The Saga of the Black-Clad Bard

Orc University
In which the adventurers learn the value of education

The adventurers awoke from their group dream in the Endless Tale in to find the floor below them (which doubled as a bookstore) had been ransacked, and that the proprietor of the establishment had been kidnapped.

The Lamplighter City guard had already been investigating the scene, and despite Excelsior’s attempt to slink away, a Lieutenant MacKrueger managed to question the party on their involvement in this incident. It was perhaps the only time the adventurers will ever actually be innocent. Some quick thinking (and magical countermeasures installed by the owner) cleared the group of guilt.

MacKrueger, knowing the guards were woefully understaffed, asked the nascent guild if they’d be willing to investigate this incident on their behalf. This was the fifth such incident in the past 6 months or so – a local scholar had being apparently kidnapped with no warning nor any hint of a culprit. The party, promised with the city collectively owing them one, agreed to help.

After “interrogating” the town’s enchanter and defeating the eponymous trio of the Three Bears Apothecary, they pieced together a few eyewitness accounts that indicated a few large humanoids had stuffed the victim into a sack and taken him to the mountainous terrain northeast of the city. It did not take the collective expertise of the party’s bounty hunters and guide to discern that orcs were the culprit in this crime, and they successfully tracked the perpetrators to a camp. Unfortunately, they were discovered by one of the orcs, who lifted his greataxe over his head screaming at the party.

While some of the party caught on quickly that this intimidating act was merely the method by which orcs greet each other, the party’s mischievous illusionist decided it would be funny to try and knock the orc’s weapon from his grasp. This turned out to be a bad idea. The orc seemed to have some sort of spiritual connection with his weapon, and grew very aggressive toward the gnome responsible. Things nearly escalated into a bloodbath until the party’s druid realized that allowing the wronged orc to get orc-justice would prevent the entire party from having to fight a hopeless battle.

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The Curtain Rises

It begins, as most things do, in a tavern.

A cloaked figure glowers in the corner, taunting a group of adventurers with cryptic riddles alluding to a performance they’ll put on for him. He is the Black-clad Bard, and he does not seem to be anything but an illusion – disappearing before the adventurer’s eyes when finally attacked.

The adventurers, who happen to be staying in the same inn, the Endless Tale, enter some sort of group trance. Floating through the cosmos and equipped with ancient weapons and ensorcelled armor, the Bard once again calls the adventurers to perform for him. They wake from this dream to find a commotion downstairs – could this be the Bard’s doing?

[Side note: aaaand that’s enough of the present tense]

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