IN ATTTENDANCE: Chad, Drew, Jason, Josh, Scott, Mark
The heroes leave the dungeon of the forgotten temple and find a group of mad lizardfolk awaiting them on the surface. The fight is short and the group dispatch all but the leader, who escapes into the swamps. From the tracks found, it appeared that someone left the dungeons and then disappeared at the edge of the ruins.
Rolan activates the teleporation circle and gets the group back to the keep, where they find that the former lord warden, Brogan Pax, has returned from whatever mission Lord Warden Grafire sent him on. He tells the group that he went into the Forbidden North and found that the ancient evil known as Necreus is stirring again, has formed a massive army and navy and is prepared to launch an offensive to rival or exceed that of the War of Darkness. He tells the group that he leaves to go to Winecrest to warn the Chamber. The heroes tell Pax all of what has transpired of late and Pax believes it all to be interrelated. He shows them a secret way out of the keep and tells them to keep his presence here secret, that the Dark Lord has spies everywhere.
That evening, as acting Lord Warden Hawkins prepares a group to check on an outpost that had not checked in, they are alerted by the keep’s lookout of a mass of lights forming on the far shore of the mote surrounding the keep. More and more lights flare as a huge horde of gnolls prepares to cross the mote to the keep. The alarm is sounded, but before any defensive action can be taken, a giant bat descends from the skies, bearing a lone rider – the borderman known as Keller, whose eyes are as black as the night indicating his possession by the dark entity the group had encountered before. The giant bat transforms into a humanoid dressed in ancient, ornate armor whose very presence freezes the heroes in place. Unable to move, they can only listen as the armored-one, who they know to be Satheras – the first vampire of Creation, projects his thoughts to all around, telling the entity possessing Keller to kill all in the fortress while he seeks out the Vile Reliquary below. Satheras enters the keep and Keller engages the heroes, joined by his two allies, Agris the dwarf and Ranik the half orc. Realizing the odds are stacked against them, Alex calls for a retreat to the hidden passage, but the impulsive Vaelek charges ino battle. The others come to Vaelek’s aid and eventually manage to put enough distance between them and Keller to get to the secret passage and escape.
The passage leads out of the keep into the woods a mile to the west, but as the heroes emerge they find a gnoll scouting party engaged in battle with the escapees from the keep. The heroes engage the gnolls long enought to assess their strength, then manage to escape them as well. They head to the Crossroads to consult with Pax on this development and they find the remains of a battle worn Hawkguard contingent camped there. The wounded tell the group of the invasion of Winecrest by the black ships that are led by a massive flying black pyramid with vast destructive power. Sir Pequey tells them that Lord Commander Hawkins took a small force back to Winecrest to try and save the Chamber and his wife and ordered Pequey to take the refugees to safety. However, Pequey and his group were assaulted by a large gnoll contingent, which they routed but with serious casualties. The group decide to go to Winecrest to help the Lord Commander, but also to seek out the Scepter of the Flame, which will unlock the arcane vault in the keep that contains the powerful object the . Krim recalls that the guilds he allied with in his days on the streets of Winecrest frequently used secured sewer passages to smuggle things in and out of Winecrest and suggested they use those to sneak in.
The group make it to Winecrest, find it had indeed been invaded and see the giant black pyramid floating over the city. They enter the sewers, but encounter two Otyugh and a Black Pudding, which they fight and dispatch. They now rest and prepare to exit the sewers near the Chamber’s offices where they hope to find the Lord Commander and the Chamber alive, and also to seek out the Justicar’s vault where the Scepter of the Flame is probably being kept.