Cheap Whiskey

Warwood Creek

Lord Perry taught Nim some rituals before the adventurers left and they carried enough residuum for him to use a LINKED PORTAL ritual to get back quickly to Spearpoint. The closest portal toward their destination was in Cheap Whiskey so Perry sent them there and they rode on to Fort Dolor and took the road through the Warwood. Nim would be able to draw a specific portal circle on the ground and use it to return the party to Spearpoint when they were finished. This circle would dispurse once the ritual was concluded.

They had rushed out of Cheap Whiskey pretty quickly upon arrival but did catch word that troops in Jonathan Steward’s employ had left a couple days earlier to settle things in Fort Dolor. When the adventurers arrived at Fort Dolor they did not stop to investigate. Then they had run across Sister Naenia and her followers. The sister had wanted them to swear an oath to the Raven Queen that they would find her patron’s bones and return them to her but they had thought better than get to entangled with that group. The page from Erthic’s journal had mentioned THE SLEEPER. When Utrid had asked the pilgrims about the name he got the impression that THE SLEEPER was the other general who Sir Malagant had killed and been killed by. If the bandits were stealing the effigy at this particular time then there was a good chance they were involved with THE SLEEPER and would have information about Erthic.

They came to a frozen creek while following the bandits trail through a deer path. Theren scouted out some humans and tieflings guarding the pass. Nim thought they should wait for the cover of darkness and ambush the guards. They waited seven hours and then sprung their attack after dusk. Theren and Nim delivered some massive damage to a pair of the guards and Rudy and Uthrid waited in the woods hoping the attack would draw the guards out onto the ice. Instead, the guards hid behind boulders and waited for the adventurers to show themselves. When the party crossed the creek the guards attacked and when the adventurers got hit on the ice some chillborn zombies broke through and pursued them. They killed the guards easily and destroyed the undead with little difficulty.

After the battle, the adventurers decided to rest before continuing. Nim, suddenly could see Lord Perry in his mind’s eye. It was as if the half elf wizard were sitting right next to him.

“Don’t use the linked portal ritual. Return to Fort Dolor when you finish.” said Perry, “Reply immediately, you have twenty-five words. I will contact you again soon.”

Being taken by surprise, Nim did not know what to say but managed to acknowledge that he understood the message before Perry disappeared from his mind’s eye.

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Sir Malagant's Faithful

Just over a hundred years ago, two armies met in a cataclysmic conflict that threatened to destroy both sides. Sir Malagant, favored by the Raven Queen, led one force. At the head of the other army stood a creature of great wickedness whose master possessed dark aims for the world. Knowing that a battle between the assembled hosts would devastate both, the leaders met in single combat. The loser’s army would forfeit the field and disband. The result was a fluke of fate: The generals killed one another simultaneously.

A century later, much of the true history of these events had been forgotten or intentionally destroyed. The haunted forest known as the Warwood and Sister Naenia’s out-of-the-way monastery were the only reminders that something significant occurred in the area. Sister Naenia now led the penitents of the monastery of Sir Malagant’s Faithful on a pilgrimage to the scene of their hero’s death. There they intended to anoint and bury his effigy to honor him as their order was instructed by Achreisis, exarch of the Raven Queen, a century ago.

Sir Malagant’s Faithful travelled south on the road through the Warwood and were currently further than any of them had ever been from the monastery. Sun glistened off new snow, making a stunning contrast to the tangled darkness of the forest on both sides of the road. Ahead Sister Naenia spotted an elf on the road. He moved with grace and carried a bow. He raised a hand and called out a greeting. Naenia signalled for the others to continue the mournful chant and whispered a prayer that the elf was not part of a group of bandits. Soon a small figure and two larger ones joined the elf and she motioned for the her caravan to halt thirty feet away from the strangers.

They were Theren – an elven bowman, Uthrid – a fighting man, Rudy -another fighting man with exquisite glowing chain armor, and Nim – a gnome with striking arcane symbols tattooed on the shaven sides of his head. Naenia introduced her pilgrimage without fully revealing their intentions. The strangers showed little interest in her agenda but quickly began speaking of places called Fort Dolor and Bridgeblock of which she in her sheltered life had never heard of before. They were looking for Stargazer Hill in the Warwood and she told them they were in the Warwood but she had not heard of the hill.

A rustle among the pilgrims caused Naenia to turn back to see what the disturbence was about. The albino waif, Sybil, was standing in her cart peering into the forest. The three black cowled augers who attended to her every need turned to peer in the dirction which held her attention. Suddenly, axe weilding, berserk humans and stealthy tieflings sprung from the woods and attacked the pigrims and the strangers. A tiefling and two humans dove in amoungst the parade of twenty pilgrims swinging swords and axes and an attack of lightning from a mage in the forest crackled through Sir Malagant’s Faithful. Sister Naenia tried to fend off a man who attacked the augers cart. He had struck one of them and she had slumped in the cart. Sybil looked at the violence around her with a calm that Naenia found disturbing while the two other augers tended to the wounded crone.

The strangers leapt into action immediately. The two fighting men were an immovable wall that drew the attackers to them. The elf and gnome shifted around the battlefield delivering fatal attacks with arrows and spells. Naenia held off the man at the augers cart for a few moments but the pilgrims were being murdered quickly from their attackers. Suddenly, a hippogriff with a tiefling rider sprang down from the tree tops and snatched Sir Malagant’s wrapped bones from the rear cart. Sister Naenia was agast.

The strangers quickly killed the humans and tieflings who attacked them and even delivered death to the two mages in the woods. They came to the aid of the pilgrims and killed the last of the bandits. All traces of the calm confidence Sister Naenia possessed before had fled. She was distraught over the harm that had come to her followers. Ten out of the twenty had been killed but there was more than that. Her worst fear had come true.

“They took it! That beast flew off with his bones! Sweet Lady! Please you must help us. You must get the effigy back! It holds Sir Malagant’s bones and the Fiend’s Horn. If we don’t bury him…I don’t know. I just don’t know.” Sister Naenia spun in a panicked circle, starting toward the wrecked funeral wagon, then toward a wounded pilgrim, then toward the woods. She was incapable of deciding what to do.

The strangers were able to calm Sister Naenia and she explained that their exarch had left instructions for them to bury the effigy this week. The strangers agreed to pursue the assailants and bring Sir Malagant’s bones to her if possible. They were not willing to swear an oath to the Raven Queen but they gave their horses to the pilgrims for safe keeping. The way through the thick woods would not accomodate the large animals. They would meet Sir Malagant’s Faithful on the hill where the effigy was to be burried in a few days – a week at the most. All of Sister Naenia’s hopes rested with them.

As the strangers entered the woods, Sister Naenia heard a whisper from Sybil, the albino girl whom the augers had found as a babe lying in a worg’s den, and gooseflesh sprung up on her arms.

“Those who dream beneath the stars cannot yet be seen by the blind one who waits beyond them. The stars are safe…for now.”

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Lord Perry of Spearpoint

It was a cool, cloudy day with occasional rain when the adventurers left for Spearpoint. Along the way they discussed the Wizard Mayor Perrobin Harvest with Farrah Goldleaf. Her father the Baron Stockmer had been friendly with the wizard and often took his advice. She had found papers among her father’s belongings which talked about a group called The Seekers Of Truth. The Seeker’s symbol (an eye set behind a set of scales) was present on the book that had belonged to Watcher. She knew this group only through rumor as rebels to the Ministry of Kulltown. Their mission was “to untangle the web of lies spun by the Ministry and learn the true legend of Sir Harnden”. Few mentioned the Seekers nowadays. It was believed they were dead.

Lord Perry had become more reclusive over the last few decades. He spent virtually all his time now in his tower in Spearpoint. It was believed he had settled in Spearpoint about 90 years ago and that he unofficially became the mayor soon afterward. People kept coming to him with their problems and he kept solving them. Over the years the small fishing village had become a significant port city – still not as large as Archertown, The City of Sosh or Bridgeblock. There was a high population of halflings in the Spearpoint area. Lord Perry used to travel to all the festivities around the Southern Provinces and advise the leaders of the cities and small towns. He helped found the school of wizardry at Fort Willow and assisted the Sheriff of Bridgeblock when the need arose.

Rumors Farrah had heard, claimed he had gotten the nickname Perry Barefoot twenty years ago at the Archertown Spring Festival. He was rarely seen during the ceremonies of that festival and when he was it was by servants delivering refreshments to his rooms. Some rumors claim he had answered his doors wrapped in a bedsheet each time but it was undoubted among the gossipping community that he was always in bare feet. When he was seen during that festival week outside his room the lovely Corellia Flamet had been always at his side and they were constantly whispering together and laughing. Corellia was champion from the previous year’s festival games. She had been an excellent archer and horsewoman, had won several ribbons and been engaged to Makkas Day. That following year when she had been at Perry’s side, Makkas Day was the new appointed Sheriff of Bridgeblock. Four years later Corellia had won the election for Governess of Archertown. She has held that office for fifteen years. Following that spring festival Perry’s involvement with Southern Province politics began to pull back to the area around Spearpoint.

He was known as The Smartest Man In The Realm but also had a reputation for carelessness and forgetfulness. His library in his Spearpoint home was legendary. He had a few trusted halflings who catalogued the library for him and dealt with issues related to the governing of the city.

At one point during the adventurers ride, during a rain shower, a gray dragon flew overhead. Either the elements concealed the party or the dragon was in no mood to hunt because it never paused in its flight – heading north and slightly west.

On the ride Ragnar revealed to Uthrid that he had new evidence regarding the disappearence of Erthic, Uthrid’s younger brother. A page had been torn out of Erthic’s journal and they found a small group of words imprinted on the following page. Ragnar hoped Lord Perry could puzzle out a clue with the words. Further investigating in the City of Sosh had revealed that Erthic had been asking around in some seedier districts for information about the forest where the ancient kingdom Acedia once lay and he had gotten involved with some “strange people”. The group of words from Erthic’s journal were: THE SLEEPER WARWOOD STARGAZER HILL THE FACE

They arrived in Speapoint mid-evening.

A hill above the city gave a nice view of the bay and the peninsula of Spearpoint even though the weather was poor. The farm houses gave way to inns and markets and then more condensed buildings for residences and more buisnesses and the ports for fishing and trade. A hill on the eastern side of time was the location of the wizard’s tower. There were no crenalated walls protecting the city and few guards. The people were friendly. Farrah went to the tower alone and returned to the group who waited about the square about a half hour later. She was accompanied by a halfling named Randall who escorted them to a banquet room in the tower where they given dinner and an opportunity to clean themselves up before their audience with Lord Perry.

Lord Perry was a tall, thin half elf. He had short, white hair and was dressed in fine casual clothes. He appeared to be around 60 human years old but was well over 100 years old. He was in a sitting room of the tower in a comfortable chair by a fireplace next to a window which overlooked the harbor. He sat smoking a long cigarette. The room was decorated with an exotic rug and there were a few desks covered with documents. Six chairs had been arranged around the room and Randall introduced the guests to the wizard. They sat and got down to discussing events of the last few weeks and this led to questions from the wizard about further back into the adventurers’ pasts. Occasionally, Perry gave instructions to Randall to look up a fact and the halfling would scratch down a note on a pad.

Perry agreed to take possession of Watcher’s Book and look into it’s secrets. He also proposed hiring Theren, Rudy, Uthrid and Nim to do some jobs for him. The adventurers quickly agreed. Perry diagnosed the dreams which had begun when Rudy and Theren came across the strange, runed, green gem and had been passed along to Ragnar. Ragnar reported that the night he had been attacked by the shadow hounds it had begun with a dream of him shaking Theren’s hand. The wizard explained that they had been marked when first they touched the gem and the dreams and attacks were meant to be a lure. The one who cursed them wanted to lure them to the place they saw in their dreams – the pillared hall near the Witchlight Fens. They were supposed to believe that returning the gem to the skull in their dreams would end the curse. The fact that the gem had disintigrated made the wizard believe that perhaps more than one of these gems had existed and someone had returned a gem to the skull. He surmised that placing the gem back in the skull would unleash more of the villians power. Perry washed their hands with a yellow liquid and the rune from the gem appeared on Rudy’s, Theren’s and Ragnar’s hands. Whoever was responsible had gained more power since the gem dissolved since he had sent agents other than shadow hounds to lure the adventurers to him. He agreed to remove the curse from them but suggested the villian should be dealt with soon in the future. Research later done by Randall revealed that the villian was likely an Oni Souleater. An Oni was a rare ogre-like creature with strong magical powers. An Oni Souleater was an undead Oni who gained power by consuming the souls of mortals. Why the curse was passed to Ragnar and not Uthrid who had also shaken Theren’s hand could not be easily explained but Perry believed it could be subject to a myriad of factors.

At the end of their conversation, it was agreed that the curse would be removed, Farrah would return to Harkenwold so as to not draw suspicions, Ragnar would remain for a time with the wizard and the adventurers would begin working for Lord Perry. Lord Perry would contact an associate who he believed could help him open the book and get started on unlocking it’s secrets. The first assignment Perry had for them was finding Erthic. Ragnar had shared the new evidence he had shown Uthrid and the wizard had known the location of the Warwood and Stargazer Hill. Uthrid and his older brother had followed the east road out of Fort Dolor but by Perry’s direction they should have taken a road that headed northeast into the Warwood. The creature who had killed Ragnar Ragnarson likely had no connection to Erthic and his destination.

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Bridgeblock

The Whiteowl Road runs through the center of the ten mile wide natural bridge that seperates the Aegan Sea from Lake Kaurnis. From Cheap Whiskey the road runs west to The Frontier Gate which is a military outpost and was formerly the Provinces easternmost stronghold. Roads branch from the Whiteowl Road at the Frontier Gate and lead to Jonathan Steward’s stronghold, The Light Of The Sun, Fort Willow and Fort Durgin. The Whiteowl Road continues west to the sheriff Makkas Day’s fortress and then on to Bridgeblock. At Bridgeblock the Whiteowl Road continues west to the far off city of Archertown but most people travelling to Archertown would use the King’s Road which runs north of Bridgeblock to Harkenwold and runs south of Bridgeblock to Spearpoint. From Spearpoint the King’s Road leads south to the City Of Sosh. In Sosh travellers can pick up the Lion’s Pride Road which runs east along the Arkvana Peninsula and runs west to Archertown.

The adventurers got an early start despite Utrid’s throbbing hangover. By mid-afternoon they arrived in Bridgeblock and found a crowded busy city. They made there way to the town square and saw the meeting proposing Fallcrest as a recognized Point Of Light in session. The politicians were gathered in the center of the meeting hall. The meeting took place below the balconies which were at street level. Only a select few were actually down the stairs participating in the meeting but other citizens gathered around the balcony and socialized as they waited. Rudy and Theren saw Farrah Goldleaf Stockmer participating in the meeting and Nim noticed Marla of the Great Church who he knew from Harkenwold. Uthrid found his father Ragnar with some of his men. Uthrid introduced Theren to his father and the three of them spoke privately. Uthrid gave his father the news of his oldest son’s death. Ragnar was perturbed and Uthrid found himself stumbling over the story about the book they had found much to Theren’s surprise. They then asked Ragnar to tell no one about the book and that they planned on speaking to Farrah Goldleaf about it.

The senator from Sosh was Daruid One-Eye and Rudy was able to meet him and relay the tale of Brother Iannis and give the cleric’s skull to the politician. The senator understood the significance of the man’s skull being returned to the place of his ancestors. He told Rudy that the City of Sosh and the Coastal Provinces could use a man like him and he should come back to Sosh with him. Rudy politely declined for the moment but left room to accept the offer at a later time.

The adventurers got a private meeting with Farrah and she was very intrigued when she learned about the book. She suggested they take the book to Perrobin Harvest and she planned to go with them. She sent Marla and Remy Longsong and the rest of her escort back to Harkenwold immediately. She knew the Fallcrest representatives Strongbeard and Orontor would be leaving in the morning and she didn’t want them knowing she had other business. If her escort left at the same time as them they might notice her abscence and she didn’t trust them.

That night in their rooms the adventurers heard the howl of shadow hounds and Rudy and Theren were attacked by spirits and skeletal warrior. In the morning they received word that Ragnar and his men had been attacked by shadow hounds.

The next morning Uthrid, Ragnar, Nim, Theren, Rudy and Farrah waited for word that the Fallcrest agents had left the city and they snuck out of the city heading for Spearpoint with confidence that no one had noticed.

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Cheap Whiskey

The outpost was a place Uthrid had travelled through on his way to Fort Dolor. The road led up a crevass to the gates. Towers stood above the trees to the north and south of the road. Archers looked down from the crenalated walls that ran out from the gates into the wilderness. The walls were decorated withe the bones of giant beasts. The gates were opened for the adventurers and they passed through the inspection from the guards easily. Utrid knew the man in charge of those on duty and they were welcomed into the border town. Businesses lined the road through town but only one sign hung from the buildings “Whiskey – Cheap”. Thus, this outpost had earned the name Cheap Whiskey. It was the easternmost outpost belonging to the Southern Provinces and the only fortress except for Jonathan Steward’s stronghold that was built past the original Frontier Gate which had been built around one hundred years ago.

The people stationed here were eager to hear about Fort Dolor and Rudy’s gleaming armor drew a crowd. The adventurers were questioned by Capt. Jullian Durgin who was one of Makkas Day’s men in charge of Cheap Whiskey and they were questioned by an agent of Jonathan Steward. Steward’s dwarf agent Relwar Tor had not returned as expected and the news of the disappearing soldiers was disturbing to Steward’s agent. The adventurers learned that a meeting was to be held in the city of Bridgeblock on the following day and that many influential people would be there. Uthrid learned that his father was likely to be there with one of the Sosh senators and they learned that representatives from Archertown, Harkenwold and Fallcrest would be there. The meeting was evidently a fact gathering, preliminary meeting to one which would be held to determine if Fallcrest would be recognized by the Southern Provinces as an official Point Of Light.

Uthrid, lamenting the loss of his brother, got drunk that night and beat up a bouncer. The party headed to Bridgeblock early the next morning.

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Leaving Fort Dolor

The timberers decided to look in on another group of tree cutters stationed north rather than accompany the adventurers back to Fort Dolor. Uthrid, Nim, Rudy and Theren got an early start toward the fort. The first day was uneventful. A few hours outside of Fort Dolor, on the following day, the adventurers ran into a search party led by Lukylyl Austy the elf whom they had met at the Avalanche Inn a few days earlier. The search party was out looking for signs of the soldiers who had been sent out on patrols by Captain Revince over the past couple of days. Lukylyl told the adventurers that apart from the patrols sent to the farms many others had been sent out and none had returned. The people in town were starting to take the prophecies spouted by the old dwarf hermit seriously. The old hermit had said that an ancient evil in the forest would be stirred up by the timberers and farms would be attacked. One person would survive and would be the key to defeating the evil. Many soldiers would die and outsiders would come and offer help but would bring doom to Fort Dolor. He said many of the businesses were closing up and the people were becoming wary of outsiders. Lukylyl had heard that Captain Revince had left with one of the patrols and Lt. Stymers was now in charge of the garrison until the Captain returned. Lukylyl also mentioned that the dwarf whom he had been playing stones with at the Avalanche Inn, Relwar Tor, had left that morning for Bridgeblock to report to Jonathan Steward on the situation in Fort Dolor. The adventurers filled the search party in on the attacks to the log haulers and the farms and told them to watch out for spine devils and owlbears.

Another hour along the crude road and Theren spotted a tiefling soldier approaching. They confronted the tiefling who introduced himself as Private Zanphist. He was trying to catch up with Lukylyl’s party after being threatened in Fort Dolor. He explained that he had seen Captain Revince kissing the girl Xeriope in the barracks when she was first brought in as the lone survivor from the attacks on the farms. He then heard the girl give Revince orders to send out small patrols to specific locations around the area. None of these patrols had returned. The girl was taken to the home of the herbalist to be cared for and he was sure the Captain was there with her. He had reported this to Lt. Stymers and believed the lieutenant chose to ignore him. But then a big dragonborn soldier that Zanphist did not know showed up at the barracks and threatened him. The dragonborn told him to stop stirring up trouble and get out of town if he knew what was good for him. The adventurers told Zanphist that the search party was about an hour ahead of him and he departed.

When they reached Fort Dolor Nim remained out by the road with Rudy and the horse they had gotten from Nevern. Uthrid went to get his horse from the rancher he had left him with and Theren came along to purchase a horse so the group could make quick progress to Bridgeblock. They found that the rancher had closed up and left Fort Dolor but an eladrin rancher named Aestirol had taken in Uthrid’s steed. The eladrin was busy in his stable attending a horse about to give birth to a foal and was having complications. Theren and Uthrid assisted him and afterward he sold them his best warhorse for a fair price.

The adventurers rode out on the Whiteowl Road and were shortly intercepted by Lieutenant Stymers and a patrol of human and dwarf soldiers accompanied by a pair of dire boar. The lieutenant questioned them and let them leave. He also mentioned that Relwar Tor had left for Bridgeblock and assured them Tor would be advising Jonathan Steward about the situation at the Fort so everything was under control. The adventurers rode hard and one of them believed they saw a large scavenger bird carrying a head out of the brush at the side of the road but they continued riding without investigating. They wanted to be sure they had a good head start in case friends of Nevern were looking for them. Their goal was to get to Bridgeblock and then Harkenwold as fast as possible because they believed Farrah Goldleaf could be trusted and might know someone who could help them uncover the mysteries of Watcher’s locked book. They decided to tell no one about the book except the Baroness.

They camped one night along the road and then a few hours away from Bridgeblock’s easternmost outpost they were ambushed by a pair of war trolls. They first tried fighting the trolls but they were outmatched and managed to get away on their horses. A few hours later they arrived at the eastern outpost known as Cheap Whiskey.

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The Timberers and the Farms

They killed Nevern. A couple hacks from Uthrid’s sword and the defenseless man fell to the ground and bled out. They had been talking about what to do with him while he apparently slept but he had overheard them decide on his execution. Nim was against the idea and Theren did not feel good about it but Uthrid insisted and Rudy saw it as the most logical action for them. They didn’t want to drag him along and set themselves up to be sabotaged later. Nevern tried to bargain for his life. He told them the book held secrets and powerful magic but he wasn’t at all sure to what extent or focus the magic entailed. He was willing to follow them as their prisoner under whatever terms they required as long as they would not kill him. He said he had been living around Fort Dolor ever since The Beheaders had disappeared into the Pyramid Of Shadows. He denied having anything to do with their entrapment within it. He also claimed he had only meant to put them to questioning and never intended to kill them but they doubted his truthfulness. He said the angels had come to him a few months ago and told him about the assignment to capture the book and make sure no one knew about it. He said he could see that he had been wrong in interfering with them sib=nce they obviously knew nothing about it. He was supposed to deliver the book to someone called the Iron General. He also revealed that he did not have divine powers but was more of an acedemic and guided them to his spellbook hidden in the saddle of the horse. The book contained four spells which Nim looked at and could discern their purpose but not exactly how to use them. When they questioned Nevern further about the Iron General he said he could share the information but as they were decided on killing him he wasn’t feeling any incentive to do so. He said he would help them open the book and had a few ideas about people that could help them. That way the power would be theirs and he just asked to be let go free and he would never cross them again. They were unwilling to grant him mercy and he ended up in a shallow grave.

The adventurers went to the timberers who reported that they had seen no trouble but their log hauling crew had run off. They figured the workers were owed less money that there was work to do and had run off. The party looked around the logging camp and found nothing odd so they took the haulers path toward the farms. Three hours out they found a log hauling cart that had been run into a thicket and found the spines of a spined devil lodged in its side. At the first farm they found a barn that had been burned and a house that had been broken into. A soldiers sword and breastplate lay in the courtyard and there was other evidence of a recent fight. A spined devil was lurking in the loft of the barn but it flew off when it discovered the adventurers poking around. The bodies of two of the six soldiers who had been sent there to investigate were found behind the barn being picked by crows. They boarded up the house and spent the night. During the night the soldier bodies were carried off by a pack of wolves.

The next day the made it to the next farm and found an unharmed barn but a house which had been destryed by fire. As they were approaching they were attacked by a pair of owlbears who rushed out of the trees. Uthrid and Rudy were mauled pretty badly but everyone survived and the owlbears were killed. Inside the house they found three soldiers who had died in the house fire. They assumed the devil was behind the attack and the owlbears had been attracted by the smell of death. They went back to the timberers and warned them about the devil. Their next plan was to head back to Fort Dolor to warn them about the devil and then head to Harkenwold to find Farrah Goldleaf.

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Fort Dolor - Day Two

Theren and Rudy collected their new items from Bly Gethers the next morning. Bly passed on condolences from Gendar the Drow merchant from Thunderspire Labyrinth regarding the death of Torinn. On their way back to the Avalanche Inn a female dwarf hermit was out in front raving about doom coming to Fort Dolor. She warned that a great evil would be arroused in the forest by the timberers and that farms would be destroyed by attackers. Only one would survive the attacks and she would hold the key to defeating the evil in the forest. She predicted many soldiers would be killed and that outsiders would come to help but would bring doom to the Fort. Uthrid and the gnome joined the two former Beheaders at the Inn and they met Captain Revince.

Captain Revince appeared to be a no-nonesense officer and he assured them that things were well in the area and prospering. He expected that his employer Jonathan Steward would be visiting shortly to inspect the place. Steward was hopeful that the northeast region could be tamed and that the Southern Provinces could extend their influence and civilization into the area. Revince had heard that Adakmi was under quarentine and it had been a set back for Steward who was funding the explorers who had occupied the place. Steward was also dealing with rebuilding part of his estate which had been attacked by wartrolls.

As the adventurers were about to part company with the Captain a soldier came to him reporting trouble. Some farms had been attacked and they were bringing the lone survivor – a farm girl. Revince went out and met with his soldiers and issued orders. Then he escorted the girl back to the barracks. The adventurers interupted him and volunteered to help. He was sending soldiers to investigate the two farms and he asked the adventurers to check out the timberers nearby because he heard some of them had been attacked as well.

The location the adventurers were to investigate was a day and a half away. On their trip Theren scouted ahead and witnessed a patrol of soldiers – 4 human, 4 dwarf with 2 dire boar on chains questioning Garesh Vren. Vren looked like he had a rough time out alone in the wilderness. After a short talk Vren was handed a parchment from the lieutenant leading the soldiers and they shook hands and departed.

At nightfall, Uthrid took the first watch and woke the others after a couple of hours because he realized someone was trying to sneak up on the camp. Three black angels emerged from the trees surrounding the camp and a human addressed them. The human was Nevern. Nevern had been travelling with the Beheaders when they became trapped in the Pyramid Of Shadows. He said he was surprised to see them after nearly two years. He thought he was rid of them and their meddling. He wanted to question them about Syn Tallow and condemned their dispatching of the Hand Of Naraash. They truthfully told him they knew nothing of the tiefling wrlock, whom they had watched the black angels kill. Nevern was not satisfied with their answer and wanted them to lay down their weapons and surrender to him for questioning. When they refused he ordered the angels to attack and he slipped into the trees and mounted his horse.

The adventurers held off the angels and destroyed them and also managed to knock out Nevern and capture him. The last angel retreated to Nevern’s horse and tried to wrestle a book out of one of the saddlebags but Rudy killed the angel before it could escape. The book was very old and bound with iron locks with magical runes. It was the book the angels had taken from Watcher/Syn Tallow. The adventurers went back to their rest with plans to question Nevern in the morning.

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Uthrid Ragnarson

Rudy and Theren talked to many of those socializing in the bar room of the Avalanche Inn. They bought the room a round of drinks as Uthrid Ragnarson and a gnome entered. The gnome was inspecting a curious quill which had been picked out of the soldiers neck after he rode into town, dazed. The two joined Rudy and Theren at their table and they traded tales of their adventures.

Uthrid had travelled up to Fort Dolor with his older brother Ragnar Ragnarson. The two soldiers of Sosh were looking for their younger brother, Erthic, who was only a boy but had been plagued by dreams which called to him to search out the forgotten kingdom of his ancient ancestors. The boy had run away from a good home before ever formally training and serving his four years in the military as was customary of all youths born of Sosh citizens. The two brothers had followed weeks later after returning to Sosh at the request of their father. Ragnar had remained in Archertown after the summer festival and Uthrid had been finishing off his military service working for Captain Doegan in Bridgeblock. Captain Doegan got his orders directly from Makkas Day the renowned Serriff of Bridgeblock.

Erthic had been plagued by dreams calling him to the wild lands of the northeast. He believed his ancestors were heirs to a forgotten kingdom called Acedia. He had left word that he was going to find the ruins of that ancient civilization. Ragnar and Uthrid had followed his trail to Fort Dolor and they had followed the road that ran along the river into the wilderness. The two brothers had stopped to fill their water skins. The road had gradually worsened the deeper they travelled into the wilderness and the forest’s twisted trees thickened. It was eerily quiet and the horses were nervous. While Uthrid calmed the horses Ragnar filled the skins. Suddenly, Ragnar cried out. Uthrid ran to his aid. A black hulk towered in the place Ragnar had been standing. Arms and shoulders rippling with thick corded muscles held Ragnar up nine feet in the air. The powerful arms ended not in hands but in three blades as long as swords and these pierced the dying body of Ragnar. A huge black skull rested atop the creatures shoulders and it screeched a bone chilling sound at Uthrid. Quills shot from the creatures neck and struck Uthrid. He fell back and scrambled up the riverbank back toward the horses looking back at the monstrosity as he fled. The beast flung Ragnar’s corpse free from his appendage using the blades on the end of it’s other arm and the body twisted in the air and landed in the water in two pieces. The creature disappeared in a wink of the eye as Uthrid gathered the reins of the horses and leapt upon his mount. Then the creature reappeared at Uthrid’s side and the soldier dug his spurs into the horse and it sprung away. A powerful arm swung through the air where the horse was a moment before and a blade from the appendage tore through Uthrid’s red cloak. Another arm slammed into Ragnar’s horse and Uthrid was forced to release the reins rather than be pulled from his horse. Uthrid lowered himself in the saddle and road hard, the terrified screams of Ragnar’s steed rang in his ears until he lost consciousness. The next thing he knew he was standing on uneasy legs next to his horse outside Fort Dolor while a gnome picked a quill out of his neck.

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The Avalanche Inn

Rudy and Theren sat in the Avalanche Inn drinking. They had acquired rooms and were going to have to wait until the next day to receive their order of equipment from Bly Gethers. Pet-Ah had departed to find Captain Revince and possibly join the soldiers stationed at the fort.

Oeserd Emiro, a dwarf sat by the fireplace drinking mead. Tattoos decorated his face around the eyes and black feathers were woven through his hair. He wore a battle axe on his belt and a pair of ravens embossed the collars of his armor. Earlier, he had been speaking with some men-at-arms arranging an expedition into the wild to a rumored monastary of the Raven Queen.

A young lady called Riss sat at a table by herself. Her straight, brown hair was cut short. She had freckles on her nose and large, innocent brown eyes. Her clothes were a plain wool robe and worn boots which looked too large. She had a large book opened in front of her and she sipped on a small glass of high potency grain alcohol.

An elf, Lukylyl Austy, sat at a game of stones with a dwarf named Relwar Tor. Over their game of stones they were engaged in a good natured debate about the frontier. Luk, the chainmail clad elf, punctuated his points with quotes from the teachings of Avandra while the dwarf, Tor, pounded his fist on the table and backed the priests of Erathis who preached about taming the wilderness and building empires.

At a table nearby, a gnome called Emo entertained a rough looking dragonborn called Vizifen. Viz wore hide armor and carried a great sword across his back. The gnome drank hot chocolate and joked with the dragonborn using hand puppets. Occasionally, the dragonborn would listen in to the conversation between the dwarf and elf. He would then scoff and take a large pull of his ale.

Ina, a pretty elf maiden in snug leather pants and jerkin flittered around the room talking to everyone except the gnome, who rolled his eyes when she stopped by to comment on the dragonborn’s strong shoulders. The gnome shook his head in disbelief when the compliment enticed the Vizifen to order a lager for Ina.

The door to the inn opened and a human warrior in scale armor with a shield and longssword entered. The shield was emblazoned with the symbol of the City of Sosh, a Lion’s Head. The warrior looked weary. Some blood flecked his face and neck and his red cloak was torn. Behind him a gnome wandered inside while inspecting a large quill. The gnome’s hair was arranged in a spiked line down the center of his scalp with the sides shaven and covered in tatooes.

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