Serk returned to his home village (Bior’s Steading) with the seasonal trade caravan, a vested cleric of the Fire Pantheon. Not much had changed since he left. The Water temple was still the most prominent and its priests still did not like him. During his formal appearance before the elder council, they argued that not only was a fire priest not needed, the temple itself was no longer consecrated. It had fallen into disrepair and the holy flame had gone out a few winters back. One of the elders, Valdur Thorsson spoke in his defense. He explained that there was an ancient shrine that had been used to originally light the temple’s fire and he could re-consecrate it by capturing a fragment of that shrine’s flame and returning it to the village.
Preparations began with Valdur and his son Brokkr researching old notes and reconstructing the original binding ritual. Brokkr was quite the prodigy with the formulae and rituals, and would accompany Serk to assist in performing the binding. Grettir Ericksson, one of the weaponthanes, and son of the councilmen volunteered to lead the expedition. He had missed the most recent raiding season due to illness and was looking for glory. Additionally, Halfgrim the Unruly, one of the King’s Eyes (monitors and tax collectors of Bior’s overlord) agreed to accompany the party. He claimed it was to record any valuable resources found but in private, he confessed his devotion to the Fire Pantheon and his desire to see the temple restored as his true motivation. Together, the four headed into the hills a day or so from town to find the shrine.
During the journey, the party came across a wounded lion, caught in a pit trap. They spread out to examine the area and correctly determined the creature was bait before a group of cannibal beastmen appeared from a nearby gully, blowing a horn to alert nearby warriors. The series of battles with the beastmen ended after a few minutes, with most of the party wounded and four beastmen dead at their feet (their wolfhound having fled the combat). The leader of the warband, a raging warrior, had been wearing a wolfhide cloak with a raven skull clasp that seemed exceptional. Grettir claimed the cloak and the party scavenged several bone javelins from the beastmen as well.
There were no other encounters on the way to the shrine. A quick examination of the cave in which it resided revealed an exceptionally large spider and an exposed vein of silver ore. The spider ambushed and webbed Brokkr, but he was able to avoid its bite until it was killed by Grettir.
The ritual had some surprising events. At one point the ritual seemed to summon small earthen wolves from the walls themselves which attacked and severely injured most of the party. The group decided to rest in the cave for two days while Serk prayed for guidance and healed the party and Brokkr made some corrections to the ritual. The ritual resumed and during its climax, two more elementals (birds of flame) were released from the shrine and menaced the party. They were both quickly destroyed by Halfgrim and Grettir, who were both prepared for such an attack. The completion of the ritual also disturbed a nearby tomb and an ancient skeletal warrior emerged from its opened door. Halfgrim engaged the creature and took a serious wound from it before smashing its skull with a fist of stone. With its destruction, the party did a cursory examination of the tomb which was now empty, although there was evidence of other creatures having emerged and left the tomb at some point in the past. Grettir examined the weapons and armor of the skeleton and claimed them as they were all steel and of fine quality.
The party returned to town via a separate path to avoid running into more cannibals. The fire lighting ceremony was attended by most of the town and everyone was quite happy. The flame was believed to protect the town from harsh winters and winter was fast approaching. The council gifted the party with several silver armbands and much congratulations. The four men, now having a taste for adventure discussed their future…