Thorvarian Tales

Keep on the Shadowfell Pt. 3: Forces of Death

In which new heroes appear, others depart, a mentor is saved, and a conspiracy is revealed.

Karred, a dwarven priest of Mor’ug (known by many names throughout the world, Mor’ug is the dwarven aspect of the deity of death) was tasked by his church to seek out a cult of Orcus which presumably was operating in the area of Winterhaven. Recognizing that he would need assistance in his task, he hired the services of a talented Eladrin spearman named Aldreth and set out immediately. In the village, he was directed to follow a group of adventurers investigating a group of Kobolds operating in the area. He did so, arriving at the creatures’ cave lair just as Gimble burst from the waterfall concealing the entrance. Shouting that he was done with risking his life for Amnon’s stupid adventures. The tiefling tried to convince the gnome to stick around, but eventually gave up, deciding that at least now he didn’t have to sleep while holding his money pouch. It was at this point he noticed Karred and Aldreth. The two small groups decided to work together, determining that the Cult of Orcus represented a common goal (kill the undead, thwart a demon god, and get some money.) The dragonborn and the tiefling both needed to rest and tend their wounds, so the group slept in the Kobolds’ now abandoned lair, while Karred performed gentle repose and buried Enis.

In the morning, the group elected to investigate the nearby dragon burial site to try and find Douven. Upon arriving, they were surprised to see a group of humans, a gnome, and a halfling excavating the site, guarded by a pair of guard drakes. The gnome convinced the group to come down and see what they had uncovered, but the group suspected a trap and thus were not surprised as the gnome ducked into cover and the humans advanced. The battle was vicious, with the stealthy gnome and the halfling pelting the group with ranged attacks while the vicious guard drakes savagely attacked the party, but the group eventually won out, defeating the enemies and capturing the halfling. A brief interrogation uncovered the fact that the halfling and his companions were a group of mercenaries hired to search the burial ground for a non-magical mirror, presumably involved in the ritual to seal a rift to the Shadowfell. Karren grimly informed the group that Thorvar is typically a place demons can not enter directly from the Abyss, rather having to travel through one of the adjacent planes like the Shadowfell to do so. This angers the death god greatly, since the two are direct rivals. The news that such a rift was in danger of opening could mean grim consequences. Thankfully, Douven was found still alive, if a bit shaken. The group decided to travel back to Winterhaven to find out more about the keep the halfling indicated was the home to the Orcus cultists.

The group received payment from Lord Padraig for dealing with the Kobolds, and was instructed to speak to Varoun, the town sage, about the keep. Varoun informed them that it had been built to guard a sealed rift to the Shadowfell, as they suspected, and had been protected by a paladin who eventually went mad and killed his family, advisers, and many of the guard before being driven into the crypts and slain. The keep fell into disrepair and was eventually destroyed during the invasion of devils and undead during the Burning War. The people of Winterhaven, upon reestablishing their town, had elected to leave the keep alone, suspecting that it was inhabited by goblins and considering it an ill omen to even mention it.

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