Three days North of Waterdeep, the party passes through the pretty town of Amphail, staying at the comfortable Stag-Horned Flagon Inn for only a single night before moving on into the wilder lands of the Dessarin Valley proper. They barely note the brightly painted and vandalised statue of The Great Shalarn, a war stallion, locally famous. Fellow visitors to the inn warn the party to keep clear of Rundreth Manor – a ruined villa on a hill overlooking the Long Road, less than a day’s ride North from Amphail.
Indeed, when the party arrives in sight of Rundreth Manor, they are confronted by bodies by the side of the road displayed as a warning.
Typical of adventuring parties, they decide to investigate. Undeterred by further evidence of severed heads on poles around the ruined manor itself. The heads, interestingly, have curious runes carved on them.
The thrills begin when Thursh plummets through weak flooring into a great chamber below ground-level, falling at the feet of a female Drow Elf. The Elf leans over the winded Barbarian, smiles and says “Welcome to Rundreth Manor.”
The sight of a long-hated Drow spurs the party into aggressive action and they attack as best they can to rescue their colleague. Janner throws darts through the gaping hole in the ceiling, trying to distract the black-skinned villain… only to find her an apparition. The darts plunge unhindered through the form of the dark elf and hit her barbarian colleague beneath.
Once assured that the party attacked in error, and were not representatives from “the cults”, the party chatted to the Drow for about an hour. She was oddly civil, but a little intimidating, yet vague and erratic – enigmatically hinting about the fact they may need to seek unusual allies in their efforts. Rather than stay in the cold and depressing ruins surrounded by heads on spikes, the party retreated.
An auspicious start. The sounds of distant thunder, unseasonably warm and damp weather lent no additional comfort.