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Session 2 Summary

Return to Winterhaven

The heroes, having cleared the kobold hideout decided to return to Winterhaven to rest, recover, and bother the locals some more. Luckily, the trip back was uneventful. Upon arriving in Winterhaven, the heroes decided to split up. Merryweather and Chase headed over to Valthrun's tower to snoop around, as they felt he wasn't being honest with them earlier. Travok and the Judge headed over to Wrafton's Inn to meet up with Mialee, the party's missing companion. Merryweather found Valthrun's door locked, so he easily climbed into a window and unlocked the door for Chase. The two rifled through the books and papers on Valthrun's desk and it seemed that he was, in fact, researching the old ruins to the north. After reading a mundane old note to Valthrun's mother, the two headed back to Wrafton's Inn.

Meanwhile at the inn, Travok questioned Valthrun about his progress in researching the old ruins to the north. However, the conversation soon turned sour as Valthrun once again asked for more time and Travok began to hint at his suspicions. At this point, Merryweather and Chase entered the inn and sat down with Travok and Valthrun. Becoming frustrated, Merryweather openly threatened Valthrun with a dagger and he became enraged. Luckily, Mialee stepped in and calmed him down with some quick and soothing words. Sensing that the party had become somewhat hostile towards Valthrun, the Judge forcefully asked them to back off. In the awkwardness that followed, Lord Padraig entered the inn and everyone immediately stood up and tipped his cap. Again, Lord Padraig seemed annoyed by this. Seeing the heroes, Padraig sat down at the table and Valthrun was off the hook for the time being. The heroes explained the kobold situation to Padraig, and he gladly offered the 140gp reward. With the dealings finished, Padraig got up to leave and Valthrun used this opportunity to leave as well, fearing that the heroes would resume the hostilities. However, this made the heroes even more suspicious, and Merryweather followed Valthrun, while Mialee attempted to accompany Padraig back to his manor house. Unfortunately, Padraig was not looking for company, but Merryweather saw Valthrun enter his tower, so he seemed to be free of guilt, at least for the moment. The heroes went to bed for the night, except for Merryweather, who once again attempted to converse with the young elven adventurer at the inn. Her disposition had not changed and Merryweather gave up for the time being.

In the morning, the heroes decided to head out to the ancient dragon burial site to look for clues as to Douven's whereabouts. In order to save some coin, Merryweather abandonded his riding dog and rode with Chase.

The Ancient Dragon Burial Site

The trip to the burial site was uneventful, as the kobold situation had been taken care of. Upon arriving, the heroes were greeted by a gnome skulk named Agrid. Agrid and his men were digging at the site and asked the heroes if there was anything in particular they came to the burial site for. Travok asked Agrid about Douven, and Agrid replied that he had never heard of anyone by that name. However, The party clearly spotted Douven tied up and gagged in a corner of the site and thus were difficult to fool. The Judge put a hand on his greataxe in an attempt to intimidate Agrid, but he was expecting violence the entire time and immediately became hostile. A fight ensued, and Agrid immediately commanded his giant lizard pets to attack and went invisible. The fight was not difficult, and the party easily overwhelmed the digging team and pet lizards while ignoring a usless slinger on the rim of the burial site. The poor slinger had zero luck trying to hit the Judge with stones and bolted when the party turned their sights on him. The party managed to subdue Agrid and question him about why they were at the site after freeing Douven. Agrid was not very willing to talk, so Mialee made some pretty dire threats and he opened up. Agrid mentioned he was under the command of Kalarel, who served Lord Orcus. He was sent to dig up a relic, which the heroes had now taken from him and he did not know what the relic was for. The heroes further questioned him about Kalarel but Agrid decided to be difficult again. Before any hero could "encourage" him further, the Judge became irate with Agrid's obstinance and struck him down, despite Chase's efforts to block the swing. Afterwards, Douven remarked, "I think we could have gotten a little more out of him."

The heroes looted the area as per normal procedure and ended up with a magical locket with protective powers. Douven claimed it as his, but gave it to the heroes in return for saving him (after removing the picture of his old-looking wife). In addition, the heroes recovered an ancient ornate mirror that did not radiate any magic, which Agrid described as the relic they were looking for. Douven decided he would travel back to Winterhaven with the heroes and stay there for the time being.

Fear Strikes Winterhaven

After returning safely to Winterhaven, the heroes noticed the town was different. The streets were nearly empty, and the villagers all seemed frightened of something. When questioned the few villagers outside were unsure of what they felt. The heroes found that Lord Padraig was locked up in his manor house and was not seeing anyone. The heroes immediately suspected treachery, as they were rapidly becoming wont to do. Mialee, using her skill with people, convinced the guards to let her and only her in. However, Merryweather was not having any of it and attempted to sneak in after her. The guards easily spotted and halted him, and Merryweather was somewhat frazzled. Thoughtlessly, he questioned how "they could let her in but not him." The guards immediately became suspicious and only a few quick words from Mialee stopped them from throwing both of them out. Instead, only Merryweather was escorted out. Inside, Lord Padraig came down to meet Mialee, and mentioned that he was in an important meeting discussing what to do about the new threat, and also that he would meet them at Wrafton's inn later.

The heroes headed over to the inn to wait and found Valthrun lounging around. Before the heroes had a chance to begin the typical hostilities, Valthrun jumped up and exclaimed that he had finished researching the ruins to the north. He began telling the heroes of the cult activity he had researched and heard rumors of, and the heroes produced the small statue they had recovered from one of the kobold ambushes earlier. Valthrun became irked and asked why they hadn't shown it to him before. This prompted the heroes to show him the letter they had recovered from Irontooth's chest, and Valthrun became extremely agitated. At this point, Lord Padraig arrived at the inn and the group decided it best to migrate to Valthrun's tower. After Valthrun had cooled off slightly, he made it clear that seeing the statue and note would have made things much easier for him. Valthrun then told the heroes the legend of the keep to the north, which he called Shadowfell Keep. The legend went like this:

"During the end of the Great Nareth Empire, Shadowfell Keep served as a bastion of defense for soldiers based near Winterhaven. It was run and maintained by a paladin named Sir Keegan. Sir Keegan was a valiant warrior and the keepw as impenetrable. However, he always felt some sort of malign influence from the keep, as he was unaware that it stood upon an entrance to the Shadow Rift. A year passed, and Sir Keegan became unable to shake off the Shadow Rift's malign influence. At the stroke of midnight one night, he went mad. Sir Keegan systematically killed nearly everyone in Shadowfell Keep before his guards managed to drive him into the depths below and kill him. It is said that Sir Keegan's remains were left there to rot and the keep was abandoned forever."

After learning about Shadowfell Keep, Valthrun told Lord Padraig about the cult of Lord Orcus that he had heard about and the heroes had found at the dragon burial site. Lord Padraig agreed the Shadowfell Keep was the cause of the unnatural fear the people felt, and that the heroes were the only hope of defeating Kalarel. He offered to pay the heroes 250gp for the demise or capture of Kalarel, and the heroes accepted. They headed back to Wrafton's Inn for the night, as they had a long day ahead of them tomorrow.

Shadowfell Keep

Shadowfell

The heroes set out once again in the morning, this time to Shadowfell Keep. The trip was uneventful, and the heroes arrived safely. Shadowfell Keep was an enormous walled fortress, but in a horrible state of disrepair. All the buildings were destroyed and the outer wall were crumbling everywhere. The heroes found no sign of life within the keep, but discovered a staircase leading underground. Mialee headed down first, at the edge of the torchlight. She discovered a small square room with a goblin guard that was paying very little attention. She attempted to kill the guard, but he was rather tough and began to alert the surrounding goblins. The party came crashing down the stairs, with the Judge leading. Unfortunately, he stumbled right into a pit trap filled with ravenous rats. While the judge fought to tear the rats off of him and climb out of the pit, the others battled the few goblins above. The goblins were outnumbered and the party quickly dispatched them. Searching the area, the party found some ratty beds and some crates filled with disgusting food. There were several doors in the area, but the heroes decided to head through a northwest passage. The heroes opened some more doors and found some more useless crates, but also found a torture chamber. Inside the torture chamber, many goblins were loitering around, including a designated goblin torturer wielding a red hot fire poker. The party easily overcame the goblins and torturer, at one point shutting one of the goblins into an iron maiden, which was very grisly indeed. During the fight, the Judge was still furious from his earlier run in with the rats and slew one of the goblins in a single blow.

Balgron After the fight, the heroes found a pitiful goblin named Splug locked up in a cage. Splug begged for his freedom, and he was just so pathetic that the heroes let him out of the cage and let him come with them. On a leash. Like a dog. Splug even offered to carry the heroes' gear, but they declined. The heroes asked who was in command, and Splug answered that a goblin named Balgron the Fat was in charge. The heroes asked Splug to lead them to him, and Splug took them through a door to the east. The heroes were then attacked by approximately 16 goblins at once! The heroes had a more difficult fight this time, but still emerged victorious. In need of a break, the heroes sat down for a rest. However, after barely more than a minute passed, Balgron the Fat made an appearance with a cohort. The heroes quickly engaged and surrounded him. Balgron the Fat, despite his apparent weight problem, was extremely nimble and the heroes had a terrible time striking "the fat man," as they chose to call him. However, Balgron the Fat faced insurmountable odds and was overcome. After the battle, the heores took a short rest and the sheer size of the underground lair struck them. They began to debate whether to stay or head back to Winterhaven for a proper rest. Next week, we will see what they decide to do. G
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