|The Den of the Harpies|
Designed by Arethusa
Lifespan: 60 minutes
Medium Groups: 25-30
Large Groups: 20-24
General Malkolov had been searching for the harpy lair since his childhood. When he was a little child, his parents told him stories of the harpies' treasures. As he grew, he heard stories about the masses of wealth they had collected. He envisioned himself defeating the harpies and making a keep of his own where he was lord and master. So, upon reaching the rank of general, he had taken his army in search of the lair. His superiors were unaware of his true intentions, and he intended to keep it that way. Many years passed, and the lair remained hidden. It seemed the trail had gone cold.
On a cold night when one of the army's batallions was encamped near the City of Castiack, a soldier approached his commander with a hurried look upon his face. "It has been a long time coming, sir, but it seems we have found the entrance to their lair." The commander, a young man of twenty winters, sent a messenger to General Malkolov and walked briskly back into his tent, satisfied that a promotion would soon follow.
Upon receiving the message, the general's mind filled with the same dreams he'd been dreaming since childhood. He immediately began planning what he would need to do to make those dreams a reality. First, scouts would need to be sent to map the area thoroughly, and secondly, mages skilled in the arts of war would be required to secure the forest that shelters the nearby temple. He would call upon the conjurers to deal with the people of the grove, in case they chose to disobey. After these tasks were completed, he could begin his conquest of the harpies and seize the treasure for himself.
Vilmaclya, the high priestess of the grove, knew something would need to be done before the army swarmed her precious home. She had been rallying her people to fight back against the harpies. The harpies had been pillaging her people's villages for as long as she could remember. She herself had once been a slave of the harpies. Slowly, over the years, they were slowly pushing the harpies back into the cavernous tunnels that snaked into eternal blackness. Slowly, day by day, they were retaking their land, and freeing the people imprisoned deep underground.
But the rumors of a hidden treasure had not escaped her ears. She hoped to seize it for herself to help rebuild the destruction wrought by the harpies.
Hunar, the high priest of the grove, concerned himself only with taking care of his beloved Vilmaclya. In the many years since Vilmaclya's family were brutally murdered and she was taken captive, her plight had been his one concern. She had been rescued by the hunters who still stalk the tunnels in search of harpy feathers, which are sold to mages for their mysterious powers. Hunar had loved Vilmaclya as a girl, loved her when that girl turned into a woman, and had followed her into priesthood.
Some things were not meant to be. But he could not allow Vilmaclya to put herself in danger again. He was trying to help General Malkolov's army to finish their task before Vilmaclya could do anything on her own.
As the days pressed on, scouts, knights, and hunters were sent forth to take up residence in the tunnels in search of the harpy lair. The army grew restless. The promises of riches and fame began to lose their luster after grueling days of digging latrines and standing guard. Slowly, the soldiers began to take off in small groups on their own, deserting, until General Malkolov's army was half its original size.
Ignoring his advisors, ignoring the sense of seeking help from the priestess, he pressed his army into the lair. His mind was clouded with the dreams of his lordly future, and he did not realize the army was ill-equipped to face the challenges that lay ahead. The results were predictable; the army was set upon by the harpies and, morale and numbers low, they were defeated soundly.
Never one to give up on his obsession, General Malkolov returned to the surface. Never one to give up on his dream, he put out a call, promising riches and fame to any mercenaries or adventurers who come to aid him in his cause.
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