1st Maidi, 897
Rangrim Manifold Rockbeard and his faithful servant and bard, The Bard, had left the safety of their home in the Copper Mountains and taken on a Quest of Deeds – an arduous set of tasks that every eldest noble son must undergo to prove their worth to their family name – and had spent three weeks on the road without any sign of adventure or daring-do. They had taken up with a half-giant from a far away land named Longstride who, according to his clothing and the mighty great-ax he wielded, had been named “dwarf friend” and so the three became traveling companions. Longstride had undergone some amazing journey and was looking to create his own legend far, far away from his native lands.
Their road led them to Castle Stowhollow where the local lord, Alden Karvath, had welcomed them warmly offering up tasty venison and barrels of ale. Though, not everything was well in Eldin. Word had reached Karvath that the king, Elswyn Lordaran, had taken a turn for the worse in his ongoing fight against a mysterious illness. The half dozen lords within Eldin were on edge, and the Bloodmoors, the land directly south of Irdus, were amassing troops on the border. Karl Bloodmoor believes, in the event of Lordaran’s death, he has claim to the throne as the king had no heir and the queen, who had passed years ago, was a Bloodmoor.
Karvath asked his castle scout and ranger, Revona, to undergo a task which may help settle the growing tension between the lords of Eldin. He told her that the king’s former steward had been exiled years ago and sent to the Menhir, a shadowy and haunted region within Irdus where the First Men had built burial tombs and where the ruins of the First Castle Stowhollow lies. The King had told Karvath to seek this man out if his life were coming to an end. What the man knows is unknown, but Karvath was convinced that whatever it was would calm the growing fears of war for the throne. He suggested, for this task, that Revona take along the two dwarves and the half-giant, as they were looking for adventure. Additionally, a Unicorn Circle druid had been living at the castle for some time and, truthfully, had done little to help the lord, though Karvath liked the lad enough to keep him around. Certainly, this druid would come into his own out on the road.
Before setting out Manifold and the Bard visited the court wizard, Stendos, and were told that the Menhir was haunted and the remnants of the First Men walked there still bloodthirsty. The wizard told them to stay safe and, if they were going into the Menhir, to bring him back some old artifacts or tomes he could study. The Bard also visited the court Jester, Red Boy, who ran through some lines of “The Elf Queen of Ithilanta” and was so impressed by the Bard’s performance as the elf queen that he insisted that he play the main role when they returned to the Castle. Red Boy also gave the Bard a handy haste potion for his upcoming adventures.
Longstride, already bored with humans, was already ready to leave. He talked with Vrak, the horsemaster, and found out that the Bloodmoors were bad news. Several years ago Lord Karvath hosted a gathering of all the local lords and one of Bloodmoor’s knights had crippled the horsemaster after Vrak had chastised him for how he treated his horse. All the horsemaster knew was the knight’s banner was a red flame against red. Longstride promised to look out for this knight and enact vengeance against him. The Half-Giant took his warhorse and wandered the castle market. He bought a few small ornate carvings from a one legged wood-elf and had learned from a travelling dwarf merchant named Corrigan that the bandits in the area had attacked him on the road. He lost a satchel of his best daggers.
Once on the road, it took the better part of the day to get to the town of Stavos, the main township in Irdus. It was clear that the town was busier than normal. At least three Bloodmoor knights had checked into the Last Man Inn and there was no vacancies for the adventurers. Longstride had learned form the one-legged elf that a halfling named Nan Meeker was a hospitable enough and went to find her. Plus Tard, the Unicorn Druid, followed in suit.
Manifold and the Bard went to the local clothier and ordered an extravagant set of robes that would compliment Manifold’s epic adventuring style. The dwarf noble also chastised a local wagon merchant for having less than favorable wares and, after upsetting him and his small daughter, gave the girl a few gold coins – the girl, however, distraught, ran into the road and was almost trampled by horses, but Manifold saved the girl at the last minute.
Revona, Manifold and the Bard went into the Pumpkin Brew Drinking Hall to get some food and drink. The Bard immediately outplayed the local band and earned a few coins. Three Bloodmoor knights were causing a ruckus, hassling a half-orc farmer. They egged the half-orc on until the farmer swung at them, at which point the Bloodmoor knight ran him through with his great sword. Manifold, looking for a fight, marched up to the knight and challenged him to a duel. The knight laughed but acquiesced to his request. They beat on one another for some time before the constable of the town broke the fight up.
The knights retreated to their rooms in the inn and the dwarves returned to the drinking hall. Manifold was approached by a wood elf named Evea who, seeing that he had no love of the Bloodmoors, asked for his help in scouting out the bandits in the area. She believed that there was some kind of connection between the bandits and the Bloodmoors. Manifold declined the invitation, knowing that the group would be entering the Menhir in the morning. Manifold set up a small brewing station outside the tavern and tried to hand at selling his family’s secret Rockbeard Brew, but the human’s palette could not get past the taste of metal.
Nan Meeker was more than willing to house Longstride and his friends and told them that the Menhir was dangerous. She also told them that a young man named Jeremy Tuggle had gone into the Menhir three days ago for unknown reasons. Enjoying a pipe outside on Nan’s porch, Plus Tard, Longstride and Nan encountered a small group coming into town from the south – a dwarf riding pony and two men on horses. A vicious looking wolf walked beside them. The dwarf asked the three if they had encountered two dwarves and Longstride told them about Manifold and the Bard (the half-giant had grown weary of their hi-jinks) and the dwarf thanked them and went on their way. However, Longstride noticed that instead of heading directly tot he inn, the three of them went down a back alley and both the druid and the warrior pursued them, believing something was amiss. They found Manifold nursing his wounds from the duel inside the drinking hall and the entire group left together. As they stepped out both Longstride and Revona were struck by crossbow bolts. Revona’s body went stiff and she began to convulse on the ground. Lonstride spied two humans, the cloaked figures that came in with the dwarf and the roof of the inn and tavern on either side of the road.
Both dwarves swung into action. Longstride ran into the drinking hall hoping to get to the roof. Plus Tard stood back and took in the scene. Longstride broke through the roof of the tavern, ruining the brand new shingles, and sliced one of their attackers in two. Manifold, after tossing a rope, pulled the other attacker down and finished the other attacker off. While this was going on, the dwarf had snuck up on Plus Tard and the half-elf druid entangled the dwarf who tossed dagger after dagger at the frail combatant. Revona, after getting up from her temporary paralysis, was attacked from behind by the wolf. Revona made quick work of the canine. Plus Tard had a few words with the dwarf who just wanted Manifold and the Bard. He let the assassin pass, but Revona let an arrow loose on the dwarf, who, seeing that their little deal had been broken, threw a stinking cloud bomb obscuring the three dwarves within. Manifold quickly wrapped the dwarf up with his rope after a tussle and, after chugging a potion, flew up into the sky.
Manifold asked the dwarf why he wanted to kill him, but the assassin said nothing. Manifold let him go and the dwarf splattered to the ground. They found a note on the dwarf which read – ONCE THE DEED IS DONE MEET ON THE STEPS OF YOUR ANCESTORS. Additionally, they found a small stone charm of a three headed hydra.
After a long night they went to bed.
2nd Maidi, 897
The next morning Longstride met with Lily Truehard, the cleric of the local temple of N’Mora. Lily gave the half-giants two vials of holy water and told him that Jeremy Tuggle had headed into the Menhir four days ago. Longstride said he would keep an eye out for him.
The group spends a day marching the the Menhir.
3rd Maidi, 897
Longstride, Plus Tard and Revona decided to take their horses into the Menhir, while the dwarves left their riding oxen behind. The Menhir was under a constant fog and the land looked the same, throughout. To make matters worse, willow-o-wisps seemed to fascinate Manifold, who was stopped by his group from following the lights into the unknown.
They found a ring of standing stones, which they avoided, and headed toward a hill to see if they could get a better vantage point to find old Castle Stowhollow. The Bard spotted a ruined tower by the river dividing Irdus from the Greenshea. It was getting late, so they decided to make camp.
4th Maidi, 897
They awoke to find that Manifold had disappeared. The Bard ran away, wildly, trying to find his master. The group was ambushed by a group of skeletal warriors and, after a tough fight in which both Revona and Plus Tard’s horses were killed, they found their way to the circle of standing stones from the day before. They spotted Manifold looking down at a tomb in the direct center of the circle