Letter found in a bottle, in the forests around Shadowfell keep. The letter appears to be written in blood.

To whom it may concern,

You, traveler, have found my message. I have little hope if this ever happening, but if you have found this letter, would you please try to get it to the friends I have given everything for: Marc Quin, Shai Lahaha, Rothyrn and Haian Longshot.

I have written this letter in secret, for my master Kalarel should not be forewarned of the possible arrival of my friends. I shall now tell you the horrible story of the last few days, hoping you will take pity on me and deliver this letter to my friends.

The story started when we arrived at Shadowfell keep, to clear it of the demonic infestation. We had already heard Kalarel is at the head of the demonic organization, and would also have the Rod of Ruin, a demonic artifact. After days of searching the vile halls and labyrinths in the keep, foreboding dreams seemed to come to me more and more often. I tried to ignore the dreams, thinking of them as only figments of my imagination. However, as I saw every picture from my dreams solidify before my eyes in this accursed keep, I could no longer doubt the verity of the dreams I had.

After crossing through labyrinths, bug infested caves and monstrous chambers filled with goblins and instruments of torture, we came to a great chamber with a blood pit. Several chains ran into the pit providing solid grip to climb down. After some deliberation I decided to climb down, followed closely by my friends. We then arrived in a giant hall of worship for the vile Orcus, falling in an ankle deep reservoir of blood.

Immediately, we were welcomed by Kalarel, the present master of Shadowfell keep, and keeper of the Rod of Ruin. He seemed to know us all so well… offering every member of the party riches and power according to their deepest desires. To marc he promised to disclose his deepest magical secrets, and power beyond imagination. To Shai he promised riches and wealth. What he promised to the elf I do not remember. His wishes have always seemed alien to me.

I was glad to see all my friends stood fast in the face of temptation. Kalarel also showed strong knowledge not to offer me any temptations. He must have already known that I cannot be swayed from a confrontation by riches or power. All I wanted was to test my power against his. I would have plenty chance, and there was plenty of power to go up against…

Haian was the first to loose a shot at the Wight standing in the direction of the staircase. The full battle commenced, with us still standing ankle deep in blood and bodies. Although the Wight stayed out of combat to attack us from long range, Kalarel and his zombie minions soon were upon us. Although it did not strike me at that moment, he stayed close to a large symbol glowing on the ground. Later, he explained to me this symbol gives him extraordinary strength and regenerating abilities.

After slaying both zombies we tried to finish Kalarel once and for all. The Wight however now showed her presence more than ever, by reviving both zombies, without a single sign of fatigue. This was clearly the turning point in the battle. The zombies, combined with Kalarel made quick work of my already battered friends. Even the fleeing Shai was slowed to a halt and then shot unconscious. Due to the grace of the spirit of the mountain’s thunder, I was now the only one left standing.

Next, everything went quick. A gate, seemingly straight to the netherworld, had been present in the hall from the start. I hadn’t spent any attention to this gate, as the battle raged on. Now however, It seemed demonic hands were grasping at Marc who was unconscious close to the gate. I quickly sprang to his aid, trying to avoid him being pulled into the shadowfell. The demonic hands were strong, but in the end, I naturally prevailed.

With all my friends dead, Kalarel started to try to persuade me into pledging him allegiance. After such a long battle, and recognizing defeat when I saw it, I tried to rescue my friends as well as I could. In exchange for my soul and my eternal servitude, I bargained for them to be sent to a nearby town unharmed. He even agreed to change that dreadful tiefling into a more respectable human. In the end, things turned out well for them.

I however was now forced to kneel in front of Kalarel, and after having sworn an oath, was forced to enter the gate. I cannot describe the madness… the screaming, the wailing, the shadows and above all, the blood everywhere. I do not know what happened, but I came out changed, and also with new urges…

I have tried to fight the madness long enough to send this letter, and luckily, the revolting beings that I now captain still do not evoke any sympathy from me. I try to sabotage Kalarel from my current position as much as possible, however the urge to obey him is so strong…

Please, I beg of you, take this letter to my friends, for the first blood has already been spilled by me for Kalarel’s cause. I do not know how long I can hold out.

You have my eternal gratitude,

David Kauris

DMs Note: The Players failed to defeat Kalarel. Despite failing this campaign the story continues.