The Scales of War
Into Castle Grayskull
Deep in the bowels of Fortress Graystone, Sideon’s Army encountered a group of gnolls in strangely shaped corner of the ancient monastery. After a short, brutal fight, Sideon’s Army explored what appeared to be the former githzerai inhabitant’s sleeping quarters. The gnolls appeared to be using it as a temporary jail, although the cell doors were unlocked and the key found on the gnoll leader did not fit the lock. Inside the three cells were humans who were alive but somewhat the worse for their captivity. They confirmed that they had been taken by the gnolls in a raid on a nearby village named Talar.
One, a sage named Falrinth, knew of the portal at the center of the fortress, and suggested that the monastery had originally been built by the githzerai to protect it. However, the githzerai vanished, and the monastery lay open to opportunistic evil. He also explained that the entire Elsir Vale was pockmarked with portals to other planes, and that such portals were dangerous in that, if discovered, they would be coveted by many powerful forces in the multiverse.
No sooner had the companions become settled in to rest and lick their wounds in the chamber than the elf mercenary, Thorn, unleashed an ambush. Revealing his true colors, he attacked with two each magically animated hounds and falcons. Depleted as the party was, Thorn gave the friends no small trouble until finally, with his minions dispatched, Thorn yielded to Orpheus’ demand for surrender.
In exchange for his life and freedom, he offered, Thorn would give his knowledge of the Fortress and its secret passages. He relinquished his belongings and drew the party a map. Before he could leave, however, Muhlic attacked, fearing another ambush. Bound by his word, Orpheus intervened, and a fight broke out. Thorn rushed to leave, and Stump tackled him with a yell. Stump’s cry alerted the inhabitants of the Fortress, and gnolls began to pour out on the attack. The party managed to escape, but Thorn made good his departure and Sideon’s Army was forced to retreat and regroup for the night.
Arriving back at the former monastery in the morning, the Army discovered that reinforcements had been brought in to replace the slain gnolls. Fighting their way inside again, the companions made the central marshalling point and defeated the gnoll warmaster and a shadar-kai weapons master. Searching the room, the party discovered that the shadar-kai was present at the behest of Sarshan to train the gnolls, who were being paid to raid and disrupt the eastern end of the Elsir Vale. The warmaster had a key and a jagged blade bearing the same insignia as the ring found on the body of Queen Shephatiah in the mines of Karak. Beyond, Fangren, the leader of the Wicked Fang, continued his rituals to channel the power of Yeenoghu that he may become an exarch of the foul demon-god and bring unbridled slaughter to the innocents of the Elsir Vale. Only Sideon’s Army stood in his way.