Archive for the ‘Thorn’ Category

The Dark Keep II

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

After looting and carefully searching the entrance room, I heard a metallic clanking sound coming from near the stairs. We went closer to investigate, and discovered the sound was coming from the corridor near the entrance. Carefully, we crept down the corridor until our way was barred by a closed door. Two more doors were on each side of the corridor. We could hear goblin voices behind the door on the end, and could see faint blood stains on the floor leading to the door on the left. Looking through the keyhole of the door on the end, I saw a torture chamber with several goblins. It looked as though one of the goblins was instructing the others on the finer details of the iron maiden.

I tried to quietly open the door so that we could rush in and surprise them, but we were betrayed by a squeaky hinge. The goblins inside were alerted to our presence, but we were able to subdue them. Their leader was rendered unconscious, and the last two goblins surrendered. During the battle, we heard a voice cry out for help in common from beyond a bend in one of the corridors leading from the torture chamber.

We questioned the two goblins who surrendered, but were unable to learn anything. Leshanna killed the first one as an example, and the second out of frustration. We put the leader into the iron maiden to question him when he awakes.

The Dark Keep

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

As we emerged into the large square room, I noticed something suspicious about the area in the middle, and warned the others to keep away. The goblin attacks me first, and deals a devastating blow. I rally, however, swear my Oath of Enmity, and give back as good as I got. Two more goblins with crossbows emerge from a corridor on the other side of the room and join the fray.

The big goblin bull rushed me and forced me into the middle of the room. Without warning, the false floor gave way and I crashed down into a pit. Fortunately, there were no spikes at the bottom, but there was an angry swarm of rats more than willing to finish me off. Niva sent her spirit companion to my aid, and Larksong sprinkled some fairy dust, allowing me to levitate out of the pit.

After a few more rounds of vicious battle, we emerged victorious.

A Day in Winterhaven

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

After meeting up at the inn, we decide to search for Captain Rond to tell him what we learned at the burial site. The guards suggest that we may find him at the warrior’s guild, so we all make our way there. At the guild, we find Captain Rond training with his men. He gestures for us to approach, and asks if we would like to train with them. We all feel that a bit of combat training would be a good idea.

Orsik gathered a group of recruits interested in hammer techniques, and showed them a few tricks.

Leshanna practiced knife fighting with a short human. She had difficulty at first, but was soon able to best him.

Larksong took up a bow and practiced at the range, doing fairly well.

I grappled with Captain Rond, and was able to pin him several times. He was impressed with my technique and asked if I would train with him more often.

After the training, we headed to to the inn with Captain Rond to unwind and talk about our findings. We told Rond  about the burial site, Douven Staul, the Dark Keep, and our suspicions of Valthrun. He thanked us for the information and assured us that Lord Padraig would be grateful as well.

We all wanted to pay Douven Staul a visit and check on his recovery. To our surprise, we found him awake and eager to talk. He had heard there was a dragon horde near Winterhaven, and went searching for it. While he was searching, he encountered Agrid, and was captured and tortured. While he was imprisoned, he heard his captors speaking about their master, Kalarel. He believes Kalarel is a male priest, but does not know any more. Finally, he removed the picture of his wife, Nensi, from the locket and gave it to Orsik. The locket is actually an amulet of healing, and quite valuable.

Sister Lenora, the priestess of the temple, insisted that we let Douven rest. I asked if there was an extra room in the temple where I could meditate and spend the night, while the others went back to the inn.


At dawn, we gathered at the inn and prepared to go to the Keep. When we left the village, the guards at the gate passed us a note from Captain Rond, who urged us to be cautious.

As we approached the Keep, Leshanna sensed old magicks in the area. The path widened to a clearing, with no life whatsoever. The ground was bare earth, without even weeds among the ruins. The complete absence of wildlife lent the area an eerie silence. Someone however had cleared away enough rubble to reveal a stairway leading down.

We reconnoiter the area and are unable to detect any traps, neither magical nor mundane, but we do hear chittering sounds from the stairs. Larksong searches the woods nearby and doesn’t find anything threatening, but does find two very valuable flowers. I crept up to the stairs, again finding no traps, and saw flickering torchlight at the bottom. The others joined me at the top of the stairs, and Leshanna told us she sensed magic down the stairs, in the distance.

We carefully proceed down the stairs, but unfortunately are not very quiet. At the bottom, we emerge into a large square room, with a large Goblin warrior. He sees us, and grins.

Back to Winterhaven

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

After the battle at the burial site, we made a litter for Douven Staul and started back to Winterhaven. We had only traveled about half the distance, however, when we began to smell smoke. Rounding a bend in the road, we came upon a group of Kobolds gathered around the charred remains of a caravan. The Kobolds were chittering excitedly and angrily, throwing whatever they could find at the overturned wagons. Magical flames appeared between the wagons and the Kobolds, and I sensed movement among the wagons.

Fortunately for us, surprise was on our side, and we were able to make short work of the Kobolds. As soon as the Kobolds were dispatched, the flames disappeared. The movement I had seen earlier turned out to be Valthrun and Ninaran, both of whom were not as fortunate as we had been. Ninaran was white faced and cradling a bloody arm, so Niva set to work with her healing arts.

Valthrun was eager to learn what we found out at the burial site. Upon seeing the mirror, he became badly shaken, and insisted that we go back to his tower immediately.

Back in Winterhaven, we followed Valthrun to his tower, while Ninaran went to the inn. Larksong and Leshanna felt that Valthrun was acting suspiciously, and privately expressed doubts as to Valthrun’s prowess as a wizard. Inside the tower, we noticed rows and rows of books and scrolls, and I was able to discern a religious significance in many of them. Looking closer, I noticed that some of the books had symbols matching those on the mirror. The connection triggered a memory, and I pulled out the obsidian figurine we had taken from our first encounter with the Kobolds. There were more matching symbols there.

Valthrun told us about the Keep northeast of the village. Long ago, the Nerath Wizards sealed a rift to the Shadowfell and built a Keep over it. A garrison was left to guard the Keep, with a knight named Sir Keegan in charge. One day, Sir Keegan began slaughtering everyone in the Keep, without reason. The garrison was eventually able to drive Sir Keegan away, but at great cost.

Now, the Keep lies in ruins, and is infested with Goblins. To this day the people of Winterhaven avoid the Keep and any mention of it. Delphina Moongem is the only person known to visit the ruins.

Valthrun believes that the rift in the Keep leads to the domain of Orcus, the demon lord of undeath. He also believes that the mirror belonged to the Nerath Wizards, and may contain a way to unseal the rift. He identified the figurine  as a symbol of Orcus, and then expressed dismay, proclaiming that there had been no evil cults in Winterhaven for more than one hundred years. He believes now that there may be a death cult in the area.

Larksong asked about Kalarel. Valthrun did not know the name, but said that death cults are typically led by high priests and acolytes, and supposed that Karalel must be one of these.

Leshanna, believing Valthrun to be hiding something, tried to intimidate him into revealing his secrets. Valthrun became offended and asked us to leave. As we made our way out, Larksong hid in the tower, to spy on Valthrun. I lurked about outside the tower to keep an eye on Valthrun while the others went to check on Douven Staul.

Soon, Valthrun came out of the tower and headed towards the barracks. I followed, but once he entered the gate there was no way for me to slip through without being seen. I waited outside the barracks until Valthrun came back out with Rond Kelfem. As they walked to the tower, I let out a bird-cry whistle to alert Larksong. Larksong was able to squeeze through a window and fly down unnoticed. Soon Captain Rond exited the tower and went back to the barracks. Larksong and I, learning all that we could, returned to the inn to meet up with the others.

The Burial Site

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Leshanna, continuing her ruse, got close enough to Agrid to threaten him. She grabbed him and touched his neck with her wrist blade, drawing a tiny bit of blood. She then told Agrid a fearsome tale about the Drow ritual of Mylthar, which she would perform on him if he did not tell us where to find Douven Staul. Agrid was obviously frightened, but claimed not to know any Douven Staul, or where he might be. Leshanna released Agrid and he stumbled away, clearly cowed.

The dragon-like guards at the entrance, however, were unfortunately not frightened at all, and proceeded to attack Leshanna. Once out of her reach, Agrid yelled “Kill them all, Kalarel will reward us well!” Orsik and Larksong moved in to help Lashanna, while I charged at Agrid, swearing my Oath of Enmity. It was a very close fight, but we were once again victorious.

Agrid was wearing a locket, which upon opening revealed a picture of Douven Staul’s wife. Leshanna also sensed magic in the locket, and believed it to be an amulet of protection.

The crate which so excited the workers contained an unremarkable, dirty mirror. It appears to be very ancient, but not magical.

A sack in one corner of the burial site proved to contain the unconscious and badly wounded Douven Staul. There was little that we could do for him at the burial site, so we stabilized him and are now proceeding back to Winterhaven.

Back to Winterhaven

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

After defeating Irontooth in the Kobold lair, we thoroughly explored the caverns and discovered a treasure room. Inside, we found a small iron cage with a Pixie inside. The Pixie introduced herself as Larksong, and begged us to release her. Fearing a trap, we were hesitant at first, but then the Pixie began to sing and all of our worries melted away. We freed Larksong from the cage, and she has even agreed to join our party.

Tired and battle worn, we decided to make camp rather than risk to long trip back to Winterhaven in the dark. Orsik fortified the treasure room door and set wards, then we all bedded down for a much needed rest.

In the morning, we carefully made our way out of the cave and headed back to the road without incident. On the way to Winterhaven, we encountered a caravan. They were well armed and battle weary, but more than willing to trade with us.

Back in Winterhaven, we immediately set out for an audience with Lord Patraig. We were told to wait at the inn, where we overheard that Valthran and Ninaran had gone to investigate the burial site, where Douven Staul is believed to have vanished. Presently we were joined by Lord Patraig and Captain Kelfem. They were as disturbed as we about the possibility of spies in Winterhaven, but could give us no clues about the identity of either Orcus or Kalarel.

After collecting our reward, we set out for Valthran’s tower. No one answered our hails, and the door was locked. Leshanna tried to discern whether any magic had been used recently, and was thrown to the ground by a powerful ward on the tower. It seems that Valthran is more than a simple scholar.

On to the burial site, where we hoped to find some clues to Doven Staul’s whereabouts. We endeavored to approach quietly, wary of ambush. Orsik however, being a Dwarf, is as at home in the forest as, well, a Dwarf in the forest. I felt the tip of a spear in my back, and a low voice came over the wind: “Who goes there? What are you searching for?”

“We are looking for you,” I replied, and turned to face Ninaran. She hissed in surprise, but seemed agreeable to see us. Valthran came out from concealment and greeted us as well. They told us they had seen four or more humans at the burial site, and wishing to avoid a confrontation were on their way back to Winterhaven. Valthran also told us he has important information about the keep  Northeast of Winterhaven, and we should come to his tower tonight. And with that, he and Ninaran left us.

We continued on to the burial site, more quietly this time, and found a clearing with a crater in the center. Inside the crater were the humans Valthran had described, as well as two man-sized dragon-like creatures standing guard. Four of the humans appeared to be digging, in search of who knows what, while a fifth walked among them, overseeing their labors, clearly in charge. I leaned over to whisper with Orsik, when Leshanna suddenly stood up and said, “Hey big boy, whatcha got there?”

Startled, the leader replied that it was none of her concern. Leshanna and Larksong continued the ruse and sashayed closer, while Orsik and I crept around under concealment to a better tactical position. The leader, called Agrid, became increasingly agitated as he tried to shoo Leshanna and Larksong away. Suddenly, one of the diggers shouted ,”I’ve found it!”  The leader, forgetting the intruders for the moment, ran to see. “Yes!” he exclaimed, practically bouncing. Then, as if remembering the unwanted guests, he turned to face Leshanna and Larksong with a malicious grin. “You there! Come and see what I’ve found!”

The Kobold Lair

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

After learning as much as we could from the good people of Winterhaven, we struck out for the Kobold lair to the Southeast. Once again, we were ambushed on the path, only this time we were expecting it. We made short work of the cowards, and claimed a dragon figurine from one of the marauder leaders. On the bottom of the figurine was a curious sigil — a skull with ram horns.

Proceeding on to the Southeast, we spied several Kobolds and two Dragonshields guarding the entrance to what could only be the Kobold lair. This time we were the ambushers, and managed to slay most of the enemy while driving the Dragonshields back into the lair. The heat of the battle upon us, we pursued the vile beasts into the dank caverns. Irontooth himself, the hated Marauder leader joined the battle and very nearly turned the tide. In the end, however, we overcame and vanquished the enemy.

Irontooth had a curious note in his possession:

Irontooth Letter

Irontooth Letter — click for full size

The text reads:

Irontooth,

My spies in Winterhaven suggest we keep an eye out for visitors to the area. It probably does not matter, in just a few more days, I’ll completely open the rift. Then Winterhaven’s people will serve as food for all those Lord Orcus sends to do my bidding.

Kalarel

 This is terrible news indeed. But who are the spies? Who can we trust?

The Adventure Begins

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Orsik received word from the wife of his mentor, Douven Staul, that Douven had been missing for many days. He was last seen near Winterhaven, while searching for a dragon’s tomb. Of course Orsik was quick to offer his services, and the rest of the party equally quickly agreed to help.

So we gathered our gear and set out for Winterhaven. Near the end of our journey, we were ambushed by a group of Kobold marauders. We dispatched them without too much difficulty, but were nevertheless happy to reach the safety of Winterhaven’s gates shortly after.

The guards at the gate did not recognize either Douven Staul’s name or description. When we inquired about the Kobold marauders,  the guard spit on the ground and asked that we speak with Captain Rond Kelfem, who would surely be interested in whatever information we could give. Apparently the Kobolds are becoming more bold and frequent in their raids.

Being tired from our journey, we headed immediately for Wrafton’s Inn. In addition to some well-needed rest we hoped to acquire some helpful information or rumors concerning our quest. The inn’s proprietor and namesake, one Salvana Wrafton, proved to be friendly enough. She remembered Douven staying at the inn, and suggested we stay for market day in the morning and talk with the other townspeople.

Here is a summary of what we were able to learn:

Bairwin Wildarson
Bairwin is the shopkeeper. He remembers seeing a man fitting Douven’s description talking with Eilian.
Eilian the Old
Eilian remembers speaking with Douven. Douven had had questions about an old burial site, to which Eilian was able to point the way. He very helpfully drew a map for us to take.
Ninaran
Ninaran is an Elf huntress. She is not very friendly, and unable or unwilling to provide any information about Douven’s whereabouts. I sensed a kindred spirit, however. I left a small trinket as a gift, one hunter to another. Perhaps we will meet again.
Valthran the Scholar
Valthran mostly stays in the tower, but he came down for the market. He told us of a keep to the Northeast, little more than a ruin now. He asked that we check back with him about the keep.
Lord Ernest Padraig
Lord Padraig is the lord of Winterhaven. He is concerned about the growing number of Kobold raids, and asked that we speak with Rond Kelfem, the captain of the guard.
Rond Kelfem
Rond is the captain of the guard in Winterhaven. Though he was unable to help us locate Douven, he did offer a substantial reward for cleaning out the Kobold lair to the Southeast.
Delphina Moongem
Another Elf, Delphina sells charmed flowers, herbs, and other magical ingredients of little use to one such as me.

We decided to clean out the Kobold lair before continuing our search for Douven. It is our hope that the lair, or its denizens, will contain valuable information or clues to aid our search. Not to mention some much needed coin to better prepare for the adventure.