It seemed like such a great idea at the time.
It had sounded so simple as you sat in the cushioned chairs at the University receiving hall and listened to the various professors and speakers giving their presentations. That memory now seems as if it had happened to someone else that was worlds away. They had been looking for volunteers to help with research leads and dig sites. Looking around the room, it had been pretty easy to distinguish between which people were there because they had a passion for history and knowledge and those that were of a more mercenary bent just aiming to find a paycheck. Moraelin is a city of great opportunity for members of both factions and they all came out in droves. Possessing a history that dates back further than every great empire and known civilization, the city has academies and centers of learning for a vast variety of intellectual pursuits located within it’s walls and has attracted all the support personnel needed to equip and man the expeditions and experiments run by the various colleges. As the rest of the continent has slipped ever gradually into a more isolationist mindset with few cities having more than a trade agreement or tenuous alliance with even their closest neighbors, Moraelin has remained a center of scholasticism, prosperity, and culture amidst a dreary and dark world.
Each of the people in the room had indicated which of the various pursuits had seemed interesting to them and then the volunteers had been grouped accordingly and assigned to a contact within the department they were to be working for. The man that had approached your group was a bookish looking human man that appeared to be in his late thirties or so. He introduced himself to the group as Kairn and said that he had several exciting leads on recent archeological finds that he was hoping to pursue. The first job had seemed simple enough. A farmer a few days journey west from the city had been expanding his root cellar when he broke through the wall of what appears to be an elvish tomb. Kairn believes it may be final resting place of Alheron, an elven king that ruled in that region several centuries ago. The location of Alheron’s tomb was lost and no trace of it’s location has ever been found. Kairn described for you a richly ornamented sword that Alheron was supposed to have been entombed with and asks you to find this sword and bring it back as proof that this is indeed the correct crypt.
Yup, it had all seemed so simple back in that room as the group sat around the table looking at maps and drinking spiced wine. Standing in this root cellar peering over a ledge at what appears to be about a thirty foot precipice, trying very hard to ignore the sharp wind that chills to the bone and the pervasive stench of rot and decay, the reality of the task is finally beginning to set in like a solid lead weight in your gut.