Part I: The Shadow of Castle Rising (DM: Jonathan; Players: Aaron (Arthur (r.i.p.) & Gelmyr), Amy (Fox & Dawn), Josh (Arthedain) & Mike (Ice))
A rather ragtag band of mercenaries are traveling in the shadow of the peaks of the Crown Mountains. They are: Arthedain (warlord) the drug addicted captain, Fox (ranger) the reticent scout and Dawn (shaman) the cook, Ice (wizard) the mysterious and vain eladrin mage, and Arthur (rogue) the reckless halfling cad. In the mountains they have taken refuge at Castle Rising, along with the band of Vaderan knights they currently serve. The knights are trying to recover a relic from their kingdom’s past. However, some unknown force has summoned forth a diabolical shadow that is slowly consuming all it touches and driving those within it mad. The Knights’ Commander, Prince Andar Villeneuve of Vadera gives the mercenaries one last duty. They are ordered to flee the Castle with his battle standard and return it to Vadera to his Mother, the Queen.
They learn their one chance to escape is to make a run for an ancient portal that may activate a teleportation circle, but the shadow must be slowed if they are to reach it without being consumed. The Vaderan knights stay behind with their Prince. He is dedicated to his duty to see the relic, an ancient rod of power wrapped in his standard, returned to his kingdom. He will lay down his life for his duty, and charges the party to take the standard through the portal and back to Vadera while he and his company of knights hold off the shadow long enough for them to escape.After fleeing the castle and witnessing its fall to the consuming shadow, our party finds an abandoned monastery and seeks cover. While exploring, hoping to find something to use against the shadow or some clue how to stop it, one of their number, Arthur, allows his curiosity and greed to get the better of him, opening up an sealed chest and unleashing his death. The party has no time to mourn, for if they do not act quickly, they will join him in the Raven Queen’s embrace.
As they dash across the treacherous landscape, they come across the bodies of three eladrin. Somehow, they are trapped in the waking dream of one of the three, a swordmage named Gelmyr. He is the only one of the three alive. In the dreamscape, they defeat his foes, and all find themselves awake. Gelmyr agrees to help them reach the portal, but they are not sure how much time elapsed while they fought in the dreamscape. They catch site of the portal at the same time they detect the howling shadow thing in hot pursuit of them. They make a mad dash to the site of the portal, and Ice works out the ritual needed to activate it.They arrive in a tavern yard in the capital of Vadera. Gelmyr was forced to follow them or be consumed by the shadow. However, it seems he has an interest in the relic they have recovered, claiming it does not belong to Vadera, but to the eladrin, and that he and his companions had gone to the Crown Mountains in search of it. The party decides they will live up to their word to the Vaderan prince (mostly in hopes of some reward), and they make their way to the Palace to return the relic.