The adventurers were brought together into a party by Bogrin Forkbeard, a wealthy dwarf, and hired to transport his father’s remains which were to be interred into the temple of Gazul at the Southern end of Winter’s Teeth Pass. The ashes of his father, Gurin son of Hugen, had been mixed into a barrel of butter in accordance with the traditions of his people, and Bogrin was keen that the job be undertaken by people outside of his own trading company, whom he implied that he could not trust with the job so well as people who had a genuine interest in being paid for the task.
Being that this was the first time that they’d met one another, the adventurers introduced themselves: Lythil, a reclusive wanderer from the far North, Newman, a dwarven cleric of Shallya, Keru, a suave Estalian with a fast fencing hand, Bea, a mighty half-orc with a heavy blade, and Bret, a blind and crippled beggar with a deep knowledge of the mystic arts.
The Bridge at Sonnefurt
They accepted the quest, and set out up the river on a trading cog to Wusterburg, where they equipped a cart and continued on towards the mountains. At Sonnefurt, however, their progress was interrupted by a mob of peasants who’d occupied the bridge and were blocking its use by merchants (efforts by the adventurers to claim that they weren’t merchants failed, not helped by the supply of butter – containing dead dwarf, of course – and wine – Keru’s private collection – they were transporting) in order to try to force the local government to revert a decision to impose a tax on foot traffic across the causeway. The party visited the town hall and attempted a two-pronged plan: while Newman and Lythil attempted to negotiate a truce, Keru attempted to filch a convincing-looking document from which the party might be able to forge a document to suggest that the mayor had already backed down. Amazingly, the former plan worked and the authority to levy taxes on the bridge was turned over to the town’s stonesmasons – who were among the protesters – and the bridge was re-opened.
Later, on the road – now in a convoy of merchant traffic suddenly able to cross the Sonnefurt bridge – the adventurers met some acolytes of Shallya who’d just returned from the Border Princes, where they’d been treating a strange plague. They stopped to pray for a while, and somehow Bret came out of the experience looking more-enlightened than might have been expected.
Kreutzhofen and the Wolves
The party reached Kreutzhofen – the last major settlement before Winter’s Teeth Pass – on the day of the Spring Equinox, and as a result all of the inns were occupied by pilgrims attending ceremonies at the Temple of Taal in the city. While Bea and Lythil set out to camp outside the city, Bret, Newman, and Keru went out to experience some of the town’s nightlife, where (in exchange for buying him a drink) a local farmer called Dun offered them the opportunity to sleep in his barn. As the night came to a close, Keru and (surprisingly) Bret managed to persuade a pair of barmaids (Sally and Ethyl) to return to the barn with them, and Newman needed to climb to the hayloft in order to escape from their afterparty beneath.
Dun tried to sell the adventurers special birchwood talismans which he claimed would magically protect them from wolf attacks (which was how his wife had died). Bret could not detect any magical properties in the jewellery, but that didn’t stop Keru buying one anyway, perhaps just to complete his outfit. It didn’t do any good, though: not half a day up the road a pack of hungry wolves attacked, and the group was forced to defend itself.
Lythil attempted to intimidate the wolves by imitating their sounds, but only managed to anger them (apparently his impression of their noises came out sounding like whatever wolf-speak is for “come at me, bro”). Bea raised her great shield at just the right moment to break the jaw of the first wolf to charge in, but one managed to get its maw firmly around Keru’s majestic codpiece and cause some rather sensitive bruising. Worse yet, one of the two that attacked Lythil managed to take a bite out of his throat while he struggled to get his swords out of their scabbards, and as he clumsily swung back at them he barely grazed them in response. Newman’s mace rang true and Bret provided support by striking blind the jugular-ripping wolf, and eventually – as Bea and Keru’s sword-skills came into their own – the wolves were seem off. Laying his hands on Lythil’s neck, Newman channelled the mercy of Shallya into the wound, healing him, and the party was able to continue on their way.
Winter’s Teeth Pass and the Shrine of Gazul
Spring had come in full force to Winter’s Teeth Pass, and conditions were good and the journey uneventful. Following Bogrin’s map, they were able to find the cairngorm obelisk that marked the beginning of the trail to the temple and, leaving behind the cart, ascend on foot. But when they reached the spot they discovered to their horror that the spring thaws had caused an landslide, collapsing the temple and burying it under a mountain of rock, mud, and snow. While the others tried in vain to dig in the scree, Lythil explored the entrance to a nearby cave, which he thought might lead into the crypts – it didn’t: it was a dead end – but as he explored he discovered a crevasse that had been exposed by the landslide, revealing the long-dead body of a dwarven messenger. Levitating down by the force of Bret’s magic, Lythil retrieved the skull of the unfortunate dwarf and also his ivory scroll case, in which the party found a message that hinted at a mighty artefact concealed behind a waterfall in the Yetzin valley.
Burying the remains of Gurin and the skull of the long-dead messenger as best they could, the party resolved to continue into the Yetzin Valley and seek out the lost artefact… each for their own reasons…