Sunday 11 December 2011

Adakmi & the Pillars of Night

The Citadel of Adakmi
Founded as the southern fortress of the Elven realm of Eaerlann on the Delimbiyr River's Shining Falls, Adakmi was constructed with aid from the Ammarindar dwarves.  Capable of holding two thousand defenders, she stood for more than two thousand years, guarding the southern approaches to the Black March, before her sack by the Tanarukk demon orcs of Hellgate Keep in 882 DR.  According to legend, the last warriors of Eaerlann joined with a strong force of Ammarindar's elite mithril-clad Dwarven Defenders under Queen Helmma, and together they held off the unstoppable Tanarukk long enough for many Ammarindar dwarves to retreat south, beyond the Greypeak mountains.
In the six centuries since, small numbers of elves, dwarves, river-halflings and humans have sought shelter within Adakmi.  Adakmi was once occupied by Zhentarim forces, who plundered the nearby tombs of the Ammarindar dwarven kings at Splendarmorn, but she overthrew Zhent rule almost a century ago.  Today the citadel has a mixed population of 400 390 within the walls, including 80 76 combatants.  Adakmi fiercely maintains her independence, and has resisted both the Banite Hand of Naarash and the invitations of Queen Valeris to join her new Kingdom of Orlbar.  In M6 1479 DR an attack by 100 Hand cultists was repulsed, 40 corpses were left hanging from the citadel walls.

Adakmi's main gate in the south wall comprises twin iron-bound doors that stand 20' high, with crossbow-armed men guarding the walls above.  Inside, the Sundial Tavern, formed from an elven cavalry barracks, provides high-priced rest, shelter and stabling.  The Great Tower overlooks the course of the Black March as it rises into the mountains to the east, exposing anyone on the road to a withering hail of fire.  Much of the land within the citadel has been turned over to cultivation, both orchards and vegetable plots.  The small north gate opens besides the plunge-pool of the Shining Falls, nets at the southern outflow retain the schools of trout farmed here.  From the north gate the Falls Road zig-zags up the mountain flank, blocked in several places by rock falls.  An hour of steep climbing takes travellers up above the mist, to ancient ruined wharfs of the Moon Docks.  Only one Moon Boat of Eaerlann still remains, pulled by giant pike and steered by the dwarf captain, Glasur.
In M5 1481 DR a rift opened in the vaults of Splendarmorrn. 12 militia who went to investigate did not return. Over the next several weeks several more citizens vanished. Glasur went to seek aid from Lirael of Northwood.

Adakmi Town Council
Currently 10 strong, this comprises prominent citizens of the town, including
Glasur, the flat-capped dwarf Moonboatman of the Upper Delimbiyr.
Freyja Fangbreaker, Glasur's wife, from a famous old dwarven warrior clan of Ammarindar. Reveres Moradin, she has seen the ghosts of dead kings in the vaults of Splendarmorrn.
Stentorio Rivers, wine-loving halfling merchant/trader from Downwater Shire, has lived in Adakmi 8 years (1481). Ex-bargee, left Downwater ca 1460 DR to avoid having to get married and raise a family.
Alturnus the Tombkeeper, tall, gaunt, white-haired priest of Kelemvor, he has guarded the dwarven royal tombs of Splendarmorrm, as well as Adakmi's current graveyard, for over thirty years (ca 1448-). Has a Moonshaes accent.

The Pillars of Night

Headquarters (1474-79 DR) of the Hand of Naarash cult devoted to Bane, god of tyranny, the Pillars of Night lie in a mountain glen a few miles east of the valley of the upper Delimbiyr River, a hundred miles or so north of Adakmi along the Black March trail.  The cult was supposedly ancient, founded by a hobgoblin prophet of the previous century, but nothing had been heard of it until five years ago (1474 DR) when it first emerged in the north to menace the peoples of the Delimbiyr and Gray Vale.
The Pillars of Night show clear signs of ancient Giantish construction, but the original builders have been gone for centuries. Within the giants' temple, ancient runes reference an entity called Naarash - a demonic spirit entity, possibly one of many released into the world in the Hellgate Keep disaster of 882 DR.  Naarash's spirit inhabited a great stone called the Eye of Naarash that corrupted the stone giants and turned them to evil. In 1474 DR the spirit of Naarash encountered the hobgoblin Bane-priest Anak, a refugee from the recent fall of the Temple of Bane-Iyacthu at Orlbar. Anak formed the Hand of Naarash cult, which threatened the north for five years under a dozen leaders, the penultimate being Lakarzh, also a hobgoblin. On 24/8/1479 its last leader Jaryn, a fallen Paladin of Amaunator, was slain by the heroes of the Burning Hand. When Naarash emerged from his Eye to challenge the heroes, they destroyed him too and effectively ended the cult.
However, Jaryn's lieutenant - and former Light of the Sun member - the Tiefling darkblade Dajani, is believed to have survived the disaster.

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