Scales of Eberron

Welcome
The battle is just beginning

Prepare for battle!

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Adventure Hook
Scales of War
Is the The Last War really over?!

Angry face A week ago, a call to arms sounded throughout Khorvaire, summoning warriors to help defend Orcbone at the base of the Graywall Mountains far on the western border of Breland. Whispers of an army from Droaam, an army of orcs on the march, have been heard in taverns across the western lands. Could these rumors be true? It has only been 2 years since the Treaty of Thronehold ended the 100 year war, could this short reign of peace be shattered so soon?

Reports from Orcbone scouts have revealed large ranks of orcs, trolls, and worse are marching into the Graywall Mountains. To shore up the thin number of defenders of the Watch, Breland has dispatched a call to arms, beseeching able-bodied men and women across Khorvaire to mobilize at Ardev and join forces with the defenders in the west.

Angry face

With the memory of the The Last War fresh in the minds of Khorvairites, you and other adventurers form as far away as Sharn are starting to answer the call. For one reason or another, you find yourself at the Thistle and Antler Tavern enjoying an ale in the town of Woodhelm. A group of you has decided to head to Ardev as soon as possible to help defend the borders of Breland.

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The Hand of the Silver Flame
Session 1
After leaving Flamekeep and the country of Thrane, four adherents of The Silver Flame traveled across Breland, working their way towards Orcbone to answer the call for help in defending Bordin’s Watch. While stopping over in the town of Woodhelm the four fingers of the Hand of the Silver Flame(Elani, Quinn, Jantry, and Oris )were joined by a Brelish fighter named Breogan.

Angry face

Without warning, the town was under attack. Goblins and Hobgoblins stormed the Thistle and Antler Tavern. It appeared that they sought an old banner kept behind the bar. After the loss of much life, and a heroic defense on the part of The Hand of the Silver Flame, the invaders were repelled. The bartender said that the banner was somehow linked to The Red Hand of Doom.

The next morning it was discovered that seven people were abducted during the raid, as well as six items stolen from the Great Hall of Valor. Alys, who witnessed the heroic deeds of the Hand of the Silver Flame, informed the city council of what she saw.

Councilmember Eoffram Troyas summoned the heroes and asked for their assistance in recovering the kidnapped townsfolk and town relics.

The Hand of the Silver Flame interrogated a Hobgoblin named Morrik who gave them a false map which led them into a nest of dog-sized flesh-eating insects. The group bested the insects and found their way back onto the trail of the invaders.

Eventually they found their way up a to a plateau covered with ruins of an old castle. There, in the ruins, they found the entrance to a sort of crypt that perhaps once lie in the bowels of the castle…

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Leaping Boldly Into Danger
Session 2

The Hand of the Silver Flame continued into the depths of the dungeon they had found. The dungeon was home to numerous hobgoblins, which had trained dinosaur-esque drakes for battle. Many dangerous foes fell in their path, but sadly, not all of the hostages could be rescued. While resting after a series of exhausting battles, the surviving denizens of the ruin executed Kartenix, sending a message to the Hand of the Silver Flame by leaving his head outside the room they had barricaded.

Saddened by the loss, but refusing to give into the demands of the evil lords of the dungeon, the party vowed to press on, and faced even greater threats: a shaman who opened a portal to an unearthly realm of fire (said portal deftly closed by Quinn), and vile Chillborn Zombies that threatened to snuff the Silver Flame outright.

The Hand of the Silver Flame rushed to save the hostages, using every resource at their disposal and slaying many, many, many foes. Finally, they were forced to rest, huddled in a crypt with the four hostages they had rescued so far. Who knows what danger awaits as they venture out once more to explore the deepest depths of the dungeon…

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Victory at Rivenroar Ruins
Session 3

After clearing the upper level of the crypts beneath the ruined Rivenroar castle, we rested for the night near the entrance. In the morning,Elani took the first four hostages we had saved back to Woodhelm, while the rest of the party (Jantry,Breogan ,Oris and Quinn descended into the depths, followed by the aged castellan Sertanian who asked to come along and carried the lantern and our standard.

In the first room we encountered a group of hobgoblins and acid spitting lizards lead by a goblin hexer who kept blinding us with his powers. We dispatched these foul villains will ease – and special harshness was reserved for the lizards for they are hated by the Silver Flame. Unfortunately, the goblin shaman escaped and ran away into the dungeon. We decided to rest and regather our strength before exploring the leftmost of the three doors leading from the room. Inside we found three sarcophagi with rotted remains and jewelry inside. In the center one was a gruesome sight. A steel spike had been driven into the stone, and manacles chained to them. Still trapped in one of the manacles was the mangled remains of a human hand, ripped from its owners body. We also found two healing potions in the tombs.

We next decided to follow the goblin shaman, rather than descend deeper into the dungeon. We followed him to a room with a large obsidian burning moon inlaid on the floor occupied by two ghouls and a couple zombies – one of whom was the former owner of the aforementioned hand and the town’s artificer. We slew the foul undead and destroyed the cowardly goblin shaman hiding behind them. Then turned to continue our search for the last hostage – the boy Thurann son of the slain captain of the guards Kartenix. We happened upon a fountain of water that would later serve us well while resting and then in a room lined with tombs and writings we found the boy Thurann whimpering in a corner. We freed him, and then decided that – having rescued the hostages, we had best return to the surface and rest before exploring the rest of the dungeon.

. Angry face .

That night while we encamped by the mouth of the dungeon,Breogan caught the hobgoblin captain Sinruth attempting to flee the dungeon. A battle ensued as the rest of us were awakened, with the captain wielding a wicked dire chain weapon. On the captain’s body we discovered a suit of magical full-plate armor (which Jantry would later don), as well as another mysterious dragon shard crystal, and a cryptic messageto the leader, congratulating him on his success and commanding him to attack the town and steal the loot – signed “the Emissary.”

In the morning, we left Thurann and Sertanian at the campsite while the remainder of the hand of the Silver Flame descended into the depths of the dungeon. We first found the quarters of the hobgoblin captain Sinruth and recovered several of the stolen items. We then returned to the room where the boy had been found and explored a strange dead-end hallway and found a secret door at the end. We crossed to the other-side and found ourselves in a throne room with a skeletal king and queen sitting on the throne in the center. A swarm of skeleton warriors emerged from the bones scattered about and we did battle with the undead scum. The king proved to be a terrifying presence capable of driving us back, while calling forth more and more minions. His queen had been crafted into a vicious fighter who exploded upon killing her. We paused for a moment in the room, discovering an array of precious items and an ornately carved bone staff.

. Angry face .

We then proceeded out of the throne room by the front door – only to uncover two were-rat goblin skirmishers who had summoned a demon to protect them. We fought the raging demon to a stop in the hallway but one of the were rats escaped. We pursued and crashed through a door into what appeared to be an old chapel infested with more goblin-wererats and a shaman who kept disappearing every-time we attacked him. We suffered many blows and wounds, Quinn unconscious, near death and poisoned from the bites of the vile rat-goblins.

In the end we slew these enemies of the Silver Flame as well and recovered the remainder of the items stolen from Woodhelm. One item in particular was curious – as we took up the dull, platinum long sword it spoke to Quinn “At last… mumble mumble… ” in the Voice of the Silver Flame. We finish looting the dungeon – all the treasures of the family became forfeit when they took to the path of Necromancy.

We returned to town with a hero’s welcome (and a level up). We rest and celebrate at several feasts in our honor. Jantry purchased horses for the party to speed our journey toward Orcbone – and took the pretty village maid Alys for a ride down by the river bank… We tried to negotiate with the keeper of the Hall of Valor Sertanian to let us keep the platinum blade. We visited the Alchemist Adronsius’s shop and purchased a few special items at cost. And it seems like the boy Thurann we rescued, the captain of the guards’ son might come with us on the next leg of the journey as all his family in the Woodhelm is dead. Perhaps we will recruit him as a squire to carry our battle standard… The Silver Flame has prevailed this day, but who knows what other dangers await them on the road ahead…

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War Machine
Session 4

(Molday, 1st of Nymm)

After their success in Woodhelm, the Hand of the Silver Flame hit the road, headed toward Orcbone. They were accompanied by the orphan Thurann, and made plans to stop in Shavalant along the way, to drop him off there in the care of his grandparents.

For a few days, they followed the road north, along the fringes of the Dragonwood. One afternoon, the party was alarmed to come across the wreckage of an Orien carriage smoldering in the middle of the road. A quick investigation revealed that the carriage had been looted, and all of the passengers had been slain: some of the victims had evidently been gored viciously, and massive tracks led into the Dragonwood.

The Hand of the Silver Flame would not allow this atrocity to go unpunished. They followed the tracks of the raiders, which led them shortly into an ambush. The villains were a group of (rhino-riding) hobgoblins and orcs, which the party dispatched with a zealous fervor. One of the orcs, left alive for questioning, had little to say besides threats of bloodshed on a massive scale.

The party recovered the stolen goods: a sack of stamped gold bars, property of the banking house Kundarak. Other adventuring groups might have been tempted by the sum, but not the Hand of the Silver Flame they vowed to return the loot and inform the houses Orien and Kundarak as soon as possible.

The intrepid adventurers could not help but wonder how a band of orcish raiders made it all the way into the center of Breland, and why they would dare to attack an Orien transport. Could it have something to do with the mysterious Emissary, or the unearthly portal at Rivenroar? Quite possibly; however, the party was not in the position to investigate further, and so pressed on toward Orcbone, where they assumed they might be able to get more information.

First, however, they needed to stop in Shavalant and bid a hasty farewell to their (not so plucky) companion Thurann . The citizens of Shavalant were not motivated to heed the party’s warning of orc activity in the area, but agreed to organize a night watch at the very least.

The Hand of the Silver Flame rode west, toward Orcbone. Far away in the sky, they saw large airships heading to the southeast, but couldn’t guess why. It was soon made clear to them, however, when they encountered the Westwind Riders, who were riding hard and fast away from Orcbone. The news was dire: Orcbone had come under attack by a great host of enemies, and was being evacuated. Any able-bodied warriors were expected to regroup at Ardev to organize a counterattack.

Dismayed, the Hand of the Silver Flame rode with the Westwind Riders south to Ardev, a large, multi-walled city which had become crowded with refugees from Orcbone. Since they had a while before the plan of attack would be decided, the group was able to resolve their duties concerning the wrecked carriage in the Dragonwood. House Orien was shocked to learn of the carriage attack, and asked the party to keep it on the down-low if at all possible. Breogan was directed to Bram Ironfell of house Kundarak by Adronsius , one of the Hostages of Rivenroar. The party returned the gold to the Kundarak Consortium and delivered the news of the death of Snorri Whitebeard. Bram reluctantly agreed to take a look at Breogans Grandfathers broken blade.

9 Bells District of Ardev

Finally, a meeting was called. The Hand of the Silver Flame were invited, along with the Westwind Riders, Freeriders(led by an alluring old friend of Breogans, a Megan Swiftblade), and a number of other adventurers, at the behest of a council of elders, with a frontman by the name of Elder Cadrick.

A plan was set in motion. While one group of fighters would head back into Orcbone by way of secret tunnels, the Hand of the Silver Flame volunteered to warn the monks of a certain monastery in the mountains near Orcbone, and help defend it if necessary.

The next morning, the party rode out, hoping to reach the monastery in time, but made slow progress because of a muddy river crossing and some steep hills in the way. By the time they reached the monastery the invaders had already breached the meager defenses (Ok, just a gardener) and apparently killed all the monks. The Hand of the Silver Flame battled their way inside, fighting a despicable shaman and some powerful orogs, until they came to a great stone stairway leading deep underground. Another group of enemies were charging up the stairs at them, with a few firing powerful arrows from a safe distance.

This had the potential of being the most dangerous battle yet, as Oris was struck by an arrow and pushed off the edge by the force of impact, leading to a high fall that seriously wounded him. Breogan lowered a rope to his (literally) fallen comrade while the others took a defensive position at the top of the stairs, not willing to risk traversing the thin platform while the archers stood out of range.

The hobgoblin commander ordered his troops to pursue, and as he neared the top, Jantry made an epic leap across a cliff and down onto the stairs, cleaving his foe in two and inspiring awe in his allies. So much so that Elani lost her balance and fell off the edge of the cliff like a lemming or something. Meanwhile, Quinn gave his foes a taste of their own medicine, using his forceful invocations to hurl a few of them over the ledge, where they tumbled to their doom.

Now, exhausted and battered, they continue down the stairs, possibly unprepared for the dangers that await them at the bottom…

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The Pressure's On
Session 5

In the depths of the monastery of the Sundered Chain, the Hand of the Silver Flame rescued the last surviving monk, Kalad. As the woeful dwarf recovered from being tortured, he explained what had happened.

A terrible force of goblins and orcs had emerged from the myriad tunnels which had long sat dormant under the monastery. As a last ditch effort to stop the seemingly endless hordes, Kalad and the other dwarves sundered their forges, collapsing the tunnel entrances permanently. The forces of evil that remained still had the advantage of surprise, and surged ruthlessly through the monastery, leaving a bloody wake. Only Kalad was kept alive, in a vain attempt to force him to reopen the tunnels.

Cave Troll

With the information that a nearly limitless army was approaching Breland through the tunnel system, the party raced to assist the West Wind riders, who were bound to be outnumbered by now. The tunnels did not need to be defended, said Kalad, but blocked completely, before it was too late.

The intrepid Hand rushed on into another tunnel system, one far more perilous and labyrinthine than any they had ever encountered. Following signs of the West Wind riders’ passage, they made their way through the winding tunnels until they came to a nexus of gigantic steam pipes. Based on the information Kalad had given them, their only hope was to open the nexus, and then try to reach the boiler room, where they could flood the entire complex with boiling water and block it off for good.

The tunnels were not empty, of course. Our heroes battled their way past sinister clockwork traps, fire-spewing beetles, a seemingly unbeatable cave-troll, and goblin alchemists that lobbed deadly grenades. They were forced to hide and rest for a few hours, while Elani lay unconscious, hovering on death’s door after a brutal attack.

Orc Freaks

Having found the lifeless, looted bodies of the West Wind riders, they knew that they were the only ones left who could stop the dark onslaught. Fortunately, they had encountered a friendly changeling, who had stayed alive this long only by impersonating an orc. He was happy to find himself in the company of a party full of righteous rescuers, and gladly offered to assist in their goal, if only to escape the foul caverns.

As soon as they had rested up and prepared themselves for what might be their last act of heroism, the Hand of the Silver Flame rushed toward the boiler room, a huginormossal room filled with steam pipes and equipment. The steam controls they sought were nearly a hundred feet above them, reachable only by climbing a long series of platforms that spiraled around the room. War drums erupted as they began their ascent, heralding the arrival of an ever-growing battalion of orcs (and a shadowy warlock), blocking their path.

Orc Warboss Tusk and his Shadar-kai warlock wench

They fought onward and upward, circling the room, and soon it became clear that they would eventually be swarmed by an effectively limitless number of orcs unless they could reach the top quickly. The strongest of their foes, a tremendously strong orc in shining armor, held them back, stirred on by the beat of the drums, and for a moment it appeared that the Hand of the Silver Flame might fail—but the Flame burned bright, and they persevered, and struck down their foes in droves even while more poured in from every entrance.

Finally, reaching the top, Jantry and their new acquaintance worked the controls; the enormous pipes creaked dangerously, but remained intact, and finally, there was an eruption of scalding water from below, which began filling the room (and conveniently, the goblin tunnels) with hot liquid death, while the party escaped safely through a hatch in the ceiling. They had done it!

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Victory at Orcbone
Session 6

After closing off the tunnel system, The Hand of The Silver Flame returned to Ardev, where they were once again greeted in celebration for their heroic deeds.

Although the orcish legions could no longer reach Breland through the mountain tunnels, Orcbone was still under siege. Once again, The Hand of The Silver Flame found themselves tasked to assist Elder Cadrick and the other leaders of Ardev, who had planned a meeting that evening to discuss what would happen next.

With a few hours to kill before the meeting, the party visited the markets in Trade Town to do some shopping, where suddenly they were set upon by a disorganized group of assassins. After a bloody fight and a chase through the crowded marketplace, the Hand succeeding in capturing one of the assailants (to be turned over to the city guard after questioning); unfortunately, the leader of the group, a mustachioed wizard going by the name Zaegun, escaped. In light of their recent heroism (they were saviors of Breland, after all!), the party had no guesses as to who might want to attack them.

The meeting with the elders was short and sweet. It was decided that the Hand would set out directly via airship to assist the ragged forces, hoping to break the Seige on Orcbone before it was too late. Arriving the next afternoon, they found that the enemy forces had fallen back to muster some distance from the walls of the city. Taking advantage of this, the team worked fast to strengthen the defenses of Orcbone however they could: healing the wounded, scouting for advantageous terrain, reinforcing the gate, etc.

The battle began at nightfall, as a battalion of orcs marched on the gates while hippogriff-riders flew above the battlefield. With every ounce of skill they had, the Hand of the Silver Flame dutifully fought off the advance, leading the militia, firing spells and arrows onto their enemies from the walls, and furiously battling the monstrous forces that would stop at nothing to breach the city gate.

As the battle raged on, a strike team consisting of a handful of shadar-kai and wraiths emerged from the darkness and sprung to the top of the wall, battering the defenders there with black magic and nightmarish chains of pure shadow. The members of the Hand rushed to the defense of the wall before the intruders could turn the tide of battle. After a brutal fight, the party was successful, but the attack had caused confusion and despair among the militia.

The battle was getting out of control, and as another wave of orc forces surged toward the gates, some of the defending militia broke and ran, plunging the remaining defenders into total chaos. Even so, with the help of the Hand of the Silver Flame fighting furiously to defend the gate, the struggling forces retaliated viciously against the orcish regiments until they, too, broke and ran. Once again, the Hand of the Silver Flame had seemingly gone beyond the call of duty, saving Breland once more.

The heroes returned victoriously to Ardev, where they were congratulated with great honor by the town elders. Although the tidings were dark, it appeared that Breland would be safe for the time being before the orcs could muster another force. The party had received a letter from Thurann, who had discovered some interesting details about a silver sword they had left in his possession, and decided to return to Shavalant and pay the boy a visit.

However, on their way to the stables, they were attacked once again by the mustachioed Zaeghun and his hired goons. Jantry recognized one of them, a young woman he had known from his days in the thieves’ guild, Mara the River Fox. The paladin convinced her and an ally to surrender, as the battle was clearly in the Hand’s favor. To the party’s chagrin, Zaegun escaped yet again, using an invisibility spell.

Mara could not believe that her old partner in crime (and what-have-you) had survived, let alone become a righteous do-gooder. She agreed to give some information if the party would be lenient with her. Apparently, an unknown agent had put a large bounty on the members of Hand of the Silver Flame, which Zaegun, criminal underboss of Trade Town, had been trying to collect on.

Putting their plans to visit Thurann on hold, the party decided instead to track down Zaegun and figure out who had put the bounty on their heads. From clues and hints they gathered in taverns and alleyways around the city, it appeared that the bounty had something to do with the mysterious crystals they had recovered, which were tied in some way to the mystical portal they had encountered during their adventures at Rivenroar. Someone with a connection to the burning-eye symbol they had seen on their adversaries’ weapons and armor was trying to retrieve the stones, and apparently would stop at nothing to get them.

As this shadowy figure seemed very desperate to find the stones, the party decided it would be possible to set a trap for him. Dox, the changeling that had accompanied them since their victory in the mountain caverns, started a rumor that he had stolen one of the stones and was looking to sell it. When the villain comes to collect, the Hand of the Silver Flame will be waiting.

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Partly Cloudy; Chance of Pain
Session 7

Still in Ardev, The Hand of The Silver Flame was tired of being repeatedly attacked by assassins who were apparently sent to steal the portal-controlling stones they had found.

Their investigations led them to believe a shadowy enemy named Mordawas desperately seeking the stones, possibly on orders from a more dangerous foe-one higher up on the ladder, so to speak. With no better leads, they had set up a phony sale of one of the stones to try to lure Morda out of hiding.

Our heroes waited at a run-down tavern in the shantytown called the Broken Teacup. They should have known Morda would send underlings to do his dirty work. When the buyers (more common street thugs by the look of them) arrived, the vaporous negotiations quickly fell apart and erupted into chaos as more assassins burst through the windows rather cinematically.

Morda

The Hand slapped the bad guys down hard, but failed to extract any useful information from their assailants. Even worse, Breogan and Oris, who had been on watch outside when the fight began, had been kidnapped!

The remaining members of the party were at a loss. A ransom note was covertly delivered a few hours later, dictating that all of the stones (not just the one they had pretended to be selling) should be delivered at the town gates at noon the next day if they wanted to see their friends alive again. Dox was outraged: if their enemies knew about the stones, it is likely they also knew he was a changeling—his most closely guarded secret.

The Hand of the Silver Flame was conflicted: Would they agree to the trade and hand over the obviously powerful and dangerous stones, or simply attend the switch and hope chance favored them when they refused to give in to the demands?

Luckily, an unexpected ally gave them another option.Reniss, the sister of one of the poor West Wind Riders, who had been watching out for the Hand ever since they returned some of her late sister’s belongings, had seen where the kidnappers had taken their allies. Enlivened by the chance to turn the tables on the villains and rescue their friends, they followed the half-elf to an average-looking warehouse in Trade Town and snuck inside.

The warehouse was filled with carts, some empty, some full, of what appeared to be weapon crates marked with a familiar (and foreboding) burning moon they had seen all too often lately, as a trademark on the weapons and armor of their foes at Rivenroar and Orcbone. In the center of the room, and covered in a sheet, was an even more shocking find: A mystical portal.

Another weapons cart, attended by shadowy gnome-like creatures called dark creepers, was visible on the other side of the portal. With stealth and tact typical of the Hand of the Silver Flame, our heroes rushed headlong through the portal and into danger.

After a brutal battle against the dark creepers and a pair of terrifying shadow hounds, one of the creepers managed to flee, no doubt to inform others of their arrival, but buying some time for our heroes to take a defensive position and catch their breath for a moment before venturing further.

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Into the Shadowfell
Session 8

Resting up after the battle with the dark creepers, the Hand of The Silver Flame took stock of their situation. The portal they had haphazardly barged through moments before appeared to be of the temporary sort, which meant that it was likely they were still within the walls of Ardev, or at least somewhere nearby. And from the looks of the passage leading up and away, through which the dark creeper had fled, the chamber they now inhabited was deep underground.

Deciding to ignore the only other exit (a heavy wooden door set in one wall) for now, the Hand decided to follow the dark creeper up the passage, in case he was going to alert more enemies. Luckily for them, the passage led to an open cavern with a sheer cliff face blocking any further ascent. It was effectively a dead end, and they found the dark creeper huddling in fear behind a stalagmite. The party decided to tie him up and interrogate him; he told them they would find Morda if they continued through the other doorway.

Glancing around for any items or passageways they might have missed, the party saw dark shapes looming on the ceiling above them, and made a hasty retreat back down the passage to avoid drawing more attention from the denizens of the cave. They made their way to the room with the portal, approached the heavy wooden door, and once again, barged through and into danger.

In the center of the room there was another portal, one with a much more permanent and powerful appearance, similar to the one they had found at Rivenroar. Unlike that one, however, this one appeared to be deactivated at the moment. Along one wall stood a portal like the one they had come through earlier, and another warehouse, likely somewhere else in Ardev, was visible on the other side. The friends they had come to rescue, Breogan and Oris, were tied to chairs near the portal.

A voice spoke to them from nearby, invisible. It was Morda, and he offered them a deal. Give him the stones, and the Hand of the Silver Flame would be free to leave; refuse, and all of them would die, starting with the two hostages.

It was not the kind of deal the Hand of the Silver Flame was accustomed to taking, and this case proved to be no exception. Jantry, who in an uncharacteristic display of ingenuity had prepared a dummy sack with two cobblestones tucked inside, tossed his deceptive prop across the room, while the others rushed in to free the two captives, who were battered and weakened from being tortured. Still invisible, Morda scooped up the fake stones and instantly realized he’d been duped. Screaming with rage, he vowed the Hand of the Silver Flame would soon meet their doom, a claim that was instantly backed up by a horde of terrible wraiths that emerged from the walls and set upon the heroes.

The party struggled to free the captives while fending off the powerful undead assault. The wraiths were shrouded in a vile necrotic aura that sapped the heroes’ will, and they found that their weapons had little effect on the vaporous, ectoplasmic foes. Breogan and Oris were freed after a few moments, and it looked like they might be able to escape, when the invisible Morda snuck up to Quinn and stole the two stones he had been carrying.

The heroes knew that Morda could use the stones he’d stolen to reopen the portal at Rivenroar and march an army into Breland. Retreat was no longer an option: this battle would end in victory, or in death. More than ever before, they were pushed to the edge of defeat, against foes that might drag them into the darkness of undeath itself, but the radiant power of the Silver Flame burned brightly within them all, and one by one they struck down the vile wraiths.

While the party was fighting for survival, Morda slipped one of the stones into the portal, activating it, hoping to flee into the shadowfell. Quinn managed to remove the stone, closing the portal and reclaiming it for the Hand, the rest of whom were busy finishing off the wraiths.

Finally, the last wraith was destroyed, and all of the members of the Hand had survived, some more worse for wear than others. Morda, however, had escaped into the Shadowfell and still held one of the crystals, which was shortly determined to be the stone that had activated the portal at Rivenroar. Getting to Rivenroar could take weeks, or days, even by airship, and no one knew what Morda could accomplish in that time. The Hand instead decided to follow him through the portal and hope for the best, pausing only to alert Elder Cadrick about the smuggling ring and teleportation portals they had uncovered.

Stepping through the portal, they found themselves in a strange realm of shadow and fire. But no enemy fortress or army of darkness greeted them on the other side. Instead, they found a rather large settlement, Umbraforge composed of various races, especially Shadar-Kai, cobbled rather organically on the slope of a semi-active volcano. The party donned their cloaks and tried not to attract attention while exploring the town.

Umbraforge Markets

It appeared that most of the inhabitants were merchants or mercenaries who had come from far and wide across the shadowfell, or from Khorvaire. The slave trade also thrived here, and the settlement was home to a foundry that created weapons. At least now they knew where those weapon shipments had been coming from.

Overlooking all of these criminal enterprises was a man called Sarshan, who basically ruled the entire town and who’s name the party recognized as being Morda’s old boss. Apparently, the two had had a falling out, and Mordawas on the run, after having tried to deal on the side. However, it proved impossible for the Hand of the Silver Flame to get an audience with the reclusive Sarshan, regardless of any news they had on Morda, and instead they were forced to track down their adversary the old fashioned way.

Over the course of a few days, the party managed to dig up quite a bit about where Mordamight be hiding, and as always, trouble seemed to follow on their heels. When investigating the slave camps (but unable to do anything about them at present), the Hand battled firey lava creatures that erupted from the ground after an earthquake. Later, when they infiltrated Sarshan’s mercenary training grounds, a handful of ogres attacked the heroes purely for sport, and they wowed the crowd when a full-scale battle ensued.

Finally, they discovered that Mordahad been planning on retrieving something from within the foundry; whatever it was, it would lead the Hand right to him if they could get it before he did, and they had recently gathered information to their advantage: while the foundry gate was always heavily guarded, part of the rear wall had recently been damaged during one of the more vigorous earthquakes, and that a small passage through had opened up which they might be able to squeeze through.

The Hand sneakily made their way over to the foundry and, with some difficulty, breached the outer wall. As they entered, however, they were greeted by the sounds of battle: Mordahad arrived with his strike team just moments earlier!

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