People of Fallcrest, I implore you!

Lemnas' demise, and a traitor in Winterhaven

The party discovered three entrances to a cave behind the waterfall, and Althaea snuck in through the northmost one. Slinking around corners, she was able to see that a central room directly behind the waterfall was occupied with at least a few goblins and kobolds; she was unable to get a good idea of how many. Althaea signaled back for Stonegraves and Nuvok to carefully follow her, but they unfortunately made a bit too much noise and alerted the occupants to their presence. A goblin shouted, ‘ Lemnas, they’re here!’ and the battle was on.

Althaea used her advanced position to attack the charging goblins and kobolds from behind, while De’Wayne and Brandis circled around to enter through the waterfall itself. The enemies stood their ground as best they could, but were clearly outclassed. They continued shouting for the absent Lemnas… who eventually appeared.

In a dark corner of the cave, he materialized, seemingly out of thin air. He had gray skin, adorned with numerous tattoos and piercings. His eyes were black orbs, and his long hair was elaborately styled. Without a word, he raised his wand toward De’Wayne, who instantaneously experienced a flash of light and a wave of nausea, like a migraine.

Now the party was attacked on two fronts: Althaea was occupied with a goblin in the rear of the cave from whom she couldn’t disengage, and Nuvok and De’Wayne were closing on Lemnas. Brandis had mercifully avoided melee, but Stonegraves was flanked by two goblins, who were finally able to hew the stoic dwarf down. Nuvok now raced back across the cavern to aid his fallen friend, and after a quick prayer to Pelor, Stone was back on his feet.

Three goblins now fell in rapid succession, with Althaea, Brandis, and Stonegraves all claiming kills, while Lemnas found that he could not safely disengage from De’Wayne. Finally, Lemnas was forced to teleport away from the knight, but his freedom would prove shot-lived. While the rest of the party converged on him, Brandis circled back outside the cave and blocked the exit Lemnas was heading for. In just a few moments, the gray-skinned man was dead. He had not spoken a single word.

Althaea, now getting her first clear look at their exotic attacker, recognized Lemnas for what he was: shadar-kai, a humanoid denizen of the Shadowfell, typically fanatically devoted to the Raven Queen. On his body the party discovered a small key.

Inside what appeared to be the cavern’s sleeping quarters, the party discovered four raven masks, each sitting atop a neatly folded black cape. In the southeast corner of the complex, they found what appeared to be a prisoner’s quarters, now unoccupied, with chains and manacles along the walls, and dirty straw strewn across the floor. In the northeast corner of the complex, they found what appeared to be Lemnas’ quarters. The key taken from his body fit a chest therein: inside was 500 gp and a magical broadsword, which De’Wayne claimed. Both sides of the hilt were adorned with the royal crest of Nerath, a three-pointed crown with a shooting star above it. On a table, the party discovered the following correspondence written in common:

Lemnas,
You forget yourself. You answer questions. I pose them.
Nonetheless, ignoring momentarily that it is none of your concern, preparations go slowly. I’ve no experience with these rituals. Relics of the Lost Legion might provide some better clue, but I begin to suspect that Fate has played us a cruel joke. So much the crueler will it prove to our guest if she does not soon turn up something useful. She may find that she has dug her own grave at the bottom of that crater.
Regardless, my work will continue apace. Even if I must fall back on nothing but my own wits, I will eventually decipher the rituals to re-open the portal. I have made progress already. Samminel’s conquest will be delayed in the meantime, but leave him and his displeasure to me.
I ramble. None of this concerns you. Report to me what you can about the actions of our agent in the town. I have no faith in the purchased loyalty of these simpering primes. The ties of blood mean little to me, and so perhaps I am needlessly suspicious of them in others.
Erzoun

Among the party, only Brandis was familiar with the legend of the Lost Legion. She explained that centuries earlier, before the founding of Winterhaven, Nerath had sent several legions northward to deal with an uprising of cultists of Orcus, the Demon Prince of the Undead. After a difficult battle with the cultists and their demonic and undead allies, the armies of Nerath were victorious. While the rest of the victorious legions bivouacked afterwards for the season, one of the commanders intended to lead his legion southward, back to Nerath. Although the legion should have reached Gardmore Abbey only a few days later, it never arrived, and was never heard from again. It was unclear to Brandis what relics the letter might refer to.

Also on the table was another short note written in Goblin. None of the party read goblin, but Brandis performed a short ritual which allowed her to read it. It said: “Lemnas, adventurers headed your way. Be prepared.”

The party now began its return trek to Winterhaven, full of questions. Who was Erzoun? Who was her agent in the town? Could it be Lord Padraig himself, as Ninaran suspected? Who was Samminel, and what were his plans? What portal? And finally, would Cordelia Stahl still be alive when the party made its way to the crater where Elian had directed them?

When we reconvene, it 1800, 30 Planting 588, and the party will be re-entering the gates of Winterhaven.

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