Valthrun the Prescient, a man who never ventures past the gates of Winterhaven, has contacted Antilli with urgent news. “Antilli, I must speak to Lord at once! I have never met him before so, if it’s not too much trouble could you introduce me? Please bring the rest of the Guardians because this news will affect your team as well.”
Antilli obliges and quickly assembles the team. Sam’ael leads the way as the Guardians approach Moonstone Keep. The servants answer the knock at the door and grant entrance. Everyone, save Kaz, catches up with their old friend Valthrun while they await an audience with Lord Markelhay. Finally, a servant enters the foyer and states that you can meet with Faren. in his study. It is there that he meets Valthrun for the very first time.
“Sir, I have some important information pertaining to the Trollhaunt Warrens to the south.” Valthrun says. “Good, tell me about it over dinner”, Faren Markelhay replies. “Important news goes down better with food.” A beautiful banquet ensues and Allande Markelhay and Etheran join in. Toward the end of the banquet, Valthrun asks to see Faren Markelhay alone in his study.
Only a few moments go by after they enter the study when you hear a bloodcurdling scream. You enter to see Faren Markelhay dead in a pool of his own blood and Valthrun pulling a scimitar blade out of his back. Your complete sense of betrayal lasts but a moment as his visage shimmers to reveal that he was really an Oni Mage.
“You and the Nentir Vale are now enemies of King Skalmad! Prepare to be crushed beneath his glorious heal! Hahahahahahaha …” The Oni Mage then disappears in a puff of smoke. Etheran and Allande, devastated by their loss, grieve for a few days before burying their loved one. Etheran then asks for your assistance in exacting revenge for the death of her father.
You gather up your supplies and ride on conjured horses to Winterhaven. While there you check on Valthrun the Prescient. To your dismay, he was tricked into revealing information about the Guardians, assaulted, and then left for dead. Lucky for him you arrived when you did.
You finally continue on the road to Moonstair. In that time, Etheran appears to be lost in thought. You can only imagine what she’s going through during her time of loss. As you crest a small rise, a scene of horror unfolds on the road ahead. A gang of ferocious trolls is pulling apart the carcass of a horse, squabbling over the choicer parts. The monsters are some
300 feet ahead of you, and appear to have not spotted you as yet. You charge toward the trolls only to find that they are ready for their next meal. Combat ensues but you prevail. It appears that fortune was on your side this day as you find the messenger still alive.
The messenger says, “Follow me; I’ll take you to the lair of the trolls. It’s deep in the marsh.” You follow eager to dispatch the trolls and be in the town of Moonstair by lunch. About an hour goes by as the terrain changes from grasslands to marsh. The sulfurous smells of rotting vegetation assault your senses and that distraction allows the messenger to lead you straight into a trap! During combat the messenger’s visage changes to that of the Oni Mage. He stays out of combat and taunts you. He tells you that you will be destroyed by the strength of King Skalmad, crushed under his glorious heel, and befuddled by his tremendous wit. The ambush almost succeeds as the Oni successfully interfered with you again. You wonder if, after almost a year off, you have gotten rusty.