The Introduction

Early morning brings Lothar Bladesmith to a hill overlooking the bay at Baldur’s Gate, where the rebuilding of an old tower, now dubbed Gatekeeper Tower, is underway. It’s early morning, with the sun barely cresting over the water, and yet the site is a bustle of activity already. Many laborers scurry about, and a dwarven overseer shouts instructions and criticism as he moves around the project.

Away from the bustle, a different dwarf stands watching the work. Gerrick Greystone seems serene in his solitude, and Lothar regrets disturbing him but knows he must.

“Gerrick,” the commander of the Fist says as he stands before the paladin, “I expected to see more of your company with you.” The dwarf makes a grunting noise of disapproval before speaking to the old warrior.

“Only the monk rises early. The thief is usually out late at night. The elf usually gambles into the early morning. Legion comes and goes, and you never know when he will be around, and Bartholomew… well, let’s just say I’d rather face another dragon than see what he’s like after a night of hard drinking.”

“I looked for you at the palace,” Lothar continues, “but they told me your group is no longer staying there. I hope there was no problem.”

“No.” The dwarf says, “But I wanted to keep it that way. I’ve had bad experiences with this group and the nobility. Let’s just say they aren’t used to finer things.”

“I have a matter of some importance to discuss with you.” Lothar says after a few moments of silence, “The matter of the missing fist soldiers that went south. They’ve not returned, and will all the rebuilding and chaos here, I can’t afford to send any more men south.”

“You’d like us to investigate,” Gerrick states. “What can you tell me?”

“The Cloak Wood is a dangerous place, but several years ago a logging company had it in their heads they would build a fort there and harvest wood. They’ve managed to survive for a time, though they get attacked and burnt out and then they rebuild.

“Prior to the problem here, they had sent a warning about a cult gaining power in the woods. I sent a small detachment to investigate, just to ensure they didn’t have designs to attack the city. That contingent never returned. I sent a second larger force, and then the turmoil in the city exploded, along with the Bloomridge district. No one has returned. I need you to go to Fort Wildhaven, and see what you can find out.”

“We’ll leave as soon as I can gather the group,” Gerrick says, as he leaves the build site.

Two days journey into The Cloak Wood leads the group of six to the remains of Wildhaven. The primitive village, once ringed by a palisade of logs looks to have been overrun at some point in the last month. Burnt-out buildings and smashed doors tell the tale of a lost battle.

After skirting the area, the group finds itself inside a tavern, one of a handful of buildings left standing.

“Anyone find signs of survivors?” Morpheus asks the group.

“None.” Omarlyn replies, “And no bodies either. There are clear drag marks where they took the bodies with them, further south.”

“Can you track it?” Gerrick asks Asturean.

“Of course.” The elf says with a smirk. He cocks his head slightly and looks perplexed.

“Something’s out there,” Legion says suddenly.

“Aye,” the elf agrees, “Moving in from the southeast!”

Author: Neil