Alright, friend, since the dwarves are raucously celebrating our victory over Nazin Redthorn, I will fill in the gaps in our tale…those you did not see for yourself. I am no bard, so I shall be brief; it is, after all, quite a long tale already.
I met the two stout ones, the rogue Lucan, the Tiefling hexblade (Pelor rest his soul) and the good doctor at an Inn in Fallcrest; the name escapes me now…in any case, I had completed my visit to the local temple of Erathis and having completed my training in Hammerfast, I was free to spread the goodwill of Pelor. This seemed an answer to my prayers.
My being fluent in Dwarven seemed to go over well with Sir Irongut and Master Krushemdead, and they expressed an interest in having me along with them to investigate the troubles in Harkenwold for a share in any spoils along the way. I accepted, and we set out the next day.
Taking the King’s Road, we stopped and visited with Ilyana, the elder druid who lives to the north of here. She told us of the Iron Circle, whom we’d had the pleasure of meeting along the way, of Baron Stockmer’s disappearance, and directed us to Tor’s Hold, where we met with the local patriarch, Orsik Tolnoth, and his niece, Bardryn.
Master Tolnoth told us of the trouble the people of Tor’s hold had been having with a new tribe of bullywugs that had moved into a cave known as Toadswallow. They said local militias had been kept too busy fighting with the bullywugs to stand up to the Iron Circle’s henchmen. The ’wugs had recently taken to kidnapping local children as well, namely halflings of the Reedfoot clan.
After holding a brief council we proposed a mission to parlay with the tribe if we could, and to drive them out by force if we had to. The dwarves of Tor’s Hold agreed, and the party, accompanied by Bardryn as an interpreter, set off to the cave, where we met the chieftain of the tribe – a mage of some kind.
The chieftain seemed nervous and dismissed us almost as soon as we arrived. We remained and demanded an audience with him from his guards, who’s interest in the cask of ale we had brought as a gift lead to an altercation between the guards. We used this confusion as an opportunity to rush the cave.
After a long fight with the bullywugs, the chieftain and the returning bullywug champion, and nearly at the cost of Bardryn’s life, we managed to expel the menace and sent the rest of the tribe scattering in a panic and dropping young Heron Reedfoot at our feet, never to return to Toadswallow again.
Ah, save one. There is a lone ’wug, Lop-Dop, who has sworn a path of peace. You will find him happily fishing the shores of the White River. Lop-Dop has promised, on pain of death, not to harm the good people of the valley, and I intend to remind him of that promise from time to time. Pelor bless the simple creature, it seemed his brain-over-brawn mentality was not welcome in bullywug society. Perhaps in time he will start his own tribe, but only time will tell…
Forgive me, I digress. We headed to the shores of the White River, where the young halfling was reunited with his friends who had escaped capture. They lead us to one of their family’s barges, where we shared wine with the family patriarch, who first spoke to us of Dar Greamoth and the resistance on our way back to Tor’s Hold.
Imagine our dismay when, on the road on our way back to the town, we could see flame against the cloudy sky and smell smoke on the air! We broke into a run and discovered the Tolnoth home engulfed in flame and a cursed Iron Circle banner on a pike outside.
It was here that I first noted Vorlis, our departed companion, begin to betray his lineage. Without thought for himself he rushed into the burning house to search for Master Tolnoth. Not finding the old dwarf, he leaped from the second story to escape, just as the building came crashing down.
After questioning the townsfolk, we attempted to track the raiders, who appeared to have taken Master Tolnoth captive, but we lost their tracks in the rain that followed. At the crossroads, we took a guess and set off for Albridge – after all, we did need to contact the resistance. Along the way we passed a homestead where lights flickered in the windows. We thought to stop and ask for shelter until the storm passed – but we were ambushed.
A mage, several foot soldiers and a fighter mounted on a drake had been lying in wait it seemed, after killing the family who lived in the farmstead. Cowardly bastards…by Pelor, we sent them to face judgement! Once every man and beast had been felled, I performed last rites for the family and we buried them on their farm.
We set off again for Albridge and arrived early the next morning. I offered up a prayer to Pelor that he might open my eyes and shed his light to aid me in locating Dar Greamoth, and find him we did. By His will, I walked directly to their headquarters without pause, as if invited! Blessed Be The Light! It was a great blessing to have found them so soon, without having to draw attention to the resistance.
Master Greamoth welcomed us hesitantly, and told us the best way to help would be to break up the supply caravans, and to go to the Woodsinger elves for assistance, introducing the Drow Ryltar to us in the process. We carried out his orders with pleasure, wiping out multiple companies of the Iron Circle. During these fights, Ryltar proved more than capable of looking after himself, eliminating his enemies with rapid-fire blasts of magical force. Eventually, we made our way into the Harken forest.
Not long after entering the forest we lost the path, and after wandering for a time, we were stopped by the Woodsingers. They expressed a desire to help, but told us they were occupied with their own conflicts. Goblins had taken over an ancient Eladrin site called Dal Nastir, and were working with, or for, an unspeakable undead wizard. A vial of green dragon’s blood had been acquired to activate the portal at Dal Nastir, but the elves hadn’t the numbers for a direct assault.
We agreed to deal with the abomination within Dal Nastir if they would join in the fight against the Iron Circle, and help return Baron Stockmer to his rightful status. They accepted, and we set off at once.
Immediately when we arrived we were beset by goblins and giant spiders, which we dispatched with ease. After the skirmish, I poured some of the contents of the vial on an altar in the center of the stone circle. We spoke the elven word for “Enter” and were teleported into a chamber where we met with more goblins and two caged drakes, which the vile creatures had been using as beasts of burden. After finishing them off, we chose one of two doors which appeared to lead to an antechamber and broke it down.
Directly inside were three things: A group of skeletons, including the mage which was our target. A massive spider, far larger and more deadly than those we had previously met, and lastly, a pit trap. The last of these was, regrettably, discovered by accident.
Several of our party attempted to jump the gap created when the trap opened. Knowing I hadn’t the propensity successfully make it across, I rushed to pull the table from the first room to make a bridge. Meanwhile, our tiefling friend fell in, grievously wounding himself.
The fight raged on, and the mage released a massive blast of magic, so potent that there was naught I could do to save Vorlis. He was too far gone. Those of us who survived did avenge him properly, though.
We recovered the fragmented skull of the mage as proof, and our companion’s body, and headed back to the Woodsinger’s camp. The elven tribe agreed to join the battle for Harkenwold, and our small party set out for Albridge once more.
About halfway there we were approached by a halfling rider, who explained frantically that the Iron Circle was preparing for a final assault against the resistance, and that Nazin Redthorn would ride against Albridge himself! We rushed back to a camp just South of Albridge and took our marching orders from Master Greamoth, who told us to break out and engage the separate companies of Iron Circle fighters before they could amass on the battlefront.
We set out and did just that, clearing several groups out of the countryside that never made it to see the end of their lord. …Unfortunately, neither did I. During one of these skirmishes I was knocked on the head by a spear-butt. When I awoke, Praise Pelor, we had won! Nazin Redthorn’s horse had been burned from beneath him by Doctor Wizardopolis, and the foul mage had been killed while attempting to flee the battle by our own Kron Krushemdead!
What a glorious day! However, the Iron Circle’s reserve troops still held the keep at Harken. We learned of a secret entrance through the sewer, and while our mages Ryltar and the good Doctor attempted to gain access by trickery, the dwarves and I waited in the gutter to be let in.
The battle raged on for what seemed hours, and after securing the front half of the keep and rescuing Baron Stockmer, the lord of the keep urged us to keep fighting and to drive the Iron Circle from Harkenwold once and for all.
To our dismay, as we charged along the walltops, we caught sight of a mighty ballista taking aim at our position. Were it not for the quick thinking of Doctor Wizardopolis, the siege engine would have spelled our end. …Why yes, as a matter of fact it is parked right over there… With a little magic and a well-aimed shot, the good Doctor assumed command of the ballista and obliterated Nazin Redthorn’s second-in-command, removing the shadow of the Iron Circle from Harkenwold forever.
So here we are, my friend, celebrating our victory as well as lamenting those who did not survive. May their sacrifices never be forgotten, and may Pelor guide their souls to peace. Now, you must excuse me while I rescue the Inn from another round of the dwarves and their victory songs.