The next 3 months went by in a blur. It’s hard to believe that I was foolish enough to believe that we’d get some time to rest. I feel like I’ve barely slept. My wizard’s tower is complete and the restoration of Drezen has nearly reached its end. We’ve rebuilt the Citadel and all the ruined buildings that were salvageable, demolishing the rest. Sosiel’s cathedral is up and running and tending to the spiritual needs of the city. We’ve even managed to attract some clerics of other faiths. The cemetery has been re-consecrated and cleansed of the un-dead that had infested it. The city defenses have been repaired and strengthened, and with the Sword of Valor hanging proudly in the grand hall of the Citadel, Drezen is stronger than ever. And that was just the beginning. It seems like every waking moment that wasn’t spent on some sort of rebuilding effort was spent in research or a side project. Then, I had to deal with the guys badgering me about crafting some items for them. I’d just gotten the Purity Forge up and running when they started placing orders like I was the shopkeep at Crazy Nik’s Magical Items Emporium. After all of this it will be a relief to get back to adventuring.
Once we’d returned Drezen to a degree of stability and security, we recognized that it was time to begin acting upon Queen Galfrey’s orders. The first thing that we did was to call Aron and Anevia to council. Anevia being in charge of our long scouts and Aron the city’s security. We asked of them if there had been any demonic sightings, unusual disturbances, locations of note or reports of anything out of the ordinary. They had 3 things that needed attention. 1. Some of our supply caravans had been raided lately. The raiders were barbarians. They’d been tracked back to an old barbarian clanhold, Wintersun Hall. The raids would result in shortages if they were not stopped. We need to journey to Wintersun Hall and stop the raids, by either negotiations of force of arms. 2. A creature known as a WoundWyrm had made a nest in the area. It had hit a couple of our military convoys, killing many and making off with a good deal of equipment. The materials were replaceable, but the presence of the wyrm was having an effect on morale. Our troops had begun to express reluctance to patrol to the South. This beast must be destroyed before its attacks became too serious or it causes desertions. 3. One of Anevia’s long range scouting parties had uncovered an active temple to Baphomet not 30 miles from Drezen. Not only can we not allow an enemy stronghold so close to our position, the cultists there may have information regarding demonic activity in the region. The intelligence that could be gained from a successful sortie against this temple could provide valuable insights regarding our next targets of opportunity.
After some discussion, we felt that dealing with the barbarian raids was the pressing matter, we could ill afford supply shortages of any type. We consulted some of Anevia’s scouts and were able to find an approximate location for Wintersun Hall. It was about a 2 day walk from Drezen. Wintersun Hall was the old clanhold of the Grunhuld-Wintersun clan. They’d been driven from Sarkoris during the demonic counter offensive of the 2nd Crusade. What little we were able to learn seemed to indicate that exposure to Abyssal energies had somehow infected the original members of the clan before they’d fled to Mendev. The current clanchief is named Marhevok. For some reason he has led his people back to their old clanhold and they’ve since begun raiding our supply caravans. No, this would not stand.
We reached the clanhold to find most of the buildings crumbled into ruins. Only the old longhouse still remained intact. A shabby village of hovels surrounded the compound. It was inhabited by a couple dozen downtrodden looking barbarians. No one challenged us. We passed by their refuse pit as we entered and saw the remains of the clans past meals. They’d become cannibals! I’d contemplated trying to enlist them to our cause, but after seeing this, I’m no longer so inclined.
The longhouse door was securely barred and the structure had no windows. Well, we could play this hard or try and be diplomatic. Diplomacy has done alright for us up until now, so why not give it a try. I knocked upon the door and was rudely told in Hallit to bugger off. I respectfully requested an audience with their clan liege and was once again answered with a rude retort. I answered in kind and then used a knock enchantment upon the door. It fell in before us and we beheld 2 very surprised door guards who were about to have a bad day.
I dropped an elemental behind them and we rushed them both. Needless to say the 2 guards didn’t last long. We had 2 routes before us. The hallway ahead or the secret passage on the right. We elected to keep to the main route.
The next room held another handful of barbarians. We offered them the chance to surrender, but they chose not to accept our generous offer. They too fell before us.
The next room that we entered was the audience chamber. By the Hells it was cold in there. Sitting in the corner was a tall, muscular, dour looking man with dark hair. As we entered, he stood and challenged us. He demanded that we drop our weapons and submit to his rule. Bas and I broke out in laughter. Marhevok didn’t take this well. He immediately flew into a rage. Upon doing so, he morphed into a half demonic form! So, the rumors of a tainted bloodline are true! Seeing as diplomacy was now a remote possibility, I began summoning elementals while the others charged into the chamber.
We quickly discovered why the chamber was so cold. Marhevok it seems, has a pet frost drake! It spit a chunk of ice at us in the hall. It made the floor slippery, but we shook of the chill and pressed the attack. A fire elemental helped to soften up the drake and the combination of our attacks dropped it soon enough. With the drake dead, Marhevok followed soon after. Once he was dead, Emp cast a burst heal. The healing blast was just enough to revive the drake. Seeming rather meek now, it asked if it could go. We let it leave on the condition that it never interfere with us again. This had better not bite us in the ass lest we cease being so charitable. Before it left, however, the drake had some interesting things to say. It seems that Marhevok worked for a glabrezu named Jerribeth. She liked to take the form of a beautiful elven woman. It was she that goaded Marhevok to return and to rain our supply caravans. She’d given him a holy symbol of Baphomet with her name inscribed upon it that she used to keep an eye on him. Emp destroyed it in short order.
After search and looting the rest of the hall, we took our leave. The area in which the WoundWyrm makes its lair is not far from here. Some of the others made a case for heading their now. I advised against it. True, the last battle didn’t take too much out of us, but I wanted a little time to formulate a strategy. All we know about this creature is that it is a corrupted black dragon. It was also resistant to damage from sources other than good and lawful.
We returned to Drezen and had a night of rest. The next morning, as we prepared for our day, we heard a report from one of our scouting parties. It seems that during the night, the WoundWyrm had attacked and destroyed the shanty village outside of Wintersun Hall. That’s tragic, but things are tough all over.
Using the reports from our scouts and sightings of the beast, we were able to track it back to its lair. We mustered outside and prepared some protections, then we went in. The cave was dark and we crept slowly along, checking everywhere with each step. The cave itself curved in on itself and as we came around the corner we beheld… nothing! What an anti-climactic ending. The wyrm must be out raiding or on a hunt.
When I said we found nothing, that wasn’t exactly the case. We discovered many crates of supplies and materials that had been stolen from our trade caravans. This would be useful in the rebuilding efforts. We also found quite a bit of gold and several magical items. We also found a bloodstained letter written to Sosiel by his brother, Trever. It describes how his patrol was attacked by the WoundWyrm and Trever managed to survive. The letter goes on to indicate that Trever intends to make his way to the creature’s lair to attempt a rescue of several fellow crusaders who were taken alive, and that if he doesn’t make it, whoever finds the letter should deliver it to his brother Sosiel.
We remained on guard as the supplies were looted from the WoundWyrm’s lair. We then returned to Drezen with our spoils. This should get the beasts attention, perhaps we can use this to lure it into a fight on our terms at some point? Sosiel was very grateful for the letter from his brother. The enchanted sword that we found actually belonged to Trever, however, Sosiel asked that we keep it as a token of his thanks. Seeing as how it was a demon bane longsword, I’m sure that we will find some use for it.