Arriving at the Waterfall was easy, but what they found there was rather unsuspected, hiding in the bushes near the river they could see the terrain in front of the waterfall, filled with Torog´s Chainers… not cultist, to their surprise. Be that as it was, they decided there was no other possible outcome from this that to end the doings of this Drak Guild right there. And so the fight began.
The party made use of the knowledge from the previous encounters to take and advantage over the enemy tactics, Dincu, started eliminating slashers before they could cross the river and get to them, Domenico and Mikael held the ones that manage to come close while Krom killed the ones that came from the back… then Ika´s magic made an entrance, starting a fire that cost great number to the enemy lines, making their way up river, the deaths amongst the enemy lines kept rising and rising, once in front of the Waterfall, recognizing it as the point of no return they made their way inside.
The shadows filled the room and a sour putrid smell made breathing difficult, silent steps echoed around the main cave while the movement from the few torched places there was distracting, this inspection of the room was interrupted, as many figures started to dart from the darkness, making sounds between laughs and cries of pain… searching to kill on sight, when the group was caught up in disadvantageous numbers, the fight turned… to the worst.
From the back of the cave, a Blood Mage wearing crimson and golden robes entered, escorted by to great figures wearing a reddish plate armor, this men looked more formidable that the average they had fought, there was no doubt they where climbing on the command ladder, as the fight progressed, the blood mage and ika started to duel, while Mikael and Krom took on the plated bodyguards, and many of the other where killed by Domenico.
Then a deafening scream came from the back… resounding from all walls and then dying slowly… A man dragging a chain whip on each hand slowly approached the battle, in a swift move, attacking each with a chain whip, he bloodied Mikael and gravely injured Domenico, Ika quickly searched his spellbook and manage to find some help, reciting arcane words in elvish language, a bright light pushed this figure to the back, “Boss!” the other screamed, enraged by the attack… Ika kept “the boss” from approaching the party while Krom finished the blood mage, then took on the other 2 guards with help from Domenico and Dincu.
Ika focused all his attention on “The boss” but the wounds he infringed in him seemed to revitalize him, rushing in the battle at last, he began to furiously attack Domenico, and Ika… until he fell to the floor… Having killed the others enemies there, Krom turned his bloody axe to the boss; but the more they hurt him the more powerful he seemed, relentlessly attacking them all with swift slashes from the chains… Nevertheless, in the end, a piercing arrow from Dincu´s bow put and end to hes terrifying might.
When the fight was over, Mikael rushed to his comrades, ignoring his own wounds and pain, triying to stabilized and heal the others first… once done, searching the fallen belongings they found a letter, addressed to the Chainers leader Wilbur “the boss”:
“My spy in Winterhaven as reported about a troublesome group acting on the area, she will be sending them to you soon so you can eliminate them, they should not put a mayor threat, either way is of little importance, for I´m close to completely fade the seal… soon all shalt be consumed in darkness and ashes, while your men and you bathe in the coin i´ll provide for your work…”
Now they had prove, now they had provided a great service getting rid of the Chainers… rushing back to town, they went to see Valthurn about the Keep. at first there was no answer to the door, a while later a terrified figure emerged from it.
“We need to talk, but we are not safe in here, lets meet in the Lords secret chamber on the inn…”
Once there, Valthurn starting going around some papers and scrolls of ancient look
" I apologize to you for i was terribly mistaken, my books and history scrolls confirm it, indeed the keep was built by the old Empire of Nerath, but it was not to protect the town from marauders from the north… It was built on something darker, to seal it… What exactly “It” is I do not know, the scribes make no explicit mention of what it is, so either they do not know, or do not dare to talk about it… every single reference i search, just comes back to the same symbol " Says Valthurn while showing the party the same symbol they have being tracking since they first found it in Douven´s room.
“I thought the history ended there, boy was i mistaken… Little after the fall of Nerath, the keep was abandoned and left to decay, so goes the legend, the keep commander Sir Keegan Brightfang, set in motion the events that would lead to such outcome.
May be it had to do with what the keep hides beneath, or may be Sir Keegan was a monster manipulated by demons we might never understand, in any case, at stroke of midnight on that fateful night, Sir Keegan went insane, and started slaughtering systematically each resident of the Keep. His own wife and son where the first ones to fall to his blade, then his trusted advisors, and finally many of the soldiers under his command. Sir Keegan was much too powerful for any soldier to defeat, nevertheless, in time, the troops retaliated with a united defense and manage to drive him to the underground tunnels of the keep and kill him.
Back then, the Keep was famous for being one of the last bastions of the Empire, but after the slaughter, and without a clear line of command to keep it in motion, it was abandoned, then feared for a while and in the end, forgotten. Some years back an earthquake collapsed the upper floors and turned the place to gravel and stone. Despite the many rumors about the riches from the Empire of Nerath the keeps hides, few have dared to explore its ruins trough the ages. There are folklore tales that say the ghost of Sir Keegan still roams the underground passageways, weeping in sadness for the tragedy of his life and keeping with him the secret of how to contain whatever the keep hides.
Again, what that symbol means i do not now, but the works of a dark cult points to no good, so i will not rest until i have found an answer, take this note, bring it to Lord Pardright along with the Letter you found on the Chainer´s base, this should be proof enough of whats going on and ensure his cooperation, meet me back at my tower later, we must make haste"
Following Valthurns instructions, they went to see Lord Pardraigh, showing him the evidence they have gathered.
“This borders on the unbelievable, but the evidence is overwhelming, know now you have my fullest support (writing a note on a parchment with the royal symbol) take this to the stores in town, it should cover your expenses within reason, i cant muster any man force to accompany you, but you have proven to be quite capable, i hope for the good of the town and all of us you measure to this task…”
They went back to Valthurn´s tower, but this time, there was no response… the door was both magically sealed and had some good steel reinforced locks, so they went for a unconventional entrance, Krom climbed to the first floor and broke the sealed window, then made his way back while Ika handled the Arcane locks, he unlocked the rest. Going up the tower, they discovered the first 2 floors abandoned and dark, the silence did not procure anything good when they made their way to the third and fourth floors, the first being Valthurn chambers and the later a great library… another magical lock was on their way to reach the last floor, a lock that Ika handled easily now acquainted with the security of the tower, opening the door was, disturbing…
The only font of light was a candle across the room in Valturn´s desk, there laying Valthurn´s body, with 2 daggers firmly encrusted on his back, the silence on the room was deafening, so their steps getting closer to the body were felt by everyone, the blood was fresh, tainting the robes and books beneath Valthurn, he held a torn parchment on his hand, clearly ripped from his corpse.
They came closer, trying to find out any clue left behind, it was then that Ika detected some arcane energy left in the room, using a simple spell to reveal it, bright blue light letters showed themselves across the wall in front of Valtrun “A rift, Far Realm” said the arcane writing.
Now given the new font of light, the party sensed the presence of another person in the room, un hesitating, Ika launched a bolt of energy on the suspects direction, lighting the room through his path, letting them see The Shadow, dodging graciously the attack rolling over her hands… almost amused by the attempt, not loosing a second, the bolt was followed by 2 arrows from Dincu´s bow…
In a hearth beat it was all over, so allow me to describe it with care, a large shadow gate opened on the back of the female elf, while dodging the bolts from Ika, she was actually surprised when one of the arrows hit her right below the hearth, changing her expression in pain and hate, in a swift counter attack, she trowed 2 daggers, leaking a black liquid from them, hitting the Ranger in the guts, who fell, blood pouring from his mouth, in to Domenico´s arms… Then she disappeared from their sight….
It was hard to call this a victory…. but this is how it went… there in the shadows.