Meeting by chance in the Avalon settlement of Little Carleon under the sign of the Stuffed Goose, our intrepid heroes are whiling away the hours playing dice and enjoying the local spirit when Nathan Marshall, Captain of the Explorers’ vessel New Horizon, makes a bold and grand entrance; he declares his expedition to the unknown, offering a share of the fame and fortune to whosoever accompanies him.
Our heroes accept the offer, from a mixture of desperation, boredom and the faint hope that such a voyage would take them anywhere other than Little Carleon, and by the next morning they are aboard the New Horizon as it sets sail.
The expedition is being made to an uncharted island nearby in the Archipelago, where unknown dangers await and the promise of ancient knowledge and hidden treasure lurks. Or perhaps the danger lurks and the treasure awaits… who knows?
On the first night after landing on the island, the expedition is set upon by some beast, and one of the crew, Bill, is lost; pursuing the dark shape that abducted him into the jungle, the heroes come upon the grisly scene of a pair of monstrous canines fighting over the remains of Bill’s arm. The rest of him is no where to be found, and after a panicked tussle, the beasts flee into the night.
The first day of exploration is more promising for our heroes, however; in the mid afternoon the group comes upon a hollow in the large hill that dominates one half of the island, a massive stone door covered in ancient carvings within. Despite the efforts of the strongest of the group together, directed by the young Rosa, the ancient ediface refuses to move, but a determined Marshall takes the sketches and notes made back to the camp to enlist Javier’s help in deciphering them.
Through a dangerously stormy night, Javier and Rose succeed in linking the carvings to the ruins beneath Charouse, and Javier deciphers several of the markings as coordinates showing places on and around the island; he surmises that these spots hold the keys to opening the great stone door and uncovering what secrets lie beneath it.
Setting out immediately, the group approaches the closest of the spots marked by the coordinates; a point just south of the southern cliffs. Here a small, ruined structure is found atop a precariously positioned needle of broken rock that has seperated from the cliffs; indeed most of the south of the island seems to have only recently collapsed into the sea, forming a great reef around its southern edge. Though the daring Kanuban Leni manages to scramble to the ruin and find the polished blue keystone kept within, his return trip is less successful; at the last moment he slips, hitting the rock hard and losing the stone to the depths of the sea.
Dejected by this loss, the group has their spirits restored upon returning to the camp; the New Horizon has suffered little damage from the storm and, better yet, Javier believes that only one of the three potential keystones will be required to open the door!
With fresh gusto, our heroes set out for the next of the three locations the following day; within a marshy swamp they find the object they seek, another keystone in shining yellow. Defeating a pack of angry Aspreys defending their roosting grounds, the triumphant party make the long journey back to camp, barely arriving before sundown.
With the keystone in their possession, they are eager to set out the next morning, and retire to their bedrolls early, exhausted from the day’s long exertions anyway…