Flying north, towards the ancient outpost of Saker Keep, the party debated what their plans should be. The Druid and Paladin each agreed to get off the ship at the next city, leaving adventuring behind for the time being. Skorad Brewthane (Fighter) agreed to stay on as a permanent part of the party. Coming up from below decks, they also met a rogue, Sloane, of the resistance fighters.
Landing near Saker Keep, the party spotted a campfire on the hilltop outpost. Creeping up, Sloane and Cassandra Monroe listened in on the pair of men camping there.
The men were older, dressed in well worn travel clothes, and seemed to be arguing about something.
“You’re full of shit!” said one.
“I’m telling you, there are vampires in those hills!” said the other.
“And I’m telling you, you’re full of shit!” said the first.
“I was right about the troll under the bridge, wasn’t I?” Said the second.
“Yes, but you were wrong about the demons at the beach! You’re full of shit!”
It was at this time that Sloane and Cassandra stepped into the circle. “Vampires, you say?” said Cassandra, curiously.
“Aye,” said the second man. “There’s tale of a vampire queen up in the Dwarven mountains. They say there is a bounty on her head. They say she kidnapped some noble or another.”
“Don’t listen to that crock,” said the first. “He’s got no idea what he’s talking about.”
The pair soon launched back into what seemed like an old argument, and the two party members quietly excused themselves. Reporting in to the rest of their party, it was decided that the ship should fly north, to dwarven lands, and investigate the vampires.
The Dwarven capital of Helmshold, nestled deep in the mountains, is home to the largest Airship Docks outside of Carran, and is far less xenophobic than the people of the walled city. The docks adjoin a bustling trade quarter, where stalls sell armor, weapons, food, supplies, and all other manner of goods. If you want it, Helmshold’s got it.
The ship was met at the docks by a short, broad dwarf with a red beard and a ludicrously tall green hat, informing them of a hefty docking fee. All attempts to haggle with him only led him to increase the price. Finally giving up, the party paid him his fee and entered into the trade quarter. Splitting up and going the various booths, the party went about replenishing their supplies.
- Hral went to the weapons stall, run by a short, broad dwarf with a red beard and a ludicrously tall green hat. The dwarf agreed to sell Hral a full set of new javelins for the remainder of Hral’s pocket money. Hral happily took the offer, and promised to remember the vendor, should he need more armaments at a future date.
*Sloane, the rogue, went to the provisions stand, run by a short, broad dwarf with a red beard and a ludicrously tall green hat. There, he made a deal, quietly acquiring a poison kit and some disguises.
*Ranger Ralf went first to the armor stand, run by a short, broad dwarf with a red beard and a ludicrously tall green hat. Finding little of interest, he went to the information desk, run by a short, broad dwarf with a red beard and a ludicrously tall green hat. There, Cassandra Monroe was already waiting.
When asked by Ralf and Casandra, the information desk was hesitant to reveal anything not on the official tourism brochure. Upon seeing Skorad, however, the information dwarf revealed that yes, there was a dwarf chieftain in the small village of Skarshold who had been plagued by the bloodsucking beasties. Thanking him for his information, the party moved on.
In Skarshold, only Skorad was allowed in to speak to the Chieftain, who tearfully revealed that the vampires had not only captured his daughter, but the children of many of the villagers. The dwarves of Skarshold had been powerless to stop it, and thus he turned to the outside assistance of the adventurers to help him. He promised as large a reward as the village could muster for the head of the vampire queen, having nearly given up hope on ever seeing his daughter again, he only wanted death to those who had so injured his people.
Arriving at the Palace of the Vampire Queen, the party took a survey of the land. The palace was a tall, imposing building, more fortress than manor, stretching up to tall, jagged spires. Lights flickered in windows on the upper floors, but the bottom floor windows were heavily barricaded. Tall oaken doors led into the palace, and revealed themselves to be unlocked. The party cautiously entered, finding themselves in a long, poorly lit hall, that seemed to show few signs of civilized habitation.
Entering the first room on the left, the party found that they had disturbed a warren of squatting goblins, who leapt into a screeching frenzy upon seeing the adventurers. The party made short work of them, clearing out a series of filthy rooms, and finally discovering a treasure room, containing one huge chest. Poking his fingers into the locking mechanism to try to open the chest, the rogue pricked his finger on a hidden needle. the finger rapidly began to change color to a deep sickly green, whereupon Skorad chopped it off cleanly before the infection could spread.
The rogue’s condition is, as yet, unknown.