The Heroes of Winterhaven (A brief history…)
Chapter 1: The Keep on the Shadowfell
Our tale began in Winterhaven, a regional trade center of little consequence outside of the Nentir Vale. Four mercenary adventurers (Nithoggr, Thornblade, Aukag and a dwarven fighter of no importance) took a contract to find and eliminate a nest of kobolds who had been harassing the town. Upon discovering the kobold lair, the heroes uncover a nefarious plot by the cultists of Orcus to tear open a portal to the Shadowfell and summon their unholy god. As Orcus marched his unholy army from the planes of the Abyss to the Shadowfell, where they could be summoned to our world, Kalarel prepared for his arrival by weakening the defenses of Winterhaven and other outlying settlements.
Lord Padraig of Winterhaven dispatches his son with some of his best fighters to investigate the mercenary’s findings while they deal with the kobolds. He never returns. He begs the adventurers to deal with Kalarel and bring his son, Viggo, back safely.
The adventurers track down Kalarel’s lair, an old keep northeast of Winterhaven. The halls reeked of putrid undeath, housing Kalarel’s unholy experiments. They hacked their way to the sacrificial altar of Orcus, where Kalarel intended to sunder the seperation between our world and the Shadowfell. Kalarel had turned Viggo into a mindless Revenant abomination, and intended to offer a phylactery containing Viggo’s soul to Orcus as a sacrificial offering once he crossed the planes of the Shadowfell.
Unable to contend with Kalarel’s overwhelming undead force, Nithoggr prays to his god, Kord for help in their final confrontation with Kalarel. Kord decimates Kalarel’s army with his wrath, clearing the path for the mercenaries, but demands an honorable sacrifice of goblin blood as repayment for his assistance. In the final confrontation, Kalarel reveals the abomination Viggo to the mercenaries. He orders Viggo to destroy them and the full might of Kalarel’s remaining force bears down on the adventurers. They strike Viggo down, then defeat Kalarel. Kalarel is consumed by the portal to the Shadowfell but it remains open.
Viggo comes to, saved from true death by the Raven Queen. She reveals to him that she has plans for him but nothing more. Viggo gives the pylactery containing his soul to the group as a token of his thanks for what they have done for him, and the Nentir Vale. The group returns to Winterhaven but Thornblade stays behind with the Dwarven fighter to seal the portal. Thornblade returns alone, says that the portal required a sacrifice to be closed and took the dwarf, leaving Thornblade alive. There is some suspicion about the credibility of his account…
Viggo is welcomed warmly at Winterhaven until the crowds assembled realize he is undead. They frighten and panic. Lord Padraig is barely able to maintain control of Winterhaven. He asks the mercenaries, along with Viggo, to investigate a mysterious disappearance of his citizens during Kalarel’s attacks. And so, the mercenaries became the Heroes of Winterhaven…