When our last adventure began the army of the Valley of Light had the army of the Wizards Council on the run. A small window of opportunity opened to trap the army and their demented commander the Death Knight Krang outside the safety of the Red Tower, the impenetrable fortress of Illian the City of Kings. The only thing standing in the Valley’s way were reinforcements from the barbarian Chief Eric of the Clan of the Cave Bear north in the Falenkor Range. Reinforcements that was late in coming.
Enter our heroes. Tripkin the gnome bard a member of Thoridin’s, a.k.a. the Red Fletcher, net work of spies charged with a mission of diplomacy to ensure the timely arrival of Chief Eric at the field of battle under the Red Tower and to retrieve a clandestine message from a fellow spy at the barbarian camp. Also, Alaric the ranger was charged by his liege the elf queen Syier to check up on her sister Syumi two months gone training with the barbarians. Both men of purpose went under the charge of Maumi the goliath warden responsible for their safe journey along with the rest of his group Tankus the dwarf fighter, Kra’son the fighter and defender of Illian, Roland the prophet-wizard and Usul the shadar-kai avenger.
With the benefit of Kra’son’s flying war galleon the party made good time to barbarian lands, but when at the foothills of Falenkor Chief Eric would not go to war before ensuring the safety of the missing children of his tribe. The party accepted the quest to find the children.
Maumi and the party investigated the scene of the abductions while Roland researched arcane tomes for answers. Maumi and his crew had little success and Roland, whilst researching was stabbed in the leg by a little tiefling waif. On the second day, though, the answer found them. Alerted to their investigation the abductor and their nemesis from the shadowfell the oni night haunter Shota ambushed the unsuspecting heroes. Caught flat footed the party reeled to respond and protect the overmatched barbarians. In the end, though, the courage and skill of the party overwhelmed the night haunter’s ambush as Kra’son leapt a top her manticore mount and cleaved its head, and Tripkin commanded Shota to surrender. With the evil oni in hand the party found the answers they sought: the children were sold to the half-orc death mage Florn. While her plan failed the children remained at risk.
Shota tried to negotiate her escape with her knowledge of Florn’s whereabouts, but the goblin sorcerer Grignak, who aided the party in the recent battle, stepped forward. A slave apprentice to the death mage he was happy to aid the party in finding his cruel master. Expendable the oni was dispatched, and then Roland tracked down the child who stabbed him. He found the child Time an apprentice to the seer and artificer Fortune who, burrowing the same knife that drew the wizards blood into her hand, began to prophecy and scream while pointing at the man, “You are the One!” Haunted and confused Roland and the party equipped themselves for the journey ahead into the mountains of Falenkor in search for the barbarian children and the yet to be found elf princess Syumi.
Fortified with supplies and magic against the bitter cold jouney ahead the party set sail into the treacherous winter mountains. First stopping at the haunted Outpost of Cragenhorn the party resisted the enchanted fortress and learned the secret of the Throne of Insanity. In the age of Nerath the Throne of Insanity was secured at the outpost, but eventually all went mad. The throne was then taken deep into the Falenkor range to be put in the care of the Ram’s Head dwarf barbarians in what is now known as the Cave of Madness.
Armed with this cryptic knowledge the heroes pressed on to the Cave of Madness. In a ravine leading to the cave, though, they found the barbarian chief’s illegitimate son Florn. As the death mage worked an evil incantation aside the corpse of a recently felled dragon the party snuck into the ravine. Delayed by a battle with orc minions when they finally entered the summoning chamber it was too late. In front of them rose an abomination of creation—a dracolich! Flanked by Florn and the orc champion Stormfury a great battle raged. Roland eradicated the orc warriors with poisonous gas and bursts of fire and dealt the death blow to Florn with the icy grasp of Bigsby. Kra’son, seeing the scalp of his fallen brother hanging from his belt a trophy, chased down a slew the orc champion. Tripkin and Maumi used charming song and the power of the earth to halt the advances of the dracolich.
The party was alive, but their only lead dead. Usul communed with the Raven Queen to find what Florn did with the children: he sold them to the scion of Orcus Kalarel for the Tome of the Dracolich. With a new lead in hand, just as they prepared to leave, they were visited by yet another god, the evil five headed goddess of chromatic dragons Tiamat. She offered a blessing for the Tome of the Dracolich. They took it.
When the party returned to town they were greeted by the missionary Jashobeam from the Copper Penny Orphanage with a message for Tripkin. While the party rested and resupplied Jashobeam and Tripkin healed and witnessed to the skully dwarves, and Maumi slipped away from the party to pay homage to his nearby homeland. In the morning they set out for the Cave of Madness.
At the Cave of Madness the party endured four tests. First, they negotiated a trading agreement with two opposing barbarian tribes, learning that battle is not the only answer. Second, they killed infected kinsmen to stop the spread of a plague, learning the good of the many. Third, they rescued their tribe from a wild fire, learning that leadership is like herding cats. And, lastly, they confronted a superior barbarian tribe who gave them harsh terms of surrender and Grignak called down a doomsday storm to eradicate the threat, learning that sometimes you must make a stand.
After defeating the tests and far realm horrors the party stepped through a portal that took them deeper into the Falenkor Range. In the transport they lost Usul and gained Maumi and found themselves in an underground land complete with a river and forest and manor on a hill. Whether real or illusion they pressed on toward their goal. When Tripkin and Jash’s diplomatic excursion failed the party made quick work of a werewolf guard, ransacked the grounds and found in the garden a path to the Throne of Insanity.
The throne room was magically darkened making combat treacherous, but the party pressed on in to the terror. They labored long over seemingly impossible odds to dispatch the demons of the dark using might, magic and cunning. Finally prevailing they recovered the children, discovered the throne and escaped the horror that came from the deep. The princess Syumi, though, was dead and had been for years. Who they thought was Syumi was actually a changeling assassin whom Alaric killed with much sorrow for his queen’s loss. Also, they found in the throne room an enormous broken link of chain identical to the one from the chamber of the Throne of Dreams, and, when prompted by his memory of the seer Fortune’s foretelling, Roland sat on the Throne of Insanity. There he received a further cryptic message both messianic and apocalyptic, and was assaulted by the Elder Elemental Eye.
Now in possession of the children the heroes used the magic portal to travel back to the now dormant Cave of Madness. They arrived in perfect health and hurried to the battle of the Red Tower. There they returned the children to Chief Eric and joined the battle to route the Wizards Council’s army. Our heroes used their flying war galleon to engage the Death Knight Krang on his dragon Strife and the High Councilor Malcolm himself. Kra’son took out Krang, Maumi faced down Malcolm, Tankus dealt the death blow to Strife and Roland secured the Red Tower to aid the forces of the Valley of Light in their battle.
And when all was won, spoils in hand, evil on the run, out of the east rolled a dark cloud. Riding on wings of dragons an army of dragonborn descended on the battlefield. From the back of an ancient gold dragon a scaled paladin alighted and demanded, “Surrender the shadow soul slaves of the serpent goddess Tiamat!”
Having worked together with the evil goddess both in the shadowfell throne room and again beside the corpse of the dracolich, the party knew he meant them. Valiantly, though, Chief Eric and General Gunter, rallied their forces and declared, “Only after the valley runs red with our blood will our friends be taken!”
Sadly, Maumi knew both the paladin and their allies would be true to their word. And the only way to save their friends and all they’ve fought to gain in the war with the Wizards Council was to submit to the mercy of the dragonborn. So throwing down their weapons our heroes were led away in chains, unarmed, in cages clutched in dragon talons, and shuttled off to the east. And that’s where we pick up our tale...