(Adapted from Heart of the Forbidden Forge by Luke Johnson, Dungeon 167)
The characters were doing their daily tasks at the Vineyard when a wounded rider approached the vineyard. Essler sounded the alarm and rushed to the aid of the rider. The rider turned out to be a young apprentice wizard, Alele Hirebrand. She was tended by Aelar Greenbriar.
After Alele awoke, she told the reason for her journey here. She and another young woman, Jelia, were apprentices to Lady Selethia Mornshadow, an artificer of note in the town of Serenity to the north of the vineyard. Jelia had discovered documents telling of a Hestian forge built during the Creation War one hundred years ago. Jelia hid the documents, but Alele discovered them while “cleaning” and brought them to the attention of Lady Selethia. Selethia realized the importance of the documents and tried to question Jelia. However, Jelia was not to be found. Some of her clothes were gone as well a stockpile of gold pieces that Lady Selethia kept on hand. The worried Lady Selethia had Alele take the documents to the vineyard to give them to Sir Stephan D’Art. But she was attacked and the documents taken.
Alele had read the documents and remembered the location of the forge. She told the characters who quickly formed a party and headed north to the forge located in the mountains of Olara. Along the way, the party passed through the town of Spellforge, whose well-kept exterior hid a darker secret. They passed through the paranoid city-state of Nortrel where they were questioned and their luggage searched in case they were spies from Nortrel’s rival city-state of Montrel.
Finally, the party reached the location of the forge. They found a ruined complex at the top of a hill. The entrance had been collapsed, forcing them to find another way inside. A cave in the hillside below the complex gave them entrance, but it was guarded by hobgoblins who fought the party to the death.