The party as it leaves Llorkh: Agitha, the dwarven cleric of the sun god. Random, the tiefling mercenary. Mae, the motherly halfing acrobat. Hamm, halfling husband to Mae and fellow acrobat. Arden, the shifter ranger (with wolf Aura). Armas, brother to Arden; duel-wielding warrior.
The party headed east towards the gap in the Graypeak Mountains. The shifter siblings had come through that same pass when they traveled to the Gray Vale, so they offered to serve as guides. The shifters were quiet on their past, but they let it be known that their tribal lands lay in the wooded hills east of the Graypeaks, and they had left due to turmoil in their tribe.
Several hours outside of town, the party stopped at a mining camp and shared a lunch with a team of dwarves. One of the dwarves was a holy servant of Kelemvor, the god of the dead. Cahir was his name, and he joined the party with hope to encounter and slay undead. The group was glad to have another servant of the gods among their group, though Cahir did not strike them as a healer.
The party, plus one, continued east climbing the hills of the Graypeaks. As the sun was getting low behind them, the party came to the narrow pass that served as the only easy path through the craggy rocks ahead. Near the path sat an ogre.
The ogre appeared to be sulking, and did not regard the approaching party with much concern or hostility. Arden approached the beast to parley… unwilling to attack the creature outright, but neither wanting to turn their backs on it as they passed so closely nearby. The ogre introduced himself, barely, as Bloke. He knew a few words of common and managed to explain that a band of orcs had stolen his prized sack of goodies. Struggling to understand him, the party agreed to find the orcs and return the sack of goodies, in exchange for some yet-seen “shiny rock”.
In truth, the party merely wished to pass the ogre without a fight, and if orcs were encountered later, so be it.
Through the pass, the party went. As the sun was sinking later, the party scouted the hills for a safe place to make camp. It was here that they notice a hilltop not too far in the distance. A ring of standing stone could just be made out, and wisps of smoke could be seen. The shifters searched for tracks and found the telltale signs of orc boots… leading up to the hill.
Hamm and Mae scouted ahead and indeed found a dozen orcs camped upon the hilltop, within the ruins of an old ring of stones. The halflings set up a clever trap and reported back to the party. Plans set, the whole group stormed the hill.
The halflings, however, had circled the hilltop and called out to the orcs – hooting and hollaring! Half of the orcs chased the halfings down the hillside, right into the hidden trip line set earlier in the evening. With half the orcs tripped up, the party charged the remaining band. It was a tough fight, but the party proved victorious against the orcs and their witch-doctor leader!
The party rolled the dead orcs down the hillside and investigated the ruins. The shifters recognized it as an old site, sacred to nature loving folk… but they could not name specifics. In the center of the ring of stone was a large stone bowl, where the orcs had made sacrifices to some dark god. After the bowl was rolled down the hill too (where it hit a bump, went airborn, and then shattered!) something more interesting was discovered.
A large square space of stones was set into the ground, and within the square, a perfect circle of silvery stone. Half of this circle was filled with the silvery stone, but the other half was left empty. As the party worked to clean the area, the silvery stone began to glow from the light of the rising moon. It dawned on the party that they were standing in a sacred spot of the goddess Selune, and the stonework depicted a half moon… much like the one rising above them.
Suddenly, the moon circle began to glow brightly! The hilltop was awash in silvery light. Within the moon circle, a figure of light began to form. The creature was tall and beautiful, its features blurred with radiant light. Great, sweeping wings formed from its back and its silver robes whipped in a wind that was not there.
The creature introduced itself as a servant of the moon goddess, and it extended the goddess’ thanks to the party for reclaiming a holy site. It explained that they stood before a moongate that, when in conjunction with the moon above, would allow them to travel to other moongates. There were many moongates, it explained, scattered throughout the world, but most were lost to darkness. The being tasked the party to uncover other moongates so that Selune’s faithful could more easily spread her faith. The being asked each of the party to step forward to receive Selune’s blessing, which would allow them to use the gate.
All were eager, save the shifter siblings. The moon was a sacred thing to all shifters, but it’s glory was often also a curse. Shifters have within them the blood of lycanthropes, those shapeshifting monsters that often go mad at the sight of the full moon. The shifter worship more primitive spirits than the greater gods of Faerun, so they were not eager to bow before one’s servant and receive a blessing that could also be a curse.
In the end, the party convinced the shifters to accept the blessing, and with a touch of a silver sword, each party felt like the moon looked down upon them with kindness. The angelic being explained that the moongate would let the party travel to Silverymoon many miles to the north west, or travel to the hidden city of Evereska to the south east.
Though there was little debate that Evereska would be their destination, the party decided not to use the moongate immediately. Arden remembered that the orcs were supposed to be holding an ogre’s sack of goodies and she was curious what it might contain. She found the sack and, too her disgust, found that it was filled with gold… and the dehydrated heads of several dwarves! Agitha and Cahir were outraged that their distant kinsmen would be so desecrated, so they buried the heads and prayed over the graves. Revenge was wanted! Arden, however, fully explained that the ogre may not have killed the dwarves. The dwarf heads, however unsightly they may be, may also be bartered goods in the humanoid hill cultures. The ogre might not be to blame.
Arden beheaded several orcs and stuffed their heads into the sack. The plan was to confront the ogre and exchange the sack for the “shiny rock”. Though the dwarves wanted to stop the ogre from the possibility of ever harming other dwarves, they could not bring themselves to assault a creature that had not threatened them. In the end, the group traded the sack for a large, plain rock. The group was about to toss the mini-boulder when Cahir realized its true value. It was actually an unbroken geode that contained a crust of valuable gems inside. The party agreed that this was a good trade and headed back to the moongate. Bloke the ogre survived the day… but probably only because he insinuated that his band of brothers were just out of sight.
Later that night, the part gathered their things and led their horses into the moongate. One by one, the party appeared a few hundred miles away in the hidden city of Evereska. The party members were stuck with wonder at the sight that greeted each one as they stepped from the moongate. More surprised than the party, though, were a patrol of eladrin guards that happened to watch an uninvited party appear deep within their hidden sanctuary…