Ascendants Rising - A Forgotten Realms Campaign

10th Flamerule, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One

Morning of the 10th Flamerule, we set off in search of the people of Winterhaven, taken by slavers of the Blood Reaver clan.

While trailing the Blood Reaver slavers, around noon, we come to a spot in the road where there’s evidence of a scuffle. Looks like a few villagers managed to escape and run into the wilderness, half a dozen hobgoblins in pursuit, but at least one of the villagers was killed before he made the woods. We follow their trail to the NE.

Thranduil falls into a small gorge, into a huge growth of manar mormitasse ; Blackhanded Bliss. We managed to pull him out before he chokes on the plants deadly pollen.

Come to a clearing and find several trolls feasting on the corpses of a couple hobgoblins and at least one human, probably one of the escaped villagers. We slay the trolls, and once again follow the trail, but find evidence that more trolls have dragged off one or two villagers to a cave at the base of the Thunder Peaks.
Enter the troll cave and find more trolls, apparently led by some kind of bizarre troll shaman. We drag the trolls back into a chokepoint, and defeat them.

The troll shaman has painted strange symbols into the cave wall in blood, but none can decipher them. By the looks of the hoard and detritus strewn throughout the cave, the trolls have been here for some time. We find a great deal of treasure and many magical items and armor. We also find two villagers: Etavia and Jaskur Windersson.

It is dusk, and we decid to make for the road and our horses. The sun will be down when we reach them, but time is of the essence.

We ride half the night to deliver our freed captives to their home in Winterhaven. It is midnight. We are exhausted. We tell Padraig of our findings, and retire to bed.

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9th Flamerule, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One

Return to Winterhaven only to learn that the village has been attacked by slavers of the Blood Reaver clan, led by the hobgoblin Chief Krand! The Blood Reavers were mentioned in the note found in the crypts below Keegan’s Keep.
Chief Krand’s Letter

Something like 30-40 men, women, children of Winterhaven and outlying farms have been taken as slaves by the Bloodreaver clan.

Koji informs Sister Linora of the fall of Thunt Beltbreaker. She’s a hard woman, but clearly even she is heartbroken by the loss of the young dwarven priest. Koji vows to return Thunt’s body to her and their people.

Met with Lord Padraig and Darius Greene
Darius Green wasn’t too happy that the mission fell apart before it even got started. He hired you to do a job, and you failed to get it done. Doubtless, he questions your competence, perhaps even wondering if the intelligence he’d received on your exploits wasn’t a bit exaggerated.
He didn’t seem too annoyed that Crassif was dead (your failed Insight rolls didn’t tell you much beyond that).
He was definitely interested when he found out about the shadar-kai, and the inference they made about being sent by somebody in Netheril (failed Insight rolls by the party didn’t give you much on specifics as to how exactly Green felt about it). In a way, this kind of got you off the hook with Green as far as the job he hired you to do, as he all but forgot about it when mention of the shadar-kai and a possible link to the Shadovar came up.
Green wanted you to return to Shadowfell Keep and find out exactly what is going on. What were the shadar-kai doing there? Are there more of them? Were they sent there by the Empire of Netheril? Were they sent by someone else? Lotta questions here.
Last session, the party seemed united in its opinion that rescuing the innocent farmers and townsfolk of Winterhaven that were taken by the Blood Reaver Clan as slaves was top priority.
Green disagreed and inferred that if Netheril has taken an interest in the gate at the bottom of Keegan’s Keep (aka Shadowfell Keep) or Winterhaven, then they represent a far greater overall threat to the village. He insisted that a return the gate room at the bottom of the Shadowfell Keep crypts to determine what exactly the shadar-kai had been doing down there was critical.
Zekknar, Koji, and Reardon made some heartfelt and compelling arguments to Darius Green in favor of rescuing the people of Winterhaven first. Your initial assesment of the man is that he was just another cold hearted business man, but your powerful words must’ve reached him. He eventually agreed that the people should come first.

At this point we brought Thranduil, Dalsein, and deGrey into the story. Dalein came to the tower in search of Valthrun and his library, though he did not speak of exactly what knowledge he seeks. Thranduil, the elvish Paladin of Corellon, met deGrey and Dalsein on the road, but has not stated his goals (you get the feeling that, for the moment; he searches for a cause more than anything else). You were surprised to learn that Padraig had sent for deGrey, a noble and an officer of Cormyr’s Purple Dragons, when the troubles with Kalarel first began (just as he had sought aid from adventurer’s such as yourselves). Duty to king and country had delayed deGrey’s arrival until now.
PICTURE of Dalsein
PICTURE of deGrey
PICTURE of Thranduil

After the meeting with Lord Padraig and Darius Green ended, another assassination attempt was made on the party, and even its new friends (Thranduil, Dalsein, and deGrey).
It didn’t feel like Thranduil had a reason to stay in the tower, since he was only really there to accompany deGrey and Dalsein, so he took a room at Tohnii’s place (The Wrafton Wrest).
We decided the two nerds (Dalsein and Zekknar) would hit it off right away, having a shared interest in the Art (the word wizards in Faerun use to refer to arcane magic) and in exploring the knowledge within the tower, so we kinda said that they probably ended up talking and pouring through ancient tomes for half the night, so Zekknar would likely have invited Dalsein to use the bed in the library.
It turned out that Tybalt deGrey, a nobleman and Swordcaptain of the Purple Dragons, and Padraig knew each other from long ago. Their families were apparently old friends from Cormyr. So deGrey stayed at Padraig’s estate.
That night, members of a monastic order devoted the evil goddess Shar, known as the Order of the Dark Moon; attempted to assassinate everyone at that meeting! Thranduil as well. Note: We didn’t play out attacks on Zekknar, Reardon, etc, but they were attacked as well.
The leader of the Dark Moon monks was named Riven, and he faced Koji. Riven knew of Koji. He grew up in Baldur’s Gate as an acolyte in his evil order, brutally murdering random innocents in the name of Shar, Goddess of Darkness, Lady of Loss.

PICTURE of Riven, Martyr of the Order of the Dark Moon

Riven also mentioned that this attack on the party was a mission his Order was sent upon by someone, though he did not reveal who. He had no idea Koji, a near victim from his past, was one of the party members until receiving intel on his targets. But when he learned of Koji’s presence, he was quite eager to complete it. It seemed that in Riven’s mind, Koji’s death was like an unfinished vendetta that he’d carried for years.

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8th Flamerule, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One

We awoke the next morning, within the crypts beneath the ruins of Keegan’s Keep, known as Shadowfell Keep.

Shortly after, a group of humanoids approached us outside the room we had stayed in. They seemed to come from deeper within the catacombs, from the stairs to the west.

The group turned out to be shadar-kai, denizens of Netheril or the Shadowfell itself if you believe the stories. They approached us with words of peace, but it was only a ploy, allowing them to get close.

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Their leader, the shadar-kai witch Varracia, spotted Crassif Artoniss within our ranks. Crassif seemed fearful, and had been trying to hide his identity beneath the hook of his cloak. Verracia spoke:

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Crassif Artoniss. I had never thought to see you again. Netheril has a bounty on your head, but of course you know that. In fact, there is a bounty on all the members of your pathetic little band of mercenaries.

She rakes each of you in turn with her now furious gaze, but lets it rest once again on Artoniss;

Prince Clariburnus will be pleased! So few of you remain. Why I’d heard you died at the Keep when the Citadel of the Raven was laid waste, but I had my doubts. And here I find you with our quarry no less.

But enough talk! The noses of the so-called ‘Heroes of Winterhaven’ will do for collecting the bounties that have been put on their heads, but I think taking you alive would be ohh so much more pleasing a gift to the Shadovar.

The shadar-kai attacked. It was a hard fought battle, but Tymora was with us this day. We defeated the shadar-kai, but feel certain much of it had to do with Lady Luck.

Netheril! The Shadovar sent these Shadar-kai assassins to kill us! But on whose behest? And why? The Empire of Netheril is a land of Shar worshippers. Everyone knows this. Is there a connection?

The shadar-kai seemed genuinely surprised to find us. And they came from deeper within the dungeon, so they may not have followed us here. They may have been here the whole time.
We decided to plunge once again into the depths of the dungeon beneath Shadowfell Keep, in search of answers.

Fear grips our hearts at the thought that the shadar-kai may stood before the now closed gate to the pocket dimension of the Shadowfell in which Shadraxil was imprisoned. Zekknar says he is certain there is no way they could open the gate. We hope he’s right. We set out for the gate at once.
No sign of anything living within the dungeons until we reached the temple room with the well that led to the gate room. Within the temple, standing before the altar upon which Kalarel and his priests slew so many innocent souls, their blood poured into the well to fuel the evil ritual below; was Kalarel and his underpriest. But not Kalarel. Kalarel had been transformed… into a mummy. His underpriest; a foul rot grub infested zombie.

Thunt was overcome with rage at the sight of the plague of his people standing before him once again, and worse; now an abhorrent abomination, the antithesis of Chauntea, the Earth Mother, a goddess of life, health, and renewal. The dwarven Cleric leapt into battle with little thought to the danger.

Moments after the fight began, a half dozen or more wraiths rose up through the well from the gate room. We are out-numbered!

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Thunt Beltbreaker, Priest of Chauntea, our friend; has fallen.

We are beaten. We could not withstand the cold fury of the wraiths. We fall back to the stairs, hopeful that we can flee to the surface.

The sellsword Crassif Artoniss fell to the wraiths, though none of us will mourn his passing.

The corpse of our friend lies below. Thankfully, he was not slain by a wraith and therefore did not become one himself, but his body is surrounded by the undead.

Barely escaping with our lives, we decide we must return to Winterhaven, to regroup and consider our next move.

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7 Flamerule, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One

Kenkumage
The party set out on its quest to purge Sessrenglade of the undead that have haunted its ruins for so long. And in so doing; once again open the Sessrendale Road for trade with the northern Dalelands and beyond. A move that, if Darius Green’s forecast proves accurate; would bring great prosperity and growth to Winterhaven.

Accompanying you on this journey is Crassif Artoniss, the guard captain of Darius Green’s merchant coster. Darius insisted that Crassif accompnay you on your journey to ensure the accuracy of your bounty counts.

You’d been no more than an hour outside town, when you were ambushed by an all too familiar foe: kenku’s. The kenku had concealed themselves behind trees and bushes on either side of the road. A kenku mage had even taken up position on a nearby hillock, so that he might lob ranged attacks upon the groups heads with impunity (or so he thought). The attack was made all the more disturbing by the fact that just as the battle began, you all clearly heard Ninaran’s voice calling from the tall brush to the east side of the road. A taunting call to “Koooojiiii!” A call that a kenku later in the fight mimicked. You’ve known of ravens trained to mimic simple words or phrases, perhaps these bizarre creatures posses the same skill? Or maybe it really was Ninaran? But even if it wasn’t the elven huntress, how would the kenku have known her voice? How could they have duplicated it so clearly? And worse yet; how would they have known to taunt the monk she had killed, surely intent on separating Koji from his companions, just as she did on that fateful day?

The Sun Soul monk might have entertained the idea of answering her call with a kick to the face, and almost charged headlong into the brush to deliver the message; but thought better of it in the end when he was suddenly surrounded by kenku from both sides. A few stinging slashes from the kenku daggers, and Koji invoked the power of his magical gi, and teleported himself clear of the kenku warriors and formed up with his companions for the battle to come.

The battle was hard fought. Nearly a dozen kenku assailed the party from all sides. Koji the Monk, Zekknar the Wizard, and Thunt Beltbreaker the Chauntean Cleric all suffered serious wounds at one time or another during the pitched battle, and thankfully the Great Mother answered Thunt’s calls for aid at every turn. Praise be to the Grain Goddess and her generous bounty!

As the dust settled, you couldn’t help but wonder if this was a bandit attack or something more? The first time you encountered a group of kenku they ambushed you then as well; intent on looting what was left of your corpses after an owlbear had had its fill. The tactics are certainly consistent. So is this some new threat in the area? Is there some group of kenku bandits holed up in the Semberholme? Or was this premeditated? Is this retribution for the deaths of the kenku that tried to murder you when you fought the owlbear?

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26 Kythorn, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One (part 2)

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The night passes uneventfully, if fitfully; as you ponder Darius Green’s offer. There’s much to consider.

On the one hand, you cannot help but feel very grateful to the man. If it wasn’t enough that he brought you Evan Brightborne, a man that could raise Koji from the dead; the merchant then went on to cover the cost of the resurrection! It’s said the Tymora’s Luckbringers often bring succor to those who brave the wilds in search of adventure, asking nothing in return; but still.

If that wasn’t enough, when the merchant arrived at the tower the next day for the meeting he had requested; he came with a job offer.

The House Veruna Trading Company is expanding, and the Old Sessrendale Road could be a key trade route. As it stands, that haunted road hasn’t been used much for more than a century by anyone other that the very brave, or the very foolish. If you embark upon this quest, and succeed; opening the road could bring a great deal of wealth and commerce to Winterhaven. But certainly it is not without risk. Fighting a few undead in Shadowfell Keep was one thing. You go to purge the ruins of an entire town, possibly an entire Dale!

Before retiring for the evening, Zekknar did some research in the library:

In the Sessrendale War of 1232 DR (current year is 1479 DR), Archendale defeated Sessrendale. Brutally. The armies of Archendale burned the village of Sessrenglade to the ground, and went on to salt the earth of the vale for miles in every direction; to prevent resettlement.

So effective were the heinous methods of the Swords of Archendale, not many beyond Deepingdale even remember Sessrendale ever existed. Those that do, often call it something other than Sessredale: they call it The Dead Dale. While that name itself may have originally derived from the desolate lands of that once lush valley, over the years it has come to signify something even darker. Perhaps it’s not so surprising that, after such horror; the dead of the village of Sessrenglade rose from their graves seeking retribution. And they seek it still.

If the Old Sessrenglade Road could be reopened, it could potentially cut a tenday or more from caravans running along the Moonsea Ride. Not only that, it could provide a major trade route linking Eastern Cormyr with Highmoon, and beyond. Winterhaven would likely become a popular caravan stop along the way.

Darius was offering a reward for your quest as well. Maybe “bounty” is a better word? For every undead you kill, he’ll pay you 10gp. You have no idea just how many of the walking dead live amongst the remains of Sessrenglade, but if it’s anywhere near as many as you suspect; that could be a profitable arrangement indeed!

To assist you in your quest (and to keep tabs on just how many undead you kill), Darius insisted that one of his mean accompany you. Crassif Artoniss, the captain of his guard. The battle scarred veteran spoke very little in your meeting.

Finally, the merchant offered one last prize to sweeten the deal, though not directly: knowledge of treasure within the ruins. Green’s assistant, Niles Lawson, told you of a wizard of Sessreglade who, legend has it; died in the Sessredale War.

Iounstones

This wizard was said to own no less than four of the legendary Ioun Stones. Niles even claimed that one of them was reputedly a Jet Black Ioun Stone. If so; an artifact of great power.

If I recall correctly, opinions varied on this one and perhaps need to be explored further when you have your follow up meeting Darius Green in the morning:

  • Reardon seemed excited about the prospect of doing battle with something; anything! I think he was eager to accept Green’s contract, but was open to the idea of negotiating.
  • Zekknar also seemed interesting in taking up Green on his offer, but definitely wanted to re-negotiate the bounty.
  • Koji, ever impartial in matters concerning material gain, seemed eager for adventure but was (of course) disinterested in financial recompense.
  • Thunt on the other hand had strong, even belligerent opinions about this whole deal. The dwarven priest felt that opening this trade route would one day corrupt this tiny village.
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26 Kythorn, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One (part 1)

Tohnii2.JPG

Winterhaven’s surprisingly bustling and enthusiastic Market Day came as a bit of a surprise, you suspect not only to yourselves; but perhaps to the community as well. The East Way is open once again, free of the kobold tribe and their banditry. With the (relative) safety of that all important link to the outside world, to Highmoon and points beyond; commerce has been reinvigorated in this small frontier village.

It’s been more than a few rides since Winterhaven has seen such a thriving Market Day, and it brought with it a deluge of new arrivals.

At least two of Highmoon’s major merchant companies showed up for Market Day. Typically Silverhand House or Andelmaus Logging would simply send an advocate of their respective costers, along with a laborer or two and a handful of guards. These representatives would conduct simple transactions: Pickup a shipment of lumber cut from the Semberholme forest, or perhaps a couple wagon loads of Winterhaven’s agricultural goods, things of that nature. But today, the merchants handling this territory for each of their respective companies was on hand personally. Presumably to asses the state of Winterhaven, their investments, and their future business prospects in the area.

One new merchant house had also arrived in Winterhaven: the House Veruna Trading Company. You know very little about this merchant company. You do know that the merchant Darius Green is their representative in town. You bumped into him while strolling through the market. He was on his way to “an important meeting”, but he thought it fortunate that he’d bumped into you, because he’d wanted to introduce you to a friend of his: a priest of Tymora named Even Brightborne.


Summary of New People, Organizations, and Events

  • Tohnii Calandra the Bard – Tohnii had been staying at Wrafton’s Inn before it burned down in the attack by Kalarel’s hobgoblin and undead forces. She had been plying her trade as bard for some time before the attack. Either she had become fond of Winterhaven, or perhaps seeing a business opportunity; Tohnii purchased the burned out plot from Lord Padraig. She quickly began building a new inn. You heard a rumor that she is of noble birth, and the the money she raised to build the inn is an inheritance.
  • Tilman Glithrambor – Hunter/Furrier. Misanthrope that lives on the edge of town. Seemed strangely on edge when the party visited him on the way to Ninaran’s cabin (Tilman being her nearest neighbor). You mentioned Tilman to Thair Coalstriker, who didn’t know too much about the old man. He said Tilman himself claimed he was once a Ranger of some renown. A hero even. He sure didn’t seem like one. He warned you to stay away from Ninaran. That she was dangerous.
  • Orinos Surefoot – Merchant of Silverhand House, of Highmoon. Orinos is no stranger to Winterhaven, but isn’t exactly a frequent visitor either. When you first happened upon Orinos, he was arguing with a local Winterhaven resident; Jakk Arvidson, a local carpenter and woodcutter. You didn’t catch what the argument was about, but Jakk excused himself when the party approached. Orinos has heard of the party, and mentioned that in addition to visiting the willage to re-establish business ties; he wanted to meet the heroes responsible for reopening the East Way. You also noticed a half-orc guard of his, casually watching over Orinos. Presumably his personal guard? Or perhaps guard captain?
  • Jakk Arvidson – Carpenter, woodcutter. Jakk’s lumber mill is on the edge of town. He and his sons provide lumber and carpentry service to local residents, as well as trade with Andelmaus Logging and Silverhand House. He and his family also make some fine, high quality furniture. The mill is the largest in the area. It would seem that he’s doing quite well for himself (gossip), and its no surprise; considering he such easy access to the Semberholme forest.
  • Tolbin Fiedlerson – You didn’t get a chance to talk to Tolbin, but you noticed him in conversation with Tohnii over some documents at the building site for the new inn. Tolbin is a merchant with Andelmaus Logging, out of Highmoon. While Arvidson Lumber can obviously provide lumber, the inn is a fairly large project; so perhaps Andelmaus Logging is supplying the endeavor as well?
  • Darius Greene – Merchant captain of House Veruna Trading Company.
  • Even Brightborne -
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25 Kythorn, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One (part 5)

Winterhaven’s Market Square is transformed!

market1.jpg

The first thing you notice is that someone is rebuilding Wrafton’s Inn. When you left, the black skeleton of the once warm and cozy tavern were strewn about the foundation, piles of burnt debris throughout. Almost nothing of the immolated and ravaged inn remains. The charcoal beams and soot have been cleared away. The foundation has been scrubbed and repaired in spots, and sturdy new oak walls have already been framed. Even now several men clamber about on the joists of the framed ceiling, while others shuffle through the chaos of lumber, masonry, and building supplies. Peering through the lattice work of framed walls between you and the back of the building, you see more workers doing masonry work on what appears to be a wine cellar, as they rise in and out of view from down the freshly laid stairway. One of the workers spies Thunt atop the wagon and gives him a friendly wave.

But the banging cacophany of hammer falls slowly falter as all eyes turn towards the wagon and the somber crowd following it.

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You also note the foreman of the site, pouring over several pieces of parchment atop a makeshift table, look up in wry amusment. You’re maybe not surprised to find that apparently the owner of the new inn is Tohnii Calandra, the Bard from Arabel. She meets your gaze with a half-smile for just a moment, and then cranes her neck past the brightly dressed human merchant standing next to her, to see over the wall of the wagon.

She raises an eyebrow and glances over at an elf leaning against the keep wall to the east. The leather clad elf brushes a lock of long black hair from his face as he peers at the back of the wagon.

Tohnii and the elf exchange a look, the elf shrugs with apparent disinterest, grabs his unstrung bow from where it leans against the wall, and walks out the gate.

Only then do you notice the wolf. The raven black wolf lying near the wall rises, and your eyes widen at the size of the thing. Three feet tall at the shoulder, nearly six feet long from nose to the end of its thick tail, its baleful pale green eyes meet yours just before it trots out the gate after the elven ranger.

The market square is a jumble of stalls, wagons, and stands, made all the more cramped by the numerous piles of lumber stacked around the construction site and the burned out Smithy to its west.

All throughout, the chatter, laughter, shouting kaleidescope of color; provide a backdrop to the busy market.

Villagers have their wagons filled with goods, doing business from the tailgate. Others (more successful?) have stalls here and there, the wares of their trade hanging from the walls or laid out on wooden countertops. Still others make do with a few boards draped across a couple barrels or boxes. Goods for sale from Villagers: corn, cornmeal, wheat, flour, barley, herbs, flowers, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, sugar beets, sorghum syrup, molasses, lettuce, eggs, jerked beef, bacon. Crafted items like candles (beeswax, tallow) and lamp oils from Brand Hurston, fine furniture made by the Arvidson’s, pottery (bowls, jugs, mugs, pitchers, plates) from Stein Monson, rugs, rope, twine, yarn, brooms Stefan White, casks, barrels, buckets by the local cooper (Belgold Cartiin), and much more.

As you look about the bustling hive of activity, you notice quite a number of new faces. Some appear to be folk from the county around Winterhaven, but many are clearly from abroad. Since making your way to the market square, you’ve noticed quite a number of armed men you can only assume are merchant guards, considering their matching tabards or clothing.

Some wear green sometimes trimmed in yellow, with a coat of arms upon their tabards of a white hart chasing a fox on a green field. Most are wearing boiled leather, and have scabbarded longswords at their hips.

Others are clad in brown, though they don’t wear tabards. Their dark brown cloaks are trimmed in green. Each has his cloak clasped with a black enameled symbol that looks like a tree.

Still others wear chainmail belted at the waist, faded and dusty white cloaks draped across their backs. Upon the cloaks; a coat of arms has been cleverly stitched and dyed. A rearing goat on a blue field, standing atop a gold scale.

And of course here and there you see one of the Winterhaven Regulars, who give you a friendly nod as you pass.

The stables are overflowing with horses. The stables themselves are full, plus the hitching post out front, and along the side of the stables is nearly packed to capacity.

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25 Kythorn, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One (part 4)

It’s well past highsun when the road finally finds its way out of the Semberholme. The creaking racket of the wagon and the clop of your horses hooves on the hard packed dirt of the Old Sessrenglade Road are an almost comforting drone as you approach Winterhaven, but you’re be definitely glad to be back home.

The last few days have been eventful, to say the least. Thunt’s blessings have healed the deepest wounds, but the aches and bruises of combat still linger. The small village with its sturdy walls, the fields of corn, wheat, and barley; all a welcome sight.

You squint into the distance, towards the village, at the bright splash of color at the foot of the low hill leading to the main gate. As you draw closer, you’re surprised to see that there’s a score or more of wagons, stands, and tents clustered about the road leading into the village. Then you remember: it’s market day. But why are there stands outside the village walls? You also see a couple of wagons that appear to be loaded with lumber.

As your wagon draws near, you recognize a few villagers, who in turn give you a friendly wave and a shout. But you also notice a number of new faces. Some look like laborers, others; craftsmen perhaps. You also see men and women here and there that appear to be guards or mercenaries.

A number of campsites surround the makeshift exchange, the mouth watering smells of cooked sausage and stew make you all the more anxious to be back home, within the tower.
Suddenly a woman screams, followed by several shouts of dismay as the folk nearby see the body of Koji Dawnbreaker, lying in the bed of the wagon. They crowd clamors about you, jabbering with dismay as you make your way toward the gate.

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25 Kythorn, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One (part 3)

The Death of Koji Dawnbreaker, Sun Soul Monk.

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25 Kythorn, 1479 - The Year of the Ageless One (part 2)

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There’s little to do on the road, so the party spent the trip home getting to know their new companion; Reardon. The Weaponmaster was curious to hear the tale of the Heroes of Winterhaven from the heroes themselves, and they happily obliged. They told the fighter of their quest to save Winterhaven from Kalarel, the dark Priest of Shar. They spoke of their raid on the kobold’s lair, and of Ninaran’s deceit. Of Bairwin Wildarson, the cult leader, and the secret temple below his shop devoted to the worship of the Lady of Loss: Shar. When the party mentioned that Kalarel, Bairwin, and Ninaran were all working together to bring about the fall of Winterhaven, Reardon asked what had become of the elf huntress Ninaran? Sadly, while the adventurers were within the catacombs of Shadowfell Keep, in pursuit of Kalarel; Ninaran killed Valthrun the Sage during a raid on the village, and escaped. She had not been seen since.

Once the subject of Ninaran had been broached, questions were asked and few could be answered. One thing Thunt knew, was the general location of Ninaran’s cabin. He knew that it lay somewhere to the northeast of Tilman the Furrier’s cabin. As it happenend: the trail leading to Tilman’s home was just ahead.

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Tilman Glithrambor was an old recluse that lived on the edge of Winterhaven’s community. Rarely seen in town (and never at temple), Thunt knew little of the “nervous old man”, but it seemed wise that he be the one to speak for the group when they encountered him.

The furrier was ill at ease with the arrival of the party. Thunt’s earlier description of the old man hit the mark, as his frequent darting glances along the path the party had taken to reach his cabin, and even into the woods beyond; seemed to indicate he was indeed nervous about something. When asked about Ninaran, Tilman claimed he knew nothing of her whereabouts, and warned the party that she was dangerous.

The eccentric hunter’s behavior and the prolific number of hides he was in the process of tanning seemed suspicious to the party, so they decided to do a little detective work. After Thunt negotiated a deal wherein Tilman would skin and tan the young green dragon for the party, they set off for Ninaran’s cabin. But once out of sight of Tilman’s home, Koji doubled back to get a closer look at what the old man might’ve had in his home.

The party suspected that perhaps the furrier was hiding something, maybe even Ninaran. Koji crept behind Tilman’s charnal house of a cabin, trying to get into a position to peer through a window into its rank interior.

From the Sun Soul monks position outside the window, nothing seemed amiss. The one room cabin, while filthy, appeared fairly ordinary. There didn’t seem to be any evidence that anybody other than Tilman had been living there for quite some time.

Koji silently made his way back to the party.

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