “come on Al, I was keeping myself alive long before you were born” the old Slime said with a smile. As Toron said his goodbyes to Algor and Ikari he watched them walking down the trail leading to the keep before securing the heavy doors to keep any wildlife out. As he closed the doors he noticed a small plaque nearly covered in vines and rust just next to the door, and after scrapping it a bit clean he held the plaque in his hands and looked at the words etched into the metal “ Hawkstorm Keep huh? Pretty nice name” he said oout loudas he placed the plaque back into the slot it had hung in. As he made his way back inside to start cleaning up a bit all three Magi appeared before him “Toron, we asked you to stay behind not to guard this keep, but to do something for us” They said in unison “Toron had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach as he spoke “ What exactly would you like me to do?” he asked the Magi. The Magi looked nervously between themselves before speaking “ As you have likely noticed Prince Algor has become increasingly dark in his demeanor as of late, and we fear a darkness has grown inside him. We want you to acquire something that will allow us to extract this darkness from his very soul” the words hit Toron like a ton of bricks, but he knew they were right. Algor had gown Violent and moody, and things hadn’t been the same since his return from The Underworld. The magi laid out what he must do, and asked him if he needed anything for this journey. Toron gave them a list of things he’d need, and in an instant everything he had requested was right there in front of him “Wow! You guys work quick huh?” he asked them, but they just told him to contact them once the job was done and just like that their shimmering projections disappeared leaving Toron alone. Toron looked at the pile of tools and materials in front of him and thought to himself “well time to get to work”.