The Heroes of Sandpoint watched with heavy hearts as Father Zantus finished the incantations and lit the pyre beneath the body of their fallen companion. It was a relatively clear day, a departure from the usual heavy fog and icy rains of the past few weeks, and so the wood caught quickly, sending a pillar of smoke wafting up and inland on the brisk ocean breeze.
How had it come to this? The question lingered on their minds (well, maybe not the dwarf’s) as they stood in respectful silence, each reflecting on yesterday’s events. The plan had seemed simple enough – with Nualia and her minions defeated, they expected to make short work of the goblin tribes at Thistletop, eliminate whatever threat this ‘Malfeshnekor’ posed and be ready to lift an ale in the Rusty Dragon before last call. Actually, the halfling Aable’s plan also involved an elaborate and overly-filling celebration feast and he had made careful preparations prior to their departure, but when they did sit in the Dragon’s common room once again their number was one fewer and no one felt much like celebrating.
The goblins had proved easy enough to defeat for this experienced band of adventurers. Already in disarray from the heroes’ earlier raid on Thistletop, many of the goblins simply fled or surrendered. Warchief Ripnugget put up a respectable fight, astride his gecko mount, Stickfoot, but he had too little support from his tribe and he, too, fell before the onslaught.
With the goblins routed and their meager treasure rescued from a foul latrine and properly cleaned, sorted and inventoried, the Heroes of Sandpoint once again descended into the complex beneath the goblin stronghold to find and be rid of Malfeshnekor. After some puzzling, they managed to find a way into the most hidden part of the ancient structure. There, they encountered an ‘illusion remnant’ of some sort, depicting the man from the book and glaive statues issuing some sorts of final orders in Ancient Thassilonian, a disturbing skeleton of what had once been a horribly deformed humanoid and, finally, a set of stone doors that could only be opened with a very particular key (which had handily been collected from the room with the bones).
Beyond those doors, the party found that Malfeshnekor was, in fact, a barghest. A demon-relative of the goblins that had evidently been trapped here when the complex was abandoned thousands of years ago. Both the party and the barghest preferred to forgo the tiresome rituals of parley and instead the battle was joined imemdiately!
The barghest, although a minor sort of demon, proved to be a fearsome foe for the group and the healing prowess of their elven cleric proved to be invaluable. The battle raged on, with several of the brave heroes brushing near death, only to be saved at the last moment by one of their fellows. Malfeshnekor had command of several powerful magics, including invisibility, and a strong resistance to non-magical damage and, for a time, some in the party feared that this fight might prove to be too much for them.
However, the tide began to turn, in no small part due to the efforts of their monk, Tellorn, who was able to summon deep inner strength and wisdom to turn his hands and feet into powerful magical instruments of destruction. As he rained down blow upon blow on the demon, Malfeshnekor howled with rage at his impending defeat and lashed out at the monk with all of his might and laid him low. The elven cleric, exhausted from tending to the injuries of the raging battle, was unable to reach Tellorn in time and the meditative hero shuffled off this mortal coil, even as his companions dealt the final decisive blow to the barghest and banished him from this plane of existence once again.
So here they stood in silence, watching a funeral pyre burn at the edge of the sea and considering the fragile bonds of this life. The monk, Tellorn, left behind no known kin and no legacy to pass to future generations, save in the memories of The Heroes of Sandpoint and the hearts of the townsfolk that he had helped defend.