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Against the Shadow  |  Adventure Hooks  |  Betrayal & Mistrust
Betrayal & Mistrust

Betrayal & Mistrust

    This simple plot hook is better used with Fury of Shadow


    Mirandil was a great elven hero of the Second Age. She was famous for her aerie beauty, and was a reputed warrior arcanist.
    She was the one who slew Izrador's main lieutenant (Beirial the Betrayer) in the ending battle of the Second Age, hence routing the orc armies and earning victory for the almost defeated free people of Eredane. This enraged Izrador, who knew that victory was so close he could have grasped it, had she not crippled his armies with such a lethal blow.
    Mirandil was also Ardherin's sister, and there never was any lost love between her and Aradil. None ever trusted the other, for each one was jealous of the other's beauty and prowess. Such are born the oldest elven tragedies...
    Against the will of Aradil, it was Mirandil who insisted on following Vard's advice and organized the ill-fated expedition that turned to disaster, in which the greatest elven hero was slain (this is currently the "official version" for the disappearence of Ardherin in Erethor).
    Mirandil was the only survivor of the expedition. She escaped the trap by sheer luck, and was able to follow the demons who had abducted Ardherin. She witnessed Ardherin's transformation into a Night King...
    ... But Izrador WANTED her to see that, in order to break her mind and make her another of his Night Kings. He allowed her to escape to report Ardherin's fate to the Witch Queen. Crushed by sorrow, Aradil let her hatred speak for her, and she refused to believe that Mirandil alone could have survived the expedition. It was clear to her that somehow Mirandil had betrayed the elves, but even her magic could provide no proof of that. Instead Aradil chose to ban Mirandil from elven lands.
    Mirandil was then expelled, with tears in her eyes, from elven lands, into a life of sorrow.
    This was just what Izrador had planned : the sad news of Ardherin's corruption was a crushing blow to Aradil's morale, and she faltered for a few months before regaining full control of herself. Knowing he had hurt her worst enemy so badly rejoiced Izrador's perverted mind.
    Then he captured Mirandil as she was erring in the northern lands, and he tried to break her mind, but unlike Ardherin, her personality was not so ripe for corruption, and he could not turn her into one of his pawns.
    Held prisoner with the "new" Ardherin, Mirandil was subjected to a vile ritual that cursed her to eternally bear witness to the suffering of her people and the corruption of her beloved brother. This torment is reserved only for Izrador's most hated enemies.
    Doomed with eternal life and no longer aging, Mirandil is now psychically tied to Ardherin. She can see through his eyes, share his thoughts and see for herself how perverted her beloved brother has become. Worse, she can see the inexorable victory of the Shadow, witnessing atrocities after atrocities as they are performed by the Night King. This eternal torment also "grants" her the ability to "see" the Shadow's actions wherever they are performed, for her greatest suffering.
    This is only the second part of the curse, however. As "the new" Ardherin himself explained to her, Izrador had already secretly cursed her at the end of the Second Age, with the curse of mistrust: thus it was no wonder that no-one ever believed her tales and warnings when she returned to elven lands. She is doomed to forever appear as a traitor.
    A third, (and unknown to her) part of the curse is that she is cursed to put the ones that she loves in great danger. It was thus that Ardherin fell into Vard's trap.
    But there is one thing that Izrador himself did not plan: whatever he did to her, she could not help herself from forgiving her brother Ardherin, for she knew he was not truly himself. And a consequence of this was that her presence by the side of Ardherin allowed a small group of elf fighters to attack his private camp, even managing to hurt him before they were dispatched.
    Mirandil took this opportunity to flee from the camp, and it is at this time, while she is pursued by a small orcish army in the outskirts of Erethor, that the PCs will stumble upon her as they are close to killing her.
    It is assumed that the PCs (being elves or elf-friends of some repute) will try and save her, but will themselves find her highly suspicious. If they recognize who she really is, they will find it strange that an elf could be so long-lived and could remain alive for so long while in captivity, especially with one of the Night Kings. If they show mistrust to her, then they are protected from her curse (of putting those she loves in great danger - which means they will simply be in danger, but that they can overcome the opposition if they are smart enough).
    It must also be noted that Mirandil now hates Aradil and all the elves, who allowed her to suffer such torments. This is a great chance for the elves (for it somehow "bypasses" the third effect of the curse), and Ardherin knows this.
    But this oportunity is too great for him to be ignored: if the PCs agree to lead Mirandil to Caradul, he could have them be tracked and finally locate the city for invasion by his troops.
    Now being hunted and stalked by the most dangerous of izrador's wildlanders and orc scouts, the PCs must escape the dangers, not only of the orcs, but also the enmity of the elves towards Mirandil, and take her to Caradul while escaping the trackers and the revengeful elves.
    Once there, it remains to convince Aradil to put aside her anger and see what she did not want to see after Ardherin's capture. If they RP well (or manage a quest to "prove" that Mirandil can actually be trusted despite her curse), then Aradil will "identify" Mirandil's curse and put it to good use.
    The "link" she provides (through the first effect of her curse) to one of the Night Kings' most secret plans will in time prove invaluable intelligence in the fight for Erethor...
    Of course, in order to manage that, the PCs will first have to "discover" whatever was the fate of Ardherin (and be forced to keep it a secret by Aradil).

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