Cheap Whiskey

Return to Thunderspire

The party found themselves in the seven pillared hall after using the ritual. A voice spoke to themfrom the minataur statue that loomed over the portal circle. They had to pay a tax for using the portal of 100 gp each. The hall looked much the same but had a different vibe. Large bronze statues of minataurs stood in a few strategic spots around the hall and other humanoids lurked in the shadows eyeing the adventurers. The party asked about the owners of the Halfmoon Inn and the ogre peacekeeper Brugg. They were told that no services would be found for them at the inn and that Brugg no longer worked there. They were told to be on their way and come back at a more reasonable hour. It was the middle of the night. No bloodshed was allowed in the seven pillared hall, they were free to explore any part of the labyrinth that was not marked restricted. They were told Paldemar ruled the hall. The quickly headed to the Road of Laturns which led to Thunderspire’s exit. At the exit they ran into a shrouded figure in blood red robes and some humanoids with sacks over their heads. One eye-hole had been cut in each sack and the hunched creatures were each missing a hand. Curved knives were held in their other hands. The creatures let the party pass when the red robed person nodded.

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Jaccobux Kincep

The ghost of Kincep Mansion, Jaccobux, was very intrigued by the Bearers of The Unconquered Standard of Arkhosia. He was so intrigued that he took time from studying his books to visit with them in his library. He took an immediate liking to Rudy. Jaccobux had been a talented wizard during his life. He told the party he saw signs around them. He saw Rudy in the Invulnerable Coat of Arhnd and other symbols of their pasts. He saw symbols that represented their possible futures: marriage wreaths, a golden chalice, a barony, a sheriff’s seal. He saw the army of a greedy ruler. The army was once proud but now guarded the hordes of a corrupt lord. He saw an army of devils and an army of heroes under the gold dragon banner clashing at a frontier stronghold. He saw a woman who has lost her husband and sons and whose estate is near ruin. He saw a damaged mind reaching out to a voice in the stars. He saw that in a castle that flew a green flag a person they once trusted was being held. The castle was beyond a dwarven township where ghosts walked the streets. Around Nim he saw chaos and a decision. The decision was either to accept a risk that could bring glory or ruin or to leave the risk for another to accept. Encompassing them were symbols from the Garden of Graves and he said they would need to go to the city of Moil in the Shadowfell and find the Fortress of Conclusion.

Aside from giving the party his viewings he admired the banner and sketched it and the party in one of his books. He talked to them about their adventurers and through him the discovered that the Unconquered Standard had come to them so that they could return to the Nentir Vale with it. Soon the succubus who had soiled the minds of the army at Fort Dolor will have a devil army and an army will need to be raised behind the BUSA to meet devil legion. Jaccobus had a linked portal ritual that would bring the party to Thunderspire Labyrinth. They had enough residuum and decided to use it.

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The Mansion Ballroom

The party spent most of the day clearing the bodies of the ghouls and vampire spawn out of the mausoleum and hedge maze. They stacked the bodies over a pyrenextto the maze and burned them. The vampire bodies started burning as soon as they hit the sunlight. The BUSA also dug the dirt ouit of Cali’s tomb and scattered it around the area. At near dusk they were very tired. They used the phrase “the educated differ from the uneducated as the living differ from the dead” by the statues by the mansions front door and it seemed to work. The statues never stirred. Inside was a large entry hall with several doors and widows as well as a pair of stairways that led to a balcony which overlooked the front doors. Doors on the balcony gained access to the library where the ghost of Jaccobus Kincep was believed to reside – forever reading and thirsting for more books to read.
From the interrogation of the werewolf the party had a good idea of the layout of the house. A hallway that ran along the front of the building led to the stables. They were told they should avoid that area. Down the center hall a door to the right led to a kitchen and pantry that the werewolves had used. The door to the left led to a large ballroom. The party was as quiet as they could be and entered the ballroom. Theren tried to cover their tracks and they ate then slept in shifts of two.
During the middle of the night the party heard a group of people arrive at the mansion. Whoever was there tried to be quiet but there seemed to be a dozen or so people. They heard heavy traffic on one set of stairs. Some heavy lifting was being done and there was some whispering. The people were there for nearly an hour and then they departed. Horses and wagon wheels were heard as the people moved on. The BUSA rested the night and then investigated the entry hall. Theren tracked very well and determined there were a dozen sets of tracks and three wagons. A couple sets of tracks were clustered around the ballroom door as if guards had stood there.
The adventures prepared to leave the mansion but as they passed from beneath the balcony a voice said, “Oh my! Is that The Unconquered Standard of Arkhosia you carry?”
The party looked up and saw the ghost of a thin old man looking downon them. The statues outside moved to block the front doors.

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Vampire's Lair

The party crept across the Kincep grounds to the back of the hedge maze where the mausoleum stood. There was no enterence outside the hedges. The party eventually entered the hedge maze by climbing over the building, pushing through the hdges or climbing ove them. Several party members fell off the slippery roof. Inside the hedges the party was attacked by ghouls. The ghouls beat them up a bit before being destroyed. One of Uthrid’s attacks drew a vampire spawn from the building but Uthrid cutit down wih a single slice of his sword.

Once the ghouls were destroyed the adventurers took a few moments rest and then found the door to the mausoleum behind an illusory hedge and Nim picked the lock. Inside tombs lined the walls and other niches held tombs in the loft. Uthrid and Rudy entered and vampire spawn dropped from the loft and attacked. The vampire spawn clawed and bit at Rudy, Theren and Nim but Uthrid became dominated by Cali, a powerful drow vampire, who attacked Rudy with a short sword. The spawn began quickly dropping but there were many of them and they caused some damage. Uthrid remained under Cali’s spell for much of the encounter and he hit each of his friends during the combat. Cali delivered viscious wounds with her sword but did not manage to bite anyone. Once the spawn were destoryed and she was bloodied, she turned to gaseous form and escaped the mausoleum through a vented pipe in the bottom of her tomb.

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Dark Night

The party camped a mile away from Kincep mansion. The seldom travelled road split here from where it had led away from the fey town of Chitpol. The other road that did not pass by the Kincep mansion and orchard led into an abandoned quarry. In the hillside where the road split, a two story building had been carved into the rocks. I was a ruined shell, perhaps it had been an outpost in a past age. On the opposite side of the quarry road, an enormous memorial to a past hero had been chisled into the side of the hill. Only the huge legs of the statue remained, standing sixty feet at belt above the overgrown road. The feet stood on the base of the statue forty feet above the road and WINERSTROM was carved into the base although it was barely readable. A trail led up the hill. The hill was loose shale aside from the trail of larger sturdy stones. Theren led the party down the Kincep road in the early darkness. He found signs of the freed werewolf along the road. The manbeast had stopped at the roadside building briefly and then continued toward Chitpol. The adventurers took the trail to the base of the WINERSTROM memorial and found a spot that had been used as a campsite in the past. It was a good spot for a camp. Theren watched the road from the edge of the base. He had a great moonlit view of the road forty feet below and the hillside building two hundred feet southeast. Uthrid, Nim and Rudy built a small fire at the back of the base under the statue and settled down to sleep.

Shortly after the other three fell asleep, some dire wolves appeared in the road. The sniffed aroundthe ruined building and the ran off down the road to Chitpol. Not long after, Theren believed he saw a humanoid slouched in the moonlight by the ruined building across the road. It did not move. Soon Theren spied another humanoid – spider climbing down the wall of the building. It froze midway down the wall and both figures were motionless for a few moments. Theren blinked and the creatures were no longer in the moonlight. He felt they were coming in the darkness. He turned to wake his friends and for a moment all he saw were large yellow cat’s eyes in the darkness. He drew his bow and fired at whatever creature lurked in the darkness behind those dangerous eyes. It lurked by the entrance above the stairs. As Theren’s arrow flew he ran to his friends and woke them. They woke but the party found nothing in the darkness. Theren returned to his position by the edge of the base and believed he saw creatures move near the building but then there was nothing on the moonlit road.

The party decided Uthrid would stay up with Theren for the first watch. Nim, Rudy and Uthrid all felt feverish. After a few hours, Theren saw humanoids by the building across the road. He alerted Uthrid and Uthrid left through the entrance to the stairs. Theren was immediately alarmed by Uthrid’s actions. He had not really responded to Theren. Theren ran to the entrance and saw Uthrid halfway down the stairs enveloped in darkness. His sword and shield lay on the stairs behind him and his arms were spread limply by his sides. Theren called for Nim and Rudy and Uthrid shook himself out of a trance. Uthrid stumbled up the stairs to Theren and he was bleeding from the neck and dazed. Theren hurried down the stairs looking for the darkness that had enveloped his friend but found nothing. The party gathered together and Uthrid said that he saw the yellow eyes and they drew him to them. A voice spoke behind the eyes in a language he had never heard but could still understand. It told him to come and to not be afraid. It told him to drop his equipment and remove his armor. It told him he was safe. He felt pain but the voice told him the pain was good. But then it seemed wrong and he found himself standing on the stairs with blood running down his neck and he ran up the stairs not knowing where he was.

The party continued to sleep in shifts of two and there were no more interuptions. In the morning Uthrid’s fever had broken, Nim’s was the same but Rudy’s had gotten worse.

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The Werewolf's Story

N’antler, he is our leader. He is the archer. We hunted these orchards, game…mostly. We guarded the grounds for Jaccobux…kept anyone from disturbing him. Jaccobux stays in the library, mostly…reading. He is a ghost. He has statues in the front and back that guard the grounds. They won’t attack the wolves or anyone who says the pass phrase. The current phrase is ‘The uneducated differ from the educated like the dead differ from the living’. He hasn’t changed it in a while. Recently some undead moved into the mausoleum behind the mansion. There is a hedge maze out back that leads to a mausoleum for the Kincep family. A vampire lady called Cali and her minions sleep there during the day. They hunt some nights. But they are not satisfied with just hunting game and they have brought trouble. I see that now. It is difficult to resist Cali…to refuse her. N’antler will kill for her but I don’t know if he’d die for her. She has ten or so minions. I don’t think there were as many when they first arrived. She has kept prisoners in the mansion. I don’t know if they have any there now. We only used the kitchen area. There’s a ballroom and a stable. Avoid the stable…there is only trouble there. The library is on the second floor. There’s a garden in the back of the mansion next to the hedge maze. That is guarded by statues as well. That’s all I know. Now, let me go and you’ll never see me again. I promise.

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Into The Orchard

The adventurers got a late start the morning after their visit to Palace Tisamath. Shumskel said he could be reached at The Golden Unicorn Inn when they returned. Their job was a bit vague but they were basically going to be checking out Kincep Mansion in hopes of finding a clue to recently lost hunting parties and some home invasions that resulted in missing eladrin citizens of Chitpole. Three recently missing eladrins had connections strong enough to bring the matter to the attention of Tisamath. If the adventures wish to gain strong favor with the Ghaele of Winter they will need to at least identify the forces behind the disappearences and eliminate them. Anything more would increase their favor with the Winter Court but anything less would not gain enough favor for them to ask anything of Tisamath.

It took most of the day for the group to reach the orchard. The road through the orchard was not well travelled but Theren found plenty of animal tracks. Before they reached the orchards they noted several hunting trails and a road that looked like it entered an abandoned quarry. Some giant, ruined statues were carved in the rock hill by the quarry road. A two story ruined was built into the rock on the side of the road opposite the statues and the road to the Kincep Orchard ran by the building.

A mile into the orchard was the hill that the mansion sat on. The seldom travelled road forked at the hill. One path led up the hill and the other ran away from it. The black orchard trees were bare and their fuit and leaves covered the ground throughout the orchard decaying. The road up the hill was 600 feet. Halfway up some trees blocked the road. Theren scouted up and saw a half-elf with a bow moving on top of the trees. He watched him for awhile and it appeared the person was a lookout but he had not spotted Theren.

Theren walked closer to the trees and called out a greeting to the half-elf. Surprised, the half-elf quickly greeted Theren. He said the hunting wasn’t very good today. He asked Theren if he was alone. He told Theren that it was dangerous to travel out alone. Theren asked if the half-elf was alone. The half-elf said he lived out there and had friends a mile or so away. Theren claimed the same but the half-elf pointed out that he was a native to the area while Theren was a stranger. The half-elf said that the mansion was haunted and that he had never been there. He advised Theren to turn around. Theren called up the rest of the party and said they were going to check out the mansion. When they advanced the archer raised his bow. Theren hit the archer with a critical shot and the half-elf returned a shot and ducked behind the logs. Uthrid and Rudy ran up to the logs and three dire wolves attacked from their hiding spots. While the party battled the wolves, the archer shot at Theren and then took cover. Nim sprung a snare trap by the side of the fallen trees and ended up teleporting out of trouble. After Theren was bloodied by these attacks, he and Nim concentrated attacks on the archer when he rose to take his shots. Their attacks knocked the archer back and his arrow flew wild as he ducked back. Rudy avoided a snare while battling the wolves and the three dogs were killed. The archer was hiding. Theren climbed to the top ofthe logs. The archer appeared around a nearby tree, he knocked Theren out with a couple of arrows and Nim hit him with a critical spell attack. The archer turned into a large wolf and ran off.

The adventurers found some dire wolf dens on the sides of the pile of trees and the werewolf’s den under the trees. A parchment was found in the werewolf’s den and on it was writ three phrases:

“Death is the begining of the next adventure.”

“If all people followed their convictions there would be no wars.”

“The uneducated differ from the educated like the dead differ from the living.”

The party tried to camp at the den, it was dusk. Uthrid, Rudy and Theren squeezed into the werewolf den to sleep. It smelled of wild beast and was cramped for three mighty aventurers but the mens mixed body heat helped keep off the cold. Nim sat on top of the fallen trees looking out for enemies. Shortly he spotted a pack of dire wolves advancing on the three sleeping men below. Battled ensued. Two of the wolves turned out to be werewolf lords. Three of the dire wolves ran back up the hill after the two lords were subdued. Theren beheaded one of the lords after bringing him down with arrows. The other was subdued and Nim remembered that silver could retard the werewolf’s regeneration ability. They held one of Nim’s daggers on the lord while they interrogated him. He told the party everything he knew in exchange for his life.

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Court at Palace Tisamath

A contingent of Eladrin Fey Knights and Twilight Incanters move in to collect the adventurers in the Golden Unicorn Inn. The eladrin fence Shumskel is appointed their representative at court with Tisamath. They are brought to the palace and put into a queue outside the throne room. Shumskel will confer with them. He was asking around about a job for them when he was apprehended by the royal guard and told to point the adventurers out to them. They are going to be viewed by Tisamath and he’s not sure what their plight will become. He recommends that the adventurers offer their services to the throne. It is understood that the adventurers are looking for something by offering their services but any sort of payment or negotiation should not be mentioned. In fact, the party should leave all the talking to Shumskel and only speak when spoken to directly. Keep in mind that Tisamath and members of her court may take offense at the most minor acts of disrespect. While in the queue the party and other crowd members are monitored by orbs of light which hover around the room. These are willow-the-wisp type entities and anouncements regularly boom from them to the people in the palace.

“Rise for Tisamath Ghaele of Winter!”

“all visitors verify excusement with your palace representative before departure”

“Squad eleven silver report to area T3 immediately for briefing”

“code red area B9, code red area B9”

As visitors meet in the palace court they are announced and much of the exchange can be heard and seen from the queue. there is a slight delay between the actions in the throne room and the sound and many times the conversation will be blocked from the queue, less often the windows of the throne room will shift noisily and the activity of the court will be blocked from view. Most visits end with a declaration from the crier but occasionally Tisamath will address the court.

A grizzled dragonborn is recognized “the court welcomes Glaudites Capree” the dragonborn offers Tisamath a pack of gnoll pit fighters and claims they will be very entertaining in the arena battles. He is welcomed coldly, a few eladrin nod to him but there is a feeling in the air that this dragonborn is not well liked or has fallen into disfavor recently.

A priest is taken into the throne room “the court recognizes Kachos Rhaem”, the man retorts violently and much of what he says is silenced, the windows grind and the throne room is no longer seen, the windows grind after a moment and the throne room can be seen. The man is now much subdued “for displays of public zealotry, Rhaem will be offered at the next Aughmorvor appeasement, where he will have the opportunity to publicly pray for his life, until that time he will remain a guest of the dungeoneers”

“all visitors should be mindful that any public worship of a being other than the Prince of Frost is prohibitted”

A group of musicians perform for Tisamath.

Some eladrin complain about disappearences and rumored attacks.

A drow gives a mining report.

Some actors do a routine.

Tisamath leaves court for two hours and everything is put on hold.

A drow is allowed to cut ahead of the adventurers – he is a slave trader named Vumosray and has brought a special prize for the arena games.

The BUSA are interviewed by Shumskel and he presents them to the court using their real names. Tisamath sits on a white gold throne embossed with black and white opals, diamonds, saphires and emeralds. An eladrin crier called Pemorem addresses the palace representative, Tisamath sits with an entourage of eladrin nobles and guards. the nobles whisper and smirk among themselves. some even whisper to Tisamath. One eladrin in black chainmail and robes sits next to Tisamath. He is called Rhackor and the party saw him at the Golden Unicorn Inn. two young eladrin women sit by Tisamath as well. Tisamath is a beautiful young eladrin ghaele of winter. She is given a queens treatment even by her two best friends Zacerine and Cuntdra.

Tisamath decides to send the adventurers to Kincep Mansion to investigate, “so there are four of you? for some reason I thought there were five?”

Theren explains that they came into town with an eladrin they met on the road but didn’t catch his name.

After the adventurers equip and eat they will attend the arena battles. There they will witness the gnoll pit fighters defeat a group of duergar and a displacer beast and win the crowd over before being wiped out by a famorian giant who is thrown in the arena with Sage in a last man standing scenario. Sage eventually overcomes the giant but the fight is stopped and both are taken to the dungeons to be saved for a battle in the future when Koliada is in house.

Theren bets on Sage during the battle and then asks if he can meet the man. The “bookie” brings Theren down to the dungeons where Rhackor meets him and escorts him to Sage’s cell. Sage doesn’t have much to say and Theren is denied a private audience with him. Rhackor appears amused and a bit condescending about the exchange.

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Rumors in Chitpol

Here are some rumors heard around Chitpol. Keep in mind that not all rumors are true.

1. Tisamath has been hosting arena battles at the palace as entertainment for guests.
2. A famorian giant has been brought to the palace in chains and will fight in the next arena battle.
3. An elder white dragon, Aughmorvor, resides in a mountain lair nearby and has a huge hoarde of treasure that includes a vorpal weapon longsword.
4. Valmour Tessount is a drow warlord and owns the mine at the edge of the valley.
5. The mine is the only thing Valmour’s father left his estranged son, the rest went to his brother Sanoped.
6. The mine is thought to be a poor copper mine but evidently Valmour has offered some adventurers gold to help him with something there.
7. Sanoped has been in town asking questions about his brother’s dealings.
8. Some miners have fled the mine and are holding out in a cheap inn, the Sugar Swine.
9. Recently Valmour lost a crew of miners, crew leader Skahlton Gairg.
10. Eibon D’yingor is the leader of the adventurers Valmour hired.
11. Eibon is a priest of Vecna.
12. The mine is cursed.
13. A gold statue worth a fortune lies somewhere in the caverns of the mine.
14. Tisamath has a treasure trove of rare magical items. Sometimes she is even in the possession of an artifact.
15. Koliada the white witch visited the palace a month or so ago and word is that she is supposed to return to recover something from Tisamath.
16. Tisamath is an agent of Orcus and has demons under her command.
17. A member of one of Tisamath’s rival noble families was recently captured and will be sent to the next arena battle to fight for his/her life.
18. The Kincep Mansion was the home of a retired adventurer but now the house and its surrounding orchard is haunted.
19. The Kincep Mansion is haunted by Jaccobux Kincep.
20. Jaccobux attacks immediately if he detects intruders.
21. Jaccobux is tolerant of tresspassers as long as they do not interfere in his endless studying of the libraries on the estate.
22. Tisamath is powerful and cruel at times but also flightly and irresponsible.
23. Some eladrin are concerned about recent disappearences. (a hunting party, three nobles, some estranged outcasts)

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Land of the Winter Fey

The BUSA escaped the labyrinth of the snake god and managed to get by an ettin named Grug I and Grug II and a winterclaw owlbear named Blu high up in the snowy woods. They followed a mountain trail and came to Castle Korvall. At the ruined castle they dispatched a few hummoncules iron dog defenders, some animated bolters and some walking barrels that attacked with club-like arms. They met a half-orc maintenence worker named Jaylkal and fought a chariot riding mezzodemon beastlord called Bodanbur. The chariot was pulled by a pair of ironforged white dragons. These were dragons who had been taken by demons as hatchlings and undergone torturous experiments. Iron plates covered their bodies – attached by painful barbs. The dragons strength were compromised by the experiments but they were left as crazed killers. The BUSA defeated Bodanbur and his wretched escort and met an eladrin named Sagarald (Sage) Bralani of Autumn Winds. Sage had come from Mithrendain across the Plains of Valdrennai and was on a vendetta into the lands of the Winter Fey. He was headed to the village of Chitpol. He was upfront about seeking vengeance on his cousin Tisamath Ghaele of Winter who watched over the boarderlands around the village of Chitpol. Sage held Tisa responsible for the death of his love who he claimed was a casualty in the game of houses that went on among eladrin families. Sage had observed the fight with Bodanbur and believed the BUSA could assist him. He claimed his path would lead them to a linked portal that could take them to Mithrendain and that it would be quicker than crossing the Plains of Valdrennai which he was certain would lead to their deaths at the claws of brown dragons or the sink holes of famorian giants.

The adventurers agreed to go with Sage. He explained that Tisamath had a palace between two spire mountains just north of Chitpol. Sage had been in the palace a few times but had always come through a linked portal from Mithrendain. This was the first time he was entering Chitpol through the valley. The mountain pass they travelled on from Castle Korvall would take them to the edge of the valley where a road connected a mine at the valley’s edge to the village. The road cut straight across the valley plains. The plains were bordered to the south and east by snowy pine forest and to the north by a scar that cut into the Feyland running southwest from the western side of the western spire mountain which flanked Tisamath’s Palace.

Sage was unaware of the mine’s ownership but believed drow and duergar were involved. He suspected a famorian could be involved. Gnolls were prevelant in the valley and worked for the eladrin and underdark denizens of the mine as go betweens. Rumors hinted at trouble at the mine. There was a network of slave trade and gambling on arena battles that took place at the palace. There were retired and active adventurers in Chitpol and word that an elder white dragon had a lair nearby.

The BUSA got a room at the Golden Unicorn Inn in Chitpol after they traversed the valley road for two days. On the road they ran into groups of Gnolls three times and some cyclops with drow once. The cyclops questioned the party while one of the drow attempted to flank them but Theren spied him and they were allowed to pass. The gnolls were wise enough to leave the mysterious travelers to themselves. Noodon was the eladrin innkeeper that rented them rooms for 5 gold pieces per night and set them up with food and drink.

A eladrin named Shumskel introduced himself and asked if the adventurers were looking to purchase items. Rudy told him they were looking for work and would prefer to work for the palace. Nim stayed up late with Utrid and they had a brief conversation with a disgruntled man they believed was a lycanthrope.

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