From the Background:
The village of Claw is, to some, an inhospitable place due to it being inhabited entirely by Wild Hill Men. However, after you destroyed the Shadow Demon Agglax, a campaign helped by their leader Vine, the villagers have always been welcoming. You find yourself in Claw after some time clearing the nearby tributary of the River Kok of Water Trolls that had been attacking small boats.
It is late afternoon when you arrive. The village appears deserted, despite the fact that this should be a busy time, when the Hill Men return from hunting and prepare their catches for the evening meals. You manage to catch site of Arden, an old warrior that helped in your army, and shout over to him.
"Oh, hello then", he says glumly. Having sensed that something is wrong, you ask him if everything is alright. "No, not really", he replies, and points to some of the huts further up the road. You stop in your tracks - the huts have been burnt, some to the ground. You ask him for an explanation. "It is a terrible thing", he answers, "Every night, Birdmen fly from the hills to the north and wreak this damage. Even worse, they try to take one of our men away with them. We have lost two good men. I don't know if we will ever see them again."
Vine, the leader of the Hill Men, appears from down the street, having heard the conversation. "I am afraid it is worse than that. I have taken a band of men to explore the region to the north, and we heard rumours that an alchemist named Grilak has taken up residence in a fortress up there and is carrying out experiments to create the perfect warrior! He seems to be breeding all sorts of different creatures together; when he manages his task, I am sure that he will not rest until he has conquered all of this area, possibly beyond!"
You agree that the alchemist must be stopped, and volunteer yourself for the task. Vine thanks you profusely, but when you ask about the men that have been taken, he shakes his head sadly. "I think it is already too late for them. They will have been used in one of Grilak's experiments by now. Avenge them, though, and you will have the gratitude of the village."
You spend the rest of the day in the village, learning all you can about the journey ahead. Grilak's fortress is about a day's travel away, in the hills to the north. The Hill Men warn you that Goblin bandits regularly harass travellers on the road; even worse, Shapechangers have started appearing - you should not trust anyone you meet.
There may be a secret entrance to the fortress, actually an exit in case the fortress should be besieged, which you might be able to find. Within Grilak's fortress, you can expect to confront all manner of creatures - half breeds, most likely, from Grilak's breeding experiments. There should be some riches in the fortress, as Grilak's brother also lives there, who made a lot of money as a merchant before retiring to the castle.
When you have learnt all you can, Vine offers you a place to sleep; it is probably better to start the quest in the morning when you are refreshed. You go to bed, wondering what horrors await you tomorrow.