Shadow Over the Nentir Vale
Hadrian Markelhay is the first son of the Lord Warden of Fallcrest, Faren Markelhay, and his wife, Allande. At an early age, Hadrian was taught the arts of high society and was being trained to act as a courtier and lobbyist in King Kelvin the First‘s city of Vendar, which was far to the south of the borderland region of the Nentir Vale. His apprehension in these lessons were immediately apparent. Lord Markelhay and Hadrian would often come to argument, so heated at times that Hadrian would receive beatings and other punishments as a result. Allande’s hated the enmity between father and son, so she made an effort to resolve the matter peaceably.
Allande’s maiden house was that of Staul, a knight errant house based in the Cloak Wood to the south of Fallcrest. Douvan, the lord of that house, had a daughter named Cassandra. Allande proposed Hadrian go and live with Douvan and train under the weaponmaster. In time, he might come to know Cassandra Staul and take her as his wife, binding the two noble houses and strengthening the territory which House Markelhay ruled over. Faren and Hadrian agreed to this, but Hadrian only agreed because of the training, thinking the idea of an arranged marriage to be a slight against his freedom.
Hadrian had been living and studying with his mentor, Douvan Staul, for some time in his estate within the Cloak Wood when his true test of skill came upon him. He was no stranger to the dangers of kobolds and understood the dangers presented by dragons. When Douvan told Hadrian that they would travel together deeper into the forest to seek out a blue wyrmling that had been giving neighboring lumberjacks some problems and bring an end to it, it did not worry Hadrian in the slightest.
They trekked off that very next day and spent a long six hours hiking through the forest. Douvan led the way and Hadrian was physically capable of following his mentor anywhere he should lead. As the sun started its decent back to the horizon, the two came upon a pair of kobolds with pikes standing outside a peculiar gate. From what Douvan had been told by the lumberjacks, this was the lair of the blue wyrmling Kepsk’edar.
The two descended upon the kobold pikers with stealth and grace. Hadrian took one of the longspears as his own, adding to his arsenal. They quickly dispatched the guards and made their way into the first chamber of this dungeon. More kobolds assailed them and, as they fought, more yet came through the door. They were led by a kobold in armor holding a large steel shield emblazoned with a rampant blue dragon. Hadrian engaged it head on with his great axe after passing his spear to Douvan, who fought from behind Hadrian’ sweeping blade. This technique did them well in the narrow corridor and they continued into the heart of the dungeon.
The blue wyrmling sat on a throne surrounded by a pit, filled with old and fresh dead alike. The wyrmling, it seemed, also preyed on the King’s Road for travelers. It yelled to its kobold minions to continue their work. Their mining picks rang against stone as Hadrian and Douvan’s steel met tooth and claw. They fought through the thick sandy breath shot into their eyes and finally defeated the dragon. They then inspected the work of the now-dead kobolds and saw that they were trying to break open a massive stone gate. Douvan suggested they leave it be. Hadrian gathered up the dragon’s hoard and the two made their way out of the dungeon.
It was here that Hadrian met the surprise for the day. Douvan told his student to return to his hometown of Fallcrest, deliver the head of the slain Kepsk’edar, and then stay there for a time. He wished for Hadrian to master his own destiny and felt odd jobs in the city may serve him well. Hadrian obliged after being gifted his master’s longbow and a quiver of arrows.
After three months of working as a porter in the city of Fallcrest for a dwarf name Barstomun Strongbeard and making efforts to remain out of the notice of his father, Hadrian received a letter from his mentor’s wife. It detailed how the old weaponmaster had gotten together with old adventuring friends shortly after Hadrian was sent away and how he wished to find an old dragon tomb lost near the town of Winterhaven. No word of his whereabouts had been received since he had left.
Hadrian moved quickly. He met with a band of adventurers in the Lucky Gnome Taphouse. There was a dwarf named Rignar Whitebeard who was an agent of the Great Church who sought out cultists of the demon prince Orcus. He had joined forces with a member of the Magier named Talos Perdix, who walked with the help of a strange mechanical leg. There was an eladrin mage named Erveliss Glanodel who was following a human acolyte of Avandra named Gervan north to Winterhaven to uncover possible cultist activity. A quiet young man named Raiza offered his blade to the acolyte at no charge and for seemingly no reason. The eladrin mage desperately sought Hadrian’s company on their journey and offered him one hundred gold to travel with them even though it was already his intention to do so. The entire group was finally united by the mysterious man named Dalor Decabessa, who spoke to everyone in a concert of minds and suggested they work as a group. The next morning, they were off to Winterhaven.
Once in Winterhaven, the group sought out the cultists, finding leads all about. Hadrian cared nothing for any of it and only concerned himself with finding Douvan. An old farmer named Eilian penned a map in Hadrian’s journal to a dragon burial site the old adventurer was headed off to. Eilian confided in Hadrian that he had fought alongside Douvan in the past and was worried for him. The next morning, Hadrian marched to the burial site with the others in tow. There, they found a band of villains standing around an unearthed dragon skeleton. In the corner of the pit was a bound and bleeding form. Hadrian knew it to be Douvan and fought with reckless abandon against cultist, guard drakes, and foul gnomes alike. When the battle was done, Hadrian found Douvan broken and dead. He took his mentor’s locket off his neck.
The group convinced Hadrian not to give up the fight against the cult to help destroy that which had caused Douvan to die. He joined their cause and fought alongside them, against kobold and cultist, goblin and undead. It was easy to say farewell to Raiza and welcome his replacement, Smoke, from their guild. The group defeated all vile things that stood in the Keep on the Shadowfell, rescuing villagers of Winterhaven from a horrific death. He was not without mercy, as he offered his protection to the innocent goblin Splug. He stood alongside his allies and mourned the deaths of Erveliss, his brother Solvinar Glanodel, and in the end Dalor. With Kalarel’s death, the death of Douvan had been avenged.
In the aftermath, Eilian the Old replaced the former lord warden of Winterhaven who was a cultist put to death by the adventurers. Hadrian agreed to find the Bloodreaver hobgoblin tribe that was taking up folks as slaves and bring them to justice. It was fate that Douvan’s brother, Galen Staul, came out of the wilds to guide Hadrian’s blades. Galen was already seeking the Bloodreavers, so he naturally took Douvan’s place as Hadrian’s mentor. In their hunt, they found and rescued and befriended an elf named Valandil Celebrindal, who was also hunting the slavers.
Their hunt for the Bloodreavers brought them to the Thunderspire Labyrinth. They defeated the hobgoblin tribe in their home, the Chamber of Eyes, but did not find the missing Riverdown Elves They followed leads that lead them to Horned Hold, where they defeated the vile Grimmerzhul Clan of duergar. It was there that they rescued the majority of the missing elves, but fate pulled them deeper into the Labyrinth, deep down to the Well of Demons. It was there, in the Proving Ground, that Hadrian was introduced to the Invulnerable Coat of Arnd, which selected him to be its champion in bringing justice to the evils in the Vale. The heroes fought up the Tower of Mysteries with the silver key to face off against the renegade mage named Paldemar. Hadrian watched as his friend Valandil was slain by the assassin Taesan Dragoneater, but helped avenge him by defeating both the assassin and the mage.
Hadrian and Galen returned with their allies to Hadrian’s home town of Fallcrest. Once there, Hadrian spent some time telling his tales to his father and assuring him that his wishes to defeat the foul creatures of the Vale was no longer a child’s dream but the goals of a man raised in the fires of battle and forged by the strength of his companions.
A letter came to him while he stayed at his father’s house, requesting a meeting with him at a late hour in a less than hospitable location. He invited his allies to come, but brashly moved into the meeting before his mentor Galen could arrive. They met with a strange man who claimed to be Dalor Decabessa, Hadrian’s enigmatic friend who had given his life to slay Kalarel at the Keep on the Shadowfell. He was accompanied by members of the Shadow Ravens guild and he and his allies were quickly lain low by the precision and skill of the ambush.
- Missing Mentor
- The Introduction at Fallcrest
- On the Road
- First Night in Winterhaven
- Kobold Ambush
- The Burial Site
- The Kobold Lair
- Images in the Mirror
- Padraig’s Cult
- Into Shadowfell Keep
- Return to Winterhaven
- Return to Shadowfell Keep
- The Scion of Orcus
- A New Teacher
Galen (Male Human): Hadrian deeply respects and cares for Galen, but he always remembers his first mentor and Galen’s brother’s teachings. Galen, compared to Douvan, is a shrewd man who often times forgets to care for those around him. Hadrian tries his best to remember that he needs his friends as much as they need him, because in them is where he finds his true strength.
Nim (Male Gnome): The most recent addition to the party, Nim is a welcome break in the seriousness of his allies. Nim often pulls pranks, but these are frowned upon when they bring the group to a possible harm. Hadrian can understand the ire of Galen for the gnome, but sometimes he doesn’t feel it has merit. If Nim were to cause a genuine problem for the party, Hadrian would regret the event.
Smoke (Male Tiefling): A mysterious yet cosmopolitan tiefling who has died and come back. Hadrian is hardly envious of that, but he often wonders about it. Would he see Douvan again? Smoke makes for a great ally in the heat of combat, able to dance through shadows and dig his vile blade deep for some of the cleanest strikes Hadrian has ever seen. Smoke seems to have a sense of nobility, despite being little more than an assassin for the King.
Asterion (Male Minotaur):
♦ Alignment: Good
♦ Height: 5’11"
♦ Weight: 185 lb.
♦ Age: 42
♦ Deity: Kord
♦ Class/Level (Theme): Weaponmaster 7 (Guardian)
Str 15 Con 11 Dex* 10
Int 21 Wis 10 Cha 8
♦ Racial Features
Bonus Feat, Bonus Skill, Human Defense Bonuses, Human Power Selection (Heroic Effort)
♦ Class Features
♦ Trained Skills