“All Men are Mortal”
Exhausted, bloodied, King Mercer, himself hovering near collapse, held the line against the press of invading goblins while the four Ljunberg brothers escaped east into the Hobgoblin’s treasure room. By the time the King made it back to the sons of Skalgrim, a unit of Hobgoblin soldiers had fought their way into the armory and they all found themselves fighting for their lives.
They all fought valiantly.
King Mercer fell to a hobgoblin’s blade as he sought to hold the door against a second unit’s advance. He bled out, trampled underfoot by the crush of Hobgoblin soldiers.
Rune Ljunberg suffered the same fate, taking three feet of steel to the gut. He bled out while being born across his killer’s shoulder, beside his brother Paavo, whose body was collected from where he was felled by a Hobgoblin scimitar, the moonstone treasure he had liberated from the warlord’s throne, now in the hands of their enemies.
Five men entered the Caves of Chaos. Only two still stood. Brukhart and Magnar, both on the verge of collapse, fought their way out of the treasure room, escaping through the tunnels, expending the very last of their stamina to find freedom from the smothering lair of the militaristic Hobgoblins.
Taking to mount, they road hard through the night to return to the Keep on the Borderlands. The warriors of Pax Maccia mourned the death of their King, while the Ljunbergs raised horns to their fallen brothers.
A feast was prepared as the two lone warriors were praised as heroes, even as they were pressed to seek revenge. Six men of the Pax volunteered to return with them, that they might bring the body of their fallen king home to his wife.
Another voice was added to those seeking adventure and vengeance — Captain Sebastian Pike, whose ship was anchored along the Goatshead Coast. Pike, who was exploring the Borderlands for potential profit, saw the potential in delving into these Caves of Chaos, especially with seasoned guides who had already survived one exploratory mission inside.
“I’ll go as well,” said another, this one in the robes of a mage and bearing the sigil of House Haftspeare, “as will my knights.”
And so it was sworn upon, a new fellowship, bound to eradicate the horrors of the accursed Caves of Chaos, to liberate its treasures, and to avenge those who had fallen.