While the evil Sharran priest Kalarel is the evil mastermind behind the threat to Winterhaven, the true terror is what he intends to do. Kalarel intends to break down the barrier between Faerun and a pocket of the Shadowfell where a Shadow Dragon of immense power was imprisoned centuries ago. A dragon that, according to local legend, should have been long dead.

You first learned of Shadraxil from a book owned by Bairwin Wildarson. A book hidden within a secret room in the temple he had built beneath his shop. A temple devoted to the secret worship of Shar, Mistress of Night. The book speculated that the death of the great shadow dragon, Shadraxil, was in actuality a ruse meant to deter those who would seek to unleash the beast.

Later, Valthrun the Sage was able to tell you much more about the legend of Shadraxil:

Shadowfell Keep, as folks call it now, was not always known by that name. It seems that this name arose only in the past century from people’s fear of the plane through which the dead travel. Not so long ago, yet beyond the memory of most, the keep was known as Keegan’s Keep.

Stories tell of how the lord of Keegan’s Keep, Sir Jerold Keegan, became a crazed lunatic and slew his family and friends, forever cursing the place. However, the truth of the story is much more tragic.

Sir Keegan was a renowned hunter of dragons. Thus, when the great wyrm, Shadraxil, a shadow dragon of particularly ill temperament, began to plague Cormyr, it fell to Keegan to come up with a way to defeat the beast.

The knight lured the beast to the keep, and there, he managed with sword and sorcery to occupy the creature long enough to perform a ritual to trap it away in a place of shadow. That would have been the end of the story were it not for the terrifying power of Shadraxil.

Incensed by his defeat, the wyrm poured all of his malice into revenge against the knight who trapped him. Such was the dragon’s power that even from beyond the Shadow Rift, he was able to deceive Keegan into believing his friends and family were conspiring against him. Eventually, the knight’s mind snapped.

The author of the historical treatises speculates that he suffered paranoid delusions, for Keegan went on a rampage through the keep, killing his wife and comrades before eventually a grievous wound drove him to flee into the keep’s crypts. It’s not known what happened to him
after that.

Cormyr’s leaders, fearing that Shadraxil might continue to wreak havoc upon those stationed at the keep, ordered the place destroyed and its secrets hidden. They slew a juvenile shadow dragon and created a false burial site, all in an effort to conceal the truth—that Shadraxil still lives, waiting just beyond the rift for an opportunity to have vengeance upon those who did him wrong so very long ago.

Whatever activity is occurring at the keep, it can surely mean ill for Winterhaven and those of nearby lands.


Ascendants Rising - A Forgotten Realms Campaign Torgaard