1479 DR - The Year of the Ageless One
Seldra de Tylmarande had almost caused a civil war in Neverwinter. Her Spellscar, which she had kept hidden from all but her closest friends, had been exploited by a magical crown and left her mind open for domination. The crown was crafted to be a forgery of the Lost Crown of Neverwinter, the symbol of the Alagondar family's right to rule the Jewel of the North. The real crown had been lost following the eruption of Mount Hotenow and the destruction of Neverwinter 28 years ago. Not even Seldra knew where the crown had come from or how it had come into her possession, those memories apparently had been conveniently erased.
Acting as the Lost Heir of the Alagondar family she stoked the fires of rebellion against Lord Dagault Neverember and his mercanary peacekeepers. Lord Neverember proclaimed he was not a conqueror and did not wish the crown but his power was absolute and his word the word of law until a true heir could be found. Using the public's mistrust of this "usurper" Seldra was able to rally many factions to her side and attempt an overthrow of the New Neverwinter government.
Her treachery had been uncovered by the heroes though and she defeated and unmasked in public. Upon the removal of her helm and the false crown she regained her sanity. Even now, months later many whisper that she was never controlled, there was never some mastermind to the rebellion. After all she had served as Lord Neverember's personal spymaster and the Tylmarande family was well-known to be betrayers and blackguards.
Eleint (The Fading)
Seldra's manipulation of her Spellscar had thrown the citizens of New Neverwinter into a panic. While under the influence of the false crown she was able to corrupt and plaguechange those exposed to the spellplague. Turning them from simple suffering scar bearers to true monsters. Searching out a source of the Spellplagued corruption led the heroes to the sewers beneath Neverwinter's Blacklake District. This lawless section of the city had been hit hardest by the eruption and repairs had not been attempted. Beneath the slums of Blacklake the heroes found an Aboleth, a fish-like creature of the Far Realm, riddled with spellscars and seemingly in control of the remnants of the plaguechanged. The creature was killed and left to rot beneath the city.
Meanwhile, Seldra's trial had not gone well but Lord Neverember commuted her sentence as long as she was to seek help at the Sanatorium of Helm's Hold. There, her kind (spellscarred) were welcomed and given sanctuary from a world that feared and mistrusted the bearers of the mark of blue fire. The heroes volunteered to escort Seldra to Helm's Hold leaving Lord Neverember's wizards to study the false crown.
Seldra had undergone extensive mental probing by Lord Neverember's wizards to protect secrets of New Neverwinter. She had after all acted has his Spymaster for many months and knew more than the Lord felt comfortable sending away with. Once her mind was scoured of its pertinant secrets she was released into the custody of the heroes.
In the intervening tendays the public opinion of the spellscarred had grown worse forcing Lord Neverember to pass an edict banishing all spellscar bearers from Neverwinter. They could retreat to Helm's Hold to seek a possible cure or try their luck in the coming winter outside the cities walls, a would-be death sentence. This proclomation was found to be the work of the Mayor serving under Lord Neverember, a dwarf by the name of Soman Galt.
One problem now was one of the heroes who had stopped Seldra, a Banite Avenger named Dunn, himself had a spellscar. He agreed to be smuggled from the city by a cult of Asmodeus who called themselves the Ashmadai rather than willingly lock himself in chains in the madhouse beneath Helm's Hold.
The second problem was the Uthgardt Barbarians of the Grey Wolf tribe had apparently seiged and razed Helm's Hold during the trial. If the refugees from Neverwinter were to survive the winter they would need someone to clear the fortress and protect them from the Uthgardt hordes. Seldra agreed to lead this mission as an act of atonement for her crimes.
Uktar (The Rotting)
Seldra had overseen a small outpost built for the spellscarred while the process of clearing Helm's Hold was begun. Her grandmother was trained as a Paladin in the Hold and she (Aribeth de Tylmarande) had passed down stories of the fortress. A secret stair was to exist on the mountain side of the fortress allowing direct access to the Dragon's Roost - the name the Paladin's had given the temple quarter of the Hold.
The heroes managed to find the hidden stair and begin the dangerous work of exploring and clearing the fortress. Beneath the barracks they found a hidden vault of Minotaur origins. Within the labyrinth were two factions; Gnolls and Minotaur both under the thrall of a mysterious master known as the Prince in Tatters. The Prince had begun a program of cross-breeding to two species (with magical aid) to create a new vile race blessed by both the demon princes Baphomet and Yeenoghu.
The Prince was uncovered to be a gnome Psion by the name of Eldon who had long ago been a close friend of Mariz and Barra. He explained he was under thrall of another force known simply as "The Lady" and he could not fight her control. At times though he could nimbly circumvent her orders which he abused to force one of her other thralls, a Green Dragon named Chartilifax, into killing Eldon and putting him out of his misery. Chartilifax was then killed by the party.
Beneath the Cathedral of Helm's Hold the heroes found the Sanatorium devoid of all life. Even deeper within the catacombs of the Vigilant Eye undead defenses were uncovered and overcome finally leading the party to a well-defended makeshift hideout for a group of Spellscarred and their keepers. In addtion to the 40 or so spellscarred were three acolytes of Ilmater, a priest of Torm, a Paladin of Tyr and the Prophet Rohini who acted as the overseer of the Hold until it fell. She explained she had aided in the creation of the undead to keep the barbarians from attempting to kill the last remaining survivors and pleaded the heroes return to Neverwinter to bring food and supplies. The heroes agreed.
With the heroes out of the picture, Rohini then continued her plans unimpeded. She enacted a ritual with the assistance of her remaining thralls to draw the remnants of the spellplague out of the survivors trapped with her, killing them in the process. She then refined this raw spellplague energy into a single draught of sapphire blue liquid and smuggled through the hidden feydark passages that had once served as Chartilifax's hunting grounds. Her master's accepted the concoction and used it along with their own profane rituals to transform the Banite Dunn into something...more. His tortured screams echoed deep through the Underdark.