Our party was in the backwoods village of Timbervale, enjoying the somewhat rustic hospitality of the Knothole Inn and recovering from our recent expedition to the Tower of Teleportation. After dinner one night, we were approached by Rangrim Glintshield, who asked for our assistance for his clan.
The Glintshield clan of dwarves has been isolated in the Ironwall Mountains since a civil war 100 years ago. Only recently has the clan regained enough strength to re-establish ties with the outside world by opening Stonefang Pass, a tunnel through the mountains that has been closed since the war.
Stonefang Pass was historically a major trade route, originally dug and built by giants sometime in antiquity. Its closure 100 years ago severely damaged the economy of nearby Timbervale.
Rangrim’s clan were beginning to rebuild a citadel on the far side of the pass when they were attacked by a tribe of orcs called the Severed Eyes. While fleeing from the orcs, to prevent them from pursuit, the dwarves released a massive stone slab to block the pass. Rangrim believes that it can be lifted by an unknown mechanism in a nearby gatehouse. Some of the dwarves were not fast enough and were caught behind the slab, including the clan’s guards, who were members of a mysterious cult called the Shadowed Chain.
The people of Timbervale are very eager to be rid of the orcs and other dangerous creatures that inhabit the pass, as well as eager to regain economic prosperity by re-opening the trade route.
After some negotiation, Rangrim agreed to reward the party with gold for clearing the pass and citadel, as well as granting the party free right of transport through the re-opened pass without paying tariffs.
The party attempted to gain additional support or reward from the townspeople, however, they are generally quite poor. The local shopkeeper promised a 10% discount on goods purchased if the pass is re-opened.
The party put on a performance of music and feats of acrobatics to win the patronage of local ruler Lady Sevrym. To support them in their task, she gave the party a gift of Amazing Arrows.
As the party was about to leave, they were stopped by Hadarra Glintshield. Hadarra gives them a sending stone and asks them to search for its mate, which belonged to her cousin Flinka, who was killed by orcs during the retreat. She warns the party not to trust any surviving Shadowed Chain dwarves they may meet in the pass, referring to them as a “weird cult.”
The party then sets off for the pass. As they cross a bridge over the river, they are attacked by a pair of hippogriffs and a school of giant archerfish, who give the party a challenging battle. The fish were especially challenging foes due to their ability to pull party members into the water, where they were in danger of being swept away by the swift current and pulled over a waterfall. The stress of the encounter was almost too much for our brave dragonborn companion Balasar, who planned to grapple a fish and jump over the waterfall with it clutched in his arms, hoping that his Surefall Amulet would prevent him from dashing out his brains upon the rocks below. Concerned for his young companion, the bard Edyson used words of friendship to convince him not to make an unneeded sacrifice, but to save his strength for the trials ahead.
At the end of the battle, exhausted but victorious, the party made camp in the ruined huts next to the river.