Scales of War
Den of the Destroyer
The group returns to Overlook to find their services are in need. After meeting with the blond bearded Elster Strifeminer they are told of a kidnapping committed by the Lost Ones. An eye witness Raylor Stonelock relays the tale and volunteers to help with the rescue effort. It seems that the woman kidnapped was a messenger from Brindol who was looking for the group. Against Overlook council Brindol asks that the group be the only ones to investigate and attempt to rescue Alys before the deadline is up. They only have six hours to find the Lost One’s hideout before they kill her.
They head to the streets looking for information which leads them to the clean sheets where the proprietor is smuggling poison and selling it to the Lost One’s. Thanks to some loud distractions provided by Raylor and Far’el which keep Yerrin Dalovoy (the owner) busy, Therandil and Phi are able to sneak into his office.
There they find his secret stash of poisons and a list of buyers after examining the list they have Phi attempt to put the word out to Szagyn that they have his poison. They then head to an abandoned building in Blister know to be previously occupied by Lost One’s.
Must listen to recording to fill this in
They follow the person into Nine Bells and as they do the storm that has been threatening rain begins, he eventually leads them to an abandoned temple of Pelor. They then bust their way in and find Alys bound and gagged under a hole in the roof with water pouring on her. Szagyn, his lackeys and a few attack dogs reveal themselves after trying to hide behind the buildings crumbling walls. They put up a good effort but the party’s superior tactics overwhelm the underboss.
They take Alys to an inn to recover where she relays her original message about Sertanian asking for their presence in Brindol. She can’t say why but can only stress the elder’s insistence that they come. They agree and feel after a day’s rest Alys will be well enough to travel.
They next morning they head out on the Dwarf road, that evening they rest in the town of Old Den. They spend the next night camping in the Westdeep forest. It then takes them two nights to travel through the rocky Wyrmsmoke Mountains.
The next day as they reach the point where the Dwarf Road meets the Old North Road at the foot of Lake Restin, they encounter a band of soldiers on patrol. They are briefly detained for questioning but with Alys’ credentials the soldiers are quickly put at ease. The leader of the patrol identifies himself as Zoram Splintershield, a dwarf whose folk dwell in the foothills of the Giant’s Shield. He and his troop are patrolling the roads around the lake and the Black-fens.
Zoram tells the group that in the past few weeks, there have been a number of unprovoked attacks and abductions in the north part of Elsir Vale. Though patrols like his scour the roads in search of these bandits, they have so far come up empty. What’s most concerning is that the abductions seem to be perpetrated by gnolls, who have traditionally stayed well clear of the vale. He bids them a safe journey to Brindol, but warns them to keep a wary eye out for any trouble.
They then get on the Old North Road and head to Drellin’s Ferry which takes another day. They then travel northeast along the now Dawn Way, they take their time preferring to sleep in beds so they rest in Terrelton, Nimon Gap, Talar, before finally arriving in Brindol late in the evening.
Alys directs them to the Hall of Great Valor but they find that Sertanian has already closed up for the night. This annoys Raylor who feels anyone making such a request should be available at a moment’s notice. Alys directs them to the Silk and Spoon and takes her leave, she must make her report on her activities.
They next morning they make their way into the Hall where the find Sertanian hard at work cleaning once he sees them he thanks them for coming, especially to a request by someone they haven’t even met before. He appears nervous and locks the front door before directing them into the back room. There he pulls back a sheet and reveals the reason for their summons, he explains a sword which never has show any sign of magic throughout the years has begun speaking!
It had asked for them specifically and after introducing itself as Amyria it explains what has caused her to awaken and why she needs their aid.
Decades ago, a race of monastics born of the Elemental Chaos established a fortress in Elsir Vale. These were the githzerai, who lived secretly in their remote outpost before suddenly vanishing. Their Fortress of Graystone was well hidden, and remained uninhabited for long years.
“Some months ago, Fortress Graystone was invaded and claimed by a pack of gnoll mercenaries calling themselves the Wicked Fang. Their leader, a sadistic follower of the demon lord Yeenoghu, has begun to send his raiders out into Elsir Vale and beyond. In recent weeks, this gnoll chieftain Fangren has managed to open a conduit of power to Yeenoghu’s realm in the Elemental Chaos. He plans to claim some small fragment of the demon lord’s power, transforming himself into an exarch of the Beast of Butchery. It was the creation of this conduit that awoke me from my age-long slumber.
If Fangren completes his ritual, demonic forces will have gained a foothold in the mortal realm. But this can be fortuitous for us as the conduit to the Elemental Chaos can be manipulated. Through a ritual that I will provide to you we can harness the conduit using it to free me from my current form, restoring me to my rightful body, allowing me access to the rest of my fractured memory lost over my many years of sleep. This is the boon that I pray you grant me. Bring me to Fortress Graystone and free me from this prison.”
She attempts to answers the group’s questions most notably:
What will the ritual you are giving us do?
“The ritual will free me from my current form, restoring me to my rightful body. I can say no more than that. Though I am granted the power to speak to you, my memory has been fractured by long years of sleep.”
Why does the ritual have to be performed in Fortress Graystone?
“In opening the conduit to the Elemental Chaos, Fangren unwittingly set the stage for my restoration. The ritual will alter the conduit such that it can channel energy from other planes to fuel my transformation.”
Can you tell us what we will find at the fortress?
“Alas, I cannot. When the rift was opened, Fangren’s thoughts and plans came to me as in a dream that woke my own mind. I have not seen him since, and my spirit grows weaker with every hour that passes. Before long, I fear that my voice and thought will be lost once more.”
Before they can ask their next question the Hall is attacked a group of Humans and Halflings who are attempting to set the place on fire. The group rushes back into the main room and put out the flames before they can spread. Meanwhile the attackers make their way in and seem to be trying to capture the group as opposed to outright killing them.
Again the party’s tactics and overall strength overwhelm the force and they quickly fall under their might. The last one screams out “Forgive me Fangren!” when dealt a death blow. As the group recovers their energy a well armed Elf appears introducing himself as Gilgathorn, he explains that he was passing through town and saw the signs of battle. Not wanting to get involved he waited until the battle seemed to die down before investigating. He further explains that he travels in seedy circles and has heard of a bounty that has been put out on a group that matches their description. They immediately feel suspicious, how convenient that he was nearby, but didn’t act to help them, but they thank him for the information.
They return to Amyria and Sertanian and after discussing how to get to Fortress Graystone they agree to take her and put a stop to Fangren’s plans. But before they leave they visit the town council hoping to double dip, since they are already going to stop Fangren’s kidnappings why not make a little extra coin. They are led to councilmember Eoffram Troyas who agrees to pay 500gp for each Brindol citizen they can safely return he also will speak with neighboring villages about a possible reward for the return of any of their citizens.
Now they feel ready to set out and head towards the Giantshield Mountains, the trip is pretty uneventful and they make good time although Therandil feels that they might be being followed the rest feel he is just being paranoid and should lay off his pipe.
As they reach the entrance they definitely sense a trap Far’el and Therandil easily spot signs of creatures attempting to hide behind the large statues on the edge of the steps. The creatures are revealed to be gnolls when they begin shooting arrows at the group. Surprisingly one of the statues comes alive and begins attacking Raylor!
The group overcomes the gnoll forces and the Stonewalker Spirit before it can possess another statue. They feel it best to attempt to assault the fortress the next morning, they make their way back into the mountains choosing to camp in a well hidden spot and are not spotted by the patrols of Gnolls throughout the night.
They next morning they make their way in through the giant double doors where they find a pair of gnolls examining two of the five glowing portals in the octagonal shaped room. One escapes and the group converges on the other but moments later more gnolls appear from the other portals weapons in hand. After a fierce battle the gnolls are overwhelmed one gnolls can’t even make his escape attempt before he’s knocked unconscious. After a few minutes they revive the gnoll and attempt to make him talk, they don’t like his thinly veiled insults and kill him. But as he said Far’el is able to disable the runes after a careful examination.
They travel into the portal they believe will take them towards the hostages, it leads them into a hallway with steps that lead down and around a corner. Therandil and Phi quietly move ahead and eavesdrop on a conversation unfortunately they don’t understand a word that’s being said but they do understand the tone; it appears an argument is being had in the next room. They relay the information to Raylor and Far’el and then they all attempt to quietly inch forward. Unfortunately their armor isn’t the quietest and they clank their way forward alerting whoever was in conversation.
With the element of surprise lost they abandoned stealth and meet the gnolls head on. Phi and Raylor position themselves in the walkway allowing Far’el and Therandil to attack free from retaliation. This takes a toll on the front liners but they aging prove too strong for the gnoll forces. A search of the many rooms reveals two unconscious humans and a dead body.
The captives have no knowledge of the gnolls operations or plans. They are all from different areas of Elsir Vale, and they have no idea why they were kidnapped by the gnolls. Each is a person of some importance— Lord Asher Skyhook a wealthy landowner, Bhintel Fielderson retired sage. The body was a curate at a temple of Pelor though they forgot his name or which town he was from.
They are in failing health but after talking with the party and eating the food and water they provide feel they have enough strength to flee the fortress.
With the captives taken care of the party ventures north deeper into the fortress, after following the hallway they come to another set of doors Therandil quietly opens one and spots a large hyena at rest with a gnoll sleeping next to it, a large basin behind them collects water diverted from the waterfall.
They send Phi in hoping to slay them hyena outright he manages to kill the best but it lets out a blood-curdling scream as it dies alerting the sleeping gnoll. The element of surprise lost the group rushes in to help Phi, but soon the grinding noise of gears turning from the waterfall signals a change in the room. The floor reveals a hidden channel in which water is now being rushed though forcing each combatant to choose their spots carefully. A pair of hyena’s and riders reinforces the first gnoll, but again the party’s might is too strong and they succumb to the well executed strategies of the group.
After disabling the waterfall mechanism the group heads west down the corridor and comes up against the scene the gnoll described earlier a door is barred and writing is etched into it. No one can read it but its message is clear “do not enter”. The group figuring that something the gnolls are afraid of could be beneficial to them unblocks the door and head into passageway.
They are confronted by creeping darkness and fog that lies low in the room. Far’el light another sunrod and spots what once must have been an altar it now is covered by massive cobwebs and dust the group keep look while he examines the altar. Therandil spots a strange sight; the fog on the other side of the room appears to be forming some type of humanoid figure.
They quickly decide to shoot it before it forms completely unfortunately the arrow flies right through. The figure forms and although it has no discernable features they realize it is not pleased.
They are quickly confronted by more figures that take shape out of the fog and are fighting back-to-back against the shadowy creatures. The creatures’ attacks hamper the group and Therandil even was forced into one of the fogs origin points. Although they had feared they had no bottom he finds himself in a ten-foot deep pit. He decides to make to best of it and gathers his strength before climbing back out.
The remnants of the long gone githzerai are handily defeated by the group, they count themselves as lucky, the resistance they have come up against so far has been tough but not overwhelming. But feeling their strength waning they opt to bar the door as they originally found it hoping the gnolls won’t look in as they try to rest. They arrange a watch schedule to keep one person alert while the others rest but the toll the many battles has taken on their bodies is too much and most succumb to exhaustion before their shift is up. Luckily they remain hidden from the gnolls and are able to get a full nights rest.
They now are ready to press on and travel back to the fork point and follow the other path it leads to a set of doors on the other side they hear the sounds of weapons striking but not quite the sounds of battle they realize it is the sounds of training as the weapons are most likely striking practice dummies.
Again they employ brute force bashing the doors open, before them is a whole squad of trainees led by a gnoll wielding a wicked looking longsword and a crimson cloaked figure.
Phi using the surprise rushes in to attack, his plan seems flawed as the trainees rush to attack him swinging their greatswords overhead. Of course his plan is truly revealed when Far’el unleashes an attack that blasts away many of the gnolls surrounding Phi. Therandil goes after the gnolls who went to attack from a hidden corridor. The leader and the newly revealed shadar-kai warrior prove the most difficult but Raylor’s unrelenting pressure and all their tactics prove too strong and they again find themselves victorious. <>
As they take time to examine the jagged longsword it seems to be permanently stained with blood. Raylor recognizes the blade as crafted in the Dwarven tradition only a master craftsman would be able to forge such a blade. Far’el senses the magical properties is exudes could only be bestowed by way of a blood ritual most likely a ritual involving death. Looking at the design Phi is reminded of a blade he once studied that blade was known to have reveled in the blood of those it had slain it was a part of a great massacre. After hearing what the others have said Therandil thinks the blade was modeled after a blade that brought great calamity on a group on his elven ancestors. Phi impressed with its possible pedigree decides to wield to weapon.
They only have one way to go forward and they follow the passageway to the north as it leads downward. As they continue down the steps they hear a deep pounding coming from ahead and writing begins appearing rough fifty feet down the steps. Therandil spots some hidden runes and after some discussion they send Far’el ahead to investigate. He creeps forward and after a quick look is able to disable what his discovers is a hidden trap. Immediately they hear the sounds of stone scraping against stone as up ahead the large double doors that lead into the next room swing open.
They move in and are confronted by a huge circular chamber with a fifteen foot dais in the center atop it Fangren stands center with a pair of disciples at his side. At the foot of the dais a pair of what can only be described as a horrible cross between a wild boar and a hyena look primed to attack. Around the dais humanoid figures stand with vacant looks on their faces these must be the other captives now victims of Fangren’s experiments and rituals.
Fangren turns and addresses the group:
“Welcome, I see my wicked fang proved no match for your might, their devotion to Lord Yeenoghu was weak! And I knew no bounty hunter would be strong enough to capture a group such as you. But at least I thought they would buy me more time.
But it matters not I’ve always been able to bide my time, I played my part to Sarshan, that wannabe warlord. He had no idea what I could do while pillaging the vale for him. The fool deserved that knife in the back! How dare he think that we gnolls could be controlled like those idiot goblins. And his ahem “successors” Modra & Leena the fools! So eager to stay in my good graces sent me that blade and warrior a lot of good they were. They can’t even keep track of the loyalty of the men they managed to keep after their coup.
It was the will of Lord Yeenoghu who blesses us in our victories and now after far too long I am be able to properly take my place in his holy army. You should all feel very privileged to be here at this momentous occasion. Lay down you weapons and I promise to make your deaths quick and relatively painless.”
That doesn’t go over with the party and they prepare to strike, Fangren halts the ritual and refocuses the energy and through the planar conduit, a massive, clawed hand of primal elemental energy reaches out primed to strike.
The conflict is one for the ages with Fangren and his allies using all of their most powerful abilities to their advantage. The disciples were able to attack from a distance scorching the group with bursts of fire and necrotic energy. The party had to pull out all the stops Therandil’s Feyjump Shot proving extremely advantageous instantly teleporting Fangren from the top of the dais into the thick of battle. Each member used all their abilities to help to turn an extremely overwhelming fight into one they could overcome. As the dust settled and the last gnoll began to escape, a figure from appeared from the main entrance a visibly excited Gilgathorn brandishing a hand crossbow.