The New Chronicles of the Venture Company

First Day in the Keep

Led the Venture Company to the Keep on the Shadowfell. Full of goblins. Tree fell in a trap full of rats. Many goblins died. The place is full of whispers from the Far Realm, driving the goblins mad. Also, oozes…always a reliable sign of minor Far Realm influence. Killed some kind of leader, and pretty much every other goblin we found, plus a hobgoblin in a gimp suit. There’s one sane goblin, self-proclaimed liar and cheat Splug. Apparently resistant to psionic influence. Resting in the goblins’ old quarters. Watch instructed to keep an eye on Splug.

-Ninaran Whiteraven, in the employ of Balasar of Fallcrest

17th Day of the Fading, 786 Nerathi Era

It has been a busy time, these last few days. No time to write of adventures. And now? I have nothing but time. So, let me tell of our journey to Winterhaven, to seek my old acquaintance Douven Stahl, and what happened there. It began with our return from Kobold Hall. We loaded most of our supplies on a ka’baeshra, making good time on the road. We came to Gardmore Abbey just as the sun was disappearing in the west. While there, we met a group of merchants, who had employed an old friend as a guard. From them, we heard more of the evil goblin Irontooth, and dark tidings of some sort of death cult among the northern kobolds.
The next morning, we continued north, meeting and slaying a few of the kobolds along the road to Winterhaven. It was nearly nightfall when we arrived. The town guards directed us to Wrafton’s Inn, where we met up with some locals both friendly and unfriendly. Conversation confirmed some of the worst of what we’d already heard. Douven had been out at the dig site for more than a week, the kobolds attacked every few days, and there were even rumors of the dead rising, and some sort of darkness centered on a local ruined keep.
While the others socialized, I talked business with the captain of the town guard. It seems that while Winterhaven had a sizable defensive militia, very few people were willing to join the professional soldiers in prying Irontooth from his lair. I offered our assistance in resolving the matter. I was sure Irontooth would have more information about Kalarel de Verdantis, who seemed to be at the center of all this trouble.
But first, we had to find Douven. It took most of the morning to reach the dragon’s grave. There was little sign of Douven. The heavy work was being done by some disreputable humans, overseen by a Spriggan. We expected the worst, so were not surprised by the Spriggan’s sudden order to attack. A simple fight, until the shade appeared at the edge of the dig. The black shape revealed no features, but was clearly the work of powerful necromantic magic. After putting down the spriggan and his minions for the second time, we were able to destroy the necromantic construct.
We found Douven stuffed in a chest…alive, fortunately. He brought our attention to the small glass-like wand Kalarel’s minions had come to steal. It is clearly magical, though we’re unable to determine what it might do to help the cult. Douven has decided to retire, after this. I wonder if this retirement will stick.
We took Douven back to town, and received information that Irontooth had been spotted. We left right away to raid the kobold encampment and slay the goblin leader. Irontooth seemed to be completely mad…it was one of the toughest fights this group has been in so far. Once he was slain, we found another note from Kalarel. I brought my axe down on the magic mouth, which exploded with magical power. This…is why I have so much time to write. My arm was grievously injured by the magic. We have arranged for the services of Ninaran, the shadar-kai scout, to lead the rest of the Venture Company to the remains of the Keep on the Shadowfell.

The Crystal that is a Sliver of Ice with Blood at its Heart

I will not forget. My memory shapes the crystal. The crystal holds my thoughts in reality.

The dragon has become ice. He was beautiful and proud in life; in death he retains some measure of his majesty. White ice, stained red. His mind was greater than mine. Blood and ice and cutting wind. I was prey; my mind cowered. I overcame him. I will not forget.

Blood stains the ground. Our dragon-on-two-legs and our striding tree spilled it. Our stonefriend brought each back, green light spilling from her quilled spirit in the heat of battle. Ice coated us, freezing, burning. He was nearly our death. I will remember.

The runes still glow. Faint, fading. Magic ahead of my skill, made simple. A transfer of energy from one weapon to the next. Our shadowling’s crossbow has changed beyond my expectation. My mind altered the magic, altered the weapon’s physical form. Where I go, none shall return. I have learned something valuable today.

Dark smears on the ice. The air shimmers faintly to my eyes. Aberrations. Abominations. Madness and feeding. Like my own gift, twisted. Their madness reached to me, tendrils of shadow. My mind did not touch theirs. My mind should not touch theirs. I will hold this realization for the future.

The crystal holds the shape of my memory.

I will not forget.

13th Day of the Fading, 786 Nerathi Era, Continued

Bahamut’s Balls! Why can’t anything ever be simple? When I last wrote in this journal, I was feelin’ the pain of a minor wound. Now I’m going to have the scars of frozen dragon teeth trying to bite me in half! Still, ended up alright. We’re all alive and resting. That weird girl is staring at a silver chain with crystals dangling from it, and mumbling. Magic? Some kinda elf magic journal, she says.
Well, for the record, the Skull Chucker Clan is gone from Kobold Hall. We killed their priest and their god. We let one of the priest’s guards leave, to tell his clan what happened. Maybe it’ll put the fear of Erathis into ‘em, keep the little bastards from raiding for a time. The weird girl took the priest’s magic staff…I think she likes how it jingles.
And then there was the dragon. Young one, only just away from his parents. His human shape couldn’t have been more than fourteen. I feel a little guilty, but there was no other way. When we tried to negotiate, the boy accused us of working for a necromancer. He was trying to kill us before we could say so much as “What necromancer, ye daft frostwrym?” It was a team effort, Shallahai and myself keeping his attention while the others wore him down. It was a long battle, in which the tree-lass and I came far too close to death for my liking.
A long battle, but that wasn’t the worst. We finally found the blasted Verdantis relic, AND a letter from someone we’re guessing is the necromancer. Kalarel, his name is. We only barely got his name, though…the scroll was enspelled, and opened a mouth to speak, which hid its words. That, and the words it spoke were unnatural sounds that warped space into summoning some vile tentacly abominations. I hate abominations, they make me axe smell funny.
Bit of luck. The dragon was a mage. While we were all digging into his treasure, the weird girl was flipping through his books of magic. Turns out, she’s a gods-damned genius. Took the dragon’s research on magic items, and enchanted Tana’s crossbow. That’ll be handy.
Yet, we remain alive. After a short rest, we will begin our march back to Fallcrest.

13th Day of the Fading, 786 Nerathi Era

My spear wound is bandaged and we’re simply waiting for Brigwyn to finish praying away Shallahai’s injuries. Most of the mansion they call Kobold Hall has collapsed, and the little beasts have moved in to a series of crypts under the estate. There’s some evidence that magical experimentation was carried out in the building, pools of some kind of sticky green goo. Don’t know what it is, but it’s probably going to take my breath weapon to get me scales clean again. This kobold tribe is showing signs of dragon worship. Worse, it’s a white. I doubt we’ll be able to negotiate, the only thing those wyrms respect is power. Still, me executioner’s axe is ready, and Avandra seems to be on our side. The praying is done, let the violence begin!

12th Day of The Fading, 786 Nerathi Era

As I write this, my new adventuring party is sleeping off varying degrees of drunk in the barracks. Surely Avandra has smiled on me, leading four skilled adventurers to my door on the same day. They tend a bit more fey than I’d like, but a man whose mates were shot down by elves is prone to a little sylvan intolerance. The ones that did it are dead, so I be sure I can move past it.
What we have is quite a group. The only one able to keep up with me drinking was Brigwyn, a dwarf shaman hailing from me birthplace of Hammerfast. The one I thought could handle her drink better was Sally, who’s some kind of walking tree-girl. That reminds me, I should sweep up the hops that are now littering me floor. Strange creatures, the Feywild makes. Creatures like our creepy eladrin princess, Sariel, skilled at bending the minds of us mortals, less skilled at holding her liquor. The most comfortingly normal of that lot is the little gnome. I can carry her home from the bar with one arm, but that little crossbow she carries could probably put out both of a bugbear’s eyes before he had any time to blink.
Time to turn in, meself. Tomorrow, we begin our journey to the Kobold Hall to fetch some fool coat of arms or something.


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