Thraka of the Crazy-Whirlwind clan and Balasar of the Ancient Rage clan shared one thing in common. Each had lost their entire clan to the orc warlord Auxarc. After years of searching Thraka finally found a lead which lead them to the town Ruxi’s Bay situated on the shore of Lake Methmere. Retrieving his family’s lost heirloom, the flail of the Crazy-Whirlwind clan, and revenge against Auxarc were finally in sight.
Along with a goliath battlemind named Thurian Allmight, out to prove himself in battle, Thraka and Balasar tracked down the information broker Redgar Quinn at his home. Quinn promptly fled. Not knowing if this was due to the arrival of an orc, dragonborn and a goliath at his door or for some other nefarious reason the trio gave chase. Upon being caught, Quinn broke down exclaiming,
“I don’t know anything! I swear! Oh gods I’ll tell you everything!”
Apparently a gang leader named Donovan had sent a letter ordering Quinn not to talk to them. The letter read,
It has come to my attention that someone is seeking the heirloom of the Crazy-Whirlwind clan. Such scrutiny would inconvenience my employer. I would remember this should anyone start asking questions. I’d hate for anything to happen to you.
It appeared someone had taken notice of their inquiries. Leaving Quinn in a barrel, with instructions to remain there until they returned, the party set off towards the docks.
Den of Thieves
Following Quinn’s eagerly provided directions the party found their way to Donovan’s warehouse hideout. Noting several means of access – ladders, side doors – the party immediately started beating themselves against the wall which, rebelliously, refused to collapse. Undaunted at having alerted the entire warehouse to the imminent assault the party decided to kick down the main door, flattening the guard who was standing behind it.
The fight inside against Donovan and his thugs was violent and brief, the party’s appearance once more failing to inspire belief that a diplomatic solution was possible. From the corpse of Donovan they found another letter,
One of our agents reports that a group seeking the flail of the Crazy-Whirlwind clan has arrived. Continuing this line of enquiry cannot be allowed. We have provided a sum of 400 gold pieces to deal with the issue. Should this prove insufficient send a messenger to our camp in the Web Woods. Do not fail in this.
It appeared that the party’s best option was to continue working its way up the chain of command.
Leaving the town on their way to the Web Woods, and forgetting about Quinn completely, the town gates slammed shut behind the party. Ahead of them two humans and an orc appeared from the rocks at the side of the road.
“I cannot allow you to go any further. I’ve been paid a considerable sum to end your lives and I so hate disappointing customers.”
Thraka and Thurian thought they may have gotten along with the charismatic assassin under different circumstances. Balasar cut off his head.
So Many Legs
Travelling through the forest the party was made uneasy by the scuttling sound that seemed to be following them. Never-the-less they pressed onwards and after several hours they found themselves on a rocky outcrop overlooking more of the forest. In the distance they could see smoke rising from a camp fire. Their observations were cut short however as the rustling behind them indicated it was time to face whatever had been following them.
It was more than the normal number of spiders.
Having nearly been murdered by spiders the party was once more in no mood for diplomacy. Attacking by cover of night. Thraka hurled himself from a tree into the guard tower and hurled its occupant to his death while Balasar and Thurian made good use of the camp’s fire.
Finding an ornate chest with a numbered five digit sliding mechanism the party quickly realised why Storg had a note with five riddles on it and gained access to yet another letter along with a map and a journal. The letter read,
We are beginning our assult sooner than previously planned. Deal with the Crazy-Whirlwind survivor and then head back to the montain. Make sure you enter the correct cave as Krayd has returned.
The map showed the location of a cave in the Windspire Mountain while the journal went into some detail of Storg’s annoyance with this Hadarai’s obsession with puzzles.
Into the Darkness
Using Storg’s map the party easily found the cave mentioned. Shortly after entering they come across a patrol listening to a terrified orc’s explanation of what someone named Krayd had done to his patrol.
After another bloody exchange in which the already terrified orc managed to run away the party decided not follow the fleeing orc immediately. Curiosity over who or what “Krayd” was guiding them down the opposite tunnel.
The familiar sound of blade meeting flesh greeted the party as they entered a cavern where a clearly deranged orc hacked gleefully at the corpses around him. Noticing the party’s approach he let out a roar and charged them. They really weren’t having much luck talking to people.
Having dealt with the mad orc Krayd, the part once more set off in pursuit of the fleeing orc, who had no doubt warned others of their approach.
Exiting the cave network the party found themselves facing a well manned wall separating the lower region of the mountain from the higher reaches. And it was their only way forwards.
Cutting their way through orcs and humans alike they finally broke through to the other side and the path onwards.
Further up the pass and around a bend the party became aware of how great a task they had set themselves. Before them loomed an enormous fortress built into the mountain. Realising that a direct assault on such a place would be suicidal, even for them, they set about finding an alternate means of access.
On the left side of the fortress half way up the wall, and overlooking a perilous descent, a balcony offered a means of entrance. Using his extraordinary climbing skills, Thurian made the balcony and let down a rope for the others to climb up. Once ready they barged into the bedroom on the other side of the door and made short work of the officer residing there.
Taking a moment to catch their breath in the armoury, the party found themselves being assailed by a drunken soldier. Finding that they were hard pressed to defeat him, even Balasar showed him a grudging respect when they finally took him down and spared his life in exchange for information about the fortress. Binding him with rope they lowered Anders down to ledge where he could do no harm to their further progress.
Avoiding the main bulk of the army stationed in the fortress and sticking to fights against sober opponents the party made its way to the room Anders indicated Hadarai, Auxarc’s second in command, inhabited.
Entering the long chamber in which Hadarai resided the party found the necromancer ready for them.
“Hmm. It’s you. I seem to have underestimated you. I wonder how many of my subordinates you’ve killed. No matter, your lives end here.”
Which was about the point that Thurian and Balasar’s axes connected. His skeleton and zombie minions were of little challenge with no necromancer controlling them.
Using the key obtained from Hadarai’s corpse the party continued into the next room where they found a series of five portals with a symbol on each which they come to recognise as representations of the seasons. Balasar firmly believing that winter and death should come first strode through the winter portal. A few moments later he was hurled back out and the party sensed something else in the room with them. After defeating the being of shadow and entering the portals in the correct order they were teleported into a cave with only one exit.
Don’t Mess with Balasar
Exiting the cave the party found themselves much further up the mountain with the icy wind howling through the chasm up ahead. A large stone bridge spanned the gap to a structure built into the peak of the Windspire Mountain, and a large force of soldiers stood facing them. The fury of this battle was unlike anything so far, at one point Balasar was felled by the enemy commander, only to rise and kick him screaming off the edge of the bridge to his death below. Finally only the three adventurers were left standing.
Ill Advised Defences
Through the huge iron doors the party found itself in a chamber containing a massive stone statue of an orc warrior. Beyond it was a long corridor. As the passed the statue a gravely voice spoke,
“Speak the command word to deactivate me.”
Which was when they realized they were in trouble. As the doors behind them slammed shut and the golem activated the party started sprinting down the corridor. This facility was clearly never designed to have such a destructive construct active within it as the walls trembled and started to come apart during its pursuit. At the other end of the corridor having found the door locked the party desperately hammered at the crumbling floor and succeeded in trapping the golem as the corridor collapsed downwards, damaging the locked door behind them.
Forcing their way through the damaged doors the party are confronted by two very wary looking guards who none the less didn’t hesitate to attack the exhausted looking foes before them. After a brutal fight the trio were once again victorious. Atop a table at the side of the room were a few bottles of a dark liquid, along with a note from Hadarai.
I’ve no idea why, but Auxarc seems concerned by the presence of the Crazy-Whirlwind clan’s survivor. As such he has asked for a means to keep you “combat ready at all times” as he put it. It was not easy but I came across an old recipe for something called Berduskan Black Brew in one of my master’s tomes. It should provide the effect that he is after.
Consuming them reinvigorated the party for the battle ahead.
The Cycle Continues
“So, you are the survivor or the Crazy-Whirlwind clan. I was surprised when I learned of you. I thought the entire clan was eradicated in my assault. As you can see I’ve come a long way sonce then.”
Auzarc, killer of both the Crazy-Whirlwind clan and the Ancient Rage clan along with countless others, sat atop a throne before the party.
“Or so I had thought.
You have killed my lieutenants. You have killed my bodyguards. You have broken my army and…"
The rumbling sound and large chunks of the ceiling falling down interrupted him.
“Apparently you have destroyed my fortress. I will enjoy killing you.”
With that battle was joined with Auxarc wielding a flail that Thraka recognised from his youth. Just as the party believed they were getting the upper hand a thunderous crack resounded across the room as a heavily damaged stone golem joined the fray.
Despite his cutting remarks, or perhaps fuelled by them, the party finally managed to defeat both foes and found themselves in the unenviable position of being in a collapsing fortress atop a mountain.
Frantically searching through Auxarc’s room the party found a chamber with a damaged portal within, and, with no other choice, entered it.