While in the city of Horizon the members of the Half-Moon Exploring Company waited for their local contact, Galdurgo, to see if he could find cheap passage to the Dire Wood aboard one of the several flying skiffs that were anchored outside the city. While waiting, the group went to the Lucky Lady one of Alcide Throckmotten’s favorite haunts where the group entertained themselves with drinks, gambling and watching sensual dancers.
Eventually, the group met up with Galdurgo again who took them outside the city, introducing them to an associate of his, Vessryn. Vessryn owned a flying skiff and was willing to take money to ferry them to the Dire Wood. The group eventually negotiated a different form of payment. They agreed to take a ring to Shadow Port and give it to someone Vessryn knew; a woman named Ursine who was a priestess there. To ensure that the deal was done, Vessryn cast a spell on Ellyna Dirkane, which marked her as having promised to carry it there.
Upon arriving at the Dire Wood, the adventurers set off into the forest, making their way towards Boltstrike Pillar. Aside the fact that Suriveth Varune was conducting covert business for the Prince of Shadows by dropping off a sword to a contact named Maewen, the group also decided they could try and use the place as a base of operations for their research into the infamous Hellholes.
Shortly before they arrived at Boltstrike Pillar, they were attacked by a group of goblins who, by the scars and tattoos on their faces, were in service to the Diabolist. Whereas the group managed to fight off the small goblin horde, they did manage to find several interesting pieces of treasure. First, a dagger named Deviant and a sheet of parchment with the drawing of a door and a drawing of an amulet. When studied, Kouro Marmari determined that the picture could have been a Tower Amulet.
When the adventurers finally came upon Boltstrike Pillar, they met Grimwalk, the dwarven master of the pillar, as well as his two assistants, Sadda Treespeak and Valorne Leafrunner. Looking around, the adventurers saw a small camp of close to 25 humans, half elves and elves, all forest warriors and rangers, encamped at the pillar, one of which was Maewen. Grimwalk explained that it was not uncommon for goblins, orcs and other violent creatures to make raids on those in the forest. But due to the magic of the pillar, they would be unable to enter. This was a gift, for better or for worse, from the Archmage someone who may want the pillar back.
When asked about the parchment they found, Grimwalk stated that there was a magic door in the basement of the pillar that nobody had been able to enter. The picture looked just like it. When asked if they could look inside, the adventurers were rebuked, with Grimwalk saying that the dangerous magic that kept the goblins out was also magic that would keep them out, ripping them to shreds if they tried to enter. However, after further conversation, Grimwalk agreed to allow the adventurers to become attuned to the pillar and use it as a base of operations for their research into Hellholes (and investigate the basement door) if they would perform an errand – go to a nearby outpost and deal with the orcs and goblins that had camped there.
As the team was getting ready to embark, Alice noticed that the item he had taken from the Diabolist, the Alcarast vibrated the closer it got to the pillar. Alcide theorized that something inside, perhaps the mysterious door, was calling out to the Alcarast. Perhaps what was behind the door housed the Tower Amulet, and perhaps it provided secrets about the Alcarast, something that Alcide had yet to uncover.
Meanwhile, Suriveth had found Maewen and made arrangements to pass off the sword to her. Other than that, Maewen had little else to say, not bringing attention to herself.
As the adventurers set forth towards the outpost, the Greenstrand, they made it there in a short amount of time, but as they approached, they heard noises of fighting, electricity, and most disturbingly, a dragon. Eventually, when they arrived, the entire camp was littered with orc and goblin corpses, showing signs of having been bitten, attacked by lightning and skewered by lizard man spears. Realizing that something had happened outside of the plan, they quickly looked around and found a parchment in the handwriting elegant and beautiful, likely addressed to the orc commander, that said that once the amulet was taken, to simply blow the whistle and a servant would come to collect the amulet. Of course, there was a Wood Whistle on the commander’s body. Alcide quickly picked this up.
As they were planning on scouring the area longer, Glaedwin Longclef noticed that the area that appeared to be the area of Boltstrike Pillar, was under some kind of lightning storm. It quickly occurred to them that whatever was here was now back at Boltstrike Pillar. With great haste, they made their way back to Boltstrike Pillar.
Upon arriving, they saw nothing but carnage. Bodies strewn about like children’s toys, what little sign of survivors were present were being snapped up and eaten by a large blue dragon that had clearly orchestrated the attack on Greenstrand. An epic battle took place with the members of the Half-Moon Exploring Company eventually coming victorious. Though, there was no doubt of their bravery, it was assisted by the massive and numerous wounds the dragon had already incurred from the fighting. And more fighting was taking place inside Boltstrike.
Finally, moving up the tower on the inside as whatever protections had been taken out, they came to the roof where they found Valorne and numerous lizard men in some kind of ceremony. Clearly, Valorne was some kind of traitor that was secretly in service to The Three. As Valorne shouted out how The Three would have this tower and the secrets within, the heroes were there to stop him. The fight was brief, but brutal, ending only when Valorne metamorphosed into some kind of draconic hybrid and flying away, no doubt reporting his altercation to his masters.
At the end of it, Grimwalk and Sadda gave their utmost thanks to the heroes and allowed them to have whatever treasures they had found, including the sword, Glaezentorg. Further, they agreed to let them inspect the mysterious door in the basement as it was evident that the Alcarast was the key to opening it. The next step, apparently, was to open that door and see what lie beyond.