Heroes of Khemer

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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