So…. a lot has happened since the last adventure post. Almost an entire 6th of the campaign actually.
After securing Tatzleford, the leaders of the Shrikehold began doing some exploration of the Hooktongue region for the sake of national security. Chuuls and boggards were hostile and refused to negotiate, and they were wiped out or driven away. Chimeras, a hydra, and a dire tiger were all dealt with too. And a den of Auromvori were befriended and now live in the Tralg’s Folley menagerie. An alliance was forged with a race of swamp-dwelling water-skipper creatures that seemed friendly enough once the boggards that hunted them were driven off. They aided in the exploration of the swamp that would have taken much more time without them.
The leaders of the Shirkehold also encountered some human enemies as well. The capital of Drelev was found on the northwest side of Lake Hooktongue and next to a river. The city appeared in bad shape. Some spying determined that Drelev had bent the knee to a force of barbarians and armed forces wearing the colors of Pitax a few months prior. As part of the surrender, the eldest daughter of each noble house of Drelev was kidnapped and carried away by the Tigerblood barbarians.
The party went to challenge the Tigerblood clan and discovered its camp above an ancient ruin that turned out to be sacred to Gorum. In addition to the dozen or so barbarians standing guard outside the ruin, there were also hags and hags-in-training, a pair of horrible daemons, an iron golem in the likeness of Gorum’s avatar, some bloody skeletons, and the leader of the barbarian tribe. He fought extremely well and did a lot of damage before he was killed in an epic and climactic battle. His sword, an artifact of Gorum, was carefully taken. A spirit possesses the immortal spirit of an ancient warrior that thumbed his nose at Pharasma by saying he would live forever. She took issue with that claim, and ended his life. But Gorum liked the guy and put his spirit in a sword, hiding it away from Pharasma and protecting it so that one of his favorite warmongers could continue to live on.
The party then moved against Drelev. After some spying, it was determined that there would be no redemption for this individual and that he had to be punished for his crimes against his people. The party pretended to be mercenaries and were hired on to the town’s guard staff. They got to see first-hand the suffering of the people while earning a pathetic amount of compensation. While employed, Nymka and Costin made sure that “accidents” happened to a few other mercenaries. Darius made contact with the local brothel owner and cleric of Callistria. She told them the secret way into the castle.
The castle raid went surprisingly well after fighting past a couple of black puddings. The party came out in the treasure rooms of the castle and also released a prominent and powerful prisoner of war. His gear was returned to him, and he joined in the fight.
There isn’t a whole lot to tell about the rest of the fight. Drelev made a last stand with his lover, brother-in-law evoker, and a handful of guards. It was not enough to stop the PCs. Drelev met his end and control of Drelev was turned over to the noble that the party rescued. The town was also renamed Fort Hooktongue.
After Drelev was freed, the Shrikehold began claiming land in the Hooktongue Slough. This ran them into Pitax for the very first time as Pitax was also starting to claim land near the Slough.
As tensions increased, Pitax sent a messenger to negotiate. The messenger seemed like a decent enough fellow and brokered a gentlemen’s arrangement of the claiming of land and mutual profit. The leaders of the Shrikehold have been invited to a party the following year to celebrate the new friendship between Pitax and the Shrikehold.
The leaders of the Shrikehold are still cautious in their friendship with their neighboring River Kingdom. More acts of espionage are on the way to determine if their intentions are good or evil….