The Riders of Stormwynd Keep, friends both old (Sandra Duncan and her trusty friends and retainers) and new (the cleric of Gond and her companions now having been joined by a familiar dwarven paladin, a thief and her swashbuckling companion) were, after seeing to some personal matters, joined together at Stormwynd Keep by a slow emergency: representatives of a mysterious rebel lord of Zhentil Keep had come to parley with the Duchess, refusing to leave until she arrived. The emissaries, including a grizzled veteran, an advanced priest of Cyric, and a talented mage, and accompanied by dozens of elite guardsmen armed with magical weapons, erected an inn with the help of a strange artifact outside the Keep’s gates, and awaited the Duchess’ indulgence.
When the party of nine entered the inn to meet with the emissaries, the guests clarified their mission; to secure trade rights between their realm and Sandra Duncan’s. There was a surprise waiting in their words, however… they came not from Zhentil Keep, but from the embattled region of Daggerdale, now having been claimed by the renegade Zhent whom they served. The meeting was interrupted by an appearance from the enigmatic and powerful Maximillian, who advised Sandra to flee the place at once and launched a magical assault on the emissaries. The battle was exceedingly swift; but one minute passed and all had one single chance before the inn’s magical nature was once again invoked, and all who failed to escape were trapped within the evil visitors’ clutches.
Those so trapped awakened to tortures and humiliations at the hands of a particularly sadistic master torturer within the boundaries of Daggerdale. Those who escaped that unpleasant fate, led by Sandra and supported by an enraged Lady Athyna, who saw Daggerdale, a city she had long supported and had even begun to build a hold of her own within, set off to rescue the others. Their journey was aided beyond all hope by Stormwynd’s own master of teleportation and gate magic, but his magic proved to be a little /too/ strong, and Sandra was deeply disturbed by his unusual mastery. Finding themselves in Shadowdale, the free members of the party decided to seek the counsel of the fabled Elminster, whose ramshackle tower was not far. Summoning him from his home with a softly spoken request, they met the legendary sage and, despite Sandra’s impatience, were inclined to take tea with the great master while discussing the situation at hand. Elminster was, of course, informed of the situation at Daggerdale, but surmounting it would be no easy task. Still, the greater concern was not the usurper lord of Daggerdale, but rather, Stormwynd’s own Travel Mage… although it was known that he was Elminster’s apprentice, the truth was finally revealed that he was actually a (relatively) newborn divinity, a God of the Realms, who had been divorced from his own mind and hidden away at the Keep by Elminster’s own machinations.
A greater quest was now imposed upon the party by Elminster; to recover this fledgling god’s mind from its current resting place and reconcile body and mind. There was only one problem; the mind of the god was hidden within the infernal realm of Gehenna.
The task would be completely impossible without the help of the party members still held captive within Daggerdale, and so a rescue was planned, to be spearheaded by Lady Athyna, since she had already begun to win the trust of those who lived in the city under siege. No mere magical disguise would suffice for this mighty task of infiltration, however; the usurper lord was no mere pawn of Zhentil Keep, but had the support of a much greater power behind him, according to Elminster. The archsage therefore called upon the power of spellfire, raw working of the weave, to completely and utterly change the party’s most renowned members into forms guaranteed not to be discovered by enemy skill or magic. The Duchess was transformed into a male; Athyna, the lissom elf, into a savage ogress; and the company’s mage and strategist into a small child. With these difficult but foolproof disguises in place, the adventurers set out for Daggerdale, to rescue their imprisoned comrades and free the region from the influence of evil.