The three companions set off from Tarle into the tamed wilderness of farms and hunting lodges that lie in the area around Firemere Lake. The going was easy and they were frequently greeted by farmers about their business. Children stopped playing and stared as they travelled past. An unusual and interesting trio, armed to the teeth.
Part way through the second day of travel after the farms had become more scattered and sparse, in fact they had not seen sign of a building for a couple of hours, Stephon spotted a lonely squat building off to one side. There appeared to be a group of canine like creatures gathered by the gate. Quickly they decided to investigate, as the three got closer they realised that the creatures were not dogs, or wolves, but Hyenas and they were eating the corpse of a man, sprawled just inside the gate.
With a shout they darted forward and gave battle. The fight was quick and vicious, but the beasts were no match for the heroes. Sadly the man had been dead sometime and there was nothing anyone could do. Strangely one of the Hyena’s had a collar on. On closer inspection it was noticed that a large glittering gem was set into the collar. After burying the remains the party camped, so as to reach the castle by late morning the next day, rather than at nightfall.
When the castle came into view, it was an eirie ruin perched on a hill top that rose out of the eastern border of the Crystal Woods. Mist obscured everything and gave the place an otherworldly appearance, the only sound the occasional cawing of a crow.
Cautiously the party moved to take cover by a large solitary oak tree to better observe their destination. As they did, a great raucous noise went up and scores of crows flew into the air and wheeled to attack them. Enormous, devious rooks joined in with the attack and any hope of stealth in approaching the castle was lost as the birds were fought off, eventually giving up the fight and finding another roost. Although not before dozens were slain.
Deciding that the subtle approach was lost the three walked straight up to the castle and begun exploring the courtyard, having walked through the brokendown gatehouse. Tracks were found, but could not be clearly identified. Whilst searching the rubble of the fallen southern curtain wall, Kamu disturbed a nest of vicious, diseased rats. But in the process he also found the long buried remains of a knight, still clasping an enormous sword, which remained in perfect condition.
Corryn examined the blade and pronounced it magical, embued with the power of lightening. The party turned their attention to the keep and moved to step up the stairs to the entrance, blocked by an intimidating but battered door, hanging from one hinge.