On the peaceful morning of October 22nd, 421 T.R., travelling partners Julianos Liritan and Rhex Thunderhoof entered the town of Northshore after many days of hard travel. They visited the local Lost Legs Tavern for refreshing drinks. While there, Rhex noticed a halfling staring at him from across the room. This did not surprise him, however; he got many odd stares from civilized beings as a minotaur. He simply gave a snort in his direction and turned away, thinking nothing more of him. This halfling, a rogue named Mahrin Tirerchon, was curious. He foolishly decided to bother this minotaur, who was obviously out of place. Needless to say, after narrowly dodging a horn and a small confrontation with Rhex's friend and a local fighter named Miles Eston, Mahrin was kicked out of the tavern.
Shortly afterward, they all heard the sound of trumpets coming from outside. All four of them joined a large crowd gathering along the main road to watch Baron Lars "the Mauler" von Ulm trotting down the road along with his personal guard. Instantly Julianos was suspicious of him. He had remembered from historical records his father kept that the baron was nicknamed "The Mauler" and had a short temper. Miles also knew this information, because he has lived in the Barony of Icy Shores for 20 years (his entire life). Miles, Julianos, and Rhex decided to go to the Lord's Manor to see if they could get in a word with the baron. Mahrin saw them moving off to a back alley and decided to follow them.
Mahrin's plan to keep to the shadows did not last. He was spotted by the keen eyes of Rhex and soon confronted once again. Luckily he was able to convince the group tha he was not a thief and did not attempt to steal from Rhex, as Julianos had previously believed. He then joined the trio in paying a visit to the baron. They decided to speak to a nearby guard about getting inside the manor. Fortunately Miles happened to know this guard, John, from school. He did them a favor and wrote them a pass into the manor. Now able to get inside, the four proceeded to the manor. Once inside, they spotted Lord Dalvan and the baron move into a small, private room with a group of guards, leaving two to guard the door. The party approached these guards and were told to wait in the guest room for the Lord and baron to finish their business.
They waited….and waited…and waited….Eventually Julianos asked for some food. Though the kitchen was busy serving a large group in the dining hall and the Lord, they were able to provide a nice tray of food and drink for the party. At some point, Julianos hatched a "wonderful idea" to go raid the wine cellar. Unfortunately they were impeded by the kitchen staff. Instead they bought three kegs of their best wine and donated to the peasants of Northshore outside.
Finally, after hours of waiting, Lord Dalvan finished with the baron and came to speak with the party. Despite Julianos' ceaseless inquiring, Lord Dalvan would not yield any information regarding the baron's business in the village. When it was mentioned that they were a party of adventurers, Dalvan seemed very pleased. Too pleased, in fact, as Rhex noticed an odd gleam in his eye. Dalvan recruited the group to head southeast, to the ruins of Northshore Keep, to dispatch the Brokentooth clan of goblins that had taken up residence there a few years ago. The goblins had been acting up of late, attacking travellers on the road leading and ambushing guard patrols. He offered them a reward of 600 gold pieces to dispose of Magtor Brokentooth, the clan chieftain, and bring back his hexer rod as proof of his demise. The group agreed to do so, and soon set off after gathering some last minute supplies.
Luckily, Rhex happened to be familiar with the area. He was able to guide the party southeast to the ruins of the castle and find the path through the main gate. Stumbling across a rundown, disturbed, and dsecrated cemetary, the party was attacked by several skeletons. These undead creatures were no match for the might of a Paladin of the Sun God and his fellows. The group proceeded to the remains of the inner keep, where two orcs stood guard. Once again, the adventurers proved their mettle.
Once inside the keep, the party was assaulted by foul odors and air thick with dust. It was a ruined great hall, with once-beautiful tapestries hangning from the walls and broken chairs and tables scattered about. On the far side of the hall was a group of goblins quarreling over something. Julianos, ever quick to act, shouted at the stout monsters, who hesitantly attacked. Miles was quick to meet their charge, but blindly stumbled into a false-floor pit trap laid by the goblins some time ago. He was able to emerge from the pit, but by the time he did so, battle had already been joined.
After a long encounter, the party discovered several things about the hall. First, and perhaps most interestingly, was the discovcery of a white dragonscale. What is a dragonscale doing in the ruins of a four hundred year old keep? Hmm….
Secondly, they discovered an armory. It had been looted for the most part by the Brokentooth goblins, but they had left a small locked chest untouched in a corner. Mahrin easily opened it, and the party found a generous amount of gold, healing potion, and a suit of magical scale armor, which Miles was able to make use of.
Lastly, Mahrin discovered some sort of symbol on the broken throne. Unfortunately, it was so faded and cracked that neither he nor Julianos were able to recognize it.
After their exploration of the hall, the party moved to another door. It was locked, and had obviously been repaired. Mahrin once again picked the lock and had a peek inside. What he saw was quite intriguing, and possibly very ominous. He found a goblin sitting at the head of a long dining table, dressed in shamanistic vestments. He assumed this was Magtor himself. To his left and right sat goblin bodyguards, along with an odd looking fish creature, which Rhex identified as a Sahuagin. Julianos made the call to barge in. they surprised the dinner gathering, which included many more monsters than they had previously seen. Most of them used some kind of magic to teleport themselves away from the area, but Magtor had no such power. Instead, he took his bodyguards and fled through a nearby door. Only a few goblins remained behind, which were easily taken care of.
Taking a look around the dining room, the party found a second white dragonscale and a magical amulet. They also found a riddle on the door, etched in dried blood. It read:
It cannot be seen
Cannot be heard
Cannot be smelt
And empty holes it fills
The door also showed some symbols beneath the writing. Julianos identified two of them as symbols of Bane and Zehir, and the third as the Brokentooth clan crest. Rhex came up with th answer to the riddle in short time: darkness.
The door unlocked, but still would not open. Miles used his strength to force it open. The four entered a large temple room, formerly devoted to Bahamut. The temple had been desecrated by the goblins, however, and had been converted into a shrine to Bane. A long, purple carpet, flanked by pillars, led to a small altar at the end of the room. Atop it stood Magtor, with his personal guard spread out in a dfensive line in front of them. It included four goblins and an iron defender, begging yet another question: Why does a goblin chieftain have a homunculus guarding him?
"Bah!" Magtor spat in a high pitched voice. "I knew you humans wouldn't keep yer word! We had an agreement with the baron! Die!"
Battle ensued. Julianos noticed holy light dancing around the pillars, apparantly a remnant of Bahamut's presence here in past days. He determined that standing near these pillars offered healing.
After a long struggle, the party emerged victorious. Julianos made sure to grab Magtor's hexing rod, while Rhex found a small lockbox next to the altar. Using a small key found on the chieftain's body, he opened it. Inside was 200 gold pieces and two more potions. Realizing their task had been completed, the party returned to town, somewhat angrily.
When they reached Dalvan Manor and spoke to the Lord himself, Julianos imediately began spewing accusations at him. Dalvan successfully calmed him down, though, and assured the adventurers that he would have his privae investigators look into their claim of the baron being an evil man and purposefully sending them to die.
Now that their suspicons were soothed somewhat, the party presented Lord Dalvan with Brokentooth's hexer rod. Dalvan was very pleased, and awarded them a heavy bag of gold, as promised. But he was feeling particularly generous that night, and decided to give them a minor heirloom of his family: a magical shortsword that his father once used for dueling. He revealed it to be a Duelist's Weapon, and was given to Mahrin. Lord Dalvan also ordered them three free rounds of drinks at the Lost Legs, a complimentary feast, and an honorary ceremony at the town square at eleven o'clock the next morning.
Thanking Lord Dalvan for his generosity, the local heroes returned to the tavern to rest and make use of their free refreshments. One day had passed.
So concludes the first part of this epic saga.