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Cast of Characters
Wilheim – Human Paladin (in AD&D, Paladins must be Lawful Good, and can only work with Good aligned characters except in very special circumstances)
On Sep 5th, 1069, after another dive into the dungeons beneath Hochheim’s ruined chapel with Maine (the thief) and others, Wilheim had a dream. In his dream, all was dark. He wandered in the darkness, trying to find his way somewhere. After what seemed like hours, a deep voice rang out from all around him:
For too long, thou hast set my words aside and consorted with those with whom thou shouldst not. Yet thou hast done much good and I would not cast thee off. Feel though, my displeasure.
If thou wouldst be redeemed, take the cloak thou hast taken from Henrietta to the sea’s teeth, which lie three days journey east of Hochheim along the coast. Wash the cloak in the waters that flow over them and into the sea. Then burn it in fire built from wood which thou hast carried there from my little house on the hillside.
Thou mayest take with thee but one companion, pure in heart and true.
When he awoke on the 6th, Wilheim felt an emptiness in his soul and realized that he was, for now, a 3rd level fighter and a paladin no more. After a bit of reflection and some thought about who might accompany him, Wilheim decided that the purest heart among the party members gathered at the hunting lodge that they had made their base was Wulfgang, the guard dog. So that morning, He gathered his things, collected a bundle of firewood from the ruined shrine on the hillside, and took the hound with him to Gruntal to buy a horse to make his trek into the Ostwald, the coastal forest to the east.
He stopped first at Handler’s Livery, with whom he, and other party members, have had some dealings. There he met Matthias the stable boy and was referred to a trainer named Eckhart, where he ended up purchasing a warhorse named Gunnar.
Making his way along the coastal road, Wilheim had several encounters. Before he broke camp on the morning of the 7th, he was attacked by a band of goblins. The next day, he fought a hagborn of giantish parentage, and claimed the +1 spear it carried after defeating the creature. (Illustration of the Hagborn above by Diogo Nogueira, CC-BY 4.0)
Later on the 8th, Wilheim spotted a brown bear sow but she seemed more interested in a beehive than him, so he carefully moved on. That evening, he came to a great bend in the coast. A small river spilled out into the ocean, and a hundred yards or so out in the cold water he saw a row of jagged rocks looking like a set of teeth poking up out of the water.
He left Gunnar and Wulfgang at the water’s edge and carried the anti-paladin’s foul cloak to the Teeth of the Sea to wash them there. A group of barnacle-encrusted skeletons rose from the waves to stop him. With a whistle to his dog and horse, Wilheim set to against the undead. He was sorely pressed until Gunnar arrived, in time to turn the tide of battle. (Wulfgang had come out too, but couldn’t join the battle while he was swimming.)
With the skeletons destroyed, Wilheim first bathed the cloak, then returned to shore and burned it as he had been directed. It sizzled and twisted in the flames, finally catching fire and emitting a foul, greenish smoke. When it was completely destroyed, Wilheim doused the fire with seawater and scattered the muddy ashes the best he could before setting out on the trail home.
As Wilheim slept that night, he dreamed vividly again for the first time since he began this quest. At first, he was walking aimlessly in a forest, then he realized that he was on a path again. In the distance, he could see a bustling city on a hill. As he walked, he heard a comforting, male voice.
“Well done, my son. Thou hast done what thou had set out to do. The ghoul cloak is no more. Thou art again on the proper path. Do not let yourself stray again.”
As the forest around him faded, Wilheim awoke and realizes that it was morning. He could feel that his connection to Dralm has been restored. Wilheim made his way back to the lodge without any further encounters. Once there, he bid farewell to his former companions and set off on his own, hoping to do the will of Dralm.
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