The Forgotten Keep

Story So Far

Over the last few years your characters have made a good name for themselves in the Red Irons Mercenary Company. How you got into the Red Irons or your purpose matters not. What does matter are the decisions that you will be making soon.

You have been selected for one last task, hand picked by the famous Capt. Decker himself. Your last assignment with the Red Irons (should you choose not to re-enlist) is to assist Capt. Decker with the reclamation of a ruined keep about a days ride to the west of Kirkwall.

Even before the expedition was underway from Kirkwall you could feel in your bones that this was going to be a bumpy mission. Of the 50 men from your detachment you found that there were many who were lacking in discipline. After chasing many of them out from the various taverns and brothels you were finally able to head out to Dark Keep.

While the keep is relatively near Kirkwall, it resides mid-way up a steep mountain and can be recognized from some distance as a splotch of black in the otherwise snow white side of the mountain. After about a days journey on foot Capt. Decker halts the company some distance away from the keep and sends your characters up closer to investigate.

The entire area that surrounds the keep vents steam and hot air in the outer parameter which melts the snow in the general vicinity of the keep and makes it visible for miles. You have made the appropriate preparations in order to spy on the keep and have determined that you can follow the lower crags near the steam caves in order to make your way closer to the keep.

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July 30, 2011 Session

Jarlen, Kessel, Dreckand, and Otho were sent to scout Dark Keep buy Captain Decker. As stealth was not their forte they marched right on up the road. Stopping a little ways out they were of course spotted and fired upon. Not having a good view of what was in the keep they decided to run into the entrance tower where they fought off the first wave of attackers. Upon seeing the number within the keep, which by the way were charging at them, they decided it was best to report back. So they ran like little girls back to the awaiting company of Red Iron Mercenaries. Captain Decker was less than pleased, but I think we did him a favor. Instead of fighting an encamped enemy, we led them into our awaiting ranks. All turned out well despite them having a couple trolls and they day was won.

Upon capturing the keep we found some prisoners and a chained white wolf. A large, intelligent white wolf that spoke our language. Both were freed after ensuring the wolf would not make a snack out of any of our company or followers. Among the prisoners was a pushy fellow by the name of Belvazar. Who at first said he was an Alchemist, but later we found he was also and apostate Mage. He kept going on about his herbs and apothecary which was located in some tunnels underneath the keep. We told him that as soon as we could we would take him down there to retrieve what belonged to him, but first Captain Decker had a few errands for us.

The first errand was to execute a couple would be assassins who failed to kill Captain Decker. We did so publicly letting all know the price for such a crime and had their heads stuck on pikes for all to see. One was an old man, the other his young daughter. They kept going on about something they read and/or saw about what Captain Decker would become. None of it made sense to me. After having done that Captain Decker had us escort him while exploring the tunnels beneath the keep. He apparently has a map which he is less than willing to share, but seems to be quite accurate. Between his map and Jarlen’s knowledge of the arcane we were able to find out way to and through a secret, magical door. Down, down, down into the mountain the tunnel led. It looked like it had been dug in a hurry and many a rare gem veins had been left untouched. Soon we started to see a light in the distance and decided to investigate further. Before we could reach the light however the ground beneath our feet gave away and sent us tumbling into a pit of darkness. Thankfully most of it had a bottom. Unfortunately Captain Decker landed very near the bottomless part and the impact bounced him over the edge. With Jarlen’s quick reflexes and Kessel’s great strength they were able to save Captain Decker from certain death. Using a rope and Kessel’s expert climbing skills they were able to extract themselves from the pit and carry on.

At the end of the path they discovered a giant cavern covered in huge crystals which were reflecting light from and unknown source. As Jarlen had command of magic and an spell with which to make himself invisible he volunteer to scout it out. What he found down there was pure evil and would nearly kill him. It was so strong that it managed to separate his soul from his body without him even knowing it. His body now on autopilot started to crawl away from where his soul stood, gazing at the thing of evil. Kessel recognized this as not normal behavior from Jarlen and rushed in to retrieve him. Throwing Jarlen over his shoulder Kessel and Captain Decker made their way out. Jarlen’s soul however ran next to them trying to figure out what had happened.

Once they exited the tunnels Jarlen’s body was taken to a make shift infirmary for care while Kessel sought out the only other Mage around, Belvazar, for assistance. Jarlen tried mightily to get anyone’s attention, but try as he might he could only succeed at getting Kessel to think he had heard or saw Jarlen where he should not have been. Belvazar, after being allowed to retrieve a few of his possessions to include his spell book, was able to determine that Jarlen’s soul had been removed from his body and the danger this represented. He also knew there was only one way he would be able to bring Jarlen’s soul back into his body. Blood Magic. But that was no guarantee.

Jarlen tried to will himself back into his body but could not, because it was occupied. Becoming desperate to communicate with them and stop the Blood Magic Jarlen attempted to posses Dreckand. This was a mistake as something ancient within Dreckand, or possibly Dreckand himself was able to expel Jarlen to the fade. While in the fade Jarlen met a sloth demon and a spirit of Hope. Fortunately for him, the spirit of Hope was able to send Jarlen back to the word of the living, but still outside of his body. Meanwhile Kessel took Belvazar to Captain Decker to discus the use of Blood Magic to help Jarlen. Captain Drecker agreed, but not without some safety precautions in place.

Kessel was sent to round up a good amount of the Company to stand by in case something went wrong under the guise of an inspection. Also, poison was used on Jarlen in case something else came back instead of Jarlen. Captain Decker provided the blood of a Mercenary who was guilty of dereliction of duty while being drunk and disorderly. The spell was a success, however during the process a demon was able to escape and posses the fresh corpse laying on the ground. The power of the transfer was strong enough to through everyone back to the ground except Kessel and Jarlen who both jumped into action. Kessel was the faster of them and with a mighty swing, later to be dubbed “Kessel’s Swing”, he cleaved the offending creature in two. Upon recovering from the blast Captain Decker gave Jarlen the antidote to the poison.

The next day Captain Decker called upon his most trusted Mercenaries, Kessel and Jarlen, for yet another task. To deliver a message to the Red Iron Mercenaries Command back in Kirkwall, and to hire some had to help out with rebuilding the Keep.

That is where this session ended.

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