The Rod of Seven Parts
The Balinor Expedition
950YK: The Balinor Expedition
Early in his academic career, Professor Ener Lumfoodle accompanied a joint expedition, funded by the History and Archeology Department’s of Korranberg & Wynarn Univerity. The expedition party included 6 members:
- (Gnome; Korranberg Grad Student of Orcish History)
- Professor Ener Lumfoodle (Gnome; Korranberg History & Anthropology Professor)
- (Human; Wynarn Archeology Professor- Special focus on artifacts left from the Daelkyr incursion),
- (Half-Elf; Wynarn Graduate Student of Abberation Studies)
- (Half-Orc; Shadow Marches Guide)
- Rayford Lorn (Human; Hired Mercenary)
The expedition was tasked with venturing into the Shadow Marches. A large research collaboration between the two professors and some colleagues yielded directions to what was believed to be Daelkyr ruins in Balinor’s Forest. Batok, a reputable ranger of the shadow marches, was hired as the group’s guide to lead them through the treacherous landscape.
Two weeks in the Marches had passed when the group met their first obstacle near the border of Balinor’s Forest, a small tribe of Gatekeepers was spotted by Batok. Despite their best efforts to circumvent the Orcs, a pair of rangers from the tribe confronted the group. Despite warnings of both the dangers of the forest and retaliation from their clan-leader, the group pressed on.
Three weeks later, while gathering wood for camp, Tarathel and Ener stumbled upon a huge circular stone slab partially embedded in the forest floor. Careful study by the two students and their mentors revealed that the slab was, in fact, one of the gates guarded by the orcish druids. Emboldened by this discovery, the expedition pressed on. Only days later, they discovered the Daelkyr ruins… and more than they bargained for in the form of an orc Gatekeeper. Though young, the Orcish Druid was stern in his warnings to leave the ruins before they awoke what had been sealed way for millennia.
The encounter with the Gatekeeper was unnerving but did not deter the researchers. While delving into a crumbling temple-like structure, Tarathel discovered a trove of artifacts that would redefine what the modern world knew about the Daelkyr incursion. Unfortunately, the overzealous student threw caution to the wind and paid the price, he woke a Beholder Mage from suspended animation and accidentally unleashed the beast upon the ruins.
While Lumfoodle was cataloging a series of glyphs that the group found earlier, under the protection of the mercenary Lorn, he was attacked by the Beholder and it’s minions. Lumfoodle and Lorn barely escaped the ordeal with their lives. Lorn had distracted the Beholder while Lumfoodle activated his wand, collapsing a small tower in the path of the assailants. The pair managed to round up the rest of the group, including the maimed Tarathel and attempted to flee the ruins.
Unfortunately, they were unable to escape the Shadow Marches without again encountering the horrible Eye Tyrant and it’s underlings. While fleeing the forest, the group accidentally led the Tyrant too close to the Orcish encampment. To their relief, the Gatekeeper that they had previously encountered was present in the orc camp that day. In a direct confrontation between the deceptively powerful Dolgrim.and the Eye Tyrant, the evil was again quelled. The victory was not without it’s casualties. Kruushnak’s 4-month old son was slaughtered, along with his wife, by a group of
In a moment of mercy, perhaps far more mercy than was deserved, the shattered and beaten Kruushnak ordered a trio of his rangers to immediately “escort” the expedition out of the Shadow Marches. While Kruushnak is, today, in his latest years of life, he has not forgotten the leader of the Balinor Expedition, or his part in the death of Kruushnak’s family.
Only scattered notes and drawings were brought back from the depths of the Balinor ruins. Tarathel survived the ordeal, but his mind was left in tatters. Despite the epic failure of the expedition, the minimal information brought back still contributed greatly to what little we now know about the Daelkyr invasion.