Cheap Whiskey

Band of Valor and The Raven Roost Performers
Rudy Lives!

The party opened the bronze banded wooden double doors and found a room with a raised dais across the room with a carved casket on top. Torinn didn't think the party should disturb the tomb so they closed the doors and left. They took the stairs to the goblin guardpost above. The door was no longer spiked shut. They headed to the stairs that led outside and heard fighting. Thren crept up the stairs and saw what appeared to be another adventuring party killing some goblins. He went back down the stairs and told the rest of his group. They decided to take a risk and greet the new people.

The new group introduced themselves as the adventuring company Band of Valor. They were Kormon – a dragonborn paladin of the platinum dragon, Remy Longsong – a half-elf cleric of Corellon, Uerthen Stonefist – a dwarf fighter, Tindelby Lightfoot – a halfling rogue and James Darkeye – a human wizard. They asked the party if they were the adventuring company people were calling The Beheaders. When the party agreed they were, the Band of Valor were honored to meet them. Kormon was interested in information about Sir Keegan. The party told him they believed they may have found his tomb. The Band of Valor had come from Fallcrest when they received Lord Padraig's plea for reinforcements. Kormon brought a blessing from Enubrius the Bronze.

While the two adventuring parties talked drums and pipes could be heard playing in the distance. They looked down the Keep road to Winterhaven and saw a procession approuching the Keep. They decided to group together and confront the new arrivals.

What they found was a morbid looking band of humans, dwarfs and halflings dressed in black and gray costumes depicting mangy animals. They displayed many tattos and painful looking piercings. Some had instruments like drums or bagpipes and they played a somber song. They carried on three long poles the effigy of a raven with its wings spread. This group was led by four strange looking humanoids with pale skin and eyes entirely black. These creatures had numerous tattos and piercings, braided hair and half shaven heads. One male was armed with a long heavy chain with razor barbs along its length, another had a pair of daggers and a female a curved blade. The fourth was female and she came forward to speak with the group. She introduced her group as the Raven Roost Performers and asked if the adventurers were those known as the Beheaders. When they agreed they were she asked if the rift was safe. She declared that her group would be taking over the Keep. When she was met with uncertainty she explained that the people of Winterhaven did not present an adequate defense of the rift as demonstrated by the deathpriest nearly opening it. She said she and the three other were a race from the Shadowfell called Shadar Kai and they served the Raven Queen and that Orcus was an enemy of the Raven Queen. Torinn suggested that the Shadar Kai might want to open the rift to attack Orcus but she assurred them that their goal was to see that the rift never opened because if Orcus gained power in this world he would gain power in the Shadowfell. Morthos voiced uncertainty over whether they could trust the Raven Roost Performers. The Shadar Kai woman told him it was not a matter of whether they could trust her – she did not trust the rifts safety to them and if they stood in her way they would take the keep by force.

After some debate the two adventuring parties decided not to oppose the Shadar Kai but the Band of Valor would stay behind and keep an eye on things. The Beheaders asked the Shadar Kai woman if she could help Rudy. She refused to help him but gave the party the gift of a black egg as they had proved to be enemies of Orcus. She told them the egg could be shattered to create a temporary (12 second) portal to the Shadowfell. She suggested they could use it if they ever needed to make a quick escape from certain death but warned that it should only be used as a last resort because many places in the Shadowfell are dealdy and where the portal would take you in the Shadowfell depended on where you were in this world. Band of Valor suggested they ask Lord Padraig about helping Rudy. Before the Beheaders left they led the Shadar Kai to the rift so they could examine it.

Back at town Lord Padraig welcomed the Beheaders with a 1000 gold piece reward and directed them to Sister Linora to help Rudy. Sister Linora was happy to help and provided a Raise Dead ritual for free and only required the party to pay 500 gp for the rituals required residuum. Rudolph Harmony is again alive.

Clearing Out the Keep
Rudolph Harmony is Dead

As Kalarel died he was drawn into the swirling portal and so was the sacraficial blood pooled in the center of the room. The ritual book on the altar burst into flames and the magic circle on the floor lost its glow. The portal stopped swirling and loomed as a glossy, black, ominous plane. Theren checked their fallen comrades and found Morthos, Torinn and Barnoble had stabalized but Rudy was dead. Baal examined the runes around the portal and determined the portal was no longer partially opened but the magic securing it was weakened and a ritual would need to be performed to strengthen it and ensure its safety.

They wrapped Rudy's body and constructed a stretcher to carry him. While the three unconscious adventurers rested Theren and Baal searched the room and found a magic dagger and 981 gold pieces under the altar. They also found that the chains hanging from the pit were connected to pullys and could be used to lift a grate elevator back up to the cathedral room.

After their extended rest the party searched the hobgoblin level and found their barracks abandoned. They took the stairs back up to the Crypt of Shadows and found a secret passage which Morthos managed to unlock. The small room beyond had an illusionary wall and the party found four zombies behind it. They killed the zombies and searched the eapon racks on the walls. Their were no weapons of value but there was an old rusty set of armor and a plaque with a riddle on it. They solved the riddle and the armor glowed and turned into magic scale mail.

They passed the stairs that led back to the goblin level and took a corridor they had not travelled before. They found a hallway with ten standing sarcophagi carved with armored warriors. The adventurers moved down the corridor toward an open area with a dim light. As they walked between the sarcophagi the towbs suddenly burst open and the party was attacked by skeletons. The adventurers began chopping them down but the tombs burst open again two more times and more skeletons joined the battle. Morthos was knocked unconscious during the battle but the skeletons were eventually destroyed. At the end of the hall was a shrine to the platinum dragon and some double doors. Below one of the tables of the shrine were some statues of the platinum dragon. Torinn told the party not to disturb anything in the shrine because the platinum dragon was his deity. When they suggested taking the statues he became passionate and reiterrated that the party would take nothing. During his oration the dim light grew brighter – acknowledging Torinn's faith.


The Rift to the Shadowfell
Kalarel, Deathpriest of Orcus

The adventurers opened the large doors at the bottom of the steps to find the ruins of this part had been turned into a large cathedral to Orcus. A large drawing on the floor depicted the head of the demon lord with an open mouth which was a large pit which descended deep. Blood from a sacrificial altar flowed in to rivers into the open pit. The adventurers battled a couple fanatical human berserkers, a dark creeper, some vampire spawn and an Orcus Underpriest. The battle went well for the adventurers.

After defeating the enemies the adventurers checked the pit and found chains led below. Morthos tird off a rope because he didn't want to slip on the bloody chains. He descended and found a large room that had been turned into an Orcus shrine. A large statue of the demon lord stood opposite a swirling black portal. A magic circle had been drawn in front of the portal. Blood pooled in the center of the room below the pit. A disturbing undead creature stood at one side of the room at the top of a large set of stairs and two skeletons stood at the bottom of stairs on the opposite side of the room. Above the skeletons a deathpriest stood by an altar reciting a ritual,

Morthos retreated up the rope and informed the rest of the party. The other adventurers tied up ropes and descended. The adventurers targeted the disturbing undead creature first. The skeletons and deathpriest approached the party and the adventurers were doing well early. The deathpriest unleashed some ranged attacks which damaged and weakened a couple of the adventurers but when he was attacked by Barnoble he suddenly disappeared and reappeared inside the magic circle by the portal. At that point only one skeleton and he were left standing. Barnoble and Torinn and Rudy engaged in melee while the others used ranged weapons. Soon the skeleton was dispatched but the deathpriest Kalarel proved to be a deadly opponent. Horrific damage from his skull topped rod brought down Torinn and then Barnoble and Rudy. The deathpriest was bloodied but the magic circle was helping him heal each round. Morthos fell and things looked bad for Theren and Baal – neither could afford to take more damage. Finally an arrow from Theren struck the deathpriest in the chest. He stumbled backward and a smokey black tendril from the portal pulled his dead body into the Shadowfell.

Searching for the Shadow Rift
Ooze and Undead, oh my!

As the adventurers were preparing to search the dungeon after their extended rest they heard the eerie whisper of some chanting and then tremors shook the ruined keep followed by a chilling draft and the dank smell of decay. They hurried to the lower level hoping they were not too late to prevent the rift from being opened.

Below they found that some torches had blown out or been knocked from their holders by the tremors. Moving stealthly they passed through another room with a well in it's center and ignored some doors. Baal sensed that the chilling draft and the gloom were coming from a southern corridor off the new room with the well. This corridor led to a room with doble doors in the southern wall and western wall.

They opened the southern doors and found a large room with a huge statue of an armored person holding a sword. The statues base had crumbled and it lay on its side. There were two smaller statues of dragons. One was cracked and a blue flame burned from it – illuminating the room but giving off no heat. Two small statues of cherubs holding urns had collapsed near a door to the south and water covered the floor. The door's stone frame was cracked askew and the doors were slightly ajar. Low moans could be heard from beyond the door.

The adventurers backed out of this room and tried the doors in the western wall. A corridor led around a corner south to some new double doors. Morthos scouted these doors and found a corridor behind it which broke to the east and west after about 20 feet. The rest of the party followed behind him. To the east the corridor ended after about 30 feet and there were two large alcoves in the southern wall. The western passage turned south after 15 feet. The party moved to the west.

Suddenly, Baal- in the back - cried out. He was hit by blow of clear slime and a huge gelatinous cube emerged from the closest alcove in the eastern passage. He was dazed and immobilized. Morthos continued down the southern corridor and found a room with two stone caskets standing upright against the western wall and a small door in the eastern wall. The rest of the party came to Baal's aid. He was taking acid damage from the cube. Afetr a few rounds of combat the cube had engulfed Torinn and Barnoble as well. Morthos joined the others in the battle. Baal was knocked unconscious by the cube but the party managed to destroy it before he was killed. Rudy healed him and the party took a short rest.

They went to the small door in the room to the south and as Morthos was examining it the caskets burst open and two corruption corpses burst out slinging their corroded flesh at the party as more necrotic goo replaced that which they flung. The party engaged them and found they needed to burn the hideous corpses after they overcame them otherwise the corpses would continue to regenerate the necrotic goo. Behind the small door they found a room with a small chest of old moldering children's clothes. Amoung the clothes they found some jewelry with the names of Sir Keegan's children engraved on a couple pieces.

They returned to the statue room. Behind the broken doors in the southern wall they found a large room full of zombies with a ghoul as well a small clay gargoyle type creature. The ghoul was tough and nearly overcame Rudy but the party destroyed the undead and the clay scout. A large set of stairs led down to some huge double doors in the eastern wall. A small crack in the western wall was a passage that led to a room where the party found a bag of holding with a bunch of gold pieces in it.

Hiding in the Dark
Ambushing the Hobgoblin Search Party

At the top of the steps, the party waited in the dark and listened as they heard soldiers enter the room below. A hobgoblin warchief began shouting orders at some hobgoblin grunts:

"Check the barracks and check on the war beast!" -Warchief

"The war beast has been released, sir." -Grunt 1

"The barracks are empty!" -Grunt 2

"There's quite a bit of blood spilt here and not all of it is ours!" -Warchief

"Sir, there are some bodies in the well. I think I found the war beast." -Grunt 1

"Orcus damn them! How many invaders were there? When did this happen?" -Warchief

"It was just moments ago, Warchief. Tusk ordered me to warn Kalarel that Ninaran was slain. The intruders must have given the false phrase from Kalarel's letter to her. That was when I came to find you. Should we send word to Kalarel?" -Grunt 3

"Kalarel is busy. It is our job to ensure he is not disturbed. Run now and check the central corridor. Make sure they haven't reached the Chamber of Statues. You, go roust the other soldiers from the other barracks. You, get down into that well and see if any of those soldiers are alive and if any of the intruders were killed and thrown down there. If you find a live one bring him up here for questioning!" -Warchief

"Sir, the bodies in the well are all the guards that were stationed here including the war beast! There are none of the invaders!" -Grunt 1

"Damn, so Ninaran is dead. These invaders must be the same that reportedly killed Irontooth." -Warchief

"Irontooth is dead, sir?" -Grunt 1

"According to Ninaran's last report these invaders killed Irontooth and every kobold on this side of the Vale." -Warchief

"Oh, that is somewhat, um, upsetting, sir, perhaps…um, well…" -Grunt 1

"What! Out with it! Are you afraid, grunt? You think maybe you should have joined up with those slavers that came through here? Hah, Kalarel is going to deliver us an army in a matter of hours and you think you'd be better off with those slavers" -Warchief

"No Warchief, sir, I serve you and Kalarel and Lord Orcus!" -Grunt 1

"Sir, I'm quite sure the invaders have not penetrated any further. There are no signs of anyone going through the central corridor. Perhaps they retreated back into the Crypt of Shadows?" -Grunt 3

"You better be sure. If the intruders disturb Kalarel he'll kill us all but I'll be sure to flay your ass alive before he does." -Warchief

"Here are the guards from the barracks, sir!" -Grunt 2

"You soldiers have just been nominated to go upstairs. We think the intruders are up there so be on your guard. Go up the stairs to the goblin guard-post. Find out what's going on up there and see if Agrid and the other cultists have returned. Check the entire keep for the intruders." -Warchief

The adventurers moved through the dark corridors to spots near the stairs to the goblin guard-post. They remained quiet in the dark as they saw the light from the search party's sun-rod approach. The search party reached the stairs and a grunt and warcaster went up the stairs and opened the doors. After a moment the warcaster could be heard shouting in the goblin language. The adventurers sprung their ambushat the rest of the hobgoblins at the bottom of the stairs. Soon, many of the hobgoblins were dead. A hobgoblin archer pulled an impresive athletic move to distance himself from the attack and sunk and arrow into Barnoble. Theren turned his attention toward the archer once the hobgoblin soldiers were slain and Barnoble, Rudy and Torinn were focusing on the warcaster who had come halfway down the stairs. The archer disappeared into the darkness but he was blocked from the corridors leading back to the second level. Some gobling crossbowmen appeared at the top of the stairs and hit Barnoble. Rudy aided him with healing. The warcaster missed Torinn with spell and Torinn struck him and knocked him prone. The archer came running out of the darkness and attempted to bypass Morthos, Rudy and Theren on his way to warn the other hobgoblins. The three got opportunity attacks on him and Theren's sword killed him. The warcaster struck Torinn with his staff and dazed him but a moment later the warcaster was killed. With all the hobgoblins dead the goblins at the top of the steps fled. The party spiked the doors shut and found a room among the dark corridors to take an extended rest.

They all reached 3rd level.

Crypt of Shadows


Torinn theorized that the goblin guard-post inside the Keep was designed to protect the double doors in the barracks room so they were probably the most direct route to the second level. The party gathered around the doors and Morthos inspected them. There obvious signs that the doors had been used recently and often. The heavy doors were not locked. Opening them, Morthos revealed discolored stairs leading down into cold darkness. An overpowering odor of damp rot filled the air.

Morthos lit a sun rod and descended the steps. At the bottom of the steps a hallway to the right led north, one straight ahead led west and off of it a hallway led south. Morthos moved down the northern 30 feet. The rest of the party moved along behind him. Here Morthos found the hallway to continue north or they could take a hallway west. To the north, strange designs were inscribed on the floor. Baal moved up to inspect them. As Baal was determining that the designs were charged with effect triggered by contact, Morthos was trying to maneuver around the designs. Suddenly, a throat-tearing scream exploded from the floor. Low, hungry moans answered the dying scream from the north and south. A small painful burst of necrotic energy zapped through the adventurers. Morthos and the rest of the party fled from the design and through the hallway south of the stairs. As the party stumbled into a large room, Morthos' sun rod revealed seven, animated, rotting corpses which attacked.

As battle raged between the party and the zombies, seven more zombies approached from a room to the north. The party fared well and as they cut down the last of the original zombies the other seven could be heard coming in two separate groups from the northern and western hallways. The party set up defensive positions and the zombies were destroyed in a matter of a few combat rounds.

Again, theorizing that the Terror Runes were protecting the path to the party's ultimate goal, they followed the north passage back to the design. After carefully searching all the passages in the dark maze, the party found five spots where the Terror Runes were drawn. They had some success getting past the runes by taking running jumps over them but some of the less athletic in the group failed to make the leap and the runes sent another painful burst of necrotic energy through the party. They then discovered that any of the designs would only affect members of their group once. Finally, two of the passages ended in the same thirty by thirty foot room with stairs leading down from it to the north.

The party gathered themselves and headed down the stairs which descended into a large, torch-lit chamber. Two human sized creatures stood near the entrance. Big, pointed ears stuck out from under their helmets, and sharp teeth glittered in their mouths. One of the guards yelled out a challenge phrase, "Shadow seeks shadow!"

Remembering the letter found on Ninaran, Rudy responded, "From the ground, some magic was found."

The hobgoblin's eyes widened and the other guard yelled, "Someone tell Kalarel that Ninaran is slain!" The two hobgoblin guards, who were standing in front of a well in the center of the room, then charged the adventurers. In the back of the room two hobgoblins ran out of the room through a wide passage in the northern wall. A wide passage also exited the room in the eastern wall and there was a door in the western wall.

The two hobgoblin soldiers blocking the stairs fought well. Two hobgoblins came from the eastern passage and three came through the western door. The adventurers pushed the soldier back and killed them as the other hobgoblins engaged. One tried to push Barnoble into the well but he dodged the bull rush and used the hogoblin's momentum to send the soldier into the well. The two hobgoblins which entered the northern passage emerged with a monstrous spider the size of a horse. The spider had a heavy coating of bristles patterned in stripes of gray and black and large fangs which dripped venom.

The spider leapt  into the air and landed on Barnoble, knocking him prone. The battle with the hobgoblins was fierce. These new soldiers were much more capable than their smaller goblin cousins. Morthos fell but Rudy helped him get back on his feet. Others had to reach deep within themselves for a second wind. Rudy was hit with a terrible blow from a hobgoblin flail and he fell. Torinn saved Barnoble from the spider with a massive strike from his great axe which cut the creature in two. It's twitching corpse fell into the well and the attack spurred the other adventures to victory against the hobgoblins.

A quick search of the area found that the door in the western wall was to a room with three beds and the northern passage led to a room with a cage for the spider. A small amount of gold and silver was found on the bodies which the party through in the well. They then retreated up the stairs before anymore hobgoblins showed up.

Keep on the Shadowfell
The goblin guardpost

  From what the adventurers had been told about the Keep, Sir Keegan and the rift to the Shadowfell – and with the addition of the letter found on Irontooth and the letter found on Ninaran both of which spoke of Kalarel opening the rift for Orcus – the party agreed they should go to the Keep as soon as possible. They stopped by Winterhaven briefly and revealed the head of Ninaran to Lord Padraig and filled him in on events at the graveyard. Lord Padraig was disturbed that a death cult spy had spent so many evenings watching him at the Inn over the last few weeks. The party hinted that they sure would like a big, fat reward if they were going to go investigate the Keep. Lord Padraig told them that the town would surely be indebted to them but he didn't know what kind of material reward he could provide. Bralvuna decided he needed to lie down at the Inn, again, instead of go with the party.

So, without an extended rest the adventurers took the road up into the hills to find the ruined Keep on the Shadowfell. The road had been carved years ago through the hills although it had not been maintained in recent years and the travel was a little bumpy. Luckily it was only a little over a mile. Large rocky crags lined the edge of the road and the adventures could see some foottravel leading up the road toward the Keep as well as going off the sides of the road. As they travelled they heard the sounds of underbrush crunching under foot in the woods to the sides of the road and some small rocks skittered down the face of a stone hill. Some one seemed to be watching them from the crags but no one confronted them. It began to rain. They found the Keep, whose towers and walls had crumbled. The interior walls were so damaged that they could see most of the perimeter walls from the road. The road into the Keep had been cleared of branches and rubble and the road led to a center courtyard where a trapdoor had been ripped from its hinge revealing a wide staircase which led under the Keep.

Morthos snuck down the stairs. There was a large room at the bottom with four pillars supporting the center of the room. The room was square with a hallway leaving from the center of each wall to the east, west and south – the stairs emerged from the northern wall. The place stank of unwashed bodies and Morthos heard the squeaking of rats. A small humanoid stood in the dimly lit hallway to the south. The guard had not noticed Morthos so he slipped behind a pillar. Morthos readied his throwing stars and surprised the guard. The goblin guard took some serious damage but was not killed. He shrieked with surprise and pain. The rest of the party barreled down the stairs. The goblin threw a spear and retreated down the hall. Torinn gave chase but as he passed between the columns his foot landed on a canvas tarp which blended nicely with the floor. The tarp gave way to Torinn's weight and he plummeted into a pit, took damage from the fall and was swarmed by rats. Two goblin crossbow sharpshooters appeared in the southern hallway and unleashed bolts at the party. The adventures countered with ranged attacks and Morthos lowered a rope to Torinn. Torinn escaped the pit without the rats getting to him and the party charged down the hall at the sharpshooters. The sharpshooters fired and retreated. One was knocked dead and Theren was on the heals of the other. Baal was checking down the western hall and Morthos was milling around the pit trap. The western hallway turned a corner and opened into a larger hallway. The southern hallway led to a room with some lice infested beds with a set of doors in the western wall and a door in the eastern wall. The remaining sharpshooter was running through the eastern door but was killed by his pursuers. Back in the first room Baal and Morthos were attacked by the original wounded guard and a fresh guard. The wounded guard had fled through the bedroom and through the eastern door there which led to a storage room and circled back to the eastern hallway. The party now turned on these two guards. One was killed and the other tried to escape through a set of doors at the end of the eastern hallway but was cut down as he reached them.

The adventurers were now agreeing that they should have rested before taking on the Keep so they decided to try to clean up the evidence of the battle as best they could and find a place outside to rest before proceeding. They were fairly sure no goblins had escaped the area to alert others. They threw the bodies into the rat pit and replaced the canvas. They went outside and found a hiding spot away from the road to rest. They slept all night without any incidents and went back to the Keep in the morning. As they approached the stairs Baal and Barnoble noticed that there were some fresh muddy footprints leading down the steps. It appeared a group had arrived at the Keep a few minutes before them. Theren snuck down the stairs with Morthos. At the bottom Theren could sense someone in the eastern passage with a large animal and a Halfling was looking at some bloodstains in the western passage with his back toward Theren. The two adventurers snuck back up the stairs and filled in the others. The adventurers went down, Theren surprised the halfling and nearly killed him. Some humans charged from the western passage with a couple of guard drakes behind them. The humans were cut down quickly but the drakes were tougher and fought on. Theren was then hit hard by a crossbow bolt from the southern passage and he saw a gnome skulk slip behind the corner of the wall. He took a moment to gather a second wind. The drake did not manage to bite anyone and were slain. The gnome popped around the corner again and missed  Barnoble with a bolt and ran. Barnoble pursued and caught up with the gnome halfway across the barracks room. He hit the gnome with a sweeping strike which knocked the gnome prone but as he was hit the gnome disappeared. A moment later the gnome reappeared by the doors in the western wall. Barnoble pounced on him and killed him before he could get the doors open. They found some gold and silver on the bodies and a large ancient mirror was found in the room with the rat pit. The mirror was covered with mud but looked like it would be quite expensive once cleaned up. They hid it in the storage room so they could take it when they decide to leave. On the gnome they found a map which indicated Winterhaven, Irontooth's Lair and the dragon burial site. They also found a locket amulet on the gnome. It is a +1 amulet of health and inside the locket was a picture of a middle-aged woman and the initials D.S. – Douven Staul? The humans, halfling and gnome all had a rams skull tattoo on their forehead.

The Old Graveyard
The Dead Walk

The party entered the gates of the old graveyard and walked up the path toward the old buildings. Suddenly skeletons emerged from the disturbed soil and attacked the party. Ninaran the elf hunter sprng from one of the buildings and assaulted the party with arrows. Half the skeletons engaged in melee and the others used bows. Two zombie dogs charged the party from the furthest building. Theren turned his ranged attack on Ninaran and Baal took out multiple skeletons with his magic attacks. The zombie dogs engaged and held on for a few rounds but the adventurers stayed organized and soon Ninaran had fled and the undead were dispatched. The adventurers found a glowing magical circle traced into the ground in a portion of the graveyard. Baal deduced that the circle was causing thre dead to rise and using his knowledge of religion and arcana he disabled it.

As the adventurers left the graveyard many zombies emerged from the ground and from behind trees and menacingly approached the party. The adventurers fell back to the graveyard gates and set up a defensive formation. Theren, Baal and Morthos climbed onto some rocks to get a better aim at the zombies while Torinn, Bral, Barnoble and Rudy waited by the gates to hack down the zombies as they entered. As the zombies came within striking distance it became evident that a zombie in the back was dircting the others. A giant black spectral hand rose from this zombie and dragged Torinn into the middle of the zombies. Theren targeted the leader. Suddenly, Ninaran was back firing arrows at Theren. Torinn took some damage from the surrounding zombies but Baal eliminated a portion of them with some magic and the fighters were cleaving down two at a time. Soon all the zombies, including the leader was dead and Ninaran got off a few more arrows as she fled. She scaled the graveyard fence, fired an arrow from the top and dropped to the other side. It looked like she would again escape but Theren brought her down with an arrow. On her, the party found some gold and a letter from Kalarel instructing her how to create the magic circle and a reminder of the secret phrase used as a password to get to the second of the Keep's lower levels.

A Gloom Over Winterhaven

At Irontooth's lair the adventurers had found a letter on Irontooth and also a tattoo on the goblin leader of a ram's skull. Baal identified the tattoo as the symbol of Orcus, Lord of the Undead. The letter warned Irontooth to watch out for visitors to the area and indicated the author had a spy in Winterhaven. The author also said that he would have the "rift" open within a few days and that the people of Winterhaven "would serve as food for those Lord Orcus sends to do my bidding."

As the party approached Winetrhaven they noticed that there were not many people out working the fields and that dark clouds hung over the town. They found the town gates closed and many guards up on the wall. The guards called for Lord Padraig and he met the party as the gates were opened for them. He sent an assistant off to fetch payment for the adventurers and a guard off the summon Valthrun the Preiscient. They showed the Lord the letter they had found on Irontooth. Lord Padraig told them that a gloom had fallen over many of the townspeople. They suffered nightmares and felt generally ill-at-ease. Eilan the Old was at Wrafton's Inn as well as the elven hunter Nineran who sat alone as usual. Eilan told the party he had a dream of the dead walking last night.

Valthrun arrived and told the party about old Keep's history. During his lesson, Nineran left the inn.

"The Keep on the Shadowfell," began Valthrun, "is a place the townspeople don't like to talk about. Over a hundred years ago, where the keep now lies in ruin, a rift was opened to the Shadowfell. The rift opened in a part of the Shadowfell controlled by Orcus, Lord of the Undead. The heroes back in those times fought Orcus' legions of undead and demons and drove them back into the Shadowfell and successfully closed the rift and sealed it with arcane magic. The Keep was built over it to protect the rift from being reopened and a garrison led by Sir Keegan was given the responsibility of guarding it. Eighty years ago Sir Keegan, perhaps corrupted by the rift, went mad and killed his wife and children and many of the garrison. He was driven into the chambers beneath the Keep and eventually dispatched although many died fighting him. The Keep was abandoned and an earthquake collapsed much of it. Since then people have avoided it. If someone is trying to reopen the rift, he must be stopped."

"You were not able to search the dragon burial site or find word of Douven Staul," input Pagraig, "but I believe searching the Keep's ruins should take precedent. None of my men dare to go and I need them to defend the town, anyway. If you would investigate the ruins the town would be indebt to you."

The party agreed to go to the ruins and Luthrun agreed to enchant some magical dwarven chainmail the party had found at Irontooth's lair spo that it would fit Rudy. The cost was 150 gold pieces and the ritual would take one hour. The party ate while they waited. Just as the party was readying to leave, guards burst into the Inn and spoke with Padraig.

"Some farmers have come running into town claiming some workers have gone missing," declared the Lord, "they say the dead walk in the old graveyard! Please, check into this before going to the Keep."

The party left for the graveyard. 

Back to Winterhaven

After an extended rest the adventurers headed back to Winterhaven. On the roiad near town they heard kobold chatter up ahead. Some overturned wagons were in the distance with kobolds moving around them. Five kobolds were heading in the direction of the party so the group hid in a cluster of trees. Theren and Morthos hid on one side and the rest of the party on the other. The kobolds stopped on the opposite sides of the trees the party his behind. The party overheard them talking about some merchants they had just ambushed and sold to some slavers. The kobolds also had a discussion about Irontooth's orders to find the adventurers. The kobolds then settled into their positions behind the trees waiting to ambush anyone coming up the road.

Two dragonshield kobolds were positioned on the side of the road which the larger portion of the party also hid. A wyrmpriest, skirmisher and dragonshield were on Theren and Morthos' side. The larger party attacked the dragonshields and this drew the other three kobolds into the road as they came to help. Theren and Morthos then attacked the wyrmpriest and killed him. The party easily overwhelmed the rest of the kobolds.

The party snuck closer to the wagons and could see kobolds hiding behind them. Theren drew the kobolds out from cover when he shot dead a kobold minion. The kobolds charged him and he was in some minor trouble but Rudy came to his aid with some healing and the rest of the adventures slaughtered the little draconic humanoids.

Kobold footprints were scattered throughout the area but the party also found many boot print which appeared to be leading prisoners away from the wagons. The trail of the bootprints led past where the road turned to Winterhaven. The party decided not to pursue and instead head back to town to check in and resupply. There were a small collection of gold and silver coins on the kobolds.


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