A scholar by the name of Parle Cranewing hired Aster and Morthos to locate the ruins of a old keep near the rural village of Winterhaven, and map what remains of it. He promised a payment of 250 gp for a complete rendering. Aster and Morthos agreed, and set out to explore the ruined fortress (and if they happened to find some long forgotten treasures, well who could blame them if they liberated them from such squalor?). Determined to earn a reputation, as well as a hefty sum of gold, they set out in search of adventure.
However on the road to Winterhaven Aster and Morthos were ambushed by a group of Kobolds. Dispatching the creatures, the party of two proceeded on to Winterhaven. Discovering that the incident on the road was merely part of a larger problem, the two accepted a contract from Lord Padraig to deal with the menace, first defeating a night time raiding party, and then tracking the beasts back to their lair with information from the locals.
Spending time with the locales, they learned about some of the problems the Kobolds had been causing, where they probably were based, and picked up some information about the Keep and surrounding area. They were troubled to learn that Goblins had potentially taken root in the Keep. They tried to get information on the Keep from Valthrun the Prescient, but outside of a few minor token pieces of information, he had little to tell the party, telling them that he would “Poke around” back in his Tower, and that he “might” have some information for them when they returned from the Kobold Hunt.
Having learned the location of the lair, they set off. While traveling to the Kobold lair, they they met a traveling Warlord and Dragonborn Shaman wandering the region. After a ambush along the road, the travelers agreed to temporarily help Morthos and Aster. One of the Kobolds briefly mentioned the name Iron Tooth. Making their way to the Kobold Lair, the party launched a surprise attack on the guards outside. After dispatching the Kobolds outside the Cave, the party proceeded inside only to immediately rush back out as a veritable horde of Kobolds chased after them. After a heated battle, the leader of the Kobolds emerged, a giant hulking figure of a Goblin named Iron Tooth. Felling several members of the party, he was only defeated in a quick stroke of tactical genius.
After the narrow brush with death, it quickly became clear that the Kobolds had been far too well equipped, numerous, and organized. More so, why were they taking orders from a Goblin? While looting the bodies and cave for treasure and supplies, Aster and Morthos uncovered a letter to Iron Tooth detailing a sinister plot and threat to Winterhaven, with some kind of strange cult or Goblin Army assembling in the ruins of the Keep. The letter was signed only by the name Kalarel.
Parting ways with the travelers, Morthos and Aster returned to town, and explained the situation to Lord Padraig. Despite the triumph over the Kobolds, their success was tempered with the bittersweet understanding that terrible things were on the horizon. Lord Paidrag pleaded with the party to help them in this dark hour, and ascertain just what the threat to Winterhaven was. The party accepted.
While leaving the Party attempted to contact Valthrun the Prescient, who did not answer their calls to unlock the door, or greet them in any fashion. Worried, Aster picked the lock, and the party crept inside, climbing the large empty tower. Observing a half opened door with candle light, the party slowly crept forward only to see….. Valthrun hunched over a stack of scrolls and old tomes, busily reading away. Starting each other, the party was relieved to see that he was alright.
Valthrun, having heard of the success of the party in dealing with the Kobold menace, and having begun researching some of the things the party asked him, explained just what perhaps was truly occuring up at the old Keep. He explained that under the keep was a closed portal to part of the Shadowfell, a dark land of the afterlife where all souls depart to, and that in ancient times it had been opened by some foul cult and unleashed a army of undead upon the region. The Empire had defeated the undead incursion, and built a keep over the site to guard it.
Valthrun believed that some cult was perhaps attempting to open the portal, and restart the dark work that was begun over 200 years ago. Based on a talisman found by the party on the corpse of a Kobold, Valthrun believes that foul cultists of the Demon Prince Orcus are at work. Orcus, he explained, has long coveted the throne of the Raven Queen, and wishes to be master over death, and Undeath.
After speaking with Rond Keflem about the tactical safety of the village, they were introduced to several prominent individuals who had wandered into town over the last few days, whom he believed could help them infiltrate the keep and deal with the menace inside. They agreed, and took on a contract with Paidrag as well to offer their assistance.
Thus the party departed for the Keep on the Shadowfell.