The Platinum Pilgrimage

Let me tell you the tale of the Heroes of Winterhaven. It is a long tale, which begins one night in the middle of the desert. The sky is dotted with stars, and their light covers everything. However, another light shines in the darkness. In a nearby oasis, the light from a campfire beacons a caravan of merchants and pilgrims led by the platinum paladin Lucas. As the caravan approaches the oasis, they are not greeted by Cimmerians as they had expected. Instead, it's a band of eladrins and elves who have travelled far to see the northern lands. Lucas' meeting with these fairies changed not only the course of his destiny, but the entire history of Cimmeria. The fairies agreed to join the caravan and travel east, towards Winterhaven, which was in much graver danger than Lucas thought. He had learned that the Cult of Lithor was operating in the vicinity of Winterhaven and had undertaken a pilgrimage to the village in hopes that these rumours were false. Upon their arrival to Winterhaven, the rumours did indeed seem false, but instead another threat loomed over the village in the Cairngorm Hills. This is where our tale truly begins.



Cairngorm Kobolds

Years ago, the village of Winterhaven was plagued by kobolds. This was not unusual in those days. Kobolds plagued most of Cimmeria, and there are still parts of the country which struggle with the vermin. The Heroes of Winterhaven were hired by Lord Padraig of Winterhaven to help him with the kobold threat, and what the heroes uncovered was much graver than anyone would have guessed. Even though they were lured into a trap by an elf, the heroes fought through a horde of a hundred kobolds before they came face to face with a goblin, the leader of the kobolds. The goblin was clearly a cultist of Lithor and Lucas was relieved that the rumours only indicated the kobolds as the threat, but he was wrong yet again, the threat was much larger. After a long battle that lasted for days, the heroes finally defeated the goblin, only to learn that the elf had intended to send them into a trap and not towards the true source of the kobold threat. The heroes learned about the Shadowfell Keep.



Shadowfell Keep

Near the village of Winterhaven lies Shadowfell Keep. When our heroes first ventured there, it was nothing more than the ruins of an ancient castle from the Ma'adim Empire. Many stories kept the average person away from the dark stones, but it didn't keep the kobolds away, or even a greater threat. The Heroes of Winterhaven learned that the Cult of Lithor was directly operating from the keep, using kobolds, goblins and hobgoblins as minions, while their high priest, Kalarel, was attempting to open a dark portal that would unleash all the evil of the Shadowfell upon Cimmeria. The heroes took it upon themselves to stop this great evil from ever being released, and Padraig, the Lord of Winterhaven, followed them into the dungeon. Thus, one day, they disappeared into the ruins of the keep. After a few days, people started to despair, believing that the heroes had perished. The High Septarch of Fallcrest began to prepare his country for war against the evil of Shadowfell. Weeks passed, and the armies of Cimmeria started to move towards Winterhaven, hoping that they would be able to hold the village before the Shadowfell could create a beachhead beyond the portal. When they arrived to the village of Winterhaven, however, the Heroes of Winterhaven had returned from the keep.

The Heroes of Winterhaven, led by Lord Padraig, ventured into Shadowfell Keep. First they fought through a horde of goblins that were defending the upper levels. After a few days, the battle settled, and the heroes entered the Shadow Crypt beneath the keep. The undeads here were no match to Sir Lucas and Lord Berrian, who opened a way for the heroes into Keegan's Tomb. Sir Keegan was the knight of the keep, a paladin of the platinum dragon and a proud member of the Ma'adim Empire. Since the keep had fallen into ruin, he had been waiting for heroes to wield his sword Aecris into battle and protect the world of Aresia from the Shadowfell. The heroes continued deeper into the dungeon and encountered a horde of hobgoblins, which were much tougher than any foe they had yet encountered. Days passed as they fought their way deeper into the dungeon, when finally, they emerged victorious and found their way into the Cathedral of Shadows, where Kalarel was conducting a magical ritual to open the dark portal to the Shadowfell. The high priest had immense power granted to him by the undead forces beyond the portal. The heroes fought for hours. Suddenly, as the battle was going badly, the evil from the Shadowfell became impatient. It couldn't tolerate Kalarel's failure in dealing with the heroes, and fearing that his secrets fell into the wrong hands, the evil took him and brought him into the Shadowfell. Kalarel is now lost to eternal torment and the dark portal was saved. It came with a cost however. A noble by the name of Rakof and a guard of Winterhaven called Sam died during the incursion on Shadowfell Keep.



The Plague

The village of Winterhaven was periodically struck by Foaming Mouth Disease, just like many other farming communities of Cimmeria. The disease spread to the cattle but was harmless, except to wolves. These creatures became aggressive and dangerous for a few weeks before the infected died. However, this tale tells of a golden beast infected with the disease and attacking the village of Winterhaven with such great ferocity that the beast could have led a plague through the land. The wolves attacked Winterhaven. Luckily, two of the Heroes of Winterhaven, the eladrins Landra and Ravalon, were present to aid in its defence. Everyone was shocked when a great golden beast broke through the walls of Winterhaven to aid its companion. Wolves stormed into the village, and if it hadn't been for Landra and Ravalon, the village would have been completely overrun. After having chased the wolves away and ensuring the safety of Winterhaven yet again, Landra and Ravalon departed to track down this great beast. They uncovered the truth, that the beast was the mount of the elven prince, and that the infection had caused it to become a real threat to Cimmeria. They found the beast in the forest near Winterhaven and decided to attempt to cure it. First, however, they had to catch it. The beast was wounded from its attack on Winterhaven, but it had dozens of infected wolves protecting it. The eladrin sisters fought side by side with Lord Padraig. They fought their way through the infected wolves and finally reached the great beast, which surrendered because of its grave wounds. In order to cure it, Ravalon suggested using the water near a magical circle from the Ma'adim Empire, believing that the magic had seeped into the water and might remove the disease. The sisters bathed the beast in the river and witnessed how the disease flowed out. To their horror it took form. It became a great monster that controlled all the elements of nature. Roots and vines sprung to life and tried to catch the sisters and strangle them, but they fought their way through it. With great agility and epic skills, they fought their way through the brush to the monster that had grown into a true giant. They fought for hours, cutting the monster piece by piece and finally, it crumbled and perished. The beast was saved and Cimmeria was spared a plague.



Dragons

It is said that the Heroes of Winterhaven uncovered great secrets within Shadowfell Keep. Including the truth about the Ma'adim Empire and why it fell into ruin. Some even say that they found the remains of a great beast, a tomb to a former power that might have ruled the Ma'adim Empire. However, if this was true, then Cimmeria would currently be ruled by these great beasts, for although they had found only remains, they also later encountered a live dragon. The kobold threat of Winterhaven had been dealt with, but the High Septarch had set up a reward to any who could deal with the kobold threat of Fallcrest. During one of their journeys, the heroes decided to investigate this threat near Fallcrest. They discovered the lair of the kobolds and fought their way through the tribe with ease as they had plenty of experience with the creatures. However, they were surprised to learn the truth behind the kobold threat of Fallcrest. Apparently, the kobolds were led by a creature called a dragon. This green four legged giant creature with wings could spit deadly acid, was fearsome and had a natural armour stronger than the dwarven armours. The heroes were caught in a fight with the dragon known as Szartharrax. It was a powerful and intelligent creature, but it did not know who it had engaged. The dragon revealed to be a more powerful foe than even Kalarel himself. The heroes attempted to flee but the dragon blocked the exit. Although they thought this was their end, they fought till the end, and a few days later, they returned to Fallcrest alive with their victorious and mysterious tale.



Thunderspire Mountain

A group of slavers had come to the region around Winterhaven and its neighbouring village of Riverdown. The slavers took a dozen captives before leaving the area. A ranger noticed the slavers and followed them south of Fallcrest, near Thunderspire Mountain. He returned and warned Sister Linora about what had happened and Sister Linora pleaded our heroes to rescue the slaves. This led them into Thunderspire Mountain, a place with great treasures and secrets.

During the Ma’adim Empire, Cimmeria was ruled by the minotaur lords of the underground city of Saruun Khel, which lied within Thunderspire Mountain. When the Ma’adim Empire fell, so did Saruun Khel. Thunderspire Mountain now has two major parts, the Labyrinth and the Seven-Pillared Hall, ruled by the Mages of Saruun. The Seven-Pillared Hall became a home to our heroes in the months that they spent underground within Thunderspire Mountain.

Our heroes search first led them to the goblinoid slavers known as the Bloodreavers. These were found in the Chamber of Eyes. Unfortunately, they came too late. They attacked the Bloodreavers, but quickly found out that the captives had been sold to dark dwarves that resided deeper in the Labyrinth.

The Horned Hold was an outpost for the dark dwarves, although they also had a shop within the Seven-Pillared Hall. Our heroes found the Horned Hold and had made an elaborate plan. Some of them let themselves be captured while a few others sneaked into the hold. In the heart of the dwarven outpost, they got the dwarves to fight each other and then escaped their own captivity and started searching for the dwarven prison. They found it and a great battle was fought. Our heroes fought the entire dwarven stronghold which also had demons serving them. The dwarven leader, Murkelmor shattered Gilgor’s leg, a dwarven member of the adventuring party. Murkelmor, however, fell in battle and the heroes were victorious, having defeated an entire dwarven stronghold by themselves.

Their quest was not over though. They learned that two captives had been sold to a group of gnolls known as the Blackfang Gnolls, who resided within the Well of Demons, a temple to the demon Baphomet. The heroes made their way through the Labyrinth to the Well of Demons where they tricked the gnolls into an audience with their leader, Maldrick Scarmaker. Maldrick was in the middle of a ritual and only followers of Baphomet could enter the Inner Sanctum. The heroes were put to a test where they had to gather four relics of Baphomet. They were sent through magical prisons, rooms covered in lakes of blood, set up against several bands of demons, and finally they had to face a green dragon.

Once they had passed the test, the Heroes of Winterhaven made their way into the Inner Sanctum where they faced Maldrick. His demonic minions halted our heroes’ progress while Maldrick tried to finish his ritual, which would change the Well of Demons from Baphomet to Yeenoghu. One of the captives was sacrificed in the ritual, but the other captive was saved by our heroic dwarf Gilgor, who was then slain by Maldrick’s rage. Maldrick escaped and the heroes left the Well of Demons with a dead captive and a dead friend, whom they buried within the Seven-Pillared Hall. The last captive, however, came out alive.

In their time within Thunderspire Mountain, they learned that one of the Mages of Saruun had gone rogue and they set out to stop his malicious plans before they returned to Winterhaven. The wizard Paldemar was actually a cultist of Lithor and hid himself within the Tower of Mysteries. The heroes fought through the demons and animated minotaur statues that guarded the tower before they faced Paldemar. During the battle, Sir Lucas’ right arm was cut off by an animated minotaur statue. Glaeth’s weapon was shattered by Paldemar’s magic. But even with these setbacks, they defeated the evil mage and uncovered his plans. Paldemar had been planning to overtake the Seven-Pillared Hall with an army of animated minotaur statues and with an alliance with an undead land in the Shadowfell, he was also planning on taking over Cimmeria. Since Sir Lucas had had his right arm cut off, Landra has been working on both healing him, and rehabilitating him. Her connections with the Feywild, and her trading partners and reputation, enabled her to give Sir Lucas an elven platinum arm. A grand gift, showing that Landra was ready to give much, if not everything, to Sir Lucas. Maybe this is the beginning of a great love story between a human and an eladrin.

Created 26 September 2008, Last updated 25 February 2012

Version 1.2.1