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Our group took a break over the summer and we left the party just entering The Hare And The Ass in Wolverton.  As we’re due to start the campaign again on Monday I asked the players if they wanted to pick up exactly where they left off or if they’d rather start at the beginning of the next adventure having read what happened in Wolverton and what their characters had signed up to.  If you’d like to read the whole adventure log it’s posted in order here.  Below is the preamble I’ve given them about their few days in Wolverton, where they’re off to next and why…

You enter The Hare And The Ass tavern, and as the hour is still early you find the common room all but empty.  A huge urgrosh hanging in pride of place behind the bar, far too large for dwarven use.  A brief inspection, from the common room side of the bar, convinces Dvadi that it is of dwarven make but just of a vast size.  The puzzle is soon solved though as Gor Thunderhammer, the landlord and barman enters and greets you.  A gigantic half-orc, standing over seven feet in height during the warm greeting he gives you all (especially Dvadi) he explains that he was brought up by the Thunderhammer clan as one of their own.

The common room is warm and comfortable with a roaring hearth at each end, the food is good and the beer is amazing (made to the Thunderhammer clan’s secret recipe).  The prices of both bed and board are reasonable (if not cheap) and having settled into your rooms you spend a thoroughly enjoyable evening in the common room.  Your entry to Wolverton having been noteable and the tavern not being far from the gate, you’re questioned about both your encounter with the bandits and the story starts to spread too of your time at The Priory.  Armitage soon falls in with a pair of brothers, Joel and Tristan Terrill, who arrived on the coast towards the end of the summer and who have been exploring local ruins, skirmishing with goblins and brigands on the edges of The Tangled Wood and generally looking for exciting ways to make some money since then.  They fell in with Belor Breganson (a cleric in the service of Iomede) on the ship from the mainland and the three joined up with Jory Nankervis who was a local from the dock area of Wolverton.  Together the four have been scratching a living but are due to set out in the next week towards the north end of Deepwater Lake where it is rumoured the remnant of the Blooded Fang goblin tribe has set up.  Previously the Blooded Fang were led by the infamous Begarin (a half ogre) however after a vicious turf war for the caves south of Arius’ Watchtower with the Orcs Of The Bear’s Hide it is believed that he was killed and the tribe scattered.  They’re hoping that if they can find the lair of this small remnant they can clear out the goblins, make a name for themselves with Lord Locher (who is hoping to expand towards Deepwater in the next year or two) and hopefully bring back some money.  You all find them excellent company and spend much of the evening swapping stories and knocking back large tankards of the excellent local brew.

The next morning a guardsman arrives at the tavern asking you to all attend High Priestess Vosper at the Justice Of The Light after lunch and you agree to attend.  After a lunch at the tavern discussing what each of you plan to do now that your immediate work as a group seems to have dried up you head off to The Justice Of The Light.

Meylor Vosper greets you and explains that Ruan speaks in his letter very highly of you.  She has spoken also with Yethel at length about his time at The Priory and of his time as a follower of Braal.  While she is inscrutable about the exact details of her conversations with Yethel she is obviously troubled by it and explains that Cymer founded the Priory after being given a vision by Darlen of great evil emerging from the caves in the hill.  Time made many doubt the prophecy of Cymer and eventually the Priory fell out of favour.  Some further prophesies were made by Cymer and these were lent to man named Valentine Ironwolf nearly forty years ago when he set up, with his wife Kaarina, a fortress several miles within The Tangled Wood to drive out the denizens of the forest.  Unfortunately the fortress was eventually overcome by a ferocious band of both orcs and goblins, an unusual pact of two tribes of different races.  Valentine, his wife and their child were killed along with almost all of the keep’s occupants.  It is believed that the ruins of the keep still stand, around seven miles due north of Horsford.  While it is unlikely that the prophesies still exist it was rumoured that Ironwolf had a secret vault and it is a possibility that therefore they still lie intact there.  Meylor is very keen to read those prophecies if at all possible.  While small cults of Braal often surface it is unusual for such a public or powerful group as you fought at The Priory Of Cymer to exist and it bodes badly.  She offers you 50gp each if you will investigate the keep, doubling the reward if you return with the prophecies.

After a hurried discussion you all agree that with the winter not yet waning and there not being any other obvious work available it makes sense to take the work.  Meylor gives you a map showing the rough location of Ironwolf Keep and asks that you leave as quickly as is possible as she is keen to discover if the prophecies still exist and if so discover what else Cymer had to say about the evil that spewed forth from that dark hole that you have already explored.

Buying what you need for the journey and expedition you spend a last night in The Hare And Ass before setting off early the next morning.  Some quiet questions of the patrons in the tavern uncover several rumours regarding Ironwolf Keep.  As Ironwolf Keep fell over thirty years ago few remember the occurrences first hand however people have spoken to people who spoke to people who claimed to have explored the ruins.  Ironwolf was rumoured to have great wealth, indeed Kaarina was supposed to have owned a fabulous gold and pearl necklace which has not been seen since the fortress fell.  Stories of ghosts, bandits led by a “she-devil” and subterranean goblins all circulate and certainly the place has a reputation that only the brave and foolhardy would attempt to seek it out.

The journey to Hosford is unremarkable although the weather is drizzly and the wind blows it into all the openings in your cloaks and coats.  Certainly the Hoslo’s Rest is a very welcome sight when you get there and the roaring fire in the common room dries you out and thaws the chill in your bones.  Hilsa Devvon’s hospitality is just what you have come to expect and your fame, since the last time you were here was less than a week ago with a line of prisoners tied to your donkey,  excites the entire viliage.  The next morning you set out, planning to push north into the woods just before descending the hills towards Swallowfeld…

Through encroaching trees brave souls creep,
To the walls of the Ironwolf’s tumbling keep,
Much blood has been spilled o’er this hidden fortress,
Whose once‐fine halls echo with death’s caress.

They say tormented souls still haunt the place,
Hearts to be broken by a child’s tear‐stained face,
And amid the debris, all things rotten and old,
Lost treasures await the brave and the bold.

But what factions and powers now hold sway,
When the ruin’s great lord has had his day?
What sneaking evil guards the stout tower?
And what makes the donjon’s prisoners cower?

Could the donjon yield up its secrets to your clever band?
Or will its dangers and villains prompt their final stand?
And could the keys to a lost kingdom soon be at hand,
’Neath the Shadowed Keep On The Borderland..?