The PCs escaped the Crypt of Zeregon and discovered that several events occurred while they were trapped. The escaped miners had returned to Avonhill with Isilde and informed Lord Murray of what had happened. Lord Murray’s second, Sir Johen, took armed guards and several of the miners to the mine to dig out the PCs from the collapsed mine. They were in the process of that when the Heroes emerge from the dwarven tunnel.
With them was a Luminary, Corind, from the Church of Astoria. He was sent to find Dane and return him home. Dane refused to cooperate, and the Luminary wanted to keep someone with him to assist him. This ended up being his son Lore, a bard.
Lord Murray met with the Heroes to thank them for all they had done and gave them an invitation to a feast in Strathaven held by the baroness. Sir Johen would be going with a small guard as well.
Last, Meledor Goldchase was ecstatic about the group’s finding of the dwarven ruins, as was Pelivorian Greenwhisper. Meledor said he was largely broke and happily offered to bring word of the ruin to the the local leader of the dwarves after he studied the ruin. Grimbull instructed Meledor and Pelivorian to go to the dwarf settlement first and instruct him on what transpired.
Escape from Kal’Korithar
The PCs escaped the dungeon through a secret tunnel. The weather was warm and sunny for this time of year. Valen fell to his knees while squinting to see in the bright light. He eventually tore a cloth from his cloak and tied it over his eyes.
The PCs will hear loud noises of people shouting and tools striking stone where the mine opening was. There they found that many of the enslaved miners had returned to dig them out of the mine. They were under the watchful eye of Lord Murray’s second, Sir Johen and a score of guards. Also there was Isilde, Meledor Goldchase, and Pelivorian Greenwhisper. A camp had been set with several tents and cooking fires.
All were overjoyed to see the PCs. Meledor approached Grimbull and Pelivorian and Valen (an elf!), while Sir Johen and Isilde to meet with the group as a whole.
“Sir Johen is an older knight in chainmail with a hulking build, his greatsword slung on his back. Johen is balding, has a flattened nose, and a dark beard.”
Sir Johen stated Isilde and the miners were able to reach Avonhill and explained what had happened. When Lord Murray decided to send guards to investigate the mine, many miners declared they would return to the mines to save their rescuers. Isilde doted on Dane a little. Savina asked if they had any wine, ale, or anything with a bite.
Meledor asked Grimbull what he found in the mine. When he found out about the dwarven ruin, he smiled as big as the moon and told Pelivorian, “did ye hear that? A ruin, a dwarven ruin, Bless me beard!” He wanted to investigate it as soon as possible and can hire strongarms to assist. Grimbull. He explained that Grimbull would not have some pull with the local lord and might use it to help the dwarves retain access to the ruin. Grimbull stated he had a plan to perhaps offer for the dwarves to open the mine and trade with the humans. He instructed Meledor to return to the dwarven enclave to inform them what was happening.
Sir Johen told Dane that someone from Astoria was at the camp seeking him. He said the man called himself a Luminary. Dane knew Luminaries are seekers. They recover stolen artifacts and find those hiding from the church.
Savina got drunk on ale and stated she would be returning to the sea to buy a ship. She offered for Talon to be her cabin boy.
Valen stumbled around in awe but was nervous of so many people gathered and disappeared for a while.
As the Heroes were wrapping up their initial greetings by Sir Johen and the others, the Luminary and two others with him approached the group. The Luminary was named Corind, and with him was a female acolyte named Rose and a young man with a lute on his back named Lore.
“The older man is tall and somewhat imposing, with steel gray-blue eyes, thinning white hair, and something of a regal countenance. He is clean shaven and wears a chain shirt and white robes with gold trim, along with well worn boots. He has a longsword and shortsword sheathed over his shoulders.”
“The younger female does not look Astorian because of her darker complexion and brown eyes. She has black hair pulled into a pony tail, a curvaceous build, button nose, and is attractive. She wears plain white robes over a chain shirt and has an ornate mace on her back.” (She is Saladorian)_
“The youngest is a lad wearing leather armor with a green doublet, a sheathed rapier, and a lute on his back. He has curly light-brown hair, blue eyes, freckles, and the beginnings of a goatee.”
They ended up meeting with Dane the following day after things died down a little at the camp, but Dane seemed to try to avoid them. The older man introduced himself and the other two. He referred to Rose as his acolyte and the young man as his son, Lore. He talked directly to Dane and stumbled from starting to say “Your High-” to “My lord.”
Corind told Dane his father and others were concerned about his absence, and Luminaries were sent to seek him out. He explained that he was here to escort Dane home. Corind was firm but could not force Dane. After Dane said he was not returning home and had things to accomplish still, Corind asked what caused Dane to be in ‘this’ land, far from home.
Corind offered the service of his acolyte as a squire to Dane to watch over him. Lore, hearing this, pushed forward and knelt before Dane, offering himself as a squire. Corind hastily tried to pull Lore up, but Lore pulled away and said he wanted to make a difference in this life and was tired of being sheltered away from everything.
Dane accepted Lore’s service, though he was torn between Lore and Rose. He informed Corind there was no guarantee of Lore’s safety, and Corind replied that he understood.
With a big grin, Meledor congratulated Grimbull on his find and asked about any treasures or lost relics. He was excited about relaying word to dwarven ruler Koren “Thirdhammer” of Silverfist about Kal’Korithar. He claimed there would be an issue of the humans claiming the ruins for themselves, and asked Grimbull to explore allowing the dwarves to study it at a minimum.
He also said his maps were still los,t and the only ruin Pelivarian was able to find was the same one in which the PCs were trapped. He also rued that he has lost so much revenue that he cannot continue as a merchant. This prompted Grimborn to suggest that Meledor return to the dwarves to let them know what had happened.
Return to Avonhill
It took less than two days to return to Avonhill. Sir Johen sent a messenger ahead, and people thronged the main street to cheer the Heroes as they entered the town. Savina said she could get used to this. Valen was largely terrified and took off for a bit at his first opportunity.
Boar’s Haunch Inn
“The PCs returned to the Boar’s Haunch.
Historical: “The inn specializes in pork and serves a decent but stout porter and ale. The inn is usually bustling with an assortment of locals, off duty watchmen and Redcloaks, traveling merchants, and mercenaries.”
- “The owner, Dagin, is an older, barrel-chested man with a burgeoning belly, mutton chops, and a healthy sense of humor.”
- “His young daughter, Mara, is an enthusiastic beauty who keeps the inn spotless and has a soft spot for animals. Mara is attractive, with dark, curly hair and dimples.”
- “Dagin keeps a cleaver under the bar that he will handle in open view when anyone gets too acclimated with his daughter.”
- “Dagin keeps several cooks and has hired two more women—the raven haired, sly Reeva, who wants to be a traveling performer, and the slightly plump, but beamingly smiling Girda who gets excited about everything.”
The inn fed the PCs free of charge. The inn was overwhelmed by patrons that evening, with everyone wanting to hear what happened at the mine. Savina and Talon seemed to get “falling out of the seat” drunk. They ate a large meal at their own table with Meledor, Pelivorian, and Isilde, who sat next to Dane.
“The inn gets more and more rowdy as the night goes on, to the point the three wenches are overwhelmed and people have to stand outside. Inside, the noise is almost deafening, and people begin drinking songs and put arms around each other while singing.”
During the festivities, a man-at-arms, Renold, will enter and tell the PCs the Lord of Avonhill would like to have the privilege of their company at lunch on the morrow.
Sir Johen was present, too, but kept to himself at the bar.
As far as the Luminary’s party, they were at their own table in the common room as well, but none were wearing armor or robes. Their clothes were threadbare and travel-worn, and they seemed to fit right in. Corind took everything in naturally. Rose was wide-eyed and looked around almost in awe at the revelries. Lore joined in for a song or two and even played his lute.
Savina: At one point, Savina drunkenly told the group how great of shipmates they have been, and that she will miss them when she travels to Vyshan to buy a boat. She says her goddess and the salt air of the sea call to her, and she never wants to be trapped in a cave or fight undead again.
Lunch with Lord Murray
The PCs had a lunch appointment with Lord Murray the next day. Dane sent Lore to (unsuccessfully) awaken Talon and Savina. Dane then fetched them himself.
“Lord Murray’s manor is near the center of town, between the Redcloak Tower and some shops. The aged manor has a small grounds with cut grass, as well as a stable. The manor is made of somber, gray stone with a wood plank roof. It was obviously built with defense in mind, with a portcullis at the main entrance and highly placed windows flanked by stout, reinforced shutters. Guards wearing Strath’s blue tabard with a red stripe, scale armor, and longswords flank the entrance. Murray’s standard, a black boar on Strath’s blue and red background is planted proudly at the base of the estate.”
“After being allowed admittance by the guards, you ascend some stone steps into a cobble-stoned hallway, with reinforced doors to either side. The doors to your right are shut, but left opens into the Great Hall with a simple throne inside. A large, ash table sits near a large bay window overlooking the Broadbank River. The room is sparsely furnished, aside from faded but luxurious tapestries showing a fox hunt, a vanguard of knights, a river before a mountain setting, and a boar hunt.”
A butler took any cloaks or jackets from the PCs and asked that they make themselves comfortable. Lord Murray was not in the room presently, but a young female servant (Lila) entered and asked what they would like to drink (she had ale, cider, and wine) and left to fetch those drinks.
“A few minutes later, Lord Murray enters, followed by Sir Johen. He is a fairly tall, fit, middle-aged man with intense gray eyes, dark but balding hair, and a well-trimmed, graying beard. He wears a simple but well-tailored burgundy doublet over a black shirt and a silver chain showing a boar’s head. He also has a masterfully crafted longsword sheathed at his hip. Murray is known for his seriousness and stern gaze, which he now directs your way.”
“Greetings, friends of Avonhill. It is my pleasure to dine with those who have done so much for my people.” He takes a seat at the head of the table. “I know not the purpose of so many of you finding your way to Avonhill but you have done her a just service.”
“The serving girl and an older man will both come out with platters of food, including a roast duck, turkey, leeks, cheese, and bread.”
Background on Lord Murray: He served Baron Armin Strath’s father, Montegar Strath as a knight in the war against Astoria. He then served Armin after Montegar’s death and was awarded with Avonhill. He has always been defensive minded and loyal, though he can be obstinate when he feels he is not being given his due (such as funds for defenses). He worries about the young baroness because he does not know her as he knew Armin, and she has also allowed the bulk of the Redcloaka to come to Strath from the northern front against Pavik and establish a permanent fortification.
Background on Sir Johen: Sir Johen also fought with Armin and has worked together with Murray for over 20 years. He is loyal, has an abundance of common sense, and is practical. He is hard to anger, and seems to deal with Murray’s uptight demeanor effortlessly. Both of them have tales about their fights against Astorian Viceroy Guy Balroux, but if Sir Johen is led into speaking of this, Murray interrupts him and says these young heroes have better things to do than hear tales of a time long past.
After lunch, some apple tarts were brought forth. Grimbull, however, got straight to business before the first bite of anything was taken. Murray then responded to why he invited the PCs to dine. _ “I have little to offer you beyond the riches I heard you plundered from the mine. Still, I would show my gratitude for what you have done. He gives them each a silver plated longsword, short sword, or dagger that are well-crafted, and have a boar head etched into the blackened steel pommel and then filled with silver. The swords have scabbards with black leather braced in steel framed into diamond shapes. The daggers have a burgundy sheath with steel tip and banding in the middle and on the top._ Each was worth its normal weapon price +60 gp.
Murray told the Heroes it was his duty to inform his liege of the presence of the mine and what happened. When Grimbull offered for the dwarves to re-establish the mine and offer generous trade terms with the humans, Murray nodded and said it was not for him to decide, though he liked the idea of re-establishing dialogue with the dwarves and perhaps re-opening the pass to Astoria (after it is able to be defended first, of course).
Lord Murray wanted to invite the PCs to a Harvestfest festival being held in Strathaven by the baroness. He was sending Sir Johen while he attended to urgent business in Avonhill and hoped the PCs could help Sir Johen make a favorable impression. He also believed they would enjoy their time at the festival as honored guests of the realm. He told them there would be a tourney as well, including jousting, archery, and a melee.
Journey to Strathaven
The Heroes traveled Sir Johen, 10 mounted men-at-arms, and Johen’s squire, a lad named Pale. The trip was 120 miles, and it took 3 days on horseback.
Day 1 – Warm, sunny
Day 2 – Warm, rainy, very dark, foggy
Day 3 – Average temperature, partly cloudy
“The first day of travel, you pass many farms, keeping the Broadbank River to your left. Commoners wearily watch as you ride past. The road is wide and there is room to pass a merchant train consisting of 2 wagons and a cart filled with barrels, crates of fruit, and grain. The merchant nods to your party as you go past.”
“Toward the end of the day, you leave the somewhat hilly and forested valley and enter a large plain, with less trees but the occasional hill and groves of trees. At one point you cross a sturdy wooden bridge that crosses a steep gorge that has a swift stream.”
Corbald (Day 1 horseback)
The characters made it to the ruins of Corbald at the end of the day on horseback.
Knowledge (Local) (TN 10): Rumors tell of silent apparitions glowing in the darkness, wailing, clinking chains, and eerie whistling. There are also tales of people becoming cursed and dying after looting the castle, and others being flung into the air and killed by spirits. The area is avoided now.
“A massive ruin of a castle sits atop a hill with a commanding view of the surrounding plains. The walls have crumbled in most places, though many of the towers halfway stand. A tall keep that once probably stood proudly atop the peak of the hill stands watch. A fire can be seen atop it.”
Corbald now had a work crew and men-at-arms involved in repairing the keep enough to serve as a watch tower. The men-at-arms had some horses stabled as well, to run down any bandits.
The group was welcomed inside the keep. The man in charge of the project was a Saladarian engineer named Diegon. He was a very slim, fit, dark-skinned man with graying black hair, squinted dark brown eyes, was immaculately dressed in well-tailored doublet and breeches. The sergeant in charge of the guards was Belidar, a husky man in his early 30s with a round face and curly brown hair. He wore scale and wielded a longsword.
At dinner, Belidar briefly told the story of how Dierdre’s advisers cleared the bandits from Corbald. He says the advisers were a varied group, with a dock worker who became the sheriff, a wizard, a guardsman sergeant much like himself, and a Redcloak.
Rest of the Trip
The next day, the group rode through more of the plains and will then turned northwest and encountered rugged hills. They camped in the hills, and on the next day arrived at Strathaven in mid-afternoon. The road passed through more farmsteads and they encountered frequent patrols. The Northmere, a large saltwater sea, could be seen to their left. Savina deeply inhaled the salt air and mentioned how great it is to be by the sea again. “If only there was some sun in this forsaken place!”
“Strathaven has grown quite large, with an influx of refugees who have built a small village just outside the gates. Further off the road are some rickety shacks with the poorer refugees. The city is surrounded by a great stone wall and towers, the guards seemingly small as they pace the walls or peer over the battlements. A great castle can be seen atop a hill to the north of the city. The large gate is guarded by a small group of men-at-arms wearing scale and armed with shortswords and longbows wear the baronial colors—blue with a red diagonal stripe, on their tabards.”
“A large gate enters what seems like a nice part of the city, with a great temple to the right of the street. The temple has a pool that reflects its great stone stairs and decorative columns. The symbols of the three Astorian patrons, the Divinities, are clearly seen etched into the temple.“
“A large barracks with militia practicing sword and bow is next to the temple. The streets are paved and filled with locals and travelers here for Harvestfest. As you continue into the city, you enter the Strathaven markets, lined with hundreds of stalls with merchants noisily hawking their wares. It is the largest market most of you have seen (except Talon).“
“Near the market are mansions to your left, and you spot a sign for an inn called the Mandrake, as well as another called the Green Wyvern. The Mandrake looks older and has quite the crowd, while the Green Wyvern looks newer, with glass windows and better dressed patrons.”