Near the borders of Davokar there lies a town named Eldun. Eldun and the surrounding lands are the prowling grounds of the Tiarna. They are cruel creatures, who drink the remaining days of those that catch their fancy. Elves do not visit these lands, for fear that these creatures might swallow their elder lives. Many men of Eldun worship the Tiarna, praying that they to spare their families.
The Tiarna have begun to drink greedily of the lives of Eldun, stealing all the remaining days with terrifying regularity. Upon their victims they scrawl incomprehensible runes in their elder words. These attacks have been inspired by a young girl of Eldun who has caught a Tiarna and has been keeping it. These deaths have drawn the attention of Eldun’s priest of Prios, Father Huadir, who has long despised his neighbours who worship those tainted beasts. He has gathered his faithful and is spreading the word that Prios demands death to these witches.
Blackhawk, minstrel: An inky black haired man with a crow beak nose, and wrapped in foppish, dog-eared, attire. He is a genteel character with a love of the drink, however, the goings on in Eldun have left him disquieted. He claims to have been tutored by the elves of Ylhurandy, regardless of the truth, Blackhawk is well educated in the myths and legends of the area. Blackhawk can tell the players about Myths: 1, 2, 3; Truths 5 (see the Tiarna side bar). If Blackhawk offers to hire the player characters, he introduces them to Tulyela, who he desires for them to save. He cannot offer money but he can assist in another way. Blackhawk can help the characters acquire something they dearly desire (eg. a Licences or the location of a mystic artifact). The details are up to the DM.
Father Huadir: An aged man with snowy white hair and deep wrinkles entrenching his face. Father Huadir fervently believes that he is doing Prios’ will in burning the witches of Eldun. He believes Prios is punishing Eldun’s impure faith and that the deaths of these witches will appease him. The recent attacks have stoked Eldun’s fear and outrage to the point that its people believe in Huadir’s murderous sermons. Father Huadir may choose to hire the player characters if he believes they are loyal to the church. The church’s coffers have been deeply filled as worshipers attempt to buy Prios’ mercy. He can offer them a purse of 1000 Thaler in exchange for their aide hunting down the witches of Eldun. Father Huadir is woefully uniformed about the Tiarna, but, there are some clues in the church’s vaults. There are Myths: 3 and 4 and Truths: 3. A full day of searching through the vaults discovers an ancient map marking the Tiarna court. An [Accurate] test can plot the location on a modern map. Failure adds 2 days to the journey. The court is otherwise less than a day’s travel away.
Kathrona: A middle aged woman with grey in her long auburn braid and yearling wrinkles about her bright hazel eyes. Kathrona is a witch whose here to investigate the Tiarna’s more violent behaviour as of late. She works as a scullery maid, cleaning the church of Prios, believing she could take a look at the church’s vault where she thinks there is a map to the Tiarna court. Kathrona knows more about the Tiarna than anyone else in town and might be willing to inform the player characters of the all the Truths of the Tiarna. If Kathrona can be convinced to trust the players, she hires them to assist her settle the Tiarna and deal with the murderous priest, Father Huadir. Kathrona knows of a forgotten supply cache of the Iron Pact as a means of payment.
Tulyela: A young nine year old girl with dark hair and a beak like nose, her skin is deathly pale and she lacks the strength to rise from her bed. Tulyela caught a tiarna and keeps it with her. Every night, more Tiarna visit her home and drain her vitality. Tulyela keeps her Captured Tiarna in a wooden bowl, its lid fastened with string, and hides it under the blankets of her sickbed. When she thinks no one is near, she pulls it out and speaks to it, but never opens it. She has learned a little of the Tiarna from her prisoner, who tries to barter with her for its freedom. Tulyela knows Myths: 1, 3, and Truths: 2,5.
Captured Tiarna: The Tiarna that Tulyela caught never speaks, except, to Tulyela to barter for its freedom. It has lost its staff and hasn’t been able to feed since Tulyela capture it. It remains invisible until Day 3 when it becomes too weak to be able to hide itself. If released, it flies as fast as the wind can carry it to the Tiarna’s court. There it picks a new “lance” so that it can feed on the first living creature it sees. The Tiarna knows all the Truths of the Tiarna.
The Pyre of Eldun
The adventure begins with the players travelling either along the roads near Davokar or as the party is near escaping its borders. The previous night, Father Huadir and his faithful, dragged Siandra the weaver to the outskirts of town and burned her as a worshiper of tainted beasts. Her ashen corpse can still be seen amongst the pyre’s cinders. A handful of gawkers have come to watch some men pull out the corpse and hastily bury the “witch” at the foot of her ashen stake.
Among the other onlookers there is the local priest of Prios, Father Huadir, Kathrona, a barbarian witch posing as a scullery maid, and the travelling minstrel Blackhawk. Each of these characters are eligible to hire the players to assist them with the current troubles in Eldun. It’s up to the DM to determine which of these three characters are best suited to approach the players to hire them. There is no reason why a second or a third might offer to hire the characters later in the adventure. See each of these characters’ Non-Player Character Entry for more details.
From here the adventure is fairly open. The players are free to investigate and choose sides in this conflicted town.
For each day following the player’s arrival, the following actions occur:
- Day 1: Tiarna Kill 2
- Day 2: Tiarna Kill 1, Huadir burns 1
- Day 3: “Witches” hang 1
- Day 4: Tiarna Kill 4, Huadir burns 4
- Day 5: Tiarna Kill 2. “Witches” hang 3.
- Day 6: Tavern brawl kills 3
- Day 7: Tulyela is killed by Tiarna
The Tiarna Court
The only thing that will end the Tiarna’s attacks on Eldun is to find the Tiarna’s court and steal Queen Ortanrigh’s staff.
While the Tiarna sleep, they plant their staff at their feet so that it pokes above the water. There is no way of knowing which stem of lavender is the Queen’s until it is picked. DMs roll 1d3+1, this is the number of stems that need to be picked to find the queen’s staff. Drawing a staff awakens that Tiarna +1d2 more. If storming the court at night, there are 1d6+2 Tiarna debating with Ortanrigh.
The pool is guarded by a Fey beast that has become enthralled by the water of the pool. DMs may include more enthralled creatures to increase the challenge of this battle.
- The Tiarna wear black crowns and carry silver lances. They wear golden cloaks and masks with wicked faces.
- These creatures fly upon the wind with their feathered wings but cannot be seen unless they desire it so.
- The Tiarna steal children and raise them in their hidden kingdom. These lost children grow to become Tiarna themselves.
- If you can steal a Tiarna’s lance you can use the powers of a Tiarna.
- Tiarna appear as wicked creatures with black faun like antlers and wolfish teeth. They sow autumn leaves into cloaks. They pick cotton lavender stems and use them like staffs to cast their magics, but, the sorcery is in the hand of the Tiarna not the plant.
- If a Tiarna’s “staff” is lost or stolen, they will be unable to use their magic until they pick a new one. Tiarna are forced to obey the commands of someone who holds a stem that once belonged to them.
- The Tiarna steal children and drink their remaining years to sustain themselves and then hide the corpses beneath the roots of trees.
- The Tiarna hold court around sacred pools that they bathe in. During the day, most Tiarna burrow into the pool’s bottom to rest. If someone were to wash their eyes in the water of the pool they could see the Tiarna. Creatures that drink from the pool become enthralled by the Tiarna.
- At the seat of power in their kingdom is the wise and “beautiful” Ortanrigh, the queen of the Tiarna.