Journal Entry: Heart of Hope Campaign Travelogue, Vol. I
Entry Date: 9/25/2004
Three strangers, traveling together for safety in numbers, make their way through a blinding snowstorm to the village of Kamber. The three travelers: Mortan Forgehammer, the Daewar crusader, Caelum Nostrum, etc. the Mount Nevermind biologist, and Dee Sidethorn the kender thrill-seeker, find the farming village in a sorry state. Occupied by the Knights of Neraka, as are many hamlets in the region, the people suffer from poor nutrition, pitiful crop yields, and over-taxation to fund the Dark Knight's war efforts in the Kharolis Mountains. Though unwelcome at first, the travelers make fast friends with the local innkeeper, a woman named Troia.
Like many of her fellow villagers, Troia has suffered greatly at the hands of the Knights of Neraka: her husband, a rebel in the eyes of Dark Knights, was killed under mysterious circumstances. She is left alone to run the Sign of the Black Boar - and take care of her sick grandfather, and now her only son has gone missing in the Tarsis Darkwood - the vile forest that sprang up from the ground through the magic of Beryl the Green. Taking pity on the poor widow, the travelers agree to enter the Darkwood and find Troia's son Bromo and the other young men who went into the forest to hunt down goblins that were stealing Kamber's cows and goats. Through much luck, and a strange new ally, Talandros of Qualinesti, the travelers are able to recover Bromo and a few of his mates, slay a number of goblins and drive their tribe deeper into the shadowy forest, and recover a few missing livestock along and some stolen supplies that will help get Kamber's villagers through the approaching harsh winter. In the process of completing these tasks the heroes discover the ruins of an ancient shrine to the Dark Queen, dredged up from the earth with the coming of Beryl's Darkwood, and encounter a young black dragon, one of the first in a new generation that have come to Ansalon in the wake of the War of Souls.
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