The House of ShadowLore

Douven rescued and ill omens

The next morning, the party headed south to find and investigate the dragon burial site where Douven was said to be working. Along the road south they were once again ambushed by a group of kobolds. While searching the defeated bandits, the party found an odd necklace on the body of a kobold wyrmpriest. On the necklace was a small dragon statuette carved from black onyx. On the bottom of the dragon was etched a skull with ram’s horns, which was determined to be a sign of Orcus, Demon Prince of the Undead. The party then continued on to the burial site where they found Douven being held captive by a group consisting of humans, a halfling and a gnome.

Once the dust settled from this tough battle, Douven retrieved a locket from one of his captors. From within the locket, Douven removed a small portrait of his wife, and then offered the locket (+1 Amulet of Health) to the party as thanks for his timely rescue. From Douven they learned that the group was working for someone called Kalarel and they had just recently found at the site a relic that they had been sent to retrieve. It was an ancient mirror of Nerath make. He suggested that if they wanted to find out more about the mirror, they should try taking it to Valthrun in Winterhaven. The party then returned to town with Douven where they hoped to learn more about the mirror and recover from the rough battles of the day.

Back in town, the party spoke with Valthrun who seemed troubled by what they told him and he asked that he be given time to learn what he could about the mirror they had found. At Wrafton’s Inn, Douven was eagerly spreading the word of his rescue and praising the party’s heroics. The party also met Ninaran, a female elf hunter who praised they party’s efforts and told them of where she believed the kobolds had a hidden base – behind a waterfall to the south-east of town.

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The road to Winterhaven

The trip to Winterhaven was uneventful the first couple of days. As you neared the town towards the end of the third day, the party was ambushed by a group of kobolds. After dealing with the bandits, the party continued on and arrived in Winterhaven a couple of hours later.

The gate guards welcomed the party and directed them to the nearby Wrafton’s Inn where they could find a room for the night. Salvana Wrafton greeted the party with a warm and welcoming smile, and set them up with rooms and a hot meal. While there, the party was able to meet and speak with a few citizens of note. Eilian the Old spoke readily of increasing problems with local brigands, from attacks along the roads to theft of livestock. Valthrun and Salvana both spoke of a researcher, Douven Staul, who had been working at a dragon burial site south of town, but who had gone missing for a couple of days.

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The ogre's head

The next morning the party strikes out to the south. After winding their way through the trees of Harken Forest for a couple of hours, the party crosses the King’s Road, and soon afterward, the White River. Continuing south as instructed, they soon find a quiet glade dotted with birch trees. The group surmises that this must be the Glade of Ghosts and looks around the area cautiously, knowing whether the name is simply fanciful or hints to something more sinister. However, no spooks or specters leap from the trees and they soon discover a path of crimson flowers known as Blood Lilies. The party then follows this “bloody path” to a small clearing in front of the mouth of a cave.

“Who dat be?” bellows a voice from the cave. “Smell like lunch!” A large ogre lumbers from the cave, followed by his pet cave bear and a tough brawl quickly ensues with both sides taking a beating. In the midst of battle, the ogre suddenly calls a hold to the fight.

“Hold my friends!” he says, as he casually leans on this great club. Gone is the image of a typical dim-witted ogre. Instead, you can see in his eyes a far greater intelligence than you would ever expect and even his speech is clear and articulate. “Easy Toasha” he calls out to his pet, who gives a shake of his great, furry head then rests back on his haunches and scratches lazily at his belly.

Taken a bit by surprise, the party holds their attacks; though they still stand at the ready should this prove a trick. “I am Ghultak” the ogre introduces himself. “You have shown courage and have fought well together. Always remember, that no matter how strong and capable you are alone, you must trust in each other and work as a team if you hope to survive the adventures before you.” Ghultak reaches into a pouch and pulls forth a hand-sized wooden disk and tosses it to the group. Engraved on the disk is an image of Ghultak’s head. “You have earned my token. Return with it to Daisen and Twilla, and may the gods look after you in your travels.” With that, Ghultak and Toasha turn and walk back to their cave.

With the object of their quest in hand, the group journeys back to Fallcrest where Twilla and Daisen listen to their tale over a delicious dinner. Afterwards they tell the party of recent reports of some trouble around the town of Winterhaven to the west. Eager for more adventure, they make plans to head for Winterhaven the following day.

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Quest for an ogre's head

You arrive at Daisen and Twilla’s estate at the appointed time and find that four others have accepted the invitation as well and that the five of you will form the inaugural adventuring group of The House. With the forming of this group, Daisen and Twilla send you on your first quest – to bring back an ogre’s head. The first step, they tell you, is to obtain a gryphon’s hammer from Teldorthan Ironhews.

The party heads for Lowtown to Teldorthan’s Arms where they find Teldorthan in his usual place out front, pipe in hand, chatting with a couple of locals. Hearing the party’s request for a gryphon’s hammer, he gives them an archery challenge to earn it. “If adventurin’ were easy, everyone’d be doin’ it. It takes some fortitude!” The challenge consists of chugging some strong dwarven liquor, then smashing a target at twenty paces with a “dwarven arrow”. Goriand proved up to the task and was able to complete the challenge successfully, after which, Teldorthan dug into a pocket, pulled out a gold coin and flipped it to the group. The printing on the coin showed a gryphon’s claw clutching a hammer. “Ye’ll have ta speak with Olive next,” Teldorthan tells you. “Ye’ll likely find her at the Silver Unicorn. Give her me coin and she’ll send ye on yer way.”

The party then makes their way back up to Hightown and to the Silver Unicorn Inn where they find Olive, a lovely halfling bard, entertaining the patrons. “Ah, the life of an adventurer… how exciting! But be warned, strength of arm alone will only get you so far. You must also be sharp of mind and wit if you wish to live long enough to have tales to tell!” She gives the party three riddles to solve before she will send them on their way.

“My life can be measured in hours,
I serve by being devoured.
Thin, I am quick.
Fat, I am slow,
and the wind is my foe.
What am I?”

“Until I am measured, I am not known.
Yet how you miss me, when I have flown.
What am I?”

“I am often held, yet rarely touched.
I am always wet, yet never rust.
I’m sometimes wagged and sometimes bit,
and to use me well, you must have wit!
What am I?”

Pleased with your answers, she wishes you well on your journey and sings for you a song to lead you on your way.

Following the clues in Olive’s song, the party makes their way east out of town and follows the King’s Road south along the Moon Hills. After several miles of walking south, come to the landmark given in Olive’s song. Turning east, you leave the road and travel across a few miles of open ground until you reach the edge of Harken Forest. The song suggests that by making their way through the forest, they’ll somehow earn the “cat’s meow”. So with nothing more than that to go on, the part pushed into the depths of the forest.

After a few hours of blindly tromping through the woods, with the evening shadows quickly approaching and their patience wearing thin, the party is a bit startled when several arrows suddenly whiz through the trees only barely missing people’s heads and feet. With quick scan of the forest, a shadowy figure is seen fleeing through the trees and a very feline snarl echoes through the woods.

The party quickly gives chase but finds it no easy task to track the elusive figure. The couple of times when the party loses the trail, more arrows whiz from the shadows to spur them on. Through tangles of brush, chill streams and up and over bluffs, the chase taxes the party’s endurance and determination. At last they come to a small clearing when they spy their quarry crouched upon a tree limb on the other side. Cautiously approaching, they just barely make out and avoid a concealed pit trap in the clearing. As the party reaches the tree where the person waits, she pulls aside her cloak so that the lithe form of a razorclaw shifter can be seen.

“Pitiful!” she scowls down from her perch, ignoring any questions you may have. “From here you will go straight south, across the road and the White River to the Glade of Ghosts. There you can find the trail of blood which leads to the ogre’s lair.” With a final hiss of disgust, she flips off of the tree limb and vanishes into the shadows of the night. Feeling frustrated and tired, the party makes camp for the night.

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Invitation to the House

While sitting at tavern or going about your business in town, you were approached by a couple who introduced themselves as Lord Daisen and Lady Twilla Tildenaar. They told you of how they had recently retired from adventuring and decided to settle down in Fallcrest to raise a family. They have also decided to start an adventurer’s guild called The House of ShadowLore and that they are looking for individuals to join their House. After spending some time talking with you, they leave you to think about their offer and if you decide to give it a try, to come to their estate the following day.

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