The Darkness Between

Chapter 6 : The Curse of Dark Haven

Wherein; our champions of justice and greed battle hoards of the dead to reach the town of Dark Haven...

Throwing themselves into the mass of rotting foes before them, the party bravely battled their way down the steps of the obsidian ziggurat and into the forest beyond. Spotting a column of smoke in the distance and using it as their goal, the heroes made their way through the undead throng with blade and spell.

DM Note: I created a Skill Challenge that allowed the players to eventually escape the sea of undead surrounding them. 

Once clear of the army of darkness, the companions made their way down a black shale road and soon found the ruined town of Dark Haven, which had been under siege from undead forces for weeks…

The town's lord and town guards were now dead, along with a large portion of the population. All that was left were a few lucky farmers, peasants, and laborers…most of them wounded and recovering in the Lord's burnt-out manor house-turned-hospital.

The majority of the towns structures were leveled by fire or damaged beyond use. A small zombie dragon had been shot down by a drunken lout named Etheran, crashing into a tall tower and dislodging it's rider, a vampire spawn, who ended up impaled on the building's top spire.

Now the tower leaned at a precarious angle, damaged by the crashing undead dragon. Since even the brightest day on the Shadowfell seemed like twilight, the trapped vampire merely shrieked in pain from sunrise to sunset, instead of crumbling to dust in sunlight as it should have. The surviving townsfolk had taken to calling it The Screaming Tower…

Rumors abounded that a demon of shadow had broken into the tower and the sage had not been seen or heard from in three days. The townsfolk merely blocked off the entrance until they could recover from the devastation wrought by the onslaught of the dead…

During their investigation to find a way home, they met the "town drunk", Etheran Stone, also from the Mortal World. Etheran was a paladin in the holy order of Bahamut and son of the Baron of Therund.

An assassination attempt on his father by cultists of Orcus set the knight and his long-time companions in pursuit of the villains…a chase that ended with a rift to the Shadowfell being opened by a powerful cultist mage!

The paladin and his band followed the disciples of the Blood Lord through the black rift and into the Shadowfell, only to be ambushed by a crazed-dwarf and his mounted troop of black-armored warriors, their banner depicting a dragon on a field of dark burgandy or purple.

Left for dead among his slaughtered friends, Etheran soon regained conciousness and had made his way to Dark Haven the previous month.

The gloomy effect the Shadowfell has on all of it's visitors manifested itself as depression and alchoholism in the once-virtuous young man.

The threat of the undead after they breached the walls (three days prior to the partys arrival) had briefly roused Etheran from his dark mood. With the town guards dead, he had led farmers and peasants against the walking dead, holding them off until they seemed to lose interest and move on. He had lapsed back into a drunken stupor after that, and now was barely able to stand.

The heroes questioned Alabrek, a Shadar-Kai innkeeper and learned that a scholar studying Shadowrifts and their locations had visited their town a long while back. He had questioned their own local historian, a sage by the name of (gasp!) Valthrun… 

Alabrek the Innkeep told them the easiest way to find out the name and home city of the Shadowrift scholar was to visit Valthrun. The sage of Dark Haven had always kept meticulous records…

There was only one small problem…Valthrun lived in the Screaming Tower…

To Be Continued…

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