Several months have passed since The Winged Explorer’s return. The heroes have been awarded the Order of the Lion, a medal, by the Assembly for distinguished service to Arranoon. Since then, Arranoon has become a hot bed of problems.
The airships, five of them now, are regularly conducting trade with cities previously unreachable. Arranoon’s trade is booming. However, the Assembly is bogged down in arguments over trading rights and not dealing with other more pressing matters.
Immigration is high. The top two levels are more and more crowded. Many see the free city of Arranoon as an attractive place to reside. A colony of phanaton, (think part monkey, part racoon) have taken refuge here as their homes in the interior jungles to the west were destroyed. They have no sense of “out of bounds” and are becoming innocent pests to the population. More and more refugees arrive daily, fleeing catastrophe in their homelands.
More dwarves have streamed through Arranoon on their way to the subterranean keep. Thorgrim has been established and the chief of the keep, leader of the Deepthunder Clan. Several smaller clans are united, however uneasily, beneath him. The population is close to a hundred now and plans to expand the keep’s quarters and living areas are underway. They have cleared the rubble blocking the way to the surface and have discovered both a mine and living quarters for miners further in. Negotiations with Arranoon are underway. The three dwarven representatives of Arranoon speak for Clan Deepthunder in the Assembly.
A new cult is taking hold, the Followers and several high ranking society’s sons and daughters have joined, and because of this, Firree Carsh, a representative of House Ipshi asks the heroes to meet her to discuss the rise of the Followers and some of the Consuls’ relatives joining the cult. While discussing in a private glen of the Heart of the Gardens, a mob of different people storm in and begin smashing anything they can find, people, tables, artwork, anything.
The heroes, Caen, Thorgrim, Eldrathia, Eärendur, and the ever-drunken Draxis, endeavor to stop them. Three powerful members of the White Mages unleash terrible spells, cones of cold and fireballs. Military and guard members are also mixed in with peasants, as well as two shape-changing druids, who quickly shift into dire-bear form. The mob all share one quality: a terrible bruise color around their eyes that seems to spread through their bodies, spidery lines all over their flesh.
The heroes do not fare well. Eldrathia is knocked out, but Draxis manages to get her to safety and then attack his foes. Thorgrim is pinned down by the druids and almost goes to join his ancestors. Eärendur barely manages through the combat.
Eventually the mob begins to break up, literally. Some of the members convulse and then explode. The rest are dispatched. Something is terribly wrong in Arranoon.
Firee recovers consciousness and communicates with her aides. She tells the group that this is happening all over Arranoon, but that elves seem unaffected. The guards call the people the Frenetics; they cannot be put to sleep with magic, drug, or knocked into unconsciousness.
Eventually the heroes split into groups. The elves and Thorgrim go to the Tower of Magic, hoping to learn information. There they talk to an old friend, Ariathon Hanethorpton, the loquacious magus. Draxis spins a line to him, pouring drinks for him the entire time and manages to see that the first reports of this problem occurred on level three, the level containing the food stores. They also discover that what seems to be causing the Frenetics is most assuredly magical in nature.
Thorgrim leaves the group to go and check on his people in the deep. Along the way he passes the cemetery, a funeral is interrupted. Screams and people bolt from the grounds and guards try to bolt the gates. Thorgrim lends his strong arms and the gate is barred, but Thorgrim glimpses a horde of undead masses moving inside. He heads quickly to the dwarven keep. Along the way, a branching tunnel which had been caved in, but cleared, now is totally, utterly dark. When he arrives at the keep, he finds repairs have proceeded quickly and that his people have been productive.
Caen investigates the Seers of Tarana, fearing that they are the dark power behind the Frenetic problem. However, the Seers are sequestered. Caen begins to stir up the crowds gathered around the Seers’ compound.
The elves discover that the curse is ingested, and they track its source back to the food stores. They discover puck-shaped discs, carved with strange runes infected each silo of grain. The grain itself is transmitting the curse. They find out a woman, an elf, or posing as an elf is most likely behind the curse. Eärendur thinks the language is familiar, an odd cognate of one he knows. Sadly Draxis recognizes it: undercommon, the language of the Drow.
Caen is hailed by a halfling Sister of the Flame who takes him into the Temple of the Flame. He is granted an audience with the High Priestess of the Sisterhood who tells him of a returning evil to Arranoon, worse than the piddling drow curse that is affecting the city. She fears the return of the dragon highlords. She also senses the return of a necromancer in the lowest level, the remnants of the Arranoon that stood on this site before the gods made the sinkhole. She knows that the Sisterhood is a threat to the necromancer by telling Caen the location of his hideaway and that there may be a worse power behind his. He must go, rejoin his friends, and stand against this coming chaos.
The elves arrive at the Seers’ temple just as Caen steps out. They exchange information, discuss what to do as the Temple locks its outer gates. The heroes prepare themselves as the undead hordes begin their assault….