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Catt’s 4E: On! To Gardmore!

August 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Previously in Winterhaven…

Having defended Winterhaven Keep from the Iron Circle’s seige, Lord Padraig sent the heroes to Albridge to recruit reinforcements. They made their way beneath the castle, through the tomb of Prator (a Wandering Warrior who was thought to be mythological), and emerged near Albridge – which was also occupied by the Iron Circle. Through stealth and disguise, they met with Dar Gremath, the stable manager, and Reithann, the druid. While the heroes followed Reithann’s advice and won aid from Bran Torsson’s soldiers and the Reedfoot halflings (by defeating bullywugs) and the Woodsinger Elves (by defeating Yisarn, a skeletal mage), the stubborn Dar Gremath liberated Albridge at great cost to the resistance. The resistance army then began open warfare with the Iron Circle entrenched at Winterhaven. When Dar Gemath was captured by Nazin Redthorn, the Iron Circle leader, the heroes infiltrated Winterhaven castle under cover of a supply cart. They gained the mess hall, ambushed the elite guard and systematically eliminated the sentries. They then assaulted the Great Tower itself and freed Lord Padraig from its dungeon. After a furious battle with Nazin Redthorn and his bodyguard, the heroes prevailed – but recovered only Dar’s head.

The Heroes begin this session at Level 4 / 5177 XP

And now…

Having  retaken the castle, the people of Winterhaven were quick to bolster and re-occupy it – while the heroes settled down to a well-earned rest.

In the wee hours of the morning an alarm rose from the courtyard. The heroes found Father Zachary and his acolytes desperately enacting rituals to keep something confined to the chapel. With little information, the heroes entered in, found it wholly desecrated, and the headless form of Dar Gremath on the altar. Though the demons had found some means of summoning Dar’s headless spectral form to do their bidding, the Heroes stayed the demonic incursion from a dark portal in the loft. After the fight, upon the altar near the body of Dar Gremath, they found an ivory card depicting a Knight. Later Father Zachary confirmed that it was token of great power – and manifest evil.

The Heroes attain Level 5 / 5500 XP!

The following day, Lord Padraig awarded the Heroes official status as the “Defenders of Winterhaven” and privately expressed his concern that Winterhaven was still in jeopardy. He bid his Defenders to pursue the retreating Iron Circle mercenaries toward Gardmore – and report back their strength and numbers.

“While imprisoned I learned that the orc raiders supporting the Iron Circle are using the ruins of Gardmore as a lair – your ‘visit’ there from Albridge confirms it. lf I could, I’d raise a militia to root them out of their holes and put them to the sword… but alas my men are needed here to defend and rebuild. So in lieu of the militia, I’m once again asking for your help. To start, I’d have you to go to Gardmore and find out as much as you can without provoking them – as complete a picture of their lair and defenses as you can – and bring that information back to me.”

A grand feast was then held in their honor, and, ever humble, Finneal returned honor to the adoring populace. During the procession and reception in their honor, the Defenders gathered word of Gardmore…

From the elf queen, Eriyel: “A few months ago I welcomed travelers from our distant kin in the Feywild – an elven knight named Berrian Velfarren, his sister AnaLastra, and a small entourage. They had been traveling for seven years in search of their father. We fed them and sent them on their way with blessings. Last night I received a message from their home of Mithrendain asking for news of their travels. Berrian mentioned Gardmore Abbey. Please, as you travel in the Nentir Vale, send word if you encounter them. And tell them they are missed.”

From an aging dwarf, Sergeant Murgeddin: “Aye, I fought at Gardmore all those years ago. I stood with the forces of Fallcrest at the summit of the temple mount, and terrible things I saw, too. I watched Lord Markelhay, who was the great-grandfather of the current lord, disappear into the catacombs beneath the temple. He was clutching the ancestral sword of his line, the sword of Aranda Markelhay, called Moonbane. I don’t know why he went down there – he never did emerge from those catacombs, and neither did the sword, so far as anyone knows. Imagine what Lord Farren Markelhay would give to have that sword back in his hand! It’d be like the rebirth of Nerath, I tell you. Almost like we had an emperor again.”

From an exotic merchant, the Lady Alira Vond: “As you may know, in later years the knights of Gardmore became overzealous crusaders who killed innocents and plundered sacred sites. Don’t get me wrong – they started off as well-meaning champions of truth and justice, but with power came greed and corruption. Believe me, my ancestors witnessed their rapacious ways firsthand. Now I just want to recover the items they stole from our lands – two in particular. One is a silver dagger with a large amethyst, deep purple in color, set in the pommel. The other is a sort of rod or scepter crafted of adamantine. Bring these items to me, and I’ll pay you well.”

Traveling to Gardmore, the Defenders found the walled abbey as they had before, swarming with orcs and worse. But to the south, amidst the welcome cover of an almost primordial overgrowth, they saw a watchtower and a breach in the wall. Rather than take the gate house, the Defenders decided to take a walk on the feywild side. Suspicious of the imposing watchtower, they entered through the breach and found themselves at a font surrounded by high elves at camp – their leader was Sir Berrian Velfarren. After building an uneasy alliance with the distrustful elves, Berrian entreated the Defenders to aid in the search for his sister, AnaLastra, who had gone missing.

Upon finding a ruined cottage, the Defenders investigated and cleared it of two owl bears. Among rusty gardening tools, they found ancient leather parchments establishing an inheritance of land within the grounds of the Abbey for the high elves.

After a rest at the font, the Defenders drank of the refreshing clear water and were granted a vision from Gardmore’s past – and a boon. They then set out toward the temple mount.

Through the dense undergrowth, they stumbled across a grove of nymphs – but were able to tear themselves away from the lovely temptresses. They continued on toward the temple proper and came upon a ruined bell tower. As luck would have it, they almost literally ran into an elven maiden who was pursued by displacer beasts (and dire stirges). They were just able to rescue her and found it was indeed Berrian’s lost sister, AnaLastra. Electing to stay far from the nymph grove and return to the elves by an overgrown trail, the Defenders now escort the maiden home.

The Defenders end this session at Level 5 / 6320 XP (1143 XP this session)

Gardmore

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