“From the notes of Gimblestan, First Assistant to King Ak-‘Anon the XVII, Master of the Tinkering Arts. Volume XI As previously mentioned, the fishing expedition had been planned for second-week, with a prize going to he clan that could pull the most fish from the waters of our beloved Lake Tildunk. How could we resist such a contest? It was a given that we would use our superior intellect to come up with a better way to win the competition. Snivlin suggested the use of underwater explosives, claiming that we could catch the fish once they floated to the surface. This was immediately voted down by the committee, since other groups might grab the fish we had used such innovation to catch. I myself was leery, remembering the accident at the FIREWATER storage facility from the previous week. It seems some young gnome, wanting to make FIREWORKS, had fixed the wrong ratio of water to gnomish spirits, resulting in unstable fuel for the fireworks. When she later attached the bat wings to the metal shaft, the unstable firewater ignited prematurely, sending the firework screaming into the storage facility. The new storage cavern was a welcome addition to our city. The committee finally decided upon a gadget of my own humble design for the contest: ANIMATED BAIT. Armed with bits of cork and sprikets, we assembled mass quantities of this new style bait. The final piece of work for the contest, and my personal favorite, is the COLLAPSIBLE FISHING POLE. Using three metal rods and some gnomish bolts, I tinkered together a fishing pole that would fit inside of my belt pouch. It was a good day to be a gnome. “
The joint rule of the Knights of Truth and Priests of Marr lasted for several centuries. Freeport continued to have problems with underworld factions, as any port city, but was for the most part a safe and respected place to do business and to raise a family. The influence of Freeport’s forces reached ever further afield, with the communities of Farfield and eventually Brighthaven being settled and thus flourishing in the relative safety the Knights of Truth provided.
The Deathfist orcs were driven closer to extinction than any other orc tribe, and even the forces of Neriak were limited to occasional raids in the Commonlands. In the year 3150, the leaders of both the Priests of Marr and the Knights of Truth received divine inspiration from their gods. They were commanded, by divine decree, to undertake a crusade eastward, across the Ocean of Tears
and into the continent of Faydwer. The gods of these two groups had become concerned with the vast armies of undead gathering in hidden locations in the Isles of Tears and Faydwer, and commanded their followers to seek out and destroy them. As obedient servants of their gods, the
priests and knights began to make preparations immediately.
The first concern was finding enough ships to carry the majority of the clerics and paladins, which was left to the Priests of Marr. Building so many warships quickly required a great deal of money and contracts with numerous shipwrights and merchant houses. As careful as the priests attempted to be when making these arrangements, not all of the groups they dealt with were totally ethical. Money flowed into the coffers of several rogues and scoundrels, expanding the influence of the shadowy Coalition of Tradefolk Underground. In the end, however, the ships
were built on time.
The second major concern was how to protect Freeport and its allied communities while the majority of the clerics and paladins were gone; it was left to the Knights of Truth to solve this difficulty. After much debate, it was decided that a handful of knights and priests would remain behind. To augment their forces, they would be given the authority to hire mercenaries and even arm a temporary militia if needed. It was also expected that the remaining knights would lean heavily on the Steel Warriors, a fighter’s guild with strong ties to the Knights of Truth. Though only a dozen knights and half that number of priests were to be left behind, it was expected that this number would be enough to oversee the efforts of hired help and current allies to keep Freeport safe for the duration of the crusade.
The task of leading the remaining forces was left to Sir Lucan D`lere. Once a street rat and common thief, D`lere had been taken in by the Priests of Marr as a youth. As he grew, the priests desired to see him trained as either a priest or a Knight of Truth, and in the end Sir Valaron Dushire undertook his training. Sir Lucan became a powerful warrior and respected leader, and gained the hearts of the people of Freeport. Desiring to leave the common folk with a leader they could trust, Sir Valaron himself chose Sir Lucan for the critical position. It was a decision he would come to regret more than any other in his life aside, perhaps, from having taken D’lere on as a student in the first place.
The Crusade was one of the most massive military expeditions undertaken since the fall of the Combine Empire. The Priests of Marr and Knights of Truth sailed across the Ocean of Tears, clearing several islands infected with hordes of undead along the way, then landed in Faydwer to seek the source of the undead on that continent. It seems odd that none of the local governments objected to such a mass invasion, but the elven Sisters of Erollisi vouched for the intentions of the army, quieting objections from Kelethin and Felwithe, and the crusaders spent little time near either Kaladim or Ak‘Anon. The crusaders have never spoken of what it was they faced, fearing that whatever created armies of the undead could be summoned again should its true nature be known. Certainly they fought battles around Dagnor’s Cauldron and in the Estate of Unrest, but some claim they also sought engagements in Castle Mistmoore and the Hills of Shade.
Many scholars believe that the same malignancy which destroyed the stronghold of the Order of Marr’s Fist to create Befallen had begun to spread its influence into Faydwer. Others suspect that Lord Mistmoore it was the mastermind behind the problem. Whatever the case, the crusaders themselves do not talk of their journey, except to say that their gods are satisfied with the results. The Crusade of Tears took more than a year to complete, and cost the Priests of Marr and Knights of Truth almost half their number. As their forces gathered once more in the port near Kaladim, the crusaders returned by the shipful to Freeport, only to see what had become of their city during their absence.