After defeating the gnoll and his minions, you free the last missing survivor of the caravan, a guard named Heral. He thanks you and helps you loot the corpses of his fallen tormentors. As you prepare to leave the Well of Demons, you take the head of the Guardian, so as to show the world your exploits.
You and Heral begin your trek back to the Seven Pillared Hall. When you enter the Halfmoon Inn, the patrons give you a cheer and when they see the dragon’s head, well, the party start anew. Spending a few day at the Inn to rest and swap stories with the locals, your fame grows. Erra Halfmoon, the aunt of Rendil (the halfling you saved) lets you stay for free, saying only that your presence makes her rich.
During your stay, Rendil sees to it that your dragon head is properly cleaned and mounted, so that you can show it off correctly. As you pack your few belongings, you say goodbye to the Halfmoon clan and make your way to the surface.
Once on the surface, you journey back to Winterhaven, taking your time. Once you reach Fallcrest, Heral takes his leaves, thanking you profusely. He has kin in the town and he says that he will be able to employment quite easily. Having finally completed the goal which brought you together, you decide to continue traveling together, at least until Winterhaven, where most of your belongings are.
After nine days of leisurely and uneventful travel, you finally reach Winterhaven. As you approach the gates, the guards recognize you and wave. Upon seeing the dragon head on your pack horse, they look upon you in awe.
“My lord is at Wrafton’s, if you wish to speak to him. He will certainly be happy to see you” says the guard as he lets you through the gate.
As expected, Lord Padraig is at Wrafton’s Inn and the common room erupts with cheers at your arrival but quiets quickly as the Dragon’s head is brought in.
“You’ve been busy, I see” says Lord Padraig, “but you can tell us of this later. Come and rest, for now”.
You sit at a table as Salvana serves you a hot stew. Lord Padraig sits with you and says little, letting you finish your meal. However, it is obvious that you will have to tell the story of the dragon’s head to the expectant customers of the Inn, or you will not be left alone for long.
Once you finish you meal, you begin to relate what has happened since you left Winterhaven last. You tell how you reached the Seven Pillared Hall, how you found the slavers who had attacked your caravan only to find out that your friends had been sold to some duegar.
You explain how you infiltrated the duegar’s trading post and tracked your friends to their base in the Labyrinth. The groups gasps at your assault on the duegar’s stronghold. They rejoice upon hearing that most of the slaves were there but their interest only heightens when you explain that still two of your friends were missing (not to mention a shield). The crowd recoils in horrors at the description of the Well of Demons and of the vile evil within. The battle with the dragon is epic, the crowd busting in laughter at how you maneuvered the dragon under the sphere twice, trapping it in its own trap.
In the end, the death of one of the last captives is sorrowful to your listeners but they rejoice in knowing that you saved as many as you could and in doing so defeated a greater evil than they imagined existed in the Valley.
Once you tell of your exploits, you spend the rest of the evening sipping a well deserved beer while answering questions from the village folk. Lord Padraig stays for the evening, listening attentively and asking pointed questions about the slavers, the duegar and the role of the Mages of Saruun in all the story. He asks about Fallcrest and how the town seemed as you crossed it on your way to Winterhaven. He seems strangely interest in when you left Fallcrest and the trip from there to Winterhaven.
As the evening winds down, you begin to make for your rooms. As you get up to leave, Lord Padraig beckons you to his table.
“My friends” he says, ”your service to the village and to the Nentir Vale has been great and demonstrates your noble character. Your service should not go unrewarded and I would grant you each a boon. Come tomorrow to my house, say at the second hour (8 am), and I will let you choose some reward for your service.”
He lowers his voice and takes on a grave expression before continuing: “However, we will also need to discuss grave news I have received. I realize you are tired, and I will let you rest this night, but I fear your rest may be short. I say no more, rest tonight. We will discuss these matters in the morning.”.
He rises and walks with you to the stairs leading to the rooms. He refuses to expand on what he has said, saying only that it can keep until morning.
You return to your rooms, intrigued and not a little worried but the soothing comfort of the beds after so many night sleeping in open ground quickly lull you to sleep.
The next morning, you rise somewhat later than usual and have a quick breakfast. You head for Lord Padraig’s manse. As you approach the bailey’s gates, the guards wave you through. As you enter the courtyard, Lord Padraig is waiting for you on the steps to his house.
“Welcome, my friends! I trust you slept well. Come this way, we might as well go directly to the vault for your reward”
He leads you to a side door in the gatehouse, taking stairs that go down under the interior walls of Winterhaven. As you follow him, you quickly gain a sense of a hidden size to the underground portion of Winterhaven. The stairs go past at least two basements before finishing at a stout wooden door.
Lord Padraig takes a key out of his pocket and looks at you with a strange smile. “Now then, to unlock the door”. He does indeed unlock the stout wooden door but does not open it. “Here’s the trick” he says, as he pushes on the wall to his right, revealing a secret door that opens inwards.
He lets you in then follows you. On the other side of the secret door lies a short corridor that opens up into what seems to be a large armory, but of a sort you have never seen before. Before you lie weapons of all sorts, neatly arranged along the walls and on racks in the middle of the room. On shelves placed around the room, wands, rods, medallions, cloaks, rings and other paraphernalia are organized. At the back of the room, on wooden manikins, armor of every kind is displayed.
“This, my friends, is proof of my trust in you. This is the treasure of Winterhaven and of the Padraig clan.” explains Lord Padraig, “During the Time of Dark, many died, none the least the heroes of that age. Much was lost, trampled under foot of the crowds as they fled in panic before the Dark. In their haste to flee, fortunes in gold, jewels and other items were thrown down, as only the bare necessities could be saved. My great-great-grandfather realized that, in the times ahead where much learning would be lost, such items requiring magical knowledge to craft should be saved, much as the books of the Realm were saved.”
Lord Padraig slowly paces the room, continuing to explain “He began to accumulate those items that could be useful, once he had a secure place to protect his people. Often, the heroes of the age died holding the line against the Dark, as the people fled into the Keep. All that he could do was to keep their weapons and magical items, noting to whom they belonged and how they died. Later generations of Padraigs continued the tradition, using these treasures to protect what they could.”
Lord Padraig comes to a large table in the center of the room, upon which rests a large tome.”Within this tome lies the history of Winterhaven since the coming of the Dark. It lists all the items you see within this armory, to who it belonged and what their role was in protecting Winterhaven. As you can see, many have died protecting this village, many were adventurers like yourself, some were my kin.”
“Considering what I think is coming, you will need all the help you can get. Take a look around, my friend, and choose whatever you think will be useful to you. However, you should perhaps know what tidings I bear, so as to choose items that will help you.”
Lord Padraig sits in the chair set next to the table.
“Seven days ago, two after you left Fallcrest, I received a Sending from an old friend in Fallcrest. He is a mage who was born here and he was my friend growing up. He moved to Fallcrest to pursue his studies in magic, but he has never forgotten where he came from. He sends me news of importance as much as he can. In this Sending, he said the following.”
Lord Padraig takes out a small piece of paper from a pocket in his vest and reads it to you aloud:
”Padraig, King Eltir convening regional council in Fallcrest to reunify the Vale with Nerath. A messenger will reach you soon with Red Arrow summons. Arick"
Lord Padraig looks at you gravely and says: “The messenger is undoutebly a Royal Messenger. While you took nine days to travel from Fallcrest, you have admitted to traveling slowly, as you were not in any hurry”. He continues: “Normally, the trip from Fallcrest takes 6 days and, if you travel alone and push, you can make it in five. Royal Messengers are renowned for their speed and could have made it in four.”
Lord Padraig looks at you and expand on this idea : “ In other words, my friends, the messenger is late. He should have,in fact, overtaken you on the road. Therefore, I must assume that he is missing or, worse, dead. He carries the Red Arrows, enchanted arrows used by the King to convey important, official messages that require that there be no doubt about their origin.”
“Since the King intends to convene a regional council to discuss reintegrating the Nentir Vale with the Kingdom of Nerath, you can imagine that the impact of those arrows getting lost or used for the wrong reason is immense. Indeed, those who would oppose such an idea might very well have taken steps to intercept the Messenger.”
Lord Padraig sighs. He looks up at you and says “I know you have just arrived and have already done this village and the Vale a great service but I would ask of you another service. Those arrows need to be found, the fate of the Messenger must be determined and, if possible, we need to know if there is a link between whatever has happened to the Messenger and the plans of reunification of the King.”
“Would you help us again? Do not fear, you may still choose whatever you wish from the vault, you services have merited that. I simply ask for you to continue your work and find the Messenger. What say you?”
DM Note: You may choose whatever standard equipment from the PHB. Additionally, you may choose two items as follows:
- An item of your level +1
- An item of your level
Also, you have a monetary credit equivalent to a magical item of your level -1. You may spend this credit on rituals, potions, or magical items.