White River

The Druid Assault

While keeping an eye on Lucan Aldovar, Ubada caught wind of a plot against the baron. He didn’t get a lot of details, only that it was going to occur that very evening at the Castle itself. Ubada immediately set about with Grai to try to root out Aldovar and take him into custody. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be found. As the sun set, Ubada and Grai returned to the castle. Once there, they were assaulted by druids who where silently coming over the walls with unnatural speed. They killed some, but not before others had open the castle gates to packs of wolves and warbands of human barbarians. They fought in the castle yard until they saw signs of fighting in the Baron’s manor itself. When the went to investigate, they found the great hall ransacked and ruined, with plenty of signs of combat but no bodies. There was blood though, and Ubada, Grai, and some other guards they grabbed followed the blood trails down to the cellar, where they found piles of bodies and a strange ritual sacrifice in process. A pair of wolf-men had three bodies hanging by their feet from the ceiling, their throats were cut and the blood was filling a stone box below them. The heroes killed the wolf-men and investigated the bodies. A few in the pile were still living, including the Baron’s daughter,Ariana Winterstone, and the apothacary Allonwye. The Baron, however, along with the captain of his guard, were among those already sacrificed and exsanguinated. They busied themselves getting help from upstairs and getting those still living to one of the barracks above. They found a hidden trapdoor leading deeper, but when the place started to lurch and rumble dangerously, with cracks appearing in the floor and walls, they ran up the stairs and out of the building. The entire manor collapsed into a massive sink-hole shortly after they emerged from it. The fighting appeared to be resolved in the castle yard, so they gathered some remaining troops and escorted the injured to the Hill where they could be better taken care of. On the way they were attacked by and had to dispatch a number of human townsfolk. The whole town appeared to be in turmoil, and there were signs of fires, pillaging, and fighting in the streets. The Hill was in better shape, and various nobles and Tiefling mercenaries were busy trying to improvise defenses and organize the inhabitants. After dropping off the injured, The heroes started back to the castle, only to encounter on the road the last tattered remains of the castle garrison. Undead had swarmed out of the sink-hole where the manor had been and utterly overwhelmed the guard. Virtually all had been killed. Ubada lead his companions toward the castle, defeating one band of undead near the walls, but when he saw how many were manning the walls already, they turned back to the Hill.

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The Trouble With Druids

With the map Lucan gave us, we tracked down the Druid Alek Grimbeard to his lair. We discovered a cavern in the base of a steep hill.

In the shadow of that hill was a circle of stones around which a clump of the savages were performing one of their unholy rituals. One of them escaped into the cavern while we finished off their companions.

He came back with one of their cheif men, who demanded with the voice of authority to know what we thought we were doing.

Pieter, the commanding officer of our band, made our baron’s claim that Alek Grimbeard had slain Lord Alvin Wouter, the Sage of Drakeford. The cheiftain called Grimbeard out of the cave with a messenger. He did not deny the claim, but rather asked us if it was not in open retaliation for the slaying of one of their number: the mad druid near whose hut the knights had found the alien stone?

Pieter admitted that it had.

We were then made to tell what our baron would offer them in compensation. The Druid sent us back to Drakeford with the message that if we did not give them the stone that they would retaliate for our murder of their number.

The Baron and the knights determined that we should return and try to bargain with the Druids. We would not return the stone to them, it was too dangerous to trust to anyone else, but we might be willing to study it with them.

We returned to the Druids’ Cave along with Thalion a half elf priest of the storm god Kord, whose mother Allonwye was the Apothocary of Drakeford, and whom the Baron’s daughter had brought into the castle to study the alien stone.

We didn’t get out of town before adventure called. Someone had rigged a wagon that had broken down in the middle of the main street with alchemical explosives. They were set off when we tried to help the farmer with his wagon.

The farmer, his two childern, and a local man who had joined in to help were incinerated in the blast. We all managed to escape the blast with minor burns, but were set upon immediately after by armed and armored men in masks and a human sorceress. The sorceress called up a blast of flame from the earth but we managed to avoid serious injury. She fled after Erdan hit her with two arrows. She hadn’t gone far before the third felled her.

The largest of the masked men wielded a greataxe, who rained down mighty blows first on Faral‘s then on Thalion’s shield. The two knights finished the rest of the assailants. Then, with the help of Erdan’s arrows they helped Thalion and Farall take down the man with the axe.

Their assailants were clearly hired human mercenaries, all carrying matching belt pouches containing 100 gold pieces each. The man with the axe, however had a tattoo of the old (Human) Nerathian kingdom on his shoulder.

Immediately we thought of Lucan Aldovar, the self-proclaimed human “noble” whom we had intimidated for information at the Slumlord. We returned to the Baron asking for permission to raid Lucan‘s compound in town, which Ubada was keeping a watch over. The baron refocused our attention on the Druids however, saying that we didn’t need to open another front of conflict.

When we returned the the forest cave we were greeted by one of the Druid chieftains. We told him that the stone was a dangerous Far Realms being. He seemed confused, unprepared for what we had told him. He agreed that he would look for Alek Grimbeard and tell him that we wished to meet with him in three days time, at the place were we found the assassin’s body.

After reporting to the baron, Irann suggested that the best course of action would be to seek out after the old Knights Keep, which had been abandoned to the undead since the disappearance of Eolomune. The keep had been chosen by the baron some time ago as a strategic position which needed to be reclaimed as defense against whatever threats might come from the Bone Tower.

- Faral

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The Commander and the Slumlord
A busy day in Drakeford

We met the Tiefling commander. Though she was loath to give it, she told us that the man who killed Alvin Wouter had been hired by Alek Grimbeard. She made us pay for it, of course. We also learned from her that Grimbeard had been contacted at The Slumlord, a bar near the bridge that is run by Marshal Wouter, the eldest son of the recently departed Sage.

We checked out The Slumlord, and ran into a handful of interesting characters:

Luusi – A lovely barbarian woman who was visiting Drakeford.
Asellas – The nephew (by his mother) of Erin Louter. Visiting family in Drakeford and away from his business in Aulin’ Sepuliah. He had no intention of ever returning to The Slumlord again.
Adrie – Asellas’ wife.
Their human bodyguard – Pieter
Lucan Aldovar – A self-declared Human “nobleman”. He had met with Alek Grimbeard, who we learned was a druid who lived northwest of town. He was blatant and unashamed of his dislike for “Elves”, and this clearly extended to Half Elves like myself as well. He provided us a map to Grimbeard’s place, after our “firm” persuasion, and then promised to devour us all in our sleep. (I made that last part up actually, but you could tell he wanted to.)
Benn and Samm Red, a couple of Lucan’s henchmen.

-Faral Heartwold, Bard

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Recounting recent activities

The Baron contracted a group of Tiefling mercenaries to perform a ritual so that information could be gleaned from the dead body of the Sage as to who killed him and what he had discovered prior to his death. Irann accompanied by Pieter, Faral, and Erdan went to the scene to investigate and witness the interrogation on the Sage’s remains. Once there evidence was found of the assailants entry through a window and tracks leading off into the wilderness. The Sage passed on info linking the assassin to the Tiefling outfit in town as well as more abut what the stone is and what it apparently wants.

Using the Ranger’s skills Irann and company tracked the Orc assassin to a fairy ring with a nearby pool of water where he apparently met with his demise at the hands of some Lizardfolk. Among the tracks leading from that place were some booted footprints and wolf tracks as well as the trail of the Lizardfolk. Upon determining that the Lizardfolk was the most likely suspects for carrying off the alien stone Irann (with the ranger’s assistance) tracked the Lizardfolk to their hideout. A short battle ensued where Irann and his companions defeated the Lizardfolk despite their terrible poisoned weapons and magicks. Pieter managed to present himself as a competent if not skillful warrior (perhaps he should stick to politics, says Irann). Upon defeating the scaly humanoids a search of the camp resulted in a find of the Stone in its chest undamaged or disturbed as well as some other minor valuables. A safe return to Drakeford with the Stone resulting in the Stone being more securely locked up.

After bringing the body of the Orc assassin back to the Tiefling mercenaries and questioning of their captain Irann and Faral learned that the Orc had apparently been working independently of the Tiefling organization for some time. No word as to what he was doing or for whom he was working as the assassin had been working outside of the mercenaries chain of command. Perhaps more questioning of their commander will result in better answers?

The Humanoid and Wolf tracks at the fairy circle suggests that Druids had been through that area recently (but not since the assassins encounter with the Lizardfolk). What they were doing there is uncertain but their interest with the stone as well as their displeasure with the dispatching of their fellow druid recently suggests that they may have some involvement with the assassin and could have been planning to meet and gain the stone from him.

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Irann's Story
A knight in a small town.

Irann grew up in a well-to-do household in the elven town of Woodford. His father was an influential bureaucrat and his youth was spent in relative comfort and privilege. As a teenager, Irann felt the call of military life, and chose to petition to join the Knights of White River. His parents proudly journeyed with him to the fortress town of Starhold, where they left him in the care of an old elven knight named Peren’dar Silverheart.

Eventually proving himself competent, Irann became a squire to Peren’dar; accompanying the knight on his forays into the mountains to fight the ettercap and drow. He began to fear, however, that he would never be promoted to full knighthood and became increasingly impatient with his aging mentor. Thus, when the opportunity arose to pursue a mission independently of old Peren’dar arose, Irann leapt at the opportunity.

Irann would be accompanying a young mixed blood knight by the name of Pieter to the human town of Drakeford, to reestablish a presence for the knights in a town that had once been their headquarters. Peren’dar and other elder knights quietly informed him that his true mission was to keep an eye on the somewhat erratic Pieter, who had an unhealthy devotion to the old human imperial ways (including a preference for the minor god of justice and order, Bahamut). Despite his disdain for humans and mixed bloods, Irann could not pass up the opportunity for advancement, and was promoted to knighthood before he and Pieter began their journey out of the civilized lands.

The two knights were enthusiastically welcomed by the Baron of Drakeford, an elderly mixed blood named Alistair Winterstone. The old man was more than happy to have a pair of knights stationed in his town, and Pieter set to work immediately trying to find local muscle to accompany them on the missions the old baron immediately started brewing up for them.

The first mission, which Irann proudly led himself, was to clear out a nest of bandits which was interrupting trade between Drakeford and Redhill. His support for the expedition were a pair of orcish half-breeds (Ubada and Grai) and a mixed blood drunkard named Vincent. The mixed blood didn’t survive the first ambush by orc bandits. (And a good riddance, whatever else one might say about orcs, they can hold their drink.) The did, however, pick up a replacement; a mixed blood bard named Faral who was traveling the road to Drakeford from Redhill and offered to join their “quest.”

They were in the field for most of a week, but managed to clear out the den of bandits, which was holed up in an old, ruined temple of Bahamut. The bandits were mostly orcs, but they were lead by a Hobgoblin commander and supported by a disgusting and unholy necromancer who had corrupted her sacred eladrin blood with vile rites and disturbing practices too horrible to dwell upon, much less mention.

The bandits had shared their den with a feral minotaur and had a lich-knight of some sort locked in a closet. Either by themselves probably would have been enough to wipe out his team. The lich-knight identified himself as Eronald and insisted that he was the heir of the Kingdom of White River, and that he intended to rebuild it as an undead kingdom. He displayed a sort of court-formality and negotiated with “his fellow knight”, offering that there were places in his kingdom for the living. Irann refused to join his cause, but managed to convince him to demonstrate his prowess by taking on the minotaur. Eronald handily defeated the minotaur, but was sufficiently injured by the encounter that when he laughingly “dueled” Irann and his party, they managed to defeat him. As Eronald (and all his gear) disintegrated into a whirlwind of dust, he merely laughed and promised to see Irann again.

After returning to Drakeford and reporting to Pieter and the baron, Irann took it upon himself to refurbish and rededicate the abandoned temple where the bandits had been staying. He found an unexpected ally in this from the local, mixed blood nobleman Erin Louter, who supplied servants and materials for the effort. This project has been Irann’s primary focus between missions. He really has no interest in getting involved in the tribal human politics the way Pieter seems to be doing.

While Pieter played at his politics, and spend far too much time with the baron’s unpleasant daughter, Irann took his warriors to investigate an unnatural blight on the crops of local villagers. Fighting their way through unusually determined giant rats, they managed to trace the problem back to an insane druid who was directing the rats and apparently causing the blight from his a little hut in the forest. The druid’s magical thorn-shot almost killed the brute Grai, but Ubada’s arrows turned the tide and they managed to overcome him.

Nearby the house, they discovered an unusual crater, in which Grai uncovered a strange green stone that emanated odd, unnatural energies. Irann had them tie a rope to it and drag it back to town, where they locked it in a metal box and asked the Sage of Drakeford to look into it for them. The sage determined that it was a shell, perhaps even an egg, for a far realms being, but wished to study it further.

The next mission, which Irann also lead, was to clear out kobold raiders from a nearby Redhill mine. For this expedition, Irann had the services of Grai (a barbarian whe seems content to follow), Feral (the bard, who finds accompanying a knight exciting fodder for his songs), and a wizard named Braudel (a mixed blood who the baron thought it would be wise to send along). Ubada, whose talents as a ranger were needed elsewhere, was unavailable to join them. It turns out that the kobolds were being led by a young white dragon. It and its priestly servants, however, were no match for Irann and his band.

Upon returning to town, Irann discovered that the Sage had been murdered and the alien stone had been stolen. The baron asked him to investigate, and suggested that the culprits were probably the compatriots of the mad druid they had slain.

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Ubada's Story
A job's a job...

Ubada was the son of a taskmaster in a prosperous Redhill mine, and cut his teeth as a mine guard. When he left home, he served as a “transporter” for a Tiefling merchant based in Craighall until too many rogues figured out who he was. Once his identity was public, he wasn’t a good operative anymore. He spent some time as a caravan guard, where his reputation helped, but he got bored with the routine. He took a brute of a young man, the barbarian Grai, along with him when he left the merchant service. He thought he was going to go loot tombs, but ended up answering a call from the Baron of Drakeford to go hunt bandits. They cleared out the nest, headed by a Hobgoblin officer and a twisted and insane High Elf enchantress who practiced necromancy (and apparently necrophilia as well). Locked in a backroom of the hideout, was a revenant of some sort who claimed to be destined to rebuild the Kingdom of White River… as a realm of undead! They defeated him (only because the knight Irann tricked him into fighting a feral minoutar), but he didn’t seem to be destroyed… only departed. He called himself Eronald, and the bard Faral has taken to singing of him as “Eronald the Undying”. Back at Drakeford, the Baron offered to put the two of you up in his barracks. You are accepting his offer… for now. The half elves around the place don’t seem to care for a serious veteran who happens to be half orc. The kid seems to make friends well though. That’s a plus.

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Grai the Half Orc Barbarian
Nothing to do. Nowhere to go.

Hailing from a “human” tribal group that dwelt near the edges of the Lizardmarshes to the northwest of Drakeford, Grai was the offspring of an Orc who had been granted membership in the tribe and a Human mother. He is accustomed since birth to distrust and being treated as an inferior. He doesn’t like it, but he is used to it. Grai joined the merchant service when his tribe was annihilated by an unexpectedly large seasonal raid by lizard folk. Grai has traveled throughout most of the civilized regions of the White River Valley as a caravan guard for various half elf and Tiefling merchants. He still has dreams about wading through slavering lizard folk quite frequently… and he often awakes from these dreams dripping blood from his mouth. Most people he knows aren’t comfortable sleeping near him.

After a few years as a caravan guard, Grai and a fellow half orc guard veteran, the ranger Ubada, set off to find their fortune as treasure hunting adventurers. That is how they hooked up with a Knight of White River, the elf Irann. The three answered a summons from Lord Alistair Winterstone, Baron of Drakeford, to clear out a band of Orc bandits who were disrupting trade between Drakeford and Redhill. The four were joined along the way by the half Elven bard, Faral. The four, together wiped out the orcs, their hobgoblin leader, and a sado-masochistic, necrophiliac eladrin necromancer who had joined them. They also encountered an undead knight of some sort whom Grai prays to whatever gods might listen is actually dead now. He is skeptical though, because disintegrating to dust while laughing and promising to meet again just doesn’t seem like a proper way to die.

Once back in town, after a week in the field, the Baron was so pleased that he set Grai and Ubada up in his castle barracks and put them on the dole. Turns out Irann was actually staying (along with his officer, a half-elf named Pieter) in the Barons manor itself and Faral was visiting his mother, on the Hill (where the rich folk of Drakeford live). Grai has gotten on famously with some of the more crass, rough and tumble of the Barons folk, though he and [[Ubada] are among only seven half orcs in the place (the other five are servants). Faral has informed him that the Baron is talking about sending them to clear out some fortification out in the sticks of the Wightlands. In the mean time though, something has been blighting crops and spreading disease among villagers, and the city council has pushed the Baron to send somebody to investigate…

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