Since the beginning of history, humanity has measured time in ages. Ages of glory, of Dreams, and even of Great Sorrows mark the human tally of the years, giving a sense of order to the events of past centuries. But one age has yet to occur, an age of darkness, of decay, and of writhing doom. Witty bards and wrathful preachers know it as the Age of Worms, weaving it into the peripheries of their passion plays as a mythic era of destruction that could begin at any time. Astrologers, diviners, and servants of the fates know more. The canniest among them fear that the Age of Worms has already begun.
Idle chatter around the village says that a band of richly dressed adventurers now frequents the taproom of the Feral Dog, Diamond Lake’s most notorious tavern. The confident heroes of the Free City spoke of hard-won battles on their journey to Diamond Lake, and of their intention to explore the long-abandoned Stirgenest Cairn on the lake’s distant southeastern shore. The PCs, being natives of Diamond Lake, know that cairn is o explored by the community’s youth, who always find it completely empty of marvels and perfectly harmless.Not so another cairn within a day’s ride of the village, however. This cairn lies near an iron mine that went dry about 50 years ago, and its owner’s charter apparently elapsed when he died a few years later. Situated thusly in a sort of no-man’s land, the cairn was all but forgotten, its yawning entrance overgrown with weeds and choked with collapsed debris. Rediscovered by a curious teenager three years ago, the cairn has since been a sort of community secret held by Diamond Lake’s youth, who dare each other to disappear into its cyclopean entrance as a test of mettle. Occasionally, when the wind is just right, haunting, almost magical tones emerge from the depths of the forlorn tomb. Those who know of its location call the place the Whispering Cairn.