Heroes of Khemer

Who is the Ghostlord?
The return of Jarret Nurth.

     The heroes rest for the night in what they determine is the old Rhest Town Hall. While the others take turn on guard, Kishra uses his arcane magics to identify the magical loot they found. The next morning they do a thorough search of the compartments, and determine that Wyrmlord Saarvith was sent here to establish a hatchery for the harrowblades, or Greenspawn Razorfiends, as the hobs call them. They hear the howls of the razorfiend coming from the west and decide to investigate. Upon entering the enclosure, they are immediately set upon by the dragonspawn. The creature blasts them with it’s caustic breath, but the heroes are quick and mostly avoid it, with only Atreus suffering from the acidic effects. The razorfiend was not done however, and the beast leaps at the group looking to rend the heroes. Quinwyn is up to the task and eviscerates the beast with a flurry of steel. The group searches the pen and finds thirty razorfiend eggs hidden underneath the water. Kishra takes one for study, while Quinwyn destroys the rest and the heroes set to return to Starsong Hill.
     The return trip proves difficult though as the lizardfolk raft they stole has been re-appropriated by the saurians. Some quick thinking by the elven brothers provides transport as Quinwyn and Kishra quickly tear down the harrowblade enclosure and instruct a raft of their own. The group returns across the lake to their elven boat with Trellara’s body in tow, and spend the rest of the day sailing towards the the elven community. Arriving early on the following day, the group explains to Sellyria what happened at the drowned city and they prepare for Trellara’s funeral on the following day. The elves of Starsong Hill thank the group for the help in the Blackfens and agree to not only provide them transport on their giant owls back to the road blockade, but also to send a contingent of owl riding elf warriors to Brindol to help with the defense of the city.
     Upon arriving at the road blockade, the party wastes no time in destroying the structure and gathering men to leave. They make their way south along the Rhest Trail to Witchcross and decide that after two hard days on the road, they need a bed for the night and take rooms at the Fox n’ Feather, the local inn. While enjoying a meal and getting some much needed rest, the heroes witness a village boy come in and give a note to the innkeeper, who solemnly tells the common room that the Red Hand Horde has taken and burned Terrelton. The group decides to make haste to Brindol and leave the next morning riding hard for the city, leaving Sergeant Hersk and his troops with the supply horses to catch up.
     Returning to Brindol, the groups finds the city very different from how they left it. In the apple and pear fields, guardsman drill from dusk till dawn, and they city’s walls are lined with crossbowmen, even at a late hour. The gates of the city are impossible to close as the throngs of people stream in from the western and out through the eastern gates toward Dennovar. The party makes their way to the Shining Citadel where they find the Sisters of Mercy tending to many of the wounded refugees, looked over by Sir Marcus Nazgul and his Silver Gryphon Knights. Sir Atreus gets the group rooms at the cathedral and the heroes plan their next move.
     The next couple of days has the heroes splitting up to accomplish their goals more quickly. Thissag stays at the Shining Citadel, digging through old scrolls and manuscripts to see what he can find on the Ghostlord, while Kishra makes his way to Brindol’s library to do the same. Quinwyn and Ian head toward the docks to secure a ship to transport them down to the Thornwaste, and Atreus makes his way to the keep to inform Androen’s nobility of their progress. In the end, all were successful in their duties and discover that Urikel Zarl, or the Ghostlord, was a sorcerer involved with a lion cult hundreds of years ago and had a conflict with the Kingdom of Rhestilor. It is said that he was killed beneath the paws of his own stone lion monument and turned himself into a liche. Armed with this information, the heroes board the Grey Gull and travel the Elsir River west towards Talar.
     The captain, Huan Mallia advises them to rest for the night in Talar, as it will be the last time they see civilization for several days. The group agrees and make their way into town where they find a couple of the Sisters of Mercy loading villagers into wagons and decide to help with the evacuation. Noticing one of the refugees was acting strangely, Thissag notifies the group, and a suspicious Quinwyn discovers that the refugee is none other than the notorious cultist Jarett Nurth! He grabs the priestess and attempts to pull her from the wagon, when several of her cultists, disguised as villagers, spring to her aid. The fight is on and sees two spearmen engage Sir Atreus and Thissag, and two swordsmen attack Quinwyn. Kishra moves to help his brother and blasts one of the swordsman with his eldritch might, but is attacked from behind himself by a cultist wielding a wicked spiked chain. Ian, who had been lazily avoiding helping the townsfolk on the deck of the ship, hears the commotion and springs into action. The battles takes a turn for the worse as the chain fighter wraps his weapon around Kishra and savagely drags him to the ground and wounding him badly. Quinwyn throws Jarett to the ground and dispatches the second swordsman, moving to help his brother, but the distraction is enough to allow Jarett to use her spells to turn invisible. The group rallies with Atreus and Thissag defeating the spearman, but the chain fighter sees that his group has lost and threatens to kill Kishra if the heroes do not give him two horses for him and his mistress. Reluctantly, the party agrees and provide the mounts; the chain fighter allows Jarett ample time to escape before he himself flees.
     As the cultist rides away, Qunwyn and Ian quickly grab their bows and fire, severely wounding the cultist. Sir Atreus steps before them demanding that they stop as a bargain had been struck. An enraged Quinwyn states that he struck no bargain and that Atreus let them get away, but the damage was done and the cultists were gone. The heroes spend the rest of their time in Talar in silence helping the townsfolk depart, and the next morning a very quiet and solemn group board the Grey Gull and sail west.

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The Ruins of Rhest
The fall of the Nighshadow clan.

     The next morning, as the group prepares to leave, they are approached by Jorr. The crotchety old woodsman demands to know if they are truly planning to set the hobgoblin prisoner free, and when Sir Atreus confirms that they are, Jorr storms off in anger. The party finishes their preparations and release the hobgoblin, only to see the wretched creature felled by an arrow a mere fifty paces from the road blockade. The heroes rush to the top of the fort to find Jorr with bow in hand and the other guardsman having a good chuckle at the fallen hobgoblin’s expense. Furious, Sir Atreus admonishes his guards, who give him apologetic looks, and then confronts Jorr about his actions. Jorr, shows no signs of remorse and states “the filthy gob woulda just joined his brethren and attacked us at the first opportunity”. Not satisfied with the response, Sir Atreus places the woodsman under arrest and once again prepares to leave, only to be interrupted for a second time as a merchant caravan approaches the blockade from the north.
     One of the caravan guards, a dwarf by the name of Thissag Irongut of Clan Coalhewer, cautiously approaches the heroes to see what is going on. The group tells the dwarf of the events taking place ion the vale and warns the caravan of the danger that they are facing by continuing on to Brindol. Thissag, a rune priest from the Hammerfist Holds, decides that he can do more good by helping the heroes with their mission in the Blackfens and joins the group. The party finally completes their preparations and make their way into the marsh.
     After a day spent slogging through tall reeds and grasses rising out of ankle-deep mud and muck and backtracking around large open areas of murky water, Quinwyn spots a hillock that would serve as a good campsite for the night. As the heroes approach the mossy island of mud and peat, they notice that the body of a horse-sized owl is sprawled across the top of the hill, its body partially eaten and dissolved in spots. Ian volunteers to go investigate, and is surprised when a large lizard-like creature peeks up from behind the carcass of the owl. The young rogue and the reptile both cock their heads to the side, curious about what stands before them, when the creature launches itself at Ian, using its short wings to leap an incredible distance and attack the rogue, savagely tearing into Ian with its wicked claws, nearly eviscerating him!
     The group quickly reacts and moves to help Ian, but find wading through the muck difficult, and to make matters worse, two more of the creatures appear from the sides of the group and attack as well. Atreus and Quinwyn are making their way up the hillock and engage two of the creatures, while Thissag and Kishra face off against the third. Making great use of their leaping ability the creatures leap back and forth between the groups, unimpeded by the terrain and quickly take the advantage, felling Kishra and wounding Thissag. Quinwyn moves to help his brother, but is unable to make his way quickly enough, before the creatures leap again and change foes. Things look dire for the party until at last, Atreus gets close enough to strike one of the monsters with :Cwfiander. The holy sword blazes like the sun and bites deeply into the infernal creature and evening the odds for the group. Quinwyn follows Sir Atreus’ lead, having finally gotten the swamp beast’s timing down, and waits for one of the creatures to leap at him. As the monster gets within range, the elven swordsman deftly sidesteps and lops off the creature’s head. Sensing that victory is at hand, Sir Atreus valiantly charges the remaining foe and destroys the hellspawn.
     After a quick round of healing from Thissag, the group investigates the grizzly scene at the top of the hillock, and discover a jade band around the ankle of the owl, and an obsidian ring in the gullet of one of the lizards, as well as a iron coffer containing some magic items and some treasure. The group determines that the owl must have been a mount, but before they could move forward, they are set upon by five more giant owls and their elven riders. The elves demand to know what is going on and who the strangers are in their swamp. Kishra diffuses what could have been another confrontation and finds that the newcomers are the Tiri Kitor elves, lead by Killiar Arrowswift, and make their home in the Blackfens. The elves identify the lizard-creatures as “harrowblades” and the fallen owl as one of their own belonging to one of their hunters named Lanikar. The Tiri Kitor ask the party to accompany them to their home in the swamp, Starsong Hill. The group agrees and after short flight on the backs of the owls they arrive at the elven village.
     There, they are greeted by Sellyrira Starsinger the leader of the Tiri Kitor and Trellara Nightshadow, the sister of the fallen elf Lanikar. She thanks them for their help and explains that the Blackfens have grown more dangerous as of late. The harrowblades are a new menace, most likely brought by the invaders in Rhest, a goblin chieftain who along with his black dragon ally, have lead a force of hobgoblins and ogres into the marsh. Sellyria invites the heroes to stay with them for the night and attend Lanikar’s funeral on the following day, and the party agrees. The funeral held on the following day is one of feasting and celebration, where stories are told and songs are sung in remembrance of the fallen. The heroes even take part; Quinwyn puts on a martial display of prowess, Kishra dazzles with a magical show, getting a pleasant round of applause. Thissag joins in, telling a dwarven tale of valor, in the way that only dwarves can appreciate and receives a polite, yet subdued response. Inspired by his comrades and too much elven wine, Sir Atreus attempts to tell the story of the battle of Skull Gorge Bridge, but it is so disjointed in his drunken stupor that Kishra and Quinwyn need to come to his rescue a second time.
     The next morning as the heroes make ready to leave for Rhest, Quinwyn is approached by Trellara Nightshadow who states that she would like to accompany the group and avenge her brother’s death. Seeing no way to refuse the elf maiden’s request, Quinwyn agrees and the group sets out by boat towards the sunken city. Late in the day, the heroes arrive at a large lake in the middle of the swamp, where, here and there, the tops of buildings are seen poking through the murky waters marking this as the lost city. The groups decides to send Quinwyn and Ian scouting around the perimeter of the lake while the rest of the group watches the center of the lake from the shore. After a few hours the group identifies two buildings in the center of the lake as the base of operations for the Red Hand forces in Rhest, even seeing a large black dragon take flight from one of the structures. Quinwyn and Ian return shortly after and inform the rest of the party that several lizardfolk encampments surround the lake. The heroes decide to steal a lizardfolk raft and paddle out to the center of the lake to infiltrate the sunken city.
     As the group gets closer to the main structure they see that several ogres are patrolling the boardwalk surrounding the building as well as the rooftop, and that hobgoblin archers man a bell tower a short distance away. Seizing their opportunity, the party attacks the central structure, Thissag calls upon his rune magic to buff the party’s defenses and Kishra throws a devastating fireball at the top of the building incinerating the four ogres at the top. Quinwyn, Trellara, Atreus and Ian quickly assault the ogres on the boardwalk and eliminate the sentries. Making their way to the top of the building they find stairs leading down into the structure and notice that the denizens of Rhest are mobilizing their defense. Several lizardfolk raiders are making their way to the building on rafts and the hobgoblins in the bell tower begin to trade bow shots with Quinwyn and Trellara, while Kishra throws fireballs at the approaching lizardfolk. Atreus and Ian venture down into the building and are immediately set upon by a massive ettin and his hobgoblin master. The fight is on and the the hobgoblin, a sorcerer, attempts to mind control Ian, but the brash rogue brushes off the mental attack and eviscerates the sorcerer. Atreus sees an opportunity and uses a mind control scroll of his own to take control of the ettin’s feeble brain. Meanwhile, back up top, the hobgoblin leader of the bell tower has used powerful magics to launch himself into the air and fly over to confront the heroes. After a short but intense battle the heroes find themselves victorious, having defeated the hobgoblin swordsman and chased off the superstitious lizardfolk after Kishra annihilated one of their rafts with another fireball.
     Unfortunately the fight isn’t over yet, as the black dragon Regiarix has returned, erupting from the bowels of the building with the Wyrmlord Saarvith astride his back. The group decides to move down to the lower level of the building to escape the dragon’s deadly caustic breath, but unfortunately Quinwyn and Trellara are cut off by Regiarix and Saarvith. The dragon rips into Trellara tearing her to pieces and smashes Quinwyn with his tail sending the elven swordsman over the edge an into the lake below. The party would rally however, Atreus and Ian drink potions of flight and quickness respectively and the group, as well as the mind controlled ettin rush to engage the dragon and Saarvith. The battle rages on and in the end, the heroes stand tall as Ian leaps to the back of the dragon and guts the goblin wyrmlord and the combined might of the party brings down Regiarix as he tries to flee. The group quickly searches the rooms below uncovering several coins, gems and magic items, including the dragon’s horde. In addition, the group finds intel on the hobgoblins goals in Rhest, but what may be most troubling is the note the in Wyrmlord Saarvith’s room pertaining to an alliance with the liche known as the Ghostlord.

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March to the Blackfens
But first, a murder and a raid

     After defeating the dragon, Ozyrrandion, Atreus and Quinwyn set out to help the folk of Drellin’s Ferry prepare to evacuate the town, while Kishra and Ian look to secure passage up the Rhestwash towards the ruins of Rhest, where they believe another of the Wyrmlords of the Red Hand may be stationed. Deciphering the notes of Wyrmlord Koth’s map let the heroes know that Wyrmlord Saarvith was in the Blackfens, possibly brokering a deal with the local lizardfolk tribes to join the Red Hand. The group decides that while their force is too small to deliver a blow to the Red Hand by themselves, they may be able to weaken the Red Hand’s position by taking out their Wyrmlord leaders. Kishra and Ian find that while most of the boats have already left, one daring boat captain by the name of Cullen Tyroshi will take them upriver to just north of the Witchwood, if they are ready to leave soon. Joining back up with Atreus and Quinwyn at Jarett’s Sundries, Kishra and Ian inform the warriors that they have booked passage when a local woman approaches looking for her son Owen. She says that she hasn’t seen him all morning and wondered if Jarett had seen him. Jarett tells the heroes that the boy is something of a local troublemaker and that she hasn’t seen him.
     The party, being heroes, decide to search the town for the missing boy and split up. While Atreus and Kishra uncover nothing, Ian and Quinwyn are more successful. Ian discovers that a group of local hoodlums had dared Owen to rob Jarett’s Sundries before she left town with all of here wares, and Quinwyn put his tracking skills to use finding the boys trail leading to a small stand of trees near the north end of town. Following the trail, Quinwyn is shocked to discover the boys corpse, seemingly killed in ritual fashion. The group rendezvous at the Church of Light and Atreus tells them that the symbol carved into the boy is that of Asmodeus an archdevil with a cult following. As they decide what to do next, they notice that Ian is missing and must have sneaked out to see what he could find at Jarett’s shop. Rushing to the store, the heroes meet back up with Ian who says that while he did indeed infiltrate the shopkeeper’s abode, he didn’t uncover anything for a secret cellar with bloodstained floors. Before they group can decide what to do next, cries from the center of town let them know that goblins are attacking the west bank!
     Atreus, Quinwyn and Kishra rush to help, meeting up with Sir Holger and a contingent of guardsmen at the ferry, while Ian stays behind to keep an eye on Jarett. The ferry pulls our heroes across the river as quickly as possible and they see that a group of goblin worg riders and an enormous hellhound savagely assaulting the west bank. The heroes join the fight, and although the mere presence of the demon dog was enough to slow Tehnavaer, Atreus’ superior horsemanship was enough to spur the mount forward and strike a telling blow with Cyfiawnder. Quinwyn stays in front of his brother to protect the wizard using his bow to strike the goblins from range and Kishra slings his spells at the goblin invaders.
     On the other side of the river, Ian spots Jarett and two of her bodyguards loading up her wagon and preparing to leave town. The young rogue calls for them to stop and they nearly ride him down, leading to Ian calling them seven different kinds of coward. The taunt works and the guard nearly loses control of the wagon as he turns to curse at the thief. The two guards leap from the wagon to engage Ian, while Jarett tries to control the rogue with her magic. Ian fights off the mind control and quickly dispatches one of the guards and engages the other. Jarett seizes the opportunity, takes the rains of the wagon and escapes, while Ian subdues the other guard and throws a dagger at the fleeing cultist.
     Back across the Elsir, the heroes press the advantage against their goblin foes and are looking to wrap up the battle when they notice another hobgoblin wave entering the town. A group of five warriors and a hobgoblin sorcerer approach the group, but Kishra quickly dispatches them with a great ball of flame. Only the hobgoblin sergeant and sorcerer survive, and the sergeant quickly decides that discretion is the better part of valor and retreats leaving the sorcerer alone. The hobgoblin sorcerer spreads his contempt amongst both his fleeing comrade and the heroes, challenging them. “What can soft-bellies like you do against the might of the People of the Dragon?” he screams, and then lets forth a mighty fireball of his own that crashes down amongst the heroes, killing Atreus and Tehnavaer instantly, and severely wounding Quinwyn and Kishra. Only the timely return of Sir Holger and his men saves the heroes and chases off the hobgoblin sorcerer.
     With the battle won, the townsfolk take the defeated heroes to Brother Derny a the Church of Light to be healed. He then uses the remaining magic in the Staff of Life to return Atreus to the land of the living. With a solemn heart Atreus approaches Delora Zann at the livery to see if he can acquire a new mount. Delora presents him with a proud white stallion that she calls Majestic and states that the horse is a gift to Atreus for his and his comrades efforts in saving Drellin’s Ferry. The next day finds most of the town evacuated and the heroes are approached by Lord Wiston and Sir Holger. Sir Holger nods to the heroes. “You’ve already done us good, heroes. Without your warning, we’d have all been asleep in our beds when the horde arrived on our stoops. You’ve saved many lives today. For that you have my thanks. But I am afraid your work may not be done yet. There’s nothing to stop the Red Hand before they reach the walls of Brindol. If there’s anything more you can do to slow down the Red Hand, we’d be mighty grateful,” the Lord says. “I’ll personally make sure that Duke Jarmaath knows what you’ve done for us.” The heroes made their good-byes and loaded their gear on to the River Queen, the ship of Cullen Tyroshi. Joining them at the ship is Sergeant Hersk and a group of guardsman. “These men have lost everything they own during the raids on the town,” Hersk says, “we want to help fight this threat and are here to serve you, if you’ll have us.” Atreus and the rest of the party agree and they start their journey toward the Blackfens.
     They group makes their way upriver and see the signs of war along the river. Several times as they came close to the west bank, goblin archers would come out of the woods to take shots at the passing ship, but soon they were north of the Witchwood and traveling on land on their way to Rhest. With the help of Quinwyn and Jorr, they avoid most of the perils of the journey and the group comes upon the Rhest trail leading to the north. They follow the road for a couple of hours when they see a blockade before them straddling the trail, and manned by a hobgoblin archer. Quinwyn, Ian and Kishra, decide to move forward with stealth while Atreus and the guardsman stay back so as no to alert the guards. Ian makes his way to the blockade and uses his armor to turn invisible while Kishra and Quinwyn stay within bowshot of the fort. As they prepare to spring their attack, Kishra slips and attracts the attention of the guard, who shouts out an alarm. With their cover blown, the group attacks in force. Quinwyn and the hobgoblin archer trade shots before Ian takes out the guard at the top of the tower. To make matters worse, more hobgoblins fire bows from inside the fort and a couple of ogres appear and throw spears from behind the walls. Kishra blasts the doors of the fort with a mighty ball of fire and soon the flames consume them. With their cover destroyed a couple of hobgoblin sergeants move out to engage the heroes in melee and Atreus and the guardsman charge in to join the fray. The ogres wound Kishra and Quinwyn with thrown spears before Atreus comes in to smash one of the hobgoblins with a mounted charge. Tiring of ranged combat the ogres rush out to join the melee, but Atreus continues his charge and skewers one of the ogres on his lance killing him instantly. The second ogre moves to make Atreus pay but a look of surprise crosses his brutish face as an invisible Ian hamstrings the monster from behind dropping him to his knees, and follows up by opening the ogres throat. Quinwyn eviscerates one the the hobgoblin sergeants sending the remaining hobgoblins fleeing from the fort. Quinwyn and the guardsman, with their crossbows, strike down the fleeing sergeant and Ian knocks the last archer unconscious.
     The party interrogates the hobgoblin, promising to set him free if he cooperates, but the creature knows little of the plans of Rhest. He tells the heroes that the goblin Wyrmlord Saarvith is in command of Rhest and he’s not sure what the goblin’s plans are. When Kishra asks him how a lowly hobgoblin could rise to the level of a Wyrmlord, the hobgoblin replies “probably because of his friendship with Regiarix, a black dragon.” The heroes decide to spend the night at the fort before moving into the Blackfens the next day and agree to leave their mounts at the fort with Sergeant Hersk and the guardsmen, as they would be a liability in the marsh. They settle down for the night at the fort wondering what terrors the next leg of this journey will bring.

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Return to Drellin's Ferry
Ill tidings of approaching doom.

     With the bridge destroyed and the oncoming horde presumably slowed, the heroes prepare to depart for town when they hear a noise coming from Skull Gorge, a loud grunting sound. Moving in to investigate, they suddenly see a body come flying out of the gorge and land amongst them with a resounding splat. The broken and battered body is, unfortunately, that of Edward, Atreus’ squire, and is followed out of the gorge by Old Warklegnaw, the hill giant chieftain. The giant, having survived the fall, recovered Edwards body and returned him to the heroes. “You have done me a great service my friend, by returning his body to me” Atreus says, “and for that I am eternally grateful, but I must now ask what else you can do to help us against the horde.” The giant ponders this for a moments and replies, that while many of his kin have already joined the horde, there are still many giant who have not, scattered through the hills of the Witchwood. Old Warklegnaw says that he will gather his remaining kin and harry the Red Hand, through the forest, buying the people of the Vale another couple of days. With a plan in place, the heroes ride through the night and arrive in Drellin’s Ferry the next morning saddle sore and exhausted.
     The heroes spend the morning in Drellin’s Ferry resting and resupplying in town. Atreus takes Edward’s body to the Church and asks Brother Derny to prepare the young lad for his funeral rights and explains the danger that is approaching the sleepy little town. Quinwyn makes good use of his time, going to see Jarett Nurth, at Jarett’s sundries to gather supplies for the next leg of their mission, while also spreading word to the common folk of the goblinoid horde on it’s way. Ian, in true Ian fashion spends his time sleeping, seemingly oblivious to the danger on its way. After some time, Lord Wiston, Sir Holger, and Delora Zann, the master of the towns livery stable, approach the heroes in the Green Apple Inn to appraise the situation. The heroes explain the dire situation facing Drellin’s Ferry but the townsfolk, not having seen the massive size of the horde, had trouble believing the scope of the danger they were in. The group impresses upon Lord Wiston that thousands upon thousands of hobgoblins are advancing, supported by giants, manticores, and dragons, and Lord Wiston’s next reaction is that of panic and indecision. Lord Wiston tells the heroes that he must take this information before the entirety of the town council and will ask the heroes to speak to them, tomorrow or the next day. The group is frustrated with this, but are left to sit and wait.
     The next day arrives, and the morning passes into afternoon with no word from the town council. Quinwyn spends his time outside the Old Toll House which serves as the town hall, courtroom, jail, and town guard headquarters, to keep an eye on things and impress upon the guards his skill with a blade. Atreus makes his way to Sterrel’s Provisioning to purchase a wagon and team, and sends Lady Lysa and his entourage to Brindol to warn Duke Jarmaath of the trouble facing the Vale. As the day passes into evening, the heroes still haven’t heard from the council and decide to approach them instead. At the door to the Toll House, the group is denied passage by Sergeant Hersk as the town council is in session. It was then that they hear the screams from the green.
     Rushing to the green, the heroes see a terrible sight, the green dragon Ozyrrandion strafing the green and using his caustic breath to murder the townsfolk within. Men, women and children died horrible deaths as their skin bubbled and peeled and their lungs burned from the inside out. The heroes engaged the dragon, who seemed different, with pulsing red claw marks and scars marking his body; it would seem the Red Hand Horde was not pleased with his failure at Skull Gorge Bridge. Quinwyn fired arrows, while Atreus ran to the stables to get his mount Tehnaver, Kishra, threw his arcane might at the beast and Ian his daggers, but the dragon was unfazed. Ozyrrandion used his mobility to stay out of harm’s reach and threaten the heroes with his breath weapon, and things looked dire for the party. The group needed a strategy, and decided to target the creature’s wings, trying to limit his mobility. Quinwyn expertly placed an arrow into the membrane of Ozryandion’s left wing, wounding and slowing the dragon down. Kishra, then taunted and enraged the dragon, who responded by landing and savagely tearing into the wizard, nearly killing him. The strategy proved successful, as it allowed Ian to get into reach and attack and injure the dragon’s other wing with his swords. The dragon’s counterattack was savage, as he tore into Ian with tooth and claw, swatted Kishra with his tail and blasted Atreus with his caustic breath before trying to fly away. The wounds to his wings only permitted the dragon a short glide, however, and this proved fatal, as the dragon landed within reach of Atreus’ mounted charge. Shouting a battle cry to the Lord of Light, the knight lowered his lance, empowered by the Light’s Fury, and struck the dragon a devastating blow severely wounding Ozyrrandion. The dragon was not done yet however, and as Quinwyn and Ian closed for melee the dragon blasted the elven warrior with his acidic breath dropping him and then attacked Ian with a fury nearly ripping the rogue limb from limb and leaving him laying in a puddle of his own gore. With two of his companions down, Atreus wheeled his mount around and charged again, slamming his lance into the dragon without mercy. The mighty dragon reared back in pain and looked to blast the knight with his breath weapon but before he could, Kishra took advantage of the situation. Gathering his eldritch might, the wizard let loose with a blast of magical force that shook the green and blasted the life from the dragon, and Ozyrrandion was no more.
     With the threat past, Brother Derny and his acolytes rushed to help and heal the heroes, but there was nothing to be done about the townsfolk the dragon attacked. Surveying the scene and noting the body count, an enraged Quinwyin savagely cut the head from the dragon and the heroes marched toward the town hall. Sergeant Hersk had the door open and the group was permitted to enter and found themselves facing the council of Drellin’s Ferry. The faces of the townsfolk were unreadable, and Atreus wondered if they had unknowingly entered another combat. Quinwyn callously tossed the dragon’s head on their table and a heated discussion ensued with the group trying to get the people of Drellin’s Ferry to flee to the east, but the town council had other ideas. Iormel Cowell, a wealthy landowner in town, argued for fighting the horde and making a stand, not willing to give up his life’s work. Kellin Shadowbanks, the owner of the Old Bridge Inn, proposed sending the horde some gold and trying to buy them off. The passionate pleas of the heroes was not to be ignored however, and in the end they convinced the townsfolk to begin their preparations. Lord Wiston asked the heroes for two more days, as it would be difficult to bring in the crops from the fields and gather the provisions needed for travel before then. The heroes agreed, and with the horde bearing down upon their town, they studied Wyrmlord Koth’s map to plan their next move.

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A New Hope For Elsir Vale
Return to Skull Gorge Bridge

     Ian had just finished his third pint of manticore mead at The Laughing Manticore taproom, when his table rattled from the weight of the battle axe dropped upon it. Looking up a little bleary eyed, Ian took notice of the dour faced dwarf staring back at him. “Brule…right?” Ian asked, and then looking behind the dwarf the young rogue noticed two stern-faced elves with their noses in the air, in the way only elves can, and said “Strange company your keeping these days.” Brule Klang of Clan Ironfist, gave the rogue a hearty pat on the back, nearly knocking him out of his chair, and said “These two fine fellows, for elves, are looking for your friends. In particular Hedrid, they claim they’re from the Tower.” Ian sat for a moment trying to organize his thoughts clouded by the pale red drink of honey and spices he had been imbibing. “Oh yeah, them. I had been meaning to catch up with them. They headed west to Drellin’s Ferry a couple days ago.” With that, Ian set out on the road along with the dwarf and the two elves, who introduced themselves as Quinwyn, a swordsman, and Kishra, a Wizard of the Crystal Tower.
     Arriving in Drellin’s Ferry four days later, the group discovers that their companions, Atreus, Azgar, Mithon and Hedrid had headed deep into the Witchwood to look into a growing goblin menace that may be using Vraath Keep, the fortress promised to Atreus, as a base of operations. They decided to follow and hired a guide by the name of Jorr Natherson to lead the way. After spending most of the day traveling through the woods, they arrived at the keep to discover it was indeed occupied by hobgoblins. While doing some reconnaissance, they overheard some talk that a group of prisoners would be coming in soon, and decided to set an ambush as the monstrous humanoids were crossing Cold Creek, about a mile to the north. Laying in wait, the heroes executed a perfect ambush with Quinwyn and Jorr firing their bows, Brule his crossbow, and Kishra flinging deadly magic spells. In no time at all, the goblins were dead or chased off and the group had rescued Atreus and his squire Edward. Atreus told them that the goblins and a green dragon named Ozyrrandion had set an encampment on Skull Gorge Bridge about a dozen miles north along the Dawn Way, and that they had killed Hedrid, Mithon and Azgar.
     Set for revenge, the new group of heroes made their way north through the Witchwood when they came upon a strange effigy, humanoid in shape and standing fifteen feet tall marking another trail. They determined that it was a marker of the Twistusk tribe of hill giants that had gone to war with Amery Vraath a century ago. Having recovered a giant spiked gauntlet, from his first foray into Vraath Keep, Atreus saw a way to make an ally and they followed the trail. There they found a giant beside a fire, easily 10 feet tall…while sitting down. A quick parley avoids a combat, and Old Warklegnaw, the giant, thankful for the group returning his kin’s property agrees to help the heroes against the goblins.
     The group makes their way to the gorge and formulate a plan of attack. Ian sneaks up on the guard tower and silently takes out two hobgoblin archers and the battle is on. Quinnyn takes out a goblin and his worg, while Brule uses his crossbow to take out the other hobgoblin archers. Kishra launches a fireball against the advancing hobgoblin troops before Atreus and Edward charge into the fray from the backs of their mounts. The dragon Ozyrrandion makes several strafing runs, but the heroes are prepared and avoid taking damage from his toxic breath. Quickly the battle turns against the hobgoblins and Ozyrrandion, seeing that the battle was lost, takes flight to the north, but not before making a flyby attack against the heroes on the bridge, knocking Warklegnaw and Edward to their deaths.
     The heroes press on to the north, eager to see the size of the supposed force of goblinoids and upon arriving at Cinder Hill they see a force to be reckoned with. They can easily make out hundreds of warriors in view at any given time. Bands of goblin worg riders patrol the camp’s outskirts, battalions of fierce hobgoblins engage in mock battles with martial shouts and the clang of steel on steel, hulking giants plod from place to place, and they even see a scarlet-colored dragon lazily circling overhead. This is the camp of an army numbering in the thousands.
     Awed by the size of the opposing force, they heroes make haste back to Skull Gorge Bridge with the intent to destroy it, figuring that it would be the only way to slow the horde down and by time for Drellin’s Ferry. Quinnwyn and Brule look for a weak spot of this piece of dwarves master craftsmanship and after some time point it out to Kishra who unleashes his mighty magic to topple the stone causeway. With the bridge destroyed and thousands of monsters preparing to march, the group is left to ponder their next move.

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Skull Gorge Bridge
Well, that didn't go as planned....

     The heroes decide to make their way north along the Dawn Way to scout the enemy forces and see exactly what they are dealing with. After a couple of hours the forest grows more ominous as the road winds its way through the trees, when the group comes across a wide track heading west off of the main path, marked by a massive effigy of some kind, a fifteen foot tall humanoid shape made from a sagging moss covered frame. The party determines that this must be a holdover from the giant tribes that once made this area their home and move on.
     Shortly thereafter, Mithon, who had been scouting ahead returns to the group stating that an enormous stone bridge lies before them crossing the gorge. He tells the group that hobgoblin sentries man the watchtowers, and although he was able to eliminate one and get back unseen, it wouldn’t take long for the hobs to discover their fallen comrade. The group quickly makes a plan and begins to move toward the bridge when an enormous shadow darkens the sky above them. Looking to the heavens they see a dragon, emerald scales gleaming in the sunlight, bank and swoop down behind them unleashing a cloud of toxic vapor from its throat.
     Only the quick thinking of the heroes save them from the terrible wyrm, but the beast did serve to scatter their mounts and ruin the surprise. Breaking out of the forest and into the open, the party is assaulted by a hail of arrows from the hobgoblin archers and hear the telling sounds of hobgoblin troops on the march across the bridge.
     The valiant heroes try to mount a defense but their lines are harassed by massive dogs covered with flame. Azgar and Atreus take out the hell hounds while Mithon duels the hobgoblin archers on the bridge towers. Hedrid tries to slow the advance of the hobgoblin soldiers by throwing an incredible ball of fire into their ranks, but the troops are well trained and get their shields up in unison, surviving the attack with few casualties.
     By now, the dragon has entered the fray and is confronted by Atreus and Azgar. The hob archers take advantage and strike the heroes from behind felling Edward and seriously wounding Atreus. Hedrid readies another spell but is taken down by spears thrown from the hob soldiers. Mithon’s deadly accuracy takes out a couple of archers, but the dragon, Ozyrrandion, strikes Atreus with a swipe of his massive tail, sending the knight flying off his horse and removing him from the battle. Not content with his work, the dragon rears back and sinks his teeth deep into the mighty dwarf Azgar, crushing the fight out of the dwarf with his powerful jaws. Mithon, not one to give up and leave his friends behind tries to mount a run and shoot war against the enemy but the numbers are against him and soon Ozzyrandion lands before him. The last thing the elf sees, are the yellow teeth of the dragon snapping down towards him.

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The Vaults of Vraath Keep
The life and death and…life, of Edward Joyce

     After a short rest the group decides to head back to the causeway and not wanting to leave the monstrous hydra behind to terrorize anyone else, the heroes formulate a plan to take down the creature and quickly put it into action. Mithon moves toward the water and fires a couple of shots, hoping to lure the creature out of the water while the rest of the group waits nearby ready to strike. The plan works better than anticipated as the massive hydra rushes from the water with terrifying speed and savagely attacks Mithon before he could move away. Atreus and Azgar quickly move to engage the hydra while Hedrid and Edward make their way to help Mithon. A healing spell from Hedrid gets Mithon back on his feet and a coordinated attack from the heroes puts the hydra on the defensive. Atreus and Azgar hammer away at the monster while Mithon targets the beast with head shots. Hedrid, meanwhile, stands at the ready with fire spells to cauterize any heads that are severed or killed before they can regrow. The tactics work perfectly and in short order the hydra lies dead at the heroes feet. A quick search of the area turns up a shirt of shining mithral chain mail.
     The group continues its march north along the Dawn Way and after a few miles they see the broken towers of Vraath Keep on a hill to the west. As it was getting later in the day the party decides to rest rather than assault the keep during the night when the hobgoblins might be at their most ready. During the night the group hears sounds of creatures moving through the forest but does not encounter any foes and a search of the area the next morning reveals large wolf tracks in the dirt, most likely worgs with goblin riders. The party reaches the top of the hill as the early morning sun rises up above the keep. Standing before them is a fortress that has seen better days. The gates lie in ruin, there is a breach in one of the walls, the upper levels of the towers are mostly gone, and what looks like a couple of giant skeletons lie unmoving inside the courtyard. A small garden choked with weeds sits out front, flanked by a rickety shack, and a cursory search nearly brings the building down atop Atreus’ head, and worse, the sounds of alarm rise from inside the keep.
     The heroes rush inside the keep to meet their foes head on, hoping to bring the fight to them before the hobgoblins can fortify their stronghold. Once inside a furious battle ensues, with goblin worg riders springing from the stables and firing their bows at the group. The group takes cover inside the recently vacated stables and Mithon returns fire while the others set up a defensive perimeter. Before long a savage minotaur rushes from the keep’s tower to engage Azgar. Atreus and Edward move to flank, but they find themselves quickly surrounded by a squad of hobgoblins and Edward falls to a hobgoblin blade. To complicate matters a bugbear emerges from the keep flinging spells and orders a manticore, who had been watching the fight from atop the barracks, to join the battle. The heroes stand tall however, and using spell, sword, hammer and bow turn the tide of the battle. Hedrid and Azgar fell the minotaur, while Atreus cleans up the hobgoblins. Mithon takes out one of the worg riders and puts enough arrows into the bugbear to cause him to drink a potion of flight and flee, taking the manticore and remaining worg rider with him.
     With the battle won, the heroes search the rest of the keep. Inside they find the filthy bunks of the humanoids, along with a map of the area showing what appears to be a massive invasion of the vale written in the goblin language. In the upper floors they find that the rumors of the haunted keep are nothing but hobgoblin sorcery, and in the main floor of the tower, they find a trap door leading down into the keep’s dungeon. Climbing down the iron rungs, they find the fabled Vaults of Vraath Keep laden with coin and magical items, most notably a sword with a blade forged of magical ice and a magical staff capable of healing the dead. The heroes use the staff to return young Edward to life and the rest for the night pondering their next move.

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Journey Through the Witchwood
Hobgoblins, Hellhounds, and a Hydra

     Having saved the day at the tournament and ensured that the marriage of Duchess Esabelle and Count Callen took place, the heroes are rewarded handsomely and offered a boon from Duke Jarmaath. Ian quickly asks that he be shown to the court’s alchemist so that he may purchase some potions, while Azgar and Mithon request a small plot of land from the Duke who agrees. Sir Atreus however, wanting no material boon, requests that Lady Vreen be spared prosecution for her actions, believing that the young noblewoman was caught up in affairs that escalated quickly out of her control. The nobles confer and after some discussion, they agree to release Lady Vreen to Sir Atrues’ custody, but request that he undertake a mission of his own. Before his death, Sir Ethan Houge had plans to secure a castle, Vraath Keep deep in the Witchwood, on the western border of Allondale. Duchess Esabelle requests that Sir Atreus take up this cause and pledges to grant him the keep if he agrees. The young knight feels compelled to help and agrees to the task, and the rest of the party agrees to join him on this new adventure.
     The heroes agree to escort the Duchess back to Allondale and spend a ten-day to prepare and gear up for the journey. During this time, Mithon took his leave of Brindol and makes his way into Marth Forest to meet with the leader of his order, Gelb Targen. The young druid brings the horns of the dragon Nightscale, and beseeches his master to help him craft a bow out the horns and to enchant the weapon to help him fulfill his druidly duties. Knowing that this young elf is more than he seems, Gelb agrees and along with the help of the master elven bowyer Winlass Grall, they spend three days and nights crafting and laying spells upon the bow. When they were finished, the relic Sgiathatch Karak was created. When the crafting was finished, Mithon took the bow and spent two days in meditation so that he could attune to the bow. In the end, the woodland spirits found the young druid worthy and granted him Sgiathatch Karak.
      The journey to Allondale passed uneventfully as the caravan passed several little flyspeck villages and hamlets before arriving in the town of Allondale, the duchies’ capitol. The heroes re-provisioned and set out for Drellin’s Ferry, the town nearest Vraath Keep. With mosquitoes, flies and the oppressive heat of the south being their only companions, the party struggled through the next couple of days trying to avoid dying of boredom. The group was shocked out of their lethargic state a few hours away from Drellin’s Ferry, when they were ambushed by a group of hobgoblins hiding in the woods on each side of the road. To complicate matters, one of the hobgoblins was a cleric that summoned a couple of hellhounds to the battle. The group fought a long and arduous battle and defeated their foes, including a second wave of hobgoblin soldiers. Upon looting the corpses the heroes found that the cleric wore the symbol of Tiamat, the queen of dragons.
     Continuing on to Drellin’s Ferry the party takes up residence at the Green Apple Inn to rest from their travels. A few hours after settling in, a knock on the door to their rooms announces the presence of Norro Wiston, Lord of Drellin’s Ferry and his captain of the guard Sir Holger. Lord Wiston informs the party that the town has been under attack for several days by hobgoblin raiders he believes have come down out of the Wyrmsmoke Mountains. Lord Wiston fears that the the hobgoblins may be numerous enough to sack the town and asks the heroes to help. When the party tells him they are headed to Vraath Keep, Lord Wiston warns the group that it is possible the hobgoblins have seized the castle for their stronghold, and that the keep is supposed to be haunted. The heroes agree to help the town and make plans to depart the next morning for Vraath Keep while Lord Wiston and Sir Holger depart, pausing briefly to give one final piece of advice. Sir Holger tells the heroes that a hermit lives in the Witchwood by the name of Jorr Natherson and encourages the group to seek him out if they need a guide.
     The party leaves town the next morning and makes their way into the Witchwood, a lush, wet woodland interspersed with swampy areas near the larger rivers and streams, and teaming with mosquitoes and other annoying insects. A few hours in, the group comes across a small cabin overlooking the Blackwater—a large swath of drowned forest and swampland in the middle of the Witchwood. After meeting with Jorr, he confirms for the party that the woods have been crawling with hobgoblins and that they most likely have taken Vraath Keep as a base of operations.
     The heroes thank Jorr for the information and make their way north toward the castle, when they come upon a causeway traversing a flooded area of the forest. They start to make their way across, when the swamp erupts in a spray of water as a large six headed hydra emerges looking for its next meal. A vicious battle ensues, and although the heroes fought valiantly, they were unable to slay the beast, as every time they killed one head of the hydra, two more would grow in its place! With the group wounded and low on resources, they decide to flee, but not before losing Edward’s horse and their packhorse in the process. Finding a safe place in the forest the group decides to rest and regroup.

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A champion, an ogre, and a wedding.
Old friend become new enemies.

     As the fourth day of the tourney of Brindol winds down, Mithon approaches Lady Lysa Vreen in hopes of uncovering more information on the conspiracy surrounding the upcoming wedding. After a brief conversation, Mithon convinces the young noble woman to speak with him back at their tents, away from prying eyes. Meanwhile, Guy Entrean makes his way to Sir Atreus’ pavilion to invite the party to go hawking and hunting with the duke and the wedding party. Although Guy tells Sir Atreus and Lord Azgar that the duke is impressed with their efforts at the tournament and throughout the land, the stewards mannerisms say that he himself does not agree with Duke Jarmaath in this regard. After Mithon and Lysa arrive, the group sets to questioning Lysa about her conversation with Lady Rothschilde. Just when it seems they might actually get some information, they are interrupted by Bishop Octagnius. The Bishop remarks on how they have been invited to go with the duke and that the must not keep him waiting, and Lysa takes advantage of the distraction to quickly slip away.
     Thwarted in their attempts to investigate, the heroes gather their things and join the duke for the hunt. The party rides for about an hour outside Brindol and enjoy the warm summer sun, trying their hands at both hawking and hunting, when the duke approaches them. Duke Jarmaath reaffirms the gravity of the situation they are facing and tells the heroes that they could unite the Elsir Vale with this wedding. He beseeches the group to stay vigilant and uncover who is behind the conspiracy, reassuring them that they will handsomely rewarded.
     Shortly after their conversation with the duke, the afternoon calm is broken by a shriek from one of the nobles. Directing their attention to the tree line the heroes see the trees seemingly moving and bending of their own accord. Then suddenly, four of the duke’s guardsmen are sent flying backwards as a monstrous ogre smashes them with a tree ripped from the very ground. The ogre yells “Git da girlie and furgit da rest!” as a squad of hobgoblin soldiers pours out from the forest and bears down upon the Duchess Esabelle and Lord Callen. The ducal guard rallies around their liege lord and attempt to spirit him from the scene, while Azgar heroically leaps from his mount and rushes to the duchess. The dwarven warrior slams his shield into the ground, utters a dwarven word and the shield magically pulls up the earth creating a wall of stone to protect the duchess. Mithon, not one to let a dwarf out do him, races to the duchess and leaps from horseback to the top of the wall and offers his horse for the duchess and Lord Callen to escape. And not a moment too soon it would seem as a hobgoblin sorcerer emerges from the trees and blasts a hole in the wall with a vicious lightning bolt. Seeing an opportunity that has presented itself, Sir Atreus calls for his lance from his squire and charges through the hole in the wall solidly striking the ogre, but amazingly the massive beast shrugs off the attack. Ian, spying the hobgoblins racing towards the nobles, becomes a flurry of blades, stabbing with his swords, spinning, and drawing and throwing axes and knives with incredible speed and accuracy. The heroes, and a contingent of guardsmen left behind, provide enough of a distraction for the nobles to escape, and engage the humanoids in a furious battle.
     The aftermath finds the heroes battered but victorious, the ogre and the hobgoblin soldiers dead, and the hobgoblin sorcerer fled into the forest. Sir Atreus instructs Mithon and Azgar to chase down the sorcerer while he and Ian will catch up with and provide security for the duke. Azgar and Mithon comply and quickly chase down the hobgoblin sorcerer, who after seeing he had no chance for escape, took his own life rather than be interrogated by the heroes. After a quick search, Mithon takes the sorcerer’s tabard which was emblazoned with a bloody red hand.
      Returning to Brindol the group finds that they have even more questions but are no closer to answers, so they decide to rest and recoup for the night after Mithon takes the hobgoblin’s tabard to Hedrid at the library. The next day, Atreus continued to be successful in the joust and Mithon journeyed into town to buy decorative masks for the evenings masquerade ball. Again the heroes put on their finery and made their way to the keep, knowing that time was running out on them. With the wedding only a day away, the party knew the conspirators would be making their move soon. Once at the ball, the heroes moved about the party and decided to question the people they felt held the clues to growing threat. Mithon tracked down Lady Rothschilde, Atreus found Lady Vreen and Azgar sought out Guy Entrean while Ian watched the room for other suspects. Using their powers of persuasion, or lack thereof in Azgar’s case, the group discovered that they may being set up as suspects themselves. It would seem Lady Rothschilde had discovered that Lysa had been involved in some hedonistic cult, and although she wanted to get out, she was being beaten and forced to participate by none other than the good Bishop Octagnius. Furthermore, the bishop had been spreading tales of how the troubles didn’t truly show up until the heroes arrived to Guy Entrean, turning the steward against the group. Through their discussion, the group realized that the bishop had been pulling their strings all along and setting them up as the culprits, should any of his schemes succeed. Seeking the aid of Sir Edward, the heroes tell the captain of the guard all they knew, but at that very moment, a clinking of glasses announced a toast being made in honor of the betrothed. Directing their attention to the front of the room they see that Bishop Octagnius is providing a toast and passing out wine to Esabelle, Callen and Duke Jarmaath. In a breathless whisper, Lysa moans “Oh no, the Bishop keeps poison in a ring on his little finger….”
     Making a mad dash toward the royals, Atreus yells “Don’t drink the wine!”, and Azgar exclaims “It be poisoned!” Taking advantage of the momentary distraction Mithon rushes to take the wine glass from the duchess, only to be intercepted by one of the duke’s guardsmen, but at the last possible second Ian slides through the guards legs, taking his pants down in the process and allowing the elf to reach the duchess in time.
     Explaining that the wine was poisoned the dwarf bravely ingests the wine to prove the bishop’s guilt, relying on his dwarven constitution to protect him, but it seemed to be for naught as the wine was not poisoned. The bishop takes the opportunity to gloat and accuse the heroes of being behind the troubles in Brindol, but an impassioned plea by the heroes keeps the duke from sending them to the dungeons. After presenting all of their evidence to the duke, with an assist from Lady Rothschilde, Duke Jarmaath orders the bishop to drink the remaining wine himself, and knowing he was caught, Octagnius tried to flee, only to be caught by Sir Edward.
      The following day saw Sir Atreus squaring off against Sir Miles Berrick in the finals for the joust and while Atreus competed valiantly, it was clear after two passes that Sir Miles Berrick was clearly the better knight and he led two lances to none. As they prepared for the third and final tilt, Sir Miles Berrick in a surprising move put up his lance, and withdrew from the competition, allowing Sir Atreus the victory in honor of the heroes efforts in uncovering the cultists. That evening, the heroes joined the rest of the ducal court as the Duchess Esabelle and Lord Callen were wedded, celebrating the momentous occasion long into the night, as the nobles and commoners alike sang their praises.

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Let the games begin!
A tournament for the ages.

      The heroes arrive in Brindinford, and make their way to the House of Holy Justice in the city to meet with Atreus’ superiors. After informing him of the message to the gnolls, Bishop Octagnius encourages the group to take part in the tournament so that they can keep a closer eye on the betrothed should anything come up. That way, they’ll be in position to stop what ever nefarious act the villains are scheming. The group agrees, finishes their business in the city and make their way to the tournament grounds.
      Upon their arrival, they are met by Guy Entrean, the duke’s steward, and they select the events they will be participating in. Sir Atreus will joust, Lord Azgar will enter the melee, Mithon the archery, and Ian will enter both the knife and axe throwing events. The heroes then make their way to the virtual city of tents to unpack their things as they only have a few hours until the shield presentation, followed by a feast to kick off the tournament. After cleaning off the dust, dirt and blood from themselves, the group puts on their finest clothing and set to enjoy the night. During the dinner, the guests are making small talk and the thoughts of danger almost slip from their minds, when the night’s calm is broken. A knight at the head table starts violently choking and collapses into his food. The Duchess Esabelle, seated next to the knight, lets out a shriek and chaos breaks out through the crowd. The duchess is lead away by her entourage and Guy Entrean starts restoring order allowing the heroes to investigate the disturbance.
      After a couple of hours of investigation, Mithon tells the party that the elves seated at the head table were none other than the elves of House Erannon, the very same house that was involved with trying to acquire the services of the Great Ulfe and his band of orcs. Mithon also takes a closer look at the food on the table and using his knowledge of nature, the druid discovers that the mushrooms the knight was eating were intentionally prepared in a way that would make them poisonous. Meanwhile, Sir Atreus gathers from the other knights in attendance that the fallen knight was Sir Ethan Houge, a favorite cousin of the duchess. Ian had spent the time in the kitchens and discovered from the servants that the duchess herself had ordered the mushrooms as a treat for her cousin, but the message was carried by the Lady Lysa Vreen. With all avenues, seemingly exhausted, the group retires to their tents, all save for Mithon, whose distrust for House Erranon leads him to stand vigil at their pavilion through the night. Returning late, Mithon tells the group that the elves met with Lady Vreen and a knight, discovered to be Sir Richard Flanders.
      The next morning, the tournament continues on as planned, as Duke Blackwell would not have this tremendous occasion be delayed. The explanation was given that Sir Ethan had simply choked on his food and died before aid could be administered. During the games, all the heroes performed admirably, but while Lord Azgar and Sir Atreus defeated their opponents in the first round, Ian was defeated in the finals of the knife throwing competition. Near the end of the day’s dueling, a disturbance draws the attention of the crowd, the captain of the duke’s guard Sir Edward Rothschilde was in a heated debate with Guy Entrean. The argument ended when Sir Edward yelled “First you impugn my honor, and now that of my family! With the next insult out of your mouth, we will be discussing the matter with steel!” before storming away. Duke Blackwell quickly clapped his hands to restore order and continue the games, but the argument had made an impact on the mood of the tourney.
      The third day of the tournament was much the same as the first. Sir Atreus and Lord Azgar easily defeated their foes and Ian won the axe throwing competition. That evening the heroes attempt to further investigate whatever conspiracy may be going on by making small talk with some of the other tournament participants and guests, while Ian follows Lady Vreen. From the shadows Ian overhears Lady Vreen arguing with another noble woman, whom the group would discover to be Lady Amanda Rothschilde, and discovers that Lady Vreen is in some sort of trouble. Lady Rothschilde threatens Lysa to say something before she herself does and Lysa runs away crying. It would later be discovered that Lady Rothschilde has a close personal relationship (some say too close) with the very married Duke Blackwell, and others insinuated that Sir Edward had attained his captaincy through this relationship.
       On the fourth day of the tournament, the heroes experienced mixed results in the lists. Mithon easily defeated all foes in the archery contest and Sir Atreus continued to show his mettle in the joust, but in a major surprise, the growing favorite, Lord Azgar was defeated in the melee by Sir Robert Marlson, a knight from Allonvale. With a growing web of intrigue surrounding the tournament the heroes make their way back to the tents to contemplate what next mystery these games will bring.

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