Date: 6/30 – 7/3/1479 DR
The adventurers had just returned from cleaning gnolls from the forest when they saw a notice posted. The village of Talar needed help with orc bandits. They traveled to the small village where they met with Lord Pedraig and were asked to scout out the ruins of Gardmore Abbey
The adventurers returned to Brindol after cleaning up errant gnolls in the forest west of the South Gnollwatch mountains. The town was all abuzz about the Heroes of Brindol saving them from the Red Hand Army again and rescuing some kidnapped townfolk, even if the Antler and Thistle tavern and the inn had gotten burned down in the process. They were also talking about how they had saved other people from a monastery being overrun with gnolls, which explained why they were running amok in the forest. So they party decided to freshen up at the Red Door inn. That night, while enjoying a nice meal, they perceived a notice tacked to the wall by the door.
WANTEDLord Pedraig of the Talar village is requesting help dealing with Orc Bandits on the Kings Road.
Great rewards promised.
Please inquire with Lord Pedraig if interested.
The promise of rewards and being able to help others appealed to the group. The next morning they received their reward from Counselor Troyas, bought horses, and then set off down the King's Road northwest to the village of Talar.
It was an uneventful two days travel and they arrived at the gate of the farming village just as the villagers were closing down their shops for the day. Lia Moonwing, the Deva Cleric, headed off to local temple to offer tithes and to pray. She was met by the Dwarven Priest of Amaunator, Grundelmar. When he learned why she was in the village, he told her of a strange vision that he’d had. “Aumanotar urges all people of good heart to be constantly on guard against the encroachment of evil. Among the most insidious evils are those that take root in the hearts of our communities and grow like a canker. Years ago, down in the barony of Purl, a group of right-thinking adventurers such as yourselves rooted out one of those cankers, a cult of the Elder Elemental Eye that had spread through a certain stratum of society. The cult leader escaped, though: a man named Vadin Cartwright. It was assumed that he fled the area and would pose no more danger. Well, Amaunator has spoken in my dreams to let me know that Cartwright is still a danger. He’s dabbling with forces beyond mortal understanding, and the results could be disastrous. I don’t know any more than that, except to seek him among the dead in old Gardmore Abbey.” He asked her to keep her eyes open while traveling around the area. She agreed to do so, and then went off to pray.
The others in the group went into the Green Dragon Inn one by one. Elowen, the Wilden Druid, was the first to go in and rent a room. She gave the inn keeper, Bernath, a heads up that she had other companions joining them. Ryunosuke Blackblood, the Dragonborn assassin, was next, and he took his time, grabbing a pint of ale in the common room to assess their surroundings. At one table was a farmer and a merchant discussing the problems of caravans not being to get down the Kings Road. At another table, a blonde woman, who had the look of a warrior, was enjoying her own ale all alone.
Fallon, the Hengeyoukai Elementalist Sorceress, decided to walk through the village to figure out where things were, her attention darting from object to object. Behind some trees near the houses, she hid and then transformed into a sparrow and took wing. Up in the trees she found some other birds which she asked about the town and Lord Pedraig. They told her that it was a nice place to live, very peaceful. The lord was nice, except that he didn’t let his gardeners put out seed for them…
Once he’d finished his tankard, Blackblood approached the inn keeper to ask for a room. He also asked about the warrior woman and found out that she was Megan Swiftblade, a local hero. She had grown up on a farm with her parents, but when they were killed by the Red Hand army, she had become a warrior. She now led her own adventuring group known as the Freeriders. As soon as the dragonborn saw Fallon enter the inn, he bolted for the stairs with her sing-songy voice following him up.
Fallon set up her room and asked for a small wash bowl to be brought in. Then she went upstairs, morphed into a bird and took a bird bath. Afterwards she went downstairs and joined Elowen for dinner in the common room. Lia joined them for dinner and then they all turned in early.
The next morning the group had a quick breakfast and then headed out to visit Lord Padraig. Along the way, Fallon got distracted by an Elf selling wildflowers named Delphina. She bought some and braided them into a flower crown, and then plonked it on Ryu’s head as he was headed for the smithy. Ryu bought some really nice throwing knives from Thair and then the group continued on to the Lord’s manor.
Servants showed them to a dining room where Ernest Pedraig was having breakfast with his wife and five sons. He invited the group to join them for breakfast and then explained what he needed from them. “Travelers on the King’s Road of late have been attacked by orc raiders as they travel through the Gardbury Downs. The attacks mostly occur in the vicinity of the old ruins of Gardmore Abbey, so I suspect the orcs are using the ruins as a lair. If I could, I’d raise a militia to go root the orcs out of their holes and put them to the sword, but these folk can’t see past the village walls. If it’s not a threat to Talar, they don’t think it’s our problem. Never mind that it affects caravans coming here. So in lieu of the militia, I’m hiring you to deal with these orcs. To start, I want you to go to the abbey and find out whether the orcs are lairing there. Come back and tell me what you find -as complete a picture of their lair and defenses as you can.” The Lord then let them know that a Paladin had also come to visit him this morning, named Sir Oakley. As older gentleman he wanted to clean the taint out of the Abbey before he died, so he might be a good companion for them as well. He then asked them if they had any questions? They asked the location of the Abbey and if anyone in town knew more about it? Lord Pedraig let them know that old farmer Eilian would know best and that his farm was to the north of the village. The group thanked him and as they were leaving, he invited them to take some food with them, so Fallon collected up as many sticky buns as she could carry.
They easily found Eilian the Old’s farm and he invited them in for some lemonade while he told them the history of the Abbey:
Gardmore Abbey was one of the first settlements in the Rethild Vale, established around 350 years ago. Talar was founded three decades later.
The abbey was built as a defensive fortification, combining the natural slope of the land and a strong stone wall to protect the village and the home of the monastic knights in the abbey proper. A prosperous settlement grew up between the outer wall and the cloister of the abbey, supporting the knights and enjoying their protection.
During the height of their rule, the holy knights of Gardmore Abbey fought valiantly in Bahamut’s name against any monstrous and evil forces that encroached into the Rethild Vale, and on occasion launched campaigns to bring down bastions of evil in the world beyond the vale.
About 150 years ago, a resurgent force of orcs from the South Gnollwatch mountains descended on Gardmore Abbey. Aided by ogres, hill giants, and demonic embodiments of chaos, the orcs laid siege to the abbey, but even against such terrible foes the knights held firm. The knights could well have held the abbey until the invaders exhausted their strength, but something went wrong inside the Abbey and the knights soon found themselves fighting undead from within and the other monsters from without. That spelled doom for the valiant knights. Since then, the orcs have taken the abbey and are supposedly using as their base of operations.
Now that they knew more about the Abbey, they thanked farmer Eilian and headed back to town.