After taking a much needed rest atop the steps of Fortress Graystone, the party began the long journey back to Overlook. On the way, however, they first stopped at Brindol to rest, resupply and to resurrect their fallen ally, Dunedin.
While the ritual to bring Dunedin back from the Raven Queens grasp was being performed, the party enjoyed a night of celebration as Eoffram Troyas’ guests. When they awoke to the smell of hot breakdast at noon the next day, they found Dunedin sitting at the breakfast table awaiting them. To their surprise, they received word that Amyria had left Brindol for Overlook at dawn. In her note, she thanked the group for escorting her to Brindol but could not wait to continue to Overlook. She had caught a ride on a caravan to Overlook and hoped the see them there.
After a large breakfast the party resupplied before heading out on the road once again for Overlook. Other than the unusually large number of families packing up and moving out of the Vale, the 8 day journey to Overlook was uneventful. Perhaps the hard work of the Heroes was paying off?
As Overlook slowly came into view, it was clear that all was not as they have left. The walls around Overlook were buzzing with activity as defenses where strengthened – Overlook was preparing for war.
After passing through the main gates, Dunedin broke off from the party to seek out some Ritual components. Sink, Boreas, Sam and Gothe made their way to their de facto base; The Mountain Hearth in. Kort, set out to the Nine Bells district in search of Amyria.
Kort entered the Nine Bells district and immediately noticed that the old temple to Moradin located there was a virtual ant hill of activity. Scaffolding covered much of the exterior of the Temple as hundreds of Dwarves worked stone and wood with their hammers. Kort asked one of the workers what was going on and he said that High Ancestor Durkik had ordered the old temple to reconstructed. Making his way through the destitute streets of Nine Bells, Kort eventually came to the Temple of Bahamut where he suspected Amyria to be. He was right. Kneeling at the alter was Amyria. She was deep in prayer and did not respond to any of Kort’s attempted to speak to her. He left a note letting her know they were in town and where she could find them.
Kort then made his way to the Stone Anvil where High Ancestor Durkik, the head of Moradin Clergy in Overlook, resided. Despite having been there before Kort found the massive stone temple to be no less awe inspiring than the first time he laid eyes on it. Ascending the stairs, Kort made his way into the temple where a service was being held for a few hundred Dwarves. Nothing looked out of place at the temple other than the fact that the temple looked as if it has not been cleaned for a while. The floors were not swept, braziers had been left to burn out and spider webs clung to the corners – apparently the priests were too busy with the reconstruction of the old temple to keep up with the chores at this one. Kort moved deeper into the temple, seeking out Durkik when Durkik found Kort. From around the next corner in the hallway came Durkik, flanked by several guards.
“You are not welcome in this Dwarven house of worship! You must leave immediately!” he commanded Kort. The guards clearly recognized Kort as one of the Heroes of Overlook and gave him a sheepish look that said ‘Sorry, Kort. We don’t want to, but we have to follow is orders.’ Kort complied and left the temple.
Kort then headed to the Ministry of War to look for their friend Kalad and to report what he had seen and how he had been treated. Kort was led into the building and met with Captain Aerun. Captain Aerun was very happy to be in the presence of one of the Heroes of Overlook and listened intently to what Kort told him. When Kort was done, Aerun gave Kort a quick ‘Okay, thanks. We’ll look into it’ before dismissing Kort. Kort sensed that Aerun was really not interested in what Kort had to say and furthermore, it appeared that while he was listening to Kort, he seems vaguely distant. Something about his behavior was not right.
Perplexed, Kort headed back to the Mountain Hearth Inn. He found Dunedin had returned from his shopping trip but did not stay for long. He got up from the table without saying so much of a word and exited the Mountain’s Hearth. Somewhat concerned by Dunedin’s recent behavior, Boreas elected to tail Dunedin as Dunedin made his way through Overlook to the Nine Bells district and to the Temple of Moradin.
As with Kort, Dunedin found the temple to be a hive of activity as the reconstruction effort continued. As Dunedin attempted to enter the temple, a Dwarf rammed Dunedin with a wheel borrow and confronted Dunedin: “You and your Heroes friends are not welcome around here. You’ve gone and sullied the name of our clan make, Bram Ironfell and our clan! Now get out before we have some trouble!"
Dunedin was take back by all of this and even more surprised when Boreas stood next to him. Heated words were exchanged and it was clear that most of the Dwarves working on the temple were from clan Ironfell and none of them thought much of the Heroes. Just as things were about to erupt in violence, a red bearded Dwarf stepped in: “Get back to work. All of you!” With a grumble, the Dwarves slowly began to return to work. “May I escort you out of here?” he said with a smile. As the Dwarf led them back to the street, Dunedin silently cast a spell of the Dwarf, making him very friendly to the pair. Dunedin and Boreas questioned the man and found the High Ancestor Durkik had ordered the temple reconstructed out of blue about a week ago. He has assigned nearly all of the dwarves from the Stone Anvil to the reconstruction effort. He also solicited the help of other Dwarves and the Ironfell clan stepped up with money and workers to aid the effort. They also learned that Durkik has not been himself as of late and that the dwarf was worried about the High Ancestor.
While Boreas and Dunedin were out and about, the rest of the party enjoyed a little relaxation at the Mountain’s Hearth. Reggan delivered a glorious meal to the table, as well as several flagons of ale. With the food delivered, she leaned in to the group.
“Do you know the name Lavinya?” she asked. When the group said that they were not familiar with that name, she continued. “She’s a priestess at the temple of Erathis, over in the Divine Knot. She’s been leaving messages all over town—says she desperately needs to speak with you. She begs you to come see her at the temple, just as soon as you can get there.” After finishing their meal, the party headed out to the Divine Knot to see what this priestess wanted.
Arriving at the temple the party made their way in to the dilapidated structure and found a woman, aged before her time, in gold robes praying at the altar. She turns when they enter and recognizes them immediately. Looking up towards the heavens she says “Thank you.” She gestures towards the pews at the front of the church: “Please sit. I knew Erathis would guide you to me.” She offers the party some wine then says:
“My name is Lavinya,” she tells you. “I’m the last priestess here; the others all departed years ago, when the Nine Bells went all to seed, and the temples with it. I keep it open and functioning as best I can on my own, but . . ”
She shakes her head, as though reminding herself to stay on topic. “Do you know Haelyn?” she asks. The party tells her that they are not familiar with that name.
And that’s why I need you!” Lavinya looks up, her eyes suddenly narrowed. “Something is wrong! Something’s happened to Haelyn, I know it, and maybe not just to her!”
Lavinya took a sip of her drink, and then said:
“A few weeks ago, Haelyn just disappeared. I went by the shrine to speak with her and she was gone. There’s a man named Grovald maintaining the shrine now. I don’t know him; I’ve never met him before, and nobody I talk to knows him, either. He told me that Haelyn left on a spiritual retreat and would be back in a few months.”
“But I know better! Haelyn needed no ‘spiritual retreat.’ Her faith was strong, and it was centered on that shrine! And even if she had, she wouldn’t have up and left—not without telling me.”
Now Lavinya shook her head and gauged the reactions of the party, then continued:
“I must confess, I went back at night and snooped around a bit, not just in the shrine, but peering through the windows of the groundskeeper’s cottage. I’ve offered penance to Erathis for my trespass, but I had to know what happened!
I didn’t . . . I found no trace of Haelyn, but I did catch a glimpse of a letter through the cracks in the shutters. I couldn’t read much of it, and I dared not stay long, but I’m certain it was addressed to ‘G’—that must be Grovald, right?—and it began with ‘I am commanded to ask if you’ve had any further problems with the worshipers of . . .’ That’s all I saw, but it sounds sinister enough!
“And that,” she says morosely, “is where things got even worse. I went to the authorities, but they told me there was nothing to look into, that Haelyn—or any citizen—can travel as they please. I spoke to some of the other priests—Aelys of Bahamut, Durkik of Moradin at the Stone Anvil, Kyrrist of Avandra, even Matron Volorvyn of the Raven Queen. Some of these have long been my friends, and even those who were not have at least been respected colleagues. And all of them brushed me off! They were distant, uncaring, even cold, as though my worries were of no moment! Volorvyn appeared barely to recognize me, and while we’ve never been close, we’ve known one another on and off for years.”
Lavinya looks at each of the Heroes before continuing.
“And that’s when I thought of you, Overlook’s new heroes. I’m terrified that something has happened to my friend and that something is wrong with my fellow priests. I should, we all should, be showering you with gifts and thanks, not heaping even more cares onto your shoulders—but I’ve little influence left in this city, and I have nobody else to whom I can turn.”
After hearing Lavinya’s tale, the party decided it best to head straight to the Shrine of Erathis in Tradetown to see what was going on.
They found the shrine to be little more than an altar littered with remnants of candles and scraps of paper. Wood benches offered worshipers a crude place to sit while they prayed. The altar and pews where surrounded by a tent like structure supported by wooden poles to keep the rain away.
Behind the tent was a broken fountain sporting a statue of Erathis in the middle of it. Two grounds keeper huts sat off to the side of the tent and fountain.
Pacing back and fourth behind the altar was a bald man with sharp, hawkish features wearing a black robe. He would occasionally reply to a worshipers prays with a “So may it be” but it was abundantly clear that this man did not want to be there. The party surmised that this was Grovald. Not wanting to cause a scene during the day, the party decided to come back and night and have a word with Grovald.
Once darkness settled over Overlook, the party returned to the Shrine. Gothe, Samhain and Dunedin elected to sneak up to the groundskeeper shacks while the rest of the party waited down the road a bit. The trio snuck up to the shack and found it to be empty. Just as they were about to move on, a voiced called out from the dark: “I’m just as glad you chose to come here at night. It makes things so much neater when we need not involve the authorities, don’t you think?”
They turned to see a bald, sharp-faced man in dark clothes all but fading into the shadows, and movement came from several other individuals in the night around him. The battle was on.
Isolated from their more sturdy companions, Sam, Gothe and Dunedin bore the brunt of the initial assault. Assassin’s daggers tore into Samhain, gravely wounding him. Boreas, Kort and Sink rushed in and engaged the enemy. While the battle was tough, the party made short work of their assailants once they were able to regroup. As they searched their enemy they watched, to their horror, as the human assassin’s skin turned pale and they eyes grew wide and dark! They were doppelgangers!
The Sam, Gothe and Dunedin searched the cottages while Boreas, Sink and Kort search the rest of the grounds. In the cottage, Sam found the remnants of a partially burned note in the fireplace. It read:
“….unreachable for a time, as I must . . . the priests’ orders as you would my own, for he . . . s always, be certain you destroy this mis . . .
. . . eneral Zi . . .”
Under the bed, Gothe found a small pouch that contained 4 polished stores of alexandrite, worth 500gp each and 100gp.
A shout from behind the fountain brought Sam, Dunedin and Gothe outside – Sink had found something. Buried in a shallow grave behind the fountain was the body of Haelyn.