After the hero’s difficult encounter in the Shale Forest, they prepared themselves for a confrontation with the dark presence at Grommel Keep. Lieutenent Rathar told the heroes that the shadow over the forest and the surge in Werewolf sightings could all be traced to whatever malicious being had taken up residence in the tower.
Tandros, still wounded from the previous fight, decided to stay at the camp and attempt to heal himself. In his stead, Lieutenant Rathar’s cleric offered to join the party and help rid them of this evil, an offer the heroes readily accepted.
And so after spending the night to recover their strength, the heroes set out for Grommel Keep. After arriving at the door and speaking some words in the fel tongue, the mystic managed break the spell holding the door shut and gave the heroes access to the throne room. However, as they stepped into the darkness there was a blinding flash and before the heroes could react, they found themselves in dank underground cavern.
It appeared the throne room had been trapped and the heroes had been teleported somewhere into the bowels of the keep. After sensing no immediate danger, Rhogar took a single step in the shallow pool at the center of their new prison. To his dismay, the heroes were not alone and out of the darkness surged a four headed Hydra. Before any of the party could react, the beast struck, mortally wounding Brandis Skyhunter and dealing heavy wounds to each of the heroes.
However, before his death, Brandis dealt the horrific creature three terrible wounds, driving it back a few steps and giving Rhogar the opening he needed. Planting himself in front of his comrades, Rhogar hefted his axe over his head and brought it down not on the beast’s many heads, but on its unprotected body. The axe bit deep and severed the creature in two, ending the threat of the multi-headed horror.
After felling the beast, the dark sorcerer of Grommel Keep appeared and taunted the heroes before blasting them with dark magic and fleeing up the stairs. The heroes revived their fallen comrade and followed, determined to catch the foul wizard and end its reign of terror.
But as they stepped into the hallway of the keep, they found themselves boxed in by the blue flames of the sorcerer’s magic. A spell revealed that the only a blood sacrifice would allow the heroes to pass through the lesser doors and after some exploration they soon found themselves confronted by a sadistic choice – they could either let a priest die and save a vampire of the influential Esenwein Family, or they could sacrifice the vampire and save the priest, hoping that the cleric would help them escape.
The heroes chose the latter and the newly released cleric agreed to help the party find a way out of the prison. As they continued to search the keep, they came upon a room with a magic circle. Upon entering the circle, the heroes were accosted by some lost souls killed by the dark sorcerer. A convincing speech and a calming prayer by the cleric managed to bring the spirits closure and the heroes found they could redirect the circle’s energy to shut down the mystical fires blocking the doors.
The final room of the keep appeared to be a mystical holding pen for the Werewolves that had been terrorizing the Shale Forest and the heroes found themselves drawn to the rune at the back of the room that kept the wolves at bay. The artifact was clearly quite powerful and the cleric determined it would be useful to help them heroes break through the final door’s enchantment. Bracing themselves for the upcoming fight, the heroes separated the rune from its base.
But their preparation was in vain as the wolves regained their ferocity within seconds. The snarling beasts descended upon the heroes and the party suddenly found themselves fighting for their very survival. Rhogar, the mystic, and Brandis all fell victim to the curse of the werewolves and even as they cut down the foul beasts, were afflicted by a sudden blood rage, making them lash out and injure their comrades. Only the concentrated powers of Lieutenant Rathar’s cleric managed to destroy the wicked creatures and in the aftermath of the battle, the worn-out and cursed heroes were faced with yet another twisted choice: they could only break through the enchantments binding the door at the cost of one of their lives.
The debate between the heroes raged but the cleric, sensing an opportunity to repay the heroes for their valor, gave up his life so they could break down the door. However, the lich’s twisted magic played a final cruel trick on the heroes and while their rune-enhanced sacrifice broke down all the enchantments guarding the keep, it also cost Lieutenant Rathar’s cleric his life.
Enraged by the deceit, the party descended on the sorcerer’s throne room and lashed out at the foul creature, ignoring its offer of peace and striving only to end the life of the evil being once and for all. The dark sorcerer declared that mere mortals could never hope to match the might of Arkham, Lord of Night and summoned four Death Knights to punish the heroes for their shortsightedness.
The battle in the throne room turned dire as the heavily armored and mystically warded Death Knights shrugged off the heroes’ attacks like water and pressed them towards the walls with their enchanted blades. The lich, furious at the heroes’ refusal, also cursed the party with his dark magic, turning their attacks against them and decaying their armor even further. It seemed only a matter of time before the dark creatures would overrun the valiant group and the heroes steeled themselves for the worst.
However, in his arrogance, Arkham overreached with his magic and when he dodged blow from Rhogar, the mystic’s curse slipped beneath his dark shroud, stopping him dead in his tracks. At that moment, Tandros Kreel burst through the now disenchanted door and charged the deathknights, felling two with a single blow and opening a wound on the lich’s side.
As the lich howled in pain, the rest of the party saw their opening and struck. Two arrows from Brandis Skyhunter found their mark on the lich’s arms while the mystic froze the dark being to the floor with an icy blast. Finally, a blood-soaked and battle-crazed Rhogar hefted his axe that over his head and with a single blow, cut down twisted sorcerer.
The lich’s body exploded in a wave of dark energy and while the rest of the party was injured, the keen-eyed ranger saw a shadow flee from the exploding corpse and slip out of the open doorway.
However, for now, the shadow that hung over the Shale Forest had been defeated and the heroes patched themselves up and confident that they’d prevailed against evil, began the long walk back to Lieutenant Rathar and the rest of the Frontier Watch…