As the group enjoys the food and drinks provided and wait patiently, a tall man dressed in fine furs and dyed leather breeches enters the room. He speaks through a heavy beard, “The Duke of Soravia, Duke Sergei Shemov and his guest, Falstrag the Grand, a druid of great renown, approach. Please rise.”
An aging man over 50 winters with closely cropped grey hair and a thick mustache enters. Apparent crests of nobility are emblazoned upon his cloak and etched into the heavy walking stick he uses as he crosses the room to the head of the table. Following him is a much older man of similar height but hunched somewhat from the burdens of age. His attire is less impressive and worn as if seeing many years of travel. When he passes, his deep green eyes draw your attention and his ashen staff strikes the floor with every other step.
“Please be seated friends, I have a tale and a personal request to share.” After allowing those that wish to sit time to do so, the Duke takes a seat and speaks again. “I will start from the beginning and be forthright in the events that have led to this moment. A few months ago in the latter days of Eleint, my court received word from Cutrock, a small mining village against the upper Giantspire Mountains. They reported that trade from the dwarven hold of Skywatch had stopped. Within two tendays, similar reports reached me from another small mining village known as Howser’s Mine. Concerned for my people, I tasked my second son, Grigor to lead a small force to determine the cause of the trade disruption and settle the matter. He reached Cutrock on 28 Marpenoth and his reports over the next 20 days gave great concern as they suggested the dwarves of not only Skywatch, but also their brethren in Ironmantle, had stopped all interaction with the surface. Usually the dwarves traded heavily the months prior to winter and my son failed to make his standard report time in late Uktar. Knowing the Cold Lands to be unforgiving, my concern gave immediate cause to send reinforcements to Cutrock. I also sent word for my old friend Falstrag.” The Duke raises his gaze toward his companion still standing against the heavy staff. The druid simply nods as if consenting to continue the tale.
“The reinforcements reached Cutrock in mid-Uktar as the snows began to fall and discovered that Grigor had just returned from the remnants of what once was the village of Howser’s Mine. The description of the ruins suggested that the village of some 50 hardened miners had been attacked and none remained. A few bodies were found crushed and mangled and tracks that could have only been made by giantkind were all over the area. Grigor pursued, but did not return. The reinforcements remained at Cutrock to defend the village and its nearly 200 inhabitants. As the snows continued to fall, I sent word to the Damaran court for aid. This request fell upon deaf ears as Soravia is neither the heart of Damara nor the largest trade producer. Falstrag’s efforts to gather information proved more effective and we now know that Skywatch has likely fallen to an unusual alliance between goblins, ogres, and the Stone Giants of Rockholme. Though Rockholme has dwelled peacefully in the Giantspires with a mutual agreement of avoidance with the dwarves and a sporadic trade agreement with Soravia, yet there is no doubt that they are among those that have besieged Skywatch.”
The Duke sighs heavily and his eyes lower as if the next words weigh heavily. “Several days ago I received a message wrapped in a blooded banner carried by my son. The words clearly stated that my son was a prisoner and would only be returned alive in four moons if I resisted any further incursions into the Giantspire Mountains until then.” The duke straightens and his jaw hardens as he continues, “I cannot trust such words nor allow my personal feelings to place my lands and my people in jeopardy. Since Damara’s rulers and guilds refuse to acknowledge this threat, I am here to ask your aid. I fear the recent events are but a beginning of great woe and continued bloodshed if not addressed immediately.” The duke sits back and nods toward Falstrag.
The old druid coughs heavily to clear his throat before speaking, “You have all been chosen for your skill and I hope you will accept the Duke’s mission. An uncanny and dark alliance grows and I believe I can assist you in penetrating Skywatch in hopes you can rescue Sir Grigor and any other survivors whether humans or dwarves. The remaining words I have to share are for those that accept this quest and I will meet you beyond the walls of Heliogabalus at noon on the morrow, at the largest oak upon the first crest to the west.” The Duke stands and adds, “If you are successful, you will have my gratitude that I will share across Damara. For those that seek wealth, knowledge, or lands, these are also within my power. Please enjoy the remainder of your feast and the comfort of the Towering Pine this night.” Falstrag steps back and follows the Duke from the room. The man that entered before the Duke stops at the door and turns to add one last comment, “Those that meet Falstrag should be ready to travel lightly and without mounts.” He turns and closes the door behind him leaving you in each other’s company.
The next day, all of you showed as requested.
“I applaud your heroism and may Silvanus bless you in the endeavors ahead. Skywatch has fallen and is a well-fortified dwarven stronghold. Luckily, an anomaly to dwarven culture became a friend of mine. The dwarven druid, Homrig Mossbeard , made Skywatch his home and fused his sanctuary within Skywatch to a portal in the feywild known as Briarspire to further his natural studies.” The druid opens his hand to reveal a smooth green crystal. “Once in the feywild, this keystone will lead you to Briarspire. If carried into the pool atop the spire, it will open the portal for a few moments. You will simply need to submerge and you will emerge inside the sanctuary. As for navigating the feywild, some of you have experience there, but I imagine the journey will likely not be safe or simple. Getting in will certainly be difficult, but getting out if discovered will be impossible without aid. These two scrolls have a teleportation circle spell inscribed and should allow a swift escape for you and anyone you find.”