It was late fall in the city of Sandpoint when five adventurers met at The Rusty Dragon tavern to discuss an expedition into the Brinestump Marsh. Larken Root, a halfling caravan guard traveling the trade routes of Varisia. Shinja Kaijutsu, the younger daughter of a local wealthy industrial family who has a unique companion. Rowan Greenwitch, a reclusive conjurer. Kotoro, a dock worker from the north. And Peepo, a Halfling apprentice at the local bookbinder’s shop.
Their hostess Ameiko Kaijitsu, the proprietor of The Rusty Dragon and older sister to Shinja, introduced the group to Sheriff Hemlock who told them of the increasing Goblin attacks on the trade caravans in the area. It seemed that they had managed to get their hands on a stockpile of fireworks somewhere which had instilled in them an almost suicidal bravery to stage raids on a scale that hadn’t been seen since Sandpoint had nearly been overrun five years before. The Goblins needed to be thinned out before more citizens of Sandpoint were hurt and traders from other nearby cities decided that Sandpoint just wasn’t worth the trip anymore. Hemlock offered the group a bounty for each Goblin they could slay, and a bonus for the head of Chief Gutwad, the leader of the Licktoad Tribe.
It was a slimy, uncomfortable trek out into Brinestump but with the help of local Halfling guide Walthus Proudstump they found their way to Licktoad Village. It was not the scene they expected. The gates had been beaten down and half of the buildings battered and broken. Goblin bodies scattered the area along with skeletons that Peepo declared reeked of necromantic energy. It wasn’t until Rowan tried looking in one of the few huts still standing that Goblins came swarming out at the adventurers, tentatively at first and then with their trademark reckless abandon once word got around that it was “just a bunch o’ humies”. After hacking their way through the mob of Goblins they confronted and slew Chief Gutwad.
It was while going through the plunder piled up in Gutwad’s thronehut that the group found a map that caught their eye, scrawled on the back of a delicate folding fan. It gave a hint as to where the Goblins may have gotten their hands on the fireworks and seemed to be worth investigating. So farther into the swamp they delved until they found the wreck of a trade ship mired in the mud. It was with surprise and confusion that Shinja discovered that this ship had her own name, Kaijutsu, painted on to the side. They sought out answers in a nearby cave where they were confronted by skeletons in strange armor. The most powerful of the skeletons stood guard over an ornate chest but what caught the adventurer’s attention even more was a letter hidden in the hilt of the skeleton’s sword.
The letter was from Shinja’s grandfather to her father, and told of a desperate flight from the colony of Brinewall before some expected calamity. Back in Sandpoint Shinja spoke with her sister Ameiko, and the two propositioned the group to accompany them on a journey north to find the fate of Brinewall and what their family’s connection to it was. All agreed but Kotoro, who declared that he had questions of his own that he needed to answer back in his home city of Kalsgaard. With two of Ameiko’s closest friends, Sandru Vhiski and Shalelu Andosana, the group set off north in Sandru’s caravan.
As the caravan rolled into the colony of Brinewall Ameiko was struck down, seemingly possessed by a spirit that kept trying, but failing, to communicate. With Ameiko trapped in a coma Sandru and Shalelu stayed with her while the rest continued on to explore the colony. In the town’s cemetery they met the first of two unexpected creatures, a small fae named Spivey. She directed them to the lighthouse where they met the second unexpected, and to one familiar, person. Vidrigal Montresse, one time companion to Larken’s mentor Sir Leo, had come to Brinewall pursing the demon Kikonu, a member of the criminal organization The Frozen Shadow.
With Montresse in tow they made their way into the castle through a tunnel in the basement. The evidence they found in bloodstained floors and haunted stairwells told of a brutal surprise attack on the castle with no sign of survivors. Now it was overrun with monsters led by the capricious and rather insane Kikonu. They found aid in the tower library where they met the mute Harpy Zaiobe, devotee of Pazuzu and one-time lover of Kikonu who offered to lure the demon into a trap for the adventurers. The trap sprung, a fight ensued across the battlements of the castle. Kikonu seemed most interested, however, in Shinja’s presence, declaring that she had “given the Frozen Shadow exactly what they wanted”. Despite his taunting Kikonu soon fell from the sky…which is when Zaiobe gleefully turned on the group and attacked them herself.
After defeating their momentary ally the five made their way down the stairwell, whose restless spirits had been quieted with Kikonu’s death, into the vaults below the castle. There they encountered the wraith of Rokuro Kaijutsu who had given his life to protect the Ametatsu Seal. Upon recognizing his granddaughter Shinja he charged her and her sister Ameiko to take the Seal back to Minkai and claim the throne that was their birthright before the Oni of the Five Storms found the sisters and killed them to ensure their hold on the throne. By opening the warding box the Ametatsu Seal granted a series of visions to the adventurers showing them both what had been and what could be.