Calani had travelled a good distance by the time Eleint rolled around; amongst aiding people along The Trade Way, and avoiding the battlefield at Dragonspear Castle, arriving in Waterdeep early into the month was good progress upon her travel to Icewind Dale, far to the north. Even arriving early in the month, travel along the roads just before arriving at the city was heavy, as merchants and knights alike made their way to the City of Splendours ahead of Shieldmeet, at the end of the month.
She was performing her First Suffering – a willing undertaking of torment that Clerics of Ilmater perform. Calani’s chosen Suffering was to travel to and spend the winter in Icewind Dale, barefoot, while fasting from dawn to dusk.
Spending only a little time in the city, most of which spent at or around the shrine to Ilmater, she continued her journey north along The High Road, the road that skirts the edge of the Sword Coast between Waterdeep and Neverwinter. The road was quite quiet as the weeks passed by, until eventually being approached by a small group of 8 people, lead by a woman on horseback. Upon questioning Calani’s appearance, the woman showed relief, claiming that a friend of theirs had been badly injured in an attack. Agreeing to aid the injured person, the group travelled off the road to some hills to the east. After about half a days travel, and out of sight of the road, the group comes across an injured human behind the slope of a hill. The woman goes over and confirms this as her friend, and Calani heads over to aid the wounded. She overhears the woman muttering something arcane, and before she can finish her sentence of “I don’t believe arcane matters are going to help in-”, she falls asleep on the floor.
Meanwhile, it was just a normal day for Irerly. Marlath, his master Illusionist, required a few new ingredients from the Neverwinter Woods. As is usual these days, he complained about his bad hip (something that could well be an illusion of it’s own right), and asked for Irerly to go off and gather them without him. Being the diligent student that he is, Irerly set off immediately. He first went off to find Riza, a childhood friend and Ranger who knows the Woods like the back of her hand, and once ready, the two set off.
After about a day’s travel following the Neverwinter River away from the coast, the pair arrived in the village of Thundertree just as night began to fell. Hiring the regular room, the two set about having a good meal, and then sleeping.
Setting off early in the morning, Irerly and Riza entered the woods, and it didn’t take long before they started to discover the first bits and pieces on Marlath’s list. The usual sounds of the woods filled the air, and as things were progressing, Riza began to notice a set of footprints, recently made in the last few hours, walking around the area they were in. Curious as to who made them, and as the footprints led along the path they were already taking, the pair followed them.
The set of footprints met with a large group of other footprints – seven people in total, and one horse. Two of the people in the group seemed to be carrying something very heavy, and another member seemed to be dragging something large. Now alerted, the pair continued to follow them right to the entrance of a cave, where the footprints made a large mess, before heading off in a different direction. As the footprints left, they appeared to be without whatever they were dragging.
Creeping in, Riza (followed by an invisible Irerly) noted six Kobolds, a small cooking fire, and a humanoid shape wrapped in some bundles. She attempted to try and speak with the Kobolds, though they quickly seemed to be gathering weapons and yelling at the Ranger to leave their home. As the two discussed plans outside, the Kobolds leapt to attack.
The reptiles were dispatched with ease, and two were knocked unconscious by Irerly’s Colour Spray. Trying them up and dragging them inside, the pair discovered hidden in the bundles was the Half-Elf Calani, unconscious.
The pair brought Calani around, and after an exchange of greetings interrogated the two Kobolds as they woke up. They revealed that a group of humans had come by, carrying a dragon egg and the Cleric. The Kobolds were offered Calani as food, in return for their service to the unhatched dragon Cyprin. Meanwhile, Calani took a quick look at her gear, only to find that her holy symbol of Ilmater was missing, and resolved to track down the strangers to reclaim it.
Following the footprints once again, harvesting herbs and ingredients on the way, the path went eerily silent. Riza signalled the other two to remain behind, and went ahead to scout – discovering a disastrous scene of death. A large pond – it’s surface coated in the bodies of dead fish – surrounded by collapsed animals. As Irerly and Calani slowly approached, they noticed a deer approach the pond from the other side. It began to drink from the water, gained a panicked look, attempted to flee with failing legs, and collapsed upon the ground near the surface.
In the middle of the pond rested a large metal pole, jutting out from the surface. Riza pulled out a rope from her pack, tied a lasso, and attempted to ensnare the pole, with no success. Calani offered to help, taking several attempts before finally catching the pole in the grip of the rope. Calani’s gauntlets were starting to heat up from contact with the wet parts of the rope. The group, together, hauled the pole out of the water, which seemed to be connected to a large, 4’ diameter metal sphere at the bottom.
Noticing a seam separating the top and bottom hemispheres of the device, Calani pulled out a crowbar and attempted to open it up. She quickly backs off as the top comes apart from the base, and a cloud of white powder raises into the sky. After it settles, Irerly pulls the stopper out of a flask of oil, empties it, and takes a sample of the powder in the device. Riza sets about covering up the device with branches and leaves, and then the group sets off once more.
After a small run-in with a large spider (and spooking the spider off), the group eventually catches up with the sword-arms. After discussing strategy, Riza starts heading up onto a hill, and skirting around the group, attempting to avoid the eyes of the sentry at the back. Irerly and Calani head towards a nearby group of bushes, and start to distract the group at the back.
A group of three, including the sentry, go to investigate the distraction, which appears to be a Kobold hiding in the bushes. As they go to strike at the Kobold, the ambush is sprung; Calani jumps up with her crossbow, and fires. Her shot, however, misses it’s target. Riza fires two arrows straight into the chest of the woman at the head of the group. As the sword arms try to work out what’s happening, the cleric draws her warhammer and shield, the illusionist continues his work to draw one of them off, and Riza begins attempting to pick off some of the others.
As battle commences, the woman, unable to figure out exactly where Riza is shooting from, uses Burning Hands to start a fire in the forest, and then rides off into the distance. The battle is fierce; Calani is cut quite deeply and knocked unconscious, but Irerly does not allow them the chance to finish the Cleric off. Riza continues to slowly pick them off, but they eventually converge on her position. Fortunately, Irerly had tended to the Cleric’s wounds, and then approached nearby, creating the image of one of the other bandits and informing the bandits that the others are dead. The two archers run off to find their leader, and Irerly dashes up and stabs the sentry in the back. Riza makes a careful shot, and lands it right between the eyes of the sentry.
Finding themselves ill-equipped to deal with the spreading fire, and not wishing to leave Calani or the egg behind, Riza sets about trying to build a sled out of some of the wood around. Irerly goes scouting off briefly, and runs into Trilari – Riza’s mentor – who had come to investigate the smoke rising out of the woods. He hands Irerly a vial to help Calani, and then pulls out a scroll, casting something from it. A large volume of water descends from the sky, and extinguishes the fire.
Once Trilari notices the egg, he immediately sets about killing the creature inside. With a look of horror, he mentions to Riza that he must ride north, and asks her to accompany him. Guiding the Illusionist with the unconscious Cleric back to Thundertree, the two Rangers gear up and set off. Irerly waits until Calani is fit to travel again, and the two head off to Neverwinter, before going their separate ways.
Cael Silvershield – 850
Tristan Eltorchul – 450
Riza Hawkeye – 403
Irerly – 366
Calani Morkann – C 124 / F 124 / MU 113