Kir is a famous bard from House Lyrander. His family is out of favour due to the exploits of his grandfather and has been reduced to 3 skyships, but recently two of those went missing en-route to Wroat and Sharn. House Lyrander (unusually) seemed reluctant to investigate, so Kir taken it on himself to find out what is going on He had been following a trail of goods that he found that had been part of the load of one of the missing skyships and found that they had been bought from a merchant based in Xandrar. That merchant reveiled that he had bought them from a small town called Womford. The merchant in Womford (after much pursuasion) told Kir he had bought the goods from a sailor called Scholar Quanderil. This sailor was recently murdered, but he was associated with the Rivergard Keep – a small river keep inland a small way.
Kir had travelled to Rivergard Keep to find out what they know and was welcomed in and escorted to the owner of the keep – Jolliver Grimjaw. However when Kir start probing as to the whereabouts of the goods Jollivar started shouting at Kir. Kir then realised that all of Jollivars men were drawing their weapons and that he had perhaps gone too far, when shouting is heard outside the main hall – “Intruders, Intruders in the dock”. A rough looking fellow runs into the hall.
“Sir, sir, there are intruders in the docks. It’s those bastards from Xandrar again. They are killing everyone”
“Are they now”, growls Jollivar, “I’ll see about that.” and before Kir’s eyes he transforms into a wereboar. He looks at Kir, “Stay here, I’ll deal with you later”. And he and his men leave the hall.
Kir decides that ‘staying here’ is the last thing he should do, but also realises that leaving through the main door of the keep may not be wise or possible. Instead he goes upstairs, finds a window to squeeze through, and climbs down the side of the keep outside.
He then starts the head back down towards the main road, but decides that staying on the path would also not be wise, so he goes off track, beside the river and makes his way carefully and silently through the rough terrain and undergrowth.
As he progresses he sees three other people also sneaking through the undergrowth – a dragonborn male, a halfling male and a human female. However they also see him, so quietly and quickly they interrogate each other and realise that they are all escaping Rivergard Keep. They head off together, travelling through the rest of the day and the night until they find the main road heading to Xandrar.
Kir has met Mythoras, Tito and Layna and they decide to travel together on the road. Kir realises that the trio have uncovered some sort of conspiracy and requests to help them. They are happy to have another set of hands after the loss of their friend Aimn Lu and so Kir is welcomed to the party.
After 3 days of travel off the main road, they arrive at Drum Keep to find that a good proportion has been destroyed. The soldiers have put up temporary barricades and are hard at work trying to rebuild walls, but it obvious that some large explosion has destroyed walls and many of the buildings in the keep.
The party discuss the situation with the captain as Madam ir’Oeskai is currently in Xandrar.
He tells them that the kingdom is in chaos. Much has happened:
- The king has been assassinated
- The two advisors from house Deneith and Cannith have taken a shared regency and have smuggled the queen and prince to a safe place
- An army has been formed and is heading to Sharn
- Explosions of various types have occured in towns throughout the kingdom, and threats that more will follow if the towns do not declare independence from the crown and elect leaders from among the populace
- The mysterious Swords of Liberty have claimed responsibility for the attacks
They party have realised that the elemental cults are publically calling themselves the Swords of Liberty and think that something deeper is probably happening. They also realise that they are not going to be able to call on help to take on the cults. They decide that it is up to them and that they must do what they can.
They decide to return to Rivergard Keep and stage an attack in the middle of the night. They travel (off the road again) and sneak up to the keep at 3am. They climb up one of the walls and enter the window that Kir had previously escaped through. They then sneak through the building to try and kill all in their sleeps, but unsuccessfully and the alarm is quickly raised.
A running battle occurs on the battlements and in the main hall where more and more keep dwellers keep coming as they wake. However most of them have been woken from their sleep and are not wearing armour which makes the battle easier for the heroes. After a long battle, bodies are piled deep, tables are destroyed and the battle is over. Some of the heroes have barely survived but they have prevailed.
Over the next week, the party rest, search the keep and defeat the odd boat that comes in to dock. They find a good amount of treasure, but in Jolliver’s documents they find a trove of information. It takes some sorting and deciphering, but eventually it is clear that:
- Jolliver has been running a reasonably sized criminal empire. Mainly by piracy on the lakes and rivers, but also through caravan raids and highway robbery. A lot of what they have stolen has been provisions and trade goods which has allowed them to provision the Monks of the Sacred Stone and the Feathergale Knights.
- There are hints that both organisations have a lot more people to feed than is publically known.
- The Knights paid by taking and crashing skyships where they could, which the pirates then loot. Skyships usually had valuable treasure. The monks paid through precious stones and minerals.
- Jolliver appears to have had no dealings with a fire cult.
- The pirates traded most of their saleable goods through a merchant in Womford, who then traded through other merchants in Xandrar and Sharn.
- A huge proportion of the income made is not in the keep. They have either stored it or spent it elsewhere.
- There are notes about one provision delivery finding that the Feathergale Knights have gone and replaced by Warforged.
- There are notes warning of dragon sightings in the hills.
- There is also an unsigned note confirming that ‘payment has been delivered, and the heroes you describe will be eliminated’.