The events of this segment take place between Tebesh 16 and Tebesh 19 in the year 1582 AR (Timeline).
Once the group arrived at the gates of Brandonford, their feet were tired and their eyes were filled with Mekema’s dust. They marched with hope for a good meal and a strong drink to the Antler and Thistle tavern
. And for a time, the reveled in the merriment of the locals and told a short tale or two, thinking that exerting oneself in a jocund fashion would be no harm because a warm bed was what came next in their path. That is, until a band of hobgoblins with hands painted red led by two goblins with sickeningly black blades stormed through the doors followed by the screams of dying Brandonfordians.
The heroes waded through the fiends and out into the streets. As they made their way to one of Brandonford’s main thoroughfares, a ball of liquid fire splattered onto the cobblestone before them. Walking about in the street was a savage ogre, his hand gripping a cask dripping with the same liquid fire. Hobgoblins rushed into the street as well and the buildings were alive with the destructive flames from the ogre’s casks. The battle began, roaring in the flames until the mighty ogre was brought down and the hobgoblins were forced to flee the town. The heroes did what they could to help the wounded and save what property they could.
As they did what good they could for the people of Brandonford, they learned that during the raid citizens had been taken prisoner by the hobgoblins. The acting captain of the City Watch came to the heroes and humbly asked them to seek out the lair of the hobgoblin warchief known as Sinruth and rescue the innocent folk from his clutches. The list of those taken consisted of the captain of the City Watch, the captain’s son, an acolyte of the god Tak, an herbalist, the custodian of one of the city’s museums, an alchemist who many in town believe to be a witch, and a cook at a local tavern.
The acting captain informed the heroes that the council of Brandonford wished them to take audience with them and the group agreed to this. The council, specifically Councilmember Eoffram Troyas, urged the heroes to make haste after the goblins. They also suggested that they glean information on the whereabouts of the goblin’s encampment from a captured hobgoblin named Morrik. Their conversation with the captive was short and they learned that the band of hobgoblins, known as Sinruth’s Hand, laired in the ruins of Brandon Keep, north of the Brandon River. They left with haste towards the ruins.
The ruins of the Brandonford Keep haunted the horizon and not light nor goblin-sign awaited them. The complex revealed a passageway that lead deep into the keep’s underbelly, so the heroes followed Olwë’s light down the dark stairway. They were greeted by a band of hobgoblins lead by a brightly red-skinned goblin. A brute for its kind, the goblin barked off orders to the hobgoblins as if they were children. Reality knows the tongue of goblinkind, and so she knew that this lieutenant was named “Irontusk”. They charged from the shadows of the entryway into the goblins and left not one with breath.
More hobgoblins abound and the heroes fought their way into every one of their watch posts in the dank dungeon. The first captive they found was Sertanian the curator of the Great Hall of Valor Museum. He took up armor and arms and made the heroes aware of the relics that were taken by the hobgoblins during their raid.
The group eventually delved deep into the dungeon of the fallen keep. Within the bowels of this place, they found a strange painting of another keep. It was identical to what Olwë presumed the former glory of Brandonford Keep would have looked like, except that this keep was built within a swampy region. Olwë decided that this painting was in fact a portal to another keep, or perhaps some form of arcane communication to a distant land. Olwë would investigate the painting further later, if he had the chance.
Deeper still the group went, seeking out the captive citizens of Brandonford. The group tumbled into the lair of a green dragon named Chuak’reskafar. The green dragon’s defense of his lair was stronger than the party could deal with. Rhock Blazehatchet and Samael Corson were charged with protecting the captives and returning them to Brandonford. The others’ fate was far more dire. They stayed and fought with the vile green for a time, buying the rescuers time to spare the captives from their same fate. Raigor fell in moments, his strength not enough to match Chuak’reskafar’s draconic might. Reality was crushed under the weight of the dragon. Finrod was the last to fall, his arrows flew until none of the others drew breath. The fate of Olwë is yet unknown.
The dwarf and the priest ran from Brandonford, the shadow of the dragon rising up from the ruins of the keep. As chance would have it, a band of militia men were camped outside Brandonford Keep, waiting to invade and return the captives to safety. They instead made a pathetic opposition for the dragon, who fell like a star into their ranks and left not a man standing. This gave Rhock and Samael time to flee the scene without being detected by the dragon. They returned to Brandonford with less than a hero’s welcome. The news of the dragon fell on horrified ears and the people began packing up their things. Preparations to evacuate Brandonford were underway. Sinruth’s Hand’s shadow, and that of their dragon ally, had fallen over Brandonford.