To Tame a Land

Fallcrest

The adventurers had traveled to Fallcrest for various reasons. While there they discovered that common cause led them west, to Winterhaven. Before they could leave, bounty hunters looking for Vahn attacked at the Inn where they were staying. The adventurers were forced to flee to the west.

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To the West

The adventurers began on their way to Winterhaven. On route they ecountered a dragonborn named Korinna Rhogar]] who didn’t remember her backstory… The fivesome then encountered a strange man, he told them that they were important to nature and that the things they did would have large ramifications. He also told them that the Congregation of the Dead was seeking to destroy the area they were headed. Szinolil wasn’t sure but she believed the old man was in fact her diety The Great Bear; whos clergy The Coventicle of the Great Tree she belonged to. The adventurers discovered some of the history of the Nentir Vale and they discovered some of the outlying farms near Winterhaven burned and their inhabitants killed. When they arrived, they met Lord Padraig the leader of Winterhaven as well as various other people such as Valthrun The Prescient, Salvana Wrafton, Bairwin Wildarson and Rond Kelfem. Lord Lord Padraig offered them 250g and everything they found in their possession to clear out the kobolds that had been plaguing the town. He drew then a very accurate map and the adventurers set off. On the way they were attacked by a group of kobolds which the adventurers handily defeated. On their leader they discovered a necklace bearing symbols of the Congregation of the Dead.

Hunting In The Vale: The Beginnings Of A Legendary Trophy Hunter?
On our first night out from Fallcrest I spotted signs about our campsite that suggested that some great beast had been recently in the area. Naturally cautious, I mentioned it to our ranger, Miss Whiskers. She confirmed that it was likely a large male bear marking his territory. In the interests of my own safety, and liking the idea of having a nice new bear pelt (a rug perhaps? or maybe a coat?), I decided to devise a plan “to ensure our party’s safety in the night and protect us from bear-rape”. I managed to convince Kitty Kahn that with my brilliant trap making skills and her woodsy know-how, we could build a trap and lure the bear to an untimely demise. We ended up constructing a deadfall trap out of a huge dead log we found a couple hundred yards out from our campsite and baited it with the entrails of a couple rabbits we snared earlier and headed back to camp. It turns out our trap was so well made that not two hours after finishing construction and returning to the others, we heard the audible CRASH of the deadly device being set off. Erring on the side of caution, we geared up for an encounter and hiked over to our cunning contraption only to find a very large, very dead, six hundred pound bear crushed under the large log of lethality. After a brief celebration, we began the laborious task of field dressing and skinning the beast. Upon completion of our grisly task, I had a luxurious new bearskin mantle and our party had enough bear-meat rations to last us a week. Good times. I’ll have to get a smith to make me a fancy new dagger handle out of some of the bones I collected…

The Journal of Vahn Galbraith
Day 8 after my escape.

หนังสือ ความสุข
ผมอยากจะเขียนหนังสือเล่มเกินไป ผมไม่ทราบวิธีการ ผมแค่อยากจะเป็นนักผจญภัย

What the fuck?! Someone scribbled in my journal while I went to use the privy! Not sure if it means something, I’ll leave it for now and figure out who did it tomorrow…

The Journal of Vahn Galbraith
Day 8 after my escape.

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A Spy in our Midst

The party continued towards the kobold cave. En route they met an elf named Ninaran. She told them that she had been scouting the area for Lord Padraig and when the party told her they intended to kill the kobolds she dropped the hint that they might be able to take them by surprise. She then returned to Winterhaven and the party continued on to the kobold cave. There they managed to sneak up on the kobolds guarding the outside of the cave and defeated them with ease. The party then entered the cave and fought the leader of the kobolds a goblin named Irontooth. Upon being slain by a combination of fungal mushrooms conjured byEllikahn Farsight and quick manouver by Vahn, he screamed: “Gahhhh Lord Kalarel, prepare my way!” The party found a small stash of treasure as well as a dagger in the cave.

Upon returning to Winterhaven, they learned that a skeleton had risen from the cemetary outside of town but was put down by the Winterhaven Regulars. Lord Padraig thanked the adventurers for getting rid of the kobolds but seemed unconcerened about the skeleton. Almost as if he was hiding something… That night, a note was slipped under the party’s door. It read: “Be very careful, there is a spy in Winterhaven reporting your every move to the cult’s leader Kalarel. I believe the skeleton that was raised has something to do with this cult as well. Kalarel is trying to summon an undead army into the Vale and will not take kindly to your interference.”

Upon examining the letter, the party discovered that it was written by someone who knew how to write elf. This made the author likelyBairwin Wildarson, Valthrun The Prescient, Sister Linora or Ninaran. The party decided to try and find out who their guardian angel was, without attracting the wrath of the spy…

Tired.
I’ve just spent two days trekking through the wilderness to slaughter a small army of kobolds, only to come back to town and discover that it was attacked by the undead while we were out and that some cult is out to kill everyone. Wonderful. I’m now so damn exhausted that I can hardly think, let alone write so excuse me if this is brief.

After arriving at Winterhaven, (the name for this godforsaken fortified town in the middle of nowhere that we’re staying at,) the local lord, Lord Paedreg, hired our little band to exterminate some kobolds which have been terrorizing his people. We’ve since slaughtered all the little lizard bastards but during the job we discovered a much more sinister plot involving some evil cult attempting to ruin everyone’s good time. They’re trying to complete some ancient magic ritual and if completed, the magic will apparently kill everyone in the area…or something like that. In the interests of our own safety, we’re planning on investigating this tomorrow. My companions seem to be capable of handling themselves in a fight and they’ve arbitrarily put me in charge of the group’s finances so it’s not all bad. Hopefully with their help I’ll be able to stay alive long enough to formulate a plan of action against the Guild. That being said, I’m feeling nervous about getting too deep into this mercenary business since it harmful to my health despite the financial rewards… The cat girl (Elli I think her name was) has been bugging me all evening to help her write something. Apparently she was the one who scribbled in my journal a couple days ago. It turns out that she can’t read or write so the scribbles don’t actually mean anything. I’m too tired to continue writing myself so I guess I’ll humour her this time. She’s calling it her “happy book”. The following will be a transcription of Elli’s dictation to me:

Goblin!
“I dunno know how to write so I got Vahn to help me write them out, I never writed before. What a nice guy.

(that’s “written” btw -ed.)

“Anyway, today I saw a goblin! Stupid little fucker! I shot mushrooms, bees, lightening and thunder at him. I killed him good. He seemed to be in charge of the kobolds. I wonder if goblins are behind this? I’mma get ‘em good for what they did to my family. Fucking cunts. Ugh! They make me so angry! I’m gonna go kill some rabbits, I’ll see you later Vahn.
- Ellikahn Farsight’s “happy book” entry #1

…I’m not sure I ever want to do that again. We’ll see if I let Elli dictate another journal entry tomorrow.

The Journal of Vahn Galbraith,
Day 12 after my escape…I think.

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Of Spies And Allies

The party subtly asked around town trying to determine who their ally within the town was. They managed to obtain handwritting samples from everyone they knew who could speak elf. They determined in the end that the note was likely written by Ninaran. When they asked her she denied having any knowledge of who the spy in Winterhaven was. Only that there was one. The party also visited the graveyard where the skeleton was raised. They discovered red liquid in the soil in a strange pattern. They took a sample of the liquid and sketch of the pattern to Valthrun who began analyzing the soil. They also told Valthrun about the connections between the kobolds and the Harvester of Souls. He told them the history of Shadowfell Keep to the north and the story of Sir Keegan. That night, Gwendaeyn Zapherek had a horrifying dream:

“Only a few candles light the otherwise complete darkness of a room. A man stands over a crying boy. The man’s face is shrouded in darkness. You can see he wears jet black robes and wears an pendant set with azurite. He reaches down to the child. From where you are he looks to be stroking the boys chest. As your view becomes clearer. You realize the man is holding a curved knife. He is dragging the blade through the boy’s chest and the boy is screaming in agony. The boy’s blood pours down the altar on which he is laid, flowing down stairs into a vast, dark pool of liquid. The man’s other hand holds a book which he reads out of in a foul language you can’t comprehend. There is a flash of light and the room focuses. You now see a yawning portal beginning to open. The man laughs to himself. “In only a few short days the portal will be open. Soon, Winterhaven will be no more!” Your view slowly fades into blackness…"

When she awoke she told the others what she had seen and they all believed the dream to be a vision, likely of what was happening at Shadowfell Keep. They finally decided to confront Lord Padraig about what he knew about the cult. Initially he denied any knowledge but skillful wordplay convinced him to reveal that he had dealings with Kalarel. He informed the party that Kalaral had come to him several weeks prior threatanting Winterhaven if Padraig didn’t co-operate. This left Padraig in an awkward poisition as he could only hope to stop Kalarel with the help of his militia but could only rally them if he admited he knew of Kalarel’s activities. In the end, he admited to somewhat coperating with Kalarel. The only real contact they had was with one of Kalarel’s agents who would come to town with messages. Padraig admited to giving one of his men a vial given to him by Kalarel. The man was instructed to pour it in a pattern on a grave supplied by Kalarel. Padraig had no idea what this would do. The party, realizing that the main threat to Winterhaven would be from Shadowfell Keep; set out in order to stop Kalarel and his cult.

The Right Man for the Wrong Job
These last few days have been busy as hell. After a lengthy investigation our party has confirmed that there’s a cult holed up in some keep to the north attempting to complete a doomsday ritual that if successful, would threaten my continued survival. It also might kill all the people of the Winterhaven and the surrounding area but that’s beside the point. Apparently our little gang of mercenaries are the only ones who can possibly stop the ritual since Lord Padraig’s men are useless and Lord Padraig himself is a spineless fool. Anyway, I’ve just finished prepping for the journey to Shadowfell Keep and now it’s time for some shut eye. Fuck, Elli’s pestering me again about her journal thing. Ugh, alright the following is a transcription of Elli’s dictation for entry two of her “happy book”:

Nightmare!
“Today Gwen had bad dreams. She dreamed scary things like a boy dying. Oh no, I love childrens~

(Elli’s busycrying… frickin’ emo cat. I’ll wait for her to calm down. -ed.)

“Sorry Vahn, you don’t have to write that. Anyway, Gwen said that it was a special dream, a vision. I think after breakfast we’re gonna go talk to Lord Paddy and see if he knows anything more. He’s a little bit fishy if you know what I mean. Ok Vahn, I’m done.
- Ellikahn Farsight’s “happy book” entry #2

Ok, that wasn’t so bad. I wonder if Elli can even read though… Is there a point to me writing this? Screw it, I’m too tired to think about this right now.

The Journal of Vahn Galbraith,
Day 14 after my escape.

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The Decent

A Friendly Welcome

Today we descended into Shadowfell Keep. It’s a lovely place, only moments after entering we were greeted by a goblin ambush and I fall into a damn trap. In an uncustomary lapse in judgment, I had rushed ahead without checking the room only to have the floor fall out from beneath me. Not only did I forget to check for traps, I also fumbled my tumble and crashed hard into the floor a good ten feet below. Surprised that I was merely a bit bruised from such a bad landing, I considered myself lucky to be cushioned by something softer than stone or a bed of spikes. This feeling of relief quickly evaporated once I discovered my cushion was a horde of rats. Anyway, the rats were pretty pissed that I just used them as a landing pad and they immediately attacked me as a swarm. While I was busy fending off a hundreds of angry teeth and claws, up above the rest of the party was busy trying to find cover as arrow after arrow whizzed through the darkness from hidden goblin snipers. Sometime during this exchange, I managed to shake off the swarm and climb out of the pit with the swarming rats in hot pursuit. Teaming up with Gwen we attacked the vermin in a flash of whirling blades, littering the floor with bloody rat corpses. After thinning their numbers sufficiently to break the swarm morale, the remaining rats dispersed, running off into the darkness with squeals of pain and terror. Turning our attentions back on the goblins, our party counter attacked with a barrage of spells, arrows, and a well thrown dagger from me which brought down the last of the snipers.

A Short Break

After the fight we continued our exploration of the ruins. Some of the rooms showed signs of recent goblin occupation but most looked derelict and unused for decades. In one room however, we discovered another gang of the little green bastards performing maintenance on various torture devices. They were accompanied by a brute of a hobgoblin who appeared to be their leader. Unaware of our presence on the other side of the door, we took a couple moments to ready ourselves before kicking in the door.

The Iron Maiden’s Embrace

The little fucks seemed prepared for us, quickly dropping whatever work they were doing and drawing weapons. Well, most of them seemed prepared. One didn’t react in time and was blown to bits after I drove him into a patch of ridiculous exploding mushrooms that the cat girl conjured. I still haven’t really gotten used to the sight, but the other goblins seemed unfazed after watching one of their comrades get chunked by magic. In the brutal melee that followed we cut the rest of the goblins down, their blood added to the already heavily stained torture devices. Only the hobgoblin leader remained standing, but not for long. Using some of my finest techniques, I set him up with a whirl of knife thrusts and deft footwork, knocking him backwards into the open embrace of an iron maiden. Gored by the maiden’s spikes, his screams started to fill the torture room but were quickly cut off when I rushed forwards and slammed the maiden’s door closed on him. Nice.

P.s. Elli is asking me to add something to my journal again. Here is it:

Keep!
“I saw rats. I wanna eat ‘em. Yum. But they bit me. I think it was the milk I had before. I saw goblins too. Fucking cunts. I shot mushrooms and bees at them until they died. Stupid Assholes. I think one of them got tortured though… little fucker deserved it prolly. It’s also really cold down here, I wish I had warmer clothes. At least the meat we have is fresh… Shitty goblins have mouldy food, bleh. Vahn, stop writing I wanna see if I can find some milk.
- Ellikahn Farsight’s “happy book” entry #3

I’m kinda getting used to this. I still haven’t figured out why she wants it written down though if she can’t read. I’ll have to ask next time…

The Journal of Vahn Galbraith
Day 15 after my escape.

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The Watcher In The Water

Deadly Dungeon Fauna
Just got attacked by a giant blue slime thing. None of us had ever seen anything like it before. I’d heard tales of giant cubes of ooze swallowing a man whole but this was nothing like those cubes from the old stories. Damn thing had apparently taken up residence in the keep’s old well room and attacked us when we explored the room. Fortunately our blades and spells could still hurt it and after a desperate struggle and lots of pain, we destroyed it. I’m writing this down as I take a short breather but our group will soon be ready to get on the move again. I should have more to add to this entry tonight if I survive that long…

Oh, and we rescued some goblin who called himself “Splug” but he got himself killed during our party’s fight with the blue slime stuff. Poor little bugger, I felt sorry for him. Oh well, at least I’m still alive.

The Journal of Vahn Galbraith
Day 15 after my escape.

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Aecris's Caretaker

…What?
Some rather freaky shit just happened. Right after our break from kicking that slime’s ass, we had a weird attack, if you can call it that. There was this really annoying high pitched sound ringing throughout the room. Everyone passed out but me, because the ringing seemed to affect me differently. It was making me so angry, and seemed to bring about my inner powers. I fully shifted and attacked the closest person I saw. The ringing had me so angry! I just had to stop it somehow. As I was raking my claws through my friend’s body, I started to get hungry, immensely hungry. I ripped out the heart and ate it. The ringing was getting worse. I scratched at their head, and I managed to rip through the skull and started eating the brain. The ringing was still getting louder. Red started to swarm my vision and then it faded to darkness.
I awoke to find everyone passed out. I saw the blood on my hands, tasted the sickly metallic taste of blood in my mouth. I then saw what was left of our friend, who I now saw was Korinna. I walked over to the water’s edge and cleaned myself off. I then walked over to Vahn’s pack and took his journal, intending to ask him to write down what had happened. But, after a second, I realized I could write for myself. It was like I had absorbed Korinna’s abilities. So I ripped out a few pages and decided to start a journal of my own.
I think I just saw Janerris move. I might go ask her what the hell just happened.

More changes
Well after everyone woke up, I told them what happened. Vahn seemed rather freaked out, and said he had to go do something. I think I freaked him out, as he didn’t even attempt to be sly. He even backed out of the room, looking at me the entire time. Scardey cat. He’ll be back though, I’m sure. I have his journal after all. I bet there are secrets written in here, I’ll have to flip through this later. I noticed something weird after everyone was awake. Gwendaeyn’s hair looks slightly different and she’s acting very secretive. I should ask her what’s up later.
Anywho, after Vahn left, we explored the rest of the room. We found a kickass standard, which Gwen took. We also found a warhammer and a large shield. I decided I would use them both. After what happened with Korinna, I feel different. I want to be in the action, beating down our enemies with my full fury. I feel like hitting them from afar has not done me justice. I’m not sure if this is me changing, or if I have absorbed powers. I might need professional help…
Well, we’re about to head off to explore the rest of the keep, better pack my stuff.

Aecris
We wandered further down into the keep. It’s really cold down here, glad I have my new armour. We stumbled into a crypt-like room, where we met Sir Keegan, the man who killed his family in this very keep 80 years ago. He was… undead. But he was not evil. We wanted to help him, but he refused. The guilt he feels is too strong. I don’t really understand what he is, a zombie or a ghost? Anyway, he GAVE ME HIS WARHAMMER! To use to defeat Kalarel. It is beautiful…
Ellikahn Farsight, afternoon of day 1 in Shadowfell Keep

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Putting the Pieces Together

The adventurers returned to town after their first expedition to Shadowfell Keep. When they arrived, Lord Padraig informed them that several zombies had risen in the graveyard and threatened the town. The adventurers, drained from their fights in the Keep took a power nap for 6 hours. They then began another round of interrogations as to what had happened to raise the zombies. During this time, Vahn managed to steal the zombie-be-gone potion Valthrun had made. The adventurers then decided to investigate the cemetery and deal with the zombie threat. Upon reaching the cemetery, they discovered Ninaran pouring a potion onto a glowing blue symbol. As they approached, zombies rose up all around them led by a fearsome creature known as Maw who led the zombies in their assault. The adventurers handily defeated the fiends but during the fighting Ninaran had run away. They then returned to town to continue their investigation of the spy and their connections to the zombies.

Eventually they came to several conclusions:
Both Ninaran and Padraig were spies for Kalarel.
Ninaran was the ally feeding information to them.
Padraig was responsible for raising the zombies.
Valthrun was responsible for making the zombie-be-gone potion but is not guilty of anything else.

The only questions that remain:
Are Ninaran and Padraig cultists or just manipulated souls?
What should happen to them?
Who should take over as ruler of the town?

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The Demise of Kalarel

The party returned to the Keep in order to stop Kalarel. There they bluffed their way to talking with the leader of the Hobgoblins Kalarel had hired, Grom. After some skilled negotiating they learned the these Hobgoblins were mercinaries who only worked for Kalarel because of the money he paid. They managed to convince the hobgoblins that Kalarel wasn’t worth dying for. Grom agreed however after soundly beating Ellikahn at arm wrestling he wasn’t about to give up any more information. The party left them to pack up and they continued into the keep. They entered an enormous room containing a giant statue of a figure in plate armor weilding a sword. Around the room were several smaller dragon statues. Upon entering, the statues began attacking the characters who were able to destroy them without much injury. Pushing on, they encounted a room full of undead which they were quickly able to dispatch.

Drained, the party returned to Winterhaven however on the way they came across a group of hobgoblins with several prisoners. Two were merchants with their guards and the last was the giant of a man, Hogarth. Hogarth agreed to come with them to defeat Kalarel. The party then escorted the merchants back to town and they all went to bed. The next day, the party set out for what they knew would be the final battle. They entered a large temple where an underpriest and several minions were preparing for the opening of the portal. The party was quickly surrounded in a corridor however they valiantly defeated the feiends. In the room they saw a giant fountain of blood whose contents poured into a large hole in the center of the floor. Seeing that the only exit to this room was down, they grabbed hanging chains and slid down. At the bottom, they discovered a nightmare. Kalarel was in the middle of his ritual to open gigantic portal and the party landed in a large pool of blood. Several skeletons and a wight tried to impeed their progress. The party quickly split up. Janerris Helltalon knew that if she could stop the ritual, the undead they were fighting would be destroyed. She immediately took their remaining vial of zombie-be-gone-potion and poured it in a patern in front of the portal. Ellikahn Farsight and Szinolil Andrsol attempted to confront Kalarel and Hogarth held back the undead. After an arduous fight, the party managed to stop the ritual. All that was left was to deal with the mastermind himself. Kalarel teleported in front of the portal and when the party followed they discovered that a giant shadowy form within could attack them. The party fought a bloody battle at the foot of the giant portal and in the end they managed to wear Kalarel down. Seeing that he had failed, the thing in the portal grabbed Kalarel and pulled him through the portal to certain death. The portal shuddered and then utterly collapsed leaving the adventurers breathless and elated.

At the moment of their victory however, the amulets Sir Keegan had given to them shatted into a million peices. Szinolil’s however, was transformed into a heart shapped jewel attached to a silvery chain. Szinolil felt the amulet stir in her mind images of heroic deeds. Again and again she saw heroes vanquishing villains just as they had Kalarel. She also felt the amulet pulling her, pulling her to the south. That, she reasoned was where her next heroic deeds would take place. Janerris saw the ammulet but she couldn’t detect anything magical about it. Whatever it was, it wasn’t in her realm of expertise…

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On The Road Again

So long
Man, those guys in Winterhaven sure know how to party! That must have gone on for a week. The town was very happy that we had stopped the impending doom that might have descended on their town. I had some of the best milk I’ve ever had this week, and I think I remember something about a council… But enough of that. Right now we’re on the road with the merchants we saved that were with Hogarth. We’re on our way to Relkingham where there is some big faire thing going on…
Man, I’m getting really tired. I think I’ll let Janerris take over watch for the night.
Ellikahn Farsight, night of day 1 after leaving Winterhaven

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