The Scales of War

En Route to Fortress Graystone

Following Amyria’s directions, the heroes made their way across the Vale towards the Stonehome mountains, bound for Fortress Graystone. The first day’s travel passed without incident, other than Aydrin and Cormac drowning their respective sorrows in strong drink. Towards the end of the second day, Kash spotted a small grove of trees, and directed the Fire Beetle towards it, hoping to keep behind cover for the night. Too late, Kash and Ghesh realized that the path was blocked by carefully felled trees, which were quickly set on fire. As they skidded to a halt, a group of assassins attacked, blocking the Beetle in with their drake-drawn cart.

The heroes fought back bravely and slew many of their foes, but despite their losses the assassins began to take the other hand… until a pair of crossbow bolts announced the aid of the elf Gilgathorn. This distraction offered the heroes the opportunity they needed to drive back their foes. Gilgathorn informed the heroes that someone had put a bounty of a thousand gold each on their heads, including their former companion Splug, and confessed that he’d followed their would-be assassins to ensure that the heroes survived. Although Kash and Cormac felt his evasiveness was a concern, he seemed sincere in his desire to rescue the heroes. Mending their wounds, the heroes made camp for the night, sharing dinner with Gilgathorn and a pair of travelling elves who happened upon the camp. The other elves stayed overnight, expressing concerns about the gnoll raids, while Gilgathorn took his leave shortly after dinner. At first light, the elves went their own way, while our heroes continued on to Fortress Graystone.

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Unrest in the Vale

Back in the world, the party got to grips with driving the Fire Beetle and made their way to Talar, to pick up on any news they’d missed out on. Ghesh noticed that all of the lunchtime patrons at the Green Dragon Inn seemed somewhat tense and ill at ease. Through some questioning, he discovered that a group of gnolls calling themselves the Wicked Fang clan had been raiding all across the vale. Having recognized the heroes, the barman and other patrons were eager to answer their questions, but could not tell them where to find the gnolls. Rather than return home to Overlook, the party headed for the closer and smaller town of Brindol, to see if they could find someone who knew more, or possibly hire a wizard to scry out the gnolls.

As they rode to Brindol, Splug informed the party that he could no longer travel with them. Having realized that there was more to do in the world than the party could handle on their own, Splug decided to form his own adventuring party with Reniss, one of the slaves rescued from Umbraforge, and some other capable folks they’d met in Overlook. Although sad to see their friend go, the party supported Splug’s decision and gave him plenty of advice. Cormac gave Splug his old wounding waraxe, and Ghesh donated his helmet.

Crossing the bridge across the river into Brindol proper, Ghesh and Cormac noticed an old, sour-faced woman stop and stare at the grizzled fighter. Cormac identified her as Mab, and seemed keenly uncomfortable with her presence. She asked why he was there, and informed him that she had been on her way to Overlook to track him and his friends down, as Sertanian, castellan of the Hall of Great Valor had summoned them.

At the Hall of Great Valor, Sertanian nervously informed the party that the platinum longsword they had returned some weeks ago had begun speaking, and had requested that he summon the party by name. He produced it, and the sword spoke in a woman’s voice, calling itself Amyria. Amyria informed the party that a group of gnolls calling themselves the Wicked Fang clan had established themselves in an old githzerai fortress known as Fortress Graystone.

Amyria relayed that the leader of the Wicked Fang, Fangren, had opened a conduit of power to the demon lord Yeenoghu’s realm in the Elemental Chaos, and was attempting to set himself up as an exarch of the Beast of Butchery. The opening of this conduit spurred Amyria out of her long slumber within the sword. She beseeched the party to bring her to Fortress Graystone, where she could help them perform a ritual which would release her from the sword, and said that she could tell them how to find the hidden fortress. Upon receiving their agreement, Amyria fell silent.

As the party departed the Hall of Great Valor, Mab called out to Cormac to “prove her wrong,” which further darkened his spirits, causing him to lash out at Ghesh as the dragonborn made a joke. Upon returning to the Fire Beetle, they found a crow sitting on it, croaking out Aydrin’s name. She removed a small scroll from its leg, and though she seemed quite disheartened by its contents, she did not relay the message to the rest of the party. Their business done, the heroes set out from Brindol to Fortress Graystone.

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