Exit & rebuilding
10 Nightal, 1479 DR
That was the end of Kalarel. Surely no man could survive being pulled into the Shadowfell? We got rid of his remaining minions. While some of us took some time to regain their senses, others were examining the big room for clues and, more importantly, the way out of this hell-hole.
Eowan found it relatively quickly, a secret passage upwards. Well, passage is a bit of a misnomer for the shabby corridors, filled with brackish water and squishy, gooey things. At this point we were all well beyond a state of shock and nothing really made any impression on us, which was just as well I guess. We followed the passages upwards to end up in the rooms above the temple of Shar. Once there we urged the others to join us as well.
Tyrr told me he thought that the portal towards the Shadowfell was not closed yet, but merely dormant. I wanted to make sure nobody could open it, by perhaps bringing down the keep upon it. Soon I realized we didn't have the wherewithal to do so, nor were we in any state to come up with any alternatives. Therefore we decided to make haste to return to Winterhaven and inform the mayor of the situation.
We retraced our steps upwards, out of the Keep and towards the sun-lit world. Eowan discovered a jute bag he felt was magical. I didn't really believe this, for the bag was dirty and tattered, but Tyrr told us Eowan was correct. Apparently it was a bag of holding, and could hold many objects, unhampered by weight or volume. Marvelous, I guess, if you're into that kind of thing. Me, I always travel light.
A surprise awaited us when we returned to the prison cells on the upper level. We found the bars bended, and Splut and the big brute no longer in their cages. In Splut's cell we found a lot of blood. It seemed that the big creature had broken free, made Splut go splut, and fled. Ziruna and I couldn't really care for the pest's fate, but the others were quite taken aback.
We moved on and finally left the ruins and stepped into the light. It was cold and dreary day, but after the subterranean horrors it felt like paradise. Greedily I took in the bitter air, eager to cleanse my palate of the blood and muckus.
But wait, I picked up a faint scent of fire and smoke. What could this portent?
We moved towards Winterhaven, and the smells became stronger with every turn in the road. When we could see Winterhaven, we saw it was burning! Already weary to the bone, we couldn't exactly run, but we tried to hustle as best as we still could. Soon we arrived in the town. Winterhaven was a mess, with many buildings destroyed, reduced to smoldering heaps of ash. Bodies littered the streets, but not a living soul was seen.
We moved towards the lord's mansion in the walled-off part of town. At the gates we were stopped. A shakey guardsman demanded to know what our business was. My fiery humours ran hot immediately and in a flat voice I replied that we were good folk, that we had vanquished Kalarel, and that we wanted to see the lord. I had had enough.
I won't bore you with all the who said what and who did what then. We talked to Padraig, who was clearly out of his wits. Nothing in his pampered life had prepared him for this. Apparantly about one-third of his town has been abducted by goblinoid forces. (Yes, this was probably what the parchment we found was about.) The forces swept into town, somehow not being stopped by the gates (or the gates were open, the account was vague). They put the town to the torch and in the ensuing confusion kidnapped hundreds of people. Most of the civilians quickly retreated back in the walled part of town, with the guardsmen and some valiant people fighting to protect them. Padraig probably fled as quickly as a bunny. Somewhat understandably, our news didn't quite register with him. He kept babbling, even pointing out Ninaran as a collaborator of the goblins? There was also talk of the goblins being tattooed with a certain icon, a red circle and a half moon lying on top of it.
Exasperated I stormed out of his mansion, resolved to bolster the inhabitants. I let the spirits of fire sustain me as I was sure to collapse myself if I took a moment to sit down. I found that Coalstriker, the smith, was out and about as well, quietly talking to people. In his wake, small groups of people began the arduous task of rebuilding. I helped him in my way, my fire complementing his cold.
Amongst the people taken away was Sister Linora. Sure, I thought she was a babbling twit, but the people had lost their spiritual heart with her. The temple was desecrated as well. Tyrr and Gründahl began a vigorous cleanup of the place, sensing that the town needed consolotion in the form of religion.
I'm not quite sure what Lilsy and Eowan did, something with the guy in the tower I think?
11 Nightal, 1479 DR
The next day we stuck around, rebuilding the town. I myself went out with the parties that went into the forest to get lumber. I was pretty sure nothing bad hid there anymore (well, nothing more intelligent than wild swine) but the townsfolk were skittish. I therefore made a show of my presence, making sure they felt safe.
When I got back in town, I heard that Grün had been busy in the temple, turning it into a place of Moradin. Well, better have Moradin look over the people than no-one, I guess. Tyrr had been reading some book on Sarunkell. It's some city under the Thunderspire Mountains, "built by Minotaur Lords". I guessed we were to go in that direction, retrieving the victims of yesterday's raid?