Our adventurers find themselves, for various reasons and motivations, on a cart making its way to the small town of Winterhaven in the west of the Nentir Vale.
The immense mionotaur warden Orros is uncomfortably squashed against the firey elemental genasi Nari-Lana, a swordmage. On the other end of the open cart lie both the halfling chaos sorceror Niben and the eladrin cleric Modnar, a devotee of Pelor.
The cart is only a mile or so from Winterhaven when it is ambushed by kobolds! The small reptilian humanoids throw a pot of burning pitch towards the cart, forcing the (for now) strangers to react. Modnar quickly deflects the pitch into the bushes beside the road and the party gives battle to the kobolds now emerging from all sides.
The creatures easily dispatched, our heroes notice the cart on which they had erstwhile travelled had fled. This being the case, it is decided to track the kobolds in an attempt to find their lair. Orros, with his knowledge of natural things, easily picks up a trail and the party treks off into the hills and forests to the south east of Winterhaven. After making camp amongst the hills for the night, the party continues tracking into the next morning.
After some time they stumble across a waterfall, and a fast-flowing stream leading deeper into forest. There is a small force of kobolds in occupation, apparently waiting around (or guarding) a magical circle of runes. The adventurers engage the reptilians and successfully slay them. Upon investigating the magical circle it is identified as dark magic – a circle designed to raise the dead on command. The group successfully break the circle and its dark magic.
A sudden cry goes up as the halfling Niben slips on some stones whilst trying to ford the river, against the strong current. He does not manage to grab onto some rocks further downstream, rather he is buffetted against them. As Niben disappears downstream the party gives chase.
After some time Niben manages to grab a hold of some low-lying branches over the river, and with an amazing feat of strength lifts himself up with just one arm. The party, having followed the river as much as possible, spot Niben in the tree and retrieve him. They then venture back to the waterfall, and follow their trail back to the road, in order to continue on to Winterhaven.
Having reached the isolated community, the party stop to rest for lunch in the tavern. They meet Salvana Wrafton, the tavern proprietor, as well as Valthrun (the local sage) and Eilian (elderly farmer who frequents the tavern). They also meet Ninarel, a sour elven huntress. The adventurers learn that the local ruling lord, Lord Padraig, is likely to reward them for solving the kobold problem in the forsets, as the activity of these small creatures has been unusually bold and organised of late. They also learn that an archaeologist has recently passed through the town on his way to look for a dragon burial site amongst the downs south of town.
After a look around the town the adventurers return to the tavern, and learn of some of the history of Winterhaven. It is discovered that an old abandoned fortress lies to the north of Winterhaven, a place rumoured to mark the place where a great battle was long ago fought between soldiers of the empire of Nerath and a group of evil cultists.
The party successfully gains an audience with Lord Padraig in his manor house and agrees to root out the source of the kobold threat and put a stop to it in exchange for a reward of gold and any information on suspicious activities around the town. Lord Padraig is disturbed at Orros’ suggestion that a cult of “Baphomet”, a bull-headed demon, may be operating in or around the town.
Back in the tavern, it is discovered that Ninarel has left the town via the north road, looking very anxious after her interview with the adventurers…