Journal Entry: Heart of Hope Campaign Travelogue, Vol. I
Entry Date: 9/25/2004
Newhold is thoroughly under the control of the Knights of Neraka and, consequently, in a very sad state of affairs. The dwarves of the mining town remain locked behind the city's interior gate, which separates the commoners' part of the settlement from the nobles' quarter. The Neidar, rich and poor, are barracked inside the halls of the wealth and guarded by goblins and Dark Knights when they are not working the town's rich iron mine. The common quarter has become merchant district and slave market - much of the Dark Knights' business with the goblins and ogres of the Kharolis Mountains is conducted here.
The heroes are forced to hide their identities, insisting they are mercenaries, and stay at a shady inn house. In the midst of scouting the area surrounding the middle gate, trying to find a way into the prison barracks in order meet with Duncan Horncaller, whom their innkeeper has told them was taken alive, the heroes run across an unlikely ally: a woman claiming to be in the service of the Legion of Steel. She tells the companions of a secret entrance to the upper quarter of the town by way of an old crypt beneath the rock on which the mining town sits.
Dodging the tricks, traps, and dead ends of the crypt-maze, the heroes are able to reach the very barracks in which Duncan Horncaller is being held. After a brief introduction, the sullen Duncan willingly hands over the Heart of Hope, saying he does not wish to be rescued - but will stay and fight with his people. Saddened by Duncan's rejection and the fate they're leaving him to, the travelers depart, only to find that their exit is blocked by dozens of Knights of Neraka, led by the Knight of the Thorn who oversees the mines. Combat ensues and, before long, the heroes are smoked out and forced to return to the barracks by way of the secret passage. With nowhere to go, the heroes ignore Duncan's pleas and force a riot among the Neidar prisoners. The diversion works, but at the cost of hundreds of Neidar lives. Duncan blames Mortan Forgehammer and his fellows for sending his kinsmen to their doom for their own ends and then makes his way, along with the rioters, into the mines. The heroes escape in the opposite direction, the crypt now no longer blocked as the Dark Knights chase down the rioting and escaping dwarves.
To this day the heroes know not if they sent Duncan and his clansmen to their deaths or if they managed to escape into the mines. As they escaped from Newhold they swore an oath among themselves to say nothing of their part in the incident. Alas, if Duncan Horncaller is still alive, they can be certain he will be no friend to them.
Entries in this Journal:
This item has been published here with permission from the author(s) and may not be reproduced without permission. This is a fan submission and its contents are completely unofficial. Some characters, places, likenesses and other names may be copyright Wizards of the Coast.