After leaving the mine, a messenger greeted Klyred, and told him that the sage Valthrun the Prescient sent them the following message:
“Honored heroes, Your deeds speak well of your good intentions and your concern for the civilized lands. I write to you to ask for your help in a most troubling matter. For the past several days, I have observed a glittering, red streak in the sky. Last night, the red streak flared like a star before disappearing from the sky. If my readings of the Analects of Tzunk are correct, this heralds the appearance of a great evil in our land. I dare not reveal what I know in this letter for fear it may fall into the wrong hands, but I beg you to make due haste to my tower in Winterhaven.”
The heroes travelled to Winterhaven, and shortly after their arrival were treated to a great feast, during which Klyred reminisced about saving the town of Winterhaven by defeating Kalarel early in his career.
After eating, Valthrun told you the following:
- Because of Valthrun’s research and after consulting with an archmage from the Therund Barony via magical means, the sage is convinced that the events in the night sky foretell the rise of a new exarch of Orcus.
- Undead have once again been drawn to the ruins of Shadowfell Keep, an ominous sign of Orcus’s growing power. Valtrun was searching for a party of heroes to re-explore the Keep, to evaluate or defeat the threat.
- Valthrun completed a series of divinations that revealed the location of the exarch’s arrival, a point somewhere beneath the Cairngorm Peaks. The Miser’s Pit, a shaft that extends deep into the Underdark, is perhaps the best place to begin searching for this new, evil being.
Valthrun was saddened by the fact that he could not provide the party with monetary or magical reward, but he did implore the heroes to help quell this impending attack.
Knowing an entrance to the Underdark could be found under Thunderspire Mountain, the heroes discussed with Valthrun their idea to travel directly to the Seven-Pillared Hall, in lieu of searching the Peaks for this Miser’s Pit. The sage agreed with their line of reasoning.
Thunderspire Mountain & The Seven-Pillared Hall
After weeks of travel, and then a short meeting with the Saruun Mages, the heroes learned that the Mages had recently dispatched Onotor, one of their own, to attempt to establish a trading alliance with the Drow.
The Mages warned the heroes that rumors of an undead army, strong enough to threaten the surface world, had attacked the Drow outpost of Phaervorul, where Onotor was sent, and they feared for his life. Upon hearing the name Phaervorul, Vier’gara also became worried, as her estranged family lives there.
The Mages then supplied the adventurers an iron pendant, shaped like a spider. They told Klyred that this was a diplomatic pass, a symbol that will allow them to pass safely through Drow territory, and give them a chance to parley with the Drow.
After the meeting, the heroes went to the Halfmoon Inn, to meet with Rendil and Erra Halfmoon, and to hopefully find a guide.
Vadriar the Sage offered to take the heroes into the tunnels to locate Phaervorul. Despite his curse, which leaves him in a constant state of agitation and fear, Klyred remembered that Vadriar knows the passages beneath the mountain better than anyone else.
After traveling for two and a half days, the heroes reached a crossroads, where a ghoul and three battle wights was attacking a Drider and her Drow snipers. The party called out to the Drow, and joined their battle against the undead. Vadriar decided to return to the Hall at this point.
After the skirmish, the drider directed the heroes down a specific passage toward Phaervorul, but mentioned that they could not guide the adventurers, as they needed to remain there and prevent any undead from leaving the area.
Eventually, the heroes came upon a bridge:
The passage opens onto a yawning chasm, easily 100 feet across and dropping away into darkness. A wide stone bridge arches across the rift to a cavern on the far side. There, red light swirls through the air to reveal a ghastly scene.
What appears to have once been an Underdark outpost is now a sprawling battlefield wreathed in smoke and a sin- ister glow. Buildings set atop numerous bluffs rising from the rough stone floor burn and smolder, and the destruction appears widespread along a huge rise in the center of the cavern. Atop that central bluff stands a temple of black stone in the shape of a spider.
The heroes were attacked by the bridge guardian, a demonweb terror who was set against intruders, to prevent them from entering the outpost. In addition, three Chwidenchas attempted to capture the heroes, and pull them under the bridge. During the battle, Vier’gara was knocked off the bridge and died.
The heroes had to retrace their steps to a safe area so that Klyred would have the time to cast the ritual that would bring Vier’gara back from the dead.