Xantari's Night Below
There are many local rumors, with a hundred variations on the theme, concerning an evil priest and his followers (said to be assassins) who lived in the Hardlow Woods nearly two hundred years ago, long before Milborne and Thurmaster were settled and populated. Only a handful of frontier farmers lived in the lands then. The priest is said to have belonged to a death cult of Nerll. The priest and his followers were wiped out by Count Lothar Parlfray, a paladin and his fellow adventurers. However, several of Parlfray’s fellows were lost and the evil priest’s dying curse blighted the woodland for nearly a hundred years-another reason why the locals avoid the place, being superstitious of any lingering effects of the curse. In particular, the fighter Dalraith was said to have been swallowed up in a pit of inky tar which drained his life away, so that his suit of magical gilded chain mail was lost with him.
The party found a glade matching the description of the rumors: a dead zone, with bare, skeletal, decaying trees covered in a phosphorescent moss that gleams at night. They dug up a few pieces of treasure, including a magic ring that seems to have been a piece of Dalraith’s magical gilded chain mail. Tremolo spent several days un-desecrating the area, and the party also were attacked by – and dispatched – a Banshee who was the spirit of one of the evil death-cultists.
Among the treasure they found was an old letter: a clue mentioning a keep with a spire. This led them to discover the Broken Spire Keep that the kidnappers were working out of.