The Legend of Gethzerian

Session 13

Their comrades lain safely in state in the Halls of the Iron Keep, Darmok and Vimak returned to the Stahl’s home, heads hung low and hearts heavy with grief. Douven met them at the door, heard their tale, and for the first time since they’d known him, was speechless. Juli collapsed to the couch, tears flowing from her eyes. Exhausted and defeated, the heroes turned in to sleep mere minutes before the grey dawn. Vimak offered prayers to Bahamut, but heard no response. Then, as he lay unable to sleep, he heard a voice. The spectral figure of Sir Keegan stood before him, sword in hand. However, far from visiting Bahamut’s justice on the fallen runepriest, Sir Keegan offered Vimak a way to redeem himself. He was told that Magdronan, Bahamut’s chosen warrior, had passed beyond the mortal coil, but that the Paladin’s service to the Platinum Lord was not yet done. Vimak was tasked to recover his comrades body and warned that Bahamut would not tolerate another failure.

Darmok awoke the next morning to see Vimak wearing tokens of Magdronan’s armor over his own and carrying Aecris, the Longsword of Sir Keegan instead of his customary greataxe. Curious, but not wanting to press the issue, Darmok followed his friend down to Douven’s sitting room, where they were greeted by Albanon, Tempest, Uldane and Shara. Douven sat speaking to the adventurers while Juli bustled about, providing more food than even the halfling’s appetite could handle. The newcomers expressed their condolences, as well as their regret that they had not arrived soon enough to help in the battle. Albanon and Tempest explained that they had traced the magics used by Isis Ravanna in her escape, and gave a likely range on the teleport spell, revealing Isis had been a sorceress. Douven then requested that Darmok carry a personal letter for him to the High Master of Hammerfast. Tempest would accompany him on this journey, and together they would also escort Thrykkla to face justice at the hands of Hammerfast’s Orc population. Shara and Uldane would be carrying similiar letters to Fallcrest, Winterhaven, and Mistwatch. Douven was tight lipped about the contents, saying only that he would reveal them in time. As he prepared to task Vimak to Nenlast and the Dawnfens, Douven noticed Vimak’s armor and sword, and held him back. He asked the others to grant them privacy, and they set out to prepare for the trip. As they sat to talk, there was a knock at the door. When Douven answered it, much to his suprise, and elder Half-Orc stood at the door, his fur cut with grey. The holy symbol he wore around his neck showed his dedication to Kord, and the tribal tattoos he bore identified him as a clan-mate of Grok. The Half-orc introduced himself as Ekkt, a fellow exile of the Kord-Claw clan. Ekkt had followed his own visions, as well as stories of the Heroes of Winterhaven to find Grok, whom he believed to be a destined leader of his people. He took the news terribly of the barbarian’s passing, even though he had died as a hero in combat, as Kord asked of his followers. He spoke to Douven and Vimak of a ritual that would allow Grok’s body to be preserved for a great time, and of the rumors that another existed that would allow him to call back a deceased warrior. Douven was skeptical of the Half-orc at first, owing to the number of enemies Grok had collected in his short life, but did not dismiss the idea. With Vimak having explained his quest for Magdronan, Douven was nervous to send the Goliath on his own. If Ekkt agreed to accompany Vimak on his quest, Douven would supply the materials needed for the Half-orc to perform the ritual, on the condition that he perform it for Magdronan and Onodrim as well. Ekkt agreed, and the party set out.

When they revealed their plan to Darmok, he suggested the travel together for the first leg of their journey. Uldane volunteered to join as well, as the party would need a tracker when they arrived at the end of the teleportation spell. With Thyrkkla chained, gagged, and in tow they set offf. Arriving at the crossroads, the two sorcerers immediately began searching for a magical terminus, succeeding minutes later. A small circle was burnt into the grass at the edge of the clearing. As the groups parted ways, Uldane began applying his considerable tracking skills. The halfling followed close to the ground, retracing the imprints left by several sets of feet, and one dragged body. Two small human tracks led the dragged, and a larger, heavier set followed. The last set appeared sporadically, but were clawed and smaller when they did. Ekkt theorized that they were chasing a winged enemy, likely scouting ahead of the other party. After several hours march the group found themselves at the Fiveleague house. The inn on the edge of the Vale had a shady reputation, though it appeared empty now. Sneaking forward, the party found several slain horses in the stable, one which appeared to have several chunks of flesh bitten from it. The windows were all shuttered, so the party was left with no choice but to enter. Vimak led the way, Aecris in hand. Immediately after the doors were opened, a blast of acidic energy flew out at the party. Kobolds scurried from the darkness of the inn and attacked. Each wore a badge of five colors. A fierce battle ensued, Vimak’s sword cleaved through flesh, Ekkt’s spells seared enemies and healed allies, while Uldane darted from enemy to enemy, burying his daggers in any target presented. When their foes were defeated, the party searched the area, finding the inn’s owner and staff murdered. They made their way to the lower level. More members of the Brotherhood of Five awaited them, two dragonborn and several lizardfolk. They had with them the deceased body of Magdronan. His tattoo had been recarved post-mortem. Vimak raged at the sight, charging headlong into battle. After several tense minutes of combat, the last dragonborn fell. Uldane climbed from the fighting pit into which both he and Magdronan’s body had been thrown, and Vimak pulled his fallen friend. Ekkt’s healing powers had been spent in an effort to keep Vimak standing through the fight, so the group agreed to spend the night in the inn. They barricaded themselves in one of the rooms and passed the night.

The next morning they set out back towards Harken. Magdronan and Ekkt carried Magdronan between them. As they approached the crossroads, Uldane spotted smoke in the distance. He agreed to scout ahead, leaving the other two to guard the body. After over a half hour, the halfing had not returned. Slowly the two made their way towards the smoke. As they entered the clearing, they saw Uldane’s body laying on the road. A fire giant stood over him, with a smaller humanoid female next to him. She spoke a word, and the giant began lumbering towards the newcomers. Thirty feet away, he shouted in giant and unleashed a massive fireball that engulfed Ekkt entirely and charred Vimak, knocking him to his feet. Ekkt’s body was covered in living flame that showed no signs of subsiding, leaving Vimak alone facing the giant, in a strange parrellel to events that led him to begin this adventure years ago. The monster bore down on him, screaming a challenge before drawing a stone hammer and charging. Ignoring the challenge, Vimak turned and knelt besides Ekkt’s body, praying to Bahamut for aid. As he reached his hands out to pull the half-orc from the fire, he felt a burst of cold energy fill body. His hands traced the Rune of Mending in the air without so much as a thought, and the air around him shone with divine light. Ekkt awoke in wonder, completely unharmed, to see Vimak before him. The goliath’s eyes shone as he pulled both of his weapons and turned on the giant. Before Ekkt’s startled eyes, Aecris merged with Vimak’s axe, forming a glowing platinum weapon. “Save the halfing,” he said. “This ones mine.” He charged the giant, meeting axe to hammer. Ekkt rushed forward, dodging blasts of fire from the mysterious female as he rushed towards Uldane. Moments later, the halfling was awake and darting about the battlefield, daggers flashing in the reflected light. Ekkt closed on the female, his mace landing the killing blow. Ekkt had never seen her race before. Her skin was dark yellow with green hues, and her face was gaunt and angular. Black hair hung braided from her head, and long, narrow, pointed ears showed through it. Puzzled, Ekkt turned just as Vimak’s axe struck the final blow on the giant, knocking him to the ground. Following an excellent suggestion from Ekkt, the heroes placed the giant’s hammer into their bag of holding. Neither could wield it, but one never knows when it might come in useful. Together, the group carried Magdronan back to Harkenwold, laying his body beside his comrades in the great hall of the Iron Keep. An empty cairn sat at the end of the line with John Snow’s shield standing upon it. Douven entered with Roghar and Baron Stockmer. The mighty Paladin broke down in tears upon seeing Magdronan’s body laid besides the others. Douven cleared the well wishers from the room and placed a heavy satchel in Ekkt’s hands. “Well done. Thank you for what you’ve done.”

After the ritual had been performed Ekkt joined Vimak and Darmok at Douven’s home. Douven revealed to them that the letters he had sent out to the great cities and towns of the Nentir Vale were to call a conference of all important citizens of the Vale to be held on 1 Magrothan in Fallcrest

Session 12
Showdown in Harken

The heroes of Winterhaven rushed about the inn. They had discovered several things of varying importance. First, their innkeep, Casandra Saah, was a devotee of Nerull, ancient Flan god of death, precursor to the Raven Queen. Due to the fact that last night had been the ancient Holy Day of Nerull, Casandra had been able to break the ritual cast upon the heroes by devotees of Orcus. In one corner, a Duergar, masquerading as a Dwarf. In the other, a Half-Elf huntress, daughter of a defeated foe. Each had worked their mojo in different ways, but together they had placed the heroes into a very deadly nightmare that Darmok was just now awakening from, cursing Duergars with every foul word known to Dwarf-kind as he pulled quill after quill from his neck. In the final abandoned guest room, they found another clue;. the Duergar in disguises human companions had accidentally dropped a military style badge of rank in their hasty exit. A badge denoting its holder a Sergeant of the Guard of T’yrn Ruon, John Snows homeland. Putting two and two together, Snow and his companions realized that these intruders must have been sent to meet with Rose, and arrived only after Casandra had her arrested. Casandra also gave the players an onyx necklace Rose had been wearing when captured, an exquisitely carved Ram-Skull of Orcus. Theorizing that even now the Duergar and his companions must be on their way to Harken to rescue their evil damsel from the dungeons of the Iron Keep, the heroes took off in fast pursuit. However, as seems to be their constant luck, their travel was assailed by bandits. These particular bandits took the form of Elf-kind, including half-breeds and Eladrin. These peculiar Elves were not from any of the tribes found in this area, and their leader was none other than Ninaran’s daughter. Using their powers of teleportation and ranged attacks, the Elves pulled the heroes into combat. The decision proved to be costly if not outright foolish, for soon all but Ninaran’s daughter lay dead, and the huntress fled off into the woods. However, the heroes held out wisdom that they had bigger fish to fry, and allowed her to run, choosing to continue onwards to Harken.
Arriving at the Iron Keep the heroes rushed straight down to the jails, stopping only to order a rookie guard at the gate to order the guard doubled. He impressed upon them that he had not the authority to do so, but they did not hear him as they ran to the cells. Both Rose and Thyrkkla were still in their cells, and neither seemed pleased to see their captors return. Snow and Onodrim led the interrogation of Rose, showing her the symbol of Orcus which she denied knowledge of. Minutes later, a confused Baron Stockmer entered the jail, Douven Stahl at his side. Within a few minutes they had explained their strange request. Darmok pointed out that Duergar, much like Drow, are weakened by direct sunlight, so if this creature were to attempt a rescue, it was likely they would do so under cover of darkness. To this end, it was suggested that the heroes rest now to recuperate their injuries from the nightmare, and then take watch at sunset. Douven Stahl volunteered to keep the daytime watch. Stahl also requested to speak with his charges first. He told them the story of Redra Galliston, a wizard of the ancient Nerathi Empire. Redra had a nightmare, recurring for many years, with a beast who matched the heroes adversary. This dream-curse was a powerful mental assault orchestrated by Gethzerian against the family Galliston, and Redra’s heirs, two of whom would strike multiple blows against the dragon’s rise to power.
That night, the heroes took their first watch. Two guards stood in each tower, and two pairs of two walked the perimeter of the wall. The guardsmen had also erected wooden horse-barriers twenty yards from the edge of the Keep. Rose once again proved resistant to interrogation, and the night passed without incident. The next day was no different. Frustrated with Rose’s stubborness, as well as his friends resistance to killing her outright, Onodrim ordered the guards to use noise and water to deny her sleep. Before heading to rest, the heroes traveled to Druid’s grove, where Norvan, their Gnomish friend ran his potion shop. After a bit of commerce, Norvan told the heroes that two strange men, who spoke in foreign accents similiar to Jon Snows had been in the shop several hours before hand, buying potions. Realizing that these must be the men traveling with the Duergar, the heroes rushed back to Harken. Once they had double checked the watch, they returned to their rooms for rest.
As the sun fell below the walls of the Keep, the heroes returned to the familiar jail. Rose had shown a remarkable ability to sleep despite the distractions, much to Onodrims frustration. He ordered them to step up the interruptions.
When the bell tolled midnight, the heroes paced the jail, edgy from days of waiting. Minutes later, the alarm rang from the walls “Fear, Fire, Foes! Attack on the wall!” Darmok stayed behind to keep watch on the arcane forces keeping teleportation into the jail down, and Vimak agreed to provide him with muscle for protection. As the remaining four heroes rushed to the wall, they found two guards laying dead on the southwest corner, killed by some form of magical attack. The wooden barrier was aflame on this side, though no foes could be seen. The heroes dropped a ladder from the wall and climbed down. Movement in the darkness gave Onodrim an opening for an attack, but he was unsure if he hit. They doused the fire, and made their way back. Meanwhile, downstairs, Darmok attempted to play double agent and convince Rose he’d help her out, but his efforts were met with laughter and curses in Supernal. The heroes returned from the wall, and waited. An hour later, the alarm rose again. The team divided in the same manner, and those who rushed to the wall saw the same area again aflame, and a guard again dead, this one from a crossbow bolt. Several shapes could be seen moving beyond the flames, and a voice called out “Oh Lord Snow, won’t you come down? We have something for you!” A body thumped over the burning barricade, landing in the mud. Grak decided he would have no more dying for their inaction, and in a spectacular moment of action leapt from the wall, drawing his weapons in midair and landing at a run. Onodrim was next, summoning an astral wind from Melora, extinguishing the fire and the life of the archer. Magdronan and Snow quickly lowered a ladder, and the group joined Grak on the ground. The body that had been thrown over was the Tiefling they’d seen at Casandra’s inn. In the distance, Grak saw another figure running, and after a brief debate the group set off in hot pursuit. Undaunted by the darkness, the group followed the mysterious figure until his path joined the road leading out of Harken, and from there pursued till the eastern crossroads. There, a Duergar stood in the middle of the road, laughing. “So, John Snow. We meet at last. And you brought friends. Its a shame you were able to wake from your nightmare.” Another Duergar appeared from within the ruined guardshack, as well as the other human who had been at the Inn. “Time to die bastard. I’ll give your regards to Queen Isis.” Grak charged into battle, swinging both weapons at the first duergar, only to be knocked back in suprise when the creature quadrupled in size. A Harpy, a Hobgoblin, and two fire demons joined the fight as well. The hobgoblin was a fierce fighter, and his torso was tattooed with the symbol of Orcus, glowing as he fought. Spell met spell, and steel clashed with steel. John Snow shouted commands, attempting to inspire his friends to glory, but he was the first to fall as his stepmother’s vindictive Duergar servant poured his dark magic upon him. Onodrim called upon Melora’s might, and was able to pull Snow back from the Raven Queen’s embrace, but it was only temporary, as the harpy raked her claws across the warlords throat, and John Snow fell unconscious again. Grak fought the giant Duergar alone, their warhammers trading blows, and finally Magdronan stepped in to aide the barbarian, and under their might the beast fell. Only moments later however, the Half-Orc was pierced by the Hobgoblin’s foul blade, a wound that appeared fatal. Magdronan moved to help his friend, but was assailed by his foe and driven back. He too fell, pierced by the blade of Orcus’ Blackguard. Onodrim, alone on the field, weighed his options. Wisdom said to run, but his heart pulled him to stand and attempt to save his friends. But the might of the Hobgoblin and the speed and magic of the harpy were too much, and finally, he too fell, hearing at last the cruel laughter of the Hobgoblin.

While their friends ran off into the night, Darmok and Vimak patrolled the small jail of the Iron Keep. Two soldiers were stationed with them, one at the door, and the other outside Thyrkkla’s cell. Minutes later, much to their suprise, the door of the secure hallway opened, and a human woman entered. Tall, thin, and pale, her hair was a bright red, and her face had once held great beauty, but now showed signs of aging. She walked in as if she belonged, and before either could react, raised her hand and spoke words of command. Darmok felt himself glued to the ground, immobilized, and his mind dazed by the sheer power she wielded. But he was the lucky one. Vimak’s mind twisted in on itself, and he found himself dominated by the will of the human. “Well, well. It seems my dear stepson has taken the bait. Excellent.” She walked around to Vimak, and noticed his holy symbol. “My dear goliath,” she whispered, “he’s going to fall, you know that, don’t you. Platinum is out. Green is in.” Turning to Darmok she said, “but you, Dwarf, you we might work with. No godly taint, bristling with arcane power. But no, my duergar friends would never work with you. Too bad. Such a waste. Now, tell me, where is my sweet Rose? I hope you know the world of pain that awaits you if so much as a hair upon her head has been harmed.” Fortunately for her, Vimak held the keys in his pocket, and she commanded her servant to enter the cell and release Rose. The young girl showed shock at her mother’s appearance, and once released from her bindings collapsed into the seat in a show of exhaustion. Isis Ravanna, Queen of T’yrn Ruon, turned at a speed belying her years. “You shall all pay for this.” Waving her hand, she commanded Vimak to strik Darmok, and a mighty blow rained upon the Dwarf. Moments passed as the two struggled mightily, finally freeing themselves from their mental constraints. A fierce battle ensued, Isis necromantic magic against Darmok’s chaos and Vimak’s strength. Queen Isis summoned a pair of Ice demons to the fray, and they made quick work of the guards before being blasted apart by Darmok. Isis was a blur on the battlefield, teleporting seemingly with every strike, and leaving her enemies dazed. Rose did not stir, seemingly too weak to enter the fight. Then, hoping to force the fight to an end, Vimak entered the cell and turned his axe on Rose. A thundering crash echoed through the chamber as Vimak struck, followed by Isis’ pained scream. Vimak’s holy symbol turned from platinum to black, and crumbled as he pulled it from his neck. Bahamut was displeased with the Goliath, and he knew at that moment that his holy powers, the divine magic he worked through his runes was no longer available to him. Isis teleported herself between the two and began to pour dark magic out, but Darmok’s spells proved mightier, and Isis was forced to collect Rose and vanish in a final teleportation spell that greatly outranged Darmok’s senses.
Patching themselves together, the two rushed from the basement to find their colleagues. The guards pointed them in the direction they’d run, and they set off at a run. When they came upon the crossroads, they knew they were too late. In the dark of the battlefield, they saw signs of a mighty struggle. Blood mixed with the dirt and grass. The body of a duergar, impossibly large, lay across the road, and next to it, they found the lifeless shape of Grak. An unbelievable amount of wounds covered his body, truly he had died fighting, as Kord commands. A smaller duergar lay nearby and the bodies of two twisted fire demons. At the edge of the field they found Onodrim, his body covered in pine and leaves, as Meloras forest mourned her fallen son. Of Magdronan all they found were the parts of him marked for Bahamut. His chestplate, his greaves, his holy symbol, and the longsword given to him by Sir Keegan. These Vimak gathered, saying a prayer to Bahamut that he hoped would still be heard, despite his transgressions. Of John Snow only his cloak and his shield remained, both stained with the blood he had spilled in battle. While darmok collected their comrades belongings into Onodrims’ bag of holding, Vimak constructed a gurney of strong branches, and the sorcerer and the fallen priest set off for the Iron Keep in mourning…..

Session 11

As the battle came to its bloody conclusion, a terrible realization came to the party. Bloodspears had entered the Vale. For the first time in generations the foes who had once brought the region to its knees had crossed Stonefang Pass. For one of the party however, it was not the Vale that worried him, but the threat the Bloodspears posed to his clan. For amongst their beaten foes lay the unconcsious body of Thryrkkla, who had grown up with the raging barbarian who now stood over her. A Kordclaw fighting with the very foes who had tried to wipe out their clans existence. A Kordclaw who’s father had been a leading voice in exiling Grak from his homeland. A traitor. Realizing that he would need the information she held, Grak contained his rage, resisting his primal urges to murder his former clan-mate. Binding and gagging their prisoner, Vimak summoned just enough of his healing powers so that she could walk, and the group set out towards Harkenwold. After a brief overnight in Tor’s Hold, the team continued towards Harken. Arriving at Douven Stahl’s door, they were greeted by Juli. Needless to say, the lady of the house was stunned to see a shackled half-orc at her door, but quickly summoned Douven. Stahl shared in the groups worries of the implications of a Bloodspear incursion to the Vale, and set off at once to inform Baron Stockmer. On the way to the Keep, he also informed Jon Snow that the young lady whom he’d romanced at the banquet, who had stabbed him as she left, had been taken prisoner in Dardun, at the Inn of the Weeping willow.

Two painful interrogations followed. Thyrkla was hardly moved by her capture to spill, and spent most of her energy threatening Grak. She did however, pass on the information that the Kordclaw clan survived, but by accepting the Bloodspear ways, not fighting them as Grak had urged. Rose was willing to give more information, but only in private to Jon Snow. She mocked his lack of knowledge of their home, and confirmed the worst, that his father had been deposed, and his Step-mother now ruled in his place. Baron Stockmer’s guards noted the violence and pyschopathy of Rose, stating that she had to be kept in solitary as she had murdered her two previous cellmates bare-handed. While Snow interrogated the young woman the others noticed a curious, but quite striking visual resemblance between their friend and his would-be murderer. Snow left the meeting taking away pride that he had made it onto his step-mother’s radar, but worried about the state of his homeland of T’yrn Ruon. At this point, Baron Stockmer appeared, and though he was friendly, seemed slightly offput by the heroes rapid return to Harkenwold. Douven suggested they adjourn to his home, and caught up with the team on their adventures in the Fey, and their meeting with Galadran. He then suggested that the group make their way to Dardun and seek out the Inn of the Weeping Willow. Suspecting Rose was awaiting rescue there, he hoped the group would be able to sniff out any potential threats.
The innkeep, Casandra Saah, was a curious woman. She greeted the heroes with a sarcastic welcome. In her inn, those who blamed the heroes for the deaths of civilians had a strong voice, and it took several rounds of drinks before the clamor against the group died down. Casandra appeared to want to speak to the heroes, but would not do it in front of the bars other patrons, mostly humans, but including several halflings, elves, and one very unfriendly Dwarf. As the heroes retired to their rooms for the night awaiting Casandras visit, they one by one drifted off into a deep, heavy sleep.

When they awoke, the inn was suspiciously quiet. A quick look at the door showed it locked, from the inside, though none in the party could recall doing so. A quick look outside showed it was still dark. A second, slightly longer look gave a different impression. The night sky was tinged with red, and the moon seemed larger and closer than it should be. As grogginess fell away, Darmok’s snores cut through silence. The Dwarf had not awoken with his friends, and now nothing seemed to stir the sorcerer. While Vimak attended to Darmok, Snow and Grak slowly made their way out of the room and into the hall. Noone could be seen or heard on their floor, nor the one below it. Making their way down into the main room of the inn, they discovered the fire had burned out entirely, which implied a longer passage of time than the still dark sky. The inn was clean and quiet. Suddenly, there came a pounding on the door. “Come out and meet your doom mortals” boomed a voice that seemed to surround the inn, echoing as clearly in the party’s rented room as it was in the main hall. Sneaking a peak out the window, Snow could see noone outside, nor Magdronan from the bedroom. The party regrouped in the main hall, Vimak and Magdronan carrying Darmoks still sleeping body with them. The pounding persisted, but nothing could be seen at the door. Finally, gathering their courage (and their unconscious Dwarf) and recalling that they were, after all, supposed to be heroes, the group stepped outside. The quiet that had permeated the inn did not stop at the threshold. No birds sang, no insects buzzed. The moon was higher and brighter in the sky that even a short time ago when they saw it from their room’s window. As Onodrim pointed this out, all saw a great winged shadow pass over the moon, to quick to process, but too ominous to be imagined. In the distance, Grak saw a blue light, and the group set off towards it. A sense of dread filled the adventurers as the entered a small forest clearing. The blue glow eminated from a portal of some sort. A large creature stood beside it, armored in black, wielding a monstrous sword who’s blade was wreathed in flame. A woman lay helpless on the ground before him. The beast turned towards them, showing glowing red eyes behind his helm. “She must not live!” it screamed, slicing the sword downwards, and cleaving the woman in two. Without another word, the beast stepped through the portal. As the party rushed over, they knew it was too late. Whoever the woman had been, she was dead. A brief debate ensued, over whether they should follow the beast or accept that somethings were beyond their control. As they spoke the womans blood flowed slowly across the grass, and immediately as it contacted the portal the blue glow expanded outward, flashed, and collapsed on itself.

As the party recovered from this disorientation, they took stock of their surroundings. They were still in the same clearing it seemed, only a darker version. The moon had turned deep crimson, the womans body had vanished, and so had the unconcsious body of their friend Darmok. As they looked around further they found themselves surrounded by graves and tombstones. A large fenced archway, seemingly constructed of skulls stood before them. A loud roar sounded in the distance, and the black shadow was once agian seen crossing in front of the moon. “Welcome to your doom” boomed the voice from the inn. The gate creaked, and Darmok walked from it. His skin was sallow and his eyes glowed a deep purple. He spoke to the party, denigrating their friends mental capacity, and giving a rather poor outlook for their future. Then, as he stepped back through the gate, the attack began. Demons appeared from the graves, claws and tentacles grasping towards the heroes. A pitched battle ensued, and the heroes emerged victorious. Darmok again appeared from the gate, this time leaving it open behind him. “Well, perhaps you are a bit stronger than I thought. No matter.” As he walked away, the party followed him, entering another area, this one distinctly the inner sanctum of a graveyard. Open tombs for all five heroes stood before them, including one already closed and bearing Darmoks name. Darmok, or, at least whatever was posing as him, sat atop the graveyard. As they approached the graves, the temperature seemed to plummet almost instantly, icy chills lapping at the heroes. A solitary scarecrow stood in the middle of the field, hanging limply off his stake. Darmok laughed at the heroes. “I didnt expect you to make it this far.” His voice seemed different than usual, almost as if there was a second, dissonant voice behind his. “But you will make it no farther.” With that, he shrugged and seemed to fade into his grave. Turning away, the group saw that the scarecrow had come alive. Frost tipped his hands, and his eyes burned the same purple as Darmoks. He cackled loudly, and seemed to smile at the heroes. “I was so hoping they’d leave you to me, dearies!” The frozen monstrosity before them was not alone however. Several large, intimidating shapes appeared in the distance, walking with a menacing gait towards the party. Two wendigos soon stood next to the scarecrow, easily twenty feet tall, heads crowned with menacing ten-point antlers. Several other demons followed, including one that seemed to be nothing more or less than an animated furnace, belching fire as it slowly advanced. The battle was long and viscious, but again the Heroes of Winterhaven prevailed, Magdronan’s blade parting the scarecrow with a crack of ice to end the threat. Beyond the battle grounds, a bridge of skulls crossed a river of blood, and there the party followed. Emerging into an area containing three masoleums, the heroes once again saw Darmok before them. “Well, I see the silver fool has chosen you wisely. His doom too shall come. But now, enough of this game.” Darmok’s body crumpled to the ground as the glow left his eyes. Gone was the Dwarfs borrowed voice, only the deep booming voice from the inn remained. “Your time is ended. RED EYES! RED DEATH!” With that, the door of the largest masoleum burst open and the nightmare beast stepped out. Ten feet tall, armor and blade wreathed in red flame, its eyes glowing red from within its helm. His minions emerged from the nearby sarcophogai. The party furiously entered the fray, unleashing their might upon the nightmare. The beast seemed at first to shrug it off, vanishing several times only to reappear again in perfect tactical positioning. His sword was strong, and cut the party deep, taking Onodrim within inches of his life. Finally, when his minions had fallen the beast was surrounded. Axe, sword, and spell brought the beast to his knees. A pained roar split the night, freezing all in place. Enough! You leave me no choice. I’ll finish you myself. The black shadow crossed the moon once more, and the ground trembled as a massive green dragon landed from his flight. This was the source of the mystery voice. “Now, tremble at my glory. Gaze upon your death. And face the might of GETHZERIAN!!!!!!” THe dragon inhaled and unleashed a terrifying spray from deep within his throat accompanied by a terrible roar, then all was black.

The next sound the heroes heard was knocking. Quiet at first, then louder, more insistent. One by one, they heard their names. Casandra’s voice cut through the air. The party awoke, all except Darmok, who lay still sleeping, seemingly unharmed, eyes clear of any glow. As they open the door Casandra bursts through. “You’re lucky to be alive. Something dark and evil happened here last night….”

Session 10

Galadran and team travel to Fallcrest
– Attacked by Wolf Runners
– Arrive in town, Hammerfast caravan is also there
– Shopping time
– Team meets Dwarven guards
– Told the legend of Starvoss and Calastryx
– D. Stahl of Fallcrest over 100 years ago?
– Stays with Albanon while in town
– Set out the next morning
– Ambushed on road by Bloodspear Orcs
– Orcs include female Half-Orc, formerly of Kord-Claw Clan named Thyrkkla
– Team is able to take her captive

Session 9

As the team wraps up from the battle at the wall, Douven Stahl returns to them. “Well done all.” The Baron and the others are safe in the tower. Quickly, the heroes recount the tale of the battle to their mentor, who identifies the mark on the invaders armor. “The Iron Circle, a band of mercenaries. The last remnants of an ancient empire, laid low by Magroth at the height of his power. They are led by priests of Asmodeus, the Lord of the Nine Hells. They are not a cheap hire.” Together, the group makes their way around the Keep, seeing that the only damage is the Ogre-bashed wall where they had just finished their battle. The rest of the village rests in the guards barracks near the door, the safest location remaining in the Keep. As the group enters, attempting to reassure the populace, a series of screams comes from the direction of the great hall. The villagers roil to a panic. “Go, go,” screamed Douven. “I’ll keep them calm and safe. But please, please friends. That scream, it sounded like my wife.” Rushing from the room, the heroes enter the great hall. A tall Dragonborn warrior, wearing scale armor of five colors stands before them, sword in hand. Two growling Drakes crouch at his side, barely restrained by chain leashes. Two hooded figures walk before the area where the high table formerly stood, though that area lies in darkness. As soon as Magdronan enters the room, the dragonborn growls fiercely and points his sword at him. “Your false god will not help you here.” Another figure floats from the shadows. "Now, now, it wouldn’t be polite for you to destroy our guests before they see the surprise. The figure appears nearly see through. With a wave of his hands the lights around the high table flare to life, revealing Juli Stahl, Baron Stockmer, and Priestess Marla. The women seem terrified, and Baron Stockmer is bruised and bleeding. He was not taken without a fight. The hooded men drop their cloaks, revealing large human men, their bodies carved and tattooed with the all too familiar ram skull of Orcus. As the mystery figure came closer to the dragonborn, he turned towards the heroes, and lowered down his hood. The spectral apparition before the heroes was one they’d seen before they’d even entered the Keep on the Shadowfell. One that had looked down at them from the excavation site where they’d not too long ago rescued Douven Stahl. One who’s face had last been seen burning in the light of Bahamut’s justice. One they’d thought dead. Kalarel. “Suprised to see me? Orcus’ will and service does not end. Ever.” Upon seeing their foe before them, the heroes charged. The dragonborn bared his teeth, released his drakes, and charged Magdronan. Onodrim and Darmok unleashed massive blasts of energy, arcane and divine, both targeting Kalarel with eerie precision. Magdronan charged Tiamats champion, Vimak moving behind him to aid his fellow. Grak, relishing the challenge of new foes, charged the Drakes, allowing himself to be surrounded as the brutes joined in the fight. With a bit of tactical advice from John Snow, the barbarians weapons flashed and swung through enemies. The onslaught of the heroes, stronger now than last they faced Kalarel, was unstoppable, as was their fury at this invasion of their home. One by one, the enemies fell before their might. Kalarel swore to Orcus as his shadow once again passed beyond the veil of light and returned to shadow. Their foes defeated, Onodrim released the captives from their bonds. Douven rushed into the room a moment later. “I couldn’t wait a moment longer.” Rushing forward to hold Juli, he thanked the heroes profusely. “So that was Kalarel. Your beaten enemy and a Paladin of Tiamat. The Prince of Undeath and the Queen of many colors. It would seem, friends, that it is not Harkenwold that these enemies are assaulting. They’re here for you.” With the chief threat defeated, the heroes returned to Douven’s home to rest. The wards and protective spells around the property stood ward for the night, though all slept with their armor on that night. In the morning the heroes determined to leave the Barony as soon as possible, to safeguard their friends. In preperation, they set out upon various errands. Onodrim and Grak traveled to Dardun for potions, John Snow and Magdronan visited the castle blacksmith, hoping to maximize the powers of the gear they’d pulled from their fallen foes. Vimak spent the day with Douven, seeking the answers to the dangerous puzzle that faced him. Upon their return, the heroes set out immediately for the gate Onodrim had long ago used to reach this world. With many questions before them, and fewer answers, the group had decided to take the druidess Hyacinth up on her offer. The group pushed through the night, arriving at the gateway at the ordained hour, exactly as Onodrim remembered. Passing through, they were met by the verdant green of the Feywild, the bright echo of the world. In the Court of Blooms, the Eladrin welcomed their friend and his companions back to the world. The Green Lord Oran allowed the companions to pass through his lands, thought he warned them that at their next stop they would not be so graciously recieved. The reputation of the Prince of Thorns was not a gregarious one, though the party had been forewarned by his son, Albanon. Departing the next day, the party immediately noticed the change when passing between the realms. Their reception in the Court of Blooms was exactly as expected, and the Prince seemed grateful, though a bit wary, when Onodrim mentioned his sons name. Hyacinth arrived mere moments after the party, and the Prince gave her use of a small vessel with which to reach the island. Setting off immediately, the party made it to the heart of the island, and found the remains of a small village. They had not yet seen any sign of the Orcs Hyacinth warned about, but their keen sense of danger told them to be wary. Hyacinth stood by a large obelisk in the center of the square and informed the party that she would need to be protected and undisturbed until she completed the ritual that would open the obelisk, revealing the artifact inside. “No matter what happens, I must complete the ritual. I cannot fail again.” Soon, Hyacinth began to chant, and slowly, the runes on the obelisk began to glow and pulse in time with her incantations. The silence of the forest, bereft of any birds or insects was suddenly broken by Orc war cries. A dozen armed orcs rushed the camp, swarming Grak and John Snow. Before their fellows could react, a massive thundering shook the ground, and two Anklyosaurus’ rushed into the clearing, with Orc savages upon their backs. Two Triceratops quickly joined them, and a screeching call from above heralded the arrival of Pterodactyls. Two orc shamans completed the assault, their lightning calling spells raining destruction across the party, and defeating the ranged advantage of Onodrim and Darmok. The battle began poorly for the heroes,as they were overwhelmed by the onslaught of so many new and powerful foes. However, they soon began to fight back. Hyacinths chants became more frantic and the runes began to pulse wildly. “Almost done. Keep me safe!” However, her cries were covered by the scream of shock as Grak was pulled into the air by a pterodactyl, followed moments later by the beasts own screams of pain as the half-orc placed a mighty blow onto its wing, sending them both crashing to the ground. Vimak and Magdronan laid their mighty weapons upon the dinosaurs, relishing the challenge. As the tide seemed about to turn, something terrible happened. A burst of red light erupted from the obelisk, and when everyone regained their vision, in the place of Hyacinth stood a monstrous Tyranosaurus Rex. Twenty feet tall, with rows of teeth beyond count, the beast began to tear into orc and hero alike. Bloodied enemies fled from the fray, but our heroes did not. Magdronan bravely issued the divine challenge of Bahamut upon the T-Rex, whilst Onodrim and Darmok assailed it with every spell known to them. Snow maneuvered his allies into position for the end, and Vimak called down the Runes of destruction upon the beast. But it was Grak’s mighty hammer that decided the day. With a howl that rivaled the beasts own volume, the barbarian laid a blow upon the dinosaurs head that brought it to its death. Barely standing the party took stock of their situation. Bloodied, alone in hostile territory, short of spells and strength, and now missing the druidess who had been their guide, the adventure was clearly not over yet. Just then, however, a mysterious newcomer appeared on the edge of the clearing. He was dressing in white and silver robes, bore neither visible weapon or armor, nor any device, save the symbol of Bahamut around his neck. Tall and thin, his skin was a deep blue and his eyes white. Undoubtedly, this was one of the high race, servants to the gods reborn constantly to the mortal world. A Deva. He spoke in a soft, calm voice. “Greetings. My name is Galadran.”

Session 8
Home at last

Awakening to a much quieter, and much more burnt down chapel than they’d left the night before, the party searched the grounds for any sign of their attacker. Only the open graves of the undead Orcus’ priestess had created remained. From the parts of the temple that remained, the party was able to identify it as an ancient Cathedral of Pelor. Knowing that it would please their friend Priestess Marla, Onodrim blessed the ground around the temple, and consecrated the grounds in the name of Melora. The mother of nature shone her light upon the grounds and the forest began to reclaim the lands with greenery. The temples ruins were covered in the most beautiful plants and flowers of the region, and Onodrim knew that Pelor would be pleased, for the Gods of good often work to the same goals. Setting back to the road, the party encountered a most unpleasant sight. A sight not seen above the Nentir Vale for generations. Three Dragons were locked in combat above the road. A large Silver Dragon, well advanced in age was locked in combat with a younger, faster Grey. A smaller Copper flitted about the edge of the battle, attempting to assist her Metallic ally. Though many of the party were apprehensive about entering the fray, Magdronan and Vimak recognized that Silver Dragons are often the Knights and most honored warriors of Bahamut. They implored their fellows to assist, neither having the ability to strike at a distance. Darmok, always up for a challenge, unleashed a series of Chaos Bolts, while Onodrim attempted to drag the Grey down with his divine chains. Outnumbered in the air, and now facing a devastating barrage from below, the Grey flew off. Both dragons landed besides the party, the Silver showing many wounds and injuries. He explained his name was Douvistos, and introduced the copper as his mate, Jolendra. The grey, named Varsentes, he explained was an old rival, though he has since grown strength and powers he had not previously shown. Powers that Douvistos attributed to Gethzerian. A name he is shocked to find the party is aware of. He informs them that Gethzerian is, in fact, alive, though he has not yet shown his face. Douvistos believes that if Gethzerian were at his full powers, he would have come for him personally, not sending a minion such as Versantes. Wounded greatly, Jolendra convinces Douvistos to return home, though accepting of what healing Vimak and John Snow can offer, dragons heal differently than the younger races. Douvistos wished you luck in your endeavors and set out on his way.
Finally, you arrived at the Village of Harken, seat of Baron Stockmer, and the location from which you began your adventure, those many weeks ago. The Baron awaits you at the crossroads, with Douven and Juli and Priestess Marla. Juli greets each of you with a massive hug, and thanks for saving her husband. The Baron is eager to hear your tales of battle, but luckily Stahl steps in, recognizing your signs of travel weariness. As he sheperds you back to his home, The Baron invites you to a grand feast that evening in honor of the Heroes of Winterhaven.

Douven Stahl welcomes you back to your old quarters in his home, and Juli sets out a small sampling of each of your favorites. Douven listens eagerly to your tale, and is intrigued by the book of prophecies Onodrim recovered from the temple. He tells them what he knows of the Fel Oracle, including a tiny bit of skepticism.

That night, as the sun sets, Douven and Juli lead the group up the hill to the Iron Keep, historic seat of the Stockmer family. The castle is not large or glorious, but strong and well built for defense. Only a single entrance exists, at the top of a twisting path up a hill, and it is well covered with arrow slits and murder holes. As you enter the great hall, you see it is filled with everyone of note from not only Harken, but the rest of the Barony as well. Baron Stockmer offers a toast as you arrive, and welcomes you to the high table, alongside himself, Douven, Juli and Priestess Marla, who is thrilled by the the gifts Onodrim offers, having recovered them from the desecrated temple of her God. As you are greeted by old friends, and make new ones, you are feasted on the finest food and drink Harkenwold has to offer. Course after course, until you are glad you left your armor behind, as it would now be uncomfortably tight. Between courses, Juli departs the table, returning a few minutes later with a dark-skinned woman, whom she introduces as Hyacinth. Seemingly human, Onodrim recognizes her instanly as a hama-dryad, a fellow Feywild resident. Juli has passed word that you seek Galadran, the Deva who served as Cleric for the party of heroes that defeated Gethzerian 200 years ago, and Hyacinth claims she knows where to find him, for a price of course. She intstructs you to meet her in the Feywild in the Court of Thorns within a month, if you wish to accept this quest. As she departs, the evening takes an even stranger turn, as a beautiful red-headed woman approaches the table, asking John Snow for a dance. After some slightly akward flirting, John accepts, and the two take to the floor, swirling in time to the minstrels music. The rest of the party, naturally, is quite shocked by this turn of events, but continues their enjoyment. Moments later, a man dressed in dark robes bursts in the door, instantly putting his sword to the throat of the nearest party-goer. Stockmer objects, but the man address only the party, offering them the chance to surrender. Stahl demands the innocents be released, but the intruder only scoffs at him. Several other intruders enter the room dressed in a similiar manner, including two Tieflings. As the party is mostly unarmored and weaponless, they hesitate initially, none more costly than John Snow’s hesitation. As he turns to watch the intruder, his dancing companion whispers in his ear “a message from your step-mother” and drives a dagger into his ribs before running from the room. Onodrim strikes the first blow, however, unleashing a divine spell upon what appears to be the enemy caster, striking true. However, the leader responds exactly as he threatened, slicing the throat of the civilian he held. This is too much for the party. As Stahl drags the Baron, the Priestess, and Juli to saftey out a secret doorway, Grak charges headlong into the battle, ignoring the fact that his armor is off and his hands are empty. But even empty, the hands of a half-orc are formidable weapons. A moment later the stony fists of Vimak join him in felling opponents. A Dragonborn never truly being unarmed, Magdronan unleashes a blast of his Dragonbreath before running for his weapon. Having held their implements through their hosts courtesy (its only my walking staff) and trickery (a secret pocket in his sleeve) Onodrim and Darmok begin to unleash their attacks from afar. After a slow start, Vimak is able to regain his axe, while he and Magdronan defeat a fierce tiefling gladiator. John Snow, recovering from his suprise, recovers his sword before rushing to the aid of Grak. The half-orc, however, has held his own, disabling one enemy and claiming his Falchionn to turn against another. Finally, the last intruder falls dead. Running to the doors, Onodrim hears shouting outside. As the party emerge, they see how the intruders entered the castle. Unable to defeat the gate, they have made their own. A large Ogre has smashed a hole in the wall, and several more soldiers dressed in a manner to match those corpses in the great hall are with him. Several wolves also rush forward into the gap, but two are cut down before they even reach the fray. The third, however, reaches Magdronan, and as it dodges his blade, transforms. This is no ordinary wolf, but a lycanthrope. The werewolf sunk his jaws into Magdronans arm as the Dragonborn watched in suprise. The ogre was dispatched quickly, and the rest of the foes began to fall, but not until the werewolf had added bits of Vimak, Onodrim, and Grak to his dinner was he finally defeated. Only one foe remained, and Magdronan bravely issued a divine challenge to the dark warrior. However, realizing his numerical disadvantage, he began to retreat. Onodrim led his comrades in a valiant attempt to capture and subdue the foe. However, the enemy was smarter than he appeared. Not wishing to be captured, he turned and sliced his sword at Onodrim, activating the Divine challenge of Bahamut laid upon him by Magdronan, effectively suicide by Paladin. As the party surveyed the area, Douven Stahl returned, with news that the Baron and the others were safe in the Wizards tower. He was able to identify the markings on the assailants as belonging to the Iron Circle, a viscious southern mercanary group with roots in the ancient Cults of Asmodeus. Suddenly, a scream is heard from across the Keep, coming from the direction of the Wizards tower……

Session 7
Triumphant Return

The team cleared the keep, defeated the evil,and saved the town!!! Now they return home in triumph and victory. But on their return home, they’re shadowed. But by who, what, they don’t know. As they approach Fallcrest, they are greeted triumphantly. Questions are answered, more questions are discovered. Gethzerian, the mighty Green Dragon, did in fact trouble Fallcrest. 200 years ago. He was reported dead by an adventuring team who drove him from the town. After a night in town where the team found a few answers, and met some useful comrades, they set out the next morning for Harkenwold and home. However, as the sun dropped below the horizon, the party sought refuge off the trade road, eventually finding an abandoned cathedral. An abandoned cathedral now desecrated in the name of Lord Orcus, and inhabited by his servants. The same servants, including a Vampiric Priestess , the same one that has been following the team since they left Winterhaven. Battle weary, the team hunkered down for the night in an abandoned crypt.

Session 6
End Game

The door before them gave way only with a hardy shove, the seals that held in the water trap also restricting the doors movements. The room before them was rank with the smell of death and decay. The lighting was dim, and the stone walls echoed every sound. As Onodrim attempted to scout ahead of the group, he heard an all to familiar series of moans, and the sounds of shambling feet. Zombies rushed around the corner, attempting to corral our heroes. A small stone golem also appeared, blasting the brains of the do-gooders with psionic waves, as a lean ghoul appeared, flesh dripping from his jaws. The undead fell easily before the onslaught of the heroes at first, but then were temporarily bolstered by a new foe, one all too familiar to the heroes. Bursting from the back of the chamber, Magdronan charged his allies, laying into them with sword. Curiously, the heroes noted it was not Aecris, sword of Sir Keegan, but his old sword he attacked with. Red fire burned in the Dragonborn’s eyes as he attacked Snow and Vimak. As Onodrim’s divine light laid the last of the undead to rest once more, the golem took off at high speed, flying through the doors where Magdronan had emerged. A well aimed blow was able to knock Magdronan to his feet, and Vimak shone upon him the divine light of Bahamut. The red glow faded from his eyes, and he dropped his sword. Meanwhile, Darmok explored a small passageway, barely large enough to admit the Dwarf. Inside, his armor removed and scattered and his chest bloody, lay John Snow. He was alive, but only by the smallest of margins. Dragging his comrade out, Darmok called for healing. Vimak tended Snow back to life, while Grok and Onodrim watched over Magdronan, who had no memory of attacking his friends. As Bahamuts light (and a full vial of healing potion) brought the Warlord to his feet, he turned and drew his sword, pointing it at Magdronans chest. “YOU!” he screamed, to the suprise of his friends. “Something you’d like to share with the group, traitor?” Snow recanted a tale of torture at the hands of Kalarel’s servants, including the stunning revelation that Magdronan had a magical tatoo upon his chest. Now faced with this accusation on top of attacking his comrades magdronan confessed to his friends that he bore a tatoo from his past, a mark of what he was, what he could not remember, but assuered them that he was on their side. Kalarel, it seemed had dominated his spirit and mind, disparaging the power of Bahamut. Putting this incident aside due to the urgency at hand, the group gathered their gear and stepped through the next door into a large dark cathedral. Snow and Magdronan both recognized it instantly as the room in which they were held and tortured. The golem hovered above an altar in the rooms center, fresh with blood that the group knew had recently filled John Snow’s veins. A man stood behind the altar in black robes, a rams skull tatoo on his face, and a mace in his hand. “You will all die for Lord Orcus!” he screamed. “Give us your blood” Before our heroes could react, men dressed in ancient style clothes dropped from their ceiling, with skin pale as the moon and black lifeless eyes. As they advanced, John Snow finally realized what he had been unable to whilst under their torture. “Vampires.” As Snow led his allies against the blood-suckers, Magdronan and Vimak made to apprehend the dark priest. However, he was not without magical powers of his own, and a dark creeper hid amongst the shadows, daggers appearing literally from the darkness as he attacked. As the battle titled in the heroes favor the golem attempted to fly down the central shaft, but a well timed Chaos bolt flew from Darmok’s wand, and the creature shattered in mid-air. Magdronan finally approached the priest close enough to see it was not Kalarel, but an underling, before ending his life with a swing of Aecris. The last of the vampires fell, their fangs never drinking the blood of the heroes. As they gathered around the altar, a voice came up to them through the shaft, echoing over the sound of blood flowing down the well.
“Greetings, heroes. I’d hoped you’d be joining me. Please, climb down and join me.” The voice sent a chill down Magdronan’s spine. “Thats Kalarel.” Despite taunts and suggestions from Darmok, Kalarel refused to climb up and meet them, so our heroes descended down the slippery chains into darkness. As they cleared the shaft the room below them opened into a dreadful sight. On the north wall stood a large black portal, and tendrils of necrotic energy strained against it. Kalarel stood upon an altar to the east, his shining skull helm glowing as he read from a large ritual book. Several massive skeletal warriors patrolled the edges of the room, marching around the large pool of blood in the rooms center, fed from the streams above. Onodrim was the first to slip, landing on his back in the pool, with Magdronan only a moment behind him. Grok and Vimak were able to time their jumps, landing on the edges of the pool, Snow joining them a moment later. Darmok attempted to attack from the chains, before falling himself and landing in the blood below. "I’m glad you decided to join me. Your death will unleash Lord Orcus upon this world, and no power shall stand against him. The skeletal beasts attacked first, swinging massive bone clubs and scythes. When Grok was able to destroy one with a might blow from his Kopesh, a high, chill laughter came from the dark western wall, and a Wight appeared, necrotic energy shooting from his fingers and re-assembling the skeleton. It took many more skeletons falling before our heroes discerned the range of the wight’s power, and many more before Vimak lay the final Rune of Destruction upon the abomination. Alone, Kalarel fought hard, nearly felling Onodrim and Grok. His words of torment never ceased, even as he was backed against the portal. “You can’t stop me. Its too late. Gethzerian has already been released, and soon your blood will empower my army. Lord Orcus’ army shall conquer this vale!” It was only when he shot one last insult at Magdronan that he realized his flaw. Dropping his sword to the ground, Magdronan grasped his holy symbol and stepped forward. “You’re wrong Kalarel. In the name of Bahamut, DIE!” A blast of pure radiant energy shot forth from the Paladin’s symbol, and Kalarel was pulled backwards screaming into the portal as it closed, leaving only his helm and rod upon the ground before them. Darmok read the arcane lines of the room, and was certain the portal had been sealed. Taking stock of their loot, the weary adventurers began the long trek through the keep. They felt no more of the sinister energy that had pervaded the walls as they exited the ruined grounds, though a few amongst them swore they were being watched from something above as they made their way into the woods and returned to Winterhaven. Lord Padraig hailed them as victorious, and the town feasted them, eternally grateful. “From this day forth, you shall be known as the Heroes of Winterhaven. You are always welcome here, friends.” Luckily for the group, during the celebration Onodrim had quiely approached Valthruun the Prescient for information on the name Gethzerian, and the wizard approached him with several scrolls as the group set out on their journey the next morning. “I’m afraid its quite limited. Ask your questions in Fallcrest. The town has somewhat of a history with that name. And I’m sure Douven Stahl can tell you more, when you see him again.” Setting off on loaned horses, the heroes road off down the King’s Road, retracing the steps that had brought them on this adventure, wondering what lay ahead.

Session 5
Missing in Action

With a wave of his hand, Onodrim’s spirit companion vanished, reapparing on the other side of the room in hot pursuit of the hobgoblin. The wilden focused, his eyes closed as he saw through the spirit’s eyes. “It’s gone to the north, up several hallways. We can show you the way,” said Onodrim, recalling the spirit to them. The party stepped into the next room, an intersection. “The eastern passageway,” Onodrim said, “then the hallway turns to the north, and we will find our runaway. We do not believe he will be alone.” Unwilling to leave any room unexplored, a wise decision so as to keep enemies from flanking them, the party split to search the adjoining hallways and rooms. John Snow and Magdronan stood together, watching entrances and exits, alert for hobgoblin ambushes, or the child-ghost who had haunted them so. But as Grok, Darmok, Onodrim, and Vimak returned to the central chamber, they could see no sign of their friends. A dark, necrotic energry clung in the air, so powerful it nearly overwhelmed Darmok. Knowing the only way to help their friends was to complete their mission, the remaining party members set off after the hobgoblin. True to Onodrim’s fears, he was not alone, and as the party made their way into this barracks room they were forced to fight off several soldiers while a hobgoblin warcaster sent his dark spells at them. Emerging victorious, the heroes continued south, entering a long hallway. As Onodrim and Vimak entered the room, a trap was sprung and an iron portcullis split the party in two. Hobgoblins poured out from all sides followed by a hulking fighter who could only be the viscious “Warchief” that Splug had warned them about, before they left the goblin to die. A fierce fight ensued, as Vimak struggled to lift the gate keeping him from the fight and Darmok launched his spells through the bars. But as was the fate of Boss Fatty and Irontooth before him, the Warchief fell in a final assault of Groks mighty axes. A search yielded the hobgoblins treasures to the heroes, including an enchanted short sword. However, their comrades were still nowhere to be seen. Wounded and exhausted by the fight, our heroes took advantage of the Warchief’s chambers, well appointed by hobgoblin standards for a rest. Awoken by the sounds of the Keep’s silence, the party backtraced to the room where they lost Snow and Magdronan. Only one way remained unexplored, and true to her form, the ghostly girl awaited them at it’s end. Releasing a bloodcurling shriek she flew towards them, vanishing only feet away. Lighting their torches, the party made their way down the long corridor. Two doors lay before them, a large, ornate double door, and a smaller single door. Taking the smaller door to the west, the party entered a burial chamber. The floor was highly polished and clean here, and a slight acidic smell pervaded the air. Moments after entering the door, Grok soon found the source of this cleanliness and he was sucked unwittingly into a gelatinous cube. The party worked furiously to free him, interrupted a minute later by the low moan of the undead. Two corrupted corpses rounded the corner, and began tearing flesh from their body to hurl at the heroes. The ghostly girl followed behind them, and for the first time revealed her true form. Grok was freed from the cube and joined Vimak to lay axe and hammer into the zombies, while Darmok and Onodrim fought off the wraith, who alternated between her true form and haunting visage. Finally, in a burst of divine light from Melora, the foes were defeated. A search of the room revealed the crypts where Sir Keegan had lain his wife and children to rest, and a few trunks bearing their belongings. Returning to the larger doors, the party opened them onto a memorial. A massive statue of a warrior stood in the center of the room, sword gleaming in his hand. To the east stood two dragons, and to the south, several small cherub statues surrounded the matching door. Moving cautiously, Darmok led the way into the room, only to be flung backwards by a mighty swing of the statues sword. Vimak attempted to walk on the Dragon side, only to have the statue expel a wave of flame at him that pushed him directly into the range of the warriors sword. Finally, Onodrim was able to find a path safe from the warrior’s range. Relieved, he approached the cherubs and was instantly swept off his feet as water began to pour from their hands, flooding the area around the door, now contained in a magical field. Onodrim could not escape, and as Vimak reached his axe out to help his Wilden companion he found that he could penetrate the barrier but not leave it. Onodrim grapped the axe only to have it swept up in the whirlpool now growing inside the enclosure. Grok, meanwhile, valiantly leaped onto the warrior statues back and was attempting to smash the control panel he’d spotted. Finally, a flash of an idea came to Onodrim. Calling Darmok into the barrier, a precarious move as the water was nearly over the Dwarf’s head, Onodrim led his companions in smashing the Cherubs, ceasing the flow of water, and disabling the field. They were carried out in a rush of water, directly into the path of the swinging statue, but Grok’s tenacity and stubborness finally paid off, and the statue’s arm stopped mid swing, only inches from Onodrim’s head….

Session 4
Deeper into the Keep

Our heroes awoke in the secret room wherein they’d fallen asleep, awash in darkness. Cracking sunrods, the party set to work double checking their surroundings. As soon as Grak determined that the light from their source had not leaked beyond the inner sanctum wall, Vimak and Onodrim poked their heads out, only come nearly face to face with the ghostly girl. Both leaped back scared, and it was a few moments before Vimak had the courage to step outside again. This time, the girl was gone, and he explored out beyond the outer secret wall. The rest of the party followed, examining the doorway into the lower level. Its stout lock appeared to be joined to chains managed from the inner side of the wall, and the lock was beyond the limited lock-pick abilities of such noble heroes, and Darmok. Returning to the other unexplored door, which the religious members of the group believed to be a temple or crypt, the party once again encountered the phantom child, this time she intoned the warning “Daddy’s this way” before appearing to be yanked backwards through the door.

Nervously, Onodrim and John Snow pushed open the ornate doors, finding light inside glowing by ever-burning torches. Sarcophogai lined the walls here, leading to another far door. These were a much fancier sort, decorated uniquely to the soldiers inside, and marked with ancient Draconic runes, of a sort Magdronan indicated pre-dated even Mighty Arkhosia. As soon as Snow and Grak stepped past the first set of sarcophogai a loud series of bangs occured, and skeletons stepped from within, armored and wielding swords and bows. They swarmed through the heroes, more and more emerging from within every few minutes. Magdronan and Vimak felt a strong pull towards the far end of the chamber, but were unable to make their way through the initial onslaught. As the fight progressed, Onodrim noticed that the doors they had entered from had been drawn close, and once more the ghostly child stood before him, this time drawing down through the floor as she vanished, spooking the Wilden. As their spells, swords, axes, and divine power broke sinew from bone, Magdronan was finally able to make his way through, unleashing the might of his Dragonbreath. The sight that greated him was an ornate overhead mosaic of Bahamut, the mighty Platinum Dragon. Two altars stood beside the walls, and Magdronan felt the pull of his lord. He kneeled before the altar, reciting the words of prayer inscribed upon the stone. As he finished his recitation, he felt a mighty wash of divine power flood over him, and the skeletons lowered their weapons and returned to their crypts. Magrdonan also pulled six small dragon statues, relics of Bahamut’s worship from the altar, feeling a sense of connection to them.

They found the door before them even more ornate through which they entered, and upon sliding them open revealed a small chamber, dominated by an elevated sarcophogai set upon the floor of the far side. A skeleton lay behind it, dressed in the armor of a Nerathi soldier. As Magdronan and Vimak investigated the tomb, the lid flew open and an armored skeleton emerged. His armor marked him as a worshipper of Bahamut, as well as a member of the Nerathi legion, and as he challenged our heroes, he revealed himself to be Sir Keegan, last guardian of the Keep.

Keegan viewed the heroes suspiciously at first, questioning each in his own way, a test of their worthiness. He finally agreed to share with them his story, and told of Thane Hathera’s betrayal, and the sacrifice of Elan, his former page, and currently the skeleton behind his tomb. Hathera’s betrayal shed light upon the “cursed line” of the Prophecy. Keegan asked the heroes to do honor to Elan’s remains, as he could not. Keegan then granted unto Magdronan, whom his questioning had revealed held a dark secret in his past, his longsword. Named “Aecris”, this sword was a gift to Keegan from Elidyr, last Emperor of Nerath. Much like the Dragonborn, the sword had much potential for good, but was cursed with a dark past. As he bid the heroes onward, he appeared to see something through the stone. “Someone approaches, your help is needed.” Rushing out of the tomb our heroes heard the unmistakable sound of a Zombie caller rune being triggered, and saw the young Padraig rushing towards them. “Help, please! Winterhaven’s dead are rising against us. We need you in the graveyard!”

Seeing no other choice, the heroes left with Padraig, rushing back towards town. As they passed the gates they saw Rond Kelfern dealing with two skeletal enemies. “I’ve got these, there are more rising in the graveyard!” Captain Kelfern screamed as his entire city guard swarmed the undead. Young Padraig ran to join them as well. Approaching the graveyard, our heroes saw nearly a dozen skeletons rising from the graves of Winterhaven, as well as two zombified hounds. Another foe hid in a crypt, peppering the heroes with arrows. As a well placed strike from Darmok blew the doors from the crypt, it was revealed that the archer was none other than Ninaran. She cursed the interlopers before continuuing her assault. A massive zombie ogre charged forth as well, and even when it was first felled, dark necromancy brought it back to life. Finally, the heroes were able to rid the graveyard of these dark abominations, and a final blow from Grak removed Ninaran’s traitorous head from her shoulders. A tattered parchment fell from her person as she died, revealing a note from Kalarel and instructions as to how to raise the dead army they’d just defeated. As the battle ended Lord Padraig rode to the cemetery, Douven Stahl, young Padraig, and Captain Kelfern at his side. His face turned to pure disgust at the sight of the abominations, but then twisted to rage as he laid eyes upon Ninaran’s body. Furious at a traitor in his own town, Lord Padraig asked the heroes to leave no stone unturned, no enemy alive (or undead) in the Keep. He marched off with his son, leaving the heroes a moment alone with Douven Stahl.

Stahl revealed to the heroes that he had finally succeeded in destroying the Mirror of Scarvoss, and that right before its destruction, it had revealed to him a glimpse of the dark portal below the keep.He also believed that something or someone had already come through the portal, possibly without Kalarel’s knowledge. Then he revealed to the heroes that he was returning to Harkenwold and his wife. He would send word to Hammerfast for Dwarven stone-masons to seal the Keep once more. Colby of the Guard had volunteered to see him to Fallcrest, and he would be able to find an escort from there home. Despite his friend’s fears, he assured them that when they took wives of their own, they would understand.

After a quick but fulfilling night’s rest at Salvanna’s the heroes quickly departed for the Keep. Borrowed horses took them more than halfway, before fear overcame the animals. Captain Kelfern wished them luck and led the horses back to the village. As the heroes approached the keep, they saw the head of a goblin mounted on a spike outside the door. It was Splug. Poor Splug, whom our gallant “heroes” had abandoned inside his cell, was dead. Ignoring the obvious warning, the team descended the stairs and methodically searched each room of the first level. Finding nothing, not even the dead girl, the group progressed back to the Zombie room. There they found a group of Hobgoblins, seemingly killed by the Zombies. Luckily, one of them wore a massive iron key ring upon his belt, and the team snatched it up, using the key to open the locked door to the second level of the keep. As they descended none too quietly, the team faced a quandry. Which passcode was correct? Boss Fatty’s “from the ground some magic was found” or Ninaran’s “And light fails in the dark”? Ninarans certainly had been hand written by Kalarel himself, but Fatty’s was a confession at sword-point. Trusting the traitor over the Goblin, the team gave Ninaran’s phrase when challenged at the bottom of the stairs. They were admitted into the first room, filled with Hobgoblins, only to be attacked instantly. The Goblin had given the correct phrase after all. A pitched battle ensued, ending with one enemy fleeing and another being drowned at the bottom of a well. Our heroes collected themselves and set out after the runaway hobgoblin, feeling magically stronger for it…….


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