Journey Under the World's End Pub
|Status||Explored March 833 TA|
|Campaign||Third Age of Man (late)|
Legend: The World's End Pub
Perhaps the most welt-known and frequently visited place in town is the pub, The World's End. The structure built only three decades ago and recent additions and improvements by the new proprietor, Mr Hylax O'Barker have rejuvenated the tavern tremendously. It is built on an island formed by the odd meanderings of a small river running south of the village proper. The village is about a mile up the road and the main road has run by the site at least for several centuries. The river is called the Willowsway and presumably doubles back upon itself because of some geological formation, perhaps an underground cave slowly filling with spent water from the river . The water is brackish and the townspeople regard it as " bad water", filled with the souls of the dead.
The site local tradition has it, was the first town cemetery and an extensive catacombs was in use for several centuries until the growth of the town made its position both enviable and endangered. Some reckon the the catacombs employ the underground cave and that both in time will fill with water completely. It seems unlikely the old cemetery would have ever been replaced were it not for one Oscar Vilemouth who purchased the land (under rather questionable circumstances) and built the first pub called the Queen's Head and Cleaver, on the site in the year 323 TA. He was the eighth son of the village blacksmith and it was evident from his early youth that he would not follow in his father's respected footsteps. The Queen's Head was a dismal affair which quickly gained a reputation as a very bad place in which to be seen. The pub was shunned by most of the villagers and it owed its existence to travelers mainly, a tradition which holds even today, five centuries later. Mr. Vilemouth disappeared one evening after closing and never returned. It is said by some that he was lost exploring the catacombs, although few would dare to check out this legend. After his disappearance, the pub quickly fell into disuse and was boarded up in 365 TA when stories of wights from the catacombs scared away the few travelers who were attracted to the village. The building remained derelict and eventually fell down some fifty years later. By the year 450 TA, the generations had forgotten many of the old stories and that of Qscar Vilemouth was regarded as a wive's tale of colorful proportions, but little truth. It was about this time that a young half-elf named Owyn Slenderfist came into town bringing a fortune gleaned from the ice-caves of the North. Owyn purchased the land from the town council and built a second pub upon the ruins of the Queen's Head. He called it the Three Tuns and it was staggeringly popular.
The site was once again a traveler's venue and the stout flowed as profusely as the stories. Young men training as professional storytellers began to flock in and eventually a true bard settled at the pub as master. His name was Jacob Sonnetspeaker, or simply Old Jacob. He was also a half-elf of extreme age. These were carefree times for the village, which prospered healthily regardless of the politics of neighboring lords. It enjoyed the stability of Teufeldorf and an age of adventure.
The ruins of the Queen's Head had, for the most part, been leveled in the building of the new pub .. but a few foundation walls were left and piles of rubbish were strewn among the remains. It was here that a young village boy found a small silver chest .. unburnt and as new as the day it was made. It was locked and, try as he did .. he couldn't open it. He took the chest to Old Jacob who, of course, paid him handsomely for it. The magic seal on the box was no match for the knowledge of Jacob and upon opening it, he found notes to a manuscript and a musical score. He never let anyone see the notes, but theories concerning their nature naturally abounded. Some said they were magical spells for charming demons; some say it was the diary of Oscar Vilemouth himself. Whatever the case may be, it was plain to all they had had profoundly affected the master bard, for his music and his verses soon took on a much darker, more sinister tone. Eventually, his gloominess drove away many of his pupils and business began to lessen.
It was at this point that Jocob must hove confided the secrets of the papers to Owyn because shortly thereafter the pub was closed. All but a few of the most promising pupils were sent awoy and neither of the half-elves was seen much in the village except when purchasing large quantities of equipment such as ropes and torches. The villagers suspected that they were going to brave the catacombs and the obvious connection was that the contents of the box had persuaded them to enter the place.
About this time three men appeared in town, weathered adventurers carrying greet-swords and armor. After inquiring about the owner of the pub, they too set about buying provisions. A week after their arrival, on a stormy night, the entire group, Jacob, Owyn, the apprentices end the three fighters disappeared. That they went into the catacombs is certain, as is the fact that they never came out; what is uncertain is exactly what happened to them.
The pub continued to be run under various unnoteworthy masters until the year 634 TA when the town council, under pressure from the new village priest, Harthorn, closed a down and, once again, the island stood vacant for a century and a ha1f.
We approach contemporary times when, in 799 TA, a new pub was built by a wealthy village tradesman. In addition to the tavern itself, he built a large number of rooms, a stables and several workshops. He improved the old bridge crossing the Wi11owsway. He called his pub The World's End. The tradesman, named Oliver I11omen, was only interested in turning a fast profit and with the declining fortunes of Teufeldorf and the paucity of travelers along the road, he soon lost interest in his new pub and sold the entire affair to one Mr Hylax O'Barker, Second Binder of Demons. It has since served as not only the finest ale-house in the Western Reaches, but as the headquarters of the rebbel army which was to free the City of Teufe1dorf and reinstate King Gregory the Even-Handed to the throne. But now I am jumping ahead of the chronicles of history...
The Worm-Lord and His Queen
A great battle took place in the Second Age between the elves and the evil sorcerer, Malthusius. It was the usual battle of good versus evil and the elves were fighting to protect their families from the subjugation of the Malthusius. Malthusius loved only one thing on earth, a young girl who had once shown him great kindness when he was injured, and it was his desire to repay her kindness by giving her all of the riches of the world. He was defeated in a great battle with the elves, who lost many of their number before overcoming Malthusius. In the carnage of the battle, his girl-bride (who refused his love after seeing his evil ways) was slain. The elves buried them in the spot that is now the island of the Willowsway in a cavern slowly filling with water from the evil river. They cursed Malthusius by giving him eternal life and yet imprisoning him in the catacombs. They placed his bride with him and gave her unfailing beauty, even if in death. He was granted the power to raise men from the dead with his breath (and they were consequently under his power), but he was not given the power of giving life to a woman unless he was able to perform a work of music of such beauty that the gods forgave him for his wrongs.
Thus, Malthusius raised on army of undead wights in vain hopes of finding a means to compose and perform the required requiem. But Malthusius was evil and unable to create a work of beauty himself and his wights were imprisoned like he was in the bowels of the catacombs. Until very recent times.
Oscar Vilemouth and the Release of the Wights
When Oscor Vilemouth ventured down into the catacombs, he inadvertantly released the wights who hod been imprisoned in them. Malthusius sent the wights to find and bring back musical instruments and a musician to help him. Thus the reports in the late 300s and early 400s of wights bothering the town. The wights brought him three magical instruments with a tuning fork and eventually they managed to capture a wandering minstrel to write a song for Oscar. The song was composed but before it was performed, the minstrel escaped with his tuning fork and half of the musical scroll (the part with the music). These he eventually put into the silver box, which he lost while escaping from the wights. This was the box that was sold to Old Jacob.
Old Jacob and the Second Attempt
As a master bard, Old Jacob was familiar with many of the tales of old. He explored some of the catacombs and eventually pieced together the story of what had happened to the old king. He wrote the poem and placed it along with the teeth of Oscar Vilemouth into the silver box. He placed a spell on the box which would return it to the ruins of the old pub should he ever die. His quest for the worm-lord treasure ended in tragedy as the
party was overcome by wights. The original manuscript that he had found were notes of Oscar Vilemouth and Old Jacob destroyed them long ago. Thus the box contains the tuning fork, the half of the musical score stolen by Talbirith, the teeth and the poem written by Old Jacob. The original manuscript has been destroyed. The three musical instruments and half of the score (the half with the words) are all in the catacombs. Some rats hove stolen one of the instruments. The wights guard the other two in separate parts of the catacombs and Malthusius has the other half to the scroll.
While Malthusius has an enormous horde of treasure, he seeks the other half to the scroll and the tuning fork (he needs them both). The party can trade these to him for his treasure. They cannot raise the woman themselves through using the instruments. If Malthusius raises the woman with the instruments, he will attempt to kill the party to keep them from informing the elves of his escape.
Adventures Under the Worlds' End Pub
The Latest Word
It is an evening not unlike most other evenings and as the sun begins to set, you make your way slowly to the pub for a few drinks and some stories of the olden days. When men were men and gnomes were gnomes. As you arrive, you find your companions already entrenched around your usual table and a mug of hearty stout is sitting on the table before your chair. You sit down and have a drink.
The party is buzzing excitedly about the latest gossip. Apparently, earlier in the evening a young boy had sought out the master of the pub and bargained with him for possession of a small silver box. Being a fair and just wizard, Hylax had cast Sleep and Forget on the youngster and sent him packing. The boy had found the box in the rubble of the old pub and had been unsuccessful in opening it. Hylax had told your party that once business was running smoothly, he would come over and show you the box. A shout rings out across the room interrupting your conversation.
"Hey, runt, bringme a pint of ale and be swift about it, shouted a rather burly man dressed in dark leather, studded with innumerable little brass studs.
"Excuse me, sir, I didn't hear you very well," replied Hylax from across the room. You notice a number of clients moving quickly to the other side of the room.
"I said. bring me a pint of ale, runt..." An explosion rocks the room. After a moment the smoke clears and all that's left of the burly man is a small pile of ashes and a few melted studs. Hylax makes his way to the party and greets you all in his customary, soft-spoken way.
He tells you the story about the box(which you already know) and then about the story of Old Jacob and Owyn (which you also already know), but you humor him somewhat. He removes the silver box from somewhere in his robes and sets it on the table, although out of the sight of the other tales. He mumbles a few lines of prose and opens the silver box. You all crowd around to see the contents. Inside are a couple of vellum scrolls, a small metal fork, a key and a string of teeth.
Hylax tells you that one scroll is a musical score .. which he hands to Falstaff. The other is a poem. The fork he says is magical, but the teeth do not seem to have any magical properties that he can detect. He is convinced that the poem is a sort of riddle, the answer to which leads one to a great treasure hidden in the catacombs beneath the pub. He is willing to show you the entrance to the catacombs, but Mrs. O'Barker said he can't go with you. He seems a bit upset about it actually...
Falstaff pulls out the Lute and starts plucking on the strings. A few of the other customers look over annoyed and one of them throws a couple of copper pieces towards the half-elf. This is what he discovers:
- The musical scroll. The musical score is magical. It is a work composed for three instruments and a single voice. The instruments are a flute, a lute and a set of pipes, the voice is o contralto. The words to the music ore not written on the sheet. It would appeor that the score is not complete, as the end of the scroll has been torn off. It was written by an elven minstrel named Talbirith.
- The teeth. Rediate very strong evil, but they do not appeor to be magical. More like they are cursed. Falstaff believes that they once belonged to Oscar Vilemouth as well.
- The metal fork. This is a tuning fork. It is magical and made of an unusual metal not recognizable by any of your party . It was forged in the Second Age by an elven smith for his queen. Falstaff is unable to discover it's exact purpose.
- The Poem. This is just a piece of vellum with some words on it. It is also cursed, but Falstaff doesn't think that reading it will hove any ill effects on the reader. He suggests that U-gene give it a try. It was written by Old Jacob.