29 Mirtul, 1489DR
Weary from the day’s battles and the attempted poisoning from the kitchen staff member Galeri Coldel, the party is relieved when their missing friend, Altheon, appears at Rivergard Keep. The following morning, the keel boat hired four days ago by Wraith and Gorbek arrives from Womford, and two new knights arrive from Summit Hall to help protect Rivergard Keep.
The peace is broken by the sudden stabbing of the Cook by another member of the staff named Grindol Farmoor . Entrusting the issue to Captain Morningfall, the group sets out to tackle the Sacred Stone Monastery for a second time, to attempt a rescue of the captured Dwarven historian from the Mirabar Delegation. After a series of clashes involving monks, Duergar, Orogs, and Ogres, the group came across a subterranean holding cell containing the historian and several other captives from the area. Fighting their way out of the monastery, the group returned home with their loot, the captives, and Bonan’s long lost father in tow.
- Altheon appears at the keep and the group rejoices by drinking. Wraith discovers his ambition to become an erotic dancer.
- In the morning the group recounts the past few weeks of events to Altheon. Afterward, two Knights of Samular sent as reinforcements by Ushien Stormhammer appear at the gate with a letter from Summit Hall. The letter shared new intelligence gathered about the elemental cults at work in the area. There are four elemental cults, one for each of the Haunted Keeps which are being used as cover for the cults’ activities. The cults are: The Cult of the Eternal Flame at Scarlet Moon Hall, the Cult of Howling Hatred at Feathergale Spire, the Cult of the Crushing Wave beneath Rivergard Keep, and the Cult of the Black Earth at the Sacred Stone Monastery.
- Shortly afterwards, the keel boat carrying the Dwarven tomes from Womford arrives, and the crew are hired by Gorbek to maintain the boats and docks at the keep. While showing them around the keep, more drama unfolds as the cook is stabbed in the neck by Grindol Farmoor, who claims to hear voices in his head tell him to kill. The group manages to save the cook Eren Winenc (thank god), and the man is locked up in the tower until he can be interrogated further. It seems that he might have been cursed after moving into an abandoned cottage outside of Red Larch.
- Everything having quieted down at the keep, the group starts heading towards the Sacred Stone Monastery to implement their plan to rescue the historian. On the way to the monastery, the group spots a distant figure who seems familiar to them somehow, but before they can investigate they are attacked by two giant insects and a swarm of Altheon-obsessed spiders. They defeat their enemies and rest before entering the monastery.
- The group storms the front door of the monastery and engage a group of Duergar in battle. After they are dealt with, Gorbek and Rahziel examined a library room of sorts and discover a stack of magically-encoded Dwarven documents, as well as a book called Marlow’s Testament. It appears to be some sort of manifesto written by the man from Gorbek’s vision. The book speaks of how he founded the Temple of Black Earth beneath the monastery, how he is nurturing the Black Geode, and how he plans to call forth the Evergrowing Mountain to reshape the land in his image. The group takes both the book and the documents.
- Working their way through the monastery, they encounter more groups of Duergar and monks, which they defeat in battle. The discover a magically sealed door (possibly containing the lich), a dojo, a sparsely decorated study, and a distillery which is pilfered by the group.
- Heading down a flight of stairs, the group stumbles into a large guard consisting of two Ogors and an Ogre. After a short but heated battle, Altheon manages to convince the guards that we are members of the cult and orders them upstairs and out of the way. In the tunnels surrounding them, they discover the missing Dwarven historian, Bruldenthar, and a group of other captives taken from the area to dig in the tunnels.
- Bruldenthar informs the group about the purpose of the Haunted Keeps, which is to protect the entrances of the vast Dwarven city that lies under the region, Tyar-Besil, which was built on the ruins of an ancient Drow city, and had to be abandoned due to an elemental cataclysm in the past, and the keeps where built over the entrances to keep people out. It’s rumored that the city is home of the Thane of the Eye, an artifact of elemental evil created to serve a mighty god of chaos. It’s clear that whatever is happening the region is somehow linked to this evil below.
- The group escorts the historian and the captives out of the monastery and back to Rivergard keep. The group returns the documents to Bruldenthar, who then reveals himself to be Bonan’s true father. Also, Bonan’s mother was a whore. Sorry, Stone brother…