Wind. The creaking of numerous cart wheels. The barking of the drivers and the clop of cloven hooves.
A trio of adventurers sat patiently awaiting the arrival of their destination. The covered wagon rocked, violently at times. The ruts in the road were less than consistent. They tired of the mundane landscape, the noises of the caravan, and the smell of oxen. Breaking the horizon came a copse of fir trees that could almost be called a forest. This landmark heralded the end of their trip. It wouldn't be long until the caravan reached Fallcrest, and the trio could finally set-out to do what they had planned. Two muscular scaled bodies leaned forward to get a better look at the road ahead, then sat back, frustrated that they still had a little way to go. The third in the wagon sat in quiet contemplation, or perhaps reverence, as he poured over his new book of rituals.

They spoke little, still relatively new to each other. The two dragon-born; Benjaar Disraelii and Dreya Bloodcoil, and the human cleric of Bahamut; Brother Cassius Brand, had met in Dunthrane, far south of their current location. They had chanced upon each other when trying to buy passage on the caravan. Brother Cassius, being a worshiper of the Platinum Dragon, instantly struck up conversation between the two draconic humanoids. Dreya and Benjaar had known each other since childhood growing-up on the diverse yet civilized streets of Dunthrane. They tried to take the barrage of the clerics questions in good humor but eventually, and as politely as possible, asked him to stop talking. The ride had been peaceful since.

Benjar decided to busy himself with sharpening the humongous axe sitting next to him, while Dreya sat despondently, wondering if one could go insane from staring at the endless expanse of prairie outside the rocking wagon. She said a silent prayer to her goddess, the Raven Queen, to protect her from any possible 'prairie-fever'. Brother Cassius looked-up briefly from his reading as if to pose a question to the pair of dragonborn. But he dismissed the thought and returned to his tome. Even though he did not show it, he was extremely anxious to find what he was looking for in the broken prairie hamlet of Fallcrest.

The wagons came to a halt as a call came back from the head of the line. The sun was beginning to set, and they were sure they wouldn't reach the town before nightfall. So the wagons were circled, and the caravan guard set-up watch. This land was a harsh place, nothing like the cities to the south. Sticking to the road guaranteed little safety, and once one left the beaten path they seldom returned. The trio decided to stretch their legs before bedding-down. The caravan was large, as caravans go. The summer festival in Fallcrest, a fairly popular event, was approaching soon. The many vendors from Dunador see this time as an opportunity to trade with the local merchants and find choice dwarven-craft items from Hammerfast. The trio walked once around the circled wagons, making sparse small-talk and inspecting the arrangement of the guard. While they had no contractual obligation to aid the caravan should some fell-beast attack, they surely would. If not for their own sake, then for the sake of the many innocent merchants and their families.

The night passed without incident. The same could not be said, however, for nearby Fallcrest.

Hadarai had patrolled the walls of Fallcrest since moving there two years ago. Displaced by the encroaching human nations in the east, the eladrin ranger had sought to live a simple life in the rustic plains of the north. So far so good. But, in his two years of service to the city he'd never seen anything the like of which was happening before his eyes this night. He tried to keep pace with the form moving through the trees, but he could barely keep it within sight. Kobolds were swarming the area, at least a dozen, maybe half again as many. The dark form had come out of nowhere, blasting the vicious little beasts with dark power. With arrow and elrdritch blast the pair defeated most of the kobolds, but not without being seriously wounded themselves. When the tide had finally turned in favor of the wretched little monsters, the town guard arrived with Olan, Hadarai's eladrin-wizard friend, in tow. The soldiers dispatched the remaining kobolds as the ranger and the cloaked stranger, who had passed-out from his wounds, were taken to the temple of Sehanine. The four guards were quick to get the wounded to the temple. Hadarai was barely conscious, but lucid. The priestess had barely begun to see their wounds when she gasped and dropped one of the potions of healing she'd been carrying. The ranger was quick to spy what had surprised the cleric so; Under the stranger's cowl was the unmistakeable face of a drow. Had it not been for the stranger, Hadarai would have surely lost his life. The drow's wounds were serious and he was loosing blood quickly. "Heal him!" said the ranger, but the priestess was too shocked to even move. Despite his wounds, Hadarai stood, grabbed the remaining potion from the she-elf's hands and poured it down the drow's throat. The guards moved to intercede, but the priestess stopped them. As the mysterious drow came-to, Hadarai asked his name; "Akriel" said the drow. The ranger nodded his thanks and promptly passed-out from blood loss.

Olan arrived in time to see the guards placing the drow in shackles as the priestess rushed to get another potion of healing. Certain that no amount of bargaining would get the guards to release the drow, Olan followed them to Moonstone Keep, where Lord Warden Markelhay would decide the dark-elf's fate.

The fortress citadel was built for protection, not for comfort, and its architecture was a little cold and unimaginative. The main audience hall echoed with the gasps of the few courtiers assembled at that hour as the drow entered with his escort. But Lord Markelhay kept a stern face. Olan tried to speak on behalf of the dark-elf, having witnessed his gallantry with the kobolds. The Lord took all available information into account when making his decision; the drow was to be executed, for the safety of the town. As the guards began to remove the drow to the dungeon to await execution, Hadarai rushed into the chamber. After reconnoitering with Olan, the ranger pleaded with the Lord (more like demanded) that the drow be spared. Hadarai owed him his life, and if the dark-elf was to be sent to the gallows then Hadarai would take his place. The Lord was impressed by the eladrin ranger's chivalry. Impressed enough to reconsider his decision. Akriel was free to leave of his own recognizance, with the caveat that should he ever harm any of the innocent citizens of Fallcrest; he would find himself in the gaol awaiting his death. And since Hadarai had spoken up as his sponsor, the eladrin ranger would find himself in the cell beside the drow's, should the Lord be made to regret his decision. The two eladrin and the drow thanked the Lord for his benevolence, as muffled whispers among the courtiers began. One or two rushed from the chamber, obviously consiglieri's for higher ranking nobles, whom would very much want to be privy to this new development in their town.

Outside the keep, the trio of elves conversed on the drow's plans. Having no other prospect nor home to speak-of, Akriel had planned on traveling west to a town he'd heard-of called Winterhaven. For the evening, Olan welcomed the drow to stay at the Septarch's Tower. No inn within the city limits would accept a drow inside their walls. With little choice, Akriel accepted. Nimozaran the Green, Olan's master, was an aged and eccentric human wizard. When asked if Akriel could stay, he didn't even hesitate to say yes. The large closet off of the entry was hastily converted to a cramped room, and Akriel placed his belongings within. Hadarai gave his leave and returned to his post on the wall. The night was not over yet.


The sun brought with it the wood covered wagons of Dunthrane. As they passed through the southern gate of Fallcrest, Brother Cassius peeked out of the window to notice extensive damage to the southern walls of the city. Beyond the rubble of the walls were many ruined buildings with obviously new constructions scattered amidst the mayhem. When the wagon finally stopped the dragonborn and the human cleric found themselves in an empty park square where the wagons were parking and beginning to set-up shop. Finally free of their cramped rolling coffin, the trio hastily gathered their things and began to explore.

The city was separated into sections; Mostly due to the cliffside that cut through its center, but also in part to the Nentir River and a smaller tributary flowing through it. The 'Lower Quays', where the wagons had stopped, were in bad shape; Most of the homes and buildings had been reduced to ruins and the reconstruction, while evident, was taking time. The 'Upper Quays', located at the top of the bluff, were in much better shape. Few, if any, ruins marred its streets. Many of the towns temples and the Lord Warden's keep (Moonstone Keep) were located in the Upper Quays. Switchback trails led up the cliff-face from the Lower Quays to the streets above. Brother Cassius and Dreya were interested to see to what devotions this town catered. Benjarr, less pious, was more inclined toward a nice liquid breakfast. While the cleric and the paladin went looking for churches, the dragonborn fighter went looking for a pub.

After a bit of wandering and asking-about, the dragonborn warrior came across the Blue Moon Alehouse (#23 on map). Swaggering inside, Benjaar noticed that it was fairly busy for this early in the morning. Mostly due to the caravan guards and merchants with whom he'd just arrived. The halfling behind the bar was a twitchy character that seemed more nervous than he need be. Benjaar took his post at the bar and asked the nervous bar-back what was good. The fighter settled on a double-pint of their mead. It came in a very nice, large, white mug with a blue moon symbol lacquered on the side. He overheard many rumors during his 'shift' at the bar; Including news that the Lord Warden was now awarding a monetary reward for each kobold head collected, in the way of one silver piece per head. Additionally, it seemed that the little beasts had raided a caravan on its way in from Winterhaven and made-off with a strip of green dragon hide that the local armorer was counting-on. Teldorthan Ironhews, the dwarven armorer, was offering a reward to any brave enough to journey to Kobold Hall to retrieve it. Settled into his cups, Benjaar made to leave, and took the mug with him. The bartender began to protest, but the dragonborn 'politely' reminded him that he had tipped quite well. There were no more protests forthcoming.

Meanwhile, Cassius and Dreya had made their way up the switchbacks to the upper part of the Fallcrest. The information they'd gathered told them that there were a couple temples in the city; The Temple of Erathis, the House of the Sun, and Moonsong Temple. Luckily for Cassius, the House of the Sun, which was currently going under minor renovations, maintained a shrine to Bahamut. Dreya, however, could find no temple nor shrine to her goddess. As they arrived at the temple of Pelor, the sun god, they noticed a lightly armored dwarf barking orders up at the renovators on the scaffolding. The shrine to Bahamut within was fairly apparent, so Brother Cassius made his way over to perform his daily prayers. Dreya, meanwhile, was left to endure the questioning of the overly curious patrons. She silently prayed to her goddess for a swift death, or at least to be temporarily struck deaf.

Olan was shaken from his reverie that day by a crash from the workshop. Upon inspection, he found the shattered remains of a set of glass beakers and Nimorazan scolding Tobolar for his carelessness. The aged wizard had been trying his best to teach Tobolar, his halfling paige, the arts of magic, but so far he had been less than successful. Since Olan had come to Fallcrest, Nimo had been teaching him as well, and he had been much more receptive to the lessons. Olan offered to head down to the square to purchase another set of beakers. On his way out he roused Akriel to see if he'd like to accompany him on his errand. The drow, still a little sore from the kobold mauling he'd received the night before, was worried that the townspeople wouldn't be too keen on seeing a dark elf walking their streets. Olan pointed out that the Lord Warden had pardoned Akriel and that the town guard had most likely been informed of his presence in Fallcrest. Not to mention the gossip that would have trickled down from the noble houses whom were fortunate enough to have courtiers in the moot-hall when the drow had been brought-in and subsequently given pardon by Lord Markelhay. Acquiescing to the eladrin's logic, Akriel decided he'd like to see how life was lived on the surface. Stepping outside the tower doors, he almost regretted the decision; Akriel had never seen the sun before and his eyes were unprepared. With a gasp he brought the hood of his heavy cloak down to cover his face as the shadows surrounding him seemed to deepen in an attempt to block out the sun. Slowly, Akriel lifted the hood of his cloak until his eyes had adjusted. Olan, observing the drow's reaction, noticed how the shadows around Akriel seemed to move of their own accord. Holding his questions for another time, Olan led the way to Hadarai's home.

The eladrin ranger was getting an early start on renovations that day, however unenthusiastically. While he loved his honorary post as part of the town guard, he longed for more excitement than the occasional band of kobolds. Though, the last nights encounter was rather "thrilling". Hadarai was roused from his daydreams by his friend and his new acquaintance; Olan and Akriel. All too anxious to be doing anything but handy-work, the ranger immediately agreed to accompany the two to Naerumar's shop.

Through the stares of the townspeople, the three elves made their way, unmolested, to Naerumar's Imports (#19 on map). The proprietor of the shop, Orest Naerumar, stopped mid-transaction as the trio entered his shop. Orest was a tiefling, a member of one of the two tiefling families living in Fallcrest. Excusing himself from the customer at the counter, he greeted the two eladrin and their dark elf companion and engaged them in conversation. It became fairly obvious fairly quickly that he was trying to accommodate Akriel, almost overly so. Orest even went so far as to offer Olan the beakers he'd come to purchase for free and told the drow that should he ever need anything that he should come to the shop, for anything. After that uncomfortable encounter, the three decided breakfast was in order, and so they made their way to the Market Green (#26 on map), where the wagons were already unloaded and the many booths were being erected.

Cassius and Dreya had just descended the switchbacks and were moving through the market green when they noticed the small crowd surrounding a dawn-fry booth. Curious, they moved to inspect. They found their friend, Benjaar, sitting at the booth along with a trio of elves, one of which was drow. The crowd was no doubt due to the presence of the dark elf and only reinforced by the towering dragonborn. The priest and the paladin decided to follow suit and have a bite to eat. As they joined the rabble at the booth the crowd only thickened. Seeing as they were all part of the impromptu entertainment, introductions were given 'round. Brother Cassius mentioned his quest to snuff-out the evil forces that might be brewing in the area, careful not to make eye contact with the drow. Benjaar relayed the info he'd come across regarding the bounty of kobolds and the reward for the retrieved dragon hide. This certainly piqued the interest of the stir-crazy ranger and his likewise 'kobold-bloodied' drow friend. With few actual words spoken between the group, it was decided that they would all go on this quest together. They paid for they meals and Benjaar tossed his new mug to one of the assembled gawkers. Teldorthan's Arms (#24 on map) was their next stop.

The temperature inside the cramped arms shop was considerably warmer than outside. The dwarf behind the counter, no doubt Teldorthan himself, greeted the PCs and immediately began his sales pitch. After the group let him know that they weren't interested in buying warhammers, they inquired about his reward for the return of the dragonhide he'd lost in transit. After some haggling, the PCs talked him up to 200 gp and free daggers all-around. The group accepted and began preparations to leave for Kobold Hall. The colorfully-named abandoned manor lay 20 miles outside of Fallcrest within the Cloak Wood. Having an early start on the day put the PCs at Kobold Hall right around high-sun.


The crumbling walls of an ancient manor were all that greeted the group after forging through the woods. After a bit of searching they found a crudely concealed trap door that might once have been a secret escape route for the manor's original inhabitants. Now, it seemed to be the only inhabited part of the ruin. The stone step-ladder carved into the wall of the cellar led down to a short 10' wide hallway. Hadarai was the first to descend, the eladrin ranger wanted to scout ahead to get an idea of what they were up against ('kobolds' would have been a logical assumption). Sure enough, skulking around on the other side of a pit of glowing goo was a kobold with a sling and a dagger. Hadarai was trying to remain concealed while he observed the little beast, but it proved too perceptive and the alarm was sounded before the ranger could get a shot-off with his bow.

The rest of the group was bottlenecked by the ladder, only one of them could descend at a time. Eventually they all made it down, but not before the kobold had ducked for cover and raised the alarm. More kobolds emerged from a back-room to fire at the PCs with slings and adhesive ammunition. Another kobold with a spear also appeared as well as a pair of kobolds throwing javelins. All of the PCs managed to ply their skills. Dreya and Benjaar showed-off their ability to breathe lightning, while Akriel bent the shadows of the chamber to his will, blasting the kobolds with life-sapping force. Olan proved quite the battle mage and even resorted to using his eladrin longsword training. Hadarai covered his allies with bow-fire, and Brother Cassius aided the eladrin with his crossbow and waited kept an eye on any wounded allies as they cleared the chamber in short-order. The group searched their fallen enemies as the cleric administered his healing skill. Finding nothing of interest, besides the pit of glowing goo, the group moved toward the room's only other exit.


A narrow hall with a rusted, half-closed portcullis lead east from the room. Benjaar used his hulking mass to remove the obstacle for the group. The hall cut south after about 20 feet and descended a narrow stair into the next chamber.

Hadarai, again, scouted ahead of the group. The eladrin ranger peeked around the corner to find a large tomb-like chamber, complete with sarcophagi and burial niches in the walls. At the far end of the room were three kobolds with spears, skulking around a crude altar. Hadarai relayed this info to the rest of the group. They decided that the eladrin and the drow should jump in first and confuse the kobolds with long-range attacks, and since the eladrin could teleport and the drow was quite adept at concealment it was only a small chance that the little beasts would be prepared. The dragonborn and the cleric would be the next in, rushing in to finish-off the confused kobolds.

They executed their entrance just as planned, with little resistance from the surprised kobolds. However, once they began advancing further into the room, they found many of the floor panels were trapped with an insidious mechanism; The pressure plates triggered crossbows hidden in two suits of armor sitting in the alcoves. Furthermore, the bolts were coated with that same adhesive the kobolds in the first room were chucking at the PCs. Once a bolt hit it stuck its victim in place, doomed to trigger the plate again next round. After quite a bit of consternation, the group eventually made it to the opposite end of the chamber and dispatched the kobold skirmishers. Brother Cassius had his hands full; most of the group was wounded from the crossbow traps, including himself. Olan took the time to blast the suits of armor with his magic missile spell, destroying the firing mechanisms for the traps. Akriel and Cassius inspected the altar and found a bag of 60 gold pieces hidden among the animal skulls and makeshift candles. Cassius noticed that this altar was, in fact, dedicated to Tiamat. Being a cleric of Bahamut, he could not suffer this altar to remain.

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