Our heroes arrived at the town of Wintervale, the center of commerce for the barony. Here they were greeted with a frosty reception from a cult known as the Children of Light, a white-clad group of paladins claiming they worshipped the ‘Holy Light’ and that other gods were false. The leader nearly arrested the heroes on suspicion of colluding with the very forces they had just battled so valiantly to defeat. However, the confrontation was defused by the captain of the guard, a half-elf named Calder. The captain soon informed the party of a bizarre series of murders taking place in the town: at midnight, villagers were being hung from the dead tree in the center of town. Guards were dispatched, and were found hanging from the tree the next morning. Calder turned to our heroes to investigate; they soon learned that the murders mirrored a series of executions performed by an inquisitor of the Children of the Light, known as Albrecht Ironcross, in this town nearly fifty years ago. The party staked out the dead tree at night, only to find the specter of a dead girl hanging from the tree, as well as the shades of the town guards killed just recently, ropes swinging from their necks. The vengeful shade possessed our heroes and attempted to force them to suffer the same fate; the warlord Medrinn was on the verge of plunging from the tree, noose about his neck, but overcame the dominating spirit at the last moment, and it was defeated.
It was also in this town that the party had their first encounter with a black-haired human wearing a distinctive red cloak and hat. He claimed to be a “mage for hire” and expressed interest in the party’s intentions, but remained enigmatic, leaving soon after.
The four heroes continued down the south road; at midnight, they encountered a bizarre trio who led them to a nearby burial ground. The humans poured a strange concoction on the ground and awoke the fell spirits of three witches, who seemed to recognize Aronac, the warlock, calling him “cousin”; however, they were immediately attacked by the animated corpse of Albrecht Ironcross. Their new companions revealed themselves to be the witches’ familiars when they transformed back into animals and scampered away. While Medrinn and the deadly blades of the two Eladrin battled the dread wight, the witch spirits bore Aronac up into the night sky and away from the battlefield. Soon they landed in a stone circle, where more of their kind came; they called on Aronac to lead them or die. However, the devil within Aronac gave him the strength to resist in a massive display of pyrotechnics, and the three other party members followed the explosions and soon caught up. The four continued south, Aronac increasingly disturbed by the strange power within him.
The heroes arrived at a town called, simply enough, Clock Town, named for the ancient relic of the Empire of Avalon that formed the centerpiece of the town: a fully functioning clock tower. It was festival day, and our heroes joined in the fun; Medrinn proved his might by winning both the wrestling and pie-eating contests, developing a new addiction to pie in the process. However, Ewna received dire omens in her consultation with a fortune teller.
Our heroes became suspicious when they noticed the appearance of the red-cloaked man from Wintervale, as he climbed up the shadowed side of the clock tower and entered through a window. Our party moved to investigate, entering the ground floor, where they found a small company of town guards. For some reason, the captain ordered his guards to arrest the party, killing them if necessary; in the ensuing battle, Ewna climbed to a catwalk on the second floor, where she found the red-cloaked man watching the battle with interest. He remained elusive about his own motivations, but Ewna found herself intrigued by this mysterious stranger. Our heroes soon won the battle, and the stranger disappeared over the rooftops.
Suddenly, the town came under attack by goblins! A swarm of the creatures poured in through every gates of the town, and the only warriors to defend the main gate were our heroes. Valiantly they strove against waves of attacking goblins, and even a bugbear captain with a force of goblin warriors who somehow emerged from within the very clock tower they were just fighting in! With the assistance of the town guard, our heroes beat the goblins back, only to be attacked by their final weapon, a rampaging owlbear. Though two heroes were knocked unconscious, they ultimately prevailed against the beast and saved the town.
The town began to recover; the mayor thanked the heroes for their help, the fires were put out, and it was revealed that the captain of the guard was actually in league with the goblins, and had opened a secret entrance in the basement of the tower. All seemed well, until a guard at the wall suddenly shouted an alarm: during the battle, the farm fields had somehow become covered with scarecrows! The town mayor was fully aware that these adventurers owed the town nothing, and had already risked their lives to save them, but he had no choice but to ask them to investigate. The next day, our heroes strode out into the fields, while a swarm of crows darkened the sky overhead …