Shadows Over Cormyr

Newcomers
The Martyrs Begin Recruitment

Early Morning, Eleasis 16th, 1479 DR

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The Cult Exposed
Miss Marple would be proud.

Midday, Eleasis 15th, 1479 DR

The Martyrs returned to Winterhaven, with the fresh information about the Cult. They firstly seek out Sister Linora, who listens with interest to what they have to report. She is not very well versed in local history, and suggests that Valthrun will be more able to assist them. However, they all agree that someone in town knows about the cult, and is possibly even helping them.

They then report to Lord Padraig, he is furious at the possibility of someone in his town helping such a cult. He gets Valthrun to research the history of Shadraxil, with Vento to assist him. He then orders the Martyrs to seek out and destroy any presence of the Cult within Winterhaven. An order they gladly accept.

As Haldamir and Alric await the return of Valthrun and Vento with information, they inspect the town. The Guard is at full alert, over 30 irregular troops have joined the towns defences. Dozens of people from outlying farms and hamlets have fled into Winterhaven, hoping the stone walls will protect them.

It is now that a Guardsman approaches Alric with news that Ninaran had just been spotted entering a tunnel outside the walls. They move out to investigate,finding a large rock at the spot she was last seen. Suspecting a tunnel under the rock, Alric rolls it out of the way, to find nothing underneath. Haldamir suspects some sort of teleport spell could be in use.

With no other leads, they stake out Bairwins shop, as it is the building directly opposite where the rock was. After several hours of no activity, they break in to see what they can find. Haldamir quickly spots a secret door behind the counter, which conceals a spiral stair descending into a hidden temple. A few cultists, as well as Bairwin are down there, and they fight with ferocity, but are soon cut down by Alric and Haldamir.

As Bairwin falls, a side door slams open, and Ninaran sprints to the altar. As she slams her hand onto the altar, she yells “Fools, Shradraxil shall be reborn and consume this town with shadow! It is Shars will!!”, and then melts into shadow, disappearing.

With no other leads, the two martyrs take horses and ride hard for Ninarans cabin in the woods. They arrive to find several Drakes and Wolves guarding it, so they opt for the stealth approach. Alric leaped through a window, much to Ninarans surprise, and proceeded to cut her down quickly. With the cult in Winterhaven defeated, they returned to Lord Padraig and Valthrun, to see if they had any more information for them.

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The Dragon Burial Site
The paranoia begins to rise...

Early Morning, Eleasis 15th, 1479 DR

After resting overnight, in the now conveniently empty Kobold Lair, the Martyrs needed to decide on the next course of action.

Haldamir felt that they should report to Lord Padraig at once, they had completed the task set, and had further information on the cult. Indeed, they now had a name, Kalarel, and mention of a rift and a being called Shadraxil. Alric however, wished to investigate the dig site to the west. Vento held the casting vote, and was swayed by Alrics argument that he was bound to find the archeologist. So, with a contingency plan quickly developed, they set off west.

They found the dig site easily enough, and were invited down by a gnome who was in the crater. Alric noticed something was wrong, and with little warning they were attacked.

The fight was short but brutal. Several humans, some guard drakes and a halfling were no match for the Martyrs. With the enemy dispatched, they were able to more closely investigate the burial site. Vento noticed immediately that there was no way the exposed skeleton could be Shadraxil, the remains were those of a hatchling, not an ancient wyrm. Amongst the remains they found the missing archeologist, Douven, bound and gagged.

Douven is happy to be free, and repays the Martyrs by filling them in with as much information as he can. “This was supposed to be the grave of Shadraxil, but as you can see there is no way it could be. The wyrm was killed over 1000 years ago, at the birth of Cormyr by Sir Keegan. Keegan was a great knight and hero, leading an army to cleanse these mountains of dragons and other horrors. After he had slain Shadraxil, he was given the title Lord Keegan, and given command of a Keep just north of Winterhaven.

“But he soon went mad. One dark night he went on a murderous rampage through the Keep. He killed his friends, his wife, and even his children. The surviving soldiers forced him into the lower levels of the keep, and sealed it off.”

It doesn’t take the Martyrs long to figure out the site was attacked to prevent Douven reporting his findings, that this was not Shadraxil. The question was, who was trying to delay the information?

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Into the Kobold Lair
The evil is slowly exposed...

Early Morning, Eleasis 14th, 1479 DR

The martyrs continued on to the Kobold lair, but not before a brief discussion on whether to go to the lair or the archeological dig first. The Kobolds won the day, as this seemed the most pressing issue and most immediate threat. They cut across country, with Haldamir scouting forward to check the layout and number of kobolds at the lair. When he reported back, Vento raised an important point, perhaps they should parlay with the Kobolds, rather than rush in and kill them all? A quick reminder of two ambushes convinced him that they should finish them off.

The fight began well enough, a successful surprise saw the Martyrs hold the upper hand the entire combat. Within moments they had cleared the few Kobold minions from the outside of the lair. Only one, a slinger, survived long enough to run inside to warn of danger, but the Martyrs followed hot on his heals, cutting him down as he entered the cave.

Inside was where the trouble really began, more kobolds, and after a few seconds, a Wyrmpriest and Irontooth himself entered the fray. Although outnumbered, the Martyrs made good use of their abilities and teamwork to hold them off, and finish them one by one. Irontooth was the last to fall, without hitting anyone with his axe, and without using any of his special abilities.

The fight had been taxing, and so the rest of the day was spent searching the lair, looting the bodies, and finally resting until before dawn the next day. The looting revealed some more clues to the truth behind the cult in Winterhaven. A note found on Irontooths body reads, “My spys in Winterhaven suggest we keep an eye out for visitors in the area. It probably does not matter; in just a few more days i’ll completely open the rift. Then Winterhaven’s people will serve Shar or else feed Shadraxil’s empty stomach. -Kalarel”

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Winterhaven and Environs
The plot thickens....and begins to curdle...

Eleasis 13th – 14th, 1479 DR

Finally the Martyrs arrive in Winterhaven. Gevarn leaves to report to Sister Linora, and suggests everyone head to the Inn for some much needed rest. After a meal and a bath, Sister Linora came to the Inn to meet the Martyrs.

She was unfortunately not able to give any extra information about the Cult. She had only heard whispers, and had not got any hard evidence. This was where she wanted the Martyrs to start. The only lead she had was an archeological dig south of Winterhaven. The head archeologist, Douven Staul, had not been seen for over a week, and he had not been forthcoming about what he was digging up.

They also found out that Lord Padraig, the town Lord, would be interested in hiring the group to take care of the Kobold problem. But perhaps the most vital piece of information was from the old farmer, Eilian the Old, about the Swanson’s loosing an Ox from their farm.

A quick visit to Lord Padraig set up their mission to eliminate the kobold lair, and gave some background to Winterhaven and its inhabitants. The town scholar, Valthrun, chatted to Haldamir and Vento about the town and surrounds. He knew nothing of the supposed Cult, and really only offered information about the Kobolds and offered to sell ritual scrolls.

It was Alric’s chat to Ninaran, the elven trapper, that was the most revealing. When asked about the Cult, she told him that they were based in the Kobold lair, and that the whole town seemed to be in on it. This was an interesting development, and resulted in a change of plan. The Martyrs decided to still head for the Kobold Lair, but to leave before dawn, anticipating an ambush on the way.

The ambush came, more Kobolds, which were once again easily dispatched. But this time the Wyrmpriest gave up a new clue, a symbol of Shar.

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The Road to Winterhaven
Just a 3 day walk into the mountains, he said...

Eleasis 11th – 13th, 1479 DR

Just after dawn the Martyrs departed along the East Way for Winterhaven. It would be a journey of about 3 days, which for the most part should have been uneventful. The East Way is a reasonably well traveled road, with little bandit activity.

Sure enough, the first two days and nights pass uneventfully. It gave them an opportunity to query Gevarn further for more details. He was able to give some information about Winterhaven itself, but knew no more about the Cult.

But on the third day, as the morning wore on, something was waiting for the Martyrs on the road ahead. In a well placed ambush, 8 Kobolds spring from the rocks on the side of the road, surprising the group and inflicting early wounds. The Martyrs fought back admirably, Alric was quickly surrounded, but cleared them away with a single cleaving strike. Vento got his eye in for his Edritch Blast, quickly dispatching one of the Dragonshield warriors. Haldamir also found his targets easier, finishing off Kobolds as they weakened.

They were also helped by the ineptitude of the Kobolds, a Dragonshield thought the ground was a good place to stick his sword, and as he struggled to remove it, the Slinger almost knocked him out with a rock to the head. The fight ended quickly after that, the remaining Kobolds finished off before they could escape or call for help.

This led to the first bit of group tension. The Dragonshields carry shields made of Dragon Scales, and Vento saw it as his duty to give the scales a proper burial. The others only saw the potential for loot. A quick vote saw Vento lose out, but he was certainly not happy about it.

Gevarn was as surprised as the Martyrs that they were attacked, he had not heard of any Kobolds in the area. All he could recommend was finding out in town what was going on.

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The Fleeing Acolyte
Because otherwise you couldn't have a bar brawl.

Fallcrest. The Nentir Inn. Three adventurers drawn together for mutual benefit. Alric, the fighter, seeking to live up to his fathers great name. Haldamir, the cleric of Kord, searching for absolution from his failure in his homeland. And Vento, the warlock, leaving his family for a greater calling.

All three paths converged in Fallcrest, and they chose to join together in adventure and glory, becoming the Freelance Martyrs.

Early Evening, Eleasis 10th, 1479 DR.

The group was growing restless, they were sitting quietly in the Inn, pondering their next move. As pleasant as Fallcrest was, there was no adventure here, it was simply too quiet. They had all but decided to leave when some strangers entered the Inn, seven men, rough, mercenary looking types.

The newcomers seemed to know what they were after. Several blocked the doors, and one that seemed to be in charge went straight to a corner booth, closely inspecting the man that had been sitting unnoticed until now. “You’re the one? Aren’t you!!?”...there was no response. Vento offered assistance, and was told in no uncertain terms to stay out of it, this was none of his concern. Being the good types they are, the group could not help but step in when the mercenary began to rough up the target of his aggression. The leader turned his attention from his target, and ordered his men to attack.

The fight was short, flashy and brutal. Haldamir and Vento demonstrated their blasting powers, stright into the wall, Alric lived up to his reputation, charging in and keeping the three main foes occupied with melee combat. By the end, the mercenary leader, Garen, and two of his followers lay dead, the rest fled into the night.

The man at the center of this altercation introduced himself as Gevarn, an Acolyte from the Temple of Chauntea in Winterhaven. He was seeking adventurers on behalf of Sister Linora, to investigate a Cult of Shar in Winterhaven. He didn’t have much more information, but the Martyrs agreed to accompany Gevarn and meet with Linora.

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A Meeting in Fallcrest
Why is it always a pub??

Fallcrest. Nestled in the eastern foothills of the Thunder Peaks, only just within the influence of Deepingdale, a day or two west of Highmoon. The Archen River begins its life above the town, and cuts Fallcrest in two, spilling down the cliffs and bluffs that dominate the landscape.

It is a town of just over a thousand, with many of the services expected of a town this size. But perhaps it’s most important feature is its taverns, especially the Nentir Inn, a new, popular, well known establishment.

This is where you find yourselves as the adventure begins. For whatever reason you have ended up at the Nentir Inn, running from trouble, looking for adventure or simply after a cold drink.

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