Lane's Campaign

Alecamania and Soup

The party was escorted to Lord Voldoff’s estate and brought into his chambers. Voldoff dismissed the guards, and Alec explained the situation while Murdoch and Bruce set their sights on the various expensive liquors within the room’s wet-bar. Upon hearing their predicament, Voldoff made Alec a proposal: an alleged witch had recently been sentenced to death by combat in the arena, but none of his gladiators were brave enough to volunteer for the job. Seeing the vast amount of revenue he would generate by bringing his most popular champion out of retirement for one final match, Voldoff offered to make the party’s trouble with the law disappear if Alec would agree to enter the arena one last time. Alec agreed on the condition that his friends be permitted to fight alongside him, and Voldoff consented. He told the party that the trial would occur one week from that day and suggested that they make preparations, as the rumors about their opponent – if true – were many and ominous. After leaving the estate the party decided to follow a map they’d found among King Tork’s possessions, which led to a small cluster of mountains a few hours from the outskirts of Bayside. Finding a path winding up into the hills, the party began their ascent. After a few hours, the path broke into a small clearing, where the party found a solitary hovel made mostly of animal skins and bits of unfinished wood. As they examined the property, its owner returned dragging two fresh deer carcasses behind him. The party prepared for a fight, but the startled man ignored their drawn weapons and greeted them warmly, inviting them in for dinner. Seating themselves on stumps inside the sparse hut, the party learned that the man’s name was Zeke, and that he’d been alone on this mountain for decades, living off the land and keeping to himself. He made small talk with them as he prepared stew from the deer he’d killed that day, and although the party was cautious when he served it to them in bowls made of rough tree bark, they quickly found that it was the most delicious meal any of them could remember. Feeling invigorated, Murdoch drew the map from his pack and showed it to Zeke, asking him if he knew anything about the place marked on it. Zeke suddenly grew quiet, then said that he had something he wanted to show them. He took them out behind the hut and showed them what could only be graciously described as a woodworking shop. The ground was littered with roughly hewn stumps, upon which had been chiseled many names. Zeke explained that at the top of the mountain was a massive graveyard, and beyond the graveyard, a small cabin. One day while exploring the cabin, he found a book filled with thousands of names. He began matching the names in the book to those on the gravestones, and found that there were still hundreds of people unaccounted for. It was then he decided to make it his life’s work to provide grave markers to those who had none – he had been hauling his makeshift tombstones, one at a time, up the mountain for years and placing them in the graveyard. The party asked why he didn’t use stone instead, and Zeke replied that, while there was more than one peculiar thing about the area, one in particular stood out to him – any wood in the area quickly became petrified, turning into solid stone within days. They then asked him why he didn’t bring the book back to his hut to expedite his work, at which point Zeke simply shook his head and stated that he sensed great evil in that place and didn’t wish to bring it into his home. After placing a few of Zeke’s most recently completed grave markers in their cart to carry with them, the party thanked him for his kindness, and continued their trek up the mountain.

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lanestroud

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