A Kind of Homecoming

Undead at the Fiveleague House
Forgewraith 700xp
Pale Reavers (4) 800xp
Miner Battle Wight (3) 1200xp
Hound Spirits (8) 150xp
Total XP 2850xp
Experience point record
  • After a short, sharp fight with the undead dwarven soldiers, the party takes stock of the situation and makes some quick introductions to the newcomer. Elestrynna, Hamish and Sharat each examine the rapidly decomposing bodies of the undead dwarven warriors and each comes to the conclusion that these dwarves bear arms and armor that dates back to the time of the Orc Wars, nearly 100 years ago. They look at each other, their concern obvious.
  • Hamish thanks the party for their assistance before speaking up. “I still have at least two companions still trapped in the Fiveleague House, I will not abandon them.” The party is busy welcoming Trek back into the fold, but Sharat and Jai both turn and look at Hamish, unspoken questions on their faces. “Perhaps you should fill us in on what’s going on around here.” says Rassimohn.
  • Hamish and Trek tell the story of what has happened at the Fiveleague House, how the inn was overrun by spectral dwarven warriors, how Hamish’s two companions were last seen beating a fighting retreat back towards the inn’s kitchens. The disappointment is tangible as the party realizes that the hot food, dry beds, and cold beer that the Fiveleague House promised will not be a part of this evening’s plans. Sharat nods quickly, “Then we should press on. There may be others still trapped in the inn and I’ll not abandon them to their fate.” Jai puts a stong hand on Sharat’s shoulder and nods in agreement. Wounds are quickly bandaged as Cygnet leads the horses forward and, after answering the concerned girl’s questions, the party sets off at a rapid pace and quickly travels the mile between them and the inn.
  • A grim sight awaits them. The Fiveleague House, a large, walled inn stands alongside the Thane’s Road, about a day’s journey from Hammerfast. It is normally a busy place, sitting on a low rise beside the road in a clearing carved out of the thick trees of the Dunwood. But tonight it is a different place: the inn is dark, its tall glass windows shattered and the front gate sundered. A portion of the main entrance has collapsed, bringing a small section of the greatroom’s wall with it. Only one window in the back of the inn glows with a yellow light. A latern perhaps? Could there still be survivors within? Wandering aimlessly about the mucky ground in front of the inn are packs of spectral dwarven warriors. They seem confused, dazed, and unsure of their own actions and they wander about the field, howling and cursing in a strange, strangled language.
  • Among the undead dwarven warriors wanders a far more sinister form. It is a massive creature molded from flesh, body parts, and other gobbets of unknown materials. It drips a clear gelatinous fluid and “steams” with a pale blue-white light in the chill night air. It stands about 8 feet tall and is mostly humanoid in form. Elestrynna sets her jaw and the other soldiers look grim. “A Corpse Ogre, I think?” asks Rassimohn. “Not been seen in these parts since the damned Witch King’s armies were sundered by King Gareth.” Elestrynna nods sharply. She knows that this terrible undead golem is a hallmark of the Witch King Zhengyi himself – no other necromancers in Faerun are known to have created them. She fears the implications of this beast’s presence.
  • Beyond the walls of the Fiveleague House, to the southeast, a blue-white glow emanates from the trees. Those of the party that have travelled these parts of the Nentir Vale know that this is where the grand monument built to commemorate the final battle of the Orc Wars stands. Hamish and Trek recall that this is the direction that the first attackers came from earlier this night. The party debates their course of action: check the inn for survivors or press on to the monument and likely attack the source of this event.
  • While the party debates, a figure emerges from the stable doors on the front of the inn. It is short, wide, and heavily bearded – likely a dwarf. It creeps through the darkness, heading right towards the edge of the forest where the party is concealed. For a few moments, the undead warriors do not notice the sneaking figure, but then one spots it and lets out a strangled shout. The rest, including the corpse ogre, turn as the dwarf begins to sprint, frantically, towards the trees. Hamish and Trek recognize him as Tego Trollender, a merchant that was expelled from Hammerfast and was biding his time at the Fiveleague House.
  • Jai growls, “Let’s go” and draws his bastard sword, heading quickly in the direction of the fleeing dwarf. It is clear that Tego will not make the trees before the undead catch him unless the party helps. The rest of the party steels themselves and set off after Jai…
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Welcome to the Fiveleague House
Leaving Nenlast
  • The road south from Nenlast is broken and in bad repair, making the journey far more difficult that was hoped. Of course, it’s downright luxurious compared to last few weeks of trekking through the foothills of the Giantspires, so spirits are high. After passing the handful of farms and crofts outside of Nenlast, no other travellers are seen on the road and the party finds itself alone with its thoughts.
  • Cygnet is withdrawn and spends much of her time riding quietly, staying near her father’s body. Theros is engrossed with his work forming the length of wood recovered from the tree damaged by elemental energies. The rest of the party passes the time in their own way, enjoying the calm and peacefulness of the journey.
  • The night before arriving at the Fiveleague House, Cygnet approaches Sharat and begins to ask him of his own past – of the death of his wife & child, and his path to becoming a warrior of Oghma and Ilmater. She very much wishes to avoid becoming a victim again, as she did before, and Sharat sees that she bears fresh and raw emotional scars from being possessed by the “spark”. He spends the time with her, seeking to guide and control her intense emotions and agrees to help her come to grips with her situation, both in a martial and a spiritual way.
  • After the conversation with Sharat, Cygnet returns to her bedroll, but does not fall asleep immediately. Elestrynna, who sits closest to her, meditating as she often does during the night, notices Cygnet pull a small talisman from around her neck, where it is secured by a delicate silver chain. With a deep shock, Elestrynna sees that it is a piece of scrimshaw – a bone carved into the shape of the Tower of Magic in Myth Drannor superimposed over an oak tree. The symbol is that of her family and she remembers that a talisman exactly like this one was carved for her brother, Galrynnod, by her father.
  • Elestrynna wakes from her meditation and presses Cygnet for information. “Where did you get this talisman, child?”, she asks. Cygnet looks at it and says “From my uncle Gal. He gave it to me when I was just a kid. Well, he’s not really my uncle, just a good friend of my father’s.” Stunned, Elestrynna pauses for a moment. “Gal?”, she asks. “Galrynnod?” Cygnet nods, “Yes. Do you know him? You do look an awful lot like him, but I don’t know any other eladrin, so I might be wrong.” Elestrynna swallows. “Galrynnod is my brother.”
  • After questioning Cygnet further, Elestrynna learns that Galrynnod, her brother, has been a long time friend of Markus’s and helps the Spysong Network as well. He was last seen in Nenlast about two years ago and Elestrynna struggles to understand why her brother has not revealed himself to her when she has been so close for so long. She swears to Cygnet that her father, Markus, will be raised again, knowing that this man is her best link to finding her brother after all these years.
At the Fiveleague House
  • About two days earlier, Trek arrives at the Fiveleague House. The circumstances of his arrival are, as of yet, a mystery, but he arrives with a purpose. Upon arriving, he finds the inn quite crowded, though he does secure a room from the dwarven innkeeper and settles in to wait. He learns that the gates of Hammerfast were closed about three weeks ago and all non-residents were expelled, so many merchants and visitors are waiting at the Fiveleague House, hoping to return when the city’s gates reopen.
  • On the first night following his arrival, Trek meets a dwarf by the name of Hamish Blackforge, a merchant formerly from Hammerfast that has spent the last few decades travelling the lands around the Vilhon Reach (Chondath and Turmish) in the southern reaches of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Hamish isn’t exactly clear why he’s decided to return now, but he and a small retinue of other dwarves have recenly arrived at the Fiveleague House and are deciding their next course of action given the situation in Hammerfast.
  • The next night, while relaxing in the crowded bar, a terrible deed transpires. The stable boy, a stout young lad, stumbles into the room from the outside, his face and torso badly mauled, and collapses in a pool of his own blood. Behind him stands a cadaverous, spectral hound…chewing on a gobbet of flesh torn from the poor lad. At that moment, the tall glass windows shatter and leaping in through the openings come a flood of similar hounds and both decomposing and spectral dwarven warriors. The scene becomes one of complete chaos as patrons are hacked down and others frantically attempt to defend themselves from the onslaught.
  • Hamish and Trek are forced to retreat out the broken front window and Hamish last sees his two surviving companions being forced back down the hall towards the inn’s kitchens. Unable to fight their way through the hoard of undead dwarves, Hamish and Trek flee to the north while more dwarves pour out of the forest towards the Fiveleague House. Trek notes that most of the undead are coming from an old monument marking a massive battle between the dwarves of Hammerfast and the orcish army during the Orc Wars 100 years ago.
  • After fleeing for almost a mile, Hamish and Trek stop to catch their breaths and take stock of the situation. But they are given little time to rest before they are attacked by a pack of hounds!
The Party is Rejoined!
  • The party coming from Nenlast pushes on into the night, looking forward to warm beds and food at the Fiveleague House. Ominously, the peaceful night air is shattered by the choking bark of many baying hounds. The seasoned team veterans look around at each other, knowing that those warm beds may not be there for them tonight, and loosen their weapons in their sheathes. Riding now with a bit more urgency, they come upon a battle already in progress. A dwarven warrior slings spells at a pack of ghostly, cadaverous hounds while the familiar figure of a halfling twists and tumbles around another pack of hounds, daggers flashing in the moonlight. Trek? TREK? Despite their shock, the party rushes into the fight, quickly dispatching the hounds.
  • Before greetings can even be made, more undead dwarven warriors emerge from the darks stands of trees and the fight starts up once again!
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A Nenlast Homecoming Aftermath
  • The remaining elementals, many bearing hideous scars where they were touched by the brilliance of the Rod of Seven Parts, flee towards an elemental cyclone that has been forming near the burning farmhouse. Within it swirl deluges of water, glowing hot lava, arcing, dancing lighting, and massive chunks of earth and rock. The area around it is not safe as ice, magma, and rock are flung from the whirlwind. The funnel itself rapidly grows until it is larger than the huge elm tree that sits half within the swirl. One by one, the elemental creatures attempt to disengage and run to the cyclone. Only one, a massive flamespiker, manages to make it – the others are cut down by the party as they flee – and it hurls itself into the maeltrom and disappears.
  • The party shrinks back from the fury of the swirling elemental gate (for that is what it is) shielding their eyes from the brilliant bursts of lighting and the heat coming from the gouts of magma that lurk within. From the chaotic mess, though, a form takes shape. An eye? Part of a huge face forms within the swirling mote. The eye is lidded, only partly awake, though the massive burning pupil attempts to focus on them. Sounding like the bass groan of tons of rock grinding against themselves, a word forms: “Piiiiiirrraaaaannnnoooooth” Then, as quickly as it formed, the eye is again swallowed by the chaos and the towering maelstrom collapses in on itself and is gone.
  • A sudden hush falls upon the ruined farm. Boulders of cooling lava flung from the whirlwind smolder in the dirt next to huge chunks of melting ice and muddy pools of water. Markus’s farmhouse is engulfed in flames and Cygnet sobs quietly in the barn, her elemental possesser driven from her by Sharat and Rassimohn. The fight is over. The party has managed to survive…somehow…perhaps thanks entirely to the massive power locked within the Rod of Seven Parts.
  • A new name has been revealed: Piranoth. Elestrynna identifies Piranoth as one of the primordials, powerful gods of the elements that were banished long before Faerun was even created.
  • Elestrynna throws up her flame shield and plunges into the burning house. There she finds the knife Cygnet carried with her covered in charred blood. Markus lies on his bed, his throat slit while he slept, murdered by his possessed daughter. Elestrynna gathers the body and a strangely unburned ivory figurine of a goat (magical), and pulls him from the house. She makes his body safe with her Gentle Repose ritual while Cygnet sobs hysterically.
  • Theros is drawn to the tree that was shattered by the elemental maelstrom, its trunk is split nearly in two and it leans heavily to one side. The clean, white heartwood smolders with a constantly shifting array of elemental effects: ice, water, heat, smoke, and on and on, but the wood is not consumed. Clearly, the wood has been impregnated with some of the raw elemental forces while the gate stood open. He ponders its potential for just a moment before fetching Markus’s woodcutting tools and setting to work, harvesting the wood to build a bow from.
  • Once she has calmed down, Cygnet reveals that she was possessed by an elemental creature and forced to murder her father and set the house aflame. The elemental creature was put into her by an imperious lady dressed in grey robes who was attended by elementals and spoke of going to Hammerfast when she had finished in Nenlast! It was the elemental that compelled her to murder Markus (her father) in his sleep and lead the characters into the ambush.
Rewards, Gear, & Loot
The Ivory Goat of Travail
Components for a +2 bow
1900 GP
  • Elestrynna recovers a large crystal, damaged by the fire, which Cygnet indicates was used by her father to communicate with others in the Spysong Network. The crystal, however, does not work. In the ashes of the burned farmhouse, she also finds a small figure of a goat carved from ivory. Quick inspection and analysis indicates that it is one of the rare Figurines of Wonderous Power – the Ivory Goat of Travail.
  • Theros takes with him a length of the strange elemental-infused elm wood and begins to craft a longbow stave from it.
Major Quest Reward XP 1250xp
  • After getting some badly, badly needed rest, the party sets off again, leaving the burned farmstead and heading for Hammerfast, unsure of what they might find. The first stop will be the Fiveleague House, a roadside inn that sits on the Thane’s Road (the main east-west road in the Nentir Vale) exactly a day’s journey to the west of Hammerfast.
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A Nenlast Homecoming
Spark/Cygnet 350xp
Mud Archon Skulker (2) 700xp
Spark Lashers (2) 1000xp
Flamespiker (3) 1050xp
Flamespiker Tongues (6) (minion) 100xp
Total XP 3200xp
  • The exhausted party collapses into the warm, comfortable hay of the barn. After nearly two weeks of hard marching through wild, rough country, Markus’s barn seems like a palace. Markus throws his arm around his daughter and bids the party goodnight before heading into this home with Cygnet. The still quiet of the dark forest closes in around the farmstead as everybody drifts off to sleep.
  • A few hours later, Rassimohn wakes up. His soldier’s instincts pick up a noise in the barn that is out of place and a moment later, a warm, soft (bare) body slips into his bedroll. Swayed by her quiet whispers and…umm…”encouragements”, Rassimohn and the girl “enjoy each other’s company” (I don’t really need to spell this out, do I?). The rest of the party each wake up, take note of the activities Rassimohn and Cygnet are engaging in, and promptly go back to sleep. After some time and “exertions”, Rassimohn and Cygnet part ways and Cygnet slips quietly back out of the barn. Rassimohn, his bruised and battered body now feeling quite a bit better, settles back in the hay to sleep. But this night is not for sleeping…
  • It is deep in very darkest part of the night, sometime during the few hours of true darkness that spring nights in the far north offer, when a scream shatters the stillness! Another blood curdling scream rings out as the party quickly shakes off the cobwebs of their deep sleep. Elestrynna, meditating at the edge of the hay loft, is the first to react. She pushes past the barn doors that stand slightly ajar, into the barnyard beyond and stops for a moment to take in the scene in front of her. Markus’s farmhouse, on the other side of the clearing, is burning!
  • Out in the farmyard, almost seeming to be waiting, lurk a handfull of creatures of elemental fire, air, and rock. The shapes are familiar and instantly strike fear into the hearts of the party: these are the same creatures of the Elemental Chaos that attacked the Monstary of St. Wynfrith so many years ago. And here they are again.
  • Cygnet stands between the barn where the party was sleeping and the burning elemental creatures, she sees Elestrynna emerge and turns to flee towards her. Behind her, on top of Markus’s cabin, which smolders and burns from within, rise two more elemental creatures of air and lightning. Elestrynna assess the situation, orders the rest of the party to arm themselves, and charges out into the farmyard, determined to delay the elemental creatures long enough for the rest of the party to arm themselves.
  • A few moments later, a ragged Elestrynna is joined by the rest of the party and the fight is on!
  • In the barn, Rassimohn stands side-by-side with Sharat, defending the doorway against a host of flamespikers, while Cygnet seems to be saddling the horses as Rassimohn asked her to do. However, the girl has other plans. Arcing lighting begins to curl up her arms and she turns, her eyes aglow with blue-white light, and a cruel smile twists her beautiful features. “We only wanted to rid ourselves of one of you meddling sing-songers, but we’ll happily slay the lot of you!” Lightning arcs from her fingers and slams into Rassimohn, his face a mixture of shock and horror at the betrayal.
  • The fight goes badly for the party – an enemy in their midst, Markus’s cabin engulfed in flames, Markus himself likely dead inside, Jai, Elestrynna, and Rassimohn all teetering and at the end of their strength, and the forces of Elemental Chaos still swarming and pressing.
  • Sharat begins to feel a pulsating heartbeat coming from the joined fragments of the Rod of Seven Parts that he carries slung at his belt. He reaches down and feels a powerful urge to brandish the glittering Rod. A pure white light begins to eminate from it as Sharat is filled with righteous anger that is only part his own. The mob of flamespikers and the creature that was Cygnet recoil from the light, clearly pained by its purity and intensity. With a voice that is not his own, Sharat shouts out words of banishment placed there by the strange intelligence that lurks within the Rod. A blast of pure white radience is released from the rod and immediately two flamespikers disintegrate as they are touched by the brilliant light. The other elemental creatures are wounded terribly and are thrown back by the blast. Fear and desperation are the only emotions that come from the otherworldy beings as the light fades, leaving Sharat exhausted and drained. Sensing that the tide has somehow turned, the party gathers what little strenght they have left and hurl themselves back into the fray.
  • The fight has gone out of the remaining elementals, one by one they turn to flee towards a growing cyclone that has manifested itself near the totally engulfed farmhouse.
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Threshing Down
Skill Challenge: Ahmik Var 500xp
Skill Challenge: The Elders 500xp
Skill Challenge: Aid & Assistance 500xp
Total XP 1500xp
  • On the urgings of Markus, the party takes a day to travel to Threshing Down, a small village on the verge of the great northern steppes of Damara. Not long after breaking out of the thick trees of the Dunwood, a dark smudge of smoke is seen on the horizon to the west where Threshing Down lays. After descending the rocky, broken hills that are the Giantspire’s foothills, the party is approached by a mounted patrol of mixed Nar tribesmen and Damarans led by an old Nar hunter named Ahmik Var. Rassimohn calls the party into a group and unfurls the black banner of the new Feyahrs and awaits the patrols approach. Rassimohn negociates with Ahmik, who is very cautious but agrees to allow the party to proceed to Threshing Down. Most of the party notes that the patrol is made entirely of young boys, old men, and a few women.
  • Ahmik explains that Threshing Down is home to both the Var clan, migrant sheep herders from Narfell that spend their summers in the village and permanent Damaran residents. The village is ruled jointly by a council of elders from both groups. He will say little else to the party, though he is pressed with questions.
  • When Threshing Down comes into view, it is seen that the village has been badly pillaged. The wooden pallisade is broken, the gates are sundered, and the outlying farms are mostly burned. A few villagers are gathering scattered flocks of sheep and attempting to pick up the pieces of their broken homes. A small tent city lies outside the broken walls.
  • Ahmik brings the party to the village elders, Matoskah Var, chief of the Nar tribe, and an old Damaran dame named Elena Vuketch. Matoskah and Elena explain that two weeks ago a strong contigent of Royal Damaran Dragoons arrived from Tellerth and rounded up nearly all the young men of the village, claiming that they were to be brought back to Tellerth on suspicion of collaborrating with Orcus cultists in Fallcrest. Despite the villagers’ pleas, the Dragoons rode off with nearly 40 men and left the village virtually defenseless.
  • Then, two days ago, a hill giant raiding party attacked Threshing Down. With all the strong, young men gone, the town was helpless as hill giants, ogres, orcs, and goblins looted and pillaged the village.
  • After hearing the story and explaining the situation in Fallcrest to Matoskah and Elena, the party sets out to do what they can to help the villagers.
  • Jai helps to clear debris and to repair the shattered pallisade. Sharat tends to the wounded. Theros tracks the hill giant raiders and confirms that their trail leads straight in the direction of Battlechief Nosnra’s steading in the northwestern reaches of the Giantspire Mountains. Likely a raiding party of 2 or 3 giants, as many ogres, and a pack of 15+ orcs and goblins. It looks like some prisoners from Threshing Down were taken as well.
  • After doing what they can to help, the party turns back east towards the Dunwood and Markus’s farmstead. The events at Threshing Down clearly trouble Markus quite badly. It is a hard journey across broken, rocky hills and thick forest that takes a week to complete.
  • Upon returning to the farmstead just outside of Nenlast, the party is greeted by Cygnet, who has been holding down the fort. She seems especially glad to see Rassimohn…
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Revelations from Markus
  • Led by Markus, the wounded party leaves the cave, picking a path across the rocky hills and swampy dells before finding a good, defensible spot ringed by boulders the size of houses. “We can rest here for the night” the weary half-elf says before setting about to start a small fire in the lee of one of the rocks.
  • Once the party is settled, Jai and Rassimohn’s wounds are bound and tended to. Markus draws Theros aside a short way, and the two settle on rocks looking out over the endless expanse of the steppes of northern Damara. Though it is early summer, the endless winds have a touch of ice in them since little stands between the encampment and the Great Glacier itself. Stars twinkle through the high, nighttime clouds and the looming blue-white peaks of the Giantspires cover the northeastern horizon. With a sigh, Markus speaks to Theros.

“I’m sorry for holding back and not speaking more freely with you. I’m not used to be surrounded by alies or friends. Your actions, the actions of all of you, spoke clearly tonight and I understand that I can and must trust you. Ilmater knows that we have need of all the allies we can get. The githzerai cenobite’s name was Uweya and she comes from a monastery in the Elemental Chaos called Bael Torria”. How do I know this? Shortly after the Witch King Zhengyi was defeated by King Gareth, the Spysong Network made the decision that it must watch not only Damara, but the outer planes as well. Zhengyi drew his power from the demons of the Abyss and we wanted to ensure that we would know should a threat come from there again. To that end, we established footholds in the Elemental Chaos and sought likeminded allies to help us. The githzerai of Bael Torria were those allies…once. For decades we worked closely with them and became more than just allies – we were friends.”

With this, he pauses and looks sadly out over the scattered treetops and the vast expanse of the dark, open plains. Then he begins again.

“When the usurper murdered good Queen Brianne, many of the Spysong Network took up arms to fight back. Many of our outposts in the Elemental Chaos were abandoned. Some among the githzerai of Bael Torria felt that we were abandoning them and reneging on the commitments of mutual support that we had made to them years before. There were heated words…and…we parted ways. Since those dark days, relations have not improved. Few know of the Spysong Network’s presence in the Elemental Chaos – now you do and I ask that you guard the secret very carefully.”

  • With this revelation, the conversation turns to the orcs and the hill giants. Markus is confident that the orcish raiders were from a tribe loyal to Battlechief Nosnra and is troubled by the capture of Uweya and the other githzerai. He reveals that Uweya said that the planar skiff she and her companions were using was attacked by elementals and was forced to flee to this plane. The skiff was badly damaged and crashed, though, and the orcish raiders appeared shortly after and captured the survivors. Markus fears that it is all too much to be a coincidence, but can say little else.
  • Markus also asks if the party would be willing to take a short detour before returning to his home, and accompany him to the village of Threshing Down in the morning. It is a small settlement less than a half-day’s journey from the camp in the rolling downlands to the west. He rarely comes this far north and likes to check in on the settlement when he does, to gather news and make sure the village is safe. The party seems agreeable.
  • With the conversations ended, the party wearily falls asleep.
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Orc Raiders Part 2
Orc Beastmaster (2) 600xp
Pack of Hounds (3) 750xp
Orc Crescent Hurlers (2) 600xp
Orc Alchemist 300xp
Orc Chieftain 700xp
Total XP 2950xp
  • Things do not turn out so well in this fight. Though the orcs all lie dead in slowly congealing pools of black blood, Jai also lies on the floor, breathing shallowly. He is surrounded by the shaggy bodies of orcish wardogs but is himself badly mauled by the same rabid dogs kept by the orc beastmasters. Markus tends to him while Sharat carefully binds the deep gash on Rassimohn’s arm on the ledge above. Rassimohn winces painfully, his face the color of bleached parchment, as Sharat works. Eventually, with an almost superhuman effort, Jai slowly stands, wobbling, and leans heavily on Markus. A few moments later, Rassimohn does the same.
  • The less wounded members of the party finish the work of searching the bodies of the orc leaders, and discover a few items of worth. Shoved into a long sack at the bottom of a pile of mouldering crates, sacks, and other junk is a shining silver sword, seemingly abandoned here years ago. Scattered throughout the cave and looted from the bodies of the orcs is a collection of jewelery and cash totally a pretty sum.
Singing Longsword +2
1150 gp in cash and jewelery
  • Finally, the whole party leaves the cave and returns to the darkness and cold night air. Elestrynna lingers for a short time and ensures that the piled orc bodies catch fire. Clouds of dark, foul, oily smoke pour from the cave entrance as the fire rages within, purging the filth and squallor of the orc tribe that has built up through years of use.
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Orc Raiders Part 1
Orc Warriors (6) 100xp
Orc Pyromaniacs (4) 75xp
Ogre Savage Boss 700xp
Stormfury Orc Champion 600xp
Ogre Skirmisher 350xp
Orc Gruumsh-Sworn 350xp
Total XP 2175xp
  • After a hard won fight, the rest of the cave is explored. At the back of a long passageway is a deep pit ringed with spikes and a heavy, knotted rope lying coiled at the top. In the bottom of the pit are a trio of tall, slender humanoids dressed in dirty, torn grey robes. They sit in lotus positions and are clearly meditating. When they look up, the party is surprised to discover that they are githzerai cenobites – monks.
  • The party assists them out of the pit and finds that, despite being bruised and knocked around, none of their wounds are serious. Markus converses with the githzerai leader, a woman with hair pulled back tightly into a bun, in a strange language. Clearly there is tension and even some hostility between the two. Markus looks distressed and the githzerai woman almost angry, an emotion that clearly is not typical for her. “Argentus!”, she spits with a a final, angry rebuke as she turns and leads the other two githzerai cenobites from the cave. Markus watches them go, his face marred by a look of shame and…regret? As the githzerai pass the party, they give curt nods of thanks and step out into the darkness.
  • “Are you just going to let them go? What was that all about? What’s going on here?” The questions come bursting from the party. “There are things I must keep from you. Though you seem to be who you say you are, and even friends of the Network, I cannot say yet.” is Markus’s only reply and he walks away, clearly disturbed by the encounter. Theros angrily retorts “I was in Helgabal the night the usurper murdered my friends in the Network. I fled in the dark and, for all I know, am the only one who survived that bloody night and yet you doubt me?” He throws up his arms in frustration as the others in the party exchange doubtful looks.
  • The tension in the air is palpable as the party turns to search the orcish cave for anything of interest. Nothing meaningful is found, so the grubby work of piling the orcish and ogre corpses into a charnal heap at the front of the cave begins – the corpses will be put to the torch before the party leaves.
  • The work continues for a time when Theros, who is near the entrance to the cave whistles a sharp warning. “Beware! Something approaches!” The party scrambles to find their weapons and ready themselves when the bloodthirsty baying of hounds and harsh, angry shouts come from the cave entrance. Some orcs have returned to find their brethren dead and their cave invaded, and don’t seem to be too happy about this turn of events!
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Nenlast
  • While on the way to Nenlast, the party takes some time to investigate the box taken from Naerumar’s. Elestrynna and Sharat lead the efforts and decide that it is an old Nar artifact, mundane and uninteresting.
  • Deeper investigation reveals it is shrouded in an illusion spell. Elestrynna dispells the illusion and reveals the real box behind the illusion – a simple wooden box with the sigil of the Monastery of Saint Wynfrith carved into the lid! The box is magically sealed and resists attempts to open it. Sharat takes custody of the box and meditates on it during the next day’s travel.
  • The next night, Sharat has a dream of Oghma passing a brilliant golden light to Ilmater, who in turn hands the light to Sharat’s wife and children. Sharat’s wife then brings it to him and he wakes, the box is glowing slightly. When he tries to open it, it easily does so and within are two dark, featureless bars of metal. When grasped, Sharat is urged to join them and they unite into a single piece. They are two segments of the Rod of Seven Parts! It becomes clear, now, why the Red Wizard wanted this box.
  • The next morning, the team arrives in Nenlast and gets directions to the house of Markus Vlachos from the innkeeper of the Oarsman Inn, the only public building in the village. Markus lives a few miles outside of town, so arrangements are made and then the party sets out for Markus’s house.
  • Markus lives in a small farmstead deep in the Dunwood with his beautiful (and saucy!) daughter. Introductions are made (and Rassimohn receives some flirtatious attentions from his daughter, Cygnet) and Theros reveals the amulet given to him by Allande Markelhay. Markus turns serious and invites the party in. The warning is delivered and the party takes the time to tell their tale to the woodsman.
  • Markus listens seriously and then relates his own story, that Battlechief Nosnra, the hill giant chieftain whose steading is on the northwestern slopes of the Giantspire Mountains has been more active in the area since Garuk One-Eye’s army fell apart at the hands (talons?) of the dracolich. Giantkin trails have been seen by local hunters and Markus has learned of a large scouting party of orcs that has been passing through. He was about to pursue them when the party arrived earlier that day, and he invites them to come along. Elestrynna’s eyes flash dangerously.
  • The party rests for a few hours in the barn and Rassimohn again is the target of some rather direct advances by Cygnet, Markus’s daughter. She comes to him at night and asks a number of questions about Fallcrest…and makes it clear that she’s offering something in return for his answers (nudge nudgewink wink). Rassimohn is an oak, though, and rebuffs her advances.
  • Long before dawn, the party sets out with Markus and marches at a blistering pace over the rough, broken, forested foothills of the giantspires. For two days the group heads northeast before picking up the trail of the orcs – at least twenty orcs, wardogs, and two ogres. Interestingly, there are a handful of human (elf?) footprints as well. Prisoners, perhaps?
  • For two days, the party continues in pursuit before catching up to the orc warband on the northern fringes of the Dunwood and the vast Damaran steppe. The warband has holed up in a cave at the edge of a mucky swamp (melting permafost). No guards are posted, so Theros and Markus scout into the cavern and spot an orc chieftain and a huge ogre at a campfire. After some discussion, the party decides to attack the orcs in their cave, but the fight must be done quickly, as there may well be captives in the cave and their lives could be in danger.
  • The fight is ON!
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In Hot Pursuit - Part 2
  • After a hard battle, the one eyed Red Wizard of Thay flees, carried aloft by a pair of air elementals.

“Whoever you are, interfering with me was a fatal mistake! We shall meet again. Of that, have no doubt.”

Ogre Savage 350xp
Hobgoblin Archers (2) 600xp
Hobgoblin Elite Warriors (2) 600xp
Hobgoblin Warriors (minions) 100xp
Waterveiled Assassin 400xp
Total XP 2050xp
  • The party licks its wounds, patching up Sharat and considers their options: hunt down the criminals who fled Fallcrest or follow the trail of the hobgoblins that leads west from Owlbear Ford?
  • First, the party follows the hobgoblin trail across the Nentir River and discovers a filthy camp, complete with a partially consumed corpse of an unfortunate man. In one of the tents are his sword and an enchanted necklace, crusted with the dried blood of their former owner. There is also an assortment of jewelry and coinage stashed throughout the camp.
1600 gp
Peacemakers Periapt +2
Fey Strike Longsword +2
  • Elestrynna takes a moment to perform a scrying ritual on the torn and battered armor that lies in a pile behind one of the tents. Her ritual reveals to her the place of the armor’s making: an underground dwarven forge with a black-bearded dwarf carefully riveting each mail link. The magic also shows her images of a man armoring up in a room overlooking a bay with islands linked by bridges and canals packed with boat traffic. Helgabal on the shores of Lake Mogador, perhaps? The final images are those of blood, ruin, and hobgoblins deep in a mossy forest thick with black barked pine trees.
  • After examining the camp, the party makes its way ack to Owlbear Ford and tracks the two fleeing thieves north until their trail doubles back west across the Nentir River. The party speculates that they may well be fleeing back to Helgabal.
  • Deciding to let the two go, the party instead turns north and makes their way towards Nenlast. Getting there involves travelling north along the Nentir River, following the barging trail to the edge of the moor that lies on the southern edge of Lake Nen. As the party makes its way north, the Dunwood presses down on them with the trees thickening and becoming much more dense than in the central part of the Vale. The next day, following Elestrynna and Theros, the party turns more east, skirting the southern limits of the swamps and follows a line of rocky hills that are the first hints of the Giantspire Mountains. That evening, they make camp in the forested hills and the next day descend into the lowlands on the eastern edge of Lake Nen. There, nestled against the lakeshore, is the small village of Nenlast. The snow covered peaks of the Giantspire Mountains loom close on the northern horizon, the thick, dark trees of the Dunwood being the only thing separating the adventurers from those imposing peaks.
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