Before the Storm (tbn) 4e

10. Brightmoon Enslaved

Looking out across the vale the party could see a number of tall Iron Towers being built, with finished ones holding massive fires at their tops, spewing oily black smoke and hellish red light.  The City of Brightmoon was surrounded by the campfires of an army.  Above it, in the blizzard newly unleashed, a great Red Dragon swooped in and out of the clouds.  Inside the town, where the Baron's Keep had once been, a massive constuction was under way.  Otherwise, the town seemed the same, with a few hearthfires rising against the bitter cold.

 

The party descended slowly towards Brightmoon, wading through the snow that was now up to their knees.  Surrounding the city was an army of Hobgoblins, and their goblinoid kin.  Along the roadside they saw werewolves yoked with magical chains and driven by armored hobgoblin guards to sniff out magical auras; apparently this was the fate of the thieves' guild of Brightmoon under the Hobgoblins' iron rule.  While the party was watched by the invaders, they made it through the checkpoints untouched, excepting some steep tolls leveyed by the guards at the gate on the way in.

  While there, the party asked some questions of the guards.  It seemed that the Hobgoblins under the Order of the Chain's rule wanted Brightmoon to become a trade outpost, and that no humans were to be harmed within its walls.  This was abnormal, as Goblins lived and grew by taking normal humans and transforming them through their dark magics into goblinoids: children became Goblins, adults became Hobgoblins, others became Bugbears, and so forth, losing their identities and irrevocably becoming Goblins.  That they would halt this favourite of their pursuits was strange to say the least.  Perhaps they truly wished to strike up trade legitimately?

 Inside the town, the party found buyers for the wagons they'd taken, and did some minor shopping for winter clothes.  Food and warmth were hard enough for the native humans to come by, but the party's wealth helped them find an Inn.  They heard more news of the town, that the Order of the Chain had declared the Baron's rule weak; some thieves had stolen from around the town, including from the Order of the Chain's Ogre Captain, which was seen as an insult to the Order.  That the Baron had tolerated a guild of Werewolves and Lycanthropes in the town was enough excuse to hire the Hobgoblin army to usurp rulership.  Now the Order's Guildhouse was where rulership lay.  Aside from the murder of the Baron, and conquering the town with virtually no bloodshed (ie: a single regiment of guards was no match for an army of Hobgoblins, so surrender was immediate), the Order had left the people mostly alone.  Only occasional patrols by goblins, and a strict curfew, were signs of what was going on inside the walls.

While wandering the streets, the party came across a strange sight in the square: Ogres and a Tiefling magistrate were dragging another tiefling, this one bloodied and bruised, to the middle of the market square, and put him in a cage.  The charge: that he was a secret member of the Order of the Golden Chalice, and that he should be put to death by exposure.

At the same time, from an alley, the party saw a figure in a cloak beconing for them to join him.  It turned out to be a corpse, one under a spell to transmit a message for them.  The Tiefling in the cage needed rescue, so the corpse offered them a map of the sewers and a secret tunnel out of the city if they would do this for him.  The corpse offered them a Holy Symbol of the Order of the Golden Chalice, tied to its exposed and rotting ribcage by the animator, when they agreed.  They asked who this Tiefling was to the corpse's master, to which it replied "he's my brother", before crumbling to dust.

 The rescue was arranged.  The party sold everything they wouldn't need, and gave the children into the care of the Bard.  He would drive the wagon out to the meeting place on the other side of the secret tunnel while the party went to rescue the Tiefling holyman.  

The party made quick plans, finding the cage guarded by a group of the smaller goblins, including one of their Hexer witch-doctors.  The battle was fast, as the party knew it was only a matter of time before other guards came after them.  Two of the party distracted the goblin warriors while the others charged up and opened the cage, slaying the Hexer and their other foes in the process.  There was a mad dash to the nearby sewer opening just as the Hobgoblin reinforcements, and one Ogre, arrived, firing arrows that shattered on the pavement as they dove down through the hole… and into the dark, haunted sewers of Brightmoon.

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fireinthedust

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