Rise of the Red Hand

Escape from the Holds
Met on the Roads

I had lost track of the days since escaping the Hammerfist holds. The first night, camping on the road, we could almost pretend that all was well, and that this was just a normal scouting mission. At least while in training with the Hammerblow clan, you could count on backup, Here, you could count on nothing.

We split watches, once again guarding each others backs. Eyes would glint in the dark, reflecting our firelight. Animal or humanoid, none seemed to want to bother two armed Hammerblow dwarves.

Several days, however many it was, we came upon an inn on the crossroads. It was, at best, the worst inn I’ve ever been in. The beer was terrible, but at least there was a lot of it. The entertainment, if you could call it that, consisted of The Chicken Show, as well as a mediocre bard. The locals seemed to enjoy it. I had a gold piece riding on the show; 5 chickens minimum.

We never really got a chance to see the end. Some raw recruit, jumped on the stage and made a plee for help. It sounded like the usual small town issue, until he mentioned pay. I nudged my brother. We were cut loose from the clan, and would eventually have to take up some work. This seemed like some easy money. We joined up with the others lured in by the promise of gold.


We barely made it back on the road before getting beset by what, I assumed, were brigands. Brother waded in with his usual gusto. Hammer swinging, making short work of some heavies. I added my own skills, darting in and applying my blades. My way is more subtle than Haemish, but no less effective. Blade and hammer, we worked our way through the assailants, leaving a bloody trail behind.

The others did their parts well. We started to work as a team, like a group of professionals at least. Two of them seemed to have some history together. Not a blood bond, but effective none the less.

After the battle, as we were collecting ourselves, we rooted around in the assailants. There was a symbol, that seemed familiar. I swear I’ve seen it before, but I can’t place it.

We made our way, finally, to what passes as a main town in these parts. We seem to have impressed the recruiter, and secured a place as unofficial guards.

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Eventide Prayers, 3 Tarsakh (Year of the Tankard)
to you, Moradin Soulforger, Allfather of the Bearded Peoples

To ye, Moradin, I offer this prayer, as I do each night a’fer me rest.

I thank ye fer the followin’, Lord o’ the Forge, that I may use these trials to temper the steel of me resolve and me faith in ye:

Thanks be fer the company o’ me brother, Boggle Hammerblow. I’m fer knowin’ he’s blasphemin’ on occasion, Allfather, and I ask that ye fergive ‘im. ’E uses so many words in his cursin’ that I’m sure yer name jes’ gets in there by accident sometimes. He’s a fine fighter, as ye know, and I’ve no doubt his blades are doin’ yer work, e’en though he denies it.

Thanks, too, fer the Rotten Apple Inn. We were in need o’ a rest, and more in need o’ a purpose, and ye guided us to both. A strange place to find ’em, to be sure, but welcome all the same.

Grateful am I fer the opportunity to do good in yer name, and it seems the people o’ Drellin’s Ferry can use some good. Me head questions the companions ye’ve sent us – the half-ugly in particular, but I know ye work in mysterious ways sometimes, and I’ve nae forgotten my lessons: the hardest diamond is oft hidden in the darkest coal. Suren’, though, if he takes too much to his greener kin, I’m fer crushin’ ’im tae powder, diamond or no.

Me humble thanks fer leading me brother and me to victory o’er the scurrilous varmints what beset us on the road, and fer guidin’ our eyes to what may be clues to their purpose there. I dedicate their deaths to ye, Moradin, and may my hammer’s work have tipped the scales of good a wee bit toward yer side this day.

To you, Allfather, all praises be.

Your humble servant and shield-dwarf, Haemish Hammerblow.

Amen

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Koragall, 3rd day of the Claw of the Storms

Took up a new cause yesterday, the protection of Drellin’s Ferry. A young lad showed up at the Rotten Apple Inn begging help from any righteous souls who would take a bit of pay for a lot of danger. Some of the local folk decided that they were going to take the child’s money, but I dissuaded them from such problematic choices, and took the job along with a crew of… interesting individuals.

This group currently consists of an elfin (half?) spiritual caster with a…. ghostly wolf? I’ve heard of casters of her ilk, priests and shamans from the most primal of places, but I will have to see what her capabilities are. Her companion is a mind mage of some sort, much like Noregon from the Daggerford engagement. The other two are dwarves – brothers, one a lurker in the dark and the other a shining light of Moradin. Moradin is a good god, who understands honor and battle as Tempus does, but dwarves tend to only see the color of my skin and write me off. Hopefully these dwarves prove to be more open minded than the vast majority of their kin.

We encountered significant resistance on our trip to Drellin’s Ferry. A group of a dozen goblins, including a caster, 2 bugbears and a hobgoblin. These are not the kind of forces that one finds on these roads, and it concerns me greatly. Other than the young boy, everyone was quite useful in dispatching the assault, and we made short work of the assailants. We found six bodies of missing Drellin’s Ferry militia members, marked with a red claw of some sort. Each of the slain creatures was also marked as such in some way, indicating an unprecedented alliance of these creatures taking place.

We have just arrived at Drellin’s Ferry, and I wait for the boat to take us across to speak with the head of the town guard and other various elders. Hopefully our warnings come in time.

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The dogman and the caves

I swear the innkeep tried to poison me with that liquor. He didnt count on a clan hammerblow dwarf. I may not be the drinker my brother is, but I won that contest handily.

The others found a wizard in town. He may warrant visiting later, as time allows. They had brought back a rubbing from a stone, one that belonged to the holds. Neither I nor my brother recognized it off hand, but it was definitely from the holds. We managed to deflect questions from the others, but this wizard.. he’s going to have to account for this. Is he involved? We’ll find out one way or the other.

We headed out to the dog man of the fens. Unfortunately, we were not the first to find him. His dogs weren’t much help against the gobbos. But our blades were. We sent them back to their gods. We found a stash, presumably dog mans. He must have been surprised, as he didn’t have time to pull this short sword. I’m not sure it would have helped.

One thing is for certain, these gobbos have no intent on hiding their prescence. We followed their tracks back into the woods, eventually finding their cave.

I was able to sneak into the cave, but someone managed to alert the residents.Rats. Everywhere.

The others in the party proved their worth. The elfish lady with the wolves… doesn’t talk much, but does manage to clear a room when provoked. Without her help, I’m not sure we would have made it. We may need to keep her services beyond this immediate job.

The cave was littered with the remains of rats and gobbos. Not sure which was worse. I have a feeling that this is not the end. The cave extends further into the hills….

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Eventide Prayers, 4 Tarsakh (Year of the Tankard)

To ye, Moradin, All-Father, I offer this prayer:

I pray ye keep well the everlastin’ soul of me brother, Boggle Hammerblow, who in the very thick o’ battle, was called to join ye in the halls o’ the fathers. I beg o’ ye to look kindly upon him; though he professed not to believe, I know in me heart o’ hearts that he’s one o’ yer own.

I, too, have a confession, All-Father. This day I have been torn, near to cursin’ yer name fer takin’ me brother a’fer it seemed time. But in the same breath as ye took ‘im, ye saw fit to renew me, and ye guided me hammer throw to avenge Boggle on the murderous goblinkin what killed ’im. Suren’ I know it were yer hand in that, and I am sore sorry fer doubtin’ ye, even fer a moment. I see now, too, why ye took ’im from me. It were a message, that.

Ye want me blood boilin’. Ye want me filled with yer divine wrath.

Ye want me with revenge on me mind.

Well, All-Father…yer humble shield-dwarf hears yer message. My purpose, which I’ll admit was cloudy ere Boggle’s death, couldn’t be more clear now. Aye, but you took a steep price to teach it to me, Moradin, but yer will rings clarion in me mind now.

The Red Hand dies. Each and every one o’ em.

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Eventide Prayers, 5 Tarsakh (Year of the Tankard)

Moradin, Creator of under-earth and over, hear me prayer:

I pray ye look kindly upon the embattled people o’ Drellin’s Ferry, who are sore pressed by the Red Hand. The hole-dwellin’ beasties saw fit to show themselves today, a’fer we could even put me slain brother’s body in the ground. Well, know ye that ground is like to be a bit easier to dig, damp as it is with the blood o’ our enemies.

I pray, too, that ye accept me gratitude. Suren’ we lost two of our own in the monsters’ caves, but ye sent us replacements, and just in the nick o’ time. I’ll grant ye, a reedy little elf boy n’ a dog-man seem like strange pieces to the puzzle, but they fought well enough, and seem brave and true. I trust ye know what yer about, All-Father.

I ask only that ye guide me hammer, Moradin, to dispatch the Red Hand right quick, that I may sooner send me brother’s spirit on to ye. I promise, iffn’ ye can get past the daggers, ye’ll like ’im well enough.

Amen

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DG Journal 1

Came into Drellin’s Ferry today to restock and see if they had any information behind the lack of greenskins in the woods. The last month has been hard to find prey, and what few times I have managed to track them down, the parties have been far too large for me to take myself. They are either avoiding me, or are becoming organized – both of which create worry.

The situation in town was confusing, however. I had barely begun to speak with those in town I know before the alarm bells rang – the Ferry is under attack! I got slightly turned around moving toward the fighting, and ended up falling in with a rather odd group of fighters. From what I’ve gathered so far, we have a Dwarven Paladin of Moradin (hard to miss), an elven swordmage, a wolf shaman, and a mind mage of some sort. I’m most familiar with working with the elves, so shamans and swordmages are more my speed, but they seem to understand basic tactics and have the inclination to work together.

We now move to save the Brewery, by far the most important place in town. I hope my companions and I are up for it.

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The Story Thus Far...
A summary for those just joining us...

It began, as so many of these things do, in a tavern.

Jorr Halverson, a young farmer from the city of Drellin’s Ferry travelled east, sent for his skill and speed on horseback. At a ramshackle roadhouse on The Dawn Way, the young man sought aid for his village against a sudden rise in goblinoid activity.

Five adventurers answered young Jorr’s call. Haemish Hammerblow, a dwarven paladin late of the Hammerfist Holds, his roguish brother Boggle Hammerblow, the half-elven shaman Veldev and her travelling companion Gideon Ravenor, and the half-orc ranger called Koragall Granger all joined Jorr in his journey back to Drelin’s Ferry. Along the way they encountered their first taste of the threat facing the village – a band of hobgoblins, goblins, and bugbears, united under the symbol of a clawed red hand.

Arriving in Drellin’s Ferry, the party met Captain Sorrana Anitah, leader of the town’s paltry militia, and Speaker Norro Wiston, the town’s mayor. The party was hired to investigate and end the goblin threat to the village.

Jorr led the adventurers to the hut of Harsk, a hunter and recluse who might have some information about the goblins. They found the hermit and his pet dogs slain, but managed to track the goblins responsible to a cavern complex nearby. The party managed to roust the goblins, but at the cost of Boggle and Granger’s lives.

Returning to Drellin’s Ferry, the party buried their dead and mourned their lost comrades. Vel and Gideon met with the sage Serterien The Wise, who linked the goblins and the sign of the red hand to worship of Tiamat. That night, Drellin’s Ferry was attacked by waves of marauding goblinoids. The adventurers managed to thwart the attack, with the help of their new friends Telor Lavollis and Draven Green. But it was clear that the Red Hand was still a threat.

The party discovered that the goblin raiders had used arms and armor stamped with the seal of House Vraath, an ancient family long passed from these realms. Guided once again by Jorr, the adventurers made their way north to Vraath Keep, where they fought and slew two leaders of the Red Hand, the demonic gnoll Wyrmlord Koth, and his minotaur bodyguard Karkillan.

Able to decipher some of the secret war plans they found in the crypts below Vraath Keep, the party traveled further north to Skull Gorge, fighting a Red Hand encampment at the Gorge’s sole crossing, and destroying the bridge that gave access to the Vale from the north.

The adventurers now return to Drellin’s Ferry, an army at their heels, and the lives of all of the village in their hands.

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