The party headed south, towards the structure on the minotaur map that Captain Oakley believed was Gardmore Abbey, the object of his quest. This Abbey had apparently been located in the vicinity of Levenge until a few dozen great cycles ago, but according to Belardan’s recollection had mysteriously disappeared along with the members of the heretical order that populated it. Oakley related that this order had been declared antithetical to the church, due to its belief that Apparthon was no more than a dragon.
Oakley also confided that he had been sent to find the place, and bring the recalcitrant priests to justice. His belief is that Kade had been sent on a similar mission, although Kade’s own memories are unclear. Both had been dispatched in larger companies, through the shadowy threshold of Dead Street in Levenge.
As the party approached the Abbey, it became apparent that it was surrounded by a shallow cliff. While the party rested in the lee of this wall, Badden scouted around the perimeter, noted the dilapidated condition of the structures within, and narrowly avoided a patrolling orc warrior riding on some sort of massive horned creature. It seemed clear that the priests were no longer in fill control of the Abbey.
Badden completed his circuit and reported back to the others. The decision was made to avoid the main gate, and enter through the wooded are in the south east. With the aid of Knarillas’ sorcery, the group was able to ascend the wall near the great watchtower and make their way within. A cursory examination of the tower exposed a strong magic radiating from it; the windows, while revealing interior furnishings in good condition, proved impassable. Moving on into the verdant wood, the heroes came upon an eladrin camp. A score or so of the fey had erected tents in a clearing, and Knarillas was stunned to see so many of his race all in one place. The leader introduced himself as Velfarren, and declared he and his sister to be on a quest to find the tower of their father. Velfarren claims to have travelled much of the world to find the Abbey, but his sister Velastra has not checked in for some time. While not yet overly concerned, he asked the party to look out for her if they could. In the meantime, they were offered feywine, and told of the magical font found in the clearing, which Velfarren indicated would bestow a vision and a boon upon the imbiber. All the party partook of the font, with Kade in particular experiencing strong visions and recovering some of his lost memory.
Later, the heroes ventured into the woods, and were ambushed by a ferocious owlbear. The creature summoned its mate, and the battle was intense. The creatures were tracked back to their lair, a ruined cottage standing near an overgrown garden, and within the cottage they recovered an ancient volume detailing flora and fauna that could be found within the abbey grounds. This was later to prove of some interest to Velfarren.
Heading up a path towards the belltower and summit, the heroes encountered Velastra, under attack by a pair of six legged, tentacled panther-like creatures. To make things worse, as Velastra approached the tower a flock of stirges emerged and downed her. The party sprang into action, fighting against creatures possessed of some sort of magical power allowing them to avoid blows, and both Belardan and Velastra were nearly dragged away to be devoured at the monsters’ leisure. In fact, if not for a cunningly deployed thorn wall, the last of the beasts may have fled with Velastra as its prize.
However the heroes prevailed, and limped back to the camp with the eladrin maid, and were welcomed into the eladrins’ fold with honour. The heroes now have new allies, and Oakley is boldly talking of an expedition to the temple grounds at the top of the hill to cleanse the Abbey.