After the job in Mosswood Forest at Castle Cardinal, the team spent a few days recuperating in Arle’s Crossing. A messenger came with a letter addressed to Torinn from Lady Mae. The letter was a request to aid a colleague of Mae’s, Lord Ernest Padraig of Winterhurst. The route between the city of Suzail and the town of Winterhurst, the Red Road, was being continually harassed by orcs and mercenaries. This caught the attention of both Torinn and Hundred Eyes, and they made plans to leave for Winterhurst immediately. Shkiar begrudgingly went along, knowing that the town was in the direction that the card collected from Lazaren was pulling him. Kallista knew that where there were raiders, there was loot, and so was eager to go as well. The party stopped in Suzail to gather supplies, including a wagon, a driver, and two bodyguards, and sell their growing collection of gems and art pieces.
Setting forth on the Red Road, the group found no signs of raiders, orcish or otherwise. However, upon coming to one of the many branching dirt roads, Skhiar felt the card pull north. Their gnomish driver warned that the path north led to Gardmore Abbey, a once proud monastary to Baatemos, that now lay in ruins and inhabited by orcs. The party decided to investigate. A ways down the road, a large hill with a sheer cliff face on the western side appeared on the horizon. As they approached, they could see that this was in fact Gardmore Abbey, and that not only did it include the abbey’s buildings, but a village as well, surrounded by a wall on side not protected by the cliff. They found a southern part of the wall destroyed by some siege engine ages ago. Ahead of them was a lush, dense forest, and on their left was a 50 foot tower. Feeling a great menace from the tower, the party chose to search it first.
From the outside, the tower seemed to be in pristine condition. However, once inside, the party found themselves transported to some terrible existence that seemed to defy physics and sanity… the Far Realm! Fighting black oozes, giant living cards, and the bending of reality itself, the group at last confronted a foul creature, both guardian and prisoner of the tower. A fearsome beholder floated before them, surrounded by inhuman masses of flesh. It requested from the party its freedom, and with some cautious proceedings, Skhiar added his card to three belonging to the abomination. The Far Realm appeared to melt away from the walls of the tower, the creatures surrounding them, regaining their original knightly human and eladrin forms, and the beholder floating away, stating that for his freedom, he would allow them to live…this time.
The four knights, clearly mad with the time spent in the Far Realm, babbled and cried, the eladrin of the four asking to be taken to “the fountain.” The party, having their own psychological problems, figured that finding said fountain may be beneficial for all. Leaving the tower and traversing into the forest, by guidance of the insane eladrin, the group found a clearing with a large fountain surrounded by a mosaic and several more eladrin knights. The leader, Berrian Velfarren, was the son of the eladrin from the tower, and had them all drink from the Font of Montil, restoring everyone of their ailments. However, in searching for their long lost father, Berrian’s sister, Analastra, had become lost as well. Once well rested, the group set out to see if they could find her.
They first came upon a clearing containing a small cottage. They ended up provoking two aggressive owlbears, which they had to put down. Inside the cottage they found a journal belonging to one Siravus Ardonelle, a former groundskeeper for the abbey, that Berrian may have interest in. Continuing on, they found what appeared to be an overgrown gardens area, covered in webbing behind a keep of some sort. Bodies of dead giant spiders and phase spiders littered the ground. Exploring around to the other side of the keep, they found an ettin sitting in front of the door, one head asleep, and the other, asking for booze. Tricking the giant oaf, the party found themselves inside the keep. Trashed, looted, and covered in filth and graffiti, the group faced a group of orcs and their dire wolf pets.
Just how many orcs are in this abbey? Will the party find Analastra? Will they ever make it to Winterhurst? Find out next time on…
Dungeons & Dragons!