11th-14th of Ches, 1357 DR
Swayed by the words of the Paladin and the Illusionist, the party traveled off – Kaylee in tow – towards the village of Beregost. Your prizes would be a shard of Duty’s Bond, and whatever secrets lay in a decrepit magic school located near the village.
Following the uneventful, if a tad wet travel, you happened upon the Friendly Arm Inn three days south of Baldur’s Gate. Kaylee immediately sought the comfort of a decent room, while the rest of you settled down, shrugged off your gear into hired rooms, and mingled amongst the patrons of the first floor tavern. A few of you also decided to visit the Temple of Wisdom next door.
Amongst drunken arm wrestling, you heard some interesting rumours. A group of adventurers heavily equipped and openly showing holy symbols of Selûne seemed quite eager to travel south to the lands of Tethyr, to deal with an apparent Vampire problem. The owner of the establishment, Bently Mirrorshade (whom you heard used to be an adventurer, and claimed the stronghold which became the inn from a Cleric of Bhaal some time ago) spoke of great success around the mining village of Nashkel, just north of the border between Faerûn and Amn. Lastly, and of most interest to you at this time, an unnerved villager warned of demons to the south, and spoke of how he was laughed off.
15th-17th of Ches
After a decent night’s rest and a good breakfast, you set off once more. Three more days of unhindered travel, and you arrived in the village. While the place seemed quiet, you quickly noticed that parts of the area had been damaged – from what you discovered to be a recent Orc raid. Leaving Kaylee to settle in the Red Sheaf Inn, the rest of you split up to introduce yourselves, and follow various lines of enquiry.
When you returned to the inn, you discovered a drunk peasant kicking off against Kaylee. The resulting brawl ended as quickly as it started, with some damage to the inn. Irerly and Riza successfully convinced one of the group of peasants to sit out of the fight, instead inviting them to a drink. After a stern word with Kaylee, the party split off again, with Riza and Irerly following the tracks of the Orc raiders.
Discovering a camp holding at least 100 Orcs capable of fighting but a short distance away of the village, the scouting group rushed back to inform the rest of the group. Having also discovered the location of the magic school while the scouting pair were away, the scouts then set off to investigate that.
Riza and Irerly eventually found the school about an hour away, and noted a human garbed in black robes rummaging through the ruined ground floor of the school – clearly visable through what little remained of the stone walls. They seemed to disappear down beneath the ground, and the scouts followed, discovering a well maintained level underneath. However, as they began to explore, their presence was sensed by a minor demon resting in one of the rooms, which alerted everything else in the ruins.
Fleeing, the pair noticed a red-robed monk on their tail, gaining on them. He appeared to draw an odd-looking flaming dagger, which seemed chipped and broken. Riza and Irerly dashed for and clambered onto their horse, fleeing as fast as possible. The last thing they heard as they left was the words of the monk, who said “track them” to one of the others.
Instead of heading to the others, the scouting party instead veered towards where they knew the Orc encampment to be. Over the course of an hour, the pair led the demon and cultist force to the Orcs, and swiftly moved to have the two forces engage one-another, and using the chaos to mask their escape. The Orcs seemed to be much worse for wear in this battle. As they rode off, Riza attempted a couple of shots at the monk – one of which hit him square in the eye. Pulling the arrow – and his eye – out, the monk swore vengeance upon the ranger.
The scouts returned to inform the party of the threat of a demon force, and Carl immediately set about organising the response force. After debate with the group, and a small group of Flaming Fist warriors, the plans were made for those able and willing to fight to be equipped with whatever stock the local smithy has available and can make in the allotted time; traps and spikes would be set up to make the terrain more favourable; the party would split to arrange various forces/oversee the evacuation; and Tristan would make the day’s ride to Candlekeep, to try and gain as much aid from the fortress as possible, and also seek permission for the evacuees to seek refuge within the fortresses’ walls.
18th of Ches
With the plan well underway, Tristan eventually arrived at Candlekeep the following morning. Almost declined entry, he only gained access from the curiosity of an old sage, who wished to inquire further into the Paladin’s request. He was allowed into the outer courtyard of the fortress, and met face-to-face with the sage Gorion. Against his expected judgement of his peers Gorion agreed to offer aid of a wand, and twenty cavalry guard of the fortress. His price was that, at some point in the near future, Tristan would give him a book worthy of the libraries of Candlekeep (one which has an estimated worth of 1,000gp or greater). With a few hours of rest, the Paladin set off with the guard, in a forced ride back to Beregost.
Arriving in the evening, the cavalry had but a few moments to rest before the enemy was spotted on the horizon. A number of what appeared to be orcs now shambled much like the demons, and walked alongside the forces. Cael issued the orders to the forces, and set himself up at the head of the reserve cavalry unit. The demons marched forth – both sides exchanging arrow fire – and soon battle was joined.
The forces beneath Tristan rallied under his aura of Protection of Evil – unable to be harmed by their opponents. Marching forth from the right flank stood a new group of soldiers, seemingly from thin air, conjured by Irerly on horseback. As a force of demons engaged Calani’s unit, this illusionary force smashed into the side, and being completely believed, supported Calani’s soldiers as they cut down foes left and right. Cael led a cavalry charge to aid a routing allied unit, but was heavily resisted by the demons. The monk leading the enemy forces ran straight for Tristan, used his readied shield as a springboard, and dived for Riza – missing and harming himself in the fall. The archers and Cael, who broke off from his unit to face down the monk eventually defeated him – the heavily wounded monk being impaled upon the monk’s lance.
As the battle raged and victory became more and more likely, Riza picked up the dagger the monk had been carrying. Immediately influenced by some powerful force, she began cutting down the archers under her command – dispatching at least one of them. As the last of the demons were crushed, the party managed to free Riza from control and separate the dagger – which Tristan realised to be one of the fragments of Duty’s Bond from her. It was at this point that the monk, who was barely alive (and from the damage he had taken, shouldn’t have been) muttered to the ranger that the “taint” wasn’t so easily lost, and gave a sickening chuckle. Tristan took his blade out at this point – no longer willing to allow the monk to live any longer – and beheaded him. He then picked up the shard, and focused upon it with his own faith, cleansing it.
19th of Ches
The battle won, the party went various ways to celebrate their victory that night (bar Riza, who was rather shaken by the events of the battle). Come the morning, they travelled to the ruined school, and uncovered scrolls and tomes – one if which seemed to be written by the founder of the now defunct school, Ulcaster. Irerly’s eyes lit up in excitement, seeing these tomes as the spoils of his Trials. However, as Tristan had already agreed a deal with Gorion, a compromise was formed – Irerly would be permitted to take the tomes to his mentor Marlath, but then they must immediately head back to Candlekeep to hand the tomes over intact.
With that, the group set back towards Beregost, and soon set off back for Baldur’s Gate. With such uneventful travel there, surely nothing could go wrong on the way back, could it?