Heroes of Khemer

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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Gatlin

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