For several weeks, excitement has been building in Kenabres for the Armasse festival. Traditionally an opportunity for scholars and priests to come together to study the lessons of history from wars past, since Aroden's death, this holy day has become more about training commoners in weaponry, choosing squires, and ordaining new priests. Over time, Armasse has grown to encompass jousting competitions, mock duels, battle reenactments, and other festival events. In Kenabres, the festival is eagerly anticipated, for it provides distractions from the horrors of being on the front line of the war. Smiles on faces normally marred by downcast eyes and furrowed brows do wonders for city morale in the weeks leading up to the event.
The morning of the festival we came upon a group of recruits getting instructions from a bellicose Lieutenant Doyle. The Lieutenant picked volunteers from the gathering and picked Bardas Syros and Daven Firesbreath for an impromptu wrestling match. Bardas is a tall, muscular man covered in plate armor while Daven is a tall, lanky and lithe young man that appears to be fairly weak in constitution. Bardas traveled here with a young, beautiful woman whose name we have not discovered yet while Daven appears to have traveled alone.
It was no contest when Bardas quickly subdued Daven by pinning him to the ground by stepping on his chest and he was awarded a masterwork backpack, which he promptly gave to one of the other recruits. Daven was offered help by one of the other recruits, which Daven ignored but thanked him later after the fight was over. Bardas, the woman, Daven, and the helpful recruit all left for Clydwell Plaza to witness the start of the festival.
Across the city, a dwarf named Balin Gorinsson was sitting with his friend Gerrald in one of the seedier taverns in the city. Balin noticed a strange looking woman (read noble looking woman in a seedy tavern) was sitting behind him staring at him with a smile on her face. Balin attempted to ask her politely if he could help her with something and gave her one of his carved songbirds. She accepted it with a mirthful smile but said nothing. Balin returned to his friend's table and turned back around to see she had disappeared. Gerrald bid him farewell and left for the plaza, suggesting that Balin visit the temple of Shelyn to pay homage to his goddess. Balin paid his respect by tithing at the altar of Shelyn noticing out of the corner of his eyes that the statue on the dais of Shelyn glowed briefly while the eyes looked directly at him, however looking directly at the statue reveals nothing strange about a normal looking statue. Balin left to go to the plaza to join his friend Gerrald.
Nearby outside the cathedral, another adventurer named Kaey on a mission from another part of Mendev was perusing the market stalls out in the square. Stopping at a food stall, a merchant sells him an apple for 5cp and clearly sees some more money making opportunities. He offers Kaey a magical orange for 1sp, which Kaey declines, then "lowers" his price to 20cp which Kaey thinks (through a failed check) is a really good deal. Having paid twice as much for a "magical orange" he notices a heavily armed dwarf exit the nearby temple and start toward the south of the city. Kaey decides to trail the dwarf stealthily and continues south toward the inner city as well.
Balin (being followed by Kaey unknowingly) is suddenly accosted by several ruffians form a backalley that attempt to mug Balin for his possessions. Kaey disguises his voice to make them all think that guards are coming down the road toward them causing all but one to run back down the alley. Balin attempts to dissuade the ruffian from attempting something stupid, however he is unsuccessful. Kaey comes up behind him and manages to scare the ruffian into fleeing with his friends as well. Balin thanks Kaey and they continue to Clydwell Plaza.
Finding an empty space in the crowd, Kaey and Balin meet up with Bardas and Daven and wait for Lord Hulrun to speak to begin the festivities. The woman who knew Bardas kissed him and went to the market for something to eat while the helpful recruit that tried to help Daven earlier greeted everyone with a smile and a handshake. Lord Hulrun then began to speak…
As Lord Hulrun was commencing the blessing for the festival and the crowd gathering in Clydwell Plaza quieted, a bright light shone from the west as if the sun were rising from the wrong direction. Hulrun's shadow fell huge and distorted across the cathedral's facade. A moment later, the sound of a thunderous explosion ripped through the air and earth, along with a violent tremor.
To the west, a giant plume of fire, lightning, and smoke erupted into the heavens. A moment later, a powerful roar accompanied a welcome sight rising from the crowd – Kenabres' greatest guardian, the ancient silver dragon Terendelev, who had until that moment been attending the opening ceremony disguised as a human. Another form appeared as nightmarish as the dragon was breathtaking, a humanoid shape three times larger than a man: a balor lord!
The creature's identity was immediately obvious to some, but not the party. What is certain is that demons were attacking the city!
As the ground continued to shake and disgorge demons into the streets, the dragon and the balor lord clashed above. The fight was over in a few harrowing moments as the balor cut deep into Terendelev's body, swooping down to strike the dragon and arresting her charge. A few more blows and the titanic duo spiraled down the crowd with a thunderous crash on top of Lord Hulrun.
The sight of the dragon smashing into the facade of the Cathedral of St. Clydwell is one no witness would ever forget. At that moment, a titanic demon erupted at the far end of the plaza, reducing several buildings to ruins as it smashed into this world. The rift it created shot across the plaza, and this time there was no escape – it opened below the party's feet and everyone began to fall.
Even as you fell, the dragon noticed your plight. Though she saw death standing over her, she seized this final chance to save a few more souls. The dragon pointed one bloody talon toward the party's direction as they fell into the abyss. The last thing the party sees as they fall away is the sword of the Balor lord cleaving full through her neck and the rift slams shut as the party falls away into darkness…