Realm Runners

CHAPTER FIVE: Kalarel and the Shadowfell

After defeating the denizens within the cathedral, they scout out the rest of the room to be sure it’s clear. The dark ripples continue to twist the dimensions around them. They notice ghostly figures, a woman and two laughing children. They locate a pit in the center of the cathedral floor that appears to be funneling blood into it as part of a ritual. 4 chains dangle into the darkness from the top. Megilwath climbs down first to see what he can find, then returns to the party to inform them of what he saw, and they all climb down together.

Within the lower level of the cathedral lies a huge portal rippling like oil with something straining to be released into the world. There is a large statue of the Dark Goddess Shar across from the portal. They encounter Kalarel who is still in the midst of opening the gateway, a Deathlock Wight, two Skeleton Warriors and a host of Skeletal Minions. Athena, Krushi and Mentathenis manage to disrupt the ritual before the portal can open and the portal implodes on itself, revealing a large cave behind. Shadraxil roars from across the Shadowfell.

The five companions then turn their efforts towards bringing down the Wight and Kalarel. The battle does not go smoothly for them, but they manage to destroy the wight despite their serious injuries.

When things start to really heat up for the party, Droggle and Splug fall into the blood pool having found their way to the others, they join in the fight. Even Sir Keegan enters the fray to help best Kalarel, though he is terribly weakened and even with the mighty Aecris Blade returned to his hand by Mentathenis, his strikes fail him. Finally, after a long and arduous battle Kalarel and his death cult are slain. The party finds a Horned Helm, and Magic Dagger +2 and a fine Elven Cloak.

Keegan notices the ghostly figures and begins to follow them up into the large cave opening.

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CHAPTER FOUR: The Dead Walk

Athena, Mentathenis and Droggle approach the graveyard as rain begins to pour. Droggle begins to get grumpy and complains about being hungry. He refuses to go forward without a warm meal and a mug of ale, and returns to Winterhaven to wait outside the gates. As Athena and Mentathenis move through the graveyards gates, they can see a strange blue glow emanating from the ground near the middle of the cemetery. Suddenly undead burst from their graves all around them and two Grave Hounds emerge from a large mausoleum, all seemingly being led by the dark haired elf from the tavern in town.

Finally arriving at the outskirts of Winterhaven, Megilwath Laress and his two friends, Krushi Thymebundle and Aces see the graveyard and the commotion within. They join with Mentathenis and Athena and help to best the undead and kill Ninaran the elf before she can escape. Upon her belongings they discover a note from Kalarel written in blood. It states that the password to access the second level of the keep is “From the ground, some magic was found.”

The 5 companions make their way back to the keep and towards the ethereal door. Along the way they reinvestigate the secret door they ran across prior but could not open. Megilwath is able to pick the mechanism and get them through. Inside they find some zombies which they destroy fairly quickly and a suit of armor that talks to them and asks of them a riddle. Upon solving the riddle, the suit of armor lights up and falls to the ground. They take the Black Iron Scale Armor +1.

Down to the second level of the keep they go. They encounter a score of Hobgoblins and a large Deathjump Spider in the first area, but are able to fend off their attacks and end them.

When the party is catching their breath, Megilwath notices something strange out of the corner of his eye. The Deathjump Spider is still moving slightly. It’s eyes look about and focus in on the drow. They begin to burn a fiery red and it attempts to stand and move towards him. It’s so badly mutilated that it can’t get far and collapses back to the ground. A gurgling scream emits from its throat and sounds vaguely like a language.

After wondering what just happened, the party continues on past a door that is boarded up and with the word “closed” written across it. They enter a room with statues and Megilwath manages to get caught in a whirlpool trap by four cherub statues. His friends manage to get him out before he drowns and they enter a room with many zombies, a ghoul and a small clay scout. The five companions make quick work of them and move through two large double doors into an expansive room filled with bluish glowing light.

Inside the cathedral area they encounter a bunch of Vampire Spawn, a Dark Creeper, three Berzerk Shar worshippers and an Underpriest of Shar.

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CHAPTER THREE: The Keep

Down they go into the ancient keep. And no sooner do they fall under attack by the Goblin residency, does Droggle fall into a pit trap filled with an orgy of rats. Athena manages to pull Droggle out while Mentathenis fends off the Goblins. During the fight Shalimar lends very little aid to the companions, and as soon as the Goblins have been felled, he turns his dagger on Athena, nearly taking her life. Droggle and Mentathenis immediately move to her aid and manage to subdue the dastardly rogue. Before he dies, he reveals his alliance with the Dark Priest Kalarel, and tells them that any attempt to stop the cult are folly.

The three continue on, and learn that goblins are abound in the keep, one of which is particularly overweight, and named Balgaron the Fat. Upon entering what appears to be a prison and torture room, they find a small Goblin by the name of Splug in one of the cells. He begs the group to free him and he would be indebted. After some debate, Mentathenis decides the small green one may be of use, and opens the lock of Splug’s cell with a key they recovered from a particularly vicious Hobgoblin torturer.

The four make their way through the upper level of the bowels of the keep and run across rodents of unusual size, chitinous creatures of perhaps normal size, a blue slime in an underground lake. Once defeating the Slime, they discover a few partially dissolved items and a message cylinder. Contained within, is a map of the location of Shadowfell Keep, and a message to Kalarel from a Chief Krand of the Bloodreavers. It is an offer to purchase any humanoids he has captured during his time in the area. Krand and his operation are looking for Slave stock. After leaving the underground lake, the four enter into a maze-like crypt filled with screaming runes and zombies, which the goblin Splug, refuses to enter and sneaks away.

Upon entering a tomb filled with sarcophagi that continually spit out armies of Skeletons, Athena calls upon her goddess Selûne for help at an alter. Hearing her prayer the legions of Skeletons are incinerated in holy fire and the sarcophagi are reduced to ashes in her light. Searching the alters in the room, they find a secret compartment which when opened, three Moon Pendants materialize before their very eyes. Undoubtedly gifts of Selûne.

Beyond the Sarcophagi room, they find an antechamber with a single coffin within. When the group decides to attempt to pry it open, the lid explodes in dust and a human Skeleton girded in plate armor and wielding a finely crafted sword rises from the cloud. Instead of attacking the party he introduces himself as Sir Jarold Keegan and warns them that the rift within the keep must never be opened and proceeds to question them, one by one to see where their allegiances lie, and to make sure they are not part of the death cult. Upon passing the undead knight’s tests, he relinquishes Aecris Longsword +1 to the three, in hopes that it will aid them in destroying the cult.

When the party continues on, they find a faintly glowing barrier which appears to block the stairs leading down to the second level of the keep. Upon it, in words that phase in and out of existence like rolling smoke, reads “Shadow seeks Shadow…” which the three agree must be the beginning of a pass phrase to unlock the magical gate. Unable to continue on, Athena, Droggle and Mentathenis decide to return to Winterhaven for more answers, and hopes of uncovering the rest of the password. When the three approach the village gates they find them closed. Several figures stand with weapons drawn on the parapet above. One of the figures, Lord Padraig calls out to the party. “We are in peril! Several villagers have disappeared, and the dead in the cemetery have risen. We fear these creatures will emerge to assail the gates and drag us all away!”

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CHAPTER TWO: Dungeons and Dragon's Bones

Athena, Droggle and Mentathenis meet a woman named Calli Staul while having drinks in Salvana Wrafton’s Inn in Winterhaven. She begs them to locate her husband Douvan Staul, who has been missing for a few days having gone to investigate a Dragon Burial site south west of the Village. They also meet up with a cloaked and mysterious fellow, a human Rogue by the name of Shalimar, who seems eager to lend them a hand in their affairs in the area.

The four make for the grave site, where they discover a Spectral Apparition of Kalarel overseeing a team excavating the site. Douvan Staul is tied up in the crater. They are attacked by two drakes guarding the area and a fight erupts, ending in the deaths of Agrid the Gnome, a henchmen of Kalarel and his team, along with the defeat of the Apparition.

They find a Cormyr Mirror and release Douvan from his bonds. After a short trip back to town, they head for the old Keep. The sky begins to grow dark and a thunder storm breaks out over head. As they descend into darkness, they find Goblins have taken over the keep as home…

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CHAPTER ONE: To the Call of Winterhaven

By her Clerical Order, Athena Nom, a Human Cleric of Selûne is asked to investigate rumors of a cult of darkness operating near the town of Winterhaven, possibly under the command of a Dark Priest Kalarel, which does not bode well for the village if true. She enlists her two friends Mentathenis Starfeon, the Eladrin Wizard, and Droggle Redaxe, the Dwarven Fighter for support and they begin their trek east from Baldur’s Gate for Winterhaven along the East Way.

After a few tenday, and nearing the outskirts of Winterhaven, they are besieged by a group of Kobolds. The three best their attackers and enter the village of Winterhaven to seek boarding and question the townsfolk. The people of Winterhaven are oddly standoffish when questioned about the area, among these is an elven woman named Ninaran who spends most of her nights at the local bar, drowning in alcohol, and the Lord of the village Padraig gives no easy information on the situation either. Upon finally receiving clues about a ruined Keep in the area, the Kobold nuisance, and a secret waterfall hideout, they set off the next day to rid the village of it’s rust scaled problem and delve deeper into the cult rumors.

Athena, Mentathenis, and Droggle make their way out of the village and are ambushed by another group of Kobolds seeking revenge for their fallen comrades. Things are looking grim until a Cougar jumps into the fray adding distraction just long enough to allow the three to finish off the rest of their enemies. After the battle, the Cougar disappears into the woods as quickly as it appeared. Searching the Kobolds hey find an obsidian figurine around one of their necks. It bears the mark of the Queen of Darkness, Shar.

Reaching the waterfall, they make quick work of the Kobold miners and guards outside and sneak behind the falling water to discover a lair. Inside, there are more Kobolds and a Goblin named Irontooth who seems to be running the show. The party narrowly manages to best the clan and takes down the Goblin leader to find in his belongings a message from Kalarel. The note hints at a spy buried within Winterhaven, and the dark priest rapidly nearing the completion of his evil plans…

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