The group traveled south for many days, entering into the wilder area of the Borderlands, finally arriving at the Keep, built between the Menowood and the Vast Swamp near the north end of the Spine Ridge mountains.
They moved up a narrow, rocky track. A sheer wall of natural stone was to their left; the path fell away to a steep cliff on the right. There was a small widening ahead, where the main gate of the Keep was standing. Calen, a blue-clad man-at-arms guarding the entrance, shouted down to them to give their names and state their business.
They were allowed two characters each, all starting at first level with their choice of basic equipment.
- Taokith was a male human Fighter. He wore chain mail and carried a two-handed sword.
- Delurith was a female elf Cleric of Ehlonna. She too was dressed in chain mail, along with a short bow and a quiver of arrows.
- Shadow was a female halfling Thief. Not unlike Starlight, she carried six daggers, and also had a short bow and a quiver of arrows.
- Doltoran was a male dwarf Fighter. In one hand he wielded an axe with a shield in the other; he wore chain mail.
Everyone carried three days of rations.
Taokith and Delurith were to be played by Sue. Shadow and Doltoran were Kay’s characters.
As usual, I did not want a detailed back story, but I did want them to explain why a dwarf and an elf would be traveling together. Sue said the two Fighters were friends and that during combat training they had been discussing plans to travel to the Keep, unwittingly teaming up two racial rivals when Taokith brought an elf. With Taokith as the mediator, the elf Delurith and the dwarf Doltoran reluctantly agreed to accept one another for now.
After the Lord of the Rings marathon the girls initiated on Thanksgiving, they decided that Delurith and Doltoran would openly compete for kill counts.
The portcullis was raised and they entered the Keep. The dwarf immediately headed for the tavern, while the others followed. Once inside, they sat at a table in the dimly lit room as the fat bald barkeep asked what they would like to drink.
Shadow (to the other party members): We don’t even have any money. That was the whole point in seeking out the caves.
Seated at another table, a human sitting with a halfling overheard Shadow. He introduced himself as Len.
Len: Drinks are on me, my friends.
Sue: Len? Is the halfling Selenor?
DM: After introductions, the halfling is indeed called Selenor. They came to the Keep to discuss their plans on tackling some tomb in the nearby swamp. Apparently, two of their companions have left them to head back north.
The girls smiled and thanked Kay’s alternative characters from the Tomb of Horrors and decided to just head straight for the Caves of Chaos.