The party, loosely bound by an obnoxious and trite fetch quest, meets for the first time.
In the mess hall of Fort Icemaul Kerad Whitestone and Fayad the Deva Invoker reunite, both formerly of the Shields of Bahamut. Kerad ask a favor of his friend, to retrieve a Riddle Box for a powerful local dwarf named Gert Stoutbarrel. Fayad accepts, and Kerad gives him a token of his appreciation – a small, tarnished silver coin engraved with Bahamut and an inscription reading “Open to Bahumut” in Dwarvish.
Kerad then woke a visiting Dwarf from the south, Elmo Goldspade, to accompany Fayad. He then suggested that the two find more to join them, as things had been strange of late in the region. The pair, one short and one tall, came across a half-elven woman leading a wolf. She introduced herself as Rowan, and her companion as Lyr. She decides to join them as well.
The trio then turned to see a grumbling Kerad. Tailing the dwarf was a sullen Tiefling, who had been sneaking around the Fort. Kerad insisted they take the Tiefling with him, having no interest in harboring either a Tiefling nor a sneakthief. The Tiefling grudgingly complied, muttering that his name was Atori. Four strong, the group moved out the front gate to begin their travel to the northern watchtower of the Dwarves. Not ten steps into their journey, they are confronted by a Fiery Genasi. He inserted himself into the party, introducing himself as Emere – his warmth and skill were welcome.
After a short time’s travel, Lyr began to act a touch unsettled. Rowan picked up on her friend’s unease, and mentioned it to the party. They heard a group of wolves howling and suddenly saw a group of wolves rushing toward them. Though the Tiefling took a few nips and bites, the wolves were dispatched of quickly. The poor creatures were starved and likely driven to this attack by their hunger.
The party then arrived at a small canyon, cut into the earth by a quick-flowing river. A small rope bridge was their only means of crossing to the other side, where two Dwarven guards stood watch. Rowan asked passage, so that they might retrieve the Stoutbarrel Riddle Box. The others frowned at her loose tongue. They made it across without incident (Dwarves laughing all the while), though Elmo did risk running the last 30 feet. Only his alcohol could calm his nerves. The dwarves guarding the bridge were briefly questioned, but found to be simple security. Elmo relieved them of their whiskey, and Atori managed to convince the pair that they were not, in fact, looking for a valuable Riddle Box.
Shortly thereafter, the party arrived at the North Watchtower. A slightly inebriated Elmo mistook a large, fallen log for the tower. The Deva pointed him in the right direction. However, the tower – supposed to be abandoned – was occupied by some kind of magical presence. Smoke and light drifted out the tower’s openings.
Elmo stealthily opened the door, positioned himself behind the robed figure sitting by the fire, and was immediately called out. The figure stood up, demand the party walk in, and introduced himself as Elias Sindwell, an academic mage studying Ice Wisps in the area. He had taken to the tower as shelter and a quiet place for study. Rowan felt that he might not be revealing all, and spoke with the group outside. They decided to ask him to step outside as they looked for the Riddle Box. They discovered it hidden behind a cleverly concealed stone wall, opened expertly by Fayad.
A few initial attempts to open the box were met with failure, as Elias waited patiently outside.