Chapter 2 - Servants of the Cadre

Having successfully returned the journal to Victor's cousin, and found Reece's surviving family, the heroes begin to conduct missions for the Cadre, at the behest of Victor's cousin, Geldun.


Part Eleven - The Mausoleum

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On their second night in the city, rumors were abounding about a strange tribe of orcs that had attacked a caravan from Mine Town to Winterhaven, and fearing for his siblings, Reece and the others agreed to prepare and head out to find them first thing the next morning.

Journeying from Winterhaven to Mine Town, the party ran into a group of pale white orcs, and quickly set upon them. Halfway through the fight, they realized that they were fighting against a group of undead. Swiftly overcoming the orc zombies' greater numbers, the party proceeded to follow their tracks to a nearby graveyard, located approximately halfway between the two cities.

The tracks led to a large mausoleum in the centre of the graveyard, and fearing for the lives of Reece's siblings, the party entered immediately. In the main foyer, they were surprised when a flash of light came from each of two large wolf statues and a pair of skeletal wolves confronted them. Harga used his divine authority to destroy the first of the skeletons, allowing the party to make their way through into the main hall of the mausoleum.

Exploring further, they discovered a ruined floor that clearly once held an arcane ward, several empty rooms that looked as though they had never been occupied and, near the back of the building, a room filled with dust and a cold dark sensation. Having seen no tracks within the dust, they decided that Reece's cousins could not be inside and quickly backed away. In the last room to be searched, they fought past an animated ooze and found a sizable gemstone, but still no relatives.

Finally they came to the conclusion that there were no survivors from the caravan inside the mausoleum, and so they decided to head back to the road and continue on to Minetown.

It was there at the end though, that the group realised their mistake, as they crossed over the threshold of the mausoleum into the outside world again. As Cade, who was carrying the gemstone, crossed through the portal, a hideous, wailing shriek seemed to erupt from within the tomb, from the ground, and from the very air itself. A cold wind rushed out from the door's they had just exited, and an indistinct black haze shot between them, vanishing into the air before they had even a chance to react.

A new evil was now loose in the world, but having no way of tracking it, there was nothing to be done except continuing on with their current mission.


Part Twelve - Face to Face with the Enemy

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Finally making it to Mine Town, the companions made their way to the only Inn in town, where they met up with Reece's brother and sister, as well as the other caravan guards. There, they discovered that the caravan had been attacked by a group of undead orcs, which the party believe may have been the same group that had attacked them on the road. The caravan guards, not willing to risk their lives, had immediately turned and headed back to town.

The group settled in at the inn, enjoying a meal and drink, before they were alarmed by the sounds of horses riding up outside. Preparing themselves for the worst, they finally met face to face with the Azentian Inquisitor that had been chasing them, Captain Damon Perrett. While his two lieutenants, a massive dragonborn warrior and a lithe tiefling waited patiently at the bar, Perrett walked straight across to the party and took a seat.

The conversation was short. Perrett telling them to give up the wizard and the party telling him, in no uncertain terms, that this would never happen. There was no violence at all, with Perrett seeming to accept this and leaving with his men. The sound of hooves outside told of the inquisitors leaving, and the party settled down on the floor of the inn with the rest of the guests.

It was later that they awoke to find themselves in a cellar, with no idea of how they came to be there. With no warning a group of four humanoids, clad in shadows burst into the room and attacked them with no warning. The fight was quickly over, with the heroes killing them all. With no idea of how they had arrived in the cellar, they quickly moved out the door, and found themselves in a long sewer tunnel.

Following the sewer for what seemed like hours, they stumbled across another group of these shadow-men, and though this turned out to be a much tougher fight, again the heroes proved triumphant. Now convinced that something was afoot, they continued along the tunnel, until they found themselves to be in a larger area, where three such tunnels converged.

Before they could decide upon their next course of action though, a dark enemy from their recent travels emerged from the sewer waters in the middle of the room, the black dragon Iskail. Much larger than they remembered him, Iskail immediately launched his acid breath at the party and the battle was joined. Unlike the previous encounter in the woods though, this time Iskail was more than a match for the heroes and, between his acid breath, fang and claw, he soon had slain all of the group.


Part Thirteen - Out in the Cold

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They could feel the cold almost from the moment they left the city to head north. Following the track as it led northwards, they took care crossing the river at the ford, and spent the first night doing their best to dry their clothing and keep warm.

As they continued on over the next two days, the temperature dropped, and the snows started falling. Mildly at first, just enough to put a blanket of white across the land, but steadily increasing.

On their fourth day of travel, a snow storm fell across them, with howling winds and snow reducing visibility to almost nothing. As they were considering whether to stop, Morgran could make out a humanoid figure up ahead of them, walking away from them. They couldn't make out whether this figure was a human or not, and didn't respond to their yelling.

As they tried to pursue the fleeting figure, hooting and howling sprung up around them, as a small group of yetis burst up through the snow in ambush. Though unable to see more than twenty or thirty feet in the swirling storm, the heroes quickly rallied, first holding off the yetis and then slowly starting to press the advantage, before the enigmatic figure they had first seen entered the battle. Appearing from nowhere in a flurry of snow, the creature lashed out, before disappearing again. Beset now by the fury of the yeti hunters, the horrific howling of the leader, and the hit-and-run tactics of the elusive third foe, the heroes struggled for their very lives. But as first one yeti, then another fell, the rest turned and fled, leaving just the one enemy.

As the battle wore on, it became apparent that the two were well matched. The enemy couldn't launch an effective attack without placing itself in harm's way, and without the physical might of the yetis to hide behind, it was clearly not interested in this option. With a final shriek, the enemy vanished in one last furious burst of snow, and the heroes were once more left to pick themselves up and continue on through the blizzard.


Part Fourteen - The Tower in the North - Part 1

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Finally making their way through the blizzard, and the snow-covered plains, the party finally arrives at a wide lake, completely frozen over. After some initial hesitation, the quickly deduce that the ice is thick and capable of supporting their weight, and head out across the surface to a small tower rising from the surface in the centre. With clear blue skies overhead, the heroes made their way cautiously across the ice, tied together with rope in case the ice gave way suddenly beneath any of their number.

Finally approaching the base of the tower, they noticed that a ring of water surrounded the base of the tower, with no foreseeable path across and no visible doorway. As they contemplated a means of crossing the water and entering the tower, no doubt with the likelihood of fragile ice on the edge, a voice rang out from a window slightly above their head height.

A tiefling woman looked out at them from the window, dressed warmly, but not as heavily rugged-up as would be expected for someone that lived in such conditions. She seemed friendly enough, and told them that there was no doorway, they would have to cross the water and climb up to the windows to gain entry. Something about her didn't sit well with Harga though, and the conversation quickly turned to violence as he somehow ascertained her true nature.

Initial volleys from both sides had little effect, and as the tiefling withdrew back out of sight into the tower, the heroes spread around the base, again looking for a way in to confront the tiefling. The battle was soon joined out on the ice though, as a large ice creature was summoned by the tiefling. As Reece and Maelgwyn battled this creature, Harga and Victor concentrated their magic at the tiefling, hoping to make a lucky strike through the windows. While the fight seemed evenly poised, suddenly both the tiefling and the ice contruct vanished, leaving the heroes victorious.

Still with no apparent means of entry to the tower, the heroes settled on the only course of action that seemed likely, leaping across the water to the tower, and climbing up to the window. Cade, being the most nimble, had the honor of going first, and was soon up in the tower itself. The others followed, however Reece/Maelgwyn were struck by ill luck, with the ice cracking underfoot as they tried to jump, and the hand-holds they chose in the wall proving too slippery to keep hold of. The water was every-bit as cold as they had expected, and so, while they had finally gained entrance into the tower, these two were still shivering.

The heroes quickly explored the tower, finding a main room, with what appeared to be two sleeping quarters adjoining. A brazier full of coals had been tipped over from one of these, and Cade was able to deduce that something may have been taken that had been kept in among the coals themselves.

The only way forward seemed to be a stairwell leading down. With water lapping at the steps at the same level as the lake outside…


Part Fifteen - The Tower in the North - Part 2

Using the ritual scrolls provided to them by the cadre in Winterhaven, the heroes endowed themselves with the ability to not only breath underwater, but also to withstand the freezing temperatures. As prepared as they were ever going to be, they plunged down the stairs.


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