<u>Session 1: Arodus 1 to Arodus 8, 4716 AR</u>
Your party of six gathered on a misty summer morning at the Starving Stirge inn in Calpihas. The sorcerer Corian had an amulet whose secrets he wished to unlock. This would require a journey to the small town of Fairhill in the Hungry Mountains Valley of Virlych.his haunted region was technically a part of Ustalav but was essentially uninhabited as it was the planar prison of the dread Whispering Tyrant. To aid in his quest he had recruited Galdar, a priest of Abadar from the city of Vigil. The dour priest claimed that his god had given him a vision of the amulet’s importance. The monk Drinna also agreed to accompany the sorcerer after he had helped drive off some muggers that were attacking the monk. The half-elven bard Natalia was convinced that there was an epic story somehow involved with this amulet and was determined to be the one to write it. The final two members of the company were wandering mercenaries—the elven ranger Belflin who simply wanted to exterminate any giants encountered, and the dwarven warrior Drebb, who sought to erase the stain of shame from his good name.
Natalia was amazed that Corian had not tested the amulet to see if it was cursed. The sorcerer claimed that he had acquired the amulet by accident from a more powerful wizard. The amulet supposedly belonged to Eralion of Fairhill, who had perished 20 years ago amid rumors that he was seeking to become a lich. Galdar identified the amulet as bearing the 4-horned goat symbol of Orcus, Demon Prince of the Undead. Natalia and Galdar related that Orcus was a minor deity in Golarion whose power was held in check by the dominance of Urgathoa, goddess of gluttony, disease, and the undead.
The first four days of the journey were uneventful aside from a tornado that passed near you all on the second night. As was typical for Ustalav, the weather was gloomy and rainy. Late on the afternoon of the 4 Arodus, you all reached the small town of Grayce, where you did some shopping, restocked on supplies, and picked up rumors. This quiet township serves as the gate to Lastwall, its devout community of farmers, shepherds, and weavers revering a provincial pantheon including Iomedae, Pharasma, and the empyreal lord Andoletta. Here the Chapel Bridge, a wooden drawbridge built through an ancient shine to Pharasma, spans the Path River and connects with roads leading northwest to Vigil and south to Vellumis. While at the main inn there, the Guiding Star, Natalia, Corian, and Galdar encountered a rival group of adventurers led by a half-elf named Nathaniel, who tried to recruit Natalia to his group after hearing her performance.
It was four days to your next destination. On 7 Arodus, you all encountered a small band of four Gnolls and two hyenas. Drebb and Belflin took out the hyenas, while Natalia used her magic to incapacitate a Gnoll. Drebb and Drinna, with the help of Corian’s magical attacks took out the enchanted Gnoll and one of the others. The remaining two fled into the rain. Natlia and Corian recognized Gnolls as evil, hyena-headed humanoids known for the worship of demons and the goddess Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters. These Gnolls bore the emblem of a gory axe on their shields, which Natalia recalled was the symbol of a Gnoll tribe living in the mountains north of Vigil, a week’s journey to the west. It was a mystery what they were doing so far from their usual haunts.
Late on the afternoon of 8 Arodus, you all arrived at Hallein Town. From here, south and west of the Path River would put you into Lastwall. Your journey would keep you north of the Path River and into the southern fringes of Virlych through the Hungry Mountains Valley. While but a relatively tiny settlement down river from Vigil, Hallein Town is nevertheless an important component of the nation. Virtually inaccessible by land, Hallein Town hosts the workers for the salt mines in the Virlych hills. In generations past, salt was carried down the road along the river by mule, but this became a dangerous route in winter because of Kaltia, the Haunter of the Hills. This haggard ghost from a long-lost dwarf-clan was accursed and murdered by her own people for trying to make peace with the orcs of Belkzen. Though she’s been slain repeatedly by the crusader knights, her resting place has never been found, and she returns again and again to menace the salt-bearers, especially in the winter months. You all did some shopping, restocked on supplies, and picked up rumors as you prepared for the last leg of your trip.
Over the first eight days of your journey, you picked up the following rumors regarding Eralion, Fairhill, its neighboring town of Crimmor, and the Hungry Mountain Valley in general:
- Eralion was a half-elven wizard and devoted servant to the recently deceased deity Aroden, and like many of his followers underwent a crisis of faith when that deity died. Ninety years ago, Eralion retired to the village of Fairhill. There he fell in love with a local soothsayer, even crafting a staff to help her restore her sight, which had been stripped from her by the spirits who gave power to her. Something, however, went horribly wrong and Eralion’s lover disappeared. It was at this time that Eralion began to stray further from his faith and dabble in dark powers best left alone. Just over twenty years ago, he wrote to his the old friend in Caliphas, a fellow elven wizard named Ferablin. Ferablin was disturbed that Eralion was seeking information on becoming a lich. Ferablin refused to provide Eralion the information he sought and never spoke with him again. Ferablin heard that shortly after he refused to give Eralion information on the rituals to become a lich, his friend locked himself in his tower near Fairhill and never came out again, presumably dying in despair over his lost love and the perceived betrayal of his old friend.
- Something appears to be hunting the inhabitants of the two villages, with increasing numbers of residents disappearing. The most notable victim was the daughter of Fairhill’s blacksmith. There are also rumors that stirges have been attacking the town of Crimmor. Nathaniel and his band were actually heading to Crimmor to offer their help with this issue.
- Fairhill is run by an elven priestess of Erastil named Shandril. She has a reputation for cruelty and harshness. She is rumored to have charmed the head of Fairhill’s militia, a man named Arlen.
- Eralion’s abandoned tower is rumored to be the lair of a vampire, and many locals are blaming the disappearing villagers on this creature.