It was the 19th day of Elisias in the year of the Warrior Princess 1489 DR, at around 9 o’clock in the morning. A fierce chill wind blows from the north which means those who favour the use of ranged weapons will have the distance of their arrows flights reduced.
The party, a snow white Birani Bard by the name of Sharia, a 6 foot tall human Paladin of Torm by the name of Auron, a 6 foot 6 Half-Orc barbarian covered in tattoos of his tribe by the name of Thokk and a 6 foot 7 tall Wood Elf Ranger by the name of Mila with her faithful badger companion Tommy and Bronwyn a Drow Rogue with braided hair and white skin all met together outside the City of Neverwinter amongst a large throng of people attempting to enter the safest area of the city. The Protector’s Enclave.
Mila let the group know that her late arrival was due to being waylaid by the Druids of her order who have little concern for the time of mortals. Their final companion Raistlin was absent as he had rushed on ahead due to being summoned by his family and easily made it through the gates as part of the well respected Majere Noble House in the city as well as a member of the faithful of the House of Knowledge.
The group had been brought together by visions that were all unifying them to this place. They saw the great wall of the city be attacked by spellplague monstrosities. They saw a broad-shouldered man giving a great speech to a group of eager Dwarves as he sent a call to arms to find the lost Dwarven city of Gauntlgrym. They saw an angry protest against that same man’s rule along a bridge with a statue of a wyvern over it be stopped by guards slaying the protestors. They saw a young, female dwarf with a circlet of mithril around her neck trapped in a sewer as the water rose around her. Finally they saw an Inn known as the House of a Thousand faces, it was peaceful at first with a Halfling who was missing a finger playing his lute and much merriment until a gnarled, red robed figure enter the inn as the Half-Elven fair skinned bar woman cowered behind it and offer her a blood red coin from a twisted, skeletal hand.
As they waited they noted three interesting things in the crowd, a well off family consisting of man, woman , boy and girl, who looked disheveled and were huddled together in the cold, a merchant wagon warily guarded by strong looking soldiers and a Halfling who was missing a finger playing his lute for the crowd.
Sharia decided to join the Halfling in his song as she danced and played for the crowd as well as the now entranced merchant guards. This provided a handy distraction for Bronwyn to sneak into the wagon who spied three satchels and two large chests within. She searched through the satchels and soon Mila came to her aid.
While this was happening Auron attempted to sweet talk the guards into letting them advance in the queue however he bit his tongue one too many times and the group was forced to wait. This worked to the advantage of Mila and Bronwyn who managed to take all 3 of the satchels which contained 3 red vials, a circlet of ivory, a scroll, an opal ring and an opal circlet. Bronwyn attempted to pick the chest of the lock but she did not quite manage it and decided to not risk alerting the guards any further and left with her haul.
They crept back to the rest of the group and the performance that Sharia was giving wound down. She went and collected money amongst the crowd who generously gave 10 gold pieces for her troubles one of which she gave to the Halfling, Erric, Half Fingers. They casually flirted with one another and promised to meet later at the House of a Thousand Faces.
The crowd moved on and the group found themselves nearly at the end of the queue when they saw the family in front of them being checked for signs of spellplague by the guards. They suddenly realised that the girl had the signs of Spell plague on her and moved to drag her away to the quarantine area.
Bronwyn suggested that they could perform surgery on her in order to stop the infection spreading and she and Sharia managed to persuade the guards to allow their Paladin who was trained in the arts of medicine to inspect the girl. The girl held out her shaking arm for the Paladin who calmed her and inspected the scar across her arm, though at a distance as he did not want to contract the disease himself. None the less his medicinal knowledge proved powerful and he saw that the disease was in its early stages and agreed with the Drow that if they managed to cut it off.
The parents and the guards were still wary of this but gave to the judgement of the Paladin. They said that the best place to conduct the surgery would be at the house of knowledge and allowed the party through the gates, checking them first of course for spellplague. The Paladin assured the guard that he had checked them all himself, however, this was a lie that the guard easily saw through and somewhat sickened that a Paladin would tell a lie insisted that he had to check everybody before they entered the city. Sharia managed to use her powers of seduction on the guards , as they ‘inspected’ her gyrating body for Spellplague and she flirted, and battered her eyelids and bit her bottom lip they found themselves incredibly distracted which allowed most of the party to pass without being inspected. Other than Thokk who rather enjoyed intimidating the guards as they inspected his hewn muscles. The guards promised to happily pay for Sharia to have a warm bed for the night at one of the best inns in town, the Moonstone Mask and she coyly asked them if that bed would be alone or with the company to which they stuttered they’d rather enjoy the company.. She smirked and strutted away from them
The group walked through the city towards the House of Knowledge. On their way, they saw a huge Dwarf with braided hair being carried on a plinth by four other Dwarves. He had his armed crossed and did not have a care in the world for those beneath him as they carried him slowly but surely towards the Halls of Justice. The group took note of this but left him to his travels and journeyed to The House of Knowledge where the stench of suffering was powerful. They greeted one of the Temple Acolytes in prayer and asked for aid in curing the girl. He pointed them towards a small, kindly Gold Dwarf who was doting to the sick with her staff. She greeted the party with a sadness and enquired as to what the procedure they planned to do was while extolling to them on the horrendous nature of the suffering around them and how she is working tirelessly to try to ease it and join the suffering together in peace.
The group seemed very off-put by her and became cagey about what they wanted to do. Rohini said she could not allow them in, she also misinterpreted the tone of the Drow to think that she was being sarcastic and gave her a cutting jibe in return which only increased their enmity. None the less she apologised and the group told her of the surgery they planned and so Rohini gave them entry to the House of Knowledge.
Upon entering the hallowed stone halls of knowledge more of the dead and dying afflicted with spellplague surrounded them as the acolytes sang their morning hymns to Oghma calling for aid against the plague. Amongst the faithful was a tall blonde haired High Elf by the name of Xanaphia who Sharia recognised as one of the companions Raistlin had talked highly of.
They got into a discussion in regards to her quest into the spell forge and how she is now using the money to aid the temple here. Sharia quizzed her on what she knew about the ancient mages of the Netherese and she baulked in horror, even more so as Sharia said her race had been created by one of them. Xanaphia told of a time long ago but a time she still remembered although she was young when she was alive when the dark shadow mages ruled the city through death, manipulation and a campaign of terror on the citizens until they were ousted and faded from the light into darkness. Some say their floating towers still exist in the world and they scheme and plot to once again rule over the beings of light from within them. She pointed Sharia to one such tower she believed to be in NeverWinter woods but was clearly flustered by the conversation. She asked them something in return and said that a powerful amulet of scrying, that prevented the wearer from being scryed upon, was stolen from the temple by what she believes were the Orcs who live in the Old Cloak Tower and had been making many forays and attacks upon the wall of which the House of Knowledge forms part of. She believes their leader an Orc by the name of Vansi who is one of the lieutenants of the great Orc King Obould VII possesses it alongside strange spell plague powers. She asked the group to retrieve it and offered 500 gold as a reward, her months haul from the temple.
The ranger asked her if she could inspect the vials of liquid for them as they did not have anybody themselves, Xanaphia said she’d normally charge for the service but for the group she’d do so for free as a down payment for their quest.
Then the group performed the surgery. Sharia managed to distract the parents and quiz them more about why they had come here so they would not distract while the surgery was performed. They claimed to be the Montford family, the dark haired mans name was Henry and his Auburn haired wife was Amretta and their green eyed son was called James. They said they were nobles from Waterdeep who were attacked in the night by agents of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep Laerul Silverhand as they found out details to an assassination plot she was orchestrating against Dagult NeverEmber the Lord of Waterdeep and Protector of Neverwinter in order to take over from him. They managed to escape this attempt, many of their guards dying to protect them and made the long 15 day trip to Neverwinter from Waterdeep. Unfortunately, they were ambushed by Orcs and the rest of their guards were killed and they fled from the attack and found themselves at the gate of the city.
While they were telling this tale the surgery was performed. The Paladin tourniqueted the wound and brought his knife down in one clean slice cutting off the offending limb of the child as the Drow Browyn aided him in cleaning the wound and holding the girl and Rohini used her staff of healing to calm the child. Though the cut was clean it seemed as though for a moment the spellplagued arm was going to lash out with magical energy and take over the rest of her body but the Paladin and Drow managed to prevent this with some quick thinking this however sent the girl into shock and she fell unconscious and began to bleed from her arm but they managed to stop the bleeding and stabilize her.
Mila talked once more to Xanaphia who had taken time in contemplation and identified that the vials were potions of healing that would cure anybody who drank them from their wounds. Xanaphia enquired to Mila about the nature of her quest and the state of Neverwinter woods. Xanaphia said that her group when she was adventuring had cleared out Cragmaw Castle of the Hobgoblin tribe however dark forces may have now taken over it as it is well known as the Castle of an ancient Wizard so who knows what dark sorceress magic lies within. She suggested that her hunt for her lost artifact could take her there and Mila thanked her for the information.
As a parting gift Browyn left 3 vials of medicine for the girl to calm her should she wake from her slumber and gave the Opal Ring to Xanaphia. Xanaphia inspected it with a curiosity which Bronwyn initially read as ill gratitude and said that the ring came from Waterdeep and asked where she found it. The Drow lied that she found it on the road and Xanaphia didn’t question further but thanked her for the donation to the temple and said that she was happy she could see the start of a great friendship between two who could have much racial enmity amongst one another.
They left her there with her family and the Dwarf Rohini who said she was happy to tend to the girl but warned they would be leaving this place once and for all to take the last of the spell plagued, who included many guards who defended the walls, to Helm’s Hold.
Going back into the light of the city they found it to be about midday and they journeyed north towards the Tarmalune Trade House, deciding it was too early to frolic in the House of a Thousand Faces inn just of yet. As they passed by the river they saw a great throng of protesters crossing the Winged Wyvern Bridge with about 15 Guards protecting the way and shouting to the protestors to get back. The protesters were led by a defiant-looking old woman by the name of Madame Rosene.
Thokk charged into the crowd, grabbed Madame Rosene and tied her up and the rest of the protesters, none of which were armed, stopped in sudden shock. The group then joined them and they tried to persuade the protesters to back away. They untied Madame Rosene but she just grew more furious at their attempts of persuasion and marched onwards. Sharia cast a spell of calm emotions and this, with the persuasion attempts, was enough to quell the vast majority of the crowd of around 50 well to do citizens who dispersed but Madame Rosene was not cowed and marched onwards with a small band of loyal followers. The guards set upon them and began to attack them but just with the pommels of their weapons aiming to knock them out rather than kill them.
As they did this a flurry of arrows fell from the bank of the river as well as the rooftops behind the party and Madame Rosene shouted out, before she went unconscious, ‘No, the Gnashers, they’ve ruined everything.’
Two of the guards fell from the arrows and the rest turned back and fired a return volley which killed around 4 of the Gnashers. General Sabine, a blonde haired woman in full plate who was leading the guard urged the party to either help them or clear away and the party decided to aid the city guard and strike back at the Gnashers.
A long ranged combat ensued with the party, Sharia was wounded grievously by a volley from the Gnashers and Browyn attempted to climb upon the rooftops but misjudged her step no doubt due to the bright midday sun causing flaring up her sensitivity to sunlight. Yet slowly and surely their numbers were chipped away by the volleys of the party as well as the guards. , The final Gnasher, a dwarf, fled into the sewers in the river and only leader of the Gnashers , Arlon Bladeshaper, remained, a strong and heavily built young man with a heavy crossbow and gleaming armour in the light fought bravely and with unnatural strength as he took hits from bows of the ranger, Orc and even a throw of a great axe which missed and javelins from the Paladin and a powerful spell from the Birani which turned his very armour into searing flame. Realising he had lost he ran away across the rooftops, the group had but one last chance to slay him before he could hide entirely and they threw all their might at him. Unfortunately, the strong winds meant many of the shots went wide but finally he fell to a volley from the guards the aid given by his armour being weakened by the Birani’s spell saving the day.
Victorious and alive the party cheered as he fell and the guards congratulated them and gave them their thanks as they mopped up the bodies.
- What rewards will Dagult NeverEmber now bestow upon the party?
- What will happen at the House of a Thousand Faces?
- What dark horrors does Neverwinter woods hold?
- Will the group manage to hunt down the Orcs of the Old Cloak Tower?
- Will Auron break his vow of chastity?
We will find out next time….