Shadowed Realms

Prologue- End of Solace
"We cannot protect you here, Redgar. Your fate lies elsewhere."

Prince Kelt Obraskyr, third in line for the throne of Coromyr, gathered his closest friends, Jonn of Scardale and Isaac Zarathustra to the King’s Forest for a hunting trip to tell them of his intention to ask his love Hestia of Daerluun to marry him. Jonn and Isaac were Kelt’s friends from the Purple Dragon Knights academy. Jonn went to the Academy to escape the stultifying plans that his Sembian arms merchant father had for him, and Isaac’s family had served the Obraskyr for many decades. Isaac’s father was the Kelt’s father’s adventuring companion, and the ties between their families remained strong.

The happy news was interupted by the appearance of a band of orcs, who appeared intent on killing Kelt. The ‘orc’ that struck the killing blow against Kelt displayed mysterious shadow powers leading Isaac to suspect him of being more than a mere orc mauauder.

Redgar, Kelt’s younger more scholarly brother, met with his childhood friends from the neighbouring realm of Myth Drannor at a local tavern. Thia and her younger, illegitimate half brother Zanne had fled to Coromyr to avoid the gaze of their father, former Myth Drannor Ambassador Ulliard. Coromyr was the home of their childhood, and while meeting they encountered a desperate acolyte, who was seeking the intervention of heroes to deal with the activities of the Cult of Shar in a mountain town of Winterhaven.

Redgar was informed of his brother’s death, and the efforts of the Sun Priests to raise Kelt from the dead were unsuccessful. Redgar’s father expressed his fears to his remaining son: he worried that Kelt’s death may have been an assassination, and that he feared his brother in law, former Prince Alliard, of being involved. With Allacian a threat, and the War Wizard College eager to use Redgar’s station as a divisive political tool to influence the Purple Throne, Redgar and his father agreed that it was necessary for Redgar to take responsibility for himself for a time and seek his fortune elsewhere and become an adventurer like his father had been at the same age.

Isaac was asked to accompany Redgar as his father had once done decades before, and with Jonn, Thia and Zanne; Redgar created a band of adventurers, empowered secretly with the King’s mandate. Together they set off into the Mountains to give aid to Winterhaven.

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Part One: Dark Dealings in Winterhaven
"Are you guys Adventurers? Wow!"

The companions arrived in Winterhaven and Jonn and Redgar set about trying to locate Hestia Pyren, Kelt’s love who was also a historian and student of Dragon Magics. In seeking Hestia, the adventurers traveled to the supposed grave of Shadraxil, an ancient Black Dragon said to have been slain over two hundred years prior. Shadraxil was said to have terrorized much of the territory surrounding the Dalelands, Sembia and the Thunder Peaks, and was thought to have been the progenitor of most of the Black Dragons in the northern territories prior to her supposed death at the hands of the Purple Dragon Knights. Hestia now suspected that Shadraxil’s death may have been an exaggeration. Her exhumed “corpse” was far too small.

In locating Hestia, the adventurers ran afoul of a local gang of Kobolds that seem to be in the secret employ of the Sharan cultist infiltrators. In dealing wth the Kobolds, the now named Red River Adventurers managed to implicate the local store keeper, who was found to be a leader of the Sharan cult. This led them to the fact that the cultists had infested a local ruined outpost from the days of war with Sembia, now known as Shadowfell Keep. The cursed structure was feared to conceal a portal to the Shadowfell one that the companions now had reason to fear was really the prison used by the War Wizards to contain the Ancient Shadraxil, whose death may not have been as permanent as legend suggested.

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Part Two: Keep on the Shadowfell
"Infintessimal amounts of treasure... Splug is rich!"

The Red River headed to Shadowfell Keep, where they encountered a collection of goblin and hobgoblin slavers who act in service to the Sharan cultists. Navigating the keep, the party exploreed the upper levels of the complex, fighting undead and goblins and making their way toward their goal.

Deciding to return to Winterhaven briefly for provisions, the party discover that Thia’s absence has sparked a political incident between Myth Drannor and Coromyr, and that Ambassador Ulliard seems intent on exploiting and provoking the resulting tensions. Thia and the others were confronted by Swordmaster Giarin, Thia’s former mentor in the Shere Knights. Giarin pleaded with Thia to return to Myth Drannor and when she refused he attempted unsuccessfully to flee with proof of Coromyr’s complicity in her flight, duped by Zanne’s quick thinking. The Red River returned to their quest, now wary of Giarin’s dogged pursuit.

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Part Three: Kalarel's Gambit
"Shadraxil's return is the will of Shar!"

The Red River discovered the Crypt of Lord Keegan, one of the Paladins of Bahamut that assisted in the trapping of the great Wyrm Shadraxil, and Lord Keegan’s ghost passed his sword Aecris on to Thia, asking her to stop Shadraxil and oppose the Shadow’s plans.

The party decended into the Keep’s lowest depths where they discover Shar’s temple and confront Kalarel, a deranged half elven Culttist who intended to free Shadraxil from her prison in the Shadowfell. The Red River manage to prevent Kalarel from completing his ritual and Kalarel is sucked into Shadraxil’s prison hopefully to share his supposed ally’s fate.

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Part Four: Road to Daerlunn
"What kind of name is The Clouddancer?"

To stay ahead of Giarin’s pursuit, the party accompanied Hestia along the King’s Road into Sembia, intending to escort Hestia home to her father’s keep in Daerlunn. After a scrape with bandits, the party came to the aid of Captain Yargo of sky ship The Clouddancer, after the vessel came under attack from a greedy young Gray Dragon.

After rescuing the Clouddancer and slaying the Dragon, the Red River Company accept The Clouddancer’s hospitality and take to the air, arriving in Daerlunn ahead of schedule and throwing Giarin well behind in his pursuit.

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Part Five: Inside the Walls
When you are in a room with a bunch of half naked men is the perfect time for your estranged father to show up.

The Clouddancer arriveed in Daerlunn, and Hestia is returned home to her uncle’s care, the City Master of Daerlunn. The party wass given a brief moment of rest within Daerlunn’s citadel. Their peace was interrupted when Zanne dodged an inexplicable Doppelganger assassination attempt, and ran right into into his father, Ambassador Ulliard of Myth Drannor. Zanne’s father bribed him to stay out of The Ambassador’s business in a dismissive manner. Meanwhile, Jonn discovered that the Ambassador from Netheril seemed to be an old friend of his, one that appeared to be serving in that post against his own will.

At a party in Hestia’s honour, Redgar takes the role of Coromyr’s ambassador, seemingly scuttling secret negotiations undertaken by his uncle, Lord Allacian with Sembia. Jonn recieves a note from his old friend Horiam, Netheril’s reluctant ambassador, who was seemingly being kept under guard by a strange construct that Horiam longed to escape the watchful eye of.

Zanne encountered an agent of a mysterious faction of spies dedicated to the undermining of Netheril’s ruling Shadovar known as the Ghosts of Evantide. Zanne is invited to join them and provide his companions intelligence from the Ghosts so long as he avoids revealing it’s source.

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Part Six: Prisons
Which one was the guy who invited us into the castle? He dies first!

Staging a daring ambush, the Red River Adventurers destroy the bizzare construct known as Maximas, in an attempt to free Horiam from the machine’s custody. Horiam thanked his new friends and warned Jonn that the Shadovar are trying to resurrect the Shadoweave, a mystical Shadowfell weapon of great destructive power in the Ordulin Maelstrom. Horiam taught Redgar the means by which they would in time be able to communicate over long distance, and told the companions that when the times comes he would provide them the means to destroy the Shadowweave, but that he must return to Ordulin if he is going to be able to be in place when he is needed.

Hoping to prevent the announced marriage between Hestia and Ambassador Ullard, the Red River Adventurers headed to Pyren Keep, where they hoped to find Hestia’s father, Lord Pyren, who could withdraw the engagement. Instead the comapanions find Pyren keep surrounded by undead forces seemingly intent on breeching the castle walls. After a protracted fight the company flees insider the castle only to discover it is currently under the control of the Zhentarim, the feared mercenaries of Bane’s great Black Network.

The Zhentarim captured the companions and they were interrogated by the vampire, Commander Dabamorn, who learned Redgar’s identity and seemed intent on blackmailing or ransoming the Purple Throne. Once Dabamorn left, the companions turned the tables on their captors and retook Pyren castle from the Zhentarim, only to discover that Lord Pyren had no intention of ending his daughter’s engagement now that it may be the only chance his family has of maintaining a position of standing within the court of Daerlunn.

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Part Seven: In the Alleys of Shieldmeet
"Are you the Beatdown Gang? Can you sign my boot?"

The Red River companions concieved of a plan to use the tradition of the Sun Tower Challenge, an acclaimed sporting event said to have great traditional significance to the people of Daerlunn, as a means of extorting from the City Master the means of ending Hestia’s marriage to Ambassador Ullard.

Giarin, having caught up to the companions, once again attempted to convince Thia of the need for her to return home to Myth Drannor, but Zanne managed to suck him into a street brawl. None the less, Giarin seemed fully aware of the companions’ intention to embarass the Ambassador, and he makes clear his intention to thwart them.

Jonn was contacted by his father, who was evidently now one of the most powerful merchants in Sembia, but he feared that his enemies intended to sabotage his entry into the mystical Shadow Caravan, and he once again appealed to his son to take his place as the protector of his first Shipment through the Shadowfell, so that he is not killed by his rivals. Jonn agreed as long as his father provided the companions a secure means of escaping the city undetected, anticipating the antipathy of the local nobles and the Zhentarim in the wake of the Sun Tower Challenge.

Zanne and his companions witness the capture of Jonn’s sister Anna by Zhentarim bounty hunters, who have evidently have discovered that Anna is using her father’s connections to the Shadovar and the Shadow Caravan as a means of aiding and supplying a resistance movement intended to liberate Scardale from Sembian occupation. The Companions agree to keep Anna’s secret from her father.

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Part Eight: The Sun Tower Challenge
"We're fighting for... love! That sounds good..."

The companions stepped into the role of local folk heroes when they entered the Shieldmeet Sun Tower Challenge, gaining a groundswell of support after defeating the returning champions, The Beatdown Gang in the first round of the challenge.

Many factions were facing off for the Sun Tower prize—the chance to make an honourable request that the local nobility would be forced to agree to in good faith. Lady Fenrikka, Redgar’s aunt by marriage, attempted to convince Redgar that using the Sun Tower request to end Hestia’s marriage was wasteful, and that it would be better to let her smuggle Hestia out of town and for Redgar to use the request in service to the interests of the Purple Throne.

Thia approaches the charitable faction known as TheOrder of the Blue Flame who give her an omen that she will find herself victorious in the coming contest.

Formidable teams were standing in the path of the Red River Adventurers, and in the second round they faced the Zhentarim’s team, lead by a brutal gnoll cutthroat by the name of Wicked Fang who is backed up by a gang of potent Goliath athletes. The Red River Adventurers defeat the Zhentarim but it very nearly costs them Jonn’s life at the hands of Wicked Fang, forcing Hestia to charge from the stands and heal him, sending rumours flying through the court of Daerlunn and strongly hinting at the intentions of the companion, which to that point had been unknown to the courtiers of Daerlunn.

All that remained was the final challenge, the Myth Drannor team fielded by Ambassador Ullard himself to oppose the Red River Company’s plans and captained reluctantly by Giarin, Thia’s former mentor.

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Part Nine: For Love or One's Country
"She's Only One Woman..."

The revelation of the scope of Ambassador Ullard’s plot to manipulate Daerlun, Myth Drannor, Coramyr, Netheril and Sembia into bequeathing him control of their most contested border lands brings the Red River Adventurers to a moment of crisis. The mysterious and manipulative Lady Fennrika presents a tempting alternative—dance to her tune and Coramyr will still profit while the Ambassador is left in the cold! All they need to do is abandon their intentions to use the Sun Tower Challenge to free Hestia from her impending marriage. Will Redgar be willing to pay the price to keep Fennrika from scuttling their efforts? They say politics make strange bedfellows…

Jonn struggles with the sudden attention of greedy bitter old men. He is confronted first by Hestia’s father Lord Pyren, who warns Jonn that he does not approve of any intentions that he, a penniless merchants son, might have towards Pyren’s only daughter. Jonn is also forced to deal with the ambitions of his father, who sees in Hestia’s affection for his son a chance to elevate his family’s standing in wake of embarassing family scandal.

Following a lead handed down from the Mysterious Ghosts of Evantide, Jonn and Zanne prevent Jonn’s sister Anna from being kidnapped by the Zhentarim but in doing so reveal Anna’s connection to the Scardale resistance. The revelation of her manipulation of her father’s business leads to a wedge between Anna and Jonn, even as Zanne begins to earn her grudging respect.

Isaac takes it upon himself to arrainge the back room deal that will secure border lands for Coramyr at the expense of argeeing to Redgar’s loveless engagement to Hestia. Isaac has put his country first, but will that decision drive a wedge between the new Lord of Shadowfell Keep and the members of his company? The more idealistic may disapprove of his pragmatism and apparent profiteering on the back of his company’s efforts.

The victory of the Red River Adventurers over Giarin’s Myth Drannor team in the final bout of the Sun Tower Challenge leads to Giarin’s apparent defection into Thia’s service. Thia promises to accompany Giarin to Myth Drannor, but before that can happen she must protect Giarin from the vengence of the man whose ambition they have thwarted—Ambassador Ullard. Thia and company must face off against her father; the man who has nothing left to gain but the blood of those who destroyed his ambitions.

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