Cheap Whiskey

The Thief Of Life cont.

Uthrid returned from the dragon’s lair after bringing the dragonslayer sword to it. The dragon told him they must go to the lighthouse off shore and light it in order to get back to the mortal world. They found a dilapidated boat named The Mist Dancer and took it to the small island where the lighthouse stood. They fought some bodaks and ghouls on the island and lit the pyre in the lighthouse. They then rested while they waited and four hours later they felt the air change and realized they had crossed over. Everything looked mostly the same in the darkness but some lights could be seen across the water where the village lay. The boat was no longer on the bank of the island but soon they saw a light moving across the water. Shortly, Father Tomas arrived on a slightly better looking Mist Dancer with armed sailors. A pretty half elf woman called Cara was the captain of the small merchant ship. She and her men had been trapped in Mistwatch since the disease had broken out. Tomas explained that shortly after the dead rose during the day and converged on the keep they had suddenly all just dropped to the ground, dead again. The shadar Kai had come into the village after they confirmed that the disease was cured and were helping clean up the streets. The adventurers explained what they had gone through with Cadmus and the Chained God and the undead dragon. Before they headed back to Winterhaven, the adventurers discovered that Mort’s supply store had been broken into. The door frame was smashed in and the clutter in the main room had all been hastily pushed aside. Theren investigated and found some blood, a large three taloned gouge in the floor by the blood and a pale dragon scale in the broken door frame. The adventurers were now concerned that the undead dragon had crossed over to the mortal world as well and abducted Mort. They left the 50 shadar kai behind to search the village for any sign of the dragon and they brought the broken mirror back to the Keep on the Shadowfell.

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The Thief Of Life

The mausoleum was on top of a hill with several others. The landscape was very similar to Mistwatch in the mortal world and the mausoleums were located where the keep would have set. A large crater behind the hill and a pond with streams running around the hill were different features here from what the adventurers had found in the village. Thousands of graves and dozens of mausoleums were spread along the lake coast. Three large mausoleums were located approximately where the Temple of Three sat in Mistwatch. The adventurers investigated the other mausoleums on the hill. They bore the names of Boris Zaspar and other Zaspar relations. Each held a sarcophagus with a trapped base. They returned to the mausoleum they had originally found themselves in and set off the trapped base, letting the sarcophagus fall in. This revealed a passage into blackness. Theren took a torch and was lowered down the hole on the rope of climbing. He found a large cavern under the hill with many coffins stuck in the ceiling and others laying on the earthen floor. The ceiling was fifty feet high and several earth columns caused unsettling shadows. Theren was quickly aware that something huge was moving toward him, a dragon with pale scales and dead eyes. It flew at him on strong wings with claws and teeth bared. Theren yelled for his companions to pull him up but he had trouble holding on causing just enough delay for the dragon to reach him as the others pulled him back through the hole. A claw raked his flesh. Rudy had been weakened badly in the previous battles and none of the adventurers were ready for a long fight. Uthrid insisted on facing thedragon while the others retreated. Nim could set up wards against the undid but he would need Tim to do it. The party objected that Uthrid stay behind and then headed for the larger mausoleums across the streams, below the hill. As they ran they heard the dragon roar and the clash of Uthrid’s steal as he covered their escape. The large mausoleums were shrines to Melora, Erathis and Pelor. The symbols of the Chained God that desecrated the Temple of Three were present here and Rudy and Theren wiped the walls clean as Nim prepared his wards. Theren noticed two sword wraiths appear by a mausoleum on an island created by the streams at the base of the hill. They did not advance but seemed to be keeping sentry. As Nim was finishing his wards, Theren saw Uthrid emerge from the mausoleum and come down the hill. He told Theren that after battling the dragon and showing that he was formidable, he was able to negotiate with the dragon. The dragon said he would tell them how to return to Mistwatch if they gave him the dragonslayer longsword they had recovered from Cadmus and if they left Mistwatch disease free once they returned. The party agreed and Uthrid brought the sword to the dragon.

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Not Again!

Theren, Rudy and Uthrid ran for the keep and reached the gates before the zombie hordes. Three zombies from the small graveyard within the keep shuffled toward them as they secured the doors of the gate and the child horror, now a zombie hulk, came through the inner keep door into the courtyard. The heroes quickly dispatched the monsters. Inside they discovered that the corpse of Cadmus and the mirror were gone. Theren found blood and tracks leading to stairs but a locked door blocked their passage. As Uthrid and Rudy attempted to bash it down they heard the zombie break through the gates. Once the door was broken down, Uthrid led the way up the stairs and was struck by a falling portcullises which immobilized him and caused him to bleed. Another portcullises dropped at the top of the steps. Rudy and Uthrid lifted the gate and were targeted by ghostly crossbow bolts from the top of the steps. The zombies were coming into the building behind Nim and he obliterated the first group with his sorcery. Ghosts harassed the party as they came up the stairs. They dropped the portcullises behind them to keep the zombies away. After defeating the ghosts they found Cadmus, now a wight, with the mirror in a room on the second floor. The wight attacked but they quickly smashed the mirror before the reflection of the Chained God could react. The wight immediately died and fell to the floor as the room was suddenly transformed into the interior of a twenty foot square mausoleum. A large sarcophagus sat on a base in the center of the room and double doors were closed on one wall. They found a ring and other magic items on the corpse of Cadmus, including a dragons laying longsword. It was the sword Boris Zaspar had used to slay the red dragon Pyrothenes before he founded Mistwatch. On the sarcophagus they found the name Cadmus Zaspar. They considered putting his corpse into it but Uthrid discovered that the base was trapped to fall in if stepped on. They exited the mausoleum and found, to their dismay, they were in a reflection of Mistwatch in the Shadowfell. Instead of a village they found an expansive graveyard.

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Reflection of the Chained God

after a quick rest the adventurers stormed the door to which Cadmus hid behind. As Rudy and Uthrid worked at the door, a dominated Theren put an arrow into Rudy’s back. The door was ripped open and shirtless, muscled Cadmus Zaspar stood in the small room. He had fine leggings, boots, belt and gloves and held a long sword in one hand. In the other hand he channelled spells through an orb. Uthrid burst into the room and slashed Cadmus. Uthrid then disappeared and an evil laugh not belonging to Cadmus echoed through the room.
“I will disitegrate each of you!” a voice bellowed. The remaining adventurers attacked Cadmus and bloodied him and then Rudy disappeared. The mysterious voice echoed again through the room with laughter. Theren was again dominated by Cadmus and shot Nim with a critical hit from his bow. An infuriated Nim killed Cadmus and the domination ended. Theren and Nim saw the image of a hideous chained figure in an obsidian mirror on the wall in the room. Each attacked the mirror and damaged it and the Theren disappeared. Nim attacked the mirror again and cracked it slightly. He was then stunned and turned invisible by the mirror for a moment before it teleported him 220 feet into the air.

Nim appeared 170 feet above the roof of the keep. He was wearing his Purple Dragon Commander’s Ring so he took no damage from the fall to the roof. Uthrid, Rudy and Theren had been teleported to a field south of the keep. The cloudy sky darkened more and a freezing rain began to fall despite it being mid-summer. A bell in the Temple of Three, directly east of the three in the southern field, began to toll and figures moved in the graveyard behind the temple. From the roof Nim saw his three friends in the field, he saw the fog thickening off Lake Wintermist and he saw figures shuffling along the village roads toward the keep. Many figures crept out of the temple graveyard and through the fog figures emeged from the lake. The dead had risen and zombie hordes were approaching the keep. If they ran, Nim’s friends might have time to reach the open keep gates before the undead.

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The Child Horror

The adventurers all chose to receive the Mark of the Tembo from the Shadar Kai before they went to Mistwatch. The scar was administered from the tooth of a Tembo and gave them a bit of resistance against necrotic damage.

In Mistwatch, they headed straight for Widower’s Watch. They saw a lone ship moored at the docks, they passed Mort’s Shoppe and spoke with the fat man who was understandably paranoid. He advised them to avoid the town square where Bartelby Huff ranted about the Chained God to a few fanatics. Father Thomas at the Temple of Three was where he suggested they go. They did stop by the temple and met the priest. He encouraged them to back before nightfall. He was very afraid of the undead and boarded up. The temple every night.

They found the walls of the keep unguarded and proceeded to the 50 foot tall, three story stronghold. The door to the structure was strongly secured. Uthrid failed to bash it down on his first attempt and from inside Cadmus Zaspar hollered for them to go away. As they attempted to break down the door Cadmus somehow dominated Uthrid and made him attack Rudy. Uthrid was able to shake off the effect but Cadmus continued to use his spell to interrupt their progress at bashing in the door. Uthrid struck Rudy as he finally broke in the door but the effects of the domination instantly ended. Inside was a large room with entries to the keeps four towers. The southwest tower entry was open and led to a spiral stairway. The southeastern tower was open as well where there were several murder hole stations. The two northern towers were closed with iron bound doors, a terrible moaning was coming from behind the eastern door.

“Daddy!I’m hungry!” they heard bellow as the all entered the main hall and the eastern door burst open. A horrible nine foot creature glared wild eyes at them. It had a large head with a wide mouth. It had huge clawed hands. Uthrid ran and impaled the creature with his sword, temporarily pinning it to the spot where it stood. Theren and Nim attacked and the creature howled with every blow. Rudy ran up to the immobile creature and struck it. This was Cadmus’s demon child and the adventurers could see into it’s room where the bones of the former keep servants were piled high. The creature grabbed Rudy with his taloned hands and bit him hard dazing him. The creature sustained a great deal of damage from Theren’s bow as the battle ensued but Nim was having trouble delivering his usual damage. Rudy tried to escape the grasp but couldn’t. Uthrid struck the creature and it howled. It then swung Rudy like a club and knocked Uthrid twenty feet across the room. Rudy focussed of staying conscious as the creature attempted to bite him a few more times. Uthrid again stabbed the creature and was again sent sprawling across the room after being hit with Rudy. Finally the creature was bloodied. Rudy escaped it’s grasp for a moment but the rampaging creature got a hold on a leg of both Uthrid and Rudy and knocked the over. Uthrid recovered and stabbed the creature and for a third time Rudy was used as a club to strike him. And then the creature was killed by the overwhelming damage the party dished out. As it crashed to the floor, Theren felt a wave of psychic damage as Cadmus tried to dominate him from behind the western door. The party quickly retreated out of the range of the spell.

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The Mistwatch Blight

Excerpt
“From where did this disease come? How does it spread? I don’t know. Bells, no one knows. Most blame the strangers. They sem the obvious choice. Mad Bartleby claims it’s punishment from his sickening Chained God for our worship of false deities. Father Thomas also believes it comes from this mysterious god, but to spread suffering and evil. Our noble lord is silent, of course, offering nothing to ease our pains, leading me to wonder if Lord Zaspar might be the true enemy in our midst.”

Cadmus’s newfound might and news of Soela’s pregnancy drove all worries about strangers from Mistwatcher’s minds. Normalcy returned. Folk went about their business as they always had. But the new peace the people felt was only the calm before the storm. Over the next nine months, the sun paled in the sky and the temperatures dropped. Fog rolled in from the lake and never left. Then people started dying.

No one thought twice about an aged man or woman passing in their sleep or a child tragically succumbing to a winter’s sickness, but the dead piled up. Disease chewed away at the oldest and youngest citizens until the temple filled near to bursting with new corpses to bury. The people looked to their lord and the impending birth of his child for hope, but tragedy struck and forever altered Mistwatch’s destiny.

Soela’s labor was long and punishing, and the town priest knew she would not survive the ordeal. The midwife emerged from the birthing with a shattered mind so that she sealed herself up in her house. She lives as a gibbering, shrieking wreck whose cries can still be heard through the barred shutters.

After that night, the town’s situation grew even worse. Low, dark clouds shut out the sun and its purifying rays. The plague started affecting even healthy people. Worse, the recently dead proved unwilling to stay in their graves. Each night they emerge to wander the streets, calling for loved ones, breaking into homes, and driving people mad with terror.

Leaving Mistwatch proved impossible. The strangers that had brought trouble to the town’s door did not vanish but only withdrew to watch (as many believed) their evil unfold. Those fleeing citizens who were not struck down by the strangers’ swords and spells were driven back to the accursed town to await their turn to die and rise again. Fear became every survivor’s companion. They all knew what waited for them. Now these people will do anything, even sell their souls, to escape their doom.

If you catch the Mistwatch Blight, black ichor splotches your skin, spiderwebbing across your body until you feel something inside you begin to die.

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Key Locations in Mistwatch

1. The Pinrae House
2. Beacon Inn
3. Mort’s Supplies
4. The Town Square
5. Temple of Three
6. Widower’s Watch
7. The Sink Tavern
8. The Docks
9. Span of Lanterns
10. The Lighthouse

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Mistwatch

Mistwatch

Huddled against a hillside on a stony shore, Mistwatch has an exquisite view of Lake Wintermist’s cold water. A sleepy town, blessed with riches pulled from the unyielding stone in the nearby Cairngorm Peaks, grown rich from timber cut from the Winterbole Forest, and fed well on trout and salmon drawn from the clear, mist-covered water, Mistwatch has long known peace and prosperity.

Its people are simple folk. They make few demands on their lords and are content with their lives, finding peace and accord with their neighbors in spite of differences that arise on occasion. But the good fortune Mistwatch enjoyed has come to an end. Now doom gathers in the shadows, and it will take bold action and bolder heroes to spare the town from a terrible fate.

Excerpt
“Looking back, we should have spotted the clues and seen the signs, because they were everywhere. Maybe if we had, we could have averted the disaster that befell our town and spared ourselves the hardships we know face. Yes, lamenting for opportunities lost serves no purpose aside from frittering away one’s time.
I don’t write these words to air my grievances or to pine for better days but to give warning to whoever finds this journal and to record what happened in Mistwatch so that others might avoid our fate. Waste no tears for us, friend. We earned our dooms through inaction and inattention. Our preference for a warm fire and a cold ale brought us to this end, because when the evil was before us, staring us all in the face, we did nothing. I beg you: Learn from our errors and be vigilant against the darkness. It is an insidious enemy armed with tricks and traps, wearing many masks. To falter even once invites disaster like none you have sen before.”

Mistwatch’s history is entwined with that of its lords. Back through the family line one finds that the town’s founding rests with the first Zaspar known in this land. Boris Zaspar was a great knight in service to the Nerathan crown, and for his deeds, foremost of which was slaying the red dragon Pyrothenes, he was granted lands extending out from Lake Wintermist’s western shore for as far as he could walk in every direction from sunrise to sunset. The hilly terrain in this area kept his hold ins small overall, but large enough for a town and a few farms. So he brought his retainers and peasants to his home and founded a settlement on the lake’s shore.

The first building raised was Widower’s Watch, named at its completion for Lord Zaspar, who lost his beloved wife to sickness the first year after claiming his land. After his castle was completed, stone buildings replaced the wooden shacks and piers grew out across the water to meet the burgeoning fishing industry’s needs. Bricks paved muddy roads, and a temple to honor the gods arose in the upper lands as shepherds and farmers cordoned off fields and pastures in the rolling hills all around Mistwatch. The crude hamlet became a thriving town, a trade partner for nearby Winterhaven, and an important stop for merchants bound west from Fallcrest, Hammerfast and Harkenwold.

The lands were blessedly peaceful compared to Nerath’s other frontiers. Mistwatchers rarely had to take up arms, because the land itself guarded them, making the town and its folk unattractive targets for the trouble beyond its borders. Some perils plagued them, however. Orcs would sometimes come down their mountain homes to raid and plunder the outlying farmsteads. Packs of gnolls, remnants of the great horde that broke Nerath long ago, drifted through nearly a century ago. They claimed the Winterbole’s deepest reaches, dislodged the goblins there, and sparked the Goblin War, the most important conflict Mistwatch had ever faced. But these challenges were short-lived, and the Mistwatchers always returned to their quiet ways.

Excerpt
“If you know who we are and from where we came, then understanding our blindness is easy. We are not accustomed to evil’s machinations. Aside from the brief Goblin War in my grandfather’s youth, we have known no conflict and little violence. Certainly, two fishermen might come to blows when deep in their cups, but a broken nose and a few bruises are about all the tragedy we ever had to endure. Whispers tell of certain people who engaged in illicit pursuits, but who they were and what they did was no one’s business but their own. This is why none of us noticed the strangeness in Widower’s Watch, that cursed castle on the hill, and why none of us dreamt our undoing would come from an otherwise unremarkable lord.”

Cadmus Zaspar was the only son to his father Friedrich. Cadmus was a mild-mannered lord whose interests were books and legends, not the welfare of his people. The son inherited his father’s zeal for intellectual pursuits and neglected his health, spending long days poring over dusty manuscripts and scrolls brought in at high prices from distant libraries. His detachment from the world around him did not trouble his subjects; they preferred the family’s light rule. His fumbling, clumsy ways made the young man a somewhat amusing figure, and the townsfolk often greeted him with gentle teasing.

A few years into his rule, Cadmus had yet to produce an heir. This treatment troubled not only his advisors but also the wealthier tradefolk who wielded a great deal of influence in Widower’s Watch. Cadmus’s wife, Seola, was the fiery daughter of Aleister Criswell, an important merchant who had donated much gold to the Zaspar family. Most believed she was able (and willing) to bear Zaspar’s children, but the lord was seemingly unable to sire a child. So the advisors sought counsel from healers, mages, mystics, and wise-folk, bringing both the learned and the phony from all over the Nentir Vale at great cost to their lord’s coffers. After months spent with herbs, oils and all manner of other strangeness, Seola was still without child. Mistwatch despaired that the Zaspar line would come to an end with Cadmus.

New hope did come to Mistwatch; it shuffled down the street leading a menagerie of strangers unlike any the locals had ever seen. They were pale and aloof, favoring black garb and odd body piercings. Spare with words, the strangers kept to themselves in an encampment just across the Run. Some muttered and whispered that the newcomers brought trouble, but such concerns were muted when Cadmus opened his doors to the group’s matriarch. She claimed she could cure Zaspar of his ills and help him fulfill his responsibility to produce an heir.

The matriarch was not old, but she Ed with a slowness that hinted at great age. She spoke in an even voice, and her features belonged to that of a girl. Her eyes, however, suggested that she had seen much in her travels. No one witnessed the meeting, but loud voices and strange sounds filtered through the doors. She left soon after, head bowed, saying nothing to those in the castle. Although no one is certain what happened, the reflective black disk newly adorning Cadmus’s wall led many to wonder if it was the long- awaited cure. The disk was a mirror made of obsidian, about 2 feet across and cols to the touch.

If the matriarch had an interest in the mirror’s effects, neither she nor her attendants cared to witness them, because they quit the town that night and did not return – though, as the Mistwatchers soon learned, they did not go far. Many wondered what price their lord had paid for their service.

The results were clearly magical. Cadmus emerged the next morning a new man. His spare frame was muscled. The once-weak chin jutted proudly, and the shadows that darkened his eyes had cleared. He was a vision of strength. When he addressed his people that day from the balcony overlooking the community square, his voice reached them all, powerfully and confidently.

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More Trouble in the Vale

Markelhey had found some people called the Mahazadur who could bring small exotic ships up the river to Fallcrest to do trade. The tiefling merchant Orest had arranged the transaction. The Mahazadur were expensive but they had safely brought food and arms to the town. The adventurers did some trade with Orest. Nim purchased some poison and killed Madge and Korey for their betrayal. Nim also spoke to the gnome elders in the Harken Forest. Oddlin arranged the meeting. The gnome elders told Nim that the eladriin city Mithrendain had fallen to Fomorian giants who broke a seal under the city that led to the underdark. They had been assisted by the winter fey. Some fey had come through the portal to the Rain Valley, both good and evil. Some fighting had broken out in the Rain Valley and some evil fey had escaped into the Winterbole Forest. The gnomes were hiding out with the Woodsinger elves because of the Black Petals lingering goblins and undead but they we ready to go back out and clean up Harkenwold. The gnomes told of a thinning between the mortal world and the worlds of the Feywild and the Shadowfell. Nim told them of the eldritch engines he and his friends had destroyed in those worlds. They discussed that repairing the worlds would take a long time. Nim suggested the gnomes should think about relocating north with the humans expanding their civilization.

While everyone else was busy Uthrid offered to ride out to Harkenwold for Markelhey and assess the situation. He returned a few days later with the corpse of Garesh Vren. He was also wearing an impressive suit of Black Iron Warplate armor and wore a fanged skull mask of silver. He told his friends he had run into Vren and some deserters from the south who had tried to rob him. He had killed them all and found the silver mask among their possession. He also said he had discovered the sword INVERNESS had some special powers, most importantly that when drawn it now emanated an aura that caused necrotic damage to anyone standing within 25 feet of it. Rudy and Uthrid would be safe from this aura because of the armor they wore. Uthrid told them that when he put the mask on it took him to an extra dimensional plane where he met Kas the Destoyer. Kas was the mortal enemy of Vecna and had given him the armor in order to help the fight against Paldemar.

The adventurers decided they should travel throughout the Nentir Vale and stabilize it the best they could. They would travel west to Winterhaven to start. As dusk arrived on their first days travel the party was just north of the Cloak Woods when a group of 60 or so orcs came marching down the road. These orcs were led Tulka Deathrattle who had assumed that since Rugas Doombringer had been allowed to pass through the Vale with his orcs that meant all orcs would receive the privilege. The adventurers soon taught them different. Uthrid and Rudy charged into the throngs of orcs as Nim and Theren assisted with ranged attacks. Soon the 60 orcs were reduced to 8 and they were on the run from Theren and his deadly bow. Tulka and the other Orc leaders were dead. Ravens covered the dead that sprawled along the road. The birds observed Rudy, Uthrid and Nim as they picked through the belonging of the orcs. Theren killed a couple more orcs and ran into Valzaffarn Silverhorn who killed a few others. Silver horn was a blue dragon who had battled with the adventurers in Moonstone Keep when they overthrew Armos Kamroth. The dragon had been under control of a potion and ritual of Kamroth’s and because the adventurers had killed the cleric he did not hold a grudge against the party. He had been resting since their battle but had come out to feed when he smelled all the Orc blood. He said he would be leaving the area soon and would appreciate being left alone in the meantime. He didn’t want another fight with the adventurers.

A couple days later as they neared Winterhaven, Theren followed some recent tracks into the Gardbury Downs and overheard the bandit Carthain talking to some men. They all appeared to be a hunting party now working for Jax the Fox. It seemed they were staying at Irontooth’s old lair behind a waterfall a few miles away. The party took note and continued on to Winterhaven. Winterhaven was doing well. Lord Padraig regretted that the Vale had become too dangerous for him to continue trade with Fallcrest. Everyone worried about Paldemar. But Winterhaven was doing well trading with the northern village of Mistwatch and Restwell Keep to the west. He was concerned that merchants who had recently gone to Mistwatch had not yet returned as they were expected. Valthuran the wizard told them that there was a group of the Mages Of Saruun at Restwell Keep and no one would know more about Paldemar than they would. A shadar Kai named Zane talked with Uthrid at the inn and he told the party that Gariesh his groups leader would be interested in talking with them at the Keep on the Shadowfell.

Eventually, the adventurers met with the Shadar Kai guarding the keep. The Raven Roost performers had mostly disbanded although some remained. More powerful shadar Kai had come to defend the shadow rift, the were the order called the Ghost Talons. Gariesh and Erzoun were the two leaders Rudy and Theren had met long ago and they told the party about a delicate situation and asked for their help. A disease had broken out in the village of Mistwatch that was turning the living into undead. Before the disease had broken out the shadar Kai had sent one of their witches there to confront the lord of the town Cadmus, who was believed to be a follower of the Chained God, but she had been defeated by Cadmus and her magic had been stolen. She had brought an artifact, an obsidian mirror, and Cadmus had taken it. Cadmus’ wife had not produced an heir before this all happened. He had been consulting mystics and sages to help his wife conceive and the shadar Kai witch had gone there under the guise that she could help. Since then it has been rumored that she has given birth. Cadmus has been locked away in his keep since the outbreak. Gariesh believes Cadmus is the cause of the disease and that defeating him is the key to curing the village. She currently has 50 shadar kai guarding the road into the village and not allowing anyone to leave. She needs a small group of powerful adventurers to go in and take care of the situation. She is afraid if she sent in a large group she would not be able to cure all that contracted the disease. The village consisted of about 2000 people originally and that over half had died and risen as undead. Soon the village will be gone and the undead may be too many for the shadar kai to hold back. The disease could be spread throughout the Vale if it is not stopped.

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Trouble in the Vale cont.

Over the next week the adventurers learned of a great deal more unrest in the Vale. Lord Markelhey was troubled. The keep was indeed under the watch of an invisible spy working for Paldemar. Markelhey did not want the spy rooted out until Paldemar’s power could be more accurately assessed. For the time being he talked to Rudy about matters within the Vale but deliberately did not mention doing anything against Paldemar. He conceded Thunderspire as being the wizard’s domain and that Fallcrest would not interfere with it’s business. A tall heavyset man attended to Markelhey’s affairs and would check in on the meetings he had with Rudy to see if he could be of service. This man was Friar Kandi and he often visited Theren who was helping train archers for the Fallcrest garrison. The Friar delivered messages to Theren that Markelhey’s did not want the spy to overhear. Markelhey was hopeful that Theren could investigate Thunderspire in the near future to assess Paldemar’s power.

The party learned that Markelhey had been visited in the nightago many weeks ago by what he believed was the spirit of his father. The spirit told him to let an army of 100 orcs led by Rugas Doombringer pass through the Nentir Vale uncontested. Markelhey heeded his father’s request although he did not like to do it. Soon a hoard of the baddest orcs in the land stormed past Fallcrest led by the baddest of all Rugas Doombringer. He carried the Spear of Urok and wore black dragon hide armor. The people of Fallcrest and around the Vale were angered by theLord Wardens lack of action. Later, a wizard came to the Moonstone Keep and told Markelheyabout Paldemar. Paldemar had sent the phony spirit. Rugas had brought an artifact out of the Witchlight Fens as a gift to the wizard for safe passage through the Vale. The orcs were headed to Hammerfast where war had broken out between the orcs and the dwarves.

Uerthen Stonefist had gathered friends of his to defend Hammerfast for Marsinda Goldspinner against the three headed red dragon Calastryx. The dragon had been fended off, it is said that near the end of the battle one of it’s heads was severed off and two grew back in it’s place. The dragon withdrew it’s attack soon after. The battle was not long over when the pact between Moradin and Grummsh was broken though details on who broke it are varied. The ground shook and Forgepeak erupted fiercer than it had before. The spirits of the dead dwarves and orcs of the past wars emerged and killed the living in the crumbling city and then slaughtered each other. Since then dwarves and orcs have been drawn there with the belief that Moradin and Grummsh have placed an artifact under the city and they must war until one side has claimed it.

Fallcrest was on hard times. The garrison was low in numbers, people feared Paldemar and the wilderness had gotten more dangerous. The Black Petal was rumored to be in the Vale and that she could summon an undead army in the blink of an eye. harkenwold had been wiped out by her army after it had passed through the Bridgeblock area. The Woodsinger elves had hunkered down in the forest with the gnomes and some refugees. Word on the battle at Cheap Whiskey did not sound promising. Jillian Durgin had made some poor decisions when faced on multiple fronts by the Black Petal and the devil armies. Coursus Durgin had rallied troops after it had first been believed he had perished in an ambush by the Black Petal at the Frontier Gate. At Cheap Whiskey an iron golem had crashed through the gates and devils had dragged men into the wilderness. The iron golem marched through and met up with the Black Petal army and they had destroyed the Pelor Temple Light of the Sun before Makkas Day and his elite men drove it into the lake where it sank to the bottom after falling from a cliff. Rumor said Makkas Day died in the battle. The Black Petal army had run amok past Bridgeblock and up to Harkenwold. Goblins and devils swarmed Bridgeblock. The southern provinces armies ultimTely drove away the fiends but skirmishes were still ongoing. Many men and dragon born had been killed or dragged off to worse fates. A group of people had come together in the middle of the southern provinces demanding that the cities should unite under one king.

Fallcrest’s trade had dried up and there had been no word from Winterhaven in a while. Linked Portal and Sending rituals were not working properly and this was believed the work of Paldemar. People had also seen a large pyramid hovering above Thunderspire. There had been a food shortage.

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