The Troubled, and the Secret Hoard

Session 11: Undermountain - Part 2
"Just a little pin prick, there'll be no more AAAAAAAAAH!"

4th of Mirtul, 1357 DR – Era of Humanity

Having found their way to the next floor up of Undermountain, the party set out seeking an exit from the endless halls. Heading off from the stairs, they immediately found out that escape from this floor wasn’t going to be so easy – as Brute fell 30’ into a spiked pit at the second door they came across.

Doing battle with a nest of Fire Beetles, the party managed to harvest two sacs of luminescent fluid – a light source for now, and minor profit for later. With that, they continued on, breaking down door and portcullis alike. They narrowly edged around some more of the mushrooms they had encountered earlier, before running into a small patrol of Troglodytes – stunned by Brute’s incredible strength as she ripped the portcullis apart just to enter the room.

The Troglodytes, loathe to be near humans, would only deal with the Half-Orc (and only after she revealed her true nature underneath her disguise), and later the Half-Elf (again, after revealing her non-human status). In exchange for helping the sticking reptiles on their way, the Troglodytes mentioned that they disliked heading to the North, as that headed towards light. The party continued on after the reptiles had passed, encountering a pack of Giant Rats, and easily dispatching all but two.

In time, they came across a torture room, and an altar to the god of murder, Bhaal. Cael, attempting to open yet another portcullis, accidentally found himself on the wrong end of a poisoned needle, which almost took him to the end of his life. Those that sought the aid of their gods only found response from the Lord of Death, who mocked them with Cael’s inevitable death. Tristan sought to deal with the altar, only to be blasted back by the altar’s dark power. As things got grim, the work of the poison seemed to finally subside, but it had certainly taken it’s toll on the Cavalier.

Weaving through some more rooms, and discovering some fine treasure, the party eventually arrived in a small room, which was easily defendable. Having gone for quite a while, and with little to eat (except for a pile of dead Giant Rats that Brute was keeping hold of for a meal), rest was needed. Perhaps with some time to recover, they might hopefully find their way out soon…

Time Elapsed exploring the dungeon (post-rest): 13 Hours 51 Minutes

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Session 10: Undermountain - Part 1
Dungeon Crawling

4th of Mirtul, 1357 DR – Era of Humanity

After travelling to Waterdeep, and running into some trouble with local slavers, the party ended up trapped in the hideout of the Hands. With the assistance of Cael, Kaylee, Johnathon and Skie, the party were freed (well, except for Brute, who had at that point already freed herself). They then proceeded to kick ass, and capture the Magic-User who caused them so much trouble.

Upon heading up a flight of stairs, a group of Dwarves who were excavating the area told the party of their location – the second level of the labyrinth complex that runs deep underneath Waterdeep: Undermountain. After a brief exchange, the Dwarves informed the party of the route they took to get there, and the party set off, eager to see daylight once more.

A series of passages and chambers led to a curious room with goblin corpses, a shrieking pile of mushrooms, goblins, and a lot of coinage. Devious traps were discovered – mainly by setting them all off. A mysterious shrine to Mielikki saw all of Riza’s wounds healed.

With the discovery of stairs, the party moves at least some manner upwards. But now, as they approach their goal, they are left unguided. How long will it take them to find their way out of this maze?

Time Elapsed exploring the dungeon: 248 minutes

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Session 4: Reprieve
Rest and Planning

23rd of Ches, 1357 DR

After around five or so hours, Irerly regains consciousness, finding himself in a bed instead of a sack, and surrounded by both companions, and Brute. Cael, Riza and Calani are awoken by this, and briefly converse with the Illusionist, glad to see him awake. Riza and Irerly discuss Brute’s reasoning for his capture – that his family want him returned – and find it strange that a) Riza’s family would opt to do such a thing and b) Riza’s family could afford to do such a thing. With Marlath residing within Baldur’s Gate, Irerly reasoned that the only people who could be hunting for him would be his true family, though could not understand why they would be searching for him.

Calani sought a quick chat with one of the Clerics, to ask for consideration of formal completion of her first Suffering, while Cael headed off back to the Silvershield estate. and Brute, contemplating sleeping in the stables, decided in the end to seek out an inn to stay in, and as such sought out the dodgiest inn she could find – the Blushing Mermaid. After explaining a little about what she had accomplished (travelling to and remaining in Icewind Dale over winter, bare foot, along with the various activities she has partaken in with the group, and the argument that the group’s actions seem to be for the good of all), the priest quickly agreed, and offered to immediately sort that out for her. Calani’s first response after that was to immediately purchase a good set of boots.

Irerly returned home to Marlath’s Mystical Emporium™, accompanied by Calani.

24th of Ches, 1357 DR

Morning rose, and soon the party set about their different tasks. Riza headed off to the Temple of Oghma in the city, to seek out information on the Troll Hills. Tristan spoke with his cousin, trying to convince her to accompany them to the Troll Hills. With a much more reasonable response than before, she argued that she wouldn’t approach there, out of fear. However, she did offer him a ring that usually lay upon one of her fingers, telling him that it would be useful upon the finger of another Magic-User, and that she wanted it back afterwards.

Cael travelled over to the headquarters of the Flaming Fist, finalizing information about an arrangement he had made for Brute to work for the law enforcement order, and also to request an order of summons be made for the rest of the party. With acknowledgement, one of the members of the Fist were sent to seek out their new employee.

Brute, after raiding the pockets of a few of the patrons at the Blushing Mermaid, was quickly found as soon as she left the inn. The Fist member handed over the order of summons, along with a small bag of pay, and left. She worked her way around the city, finding Calani and Irerly, and sending them off to the Silvershield Estate. When looking for Tristan, she discovered he had apparently already left for the estate. With no indication of where to find Riza (as she was not with Irerly), Brute eventually started looking around the various places in the city, finding her in the Temple of Oghma, and passing the information of the summons on.

On her way to the estate, Calani popped into a shop known as Sorcerous Sundries, looking to purchase some scrolls for the trip. However, the prices seemed well out of her way.

Brute received a message from the Flaming Fist, and asked Riza to go with her there. On arrival, the group of Brute, Riza and Irerly met Jarel, one of the Sergeants of the Flaming Fist, who wanted to have a word with her about the sighting in the Troll Hills based on information given by Cael. They had a swift discussion behind closed doors, and then the group set off to the Silvershield estate.

Reunited around midday, the party came together to discuss their plans. Two situations had currently presented themselves – Riza’s task of looking into alleged activity by the Cult of the Dragon in the Troll Hills, and Irerly’s family in Neverwinter, whom had apparently hired a lot more than just Brute to seek him out. It was agreed that their first task would be to travel to the Troll Hills, with the argument that it was on the way to Neverwinter anyway. Calani looked into the subject of purchasing a horse, which was immediately taken up by one of the estate’s butlers. Pushing the hard sale, and adding to the amount Cael now owed the household (after a message from the house accountant), Calani was sold the warhorse “Hope”.

With information shared, and planning complete, the group went to gather supplies to the week’s travel coming up soon, as they looked to set off within the next few hours…

XP:
Cael Silvershield – 4006
Tristan Eltorchul – 3456
Riza Hawkeye – 3716
Irerly – 3202
Calani Morkann – C 1102 / F 1102 / MU 998
“Brute” – F 1713 / A 1560

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Session 3: The Illusion of Safety
A chase across the southern length of the Sword Coast

19th-21st of Ches

With the victory at Beregost, the travel back to Baldur’s Gate seems like child’s play. The travel is still long, but very quiet, and by the evening of the 21st, the group arrives at the Friendly Arm Inn once more. Booking rooms, the party sets down for a night of relaxation and drinking, except Irerly, who decides to pay a visit to the Temple of Wisdom.

Finding the Gnome Cleric asleep, Irerly wakes him up and has a quick chat, though the Gnome is rather reluctant to show off any new illusions, having used most of his spells for the day. Soon enough, Irerly decides to leave, though finds his exit from the temple blocked by a hulking hooded figure. After attempting conversation, Irerly finds himself being attacked by the figure, and disappears as soon as possible.

The figure leaves the temple, and Irerly goes to wake up the cleric again. The Cleric proves to be no help, and so Irerly eventually leaves after he’s decided enough time has passed for the figure to have left. He manages to get about halfway to the Inn before the figure reappears and attacks again. After a failed illusion, the battle is quickly over – it takes but one solid blow for the figure to knock Irerly out. Placing Irerly into a sack, the figure places the sack on the back of their horse, and rides off north.

After an hour, the party starts to get worried, and heads over to the temple. On the way, Riza notices the signs of a recent skirmish on the ground between two people – one almost clearly identifiable as Irerly, and the other as a much larger figure, most likely a Half-Orc. As worry begins to mount, they immediately mount up, and decide to set out for the night.

22nd of Ches

Hours pass, and Riza begins to lose the trail. As daylight begins to break, Tristan and Cael argue that they cannot currently ride on, and must return to the inn to reclaim their gear. Riza argues against this and resolves to carry on, accompanied by Calani (at the very least so that she is not left alone). As such, Cael gives Riza custody of his warhorse, Shimmer.

Riding off, Riza carries on attempting to ride flat out in any hope of spotting her brother’s captor. Unfortunately, her ride only leaves her and the Cleric fatigued, and instead runs into a large group of riders on the road. Highwaymen approach the pair, demanding their money. Seeing this as an unwinable battle, the pair ride off back the way they came, dodging all bar one arrow shot, which lands in the flank of Shimmer. Fleeing off the road, the pair disappear into an off-road wood. Eventually (and after being healed), Shimmer slows down and finally collapses on the floor, exhausted. In frustration, Riza finally decides that this is time to get some rest, marks the trees towards the road with a symbol, and sets up camp.

Meanwhile, Irerly finds himself waking up on the back of a horse. Eventually, his sack is taken off the back of the horse, and he is fed by his captor, which appears to be a Half-Orc. The two converse as camp is set up to sleep through the day, and overall he is well looked-after considering the situation. His captor reveals that she had been hired by members of Irerly’s family, to see him returned home…

After spending a few hours of rest, the Cavalier and Paladin set off to chase after the Ranger and Fighter/Magic-User/Cleric with all of their gear available to them. Fortunately, it appears the Highwaymen that the first pair encountered have already passed or disappeared elsewhere, and thus Cael and Tristan are able to travel without trouble. With several hours of riding, they discover the symbol upon the trees beside the road, and head into the woods to seek out their companions.

Together, the four ride north, heading further towards Baldur’s Gate. Night begins to fall as the city appears on the horizon. Riding exhausted horses, and all suffering from some length of sleep deprivation, the group settles down for the night.

With the other pair, the Half-Orc sets up camp a little distance away from Baldur’s Gate, out of sight from any roads. She knocks Irerly out, and decides to head off into the city to stock up on supplies. To hide her appearance, she disguises herself as a harmless human, and strides off towards the gates…

23rd of Ches

The main party set off early in the morning, and start to ride around the city of Baldur’s Gate, deciding that the kidnapper wouldn’t attempt to go through the city itself. They come across the Half-Orc’s camp, which appears to have only been left a few hours ago, and Riza is able to pick the trail back up. With a new lead, the group rides off as fast as possible.

A few miles north of the city, the group spots a lone human rider with a sack on the back of their horse. With sheer desperation, the group attempts to ride down this mysterious rider. Seeing this strange group of mixed riders visibly chasing after her, she begins to flee.

Eventually, the party is able to move close, and demands her to stop. After she refuses, Cael rides close and throws a dagger at the rider. It misses her, but slashes across the side the sack, and out rolls the cut and injured Irerly. Riza rides to try and grab the dying Illusionist, but so does the kidnapper, who immediately turns around to try and grab him. An argument ensues (with Calani heading up to stop Irerly from dying), which ends abruptly when Kaylee, under Tristan’s orders, puts the kidnapper (nicknamed “Brute” by Cael) to sleep.

They immediately set about tying up Brute, and head back to the city. A few minutes from the gates, Brute awakens, and easily snaps through the bonds that hold her. More arguing ensues, but with some of the party deciding that having Brute around may be helpful to follow this lead into Neverwinter, Brute is allowed to accompany them.

Tristan and Kaylee immediately return home to get some sleep. The rest take Irerly to the shrine of Ilmater in the city, to allow him to recover. They remain with him, but the strain of their forced ride to the city takes its’ toll, and all bar Brute fall asleep in the room.

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Session 2: Beregost Lost
Of Deities and Demons...

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?

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Session 1: Adventurers Assemble
The party begins...

3rd of Ches, 1357 Dale Reckoning

For their own reasons, the various members of the party make their own ways to the city of Baldur’s Gate, travelling down from the north. The only exception to this being Cael, as a resident of the city. The roads were mostly clear and peaceful, apart from the odd traveller, and except for Riza, Irerly and Marlath, uneventful.

Cael had recently been spending his time aiding the Flaming Fist mercenaries in policing the city, due to most of the company having left along with a considerable part of the standing army to aid in the siege of Dragonspear Castle to the north. Crime has risen as of late due to the Flaming Fist being stretched incredibly thin, but today, all seems rather peaceful.

Tristan and Kaylee Eltorchul arrive during the mid-morning; Tristan having suffered a brief pause of discomfort as soon as he saw the city on the horizon. Their relationship seemed strained at best, and the young Magic-User left her Paladin cousin as soon as she possibly could. Tristan paid a visit to the Temple of Oghma to learn the residence that the Eltorchul family had arranged for the two, and ran into Cael on his way out.

Riza, Irerly and Marlath arrived a little later that Tristan, having come across the odd sight of gear strewn across one of the roads, but no bodies. There were patches of blood around, and Riza had noticed that one of the footprints appeared skeletal in nature. There was drag marks on the floor, where it looked like a body had been dragged off to the east. Agreeing that there was little they could do at that moment, they travelled straight to the city, where Marlath started leading them to where he believed the house he had bought, near the Splurging Sturgeon, to be. As things would happen, he got lost.

The last to arrive was Calani, who struggled into the city feeling the pains of bruising and stabbing all over the body, and then disappearing all of a sudden. Her immediate plan was to head to the Shrine of Ilmater.

As the various characters made their ways through the city, Cael, and then Tristan shortly afterwards, started to notice an argument brewing near the High Hall of Wonders. A group of three people manning a stall were surrounded by eight thugs, one of which (dressed a little better than the rest) was demanding protection money. As they approached, the argument descended into a one-sided brawl, with the stall members being beaten by the eight viciously.

Cael and Tristan descended from the north, shields readied, and bashed a path straight into the centre of the brawl. Calani, having noticed the brawl from the street above, ran straight down following the Paladin and the Cavalier, reached to the most wounded stall member, and pulled them out of the fight. From a distance, Riza and Irerly watched on, eventually joining in as the thugs (ineffectually) turned on the others.

Most of the rogues, as they were injured, retreated from the fight. As the battle went on, the leader sounded a retreat, and the group scampered. One member, having been injured by a dagger wound, was first fooled by an illusion, and then commanded to stop (which he followed), before being knocked out by Tristan. The ringleader was thrown to the ground by combined fire from the group, but stabbed Calani deep as she attempted to examine his wounds. He was immediately knocked out following this.

Passing the bodies off to a couple of Flaming Fist who arrived on scene, the group split into two, dealing with menial tasks and information gathering. Kaylee remained behind in the Eltorchul residence, and Marlath was finally directed to his house. The party met up back together at the Black Dragon Gate, and went to investigate the mystery of the gear on the road.

With Riza leading the party via tracks that went off the road, the party arrived at a cave entrance in the side of a steep hill. Descending inside they discovered Dwarven masonry, which led to a small mine. Battling various undead creatures which resided there, the group discovered runes which indicated to a path into the Underdark, and another which led to a study. Heading down that path they encountered a Skeletal Tomb Guardian, and battled this dangerous foe. Tristan and Calani were knocked unconscious and started to bleed, being swiftly patched up by Irerly as Cael and Riza dispatched the skeleton.

4th of Ches

As they rested in the Mess Hall to recuperate from the battle, a person seemed to try and open one of the barricaded doors, voicing his confusion. Cael questioned who was there, at which point it went completely silent. Cael returned to rest, while Irerly and Riza decided to search for a more defensible position.

The pair battled some skeletons in a chapel, and recovered a scroll of some kind. With the chapel being easier to defend, they moved the rest of the group into there, and rested until Tristan woke up. With Calani still unconscious even after Tristan’s Lay on Hands, they left to recover in the safety of Baldur’s Gate, taking with them their hard-earned spoils up until that point.

The party spent a week in the city itself, arranging the creation of new gear, establishing contacts and plans for the weeks ahead. Riza relayed that she had been sent to investigate rumours of activity by the Cult of the Dragon in the Troll Hills to the north, whereas Tristan informed the group of his mission from Torm: to collect the shattered pieces of Duty’s Bond – Torm’s favoured weapon. The group decided they would head south to Beregost, a village about a couple of weeks’ travel away, where an ancient school of magic had been uncovered, and where Tristan has been tipped to start his search. Spending time acquiring gear, the party eventually set off, Kaylee and four retainers in tow, to seek out Beregost and it’s magic school…

Date of setting off: 11th of Ches

XP:

Cael Silvershield – 1586
Tristan Eltorchul – 1186
Riza Hawkeye – 1274
Irerly – 1156
Calani Morkann – C 399 / F 399 / MU 358

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Prologue: Perils of the Neverwinter Woods
An attack on a Cleric, an attack on the woods, an attack on a dragon.

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.

XP:

Cael Silvershield – 850
Tristan Eltorchul – 450
Riza Hawkeye – 403
Irerly – 366
Calani Morkann – C 124 / F 124 / MU 113

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Prologue: Lances at Dawn
The start of a rivalry, a mystery, and a threat

Upon the 30th of Eleint, 1356 DR, a large caravan of knights, warriors and merchants came to the end of their long trek from Baldur’s Gate to the City of Splendours, Waterdeep. Notable among them were Grand Duke Entar Silvershield – a Cavalier Commander of great renown, seeking to defend his title as the two-time running champion of the Tournament of the Knight; Grand Duke Eltan, head of the Flaming Fist mercenary company; and Cael Silvershield, an up-and-coming knight, seeking to take the Tournament of the Squire for himself.

Upon reaching the Castle Ward of Waterdeep, where the nobles of the Baldur’s Gate caravan would be staying, Cael headed off to find a temple to Tyr. He found one short by, running off the mansion of the Unmasked Lord of Waterdeep, Piergeion “the Paladinson”. The temple is mainly devoted to the god of Justice himself, but also maintains two small shrines, one on each side, to the other two gods of the Triad – Torm, and Illmater. And it was in the shrine of Torm whom resigned Tristan Eltorchul, a Paladin.

Amongst the various knights who were paying respect to their patron gods, Cael knelt down and began to pray. Stating loudly, he prayed for the protection of those who might fall off their horses, and that the Tournament this year would be a Silvershield victory. Many knights raised their eyes at this, including Tristan, who questioned the lack of humility this knight demonstrated. As Cael left, Tristan confided in the Priest of the shrine of Torm, Berdon, seeking to teach these young, prideful knights the meaning of Humility.

The next day marked the first of the two holidays before the beginning of the month of Marpenoth – Highharvestide. Tables lined the streets of the city, with peasants and nobles alike bring out various items of food to fill the tables around the place. Cael and Tristan, independently, went out to the feast, enjoyed their fill, and met with a few of the other competitors in the Tournament of the Squire. Most notable of those was Marketh Azoun, who proclaimed to be the nephew of King Azoun IV of Cormyr (a city state a fair distance to the east). Marketh dismissed both of the knights, seeing them as nowhere near his social status or level of skill, remarking that he would enjoy knocking them off their horses.

Cael, satisfied with his food and intel on the competition, returned to the Silvershield lodgings to train in private. He met with his trainer, who challenged him to a practice tilt. The two lined up, charged at each other, and Cael knocked his trainer unconscious with the impressive force of his blow.

Tristan, on the other hand, sought out a public practice ground, and came across a rather cocky knight, who seemed to be berating the ability of others. He challenged him to a tilt, rode, and Tristian humbled him with relative ease. With a smirk, the Paladin used his ability to Lay on Hands upon his opponent, rubbing the defeat in that small bit further. As the knight stormed off, the crowd who had amassed applauded the Paladin.

The day after saw the start of the Tournament. Cael rode up first, and quite quickly dispatched his first three opponents, each in the first tilt. Tristan, on the other hand, came up against Marketh in the second round. The match was close, but the Azoun managed to defeat him.

As the semi-finals approached, the knights were given a reprieve as the first rounds of the Tournament of the Knight began. Entar, who had been watching Cael’s progress, tossed him a small bag of gold, and stated he should go and take a look around the markets. Tristan remained by to watch the Tournament.

As Cael walked into the city, basking in the glory of his victories thus far, he heard a scream. There was a smashing of glass as a Halfling, garbed in a mixture of blacks and browns, burst through the door of a shop named “The Emerald of the Stars”, and ran as fast as possible. Unlike the stunned populace, Cael shouted for the City Watch to be called, and gave chase. Within a minute or two of running, the low trembling note of the Watch’s emergency horns had been blown. Tristan started running to the direction of the horn.

The Halfling tried to evade the chasing Cavalier by running into the side streets, but with Cael outpacing him it was hard to evade. Eventually he ran out into a main street, Cael close behind with his sword drawn. The City Guard on the gate started moving to blockade the entrance, so the Halfling dived off into another side. Cael followed, being joined by a small contingent of Watch accompanied by a black-robed Magister. The group eventually pinned the Halfling at a dead end, him half-way up a wall, under the orders of “surrender, or we will shoot”.

Tristan arrived to find that the culprit had been apprehended. Being searched down, the Watch discovered two daggers (one of them bloody), a note, and a brass ring of a dragon biting it’s own tail. Another Watch member came along from the crime scene, had a discussion with the Magister. With that, the Magister charged the Halfling with committing a Severe Crime of the Second Plaint, and a Serious Crime of the Fourth Plaint. Tristan questioned the Halfling as to if he had committed murder, and the Halfling confessed.

The note itself read:

Ressat,
Your duty is to go to the Emeralds of the Stars, and take from them a small brass ring, which looks like a dragon biting it’s tail. It is currently being held in a back room. Kill the owner, and then leave the city to the south. You will find us at a waystation a couple of miles from the city.
You will receive your reward there. Do not make me wait.
Garth

The two decided to return to the crime scene, and investigated around. They found a shaken old woman, who had witnessed the Halfling running out of the shop, stowing a blade, and saw the deceased body of the owner. Taking a look in the back room, the pair found an opened, small black box with red cushioning, which seemed to be empty. The body didn’t have any finger marks, indicating that he hadn’t been wearing the ring at the time. His wounds seemed to be a single, deep stab wound to the back, which struck the heart.

Cael returned to the Tournament, witnessing the master of his family winning his third round match. Tristan stayed behind with the body, until a Cleric of the god of the dead, Myrkul.

After about 10 minutes, the cleric arrived, dressed in full black robes with a hood over the head, and the mark of the skull in an arch upon the back of the robe. He thanked Tristan for attending to the body, who appeared to be his friend. Tristan questioned if the cleric, whom served an evil god, had met with the Halfling before, but the Cleric had not. With that, Tristan returned to the Tournament.

Cael came up against Torail, a knight of Neverwinter. Torail’s first blow to Cael almost knocked him clean out. But with a mixture of luck and skill, he managed to hold on, and knock Torail off of his horse.

He then came across Marketh Azoun in the final round. Most of the crowd cheered the name “Silvershield” as Cael rode up to the best of three match. In the first two rounds, Cael took some blows, but in both cases smashed his lance swiftly against the purple dragon shield, and won victory.

Entar Silvershield won victory in the Tournament of the Knight, and the crowds rejoiced and chanted the name Silvershield as the two knights received their prizes – 200gp for Cael, and 10,000gp for Entar (whom donated the prize to Baldur’s Gate).

In the evening, Cael and the Silvershield family spent much of their night celebrating, while Tristan took a night’s watch. In the morning after, Tristan came to visit Cael, to find that Piergerion was visiting Entar, and the Paladinson remarked to his friend how Cael and Tristan seemed “very familiar”. Tristan asked Cael for a single tilt, to which Cael accepted gladly. Cael crushed him easily.

XP:
Cael – 850
Tristan – 450
Calani – 0
Irerly – 0
Riza – 0

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